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Old 12-15-2009, 11:44 PM   #1
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An email from Amazon (regional restrictions)

A friend of mine received the following email - the email address it came from is legitimate, the numbers are correct and he verified with Amazon that they did indeed send it:


Dear <name>,

I see that you attempted to purchase different books while in a different country than United States listed on your Amazon account. Certain Kindle titles are not available everywhere. We are reaching out to you for information to ensure the best possible service for your account.

If you have moved to a different country, you can easily update your country for your Amazon account at www.Amazon.com/manageyourkindle.

If this is not the case, and you’re actually residing in United States, please fax us any of the following at 001-206-266-1838 when faxing from outside the US, or 206-266-1838 from within the US:

– Passport
– Military ID
– Permanent Resident Card
– Driver’s License
– Other state photo identity card

Thank you for your assistance.

Best regards,

Account Specialist
Amazon.com
We're Building Earth's Most Customer-Centric Company



Now, he's an American using Kindle for PC on a laptop. He's in different countries about once a month, though, and he was downloading free ebooks from Amazon (mostly classics), with an eye to deciding if he wanted to get a Kindle. He had a most unpleasant discussion with Amazon support where they made it plain he could either do it "promptly" or they'd close his entire account (and remove his ebook access), which he uses for more than just ebooks - and if he continued to buy outside America they couldn't guarantee they'd not take action in the future.

If you're not actually American, made that setting and have ever accessed it from a non-American proxy? Well, don't be surprised if you get one of these emails soon.

(Anyone still want to argue that they're only doing the minimum?)

My friend's now decided on a PRS-900, incidentally. And two layers of supervisors up, they agreed to let him just de-register the Kindle for PC without consequences to his account.

Last edited by DawnFalcon; 12-15-2009 at 11:52 PM.
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Old 12-16-2009, 03:01 AM   #2
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Yes, this is a standard e-mail that Amazon send you if your apparent location is different to your registered location. Lots of them talked about in the Kindle forum. Amazon have to check these things because if, for example, you claim to be in the USA in order to buy a book, but you're not, then Amazon will be in breach of their distribution contract with the publisher if they only have US rights to that book, and could face legal action as a consequence.

Last edited by HarryT; 12-16-2009 at 03:04 AM.
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:07 AM   #3
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How come it's ok for foreigners to buy paper books from there, but not ebooks?
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:15 AM   #4
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Great question!
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:34 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PortaDiFerro View Post
How come it's ok for foreigners to buy paper books from there, but not ebooks?
Don't quote me but I read that it comes down to the country where the sale is deemed to have taken place. If you purchase physical goods, the sale is considered to have taken place in the country of distribution, however the sale of ebooks (mp3s and other digital content) is deemed to originate in the country of origin of the buyer.
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PortaDiFerro View Post
How come it's ok for foreigners to buy paper books from there, but not ebooks?

Because of contracts and stupid laws.
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:59 AM   #7
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These laws need to be changed asap. These kind of situations are getting really stupid.
Sometime soon they'll start sending us ebooks in envelopes by post, just to avoid regional restrictions.

And what exactly does amazon need a passport for? This thing is scary...
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Old 12-16-2009, 09:13 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by omk3 View Post
Sometime soon they'll start sending us ebooks in envelopes by post, just to avoid regional restrictions.
Heh, actually that's a great idea! As ridiculous as it sounds, I wouldn't mind if that's what it takes to legally buy those, letter would probably be considerably faster and cheaper than package anyway.
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Old 12-16-2009, 09:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PortaDiFerro View Post
Heh, actually that's a great idea! As ridiculous as it sounds, I wouldn't mind if that's what it takes to legally buy those, letter would probably be considerably faster and cheaper than package anyway.
Actually this has been suggested and done in certain manners -- e.g. selling the book on an SD Memory card.
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:26 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Yes, this is a standard e-mail that Amazon send you if your apparent location is different to your registered location. Lots of them talked about in the Kindle forum. Amazon have to check these things...
Yes, but they don't have to threaten to close your entire account (again, they made it plain initially he "had" to provide the information or they'd close it) and act in a menacing manner because of them!

There are ways to handle it, and ways to handle it. This is not the way to retain customers (and the email sig's a slap in the face, too)

Last edited by DawnFalcon; 12-16-2009 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnFalcon View Post
A friend of mine received the following email - the email address it came from is legitimate, the numbers are correct and he verified with Amazon that they did indeed send it:


Dear <name>,

I see that you attempted to purchase different books while in a different country than United States listed on your Amazon account. Certain Kindle titles are not available everywhere. We are reaching out to you for information to ensure the best possible service for your account.

If you have moved to a different country, you can easily update your country for your Amazon account at www.Amazon.com/manageyourkindle.

If this is not the case, and you’re actually residing in United States, please fax us any of the following at 001-206-266-1838 when faxing from outside the US, or 206-266-1838 from within the US:

– Passport
– Military ID
– Permanent Resident Card
– Driver’s License
– Other state photo identity card

Thank you for your assistance.

Best regards,

Account Specialist
Amazon.com
We're Building Earth's Most Customer-Centric Company


He had a most unpleasant discussion with Amazon support where they made it plain he could either do it "promptly" or they'd close his entire account (and remove his ebook access), which he uses for more than just ebooks - and if he continued to buy outside America they couldn't guarantee they'd not take action in the future.
How is it that these letters always manage to come off as though some fascist entity has written them? And why is it that they can threaten to breach their own contracts if they feel like it with impunity?
Is there a section in the Kindle book EULA that says they have that right, and is that EULA legally enforcable? I understand business interests are hoping to push shrinkwrap licence validity via UCITA, but that law has only been enacted in VA and MD, and EULAs are actually different from those things as well, so what is the legal basis they're using to defend their right to do so?
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Old 12-16-2009, 11:24 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnFalcon View Post
If this is not the case, and you’re actually residing in United States, please fax us any of the following at 001-206-266-1838 when faxing from outside the US, or 206-266-1838 from within the US:

– Passport
– Military ID
– Permanent Resident Card
– Driver’s License
– Other state photo identity card
This seems to be yet another interpretation of what geographic restrictions mean. The obvious definitions are a) where the store is, or b) where you are when you buy the ebook. Amazon seems to be saying c) where you are legally resident (no matter where you actually are). This is somewhat consistent with the "have a credit card issued in that country" approach used by many stores, but Amazon apparently no longer accepts a credit card as proof (if they have evidence of access from another country).
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Old 12-16-2009, 11:34 AM   #13
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I'm curious how it really works, I have a US Kindle 2, US address, US credit card, but my IP is in Switzerland. I have no problem ordering ebooks (downloaded to my computer and transferred via USB to Kindle) and other items (those are shipped to the address in the US).

I haven't had any issues/emails from Amazon (but I hope I'm not jinxing this).
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Old 12-16-2009, 11:41 AM   #14
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Well, as I said he was using Kindle for PC. I'm not sure if that makes a difference to how they monitor and enforce...
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Old 12-16-2009, 11:55 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by omk3 View Post
These laws need to be changed asap.
Good idea-why don't you do that?
Seriously, you need to preach to the politicians, not to the choir.

Quote:
Originally Posted by omk3 View Post
And what exactly does amazon need a passport for? This thing is scary...
Proof of residency-although a passport is a poor choice of documentation for that, IMO. But I also note that it's only one of several forms of documentation Amazon will accept. (At least that's the way I read the letter: "fax us any of the following" (emphasis added). It's hardly likely that they'd take a person's word for their residence when they're questioning the information they'd already supplied-so asking for documentation makes sense.
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