Amazon Completely Cuts Me Off For An Abuse Of Policy Of Unknown Origins

Jack is in college, which is a pretty expensive place. So he likes that he can use Amazon to buy textbooks for cheaper than at the campus book store, and uses the site to buy the electronics he uses in daily life as well as books for reading on his Kindle. Shall we imagine his exasperation when Amazon cut him off from his account for a mysterious “abuse of policy”?

Jack says he was terrified to receive an email from an Amazon “Account Specialist” that told him his account had been shut down, because it was linked to another one that had been closed for abuse of policy. He says he’d never had a closed account and didn’t know where to begin to fight such an action.

The canned email read:

Hello,

We’ve found your account is directly related to another account which has been previously closed for abuse of our policies. As such, your Amazon.com account has been closed and any open orders have been canceled.

You can review our Conditions of Use here:

http://www.amazon.com/conditionsofuse

Any attempt to open a new account will result in the same action.

Going forward, any questions must be directed to cis@amazon.com.

Best regards,

Account Specialist
Amazon.com

He called Amazon customer support and was told that only the mysterious Account Specialists could access his account information, and that they had no direct line and would only give out one email response every 24 hours.

I am at a loss for words right now. I have been a loyal Amazon customer since 2009, and have also been a loyal Amazon seller. I have purchased thousands of dollars worth of products from them, as well as sold thousands of dollars of products on Amazon. I have also utilized their “trade-in” program many, many times.

I had also tried to open a new account on Amazon.com, but that account was banned within a few hours. My other active accounts were also inaccessible by me. I am COMPLETELY locked out and in the dark right now. Before my Amazon account was closed, I had to return a product due to it arriving in a different condition as described, and I cannot even log-on to check the status of that return! I don’t even know if the return will be processed at all!

I also have a large kindle library as WELL as a large amazon app-store library, NONE of it can be accessed by me. Every time I try to log on to manage my digital content, I get the message to please “enter a valid e-mail and password.” Only the apps downloaded to my phone currently work, none of the apps “in the cloud” work.

Hello, Amazon? Anybody home? Let the poor kid back into his account, eh?

Comments

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  1. Cat says:

    It’s the “Shoot first, ask questions later” policy that has become all too common online.

    Google pulled the same shenanigans on me, and it took 6 months before a human resolved the issue.

    I smell a bot.

    • dolemite says:

      Wow, that’s how long it took for Google checkout to solve my order problem between checkout and Tiger Direct. 6 months. I had begun to think I had just gotten a free monitor. I spent about 3 hours trying to contact someone about it. TD said they had been paid by GC, but there was no way for me to contact Google. Eventually the charge processed (half a year later).

  2. Fiona says:

    Highlights some of the dangers of purchasing virtual content, doesn’t it? Regardless of whether OP violated the TOS or no, it is a bit frightening that Amazon has the ability to take all your purchased content away. I think I’ll go back up my kindle books now….

    • rpt says:

      Ya there needs to be something like Bill of Rights for digital content. Though I am not hopeful that will happen anytime soon.

      • KeithIrwin says:

        No, all you have to do is follow this simple rule: If they can take it away from you, you haven’t bought it, so don’t give them money for it. If “your” ebook or “your” app or “your” video or “your” anything else can be magically yanked, you haven’t really bought it and it isn’t yours. I buy mp3s and physical goods from Amazon because once I have them, they are mine and Amazon can’t say a thing about it. I don’t buy anything else from them, because that’s not true for everything else. We don’t need legislation to fix this, we need people to stop giving their money to pretend to buy things. If they weren’t making money, they’d stop this crap and go back to genuinely letting you buy things.

        • bluline says:

          So I guess you’ve never “bought” a software program, huh? Read the fine print next time you do. You don’t own the software, you only have a license to use it.

          • chefboyardee says:

            I get your point – but software can’t really be “taken away” from you in the sense that a Kindle book can. :) AFAIK there aren’t kill switches in software that would uninstall it from your computer via a remote request from the company.

            • Anna Kossua says:

              Apps on a tablet or smartphone can be. Apple has nuked apps off people’s iPhones before. There was that “I Am Rich” one that cost $1000. All it did was put some icon on your iPhone that said you were rich, so Apple nuked it.

