Amazon raped my credit card

April 2017

Despite, between them, Google and Amazon basically taking over the world, I am a huge fan of both companies. I basically operate my entire business off the back of Google and pretty much every aspect of my life is stored on one of their products or services in some way or another. For everything else, I use Amazon. Photos, music and pretty much every item I’ve bought over the last two decades has been thanks to Amazon. I own a Kindle and have the Fire TV. I’m also a Prime member. I’ve even made a modest amount of money from both companies, what with Google’s AdSense and Amazon’s Affiliates programme, not to mention the eBook sales thanks to their brilliant Kindle store.

Amazon also pride themselves on their great customer service. I never had reason to question it either. The only problems I’ve had with orders has been with marketplace sellers, and Amazon have intervened and refunded my money quickly. In one instance they even shut down the marketplace seller’s account. More recently I had a bit of a silly situation where I tried cancelling an order eight minutes after placing it and found I couldn’t because Amazon’s efficiency meant that the order had already been processed. Well, I mean there’s efficient and then there’s just plain silly. The fact the order wasn’t shipped until 24 hours later annoyed me somewhat but, when the unwanted parcel arrived, all I had to do was print out a label and hand the parcel over to the Indian chaps who run the petrol station down the road and my refund came through later that day.

However, back in January, I had a couple of weird transactions appear on my bank statement for “overseas purchases”. My first thought was I’d been the victim of some sort of credit card theft. Tracking down the reference numbers on my bank statement pointed towards the company who had taken the money being Amazon.

So I contacted Amazon support in the UK and they kindly informed me that the transaction was to do with my Amazon US account so I contacted Amazon.com and they helpfully informed me that the issue was to do with my Amazon UK account. So I contacted Amazon UK and they again informed me that I should contact Amazon.com. So I contacted Amazon.com and they sent me the same stock reply, as did Amazon UK. This probably happened about a dozen times before I lost patience and started trolling them in my usual sarcastic manner. I think I may have used the words “idiot”, “incompetent” and “mongoloid” a few times.

Anyway, not getting anywhere with their customer support, I did what any annoying internet user does and tweeted them. Big companies don’t like people publicly tweeting them with complaints because it makes them look bad. They immediately tweeted me back and gave me a link to a contact form to get one of their reps to phone me. I filled out the form and asked them to contact me before 5pm. So at 5.05pm I got a call from someone at Amazon UK who said he couldn’t help me because it was to do with my US account. Now, he either put me through to Amazon Spain or an illegal Mexican immigrant working in the US because the woman couldn’t speak a word of English. After about half an hour of trying to figure out how to spell my name, she finally gave up and passed me over to an American woman who actually seemed to know what she was talking about.

After a few minutes of talking, she confirmed that she could see transactions against my account which didn’t tally up to anything. She also said she couldn’t understand why anything would happen on that account seeing as I haven’t used my Amazon.com account for several years. She promised to process a refund and said it would take a few days to appear in my bank. She also promised to email me confirmation.

Roll on two weeks and no email confirmation and no refund. So naturally I contacted Amazon.com again and, surprise surprise, they told me to contact Amazon UK. Amazon UK told me they couldn’t help and I should contact Amazon.com. I pointed out to both of them that they were idiots and sent them screenshots of their contradictory instructions. I also asked to be put through to someone at Amazon who wasn’t a complete imbecile. Both Amazon.com and Amazon UK then contacted me back asking for screenshots of the transactions. I obliged them and they both told me they couldn’t help. Amazon.com told me it was to do with my UK account and Amazon UK told me it was to do with my US account.

By this time I was really quite cross and there was a rather large dent in the wall where I’d spent the last month bashing my head against it. Naturally I got back onto Twitter because that seemed to almost work last time. They apologised again and told me to send them the same screenshot of the transactions I’d already emailed to Amazon twice before sending me the link to the same form they had done two weeks earlier. I dutifully filled it in and was told someone would phone me back within 12 hours. Two days later and I hadn’t received a call so I filled it in again. I tried another three times over the course of the next week before finally giving up and admitting defeat.

Now, this is where I point out the comical fact that the amount in question is a measly £1.94. It’s not the money I’m bothered about; I’m not going to miss £1.94. It’s the principal. Money was taken out of my account for no reason. That’s basically theft. Also, and possibly more worryingly, money can’t be taken out of a person’s account without some sort of human intervention. This means that someone at Amazon has deliberately processed this transaction. Most people wouldn’t notice such a small transaction and, even if they did, most people wouldn’t kick up a fuss about it. But think about it: How many customers does Amazon have? Millions. If someone at Amazon is taking a pound here, a dollar there and a Euro there with millions of accounts, that is a lot of money. What I’m suggesting is someone at Amazon could be embezzling money.

Anyway, seeing as I’ve now spent about twenty hours contacting Amazon, added to the structural damage caused by bashing my head against a wall every day for several months, I am going to invoice both Amazon UK and Amazon.com for a time wasting charge. I think £1,200 each should just about cover my time. Does anybody know where to send invoices to?