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Amazon Payments. a Personal Banking Nightmare From the 1990s.
By -

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON -- With the slow but steady demise of BillMonk, my friends and I turned to other means of debt tracking and bill sharing for our nights out. Ultimately we turned to Amazon Payments and their 'TextPayMe' service. While many of them may rant about how cool this is, I'm not going to.

Here is how it supposedly works. You give them your credit or debit card number, or alternatively your bank routing number and bank account. They supposedly from then on will magically deduct the texted amount from your bank and automatically drop it into your friend's Amazon Payments account. No need to split bills anymore, no need to settle up later. It's all done with a quick, flashy text from your cellphone to Amazon's number. You just text them the short "Pay $$ 'Account Name Here'" and tada! No muss, no fuss. Nuh uh.

Here are the massive hiccups involved in this service, and the inducement of what is at least a 5-7 business day headache... it not much much longer, because one then must undo the damage done.

1). Unless you weave through the complicated and ill-laid out Amazon Payments website to find the box to check, the TextPayMe is going to call you and demand your Amazon Pin. No big deal. The phone call takes a minute or two. You're done, right? Nope.

2.) You've authorized the payment, it should be done, right? No. Something happens, and I have not yet been given a straight forward answer as to why. You get a text back either confirming that the money was transferred, or the OTHER message. "Your credit card was declined."

Okay, well... you know there's plenty of money in your account. Why was it declined? Meanwhile your friend wants his money and you look a bit like a deadbeat. You apologize and say you'll try again. Cue the annoying slew of 'call your banks' from your friends. Yes, that's exactly what I want to do - sift through a phone tree of computer automation.

What Amazon's very vague text that literally says, 'your credit card was declined' actually means is its been 'temporarily declined.' That is the exact wording given to me by the person on the other side of the 'Contact Us' link. But they don't tell you that in the text. It's just declined. In the rest of the world, that means it's over. Try again. So what does it really mean?

This charge has been put into a review, which they claim takes 24 hours. I assume business hours. Unless you go onto their site and figure this out yourself by clicking on the right thing, you would never know. But why was it put into review? I wish I could tell you this. They have a box you can click SOMEWHERE that says, 'call me above a certain payment amount.' I had this unchecked. But they still called.

More confusion before we go on. They bounced certain charges, but let others go through. Back to the meat of it. Tired of dealing with them pulling directly from my credit card because they didn't seem to like it, I decided to dump my 'going out' budget into Amazon Payments so they could directly pull from there. The TextPayMe system is supposed to pull from your balance with Amazon Payments first, and if you don't have enough there, it pulls from your credit card or account. Reasonable. But then we enter the 1990s.

Depositing AND withdrawing money into your Amazon Payments account takes 5-7 business days. That is 5-7 business days that it disappears from one place, reappears in another but isn't actually usable until then. Didn't we dispose of this (I believe by law) way, way back? This is not a money transfer where physical tender is being moved from place to place, this is electronic information. This is two computers talking to one another and saying, "Got it?", "Yep, got it.", "Give me.", "OK." Done.

So your budget for going out is in limbo, your Amazon Payments balance is still nonexistent, they are still reviewing your 'temporarily declined' payment and your friend wants his money. So what do you do? Try again No that would be silly. But I did it anyway. Result? The exact same. The card was declined, the payment shunted to a reviewed status and I now have two payments and a balance transfer hanging in limbo. It's like the sword of Damocles. When and where will the payments strike, further depleting your weakened saving account.

I had finally had enough. I contacted Amazon and they told me all of this 'temporarily declined' nonsense and they assured me that my poor limbo'ed budget would eventually arrive. And oh, they reviewed the first declined charge and its going through. But the other charge is still pending. When its deemed successful, it will be charged too... whenever that is. Twenty hours has passed, I'd like to note. Fantastic! Except I asked them to cancel them both so I could just pay my friend in cash! Now he must pay ME back for the duplicate charge.

So here I sit. Officially complaining about a product for the first time in my life. Let's add one last insult to injury. When I finally get my balance that has been floating unusably through cyberspace until then, I still either have to use this service to get it back, or else wait ANOTHER 5-7 days for them to transfer it back into my account. 10-14 BUSINESS days that I have not had my budgeted funds available, and have had to dip into other budgets to fulfill demands made. That is 2-3 weeks to those who are counting... business days after all.