          • KeithIrwin says:

            I have read the fine print, but I also know enough about law to understand that adding some fine print doesn’t change a purchase into a license. When I walk into a store and hand someone money and they give me a copy of a piece of software, I have bought that copy. That’s pretty much the definition of a purchase. I don’t own the software in the terms of owning the copyright, but I own physical thing which is the copy of the software and I have all the rights I need to run it, based on 17 USC 117 which says that if you own a legal copy of a piece of software, you’re allowed to make the copies needed to run it. So, just because there’s a license attached to a piece of software doesn’t mean that I have to agree to that license in order to use the software or that they retain any ownership of the physical media (or of a part of my hard drive where it’s stored) after they sell it to me. This is also, by the way, what the courts have generally held up, although there has been a case or two which went the other way.

            • Auron says:

              Actually, if the CD/DVD has anti-circumvention measures on it, you are breaking the law under the DMCA by making even a personal backup copy.

              • Big Dave says:

                Yeah, so what? If they want to legally, but immorally, rob me, I am quite OK with illegally, but morally, robbing them. Karma is a bitch.

            • Yomiko says:

              Actually, the way the EULA is usually worded, use of the software constitutes your agreement. Did you click that “I agree” button when you installed the software? You digitally signed a contract. Look up “clickwrap agreement.”

              What you’re saying is that once you installed the software and agreed to the EULA, you had the ability to and elected to violate that agreement. It doesn’t mean that the contract was still in force, just that you chose to ignore it.

              I’m not saying that the EULA for the Kindle content doesn’t suck, btw. I never touch the stuff myself. I’m just saying that you shouldn’t agree to an EULA that lets them claw back content, because it’s legally enforceable and there for a reason (and that reason sucks for you).

    • oldwiz65 says:

      This is exactly why I refuse to buy either a Kindle or Kindle e-books using the app for iPhone. If you have a paper book, there is no way they can suddenly decide to take it back. Amazon can arbitrarily take away all your purchased content with no recourse any time they feel like it. It used to be that customer service was a big thing for Amazon, but I guess they’ve gotten so big they don’t need to care about individual customers anymore.

      • runswithscissors says:

        Ditto. And more of these stories will only get more people thinking like we do.

      • toberead says:

        Sort of – if your books are on your Kindle, and you aren’t connected to WiFi or 3G, Apple can’t remove them from your Kindle. They could in theory remove them when you are connected to the internet. However, it seems like the OP had digital books in his archive (i.e. not on his Kindle but only in his Amazon account) and he couldn’t access those. He said he couldn’t log in to manage his Kindle account, but you don’t need to log in to use your Kindle, only to access old archived books or books that haven’t been transferred yet.

      • Skeptic says:

        I don’t keep any of my Kindle content in Amazon’s cloud. I don’t even keep anything on my Kindle except stuff I’m reading or planning to read. If Amazon deletes the cloud-based files it’s saving for me, so what? All my Kindle documents, including magazines (which Amazon only keeps for a year or so) are sideloaded to my PC’s hard drive for safe-keeping. And backed up from there, just like all my files. Calibre is trustworthy. Amazon is not.

      • Razor512 says:

        they don’t even have to take it away, if they go out of business, your kindle books will stop working since it will not be able to connect to their DRM server

  3. Sunflower1970 says:

    Can he escalate this problem with a manager?

    This ‘mysterious’ person has to have a phone number. They may not like taking calls, but I’d think they’d have to every once in a while.

    • failurate says:

      Could be a difficult conversation. Does the OP speak binary?

    • JennQPublic says:

      The email he received specifically says any future questions should be directed to an email address. He mentions calling, but not emailing the department Amazon seems to think will have answers for him. I’m wondering what the results of emailing that address are/were.

    • Eremis77 says:

      tl:dr version of below: Email them with as much detail about the situation as you can. They should respond accordingly and fairly.

      A similar situation happened with me. My wife opened a seller account to sell some used textbooks. She sold about 5-10 books right away, and forgot delivery confirmation on one of them. The buyer claimed it was never delivered, and my wife was forced to refund her. Then Amazon closed her seller account for a poor rating. I attempted to sell some of the books through my account, and it was closed within two hours for the same reason above, being “linked to an account closed due to policy abuse”.

