How Amazon Was Amazing To Kindle Customer

Mike wasn’t looking for a freebie. He just had a few cosmetic scratches on the touchscreen of his Kindle Fire and wanted to know if there was a way he could minimize them or buff them out. He called up Amazon to ask, and their solution wasn’t a healing screen cover or a special polish. They shipped out a new device to him the very next day.

I was given a Kindle Fire as a Christmas present from my parents (they should never have gotten me such an expensive gift as they are not well off) and I loved the device to death. I used it for everything and was reading a classic (read public domain and free) a day as well as everything else you can do on this little tablet. I did not buy a screen protector but a case assuming the aluminium glass would not scratch easily. Well, a bit of sand or grit got into the case and the surface received a few superficial scratches.

I called amazon and explained that I had a few scratches that were merely cosmetic (they disappeared when I turned on the device) and asked if there was a polish or cleaner that they recommend using to make them less visible. The person on the line asked for my account information and said that they did not know of any product but asked me to wait. About 30 seconds later the rep came back on the line and informed me that everything on my kindle was now completely backed up and I would be receiving a free replacement in a few days. The new Kindle arrived at 2:30 the next day. In five minutes amazon gained my loyalty.

I bought a screen protector this time (I had my fiance install it, because I hate those little buggers). But, wow. Amazon went above and beyond and I will be their customer for years to come.


Edit Your Comment

  1. mattyb says:

    A company that actually values it’s customers and is willing to go above and beyond to gain their loyalty. What is this crazy world coming to?

    • FatLynn says:

      Don’t worry, they still treat their employees like poo.

      • deathbecomesme says:

        Well those employees have the option to leave that job. Just like consumers can vote with their wallet. Amazon isn’t breaking any laws with regards to their employees. The working conditions might suck but that’s life.

        • Misha says:

          “Just go get another job” has not been a valid counter-argument for YEARS, dude.

          • deathbecomesme says:

            I said they can leave the job. I didn’t say they could easily find another job. I also said working conditions might suck but that is life. As in stick with it or don’t.

      • WB987 says:

        Well, it depends. I know Amazon employees who are well-compensated and happy, but those people tell me about contractors and low-wage earners at Amazon who are treated terribly. So, not everyone is treated poorly– just those who have the least amount of leverage and job security. =(

    • homehome says:

      I think companies should stop doing that, because it’s that that has consumer acting entitled to this. Plus it raises costs which raises prices, I’ve seen it first hand with my company.

      • Kuri says:

        So companies should just treat people like dirt

        • homehome says:

          So not getting a freebie is treating ppl like dirt? Companies should only do that with a product if its the company’s fault, not just because someone asks. Ppl get all this free stuff that they shouldn’t have gotten in the first place then complain when prices go up, you can’t have it both ways.

          • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

            This is a fucking stupid attitude. Who the fuck are you to decide that companies shouldn’t go above and beyond in order to *gasp* be nice to their customers? With all due respect to YouDidWhatNow, this has got to rank right up there with the stupidest fucking ideas in the history of stupid fucking ideas. I bet you’re the type of guy who would throw a tray of free cupcakes on the ground, just so no one else could enjoy it. Your ideas are bad and you should feel bad.

          • Auron says:

            Mike wasn’t asking for a freebie. He simply wanted to know if there was anything he could do to eliminate the scratches on his Kindle. The person at Amazon said they didn’t know of any way to remove said scratches. The person at Amazon then informed him that all of his data had been backed up and they were sending him a replacement. I’m curious as to where you read that the OP had asked for a freebie.

      • elangomatt says:

        Maybe the customer service person only replaced the Kindle Fire BECAUSE the customer was being really nice and merely asking how he can minimize the visibility of the scratches. I could easily see a customer calling up and demanding a replacement under warranty and be denied because they are being rude and I don’t imagine the warranty covers accidental damage.

        I’ve never done call center type work, but when I was in retail I was a lot more likely to try to help a customer more if they were nice instead of being a jerk.

      • Auron says:

        So what you are saying is that companies shouldn’t do one single thing to make themselves stand out from their competitors? Why not then create one mega-huge-ginormous corporation that everyone not only works for but is forced to do business with?

    • dorianh49 says:

      Amazon has really been stepping up their CS game lately. I’ve had a few frustrating experiences with them in the last few years, so I expected more of the same when the 6-pack VitaCoco coconut water shipment I received had one carton that was slightly damaged and leaking a little bit from the top. I e-mailed them, and received a response back within an hour asking for more details. I provided the details, and received another response back within an hour with 3 options: 1. Full refund of the entire order, 2. Re-ship an entire order (another 6-pack) to me for free, or 3. Partial refund of $7.50 (order cost around $20, so still extremely generous).

      I went with option 3, since that was most fair of the 3. But the coolest part was that the issue was resolved the same day. On a weekend.

    • pamelad says:

      Way to go, Amazon! Loyal customers like Mike, and positive experiences like his posted in places such as Consumerist, will help keep your volume up and prices down in the long run. It’s a longer-range way of thinking, rather than the $200 Kindle (plus shipping) narrow-minded way of thinking.