A double payment that was supposed to come from my Amazon Payments account has been pulled out of my savings account, and I won't be getting that back until it is all settled. I did kind of want to go buy some groceries this week, but here's a fun fact - the money you have in your AP account can only be used with Amazon, and even then only on certain products.

I don't think an ATM (or a kind, apologetic smile and a request to split the check) has EVER looked so good right now. I ask you: who would do this to themselves? How is this convenient to have a reserve of difficult to access, difficult to replenish, difficult to use money that is not doing anything useful but sitting there possibly a good thing? Even in an ordinary savings account, its use or movement is near-instant, and in the meantime it's making tenth of cents in interest.

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Access to Free Books
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I discovered that Kindle now allows people to "check out" books via their local libraries. Just like going to the library, you get the book for only a certain amount of days (In my case, I can have a book for 7, 14, or 21 days). I went to my local library yesterday and signed up for a "Library Card." This takes every bit of 3-5 minutes. When I left, I was able to download books from the library directly onto my Kindle for 3 weeks. It works exactly as I was told (I guess the book will disappear from my machine in 3 weeks).

Fabulous! As if you needed a reason to get a Kindle (Oh yes, the first reason is that you have any slight interest in *reading*. Duh). But when you get one, one of the first things you will probably explore is how many free books you can get (there are literally millions). After these books, what can you check out from the library? Well, anything you want to. Free books. Borrowed books. (And even books that you give as gifts). Kindle just keeps getting better and better and stronger and stronger.

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Nightmare Company Will Take Your Money and Run......
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PHILIPINES -- I purchased a product from Amazon and the product was a total defect. I returned it on July 3, 2010. As of today I have not received my refund. Even though I was told they were refunding my $60.95 in full, they have not. Each time I call they have a different story. The first story was "we are refunding your VISA account. It will take up to 5 to 7 business days". After the 7 days went by and I didn't get my refund they had another story "well, we just received the merchandise back and we have to process refund", which was a flat out lie because I had the UPS receipt showing they had gotten in 2 weeks ago.

Anyway the last story, "I received it's up to your bank to refund you. We will request them to". My bank? what do you mean my bank?... this is crazy.... if I were you I would go straight to the manufacturer to do business Amazon location is in the Philippines. I found out and they don't know what they are doing, they have no idea what they are selling and they would like to keep your money. I have to take them to small claims court just to get my refund back this is ridiculous.

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Amazon.com Holds Funds of Innocent Sellers for Months
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SUITE 1200, WASHINGTON -- I have been selling on Amazon on and off for a few years recently I decided to focus more on selling on the site. After getting income of about $1500 for about two months I decided that I could use a pro account. After making several inquires to amazon's€™ customer service, (and it took a few inquires) I was told that the only way to do this would be to close down my current account and start again. I was unhappy about doing this but I reluctantly agreed.

So I closed my current account and opened up a pro-account. The site said that funds would be held on new account for two weeks as a security measure. I was not happy with this but it seemed reasonable. Right before the two weeks were up I had accumulated about $1400 in my account. The day before the funds were two be released, I received the following message.

€œAs part of our ongoing commitment to improving the customer experience on Amazon.com, we are conducting a review of your seller account. During this review period your funds will be reserved in your Amazon Payments account for up to 30 days.

I immediately stopped selling on Amazon despite them telling me that it was OK. I called customer service and they told me that I had been "selected"€ and that this was "routine". At that point I started doing research on Amazon and I was surprised to learn how often they do this and get away with this. I provided them with all the tracking information like they requested (everything was delivered and there were no complaints). I also receive a total of 17 positive feedbacks with no negative feedback.

They requested information about where I source my merchandise from and I other business information. Information which I feel is an invasion of my privacy. Why should I have to reveal to Amazon detailed information about how I sourced my merchandise. No other online company has requested this. Not eBay; not overstock and not others. My merchant account company has also not requested such information. It is clear to me that they are requesting it to gain useful selling information for their own use.

I did not try to contact them again about the fairness of holding my funds because I read that a number of people that have tried to do that have had their accounts permanently terminated, rudely told that any further emails would not be returned and fund that were already held for a long time would remain in "€˜custody"€™ for several more months.

After I received the notice mentioned above I sent them in all the information that they requested in spite of my objections. Immediately afterwards, I emailed them asking if the information that I sent was sufficient. I only received a form letter that did not answer my question. I repeated this and I got the same response.

