Amazon Policies Changing?

I love shopping from Amazon.com, and I use their ads and links on this site to get a percentage commission. But this weekend, over the US holiday, two policy changes are being discussed that suggest there’s a new era coming at the large online retailer.

First, some customers have reported getting “we aren’t going to sell to you from now on” letters. The general message is that due to the number of returns, they aren’t allowed to be customers any more.

In the normal course of business, the occasional problem is inevitable. The rate at which such problems have occurred on your account is extraordinary, however, and cannot continue. Effective immediately, your Amazon.com account is closed and you are no longer able to shop in our store.

The letter goes on to say that new accounts will also be shut down if they can be linked to the customer. Later discussions suggest that those targeted also had other issues with their accounts, like the shipping and billing addresses not matching and the involvement of high-ticket items.

More important to me, Amazon seems to have removed its post-purchase price matching. The information also no longer appears on its pricing help page, in contrast to what the page displayed in January of this year, shown below (courtesy archive.org).

Amazon Post-Order Price Guarantee

I loved this feature. It was great whenever a book or DVD was reduced in price by several dollars after I bought it — it kept me feeling like a valued customer instead of someone who got rooked. For instance, I wound up saving over $20 on my purchase of the Marvel Vault because over a month, Amazon.com just kept dropping the price.

Now, if they really are no longer doing that price match, I’ll be much less likely to buy from them as easily. Instead, I’ll do a lot more research and check out competitors to be sure I’m really getting a good deal. And I’ll be more likely to put off purchases just in case the price continues to drop.

I suspect that automated sites like PriceProtectr that watched for drops and notified the customer without them having to do any manual work may have affected this decision.


8 Responses to “Amazon Policies Changing?”

  1. Kiki Says:

    They’ve also stopped accepting checks. And while that isn’t going to bother the majority of customers, it means they’ve lost my business. I really don’t want them taking the money directly from my checking – old prejudice on my part.

    With the price of gas and the lack of bookstores in my immediate area, Amazon was getting the majority of my book business. Guess I’ll have to find somewhere else to shop now.

  2. Greg McElhatton Says:

    I just checked two different objects (Animal Crossing for the Wii, and the Essential Dykes to Watch Out For) and they both were offering the Pre-Order Price Guarantee. Is it still not showing up for you?

    And I must say that for people who are scamming Amazon (as others in that SlickDeals thread note, like people who were clearly ordering and then returning things for Pepsi promotion points for instance) it doesn’t bother me that their accounts were shut down. They’re hardly the only ones to do that, too. Someone I used to know was banned chain-wide from returning anything to Barnes and Noble, because after he was fired from his position managing a local comic store, he started “returning” trade paperbacks left and right to get store credit for new things. So now he’s on the “do not allow to return” list.

  3. Johanna Says:

    Not pre, post, Greg. With the post-order price guarantee, if they dropped the price within 30 days of your purchase, they’d refund you the difference upon request. The pre-order guarantee is still there.

  4. Pedro Tejeda Says:

    They recently started charging New York sales tax which my local store doesn’t on books and trades. My store gives me 20% off on trades opening weekend so at this point, Amazon is maybe 3 to 4 percent cheaper. Even with Amazon Prime, at this point, it just seems totally worth it to buy comics locally.

  5. Greg McElhatton Says:

    Ahhh, gotcha. I’d only ever saved money with the post-order guarantee once so I’d mentally inserted pre-order into its place. (With which I have gotten some good savings in the past.)

  6. Johanna Says:

    Pedro: Yeah, that’s an interesting side effect, isn’t it? If deals get too good for the customer in one location, it seems like the company backs off instead of other companies stepping up to match. Ah, capitalism.

    Greg: Funny, I’ve never used the pre-order. Experiences do differ.

  7. Mark S. Says:

    The thing they are still doing, and what is probably driving some of this is free shipping for orders $25 and over.

    My experience has caused me to hold off until I had $25 worth of stuff before I ordered, so I didn’t have to pay the S&H. What with gas prices and such, in order for them to stay viable and make money, they had to make some changes.

    Would you rather they do away with the free S&H for orders over $25 or some of these?

  8. Johanna Says:

    I’d rather they keep offering the same high level of service I’ve come to expect from them. Free shipping is a necessity when their prices are only a dollar cheaper than Best Buy.




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