How Can Amazon Not Understand The Actual Purpose Of A Gift Receipt?

Justin really likes Amazon. He does. He’s a big fan and frequent customer. When his employer gave out Kindle Fires (Kindles Fire?) as a gift to employees, though, his boss told Justin that it would be okay to return his for store credit, since he already owned one. Cool. Armed with a gift receipt, Justin set out to do that. He was met with impenetrable corporate logic: he couldn’t use the gift receipt to return just one kindle. Since his boss had bought them all in one purchase, he had to return all of them.

I have to preface all of this by saying that I am a loyal Amazon customer. I love Amazon. My girlfriend and I both have Kindles and I have a Kindle fire. I have an Amazon credit card. I subscribe to Amazon Prime. I have even previously wrote to you folks back in 2010 I think about how great Amazon had been to me with some customer service experience. However, I think it’s all changed over at Amazon. The operators no longer seem to speak English and they all seem to be unhelpful. Here’s what happened:

Our office bought everyone Kindle Fires and cases as gifts. I already have a Kindle Fire so the boss asked me to just return mine and get a credit. Seemed straightforward. He handed me a gift receipt and left it in my hands. I called Amazon (or they technically called me through the Website) and I just asked for a return address to send the Kindle Fire and case for a refund. I provided the order number and this is where it all went wrong. When the office bought the Kindles they bought all of them at once and marked that they would all be gifts. Well, from what Amazon tells me, because I wasn’t returning all of the gifts I couldn’t get a credit. They could credit the original purchaser (my boss) but not me. This didn’t make sense to me on a practical level. If I go to Target and I buy a bunch of stuff and I happen to buy a couple gifts with that stuff, I get a gift receipt for those items and the receiver can return the gifts to Target later for a credit if they hate what I got them. How is it that Amazon can’t do that? Especially with Christmas right around the corner. Also, she had no idea what address to give me to return the item. So, I called back and spoke to another person and got the same answer. I took a survey after that call and said that I was not helped. This prompted a “Let Us Try Again” type of button and I was connected to another representative who connected me with Kindle support.

I have worked with Kindle support in the past and they have always been really awesome. I wouldn’t necessarily say that this person was as awesome as in the past but he was *much* better. He actually understood what happened and found a way to get the outcome I wanted. Both items were returned. I had to pay for shipping (normally Amazon would credit me for any shipping costs but I wasn’t going to complain) but they got returned and I got my credit. It was a little weird, though, because when the Kindle Fire was received, I received 5 confirmation emails and no credit for a long time but finally I got the credit a while later. So, it took about 2 hours in phone calls to work it all out and maybe an hour to get the supplies and go to UPS for the return but it did work out. It just seemed like an awful lot of time to spend on something that should be easy … and for a gift. I thought I may be the only one but someone else in the office came to me and told me she also already has a Kindle Fire and has been having a heck of a time trying to return it.

This return policy Amazon has with gifts seems like a total nightmare. If I order a bunch of stuff from Amazon and a couple of the items happen to be gifts and I mark them as gifts and the person I send them to doesn’t like any of the items, he or she should be able to return any of them (or all of them) for a credit. It doesn’t make sense. I can’t imagine what it will be like at Christmas if this is still Amazon’s policy.

Well, Justin could have always had the credit go back to his boss, and then his boss could give him cash. That doesn’t really help people trying to return gifts purchased for occasions requiring more social finesse, though.

…Wait a second. Christmas is right around the corner? Justin, you don’t work for Costco, do you?