About a week ago (3 ½ weeks after they sent the initial email), I received another email that the information that I provided them was insufficient and that my funds would be help for an additional 15 days. They did not explain what was insufficient, but I knew from experience that it would not help to ask. I again sent them more detailed information and I am now waiting. It has been more than thirty days since I shipped my last orders and I have no complaints against me. If they do not want me to sell on Amazon because they think that I am not trustworthy (actually I think that the opposite is true), so they should not let me sell, but why should they hold my money?

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Amazon Rips Off Sellers
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON -- I am a new seller on Amazon and I am using a dropship supplier to ship my orders, basically my supplier. I listed the inventory I intended to sell, over 500 items. Because I was new, I wasn't clear on how to do my pricing so I listed my items for what the MSRP is.

I soon began receiving email messages from Amazon, claiming that my prices are too high and due to this, they stated that they are deactivating my listings; they began doing this on certain items, not my entire inventory. They stated that my pricing should fall within the wholesale and MSRP prices.

There were a multitude of items that were deactivated and instead of checking each SKU to determine if an item was deactivated I simply removed all inventory, I then proceeded to go to my supplier's website to download a fresh inventory feed. I adjusted my pricing to exactly what Amazon wanted and I uploaded everything fresh, to my webstore because it was easier and less time-consuming to do it this way.

I began receiving those same email messages and Amazon started deactivating my inventory again. I got upset and emailed them. I stated that I adjusted my prices but they continue to deactivate items. When I complained about it they claimed that it was just a "suggestion" to lower my prices so I can make more sales. I emailed back and said that if it were just a suggestion then why do you continue to deactivate my items? And besides that, I looked on the marketplace and compared my prices with other seller's prices and theirs are higher priced.

I initially had a webstore through Amazon but got frustrated and discouraged and cancelled the webstore. A week later I decided to open a new seller account using a new email address that isn't associated with my first webstore. Now what's going on is that I have tons of orders from customers and Amazon is sending me order notifications to the email address that was associated with my first webstore, not the email address associated with my current webstore.

Even worse, none of my orders are posted under "manage orders" in my webstore. I wouldn't know that there were any orders at all if I didn't check my email account that was associated with my first webstore. Now I have customers emailing me asking where their orders are, and complaining about it.

I looked at all of these orders which made me enough money to buy a used car but yet Amazon has not posted them to my account. I have no way to contact those customers unless they email me first; their orders show no email contact addresses. I don't even know what to tell them.....

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An Overlooked Promo Code Applied After the Order Was Placed.
StarStarStarStarStarBy -
Rating: 5/51

I've been trying to find a nice winter coat for my no-longer-baby Clutzy. But of course finding one at a reasonable price is hard to come by. thought I had one at Walmart, but when I looked at it, it wasn't what I had in mind. So, in the middle of my local Walmart, I ordered a London Fog bubble coat from the Amazon.com app on my phone. It was only about $10 more than what the Walmart coat was going for, but it's London Fog, so it's a name I know.

When I got home and looked at my order online, I noticed that there was a promo code for 20% off eligible outerwear that I could have applied to the order. Of course, my order was in the "shipping now" status so cancellation and reordering wasn't a very good option. So I decided to call Amazon customer service. After explaining what happened, the CSR managed to apply the discount to my order, bringing the cost of the coat down to about what I would have paid for the Walmart coat (especially after taxes). How awesome is that?

Update 11/18: The coat arrived last Tuesday, however Amazon failed to process my refund. I called an explained the problem. The person I spoke with said he would process it, it would take 2-3 business days and he sent me an email to confirm it. Fast forward to this morning (business day #3) and still no refund. I was about to call Customer Service AGAIN when I happened to check my bank account online and noticed that I was being charged less for a pair of pants I had just ordered.

I checked my email and they had applied that refund to my AMAZON account and just used it for my next order. Obviously it doesn't matter at the end of the day since the money just went back to Amazon, but what if my coat purchase had been a one and done? I'm a little disappointed in Amazon's less than upfrontness about the whole matter.