      I emailed Amazon and complained, and also explained the whole situation to them (including the belligerent Amazon seller rep my wife dealt with during the refund process). They reopened my wife’s account the next day.

  4. Bionic Data Drop says:

    It’s either

    a. Amazon made a mistake

    b. The OP knows exactly what he did to get banned and deserved it.

    If I had to wager on it, I’d bet on b.

    • MyTQuinn says:

      My guess is that he’s living on campus, and a previous resident at the same address violated policy somewhere along the line, and his account is tied to this one due to the address.

      • Lyn Torden says:

        Or off campus, or in an apartment.

        Amazon bad for not understanding that (if this is the case). Amazon bad for many other things (for sure) so I believe this is likely the case.

      • sponica says:

        i could see this….at my alma mater we had PO Boxes. The PO boxes changed every year (unless you were able to retain your dorm room). Also, you had the same PO box as your roommate….so while OP could be a good amazon customer, his roommate could be the evil one…

    • Sunflower1970 says:

      He does hint he has multiple accounts, then tried to open a new one.

      Maybe one of them was hacked? Possibly the number of accounts made Amazon suspicious? Or, like you said, he knows exactly what he did.

      Either way we probably don’t have the whole story.

      • Lyn Torden says:

        Maybe he has multiple accounts because:

        1. It was easier to just make a new account for a 2nd order than to go find the previous password. Also, if someone has new email and no access to the old email, password recovery will fail.

        2. He just wanted to put in another order after being banned and just did it like most people do. Some places DO allow orders w/o an account at all (places that are not trying to track you).

      • Bunnies Attack! says:

        But the question is WHY multiple accounts? If he has as much digital content as he claims then he’s going to want it all tied to the same account.

        Usually in these cases multiple accounts are created to take advantage of loopholes in the service. Since he mentioned he’s a seller, I bet he’s got multiple accounts to leave feedback for himself and/or his products. Also, he could be using those accounts to get referral bonuses of some sort or another.

        Again, this is all conjecture, but something just smells wrong.

        • StarKillerX says:

          I agree, largely based on the line “My other active accounts were also inaccessible by me” make me think he was up to something.

          Also I had to laugh when he says the email he got said that any new account opened would be closed as well and then he goes on to say “I had also tried to open a new account on Amazon.com, but that account was banned within a few hours.” Yep, just as they said it would be.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      My guess is that c) You’re an idiot.

    • teatree says:

      My guess is that the “relationship” is via credit card or address.

    • MMD says:

      Do you often make bets based on no verifiable information?

  5. Laughing says:

    Something very similar happened to me with my Amazon Marketplace account.

    The only solution, after going around and around with Amazon Marketplace refusing to answer my questions or resolve the issue … was submitting a claim to the BBB. All I asked was that they reinstate my account and within a day of filing the claim Amazon let me know my account was reopened.

    That said, this didn’t affect my normal Amazon account so I’m not sure if that will be trickier to resolve.

    • alexiskai says:

      Complaining to the BBB totally worked for me in an identical situation with Amazon Marketplace. I recommend it to everyone.

  6. Nothing says:

    I’m curious to know what can you do exactly on amazon that would warrant a ban?

    • Herbz says:

      Scam people out of money on a seller account?

      Or do something illegal, like ddos the website.

      Can’t really think of much else.

    • dangermike says:

      If you’re just buying stuff, probably nothing. But I could imagine severa circumstances that might hypothetically warrant such action:

      -abusing the comment/review system
      -bypassing DRM
      -receiving a pattern of negative feedback from buyers
      -any kind of cracking or jailbreaking
      -using their cloud service as file distribution
      -having an account that is used for credit fraud (whether by the account holder or a 3rd party)

      Those are the things that immediately pop into my mind. I’m sure there are more and not entirely confident that some would result in a banning. Just throwing out there what strikes me as a few possibilities.

      • Lyn Torden says:

        Or let someone else you your account (even if that someone else is one of your other personalities).

      • Not Given says:

        “-any kind of cracking or jailbreaking “

        Like rooting your Kindle Fire?

