Friday, November 04, 2011

I wish Amazon would fix this

Okay, let's be honest. As embarrassed as I am to love a behemoth corporation like Amazon, the fact is that I do. They have always made my life better, starting with when, once upon a time, they shipped books I couldn't find anywhere else to my house FOR FREE. And the Kindle has changed my life for the better... it has altered how I travel and how I read in a way that is undeniably positive. And I would be lying if I said I didn't want to go get a Kindle Fire. That's not going to happen where I am financially, but I still want one. And I love the author services set up through Amazon, and I bought my first album in the cloud the other day (the new, amazing, Switchfoot album, Vice Verses). All that to say... I am a fan. All things being equal I'll buy from Amazon rather than some other e-tailer.

So, today, I go to download a couple of books for my Kindle for an upcoming trip, planning to charge it to one of my credit cards that I use for this specific purpose, but when I went to buy them, there was nowhere to choose my payment options. I can only buy it through the "one click" system... for my convenience. So I can't choose which credit card I want to use unless I go and alter the settings. So I went and altered the settings so I could use that card. And then, when I hit "one click" it CHARGED MY GIFT CARD BALANCE. 

As it happens, I was planning to save my gift card balance to buy Christmas gifts.  There is no way to change the payment once it's made. So I contacted Amazon. Here's our chat. I changed the name of the very helpful Amazon associate, as this is not about him (he was great) but about Amazon:


Me: I just purchased two e-books but instead of using my credit card to pay, Amazon used my gift certificate balance. I'd like to use my credit card, not my gift certificate balance.

Amazon: Hello, my name is (Amazon employee). I'll be happy to help you.

Me: Thanks, Amazon employee.

Amazon: I'm sorry Matt, if the gift card balance is there in the account, it will charge first.

Me: So is there a way to get it refunded? I need to use my credit card, not my (gift card) balance.

Amazon: Matt, I can issue you refund. But still if you again order something ,your gift card will be charged,if it has the balance.

Me: I will buy it elsewhere then. Thanks!

Amazon: Okay.

Me: So, I guess go ahead and issue the refund and return the books if you have to. I would be great if there was actually an option on this. I know you can choose on physical books, it seems short-sighted of Amazon not to have the option for ebooks
I know that's not your decision, but I prefer buying books at Amazon...

Amazon: May I know the books names you want to be refunded.

Me: One is "Culture Making" and the other is "best spiritual writing 2011"

Amazon: Thank you Matt. I have refunded the books you will be notified in the email about this.

Me: Thanks. I wish there were a way to buy these books without using my gift card. Anyway, thanks for your help.

Amazon: You will credited with in 2-3 business days. I'm really sorry for the inconvenience you faced Matt.

You are welcome. Is there anything else I can do for you today?

Me: no. thanks

Amazon: Thanks for visiting Amazon.com. We hope to see you again soon!

Me:
actually... if I buy the books now it will charge my credit card, right? Since the gift card balance isn't in there?


And that is what I did. So, just to make it clear, here are the necessary steps for me to take if I want to order my Kindle e-book on a specific credit card instead of using my gift card:


1) Order the book.


2) Search the site to see if there's some way to change the payment that was used. There's not (not for e-books, anyway).


3) Contact Amazon help.


4) Return the e-books. (At least this step was relatively painless.)


5) Quickly purchase the books again with my creidt card before the gift card balance is restored.


So, the convenience of one-click ordering took me about 35 minutes. Yay. 


Amazon, please fix this. Gracias.