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The Godfather of online retail, Amazon, doesn’t like when you return goods you bought through it.
Amazon has a track record of banning customers from the site if they returned too many goods — sometimes without even notifying users that their accounts were about to be nixed.
The e-commerce megastore appears lax when it comes to its customer-friendly policies. And even though there is no mention in its return policy that too many returns can get a user banned, Amazon told The Wall Street Journal that it “reserves the right to terminate accounts in its sole discretion.”
“We want everyone to be able to use Amazon, but there are rare occasions where someone abuses our service over an extended period of time,” an Amazon spokesman told the WSJ. “We never take these decisions lightly, but with over 300 million customers around the world, we take action when appropriate to protect the experience for all our customers.”
The WSJ spoke with several Amazon shoppers from around the world who lost their membership because of their return activity. The users received an email detailing that their accounts had been deactivated; the letters, however, did not enclose the reasons for the deactivation.
One person who had a gift card balance of $450 was unable to access that after his account was deactivated. According to The Guardian, Amazon told one person who lost gift card money that the balance was lost because vouchers can only be used on the site and that they have no transferable value.
Kindle users need not worry, though. All of the e-books already purchased by users with a deactivated account will remain with the user. Additionally, said user can purchase more Kindle books. Amazon said that it sends customers whose account it closed a link that allows them to see past orders and the warranty on previously purchased items.
As for customers with closed accounts who bought an item that becomes faulty, well, that’s less clear. Those customers who contact Amazon are being told: “Please do not make contact through the standard customer service channels again, as they will no longer be able to assist you,” according to The Guardian.
Amazon Prime users will lose access as well as access to its on-demand streaming service.
It’s unclear just how many purchases need to be returned to get a user banned. TPG reached out to Amazon for a comment but did not hear back.
Image by Emanuele Cremaschi via Getty Images
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