      • psm321 says:

        “using their cloud service as file distribution”

        Huh? Isn’t that what S3 is made for? (Serious question, I was planning to do exactly that… if I’m not allowed to I need to know)

        • KeithIrwin says:

          He’s not talking about S3, he’s talking about Amazon Cloud Drive. It’s meant to be personal file storage so it only has storage limits, not bandwidth limits. So theoretically, you could upload your warez or pirated stuff or whatever and then give out your password and account name to let everyone else download it without having to pay for any extra bandwidth (like you would for S3). If they found you doing this, it’s a fair guess that they would suspend the account.

      • themicah says:

        In his message to Consumerist, he says, “My other active accounts were also inaccessible by me.”

        The language “other active accounts” implies (1) that prior to this he had at least three active Amazon accounts and (2) he may have had other accounts at one point that aren’t active.

        I have a hard time thinking of legit reasons for having so many accounts. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a legit reason. Back when Apple first launched iTools (which later because .Mac and Mobile.me and iCloud) I probably had a half dozen accounts. And I probably have a half dozen Google accounts now.

        But the main reasons I can think of for having multiple Amazon accounts relate to either account sharing or leaving fake seller feedback for himself.

    • itsdotcom says:

      Sending pirated Kindle books to your Kindle via Whispersync, I believe.

    • SiddhimaAmythaon says:

      I know someone who got banned for excessive returns.

  7. samonela says:

    He called Amazon customer support and was told that only the mysterious Account Specialists could access his account information, and that they had no direct line and would only give out one email response every 24 hours.

    Sounds like Richmond from The IT Crowd scored a job at Amazon.

  8. xanadustc says:

    Legal action for money back on the cloud items? Don’t know if that would work, but it would raise some eyebrows.

  9. Liam Kinkaid says:

    Amazon, like any other retailer, has the right to refuse to sell to specific customers if they abuse their policies. However, they really should detail what the abuse was, rather than just saying “here’s our TOS, you did something wrong.”

    One thing I’m curious about is his statement that his “other active accounts were also inaccessible.” I wasn’t aware that you could have multiple Amazon accounts.

    • Gorbachev says:

      Of course you can.

      I have one I use for shopping personal items, another I use to buy stuff for business, and another one to manage my personal AWS account.

    • rdclark says:

      “Amazon, like any other retailer, has the right to refuse to sell to specific customers if they abuse their policies.”

      But they have absolutely no right to in effect repossess past purchases that were legitimately bought and paid for.

      IMO, this should be actionable even if the ban is justified and the OP violated every article of Amazon’s TOS. Denying him access to his books, movies, and music cannot be legal, unless they were somehow acquired illegally.

      • rmorin says:

        I’m not trying to be a big business apologist here, but they are likely very much in the right legally.

        How businesses do this is their terms of service stating any “ownership” is actually a license to use the media. You violate the terms of service, you terminate your license for the media.

        This is jarring for a lot of people but digital items may not have the same protections as physical items. You can say “it isn’t fair!” till you are blue in the face, but that does not mean it not legal for Amazon to do.

  10. bruin14 says:

    “My other active accounts were also inaccessible by me.” I mange to conduct all of my business with Amazon through one account. Something is fishy here

    • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

      I have separate Amazon accounts for personal and business use. Various sub-accounts (Amazon Associates, Kindle Direct Publishing, etc) are tied to the business account, which is in the name of my LLC.

      • who? says:

        This is a college kid who’s young enough that he has only been buying stuff from amazon since 2009. I somehow doubt that he has accounts in the name of his business or anything like that, at least not legitimate ones.

        • BBBB says:

          I’ve known many college kids with small businesses. The simplest would be selling textbooks, media, or collectables. They could be his own or consignments or he goes to yardsales and thrift stores.

    • jasonq says:

      Is there anything in Amazon’s TOS that prohibits multiple accounts?

    • bwcbwc says:

      I don’t know about having multiple accounts being fishy in itself. If you are a seller, you could have legitimate reason for 3 accounts: 1 for personal use, 1 for purchases for your business and 1 for the seller account.

      If OP has a seller account and there was an allegation that they failed to deliver a purchased product, and OP didn’t respond appropriately to Amazon and the complaining client, that could have triggered the whole debacle.

