Monday, August 22, 2022

Amazon Saga continues...

Last week I posted about the issues I was having with my Amazon account, foolishly thinking they were about to be solved. This post contains a summary of the previous one so you don't need to go back and read that.

In total I have made five separate calls to Customer Support and my account remains on hold. On the first call I reported unauthorized activity on my account. I was told to have my Credit Card Company reverse the charge. 

This was obviously the wrong advice and resulting in four weeks of calls, emails and lack of resolution. As soon as the charge was reversed I received this email—this was a full week after I had reported the unauthorized transaction to Amazon. Clearly their internal communication sucks:

The email continued, essentially holding my account to ransom. Either I paid them $500 or I could do the other thing. At the time I was traveling in Europe and a call to Customer Support was a roaming international call. Not cheap. I was told to follow a link provided in email to complete a form to receive assistance. That link required me to login and as the issue in question is that I am unable to login due to the account being on hold, that didn't work. 

The item in question was a $500 Apple gift card. It was sent to me via email. I didn't want it. I have no use for Apple products, and as far as I am aware, $500 wouldn't buy much from them anyway. I had not activated the card and had no intention of doing so. Why could Amazon just not cancel the card and get the value of it back from Apple, surely between them, these huge, presumably tech savvy companies could establish that the card had not been used?

I responded to the email above explaining that I followed instructions from the Customer Support to reverse the charge. I received this email and thought it had been resolved, after all that is what the email says, right?:

I tried to login to my account and this is all I got:

Another call resulted in me being told to wait for twenty four hours and an account representative would contact me. Two days later I had still heard nothing. I called back and got a representative who was extremely difficult to understand as she had a strong accent and spoke very fast. When I asked her to speak more slowly she hung up on me. I called back and this time the representative sounded like he actually knew what he was talking about. He said he would fill in the form on my behalf and I would hear back in twenty four hours. I was not hopeful but yes, within the twenty four hours I received this:

Bear in mind, this was now four weeks since the charge hit my account and the first time I spoke to Customer Support. I received that email early on Saturday morning. While I was working for Amazon, weekends were still business hours—we worked all hours—but not officially. So I counted off forty-eight business hours. What a surprise! Not a word via email or any other form of communication.

I am a Prime member, an Affiliate member and a Kindle publisher. I have a number of items on Subscribe and Save. I am a PillPack customer. And I have multiple Echo devices, now useless. And a Kindle Fire owner. Not only that, I had already purchased a number of e-books from Amazon and these had been downloaded to my Kindle. When the account was frozen my Kindle was reset. I lost those books. 

Will they continue to sell my books and just keep the income, or do I still get my royalties? Will my prescriptions just cease? Will the Amazon Ads on my blog and website continue to generate traffic and possibly new customers for Amazon? Do I have to return to reading paper books while I workout. I have to admit that a Kindle is so much easier to manage on the treadmill, not to mention while traveling.

The injustice, the long delay and bad customer support experience, not to mention the inconvenience drove me to make the decision to break my Amazon habit once and for all.

I discovered that Barnes & Noble have an alternative ereader and they sell e-books cheaper than Amazon does. Before Amazon I bought all my books from Barnes & Noble and loved browsing through the real live books back then.

I was never very sold on PillPack. Great if you have a number of prescriptions. I have one prescription, just one pill per day. Using PillPack for that is overkill. I won't miss that.

I do not care if I no longer display Amazon ads on my websites. No loss to me and Google is far superior when it comes to that anyway.

Almost all of the retail purchasing I do on Amazon I could do at Walmart, Target or any of the large department stores. All of which have an online presence. Plus I save the cost of Prime which will help offset the many other expenses I have incurred due to this problem. 

Self publishing. KDP doesn't own this market either. Yes they are the biggest name, but I discovered a better option here. At first glance it does appear to be better than Kindle. 

Finally, my subscribe and save items are readily available in the supermarket. The only reason I got these from Amazon was because I could. It was convenient but no more convenient than picking them up when grocery shopping.

What happened to Amazon's Customer Support boast? What happened to their 'superior' security? After all, I do not share my account with anyone else, I regularly change my login credentials so how did an unauthorized charge hit my account? And if it takes over a month, five customer support calls, one of them an international call, and one where their rep hung up on me—then why would I want to continue to use them? Particularly as this issue is still not resolved and I still cannot login to my account.

During the course of this last month I have identified at least six major bugs, many of them in the Kindle technology. Previously I would have reported these. The QA Engineer in me still lives large and seven years of working hard to ensure Amazon presented customers with a first class experience is hard to forget. However, it appears they no longer care about customer experience and I certainly no longer care about Amazon.

To add insult to injury they are still spamming me with Treasure Truck text messages, touting deals that I cannot purchase even if I wanted to.

I am still going to continue to fight because this is just flat wrong.

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