Amazon, the website that has shut down even more mom & pop stores than divorce, has reportedly been banning people who return too many items.
Ease of returning things has always been one of the megasite’s USPs – really handy for impulse purchases, mistakes, faulty products, accidental doubling-up and drunken decisions that you definitely need an eight-foot model of a velociraptor.
But, no longer. Not if you take the piss, anyway. Or rather, not if they perceive you to be taking the piss.
A number of people have reported being “banned” or “exiled” from the site, generally all for the same reason: returning too many goods.
(The thing is, Amazon sell clothes and shoes now. If you sell clothes and shoes, you have to let people do the thing where you buy like three sizes to ensure you get one that fits you. You know, the way when you want to buy a shirt from ASOS you buy four because you can’t work out how the model in the picture with the tattooed face is six foot five but wearing a small. If you remove that option, suddenly you’ve made online shopping harder and more annoying than offline shopping, and that defeats the whole point.)
Amazon began as a bookshop, of course, and maybe it’s a hangover from that. You don’t necessarily want people buying books and returning them a week later after reading them. That’s cheeky as hell and probably annoys libraries as well.
Amazon has been stealthily banning people for at least a few years, and it’s not just a case of not being able to buy stuff. If your account has gift vouchers on it, you lose them. If you have a big Kindle library, you lose it.
“Our goal is to deliver the best experience for the millions of customers who shop with us” an Amazon spokesman told the Guardian in 2016. “In a tiny fraction of cases we are forced to close accounts where we identify extreme account abuse. This decision is only taken after we have reviewed the account carefully and tried to work with the customer over an extended time period to resolve any issues”.
This guy’s experience suggests they could try harder on the “working with the customer” front:
Be careful doing anything they could misconstrue as abuse. And don’t annoy Amazon too much – Jeff Bezos is working hard on space travel projects and might leave you behind if you piss him off. Also, here is a picture of him eating an iguana.