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Amazon--Not so Amazing
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Amazon–not so Amazing
Posted on December 11, 2010 by blarneycrone
If you are thinking of sending Amazon gift cards this Christmas, I recommend you think again. Hansel and Gretel received a bumper payout totaling $700 for their birthdays a couple of weeks ago–generous gifts from the Blarney connection in the UK. Today, Gretel (a very cautious shopper) finally made her choices and so we were ready to “proceed to checkout”.

I thought I was still okaying the shipping address when I discovered I had inadvertently clicked to complete the order and so had $600 of teen shopping charged to my credit card. I tried to cancel the order. No luck. I tried to email Amazon with the numbers of the gift cards. No luck. I phoned Amazon and spoke to Topher, painstakingly bellowing the 14 digits of each gift card down the phone (T as in Tommy, you as in Ukelele, Idiot as in Amazon) to identify the Blarney bounty. Topher reversed $200 of my charges, and applied two gift cards, but told me the rest of the gift cards had already been spent. I put down the phone and went back on Amazon to check our recent orders. No sign of a $400 shopping spree. I called back Amazon and spoke to Rossy, spelling out all the card codes again. She agreed I had a balance of $400 and put me on hold while she went away to get some help. Well, she said that was her plan, but actually she cut me off. By now the Amazon experience had lasted a more than an hour. I called back and spoke to Padraic. He agreed that I had a balance of $400, but unfortunately he could not apply it to my order and refund my credit card “The goods are being shipped from third parties” he said “nothing we can do about it”. I spoke to his supervisor, Jenn. Nothing she could do about it either. And she was all out of ideas on how she might make it up to me. I suggested a $150 gift card. She agreed to $50 and, after a total of nearly two hours on the phone I was too tired to press the point. “Never mind” said Gretel “You can do your Christmas shopping on Amazon”. Well, yes but unfortunately the remaining items on her list (Victoria’s Secret bras, a card reader for her new phone, a Mac Pink Friday lipstick) are not stocked by Amazon “You’ll have to do without” I told her “the credit card money is gone”

The galling thing about all of this is that Amazon, who have provided hopeless customer service, stand to make a total of $1100 from the Blarney family this Christmas. We can’t get $400 back from them, and so sooner or later we are going to have to spend it (oh, and Jenn’s generous $50) on things we don’t much want. Don’t be sucked into making the same mistake.

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trmn8r on 12/11/2010:
The mistake here was you placed the order. I go to Amazon often and place things in my cart for the sole purpose of finding out the cost, including shipping. I am extremely careful not to submit the order, as I know my payment is on file and has been selected.