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New Add-on Requirement a Rip Off
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON -- Amazon now has a feature called, "Add on". What it means is that you can't order the product you want unless you spend $25! Even a Prime membership won't help with Add-on products. This is a ploy to make profit. The claim is that shipping on certain items is costly and making it an Add-on alleviates the shipping cost. Maybe it alleviates the shipping cost for Amazon, but it alleviates nothing for the customer who doesn't want to buy more or unnecessary items. If you don't want to increase your order to $25, you CAN'T order the item - even if you were willing to spend the shipping fee!

Consumers are very capable on deciding if they want to spend the shipping fees. Amazon has now decided for you. I am already ordering fewer items from them. I am finding other sites where shipping is less than having to bring my order up to $25.

I was a great fan of Amazon until this ridiculous move. I will be much more wary of what I order from the company. They have already lost my business twice - and that is in one week.

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Warranty? Not So Nuch...
By -

I made this "informative" other than a "complaint" as I'm not really sure who's at fault. My first XBox went out after 3 years or so, so being fat with all those expensive games, I pretty much had to get another one. Ordered it from Amazon for a OK price and excellent shipping (always have good luck with Amazon and shipping)and got it 10/25/12.

Last night it decided to stop working after not quite 2 months. Found all the warranty paperwork and started the process. Registered it online (required) to start a ticket. At this point it says my XBox is under warranty (good deal) and the warranty expires 1/25/13. Huh? So, evidently, if you order this stuff from Amazon it has been sitting in some warehouse eating up its warranty until you buy it. Supposed to be a year warranty, I get 3 months.

So, I got that going for me... That was sort of my first issue. The problem with my XBox is all over the web and they say it just needs an updated power cord/supply. Which could easily be sent to me in no time. But, that isn't how things are done. So... I had to pack the thing back up in (pick one) the original packaging (which is what the first info told me) or totally different packaging (which is what the second info told me) and ship it off to them. Which is what I did (and I mixed original packaging with new packaging just to cover all my bases). Now I wait for "2-3 weeks".

In Microsoft's defense, they do pay for the shipping when it's under warranty, but that seems to be where the customer being right pretty much ends. Is it Amazon for eating my warranty or Microsoft for being hardly customer-centric? I'll let you decide...

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Amazon Advertised New Merchandise, but Vendor Discount Jungle Sent Refurbished/Factory Serviced Merchandise, Which Is Illegal
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

WASHINGTON -- We ordered a Remington Razor advertised as NEW. Amazon's vendor DiscountJungle.com sent a Factory Serviced unit. This is illegal in Ohio. Discount Jungle Reviews on Google show many complaints where NEW merchandise advertised but Refurbished shipped. Amazon would not respond as to why Amazon allowed this to continue without stopping this for all of their customers, though they refunded me.

If this happens to you, please contact the Attorney General's Office for the State of Washington where Amazon is located, or contact me. Amazon is a good company, but with a weak tolerance for correcting bait and switch patterns that are brought to their attention. So let's help change this for Amazon and keep the internet fair and honest.

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Credit Card Number Stolen Issues - You May Be in Trouble - No Support
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

MIAMI, FLORIDA -- There is no way to talk to Management. Employees do what ever they want because there is not way to complain. I have an issue with Amazon for over 4 weeks and I have not been able to resolve it, because they don't care.

YOU CONTINUE PUTTING MY ACCOUNT IN HOLD (very unprofessional) I am planning to bring to your Management this type of actions. I have called several times to your customer service and they promises they will put a note in my account, so they don't put my account in hold again but guys disregard any notes and continue PUTTING my account in hold. I am sincerely believe that the problem in your company is the account specialist department. Every time I call they open a request to the account specialist and they claim that he/her will call me within the next 24 hours. It never happen I have never received a call from an account specialist.

I have a log of all the nightmare that I have with you guys.I am planning to send all this proof of very bad service to all the executives including Jeff Bezos. I have requested for a supervisor to call me, and never received a call. I AM REQUESTING AGAIN FOR A SUPERVISOR OR A MANAGER TO PLEASE CALL ME MY PHONE NUMBER IS XXX-XXX-XXXX. Every time you put my account on Hold I buy from eBay and other places, so your company looses the business. But I think your company don't care. That is a bad business. Check my account and see the activities I have in the past.

My credit card number was stolen in Amazon. The bank issued a new credit card. I provided the new credit card number to Amazon for some previous charges. My account was put in hold for weeks now. When I call Amazon, they claim I will be call within 24 hours. I have never received a call from them. I have send several emails, no response. They don't care because there is no way to call a resolution department or complain to Management.

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