Selling on Amazon

I can no longer buy adoption related books on Amazon.

Amazon closed my account today stating that another account of mine had violated their TOS. Mind you, I do not have another account. In taking this action they also cancelled all pending orders. Orders I have been charged for but have not received. Nor have I been credited the cost. I have written to their cis at amazon.com email account and they refuse to provide any explanation. They will not tell me what account is supposedly linked to mine. They merely repeat their company script and provide you a link to their TOS suggesting you read and figure out for yourself which term you may have violated. I have never returned items, only had one account, etc. They do not care that they may be wrong. They do not care to provide explanations for their actions.

While such business practices disgust me, I am more disappointed by the fact I can no longer purchase adoption books via Amazon. I will go elsewhere (like Barnes and Noble) but I fear not all authors will sell to other places.

Consider this a plea to my adoption author or authoring friends to consider using sources other than Amazon to sell your books. Make them available through your author site, libraries, other online stores.

Think twice about Amazon and their business practices.

14 Thoughts.

  1. This is just horrible… I am shocked. Can you reach anyone by phone in Customer Service. I would not back down, if this happened to me.

  2. Carol – Phone people tell you have to deal with CIS. CIS people do not have # and will only email you. I am not kidding. Google it. Amazon has quite the reputation with such business practices. I did have about three email exchanges asking for an explanation, details on the alledged count linked to mine that had violated their TOS. They refuse to provide any details. I asked them to delete my credit card. They refused. Once they cancel you you cannot get back onto your account to do it yourself. Below is exact from one of their emails to me.

    “I understand your desire to remove personal information from your account. We are, however, unable to fulfill your request.

    In using and purchasing from Amazon.com you might supply information such as your name, address, and phone number; e-mail address; credit card information; and other relevant information about people to whom purchases have been shipped, including address and phone number.

    However, like most businesses, we keep records pertaining to our business, including the dates, amounts, and types of purchases made, so that we can service your account appropriately and to satisfy other business and legal obligations and needs that we have. In accordance with our records-retention requirements we cannot remove this account information from our system until our business need for the information has expired, as it is part of our business transaction records.”

    They also sent things like below:

    “We are unable to provide information about additional accounts or resources we have used to identify the link between accounts.

    However, your account will remain closed. You can review our Conditions of Use here:

    http://www.amazon.com/conditionsofuse

    After a thorough review, we have decided not to restore your full access to this account. You will not be able to place orders with our site.”

    I cannot stress enough, I have no other account, never have. I also have never returned to them (google that, apparently they cancel your account if you make too many returns). I also never ordered more than one of any items. It is really horrendous that they do this.

    My advice?

    Read all TOS. Do not use Amazon. Publish your books elsewhere. NEVER save your payment information on a site.

  3. I am outraged and horrified at this. And yes, every bone in my body says to not use Amazon – ever. As a small publisher, I had thought this last year – sell anywhere and everywhere but not on Amazon. Something is wrong with them – really deeply wrong. I do buy local and from Powell’s online. This sounds to me like you were hacked in some way – and it’s unfair they are blaming you!

    • Amazon is a bully.

      They bully authors, sellers, customers. Read any # of complaints about them online.

      I have no problem shopping elsewhere.

      What I dislike is their refusal to tell me details of this alleged breach to my account and also refusal to delete my credit card information. They make the decision to lock you out and you cannot get back into remove your own data.

  4. Does Amazon have a Facebook page where you can post this so that their followers will see it? And perhaps even put a link no their Amazon page to this blog so they can see that you are letting people know the way they have treated one of their authors….

    I ask because I just had a situation with ProFlowers that didn’t deliver the flowers I overpaid for (due to hidden costs that they don’t explain on their website) for Mother’s Day. I was so irate yesterday when I learned that my mom hadn’t received them and they weren’t responding to my emails that I posted my complaint with my order # on their Facebook page….along with literally dozens of other complaints they’ve received. This morning i had a message back dismissing my mistake because they said that I had requested my Mother’s Day gift to be delivered May 16th. I posted that response on their Facebook page too and asked to have my claim escalated. They finally posted and I received an email from the head of their Client Relations apologizing and saying they had refunded my $$ and were still going to send my mother flowers… (we shall see about that…) I realize this is different issue but I have learned that if we can embarrass these companies who screw people publicly on their social media sites, they will often escalate our complaint to a higher level of customer support. Don’t back down, Suz.

    • Oh I called, tweeted, emailed. They are dismissive. I have all the emails. The content of them is really incredible. Arrogant.

  5. Yikes! I have never had a problem with Amazon. Which doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. I’m shocked at what you’re going through. Just wrong. As an author, my publisher determined early on that I was selling way more books on Amazon than on B&N and other sites, and then I committed to Amazon in order to offer free books for Kindle (to do that, you have to only offer the ebook on Amazon). Print books can be offered elsewhere. I will rethink what I offer on Amazon, if and when I publish another book. But indeed, authors end up committing to the BIG A, for a number of reasons, and it’s hard to pull away from that.

    • My hope is that future adoption authors will offer other options. I always buy print for adoption books. Happy to give my money to other vendors.

  6. YOUR ACCOUNT

    If you use any Amazon Service, you are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your account and password and for restricting access to your computer, and you agree to accept responsibility for all activities that occur under your account or password.

    Perhaps a hacker has gotten his mitts on your account? I’ve been blocked from my own accounts in a couple of venues, including venues where no money or products were involved. Simple e-mail accounts that were suddenly locked down and no longer available to me, off-limits for reasons that have never surfaced.

    In the world of retail, there’s always someone working scams tied to returned merchandise.

    • That is amusing. That I am responsible for the security of an account I can no longer access. My credit car and such are still there but I cannot access it and Amazon will not remove. To be clear, Amazon said ANOTHER account linked to mine somehow was the offender. I do not have another account and they refused to provide me details of the alleged other account and their offenses. I have never returned an item, never order more than one (I am not a reseller of any sort), never scammed anyone. I did make one complaint when I order a pair of ray bans and got shipped an empty box. They immediately credited me the cost and the vendor apologized (and blamed Amazon stating someone from Amazon must have stolen them). Google it and I am not alone. Their business practices are quite dubious.

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  8. I don’t think it is company policy. I think you just pulled some a-hole individual customer disservice agents. My account actually DID get hacked and they were very helpful, let me set up a new account AND moved my wishlists over to it. I can’t even tell I ever had a different account. Also, you’re allowed to have more than one account, you just can’t sell (as a Marketplace seller, not an author) on more than one of them. Again, I think you just pulled an a**hole. I posted a link to this post on Twitter and called them out, I wonder if it will lead anywhere useful.

    • Thanks for the consideration Dana but frankly I am done with them. As mentioned many times, their sketchy practices are all over the Net. If I pulled one bad CIS, they clearly employ thousands.

      Example 1

      Example 2

      And Any Number of These

      I am not a seller. Was only a buyer. Never returned a thing. Only had one account. None of the typical reasons for their banning of people applied to me — that I know. But they would not release any information to explain their actions. I have no desire to do business with such people. Now I use their search engine and when I get results, I go right to the source and order from them.

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