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      Not necessarily. Years ago when I sold items through Amazon Marketplace, I had a separate Amazon.com account just for that.

  11. Rifter says:

    I agree that this sounds fishy… but on the flip side… he can’t access his digital items? Whether he did something wrong or NOT… if he legally purchased something, banning him from the products, without a refund seems REALLY bad.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      that’s the problem with digital content – you never purchase the content, just a license to use it that can be revoked at any time.
      also – this is why i haven’t gotten into ebooks yet

  12. parliboy says:

    Quoting:

    “… will be resolved by binding arbitration, rather than in court, except that you may assert claims in small claims court if your claims qualify. “

    So file suit in small claims.

    • Josh says:

      If there is no way to access your digital content, you can and should file a small claims suit for the value of those digital items. If you search Consumerist for “small claims” there are many article that deal with how to accomplish this. While Amazon has an absolute right to refuse to do business with anyone for any reason, they may not deprive you of property you have purchased. Filing suit will get their attention, and if you can prove that the story posted here is complete and true, it’s a winner.

  13. Hirayuki says:

    Since 2009? Wooow. He’s practically a founding customer.

    • ClemsonEE says:

      Haha, just checked my first order on Amazon on my current account was 9/2008, a Blu-Ray of Iron Man. I couldn’t tell you what I ordered under my Clemson e-mail address.

      • rooben says:

        Welcome to the cloud, where all of your purchase are virtual, and can be confiscated at any time. I like my paper books.

        I bought Robert Jordans’s Path of Daggers on October 2nd, 1998. Wow almost 15 years now.

      • Fiona says:

        I win:

        Shipped on Friday August 13, 1999
        Massive Luxury Overdose
        Army Of Lovers
        Sold by: Amazon.com LLC

        • ahecht says:

          My original Amazon account (which was similarly banned when I moved into my college dorm and had the same mailing address and IP as someone on their blacklist) was from a book I ordered in middle school, so probably 1996 (it was before their IPO).

        • Jules Noctambule says:

          I used to have that album.

        • Hirayuki says:

          1997. A paperback copy of “Good Omens”, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I still own it, too, and can find it on my bookshelf in a heartbeat.

    • RedOryx says:

      1999. A VHS copy of “Labyrinth,” which I actually just updated to DVD last week thanks to Half-Price Books.

  14. Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

    Sounds like he probably did what I did in college – Open a new account each year to get the free year of Amazon Prime that only comes from signing up as a student. I don’t even know if they still offer that, though.

    Would explain the breach of policies and the multiple accounts.

    • ehchan says:

      That sounds plausible. I was lucky enough to have a .edu forwarding account to take advantage of amazon student even though I’m several years removed from college.

  15. Lyn Torden says:

    Sue Amazon for failure to process your return. During the lawsuit, slam them with discovery regarding the lock out.

    Or, if you are afraid of suing, then write to your Congress people, state AG, and ask for an investigation.

    Do business elsewhere. Lots of people are leaving Amazon, anyway. I’m even considering it.

  16. itsdotcom says:

    Has he returned a lot of Kindle books lately?

  17. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    Jack says he was terrified to receive an email from an Amazon “Account Specialist”…

    Terrified?
    Jack needs to grow a pair.

  18. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    Well, just throwing the TOS at him and telling him he did something wrong is nuts. It’s like the feds arresting somebody for something non-specific and then giving him the entire 200,000 pages of the US Code and telling him what he was arrested for “is in there.”

  19. powdered beefmeat says:

    Just a guess, if his account was jacked because of the actions of another associated account means he was giving himself good ratings or giving the competition bad reviews.

    AND this is yet another reason why I keep away from iCloudy skies, I don’t like the idea that someone else can keep me from my stuff.

  20. rooben says:

    Welcome to the cloud, where all of your purchase are virtual, and can be confiscated at any time. I like my paper books.

  21. Portlandia says:

    Something that hasn’t been mentioned, It’s possible that someone else who logged on to a campus WiFi or that he shares an IP address with might be the cause of the issue. I know that Paypal and eBay will flag accounts as associated if they share an IP address.

