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Old 04-06-2009, 10:07 PM   #16
Ian
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Hi all-

As requested, here's a copy of the email I received:
--------------------------
Greetings from Amazon.com.

A careful review of your account indicates that you have required refunds on a large majority of your orders for a variety of reasons.

In the normal course of business, the occasional problem is inevitable. The rate at which such problems have occurred on your account is extraordinary, however, and cannot continue. Effective immediately, your Amazon.com account is closed and you are no longer able to shop in our store.

Please know that any accounts related to yours have also been closed. If you were to open a new account, the same will result and it will also be closed. In the event that you attempt to do so, we will not accept the return of any additional orders, nor will we issue further refunds in connection with any future orders. We appreciate your cooperation in refraining from using our web site.

Going forward, all inquiries must be directed to cis@amazon.com.

Please do not contact regular Customer Service again, as they will no longer be able to assist you.

Best regards,

Account Specialist
Amazon.com

-------------------------

There are so many things wrong with this, I feel sure there must be an error:

1) I've only returned things that were defective, in complete accordance with Amazon's policies. Not once did I ever receive a warning or a cs rep who was less than perfectly happy to process an exchange or return for me.

2) I've kept far more orders than I've ever returned, both for corporate and personal use.

3) I am now unable to access archived copies of the Kindle books I've purchased legally, and have no other way to legally purchase DRM'ed books on the device.

4) I also have no access to videos I have purchased from Amazon.

5) Since I can't contact customer service, I cannot get any warranty service for my current Kindle, and the email explicitly states I can't return anything (not that I'd want to!)

Has anyone experienced this before? And besides Consumerist, any idea how I can rectify the situation?

-Ian
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:13 PM   #17
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I'd be contacting the "Better Business Bureau" about now. And maybe even the Attorney General of your state, if this can't be resolved well.

But before doing that, they'll probably ask you to review Amazon's "terms of service" to see if the oh-so-very-fine-print gave them "permission" to pull this kind of crap!
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:13 PM   #18
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Ian, I highly recommend trying Consumerist first. At this point, don't waste your time calling Amazon anymore. If it gets on Consumerist, I can almost guarantee a resolution. Getting on that website scares companies.
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:18 PM   #19
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Consumerist is your best course of action. I think it's unlikely they'll reinstate your account, but it's possible. Otherwise, there only thing you might get is an offer of refunds for your Kindle and Kindle purchases, but you say you don't want that.

Theoretically, Amazon should have a way to continue to service a customer whilst preventing any new purchases. But there's nothing that says Amazon must provide such a mechanism.

The fact you may have "legitimately" returned a lot of items is irrelevant. You probably have cost Amazon more money than they've made off you, and whether you're just unlucky or a hypochondriac, Amazon isn't interested in having you as a customer anymore. I agree they could have handled it better, though.
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:28 PM   #20
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FWIW, I found that googling "your Amazon.com account is closed and you are no longer able to shop in our store" brings up more relevant hits than "Amazon banned."
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:33 PM   #21
Ian
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Sirbruce, thanks for writing.

Actually, I wouldn't say that I've cost Amazon money (I have bought and kept many more items over the years than I've ever returned), but even if I have...

...as I mentioned, it wasn't due to me trying to scam anyone, or anything like that. Yes, I simply received a string of defective items. Hard to accept? OK, I'll grant that, but it IS the truth. I don't see any way I can prove it to you other than had you seen them yourself

But how completely outrageous is it for Amazon to have basically told me "since we've sent a series of defective items to you, and you've actually returned them to us instead of keeping them, you can't buy anything more from us", and then to go so far as to make it impossible for me to access videos and (archives of) Kindle books I've legitimately purchased...

...for life!

Please note that NOWHERE in this thread have I Amazon-bashed or implied that they're bad people. They're not.

Clearly, I must have been improperly caught up in some "sweep", and I'll I care about is resolving the situation so I can continue happily reading.

Have a great night-

-Ian
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:34 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
Hi all-

As requested, here's a copy of the email I received:
--------------------------
Greetings from Amazon.com.

A careful review of your account indicates that you have required refunds on a large majority of your orders for a variety of reasons.

In the normal course of business, the occasional problem is inevitable. The rate at which such problems have occurred on your account is extraordinary, however, and cannot continue. Effective immediately, your Amazon.com account is closed and you are no longer able to shop in our store.

Please know that any accounts related to yours have also been closed. If you were to open a new account, the same will result and it will also be closed. In the event that you attempt to do so, we will not accept the return of any additional orders, nor will we issue further refunds in connection with any future orders. We appreciate your cooperation in refraining from using our web site.

Going forward, all inquiries must be directed to cis@amazon.com.

Please do not contact regular Customer Service again, as they will no longer be able to assist you.

Best regards,

Account Specialist
Amazon.com

-------------------------

There are so many things wrong with this, I feel sure there must be an error:

1) I've only returned things that were defective, in complete accordance with Amazon's policies. Not once did I ever receive a warning or a cs rep who was less than perfectly happy to process an exchange or return for me.

2) I've kept far more orders than I've ever returned, both for corporate and personal use.

3) I am now unable to access archived copies of the Kindle books I've purchased legally, and have no other way to legally purchase DRM'ed books on the device.

