Friday, February 5, 2010

A Lesson in AmazonWin

Amazon may have had its share of service hiccups, but the site has consistently gone above and beyond at the individual customer service level. This is a story of ineptitude, not by any fault of Amazon, but because of my own inability to read directions. Yet in spite of the massive amount of customer fail on my part, Amazon continued to be helpful.

About a month ago, I made several Christmas purchases that resulted in some free credits to use in the MP3 and On Demand stores. I redeemed them in the store and deleted the e-mails. Some of the credits, I used right away, but most of them I let sit, forgetting about them.

This week, I decided to purchase some Lady Gaga songs I wanted and I was pleased to see I had $6 of credits available. I made my purchases and went on my way until I saw my credit card had been charged. Confused, I e-mailed Amazon, who refunded my card and apologized for the error.

I tried again to buy another song, and once more my credit card was charged. This time, when I e-mailed amazon, I told them I thought I had $5 of music credit and $1 in On Demand credit, and I didn't understand why I was being charged. Amazon quickly wrote me back to tell me that in fact all my credits were in the On Demand store, and this was why I had been charged for my music downloads. Once again, they refunded me, and more, gave me some credit for the Mp3 store!

So now, deciding to just use up my On Demand credit and get it gone, I bought a video from the On Demand store. For a third time, my credit card was charged, and for a third time I e-mailed Amazon. The customer service rep promptly explained that the credit applied only to certain videos in their selection of television downloads, and offered once more to refund my purchase.

Although Amazon can have some of the blame for making the promotional credit system difficult to navigate (particularly when you delete the original e-mails), 90% of the problem resulted from my own misunderstanding and mistakes. Amazon could have said, "Sorry, your fault," and moved on. Instead, they refunded my purchase and explained why the promotional credit couldn't be used in each case. Although I wish the site explained how the promotional credit works in a more accessible location, I am very pleased by Amazon's response.

I'm not too worried about the promotional credits--they were a free gift--but I am so happy with the level of service I received from Amazon's service reps. Thank you, Dan and Ravichandra, and thank you, Amazon, for training sympathetic and helpful service reps.

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