    I’ve heard of people getting banned for bidding on their roommates/friends auctions and wonder if amazon could be associating accounts in this same manner.

  22. shthar says:

    OMG!

    They just liked me for my money!

  23. ancientone567 says:

    I could tell you how to get a new account without them ever knowing it you but I don’t know the whole story. I could be giving hacking info to a crook. lol it is just so easy to get around when you know what to do and understand the system.

  24. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I’m going to sound like an old grumpy get off my lawn person now, but this is why I distrust this cloud nonsense. My employer migrated our email to “the cloud”. There are no more backups, no burning CD’s at the end of the year, nothing. Why, it’s fine and wonderful, what could happen?

    Thankfully I saved instructions from IT from a few years back when we had to set up our email backups, and modified it to do a backup once per week to a file on the actual shared network drive, which is backed up regularly. So, if there is a cloudburst, at least I’ll be able to restore my email file.

  25. dush says:

    Digital Content = FAIL

    • oldwiz65 says:

      Absolutely! I’ll stick to paper books. Our local library does have an option so you can use your kindle to download library books and use them for the specified period. It includes DRM of course and vanishes at the end, but you haven’t purchased any content.

      Kindle books cost nearly as much as paper books, so I’ll stick to paper books. There’s no way Amazon or anyone else is going to take them back without having a painful discussion with a very aggressive 90 pound dog. Or, if I am home, a 9mm Glock.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      Exactly why I buy blu-rays and CDs.

    • oloranya says:

      Digital content from Amazon = fail. It can work.

      I bought a nook and switched to ebooks instead of paper books due to space constraints in my house. All of my books are on my nook and backed up on my computer & on an external harddrive via Time Machine on OSX.

  26. Claybird says:

    I really hate the lack of details and info that sites do when people are banned. How can someone learn to not do something if they’re unaware of what went wrong.

  27. Outrun1986 says:

    I really hate this too, they ban you but they don’t tell you what you did wrong? How are we supposed to learn if we don’t know. We all know no one EVER reads the TOS of websites because they require a lawyer to interpret.

    Not everyone who gets banned on every website knows exactly what they did wrong, or is even responsible for doing anything wrong even if something has been done to their account. Yes some people are responsible and they know exactly what they have done wrong, but there are definitely legitimate cases of people being banned for no reason from websites as well.

    Like with Microsoft, if someone else in your house goes on your Xbox and does something wrong your account gets banned. Yes the user is responsible for their account but its almost impossible to prevent a little brother or other family member from doing something if they absolutely want to. I don’t think its fair to hold the user liable for another’s actions (especially when money is being exchanged for digital content or services), try as you might when someone really wants to do something they will and no amount of talking to them will get them to stop. This is what I find happens a lot in most Xbox bannings, another family member is the one committing the crime on the account holder’s account.

    • az123 says:

      You prevent this with what they call password protection…. you don’t let other people use your accounts and you set it up so that they cannot get onto them. If not you getting banned because your little brother got on your account is your own fault

  28. Jawaka says:

    I’m still snickering about the OP saying that he was at a loss for words but then continuing for two more paragraphs.

  29. thomwithanh says:

    Sounds like Amazon contracted out account security to PayPal

  30. TimelessFinanceCom says:

    But… but… large corporations are so benevolent and efficient. Milton Friedman told me that governments can’t accomplish anything and regulation is ruinous. :(

    • voogru says:

      Regulation will help keep companies like Amazon in business, because they’ll be able to regulate the small fries out of business.

      Nobody has a right to do business with Amazon.

      Here’s an idea: If Amazon treats you like crap, DONT DO BUSINESS WITH THEM.

      If you were a good customer of a restaurant and then one of the waiters spit on your food, and you were banned when you complained about it, would you really want to go back there? How would you feel if then that same company that banned you got in bed with the government and then made it impossible for any new restaurants to open up?

      Yeah, perhaps you don’t fully understand the consequences of regulations. It’s not to protect the consumer.

      It’s to protect big business.

      • PunditGuy says:

        Broad brush you got there.

        A big business has to install a railing to keep their employees from falling to their deaths. A small business can’t afford a railing to keep their employees from falling to their deaths, so they don’t get to start up. Boo hoo.

