Amazon Is Just Giving Money Away Now

It’s not often that we get an email from a reader complaining about a company that gives him money and won’t take it back, but with Amazon, anything is possible.

Joshua and his wife both adorably purchased Kindles from the e-tailer, and one of them didn’t survive a not-so-rowdy night. So Joshua contacted Amazon for a repair/exchange, and when the dust settled he was left with not only a new Kindle but about $300 in free money that he’s tried to return to Amazon to no avail.

In Joshua’s words:

I bought two Kindle 2’s from Amazon at launch in February 2009. My wife and I received them without incident and use them constantly. The problem came in September 2009, when my wife had an ‘accident’ with hers. She was reading before bed, and after turning out the light, set her Kindle on the nightstand. A couple minutes later, we heard it fall in the dark. It was a short fall to the carpet, so she did not worry about it. Come morning, as she got out of bed, it must’ve slid further than expected. She stepped on it. CRACK! The screen was toasted.

She called me at work, and asked what could be done. I called Amazon and spoke to a representative. I explained the issue, and asked what my options were for repair. Amazon stated that for $135, they would cross-ship a replacement. After receiving the replacement, we would ship back the broken unit. I was shocked when Amazon told me that depending on refurbished Kindle stock, I could actually get a new one. I sprung for overnight shipping as my wife was in the middle of reading and wanted it ASAP.

The order was processed at Amazon, and as luck would have it. We were being shipped a new one, not refurbished. Excellent!

The unit arrived the next day as scheduled. We packed up and shipped the broken one back within a few days. Everything was proceeding without a hitch. Once again Amazon exceeds expectation in my eyes.

Here’s where it takes a strange turn.

Three days after Amazon received the broken Kindle, I received an e-mail stating this fact. Problem is, the e-mail stated they received the returned Kindle, and were processing my ‘return’ and a refund would appear on my Visa card within 7 to 10 days. They were going to refund a total of $291 to me. I was surprised. I paid the $135 for the ‘repair’ and cross-ship of the replacement. That amount was charged. At first I figured this was just accounting on Amazon’s end and the credit would never actually appear on my statement.

About 8 days later it did appear as a pending credit, and a day later it was fully credited to my bank account. I immediately e-mailed Amazon bringing this information to their attention. It has been almost 3 weeks since I brought this to their attention and have yet to get a response.

I would like them to provide an official response, as I technically have almost $300 of their money, to which I am not actually entitled. Any ideas of who else to e-mail and notify?

So what does Josh do here? Launch an EECB? Donate the money to charity in Amazon’s name? Pay it back in goodwill by spending it on Amazon? Stuff it in the Consumerist tip jar? Call his bank and ask them to reverse the refund?

What would you do, Consumerists?

(Photo: tagurity)