Done with Amazon…

amazon fail

I’m sorry you’ve been directed to this page.

You see, I’d been an Amazon Associate for almost 10 years when on February 3rd, I received an email from the program that I was “not in compliance with the Operating Agreement that governs your participation in the Associates Program and  your Associates Program account has been closed.” The email followed with some extremely vague, non-specific reasoning, but nothing with any sort of detail that would allow either correction of the issue or even validation that the information was true. More importantly, that’s essentially the end of the line: there’s no appeal process, no sense of due process at all…all while holding any outstanding fees, which in my case, for the two months not yet paid out, totaled over $500.

Granted, the terms of the program allow Amazon to do this at their whim. And that’s fine. But it’s disappointing that a company that rightfully prides itself on great customer service on the front end can (and does…one only has to do a Google search to find example after example) to treat associates, who direct traffic and sales to Amazon, so poorly.

And yes, I did question the email and the details. Responses were just as vague as the original email. So I got frustrated and lobbed a Hail Mary email to Mr Jeff Bezos himself, and I was contacted by the Executive Customer Care team. And in the meantime, had received an email back from the program’s customer service, which didn’t clarify anything, but said Amazon was “unable to verify that the means through which you are referring customers to the Amazon site are in compliance with the terms of the Associates Program Operating Agreement.  Therefore, we request that you provide us with a detailed description of the methods you are using to refer customers to the Amazon site.”

Nearly as bizarre, in putting the onus on me to prove myself innocent, but seemed some sort of progress. Unfortunately, it was vague in what it was requesting, or timeframe, etc…so I emailed back, which was never answered, and despite the Executive Customer Care rep saying they’d be in touch in 2-3 business days, crickets were chirping. So I replied as follows:

I’m disappointed.

I’m disappointed that Amazon, a company that rightfully prides itself on customer service, routinely closes the accounts of associates with seemingly little explanation, places the burden on the associate to provide vague proof, doesn’t respond when asking for clarification on said proof, and all of this without any sense of due process, while all the time holding funds.

I’m disappointed that I had to attempt to escalate to get any sense of fairness.

I’m disappointed that there’s been no response in 7 days/5 business days.

I’m disappointed that during that time, the new account that I’d signed up for has also now been closed with absolutely no email or information.

I’m disappointed that I have to look at other options to Amazon’s Associate program.

I’m disappointed that I have to evaluate my own personal purchasing and whether to use Amazon.

I’m disappointed.

And so I remain. I’ll not be referring traffic or sales to Amazon, and once I settle on a replacement, I’ll relink items. In the meantime, I’ve been sitting on about $10k of sales that I need to refer elsewhere.

*graphic above from a post discussing one of Amazon’s biggest blunders back in 2010.