I find it hard to accept calling the CSR an idiot under these circumstances.
MRM on 12/11/2010:
I agree, Trmn8r, that I would double and triple check my order before hitting the Submit button.
Venice09 on 12/11/2010:
Four people tried to help you. Just because they couldn't fix your mistake doesn't mean they are idiots or that customer service is hopeless. Amazon doesn't have your family's money. The vendors do. I think Jenn's offer was quite generous considering you made the mistake.
rockfishing on 12/11/2010:
I've used Amazon quite a bit and never had a problem. I have no problem recommending them to anyone.
clutzycook on 12/11/2010:
I've used Amazon for years and never had a problem. They give you about 5 different chances to verify your information and make sure everything is correct.
ok4now on 12/12/2010:
I do 90% of my internet shopping on Amazon for good reason. Great selection & prices, fast shipping that is usually free and loads of customer comments that tell it like it is. I have never had a problem with these people & returns are easy. Just be careful before you hit the Submit button. Do NOT use one click ordering. You need to be very careful & read the fine print first. One click ordering doesn't give you much chance to review & verify what you just ordered. Also they may add a shipping charge when the item was advertised with free shipping. Don't Click unless you're ready to Commit. P.S. Good comment Venice.
MOLASOLAR on 12/22/2010:
Amazon is a crook and they had trained their customer service on how to con people off. Stop shopping at AMAZON>COM go to Barnes & Nobles to shop.
TK_Blog on 01/08/2012:
I recently had a very bad customer service experience with Amazon as well. They charged my credit card $135.02 rather than charging $100 to my Amazon Gift Card and the remaining balance of $35.02 to my credit card. They claimed this was my fault for not knowing that my Kohl’s $25 ($27.99) Gift Card purchase would disallow the use of my $100 Amazon Gift Card to be used for ALL of my purchases in my “shopping cart” per Amazon’s policy that states you can’t purchase a gift card with a gift card. But my point is it shouldn’t have disallowed the use of my $100 Amazon Gift Card to be applied since my other 6 items in my “shopping cart” cost $100 and were not gift cards. This was supposed to be a $100 Christmas gift to me from my wife, but per Amazon’s response it is I spend $100 first then get to use my $100 gift card. Do they seriously not get the point???? I don’t understand their logic as to why one item in a cart would disallow a gift card to be used, especially when 6 of the 7 items in the cart are Amazon gift card friendly. I have more on this experience on my blog ( that can be access by visiting my website
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Gift Card / Visa Card
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Rating: 2/51
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON -- I chose Amazon gift cards received as an incentive from my employer. For whatever reason my order charged to my Visa and not my gift cards. I thought, this will be a simple call and we can get it fixed. NOPE... you have to return the items and start over. That does not seem to make any sense to me. If there is a credit balance on the account why can't the problem just be fixed? Now I will not have the Kindle in time for my vacation. I am really disappointed with this service.... I plan to tell everyone I know.
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MRM on 07/17/2012:
I, too, don't understand why it would charge your Visa card instead of your gift card. I have used my Amazon gift card on several occasions without any problems.
bob932304 on 07/17/2012:
I too have used CC and gift cards but I had put in which card I wanted to use. There is a screen that shows all the cards you have registered and the mailing & billing addresses. This is the screen where you must select the card to use, the default is the last card you have used in the past. It is a bit confusing but I would say this is a user error.
trmn8r on 07/17/2012:
It is a shame that you didn't realize when submitting the order that the wrong source of payment was selected.

The inability to issue a credit to one card and charge another on an order in progress doesn't shock me.
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Amazon stalls your gift returns
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I have been trying to get credit for returning two unwanted books that were sent to me as gifts. This process started in October. It is now December 22, 2006.

I don't have a computer and it is difficult for me to get to a library to use a public computer. They don't leave a number for you to call. I had never returned anything to Amazon before and didn't know how to do it, let alone what was involved in a gift return. By the time I was able to let them know about the unwanted book in the only approved way they have for learning about their customers, the 30-day period had gone by and I could not even get a message to them about the return, because the site won't let you fill in the form if your order number is over 30 days out. I actually forget how I sent them an e-mail -- two, if truth be told, before they bothered to respond. It was difficult.

Anyway, they eventually agreed to send me a return label. I bought a padded envelope and returned the book, along with a copy of the invoice. That was over three weeks ago. To date, they insist either that they never got it or that they have it but haven't gotten around to processing the return, and I shouldn't bother them until four weeks have elapsed.

By the way, I asked them what rate they charged on the postage due items (book rate, first class, priority?) and they never bothered to answer.

Last week, I received another unwanted gift book. This time I was ready for them. I made sure to get a ride to the library. I filled out the return information on line and printed out the return address label. (Ah, it says 'media mail.' So I found out eventually, but no thanks to them.) I bought another padded envelope, enclosed both the return bar code and the gift invoice, carefully affixed the return address label, and took it to the post office last week. I don't know why I bothered.

I didn't expect ever to hear from Amazon again, but today I got an envelope in the mail. They have sold my address to a credit card company. It is something called 'marbles' (hah, just when I was losing mine -- are they mocking me?).

I hardly know what to say. So far as I can see, I am $2.00 down on the deal for envelopes. They have the money. They have the books back. They made money from selling my name to a credit card company.

I have written Amazon yet another futile e-mail announcing that, so far as I am concerned, they are 'fair game' (in the Rovean sense) and I will complain about them anywhere, everywhere, at every time. I'm also going to be following this up with the Better Business Bureau (it'll give them a headache, although nothing like the one they've given me). And I think the postal inspectors should investigate them. After all, they are a big user of the US Mail, and it's a federal offense to use the mails to commit fraud....

