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Amazon plans 'boxing videos'

Amazon plans 'boxing videos'

Patent Number 7,689,46 details Amazon's plans to flip the 'unboxing video' concept on its head and prevent false claims of missing items.

Amazon has filed a patent detailing an interesting twist on the concept of unboxing videos - a 'boxing video,' if you will.

The patent - US Patent Number 7,689,465, spotted by the guys over at TechFlash - details a system for assigning blame in the case of customers claiming that items they have ordered have not been included in the shipment, or are in some way incorrect.

Described as a "system and method for visual verification of order processing" and originally filed back in 2005, the patent details a method both of taking still images or video of the packing process and of relaying those back to the customer - allowing both retailer and client to see that precisely what was ordered is what made it into the box, and any items missing are clearly down to a light-fingered postman. This 'proof' is deepened by taken images of each stage of the process - the items being boxed, the box being sealed, and the sealed box being loaded onto a van for delivery.

The idea of taking pictures of items that are being packaged in order to prevent claims of missing or damaged goods isn't new, but Amazon's patent covers a solution to the issue in far more detail than has been done before - and suggests that false claims for missing items are a big issue for the online retailer.

Are you impressed at Amazon's solution to a thorny problem, or does it seem like the sort of obvious implementation - with prior art, no less - that should never have been granted a patent in the first place? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

21 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
SchizoFrog 31st March 2010, 10:25 Quote
This would not solve anything... As a customer, my issue would not be if you packed the item or not, but if I received the item or not.
Bursar 31st March 2010, 10:34 Quote
Really? A patent for taking photographs of things going into a box? *sigh*
kenco_uk 31st March 2010, 10:42 Quote
Quite elaborate for an April Fools.
DirtyH 31st March 2010, 10:44 Quote
your one day early :P
Jipa 31st March 2010, 10:48 Quote
I have never got the point of unboxing videos. Probably because there isn't one? That said, this manages to be even more useless waste of everyones' time.
M7ck 31st March 2010, 10:48 Quote
All this would prove is that a photo has been taken of your items, not that the item arrived.
Doomah 31st March 2010, 10:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by M7ck
All this would prove is that a photo has been taken of your items, not that the item arrived.

So you cant accuse Amazon of not posting your items. Now you can profe 2 things:
1) You didn't get the item
2) Amazon did send the item

So the blame is now at the post delivery company.
faugusztin 31st March 2010, 10:56 Quote
Unfortunately, seems like that patent really exists. One more reason to scrap the whole patent system in US.
theflatworm 31st March 2010, 11:29 Quote
Post deleted: I need to read the article properly before I post.
vdbswong 31st March 2010, 11:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doomah
So you cant accuse Amazon of not posting your items. Now you can profe 2 things:
1) You didn't get the item
2) Amazon did send the item

So the blame is now at the post delivery company.

Yeah, but Amazon still haven't fufilled their obligation to give you the goods you paid for since you've not actually received them...

Just because you can prove somebody shipped something to you in a certain state, it doesn't prove that you received them in that state.
Zayfod 31st March 2010, 11:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by vdbswong
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doomah
So you cant accuse Amazon of not posting your items. Now you can profe 2 things:
1) You didn't get the item
2) Amazon did send the item

So the blame is now at the post delivery company.

Yeah, but Amazon still haven't fufilled their obligation to give you the goods you paid for since you've not actually received them...

Just because you can prove somebody shipped something to you in a certain state, it doesn't prove that you received them in that state.

But if Amazon have shipped it all correctly, then it's the Post Office who are at fault, not Amazon.

I can kind of see this working, if the recording process is fully automated and and the video is delivered to the customer with the "Your Order Has Been Dispatched" email. It also would mean that if your order was damaged due to bad packaging you have proof of that too.
Xir 31st March 2010, 12:14 Quote
So what's the "Unboxing Video" part?
Am I now required to film myself opening packages?

I've had the same thing happen the other way round. I sent Amazon two camera's back, and they claimed to have only received one... So one went missing either in the post or in their unpacking department. (took the worst one as well)
Luckily, I got my money back anyway...since then I'm an Amazon fan.
eddtox 31st March 2010, 12:26 Quote
So now I'm not allowed to take photos of the packages I send on ebay? Good idea, stupid patent. Surely it's like patenting the idea of using photos to prove something.
scrumble 31st March 2010, 13:14 Quote
All this actually proves is that some point the items went into a box. Between the last shot of the goods in the box, and being handed to the courier/post office, any number of people could handle it.

And unless it is a full video of the packaging process, then it won't work. If its still shots: Worker puts goods in box, photo taken, worker sneakily pulls item out of box and into pocket, box sealed, dispatched, delivered.
sicone 31st March 2010, 13:17 Quote
Surely this doesn't really prove anything.
I could take a picture of me putting an item into a box, take the item back out and take a picture of me sealing the box.

Edit:Seems scrumble posted the same thing as I was typing!
erratum1 31st March 2010, 15:33 Quote
If people are making false claims then obviously thats a big headache for an etailer, also you have the issue of dodgy employees and the postal service. You can't trust anyone these days !
paisa666 31st March 2010, 15:52 Quote
ooohhhhh... so this is why America has a record on patents per year!!! its all clear now
vdbswong 31st March 2010, 16:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zayfod
But if Amazon have shipped it all correctly, then it's the Post Office who are at fault, not Amazon.

I can kind of see this working, if the recording process is fully automated and and the video is delivered to the customer with the "Your Order Has Been Dispatched" email. It also would mean that if your order was damaged due to bad packaging you have proof of that too.

Yeah, but just because Amazon rely on the postal service to deliver a package, it doesn't mean they aren't responsible for the package not arriving in your hands.

For example, one of the posters already talked about sending items back, e.g. for RMAs. You're the one responsible for getting the item delivered back to the company... they aren't going to have any of it if you were like "Blame the postal service since i shipped it myself and have this photo of it". And just like that Amazon are still responsible for getting the delivery to you.
Sloth 31st March 2010, 19:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by vdbswong
Yeah, but just because Amazon rely on the postal service to deliver a package, it doesn't mean they aren't responsible for the package not arriving in your hands.

For example, one of the posters already talked about sending items back, e.g. for RMAs. You're the one responsible for getting the item delivered back to the company... they aren't going to have any of it if you were like "Blame the postal service since i shipped it myself and have this photo of it". And just like that Amazon are still responsible for getting the delivery to you.
This. It's the sender's responsibility to choose a shipping method that will work and it's the sender's responsibility to handle situations in which their chosen method has failed.

Also, this boxing video isn't just about proving they sent you a box, it's about proving what they put in the box so people can't open the box, take everything out, and lie they only got half of it from Amazon to get free items.
deadsea 1st April 2010, 01:34 Quote
That should fall under prior art? Provided that it's not an April's Fool joke.

A lot of companies do that. Heck it's even a requirement of the suppliers where i work.. And we do the whole unboxing photo shoot thing too. Just to prevent vendors claiming that we damaged items. And as to who is responsible for damages, it largely depends on when does risk pass. I'd bet it passes as soon as full payment is recieved there's hardly any need to be responsible for stuff that someone else has already paid for.
Veles 3rd April 2010, 20:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doomah
So you cant accuse Amazon of not posting your items. Now you can profe 2 things:
1) You didn't get the item
2) Amazon did send the item

So the blame is now at the post delivery company.

Video really proves nothing though, you would have to keep the camera on the packing with no editing out bits in between stages. Even the loading onto a delivery van can be faked.

I'm not saying amazon would go to the effort of making fake packing videos, but it's not absolute proof that the item has been shipped at all.
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