      BTW, I’ve also had nothing but positive experiences purchasing from Amazon for years. I think the marriage of Amazon and state-of-the-art CS provider Zappos is a good one arranged to last for a long, long time.

  2. Cat says:

    Freakin’ awesome, Amazon.

  3. RoadDogg says:

    A company that wants to make sure you keep using their device so you buy stuff from their app, music, movie, book, store? What is the world coming to!?

  4. SecretShopper: pours out a lil' liquor for the homies Wasp & Otter says:

    well that’s a nice story, I like the change of pace from the usual company screws consumer headline.

  5. JohnDeere says:

    did he get to keep them both?

    • elangomatt says:

      I highly doubt he got to keep them both. Amazon would just refurbish the scratched Kindle and sell it again to someone else.

  6. r-nice says:


  7. Mike Toole says:

    Wow! Did they even let you keep the old one? Either way, that’s exceptional.

  8. Admiral_John says:

    A few days after I got my Kindle 3 last year I set it on a table next to my front door while I took one of my dogs out… in her excitement to go out she knocked the Kindle off of the table and it fell face-down on the floor. There was some sort of piece or small pebble that it landed on and it put a nick in the middle of the screen that damaged some of the e-ink pixels. The Kindle still functioned perfectly but it was very distracting, since it always seemed to cover a letter of the text I was reading.

    I called Amazon and explained what happened without embellishing or trying to make it sound like anything other than what I just explained, and I had a new Kindle at my house the next day. And in doing so, as OP pointed out, they won a customer for life.

  9. Amy88888 says:

    You know, this reminds me of an experience I had with Amazon more than a year ago, pre-cloud. I can’t even remember all the details but I was confused about the mp3 purchases I made to my phone. I wanted to be able to download them to my computer as well. I did not understand that this was not an option, totally my fault and my problem. But in explaining to me that downloads are for the device and not saved to be downloaded elsewhere, they also offered to give me temporary access to my downloads so I could also save them on my computer. I am sorry if this makes no sense, but in summary, Amazon went above and beyond to help me out when I was the one who screwed up.

  10. watcher says:

    Had the same experience with Amazon…

    Purchased a Kindle Fire from a big box store, got it home and the digitizer screen dots were showing. Called Amazon a few days later, and they told me it wan’t normal to plainly see dots on the screen. They sent a new one the same day with free two-day shipping, and paid to return the old one.

    Could have exchanged it at the store, but figured the store only had more from the same production batch. I figured Amazon stock was fresher (it was as it had the latest firmware, unlike the original).

    Top notch service from the Kindle team!!!

    • elangomatt says:

      Your experience was good, but a bit different than the OP. Your kindle was actually defective so should have been replaced under warranty. The OP had accidental damage to his Kindle and Amazon was under no obligation to replace it. They replaced it anyway which is darn good of Amazon, and they get good press out of the deal now too since this is posted on Consumerist.

  11. Extended-Warranty says:

    I did’t think I could ever be so disgusted with good customer service. Give me jobs and our economy back any day.

    Good customer service should involve being friendly, knowledgeable, and helping within reason. Gone are the days of personal responsibility. Instead, we’ve come to expect replacements for our own faults, and even keeping the original. All at the expense of those poor Amazon employees who rate their job on the same level of satisfaction that Burger King employees do (fact). All while contributing to good local and city jobs.

    Quit blaming the greed on executives. The American consumer is by far the greediest of them all. There’s a clear difference between being more efficient, and being shady like Amazon. I don’t want to hear how the government and big corporations screwed your life over when you suffer from the very result that you created.

    • BeastMD1 says:

      Really? I mean come on. Amazon volunteers to provide this service. They know what they are doing, they could easily say they don’t repair owners abuse. They do this with kindle’s for a few reasons…

      1. If you stop using the Kindle, you will probably stop buying from them.
      2. Why not take care of the customer and breed some brand loyalty?

      Again in this case it is not about the device itself its about keeping you loyal to them and in the long run thats what matters.

      Plus in most of these cases I have seen Amazon will make you send the “broken” equipment back, and am sure they refurbish most of them. So they make money back then as well.

    • Amy88888 says:

      I don’t see where this consumer or even most consumers are EXPECTING free replacements when they break something. It’s not greedy to ask about a product you are willing to purchase that will clean up your screen. That seemed like a genuine request, not some contrivance just to get a free Kindle Fire. And the consumer in this case was so happy, he repaid the company by publicizing what a nice thing they did.

    • elangomatt says:

      “Good customer service should involve being friendly, knowledgeable, and helping within reason. Gone are the days of personal responsibility. Instead, we’ve come to expect replacements for our own faults, and even keeping the original.”

      The OP did take personal responsibility. He wasn’t asking for a replacement, he just wanted to know if there was something he could PURCHASE to minimize the visibility of the scratches. He didn’t expect replacement since it was his own fault. As far as keeping the original goes, I don’t think anyone should ever expect to keep the original. However it makes business sense many times to just let the customer keep the original since shipping it back would cost money, and then the product couldn’t be sold as new anyway so they have to find some way of selling it or fixing it. Many times the customer that gets to keep the original product probably ends up having even higher brand loyalty since they have such a positive experience. That being said, I doubt the OP got to keep the original Kindle Fire because Amazon can refurbish that pretty easily and resell it to recoup some of their money.