This has been a real eye-opener for me. I used to use Amazon and was always OK with them. I would never go near them now. There are better alternatives, like or anyone you reach via the umbrella web site.
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spiderman2 on 12/22/2006:
If it is such a hassle to get on a computer, get a ride to the library and buy envelopes why don't you just donate the unwanted books to the library. You don't have to buy anything and you aren't out any money because they were gifts. Who knows, maybe you can get a tax write-off from them. Then, next time you get a package from Amazon refuse delivery.
Anonymous on 12/22/2006:
I think you need to let your 'gift-givers' know more about your wants. I personally prefer to send an gift certificate. Spiderman2 has good advice, as well.
LauraW on 12/22/2006:
Personally, I would never give an gift certificate. My daughter was given one and tried to place an order. She entered the certificate number, but upon reaching the last page she found that she needed to have a credit card in her name to be able to place the order. Since she does not have a credit card, she left the website. She gave me the gift certificate in exchange for the money it was worth. refused to take the gift card when I tried to order, saying that it "had already been used". After MUCH time on the phone, they finally "made an exception" and let me use the certificate. I told the customer service rep. that I believed their policy bordered on dishonesty, since no order had previously been made with that gift certificate. I have had no further dealing with Amazon.
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Bad Customer Service With Gift Cards
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Received a $50 gift card for Amazon. Ordered an item with expedited shipping. Item was never sent and on the last day of expected delivery I filed a follow up. About an hour later I received a ups tracking number for an item and that it was shipped ups ground that day, problem is not to my registered address or even in my own state. Contacted customer service again and they admit it was shipped to the wrong address and was told if the item is returned as undeliverable then my gift card will be credited back the amount.

If it is not returned or just driver released and left on someones doorstep then I am out of luck and they have no control of outside vendors. Lesson learned... never will deal with Amazon ever again.
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Soaring Consumer on 03/26/2009:
Uh... that is not how it is supposed to work.

Amazon knowingly shipped your product to the wrong place and said you're out of luck, not their problem. That is the completely wrong thing to do. It is their mistake and their problem and they must take responsibility. They must fix it by sending you a new product.

Try filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, lets see what that results in.
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Beware of expiring gift certificates
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For what it is worth here a short story, and I do not know how to go further. My son sent me a gift certificate for 300 Dollars.
He just got married, then went to Iraq for 13 months. I know they could use the money better as newlyweds, I sent the gift certificate back to him. When he came back from Iraq, he checked his account, since he deposited the money back in his AMAZON ACCOUNT, yes it was there. Not too long ago, he checked again, GUESS WHAT, the money is gone. The time "expired". I will go to any length to make sure people will know this, as it is down right "THEFT" in my eyes, but what do I know, I am just one of MANY. But one thing I did learn, ONE PERSON CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Thanks for listening,
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spiderman2 on 12/08/2005:
This is illegal in some states. Here is a link to Amazon's policy on this.
heaven17 on 12/08/2005:
From's the first provision under the gift certificate fine print: "Gift certificates and unused portions of gift certificates should be spent within 18 months from the date of issuance, which is the "spend by" date included on the gift certificate. Gift certificate holders will be given an additional 6-month grace period to spend their gift certificates, and gift certificates and unused portions of gift certificates will expire two years from the date of issuance, which is the "expires" date included on the gift certificate.*" And at the very bottom of the fine print (if you follow the asterisk): "* Does not apply in California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, or Washington; applies in New Hampshire only for gift certificates over $100. Expiration date does not apply in any other states where prohibited by law." Does this apply to you? If not, you really should read the fine print in the future.
alexm on 02/04/2006:
Amazon just did the same thing to us. It's a really insidious game. We had $50 left on a gift certificate. We tried to use it back in October except after entering all the info to order, for some reason Amazon charged everything directly on our credit card and nothing was deducted from the certificate. We complained and they said there was nothing they could do about it! Now, we've been trying again for the past few days (since it was set to expire on February 2nd). We kept trying to remove the credit card info so the same thing wouldn't happen again but they wouldn't let us process without one, and we didn't want to go through the same problem again. Now, we called again to complain to Amazon because now it had expired and we still couldn't get it done right. We managed to figure out how to get to a customer service rep and next thing we get an email saying sorry - nothing they can do - the certificate is expired! Any wonder why Amazon's stock been crashing lately..
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Gift Certificate RIP OFF
Posted on
Your viewers need to be warned of a deceptive practice by with gift certificates.

