Instead of fussing with selling their old iPad on eBay or to a local stranger on Craigslist, Heather and her husband tried trading it in through Amazon. The company offered the best price, and Amazon’s a reputable company that would offer them a fair trade. The device had too many scratches to be considered “like new,” in Amazon’s opinion, so they had Amazon send it back. They packed it back up to trade it in “good” condition, and Amazon downgraded its condition again. Even though they hadn’t exactly wrapped it in steel wool in the interim.
Just like the least-expensive versions of the current Kindle e-readers, Amazon’s recently announced updates to the Kindle Fire tablet line will have “special offer” ads as screen savers, as a way to subsidize the devices’ lower retail prices. But while the earlier e-readers were sold specifically as “Kindle with Special Offers” at the discounted price, allowing customers to purchase the slightly more expensive version if they chose, the only way to get around the new Kindle Fire special offers is to buy the device and then pay a fee.
Starting September 15, Amazon.com will start collecting sales tax on purchases made by residents of California. So with the clock counting down, a number of shoppers in the state are buying what they can in the next week and a half.
While some people who shop on Amazon are only looking for items sold — or at least fulfilled — by Amazon, lots of you are also buying things from the many, many third-party sellers who use the site as an online storefront. And these sellers are getting increasingly savvy about having a price that will position their item in a space ideal for bargain-hunting shoppers.
To kick off the weekend, Amazon will be collecting a 6% sales tax on orders shipped to Pennsylvania starting on Saturday, because of a state directive that requires it do so. A spokesman said that despite the fact that the company had fought the sales tax, Amazon had to reverse its position to comply with the state.
If all you want is for it to look like someone is at least reading your book and is willing to talk about it on the Internet, does it matter if it’s a good review or a bad review? Not to some self-published authors, who have turned to companies willing to write book reviews for a fee. All they want is that air of credibility that comes with having a real live person talk about their work.
Last week, we shared a story from a reader who got a very early wakeup call from OnTrac, on his porch with an Amazon package a few days earlier than anticipated. Ryan, meanwhile, has sort of the opposite problem. No, OnTrac isn’t pounding on his door after he went to bed. His packaged showed up in the system as “delivered” even though there was no sign of it. He actually received it the following day. Is OnTrac messing around with flux capacitors, redefining “delivered,” or is something else going on here?
A man living in Washington, D.C. was expecting a new high-definition TV he ordered from Amazon through a third-party seller, but somewhere along the way, his order got turned into something he (or anyone) wouldn’t have ever expected: A high-caliber, semi-automatic assault rifle that is very large and very illegal in D.C.
It was inevitable that one of the companies called out in Mat Honan’s piece about a few hackers destroying his digital life would change some of the loophole-laden security procedures that helped the baddies gain access to the tech journalist’s accounts. So we’re relieved to learn that Apple and Amazon have both closed the particular weak spots that allowed a few determined people to reset all of Honan’s key passwords for services like Google and iCloud, and to remotely wipe the hard drives of all of his Apple devices connected to iCloud.
Hackers wanted access to technology journalist Mat Honan’s Twitter account. It doesn’t just have 16,000 or so followers, but was tied to Gizmodo’s account, allowing for exponentially more mischief and, above all, lulz. So how did they get access to his account and destroy most of his digital life in the process? Knowledge of how different companies confirm customer identities and how their password retrieval systems work are all that a determined person needs to get into your life and mess everything up. The weakest links in this rather insecure chain? Apple and Amazon.
If you live in a few certain metropolitan areas, perhaps you’ve seen large metal lockers emblazoned with Amazon’s logo on it in your local grocery store, drugstore or 7-11 and thought maybe the company was just keeping a change of gym clothes on hand. But as we reported last fall, Amazon has been testing a new locker system to avoid the often frustrating experience of trying to get a package delivered on time.
While you might not be able to get your mitts on that pair of burnished silver cufflinks in the shape of Robert Pattinson’s face* from a seller living in Pocatello, Idaho on the same day you win them on eBay, the company is testing out same-day delivery in cooperation with major retailers like Target, Best Buy, Toys “R” Us, Macys and more.
Now Amazon just seems to be toying with the retail book stores of America. The online behemoth has long been hated by many bricks-and-mortar booksellers for the hugely discounted prices it charges on books and other items traditionally sold in book stores. And then there’s Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader which some stores blame for dropping sales. Now Amazon is getting into one business still dominated by college book stores: textbook rentals.
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.
Reese had this strange idea in her head. She thought that because she paid Amazon $20 for one-day shipping on her Kindle, it would take one day for the Kindle to be delivered to her. Maybe two, if she placed the order really late that day. Not so fast! Amazon’s site helpfully told her that it would take anywhere from six to eleven days for her order to show up, because the Kindle was evidently on backorder. Wait, that’s not what she paid extra for!
While Amazon’s Kindle Fire was initially touted as a low-price iPad competitor for customers who primarily wanted a tablet for reading books and watching video. But today it became obvious that Amazon is not being selfish about its video content, releasing an app that allows iPad users to watch, purchase, stream and download titles from its Instant Video collection.
When you go to Twitter, Facebook, an online forum or any other form of social media to voice a complaint about a product or service you’ve purchased, one can understandably be left with the feeling that no matter how loud they shout, no one is listening. However, some businesses say they are monitoring all those negative posts and reviews and a few claim to be making systemic changes in response.
The Amazon Marketplace is a really useful consumer-to-consumer selling arena. Unfortunately, when there’s a dispute, the site tends to side with the customer. Even, as reader and first-time Amazon seller Jeff learned, when the dispute has already been decided in the seller’s favor. Worse: the buyer, or the shipping service the buyer used to send the item back, destroyed the item enough that it can’t be resold.