    • JonBoy470 says:

      this example highlights an important difference between Amazon and, say, Apple. Amazon is in the content selling business. Hocking physical devices provides incremental revenue while delivering their storefront, and all manner of future sales, right into their proverbial lap. Kindles purpose is nothing more than enabling potential customers to become actual customers. Giving away the devices is good business if the device pays for itself in additional sales. Given how much Kindle owners i know are avid readers, I’d say the strategy works.

      Apple, on the other hand, is a hardware vendor, and the content ecosystem surrounding their devices, while providing incremental revenue, is just a hook to get you to buy the device. Hence Apple is stingy with replacements. Giving you a new iWhatever won’t drive sufficient incremental sales to make it worthwhile…

  12. Bor&Mitch says:

    Amazon is not in the business of selling hardware. The Kindle is juist Amazon’s virtual storefront. They don’t want you shopping elsewhere just because the storefront got damaged. I’m betting they sell the Kindle Fire at a loss.

    • Brenell says:

      It’s been known for a while that they sell them at a loss. Granted, it’s only a $3 loss per Kindle Fire sold and easily made up for by the books and apps sold.

  13. Coleoptera Girl says:

    Target actually did something similar for me just recently. I spotted a “repackage” TV with about a 30% markdown on it and decided to buy it. They turned the TV off and, lo and behold, there were several scratches on the surface of the screen. Can’t see them when the TV’s on, but off, you can. Anyway, they took some more money off the price (without me asking) and I scored a $170 TV for $100.
    Both Target and Amazon had my loyalty before this, but now I’ll definitely go out of my way to purchase from these two retailers.

    • homehome says:

      Actually that’s very different, considering that was before you bought the tv and his kindle was already bought and the damage happened after he bought it. The damage to your tv was done before you were the owner, so it is decent business for them to take that into consideration.

      • Coleoptera Girl says:

        This is true… Not so much of a loss for Target. Still, bot situations are a reflection of good customer service. Different situations, same fluffy feelings.

      • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

        Who made you arbiter of what’s decent for businesses to do? Seriously. You’re stupid.

  14. Zed says:

    I’ve had two occasions just like this where amazon went over and beyond. I’ve had two kindle keyboards with cracked screens and both have been my fault. I called amazon to see if they could do anything or if I could get them repaired. Once I told my story and after the CSR verified my information they just sent me a new one and I didn’t have to spend a single dime to replace the broken kindles. Because of this, I’ve always gone to amazon for almost every purchase and even if the price isn’t the best I usually buy it from Amazon anyway. I don’t know about anybody else but the level of customer service I’ve personally received from Amazon has certainly earned my loyalty.

  15. sirwired says:

    The screen is made of Transparent Aluminum? That must make Amazon rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

    (Star Trek IV reference, for the ignorant…)

  16. PackerX says:

    I hear nothing but good things about Amazon customer service lately, and my own (limited) experiences have been nothing but positive. I wonder if this is a result of their purchase of Zappos.

  17. ichiban1081 says:

    Aluminum glass?

  18. HogwartsProfessor says:

    They’re great. I downloaded a Ravi Shankar album off their $5 download page a year ago, and failed to notice that it didn’t load. Well, with one thing and another, I kind of forgot I had it, until I went looking for it and couldn’t find it. I was charged for it, but the download didn’t complete for some reason, apparently.

    I emailed them and told them what happened and that I understood if there was nothing they could do for me. They replied that while the download window was limited, they had looked at my account and could see it didn’t go, and opened it back up so I could get it. No extra charge. I made sure to thank them profusely.

    I know I bitched about not wanting an e-reader, but now I want a Kindle Fire REAAAALLLYYY BAAAAD. Unless I win one in my local TV station’s giveaway, when I get a job again that’s the first thing Imma buy.

  19. HenryES says:

    My wife dropped hers at the gym, and they replaced it under warranty no questions asked.

  20. Raanne says:

    my kindle 2 screen started got a spot on it 2 1/2 years after I bought it, well after any warranty period. They sent me a kindle 3 keyboard 3G for only $40. I couldn’t be happier with the whole customer service aspect.

  21. FLConsumer says:

    I’ve had relatively few problems with Amazon, but the rare times it’s happened (involves a certain Laser shipping company) Amazon was right on top of it and doing everything they could to make it right.

  22. JonBoy470 says:

    With the Kindle, Amazon is selling you a physical device who’s only purpose is to allow consumption of content bought from Amazon. And by selling it at a non-trivial price, they’ve incentivized you to buy content for it (as opposed to, say, buying physical books) to justify the initial investment in the Kindle itself.

    Liberally giving out replacement devices insures the content gravy train continues unabated, generates customer goodwill, and is ultimately relatively inexpensive, as they’ll recoup some of the cost reselling your old device as a refurb, or sending it out to the next guy with a busted device…