My son received a certificate in the mail from his cousins. We received it in January 2002 as a Christmas gift for Christmas 2001. He had it saved away, and tried to use it in November 2002 - and found he could not use it. I tried to help him and had the same problem, so I began to e-mail Amazon for help. Unfortunately they kept confusing this certificate with another one I sent my brother (even though I sent them a scanned copy of the certificate) and they actually became somewhat rude, but telling me I needed to contact the sender of the certificate (I was the sender of the one they were addressing!!).

When we finally got focused on the proper certificate they said they would not speak to me, but rather could only speak to my minor son. I thought this quite ludicrous and felt they were just trying to put me off. After working the issue for weeks, they advised us that the certificate expired in December, and it was a shame, but nothing they would do -- they kept my son's $100. I find it amazing that they can do this!! I further find it more amazing that this is not widely known, nor is it stated on the certificate. $100 is a lot of money to my son - as it would be to ANY 14-year old!

I wonder how many people would use Amazon for gift certificates if they new that Amazon will keep the money if the certificate is not used in a limited time span.
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Anonymous on 07/16/2003:
Did the GC have an expiration date on it??
Anonymous on 10/06/2003:
I have dealt with's customer service people over the phone and they have always been very reasonable. If you are not having success you must be doing something wrong.
Anonymous on 12/02/2003:
Amazon Customer Service Department is the pits. Seriously. I have had the worst experince withthem. Hugh do you consider when asking for a manager nicely and then being hung up on good customer service? I doubt it.
fbsoaps on 05/04/2006:
This happened to me, except my younger sister never GOT the gift certificate. The email on the certificate was wrong. Amazon kept $50 of my money! They should be turned in to the authorities for these deceptive practices!
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trouble with gift certificates
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This is the second year I have had trouble with Amazon gift certificates.
Last year it took forever to use the gift certificate given to me by my sister, but I thought it was some kind of isolated incident.
This year, my mother-in-law sent my husband me a gift certificate, but we got nothing from Amazon. My husband emailed Amazon and they responded with an email saying "Here's your $20.00 gift certificate" The problem? She bought a gift certificate for $45.00.
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fbsoaps on 05/04/2006:
I too had problems with Amazon! The wrong email address was on my sister's gift certificate.I assumed she had gotten it but this year, found the error when I went to go look at history. Amazon is refusing to give me back the $50. I am amazed!
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Gift certificate order botched - NO REFUND
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Amazon badly screwed up an order of $380 for 16 gift certificates and 3 months later I still don't have a refund. The recipients never got their certificates even though Amazon sent me a response that the order had been placed and shipped. After a month of fighting this battle, I finally got notification (via email because you can't talk to anyone there) that the order would be canceled, so I purchased different certificates at Barnes and Noble. The next day, the recipients then got their Amazon certificates. I've been fighting this battle for 3 months now and no refund. LESSON: NEVER buy from a company without the guts to list their Customer support phone number.
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Anonymous on 01/16/2004:
hmmm....sounds like the processing/shipping aspect of this was delayed; it happens, especially at Xmastime. When they responded to inform you that they would cancel the order, is that all they stated? Because it's true, they would have to wait for the process to go through, you know, "checks and balances"? Given the time of year, and the fact that it's not an object, but rather a piece of paper, ie: money, cold hard cash.... that can be redeemed for anything on their website, 3 months sounds reasonable to me. Oh, and the gift certificates did arrive after all, albeit late. sorry, I love Amazon's bookstore; I have to stick up for them :)
fbsoaps on 05/04/2006:
Gift certificate nightmare. My recipient never got her gift! It was for $50. The email address was wrong. refused to refund me!
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