Amazon default address puzzle

A conceptual puzzle. What is the default address in Amazon for?

I’d expect something like this: There’s an Address concept, say, that allows users to build a list of frequently used addresses and assign a shipping address to an order. They can also designate one address as the default. When an address is needed, the order is first associated with the default and then it can be changed. Or another design: when the address is changed from the default, the new address sticks until some action occurs (resetAddress, say), which is synced with an action of another concept. For example, you could change the address, have it stick while you create a bunch of orders, and then when your session ends, the address resets to the default.

As far as I can tell, none of this is true.

  • The shipping address never seems to revert to the default address unless you select it explicitly.
  • Worst of all, if you create a subscription for an item, when it auto-reorders, it will use whatever address is currently active, and not your default address or the address on the original subscription order!

This is hard to believe because it’s so annoying. See complaints here, eg, which includes this entertaining comment:

Amazon randomly changed my Subscribe and Save address to that of someone from my address book. Super annoying and inconvenient. I hope my hair stylist likes cashew butter and vitamins.

I called Amazon support to check and indeed they confirmed that this happens with subscriptions and that it’s bad. I’m actually amazed they haven’t fixed this.

Can anyone explain whether default address actually has any role? Maybe it’s the address that’s used if you do a one-click purchase?

Maybe this is the wrong question, and the right question (to use Merrick Furst’s term from Heart of Innovation is why there is apparent indifference to this problem. Could it be that most Amazon users don’t switch addresses? Or that Amazon has such a long list of PRs that this one is too low down to get attention?

In my experience, my home address is my default address and is selected by default for all my purchases on Amazon. When I send a gift, I pick a different address from my address book during Checkout. For my next purchase, the default address will be back. I won’t have to think about changing it back. So it seems to work as expected from my perspective. For me the purpose of the default address is not to have to switch back after picking a different address during Checkout. I haven’t tested on Subscriptions though.

Interesting. That is the behavior I would expect, but when I pick a different address for a purchase it sticks and does not revert for the next purchase. I’ve tried logging out too, and the previous address still sticks.