4) I also have no access to videos I have purchased from Amazon.

5) Since I can't contact customer service, I cannot get any warranty service for my current Kindle, and the email explicitly states I can't return anything (not that I'd want to!)

Has anyone experienced this before? And besides Consumerist, any idea how I can rectify the situation?

-Ian
Honestly, I have never experienced anything like this, and it really disturbs me. Especially the part about closing "related" accounts, because, from what I am reading about Amazon's unwritten policies, they also routinely close accounts of people to whom the offending consumer has sent gifts at any time.

That is just wrong. They really should be making their returns policy clear. This so makes me rethink buying any electronics from them ... or big ticket items generally.
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:52 PM   #23
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Check it out. Here's an Omaha news video story from last year covering this phenomena after a wave of these Amazon bans took effect:

http://www.ketv.com/video/17405717/index.html
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Old 04-06-2009, 11:03 PM   #24
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Interesting video. But, since Amazon apparently won't tell you what their return policy really is ... and that there is a limit on returns .... how are you supposed to find out what it is??

I don't return much, but as noted, I don't think I would even consider purchasing electronics from them again. It's simply too risky.
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Old 04-06-2009, 11:05 PM   #25
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I think the KEY part of the email the guy got from Amazon is this:

"A careful review of your account indicates that you have required refunds on a large majority of your orders for a variety of reasons."

The important aspect is the word REFUNDS. He wasn't returning things and asking for *replacements*--he was asking for his money back. After a while a store or business begins to be suspicious about that sort of thing. It smacks of getting something, using it for a while, and then returning it because it is "defective" or "doesn't fit."

Basically, some people (I'm not saying this guy in particular) pull this to get the use of something for free. Some of the most notorious instances are women who get an outfit for a special occasion, wear it, and then return it & get their money back.
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Old 04-06-2009, 11:11 PM   #26
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Hi sumpleby:


Almost got it there, but please allow me to clarify.

For each case, and mind you it was a small proportion of the many orders I've placed with Amazon, I first asked for a replacement, and if that one exhibited the same problem (a couple did) or a different one, I only then asked for a refund.

My friends and family would be happy to tell you that I wasn't hosting any superbowl parties with big TVs that I would then return, or taking massive loads of pictures on a "rental camera." I was honestly upset there were issues with these purchases, and followed my rights in asking for an exchange, then a refund.

I totally get the "some people try to get things for free" issue, and realize Amazon must do everything it can to protect themselves from fraud.

I, however, intended no -- and commited no -- fraud.

Thanks-

-Ian
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Old 04-06-2009, 11:17 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sumpleby View Post
I think the KEY part of the email the guy got from Amazon is this:

"A careful review of your account indicates that you have required refunds on a large majority of your orders for a variety of reasons."

The important aspect is the word REFUNDS. He wasn't returning things and asking for *replacements*--he was asking for his money back. After a while a store or business begins to be suspicious about that sort of thing. It smacks of getting something, using it for a while, and then returning it because it is "defective" or "doesn't fit."

Basically, some people (I'm not saying this guy in particular) pull this to get the use of something for free. Some of the most notorious instances are women who get an outfit for a special occasion, wear it, and then return it & get their money back.
And, the key thing is that is a form letter that everybody who is "banned" gets. No matter if the information in the form letter is correct or not.

Apparently, the Consumerist has already done a little piece on this. It sounds as if Amazon did a mass banning of pretty much everyone at one particular forum .... makes me hope they don't decide to ban all MR members for no reason other than they are MR members.

http://consumerist.com/5044959/amazo...ounts-en-masse

Here's another post about the unstated policy and why you should be very careful in purchasing any media from Amazon that is left on their servers. This is why it is really important NOT to rely on Amazon for the backup of your books for your Kindle.

http://forums.slickdeals.net/showthr...ghlight=amazon

Last edited by RickyMaveety; 04-06-2009 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 04-06-2009, 11:23 PM   #28
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Ian,

This happened to me in September also. I got just about the same letter. I have shopped there for years and had returned 2 things this last year and neither one was more than $35 and that was after spending a lot including many kindle books. I got basically the same form letter with no warning that they felt I was supposedly returning too many items. No warning that I would no longer have access to my kindle library either. Then I researched and saw how this was happening to alot of other people as well. Maybe its some overzealous people at amazon or something. Even if they do this, it seems to me the kindle store should be separate and you should only loose access to it if you violate some drm law. I was very unhappy and sold my kindle. Luckily I was caught up with any kindle books I had bought. I should just stay away from amazon on principle but i do have a kindle 2 bought in my husband's account. But I don't buy anything else directly from amazon unless there is no other alternative because I don't like the way they treated me. I found it very unfair and I can't see how they can say I returned too many things. One was a damaged product as it was.
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Old 04-06-2009, 11:31 PM   #29
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lisreed, wow!

Note to self: Make no returns to Amazon.com.
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Old 04-06-2009, 11:38 PM   #30
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lisreed, wow!

Note to self: Make no returns to Amazon.com.
Note to self: Make no purchase of electronics from Amazon.com. At all... Ever again... you are banned from my bank account.

I hope that Amazon reads these forums.
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