Amazon Erases Customer’s Kindle, Wishes Her Luck In Finding Somewhere Else To Shop

Compared to ebooks, physical books might have the disadvantage of being heavier and subject to wear and tear. But you know what’s nice about a printed book? Amazon can’t come to your house, take it off your shelf and tell you to go buy it somewhere else.

According to this blog post (via Reddit), an Amazon customer says she recently went to read something on her Kindle only to find that the device’s entire contents had been wiped clean. She contacted the online giant and says she got this response:

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

Per our Conditions of Use which state in part: Amazon.co.uk and its affiliates reserve the right to refuse service, terminate accounts, remove or edit content, or cancel orders at their sole discretion.

Please know that any attempt to open a new account will meet with the same action.

She wrote back, pointing out that she uses Amazon.com and not Amazon.co.uk for her purchases and that she has only ever had one account. Asking for more information, the customer says she was once again stonewalled by the following reply:

As previously advised, your Amazon.co.uk account has been closed, as it has come to our attention that this account is related to a previously blocked account. While we are unable to provide detailed information on how we link related accounts, please know that we have reviewed your account on the basis of the information provided and regret to inform you that it will not be reopened.

Please understand that the closure of an account is a permanent action. Any subsequent accounts that are opened will be closed as well. Thank you for your understanding with our decision.

I appreciate this is not the outcome you hoped for and apologise for any disappointment this may cause.

So the customer tried one final time to find out what violation she was alleged to have made, what the address of this mysterious account is and why Amazon believes she has any connection to it.

The final response from Amazon (bolded text for emphasis) –

We regret that we have not been able to address your concerns to your satisfaction. Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer any additional insight or action on these matters.

We wish you luck in locating a retailer better able to meet your needs and will not be able to offer any additional insight or action on these matters.

Thank you for your attention to this email.

We don’t care what it says in the Amazon user agreement. Amazon should not be able to erase content that has already been downloaded. If the company wants to close your account, fine; refuse future downloads. But unless it has proof that the books on that Kindle had been fraudulently downloaded, we don’t see how the company can justify erasing content that had been paid for by a customer.

We’ve written to Amazon to ask for clarification on this story, but as the company has a horrendous track record of replying to such requests from Consumerist, we’re not holding our breath.