After months of the silent treatment from Amazon.com, Richard Thripp wrote to us for help. The company permanently closed Thripp’s account in August, without explanation. Despite his repeated attempts to find out why this happened, Thripp remains in the dark.
On top of closing his account, Amazon has kept the gift card balance, totaling $451, that he had on the account. Each time Thripp requested justification for Amazon’s actions, he got nowhere. When he called, he would be placed on hold, and eventually the call would cut off. Frustrated, Thripp ultimately filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau, the Florida Attorney General and the Washington Attorney General.
How could this happen? Amazon is known for its top-notch customer service. When I return a purchase to Amazon, I receive an email within minutes that my refund has been processed, often before the package even gets to the loading dock of my office building.
Amazon makes me want to shop with them. When there’s a package on my front porch, I remember how much I dislike driving to any number of brick and mortar stores, with kids in tow, to track down whatever is in the box.
Many moons ago, Amazon was just a place to buy discounted college textbooks. In the last fifteen years, it has grown into a retail behemoth, and I hate to admit it, but it’s where I buy salon shampoo and Splenda, too. I brag on Dec. 21 that — because I have Amazon Prime — I haven’t even started Christmas shopping.
Is this a problem? You tell me. Let’s take a look to see just who we’re dealing with.
When Thripp filed his complaints with the BBB and the Attorneys General, Amazon responded in writing that the closing of the account is “valid and final.” In response to the complaint filed with the Washington Attorney General, the Seattle-based company wrote:
I’m sorry for the trouble Mr. Thripp’s had in accessing his account.
I’d like to confirm the information Mr. Thripp received from our Account Specialist team is correct. As noted in our Conditions of Use, in the section, “Your Account”: “Amazon reserves the right to refuse service, terminate accounts, remove or edit content, or cancel orders in its sole discretion.”
Mr. Thripp can review our Conditions of Use.
Due to the proprietary nature of our business, we’re unable to discuss with Mr. Thripp, and the decision to close his account is a final one.
If Amazon closes your account, it is unable to discuss that with you? It can swallow your gift card balance, and its reasons for doing so are proprietary? I’m sorry. I know I’m slow to catch on. But did Amazon just tell the highest authority in its state of incorporation that it is above the law?
Some people think they’re above the law. Some people act like they’re above the law. It takes a special brand of chutzpah to tell the highest legal authority in the state, “We don’t have to tell anyone anything; our website says so.”