Amazon is putting a stop to customers that return too many items or that “misbehave” according to the retailer: whoever crosses the line, will be banned. Dozens of customers have taken to social media to complain about this unilateral account removal.
Banned without warning
If you send things back to Amazon on a regular basis or in quick succession, you risk getting banned from the platform. Dozens of shoppers have complained on social media that their account was cancelled and they cannot or are not allowed to order something from the site. The retail giant even failed to inform some of these customers.
Amazon told The Wall Street Journal that whoever breaches its terms and conditions can be removed from the platform. “We want everyone to be able to use Amazon, but there are rare occasions where someone abuses our service over an extended period of time,” an Amazon spokesman said. “We never take these decisions lightly, but with over 300 million customers around the world, we take action when appropriate to protect the experience for all our customers”, a spokesperson told the paper.
Customers have complained that is not clear when Amazon considers your behaviour to be unacceptable. Accounts are usually shut down without prior warning and sometimes even without any notification at all. Other customers did receive a reprimand about their returns by mail.
Risk rating for every customer
Once banned, it is apparently very difficult to gain access once more. One of the customers testified that he received an email in March saying his account was terminated after he had sent back about five items in the past twelve months. He was not allowed to open a new account or order through someone else. After protesting the decision, his account was reinstated.
Another user was permanently banned without notice. At her request for information, she was told that there had been an unusual amount of issues with her orders. Fraud with returned orders costs retailers billions every year, according to the WSJ, and that is why several chains give users a risk rating.
Algorithms sound the alarm at irregular behaviour
According to former Amazon managers, the company employs algorithms that sound the alarm when a customer displays unusual behaviour. An employee does make the final decision to ban an account though. Customers that send back more items than average, send back the wrong items or break other rules (including writing paid reviews) run more risk of being banned. It is also suspicious if people give unusual reasons for a return.
Amazon’s return policy does not say it can ban customers because of their return behaviour, but the terms and conditions do give the retailer the right to ban users when it wants. The company refused to say how many customers have already been banned.