Amazon’s amazing Kindle fix

By | October 29th, 2015

Carol Blue’s Kindle conked out.

She wasn’t thrilled about resorting to telephone tech support. Who is?

Can online help be any better? Please.

But not this time. Amazon fixed her problem in real time — quickly and completely.

Kindles are actually Amazon’s own stripped-down tablet-like computers dedicated and designed to download and display stored media, providing a practical alternative to pricier tablets and ultra-compact laptops for reading on the go. Amazon’s easy-to-use library of electronic books, as well as a lending library from other users, is also a key benefit of the Amazon Prime membership package of multiple services for a fixed annual fee.

Gosh. My paperbacks and magazines are so uncool now. Well, maybe not so much when they don’t need tech support?

“I’m an Amazon Prime member and one of my Kindles no longer worked,” says Blue, who lives in Beaufort, S.C. “Online help failed.”

So, what next? The dreaded telephone tech support wasteland of automated call centers with key-pushing prompts and excruciating hold times with a recording of how important your call is while having “unexpected call volume”? And that is assuming you can locate the number in the first place.

Instead, Blue tried Amazon’s “online chat — with “a 100% positive experience,” she exclaimed.

“The first rep tried to help, then transferred me to ‘Advanced Troubleshooting.’” Uh oh. That doesn’t sound good.

After some sleuthing, Blue said, “He determined I will need an ‘Accelerated Charger’ and directed me to the Amazon web page selling one for $20.”


Aha! The upsell.

Wait — not so fast. Before anyone could react, the rep’s on-screen typing slowly revealed he would issue a $20 credit to Blue’s account, cover the shipping cost, and even deliver it the next day.

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The Good News Guy hangs his head in shame for his cynicism. Well…maybe not so much. Perhaps I’m reacting to the glut of creative and underhanded upselling tactics of other vendors. We’ll leave that for another column.

Blue has provided us with good news stories before by using Elliott principles of constructive and effective customer advocacy. And live online chat may well be the best of all worlds in that it combines the real-time benefits of a telephone exchange with a recorded written transcript to reference later — a critical component of escalating customer service issues. Consumer Reports tends to agree also, suggesting that another reason live chat can be successful is the reps are more likely to be senior level and knowledgeable.

“I usually am quite fortunate with outcomes like this,” she adds. “I learned being polite and concise with a smile in my voice while treating the other person as a person makes for positive outcomes. There are exceptions of course, which is how I found Elliott.org several years ago.”

But did the adapter fix the Kindle problem?

Yes and no. It was not for lack of Amazon trying. “The charger appeared to fix the issue for a while, but the Kindle eventually failed again and could not be restarted,” Blue went on.

Amazon was still not done. Even though her Kindle was out of warranty and had lived a good life, they offered her a refurbished Paperwhite Kindle at a significantly reduced price — a sufficient enough bargain for Blue to feel more than whole, and it arrived the second business day.

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“It works perfectly” she concluded. “I couldn’t be more pleased with both the Kindle and Amazon’s service. They exceeded my expectations.”

Ours too.



  • sirwired

    I’ve had terrible luck with Kindle online chat. Inevitably, every time I use it, I end up being told to just call in.

  • Hanope

    Glad she got good customer service, When my Kindle stopped working a couple of years ago after 2 1/2 years, I got bupkis, just a ‘sorry, you’re out of warranty, can we sell you a new upgraded Kindle?” Of course, my Kindle had to fail while at the airport on the way on my 2-week vacation, which was the absolute worst time for it to fail. I was able to quickly download the Kindle app on my phone, which at least gave me stuff to read, though a lot more difficult with the glare and smaller screen. After I got back from vacation, I had to buy a new Kindle at full price (which is why I bought the cheapest one I could). I guess Amazon/Kindle has improved its customer service.

  • just me

    My experience was just the opposite. I bought from A the Kindle HDX 7″ new. It turned out to be DOA. So I contacted A to get another and swap in the mail. Before I knew I received a REFURBISHED unit with defective screen. I not only immediately protested the defective unit but REFURBISHED. After all I paid for new. This game Amazon played with me for so long that that the very first thing out their agent’s mouth was: you are out of the 30-day exchange. After 7 exchanges I am left with another refurbished lemon and despite demanding new unit without sound – which by now they stopped manufacturing. My only recourse was chargeback on the credit card, which after several voice/email exchanges with the cc finally was approved. The cc was supposed to keep me whole not the merchant by the law – but they always appear to work for the merchant. And yes – one of the agents did the same trick with power supply – it was not even possible that this would solve the defective display edge leak or lack of sound. They just try to appease.

  • crash025

    > Amazon/Kindle

    Lol nope. Weither it’s Amazon Retail or AWS… my experience: They’ve been crappy about their customer service.

  • Bill___A

    That is a good news story. I’ve also seen Apple offer people discounted refurbished phones when theirs break out of warranty. It can be done.

  • DChamp56

    Once again Andrew, great story about a great company!

  • Thanks!

  • Mel65

    Same thing happened with my new cell phone. I pay for my phones up front. Bought a brand new Samsung Galaxy for $700. Within a week or so I got a black screen that nothing would fix and the Verizon sales guy said was not unusual. They sent me an obviously refurbished used phone. I was so irritated. If it were 6 months or a year old, maybe, but you should get like for like, dagnabbit!

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