I first ordered from Amazon.com in 1999. I’ve done it about 700 times total. That’s nearly weekly for 16 years.
I’m a longtime Amazon Prime member. I have an Echo, a Fire Phone, and four Fire tablets in the house. Best I can tell, I’m maybe two years out from reaching six figures spent with Amazon.com.
I’m a big fan.
And the reason is simple: Amazon.com has never let me down. Not once. I’m amazed that an operation so large can perform so consistently well for me, delivering exactly what I ask for over and over. On the rare occasion that I’ve had an issue, I’ve always been made whole, cheerfully and efficiently.
I praised Amazon.com recently on a ZDNet.com thread, and got some static from a guy about Amazon.com banning customers. I’d never heard of that before, but yeah, it’s a thing. The language in the email varies a little, likely based on the responding Amazon.com employee, but this is how it reads:
Hello from Amazon.com.
A careful review of your account indicates you’ve experienced an extraordinary number of incidents with your orders and corresponding shipments.
In the normal course of business, the occasional problem is inevitable. The rate at which such problems have occurred on your account is extraordinary, however, and cannot continue. Effective immediately, your Amazon.com account is closed and you are no longer able to shop in our store.
Please know that any accounts related to yours have also been closed. If you were to open a new account, the same will result and it will also be closed. In the event that you attempt to do so, we will not accept the return of any additional orders, nor will we issue further refunds in connection with any future orders. We appreciate your cooperation in refraining from using our web site.
If you require additional assistance, or have any concerns, feel free to contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please do not contact regular Customer Service again, as they will no longer be able to assist you.
This seems to be the more common scenario. There are also people getting banned for ordering high-demand items, such as new video game systems, using multiple sock puppet accounts to skirt quantity limits. The email address in that case is email@example.com.
It’s hardcore, too. If this happens to you, you can work it up the chain and plead your case till the cows come home and Amazon.com won’t back up a millimeter. This is no mere shot across the bow. You’re nuked, buddy.
Needless to say, people are unhappy about it when it happens to them. Goodness knows, I would be. Amazon.com has been a standard play for me for more than a third of my life. If they broke up with me, then yeah, I’d have a lot of retooling to do.
Now the precise criteria for triggering this action are unknown, but presumably there is a computer algorithm that decides you are consistently unprofitable and likely to continue to be so. Get over that line, and adios.
What’s prompted me to dedicate a post to this is how irrational people get concerning how they think Amazon.com should or shouldn’t behave. A corporation tries to act in its own best interest. Folks get up on plane talking about turning away loyal customers and what-not, but that’s exactly the point. In these cases, Amazon.com has decided that losing a customer, plus all of the associated potential bad PR, is still worth it compared to keeping that customer.
You can be certain they did not do so lightly.
I am happy with Amazon.com. Presumably, Amazon.com is happy with me. But I have no illusion it’s for any other reason than that I’m profitable. Amazon.com doesn’t think I’m cute or charming. We’re not BFFs. We’re in a mutually beneficial business relationship.
To me, it’s the same thing as people being outraged that “General Electric paid no income tax last year!” or whatever. If there’s a path through the tax law that enables such, then GE has a responsibility to find it. GE does what’s good for GE. Amazon.com does what’s good for Amazon.com.
Surprise at such is woefully naive.