        A big business can’t sexually harass its employees any more. A small business… can’t sexually harass its employees any more. Which really doesn’t affect their ability to start up, and yet I’m pretty sure qualifies as one of those gosh-darned “regulations.”

        • voogru says:

          “A big business can’t sexually harass its employees any more”

          Yeah, so now big business is more careful when hiring females because, they might face a sexual harassment lawsuit that’s totally fabricated.

          “Which really doesn’t affect their ability to start up, and yet I’m pretty sure qualifies as one of those gosh-darned “regulations.””

          Really? One false accusation of sexual harassment of a disgruntled female employee will sink a small business. Even if the business wins the case, they still have to pay legal costs.

          Same goes with other discrimination laws. Anti-discrimination laws against minorities, disabled people etc. actually increase discrimination because businesses are afraid of frivolous lawsuits. I know of a case where a person was hired as a programmer, they were paralyzed from the waist down so it didn’t affect their job performance.

          They had to lay off him during the recession and he sued for discrimination.

          He won.

          Now they don’t ever hire people who are disabled anymore, even if it doesn’t affect job performance.

          Go regulation!

  31. donovanr says:

    This is exactly why I avoid complicated DRM arrangements along with the “Cloud”. A good example of where I dabble with the cloud would be Dropbox. Yet the only data I send up to dropbox is gpg encrypted as I don’t trust them not to hand my data over to “Trusted third parties”

    If any “Cloud” company loses your data or cuts you off are you going to hire a lawyer to get back your data? No and they know it. I suspect that if you cause them enough heartache they will give you back your stuff but that is not a formula for happiness.

  32. Extended-Warranty says:

    And it begins….

  33. Bryan Price says:

    As if we really have further need that trusting things to the “cloud” is actually NOT a good thing!

  34. shufflemoomin says:

    Here we go again. Another instance of a two sided story. Maybe the kid is telling the truth and Amazon locked him out for no reasons. There’s also the second possibility that the kid DID do something wrong and Amazon have every right to ban him. Why does everyone suddenly take the kid’s side? Amazon possibly had a good reason to do this and the kid isn’t letting on. I’ve seen it countless times with Xbox Live. I’m not saying the kid is lying. I’m saying there’s two possible scenarios here and it’s not fair to assume one is correct over the other with no proof.

    • mikedt says:

      If there’s a good reason to ban him then tell him the exact reason. Too many times we’ve read stories of people getting banned for violating terms of service. The average TOS is novella. Would it really be that hard to say, “you violated section X of the TOS”??? Yet for some reason next to none of them do it. You’re banned with little recourse to get back the goods you paid good money for. Fine, you want to ban somebody then give them a refund for all the goods you’ve taken from them.

      So far I’ve had nothing but good experiences with Amazon, but this story makes clear the idea that buying a kindle specifically, and drm’d goods generally, is a bad idea.

    • OldSchool says:

      The one real problem is that both of them “Steal” back your personal property because tey don’t like some “Behavior” that you may or may not have engauged in. And this without a refund of money spent.

      I cannot believe that this would stand up in a court and I am sure this is one of the reasons they bought themselves the “Binding Arbitration Protection Racket” from the politicians they so effectively bribe. A Class Action that forced them to refund all ove the illegially stolen property along with punitive damages and attorney’s fees would probably have a very real effect on their bottom lines.

    • Kaleey says:

      Amazon has purposely refused to provide proof of what he has done wrong, even to him. While OP may have been banned legitimately, there are several precedents of Amazon locking accounts incorrectly (based on IP addresses and physical addresses, for example), meaning that this could be a mistake on the Great A’s part.

      I’m not necessarily saying he should have his account back. Maybe he did somehting that warranted the ban. But the Great A should be required to provide something other than “Here are a list of 10,000 reasons we can ban you – it’s one of them.”

      I still feel that internet companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and others should be required to provide the section of the ToS that you violated, the date the violation complaint was received, an accessible appeals contact center, and (in the case of IP/physical address bans) an explanation of why the ban occurred (your ip address is a blaacklisted ip, and your po box is a shipping address of stolen goods, and your socks were on the wrong feet last Friday).

