Banned by Amazon for returning things that don't work
Returning faulty goods to a retailer shouldn't be too much hassle, right? You've paid your money, they've sent something that doesn't work, and you should either get your money back, or a swap for something that does work. Easy enough concept.
Well, a Guardian report tells the tale of a guy called Greg Nelson who has bought hundreds of items through Amazon. He's bought a whopping 343 things, and had to return 37 of them. With that, Amazon have blocked his account, and not only that, told him he's going to lose his gift card balance in the process.
It seems Amazon aren't up for explaining themselves either.
Nelson says: "As a previously fervently loyal fan of Amazon who has been a customer since 2002, I understand that it is trying to protect its business – however I find its actions in this situation totally egregious."
"I could understand if there were evidence that I had somehow tried to abuse the system, but I haven’t. Of course, Amazon can refuse to serve whom it likes, but surely it cannot legally keep gift card balances and other purchased goods which have already been paid for by the customer – despite what any potentially unfair small print might say?"
An Amazon spokesperson told the Guardian that they can't talk about Nelson's case, apart from the fact that they are not going to reopen his account.
They said: "Our goal is to deliver the best experience for the millions of customers who shop with us. In a tiny fraction of cases we are forced to close accounts where we identify extreme account abuse. This decision is only taken after we have reviewed the account carefully and tried to work with the customer over an extended time period to resolve any issues."
Amazon have closed numerous accounts, and the killing off of people's balances is concerning. Stranger still is that the customer might be the one who suffers, when in fact Amazon's warehouse or the courier might be at fault for damaging a product.
When customers are blacklisted like this, if you approach Amazon with any queries, you're told: "Please do not make contact through the standard customer service channels again, as they will no longer be able to assist you."
Some people will be able to set up alternative accounts, but there's something going on at Amazon which is not great, and is a concern for consumer rights. One to keep tabs on.