With decisions like this, Amazon is definitely alienating its base—computer programmer Greg Nelson’s account was shut down after he returned 37 of the 434 items he purchased from the website.
Amazon UK shut down Nelson’s account and wiped out his gift card balance (which seems extremely questionable); Nelson commented that, “I could understand if there were evidence that I had somehow tried to abuse the system, but I haven't… I find [Amazon's] actions in this situation totally egregious," according to the Guardian.
He further said that any attempts to contact Amazon and discuss his situation were met with standard e-mail responses that refused any negotiation on the issue.
An Amazon spokesperson told the Guardian that, “in a tiny fraction of cases we are forced to close accounts where we identify extreme account abuse."
However, this case definitely does not seem to constitute “extreme” account abuse—Nelson only returned 8 percent of his purchases, which appears completely reasonable.
This is not a one-time case; as the Guardian notes, “Although relatively rare, Amazon has been cancelling customers [sic.] accounts since at least 2008.”
It’s not inconceivable that Amazon would cancel accounts that violate their policies; however, there is no evidence that Nelson engaged in any wrongdoing in this case. At any rate, this is definitely not a great PR move for Amazon.
Banner Image Credit: Flickr, Mike Seyfang