      No one can fight a battle when they can not see the enemy they are fighting. (well, unless you are Jean-Claude Van Damme). :/

  35. OldSchool says:

    File a small claims case against them immediately over this issue for the value of your library along with appropriate consequential damages.

  36. OldSchool says:

    “Sue Amazon for failure to process your return. During the lawsuit, slam them with discovery regarding the lock out.”

    I agree you should certainly include this as well but yould would need to file in regular could to exercise discovery rights I am fairly certain.

  37. Jason Litka says:

    I had the same issue with Amazon a couple years back. The banned me for “an account directly related to another account which has been previously closed for abuse of our policies” and refused to give me more information than that. I was promised callbacks several times, most of which never came, and when one did, I was told (to paraphrase), “my account had been closed by a department at a higher pay-grade.”

    I didn’t have a kindle, and thankfully my AWS account was a different login which they didn’t block, but I did get locked out of Amazon content on my TiVos. The stupid Amazon content shows up but I have no way to actually watch it or to disable it.

  38. physics2010 says:

    So it sounds like buying school books via the kindle would have a huge downside. Losing your textbook for even a day could have huge consequences, let alone 6 months.

  39. Pete the Geek says:

    Airline industry leaders had to be told, through legislation, that keeping people trapped for hours in a plane with no food, water or washrooms is wrong. Perhaps the leaders of companies that sell digital content will have to be similarly told that locking customers out of all of their content without explanation or an opportunity to correct any issue is also wrong. I’ve purchased a few Kindle books in the last few months. This action by Amazon doesn’t encourage me to buy more.

  40. vliam says:

    I’m going through a similar situation at Amazon. The last human that I spoke to assured me that everything would be resolved. Now, I’m completely cut-off. They won’t even respond to my “delete my account, I’ll shop elsewhere” responses. I’m stuck in Amazon purgatory.

  41. chicagojay says:

    “He says he’d never had a closed account and didn’t know where to begin to fight such an action.”

    ” any questions must be directed to cis@amazon.com.”

    Solved.

  42. jenesaisrien says:

    Oh boy, here’s a live one for Amazon. Was just thinking of buying one,(Kindle) not being intitated to these issues until reading this article and comments. Hmm. Processing. Results of bad PR: purchase delayed indefinitely+ future e-reading purchases.

  43. Kingsley says:

    What happened to the Email address in the original notification? Next thing is that Jack is calling?

  44. Pasketti says:

    Every time I start thinking about getting a Kindle, something like this comes along to remind me why I haven’t gotten one yet.

    If I buy a hardcopy book, it’s mine forever.

  45. OldSchool says:

    Look, in an effort to make this Entirely Clear to at least some of the Amazon shills.

    This issue where they and Microsoft and other digital content merchants stop you from not onlly doing any further business with them but also effectively steal property you have already payed for is clearly immoral and almost certainly illegal. They are counting on the high cost of litigation and the bout and payed for rulings to disallow class action suits to prevent people from countering their illegal actions.

    An analogous situation woudl be me purchasing a car, having issues with it, complaining publicly only to have the company or dealership I purchased it from decide that my saying bad things about them is in violation of some entry buried in tons of legalese and entitles them to reposes my car even though I paid for it in cash.

    I have no problem with Amazon or anyone else not doing business with someone who may or may not be violating their policies. I have a HUGE problem with them stealing things that have already been payed for. It is for this very reason that I have not and will not purchase anything that is subject to remotely controlled revocation of my rights.

  46. DRPH says:

    I have the same issue…Amazon closed my account with absolutely no warning…Amazon has a serious problem with their shipping department, since they do not adequately package items to ensure that they arrive undamaged. For example, they just throw DVD’s in a box with very little if any packing material and ship them via regular US Mail. They are surprised when the DVD’s arrive damaged. Also, they do not inspect items prior to shipping them and are surprised if an item occasional is not complete. That is what happens when a company has a shipping department where the employees make minimum wage and do not care about anything other than getting out as many packages as they can per hour, with no regard for the customers potential products. With this being the case, Amazon becomes surprised when customers have to return the items…This is not a good business sense and with cancelling accounts haphazardly like this, word is going to get around and people are going to stop using Amazon…