What Happens When You Pre-Order on Amazon?

By Milton Kazmeyer

Pre-ordering from Amazon gets you your merchandise quickly.
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Pre-ordering an item from Amazon is one way to ensure you reserve a copy of a highly anticipated movie, video game, or other item as quickly as possible. Locking in a pre-order not only guarantees you your copy, it ensures you will receive it for the lowest price available and, in many cases, on the same day the item becomes available in stores.

Payment Schedule

When you place a pre-order with Amazon, the company does not charge your card right away. Amazon verifies your card or account information and then saves the data until just before the release date. Generally, Amazon charges payments two or three days before the item's street date, in order to ensure that if the payment does not go through, you have time to correct the problem and still receive your purchase.

Price Fluctuations

When Amazon first lists an item for pre-order, it may be months before the actual release of the item in question. The company bases their pricing structure on information provided by the manufacturer, but on occasion, that price can change before the item actually ships. If the price drops, Amazon will charge you the lower price when they ship the item. If the price drops after Amazon charges your card, they will refund you the difference. However, if the price should go up, you will only pay the original, lower price for your pre-order.

Product Delivery

If you order an item with release date delivery, Amazon will ship your merchandise a few days ahead of schedule so that you will receive it on or before the item's street date. If you use a normal shipping method, your item may ship a few days before or as late as the day of release, depending on when the manufacturer releases the product. Therefore, if you are using the company's free shipping options, you may have to wait a few days before your pre-ordered product arrives. In the case of digital content, Amazon will make the download available to you on the day of release.

Cancellation Deadlines

If you place a pre-order and then later change your mind, you can cancel it by going into "Your Account" and clicking "View Open Orders" under the "Order History" setting. From there, you can view all orders you have in process and cancel the pre-order. A few hours before shipping, however, Amazon will begin preparing your order, and its status will change to "Shipping Soon." At this point, you cannot make any changes or halt shipping, and you will have to return the item once it arrives.