We all know and love Amazon and most of us have bought at least once from this dynamic on-line marketplace. However, is Amazon doing the best for its customers? I have to ask this because in the the past few months I have seen a BBC Watchdog programme highlighting a number of unhappy Kindle customers who bought the Kindle and found it stopped working just before the 12 months mark. The point of the consumer feature was that Amazon was not sympathetic to their dissatisfied customers. Some received a replacement which also failed after only a short time and they were apparently not given more than a 90 day warranty on the replacement! I recall the reporter more or less saying the customers were more or less told that the Kindle was only designed to last 12 months and if they got longer that was a bonus.
The Daily Mail of 12 December 2012 ran an article about Amazon’s poor customer service in MondeyMail:Advice. Essentially the customer bought an Android tablet for £124.90 through Amazon’s website from a company called SuperSlim HD using her own Amazon credit card. The credit card statement showed payment went to Amazon Marketplace Eu-uk. However, when the tablet stopped working and no response was received from the seller Amazon advised that the company was no longer trading with them. As a result, Amazon would not supply the poor customer (who purchased in good faith through Amazon) with replacement.
As I understand it, this response from Amazon is completely legal as they are a third party in this transaction and are merely introducing the buyer ad seller. Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act offers protection for credit card shoppers but a loop hole has emerged in this protection owing to the advent of changing modern technology. The Act makes a lender (ie credit card company) responsible if a retailer fails to deliver a service and if goods are not received or the business goes into liquidation, the customer can justifiably obtain a refund from the credit card provider. The great British public is well used to such protections when conducting retail transactions and most of us have no idea that no such protection exists unless there is a direct link between the purchaser, the seller and the credit card company you have used to make the purchase. In other words, introduce a middle man such as Amazon and there is no protection at all.
If I were any of these customers I would not be very happy with Amazon’s approach and I cannot understand why they can’t perform goodwill gestures whilst this loophole remains and lead the way to rectifying the situation. The Kindle issue is a different kettle of fish and is one for Trading Standards to wade through I feel.
I myself have been very happy with all my dealings with Amazon and would very much like them to be part of the solution to resolve this loophole as so many of us would hate for their reputation to be unnecessarily tarnished and spoil a good thing.
Amazon and the like please don’t spoil anyone’s Christmas this year.