Sunday, 26 September 2010

Selling on Amazon? FORGET IT! - another Rant

OK, I’ve been holding this one back a couple of weeks, letting it brood and fester.
And seeing as I shall probably be filming in the coming weeks, I thought it best be posted now.

Isn’t it always the way, like London buses, you wait for one for ages and then three come along together?
I’m starting to get the same feeling about life, and the cock-up principle. First there was BT (see my blog of 22nd August inst. - and that is still unresolved…I’m still waiting for your phone call, Mr. Das…

And now it’s - something that started a couple of months ago and then started to spiral out of control and travel to another planet. Here’s my latest communication to Amazon, I think it sets out ‘the story so far’!:-
Let’s go back to the beginning, shall we?:
3rd June, 2010: I decided to sell a few items on I was led to your complex web of buttons and ended up setting up a Merchant Seller account. However, having the listed the few titles I had for sale, I immediately realised your company were going to charge me about £25 per month for the privilege.

I immediately sent a request (3rd June) to close down my selling account / capacity. But your site is so complex and confusing (rather like the structure of your company, I have come to realise) it took you about five days to respond.

8th June, 2010: I receive a communication from Michael Janowicz ( ) telling me he will look into my case.
22nd June, 2010: Case No. 9126312 is created.
You also inform me that I have sold an item (for £25 - £2.75 charges) and that I have yet to transfer this money to any of my accounts.

Amazon then make a couple of attempts to extract money from my account - all rejected.

24th July, 2010: Consequently, I discover that my selling account is still open, Against my expressed wishes.

3rd August, 2020: Eventually (!) I am sent an email by Amazon Services Europe that my Pro Merchant account subscription (sic) is cancelled.

18th August, 2010: I receive an e-mail from one Narsing K of Seller Support [quoting Case No. 10111292 - a new number] informing me “I have checked and confirmed that your account has been closed”. I thought that was the end of it.

How wrong I was. (This is, after all, amazon - and it is very evident to me by now that your departments are not co-ordinating or even communicating with each other). Because….

31st August, 2010 (5pm GMT): I receive an e-mail from amazon telling me your company had taken out of my bank account an unspecified sum…(characteristically helpful, amazon) [I later discover, from my Bank, the sum is £11.83] - Unauthorised by me.

When I attempt to raise a query with you, you respond (31st Aug) by telling me that the Ray Frensham selling account was Open (you had already assured me it was closed) and informing me you were Unable to cancel my Merchant Account.

…There was a trace of a silver lining, of course: you invited me (sic) to…(here we go again)…open up a new case! [N.B.: Trouble was, the link they sent me was Not one where I could open up a new case but to a place where I could edit my credit card details].

Well this is it.

I want ALL (and any) selling account/s in my name cancelled immediately; I want an explanation as to what the heck is going on; I want action; I want it done NOW; I want my money/ies refunded into my bank account. A.S.A.P.

But it still doesn’t end there:-

1st September, 2010 ( GMT): I receive yet another e-mail from your company (this time from “Joannne” at Seller Support), with yet Another new case number [No. 10356622] - the third one to date - assuring me “this matter is being investigated”.

To be honest: I don’t believe you anymore. I don’t think that one part of amazon knows what any other part is doing. What a mess.

The word “compensation” is starting to creep into my vocabulary: not just the amount/s of money you have already taken from my bank account unauthorised, but for the precious time I have wasted in dealing with this matter (repeatedly) and for the stress caused thereby - which is still on-going.

[[For what it’s worth, I am now in discussions with my own publishers (Hodder & Stoughton/Hodder Headline and McGraw-Hill) to have my book titles withdrawn from your distribution database - worldwide (including foreign translations).

You have clearly demonstrated to me that amazon cannot reliably handle customers’ accounts I am starting to wonder whether the sales figures you return to my publishers are accurate in the first place. Please do not force me to send in the Accountants to examine your books.]]

…and don’t even flatter yourselves into thinking I will use amazon again to buy stuff. [I think this story is good enough to post up on my blog].

- And that was where my (new) complaint letter ended. But that didn’t stop Amazon, oh no. Because three days later…

4th September: I received another e-mail from Narsing K of Seller Support ( [Ref. Case No.: 10111292 - remember that one?]: “I can now confirm that your account has been closed”. [Although he didn’t specify it, I presume he meant a Seller’s account…which one?]. He added: “The £-11.83 (sic) was the pro merchant subscription fee charged on a pro rated basis [don’t they mean pro rata?] for your account upgrade in June. Warmest regards…”

Warmest Regards? Warmest Nothing! The question remains: why did Amazon charge me £11.83 - without my authorisation and without even informing me until after the event - for an account that should not have been open in June anyway, had Amazon actually listened to their customer and done their job properly?

The case continues…

Oh, and for the casual reader, angry at the way Amazon has treated them, I recommend the following websites / information:’s well-hidden Customer Service phone number
0800 496 1081

You can also try this number 0207 084 7911 (listed as for ‘International Customers’) The 0800 number is working as of January 10th 2010

[[Where did I get this info? . Why did I have to go there? Because it’s deliberately buried on the Amazon website so you can’t find it]].

You can also try:-

…and if you are in the USA:
Another Very Useful link:
This gives you the personal e-mails of the CEOs and Managing Directors of many major companies. Bombard them with complaints direct and see if you get anywhere. (I was recommended this site by someone in Government, so it should be effective, if a rather hush-hush site).

I shall regularly update this posting and see where it takes is. Are you reading this …and if you are, do you CARE?


donna said...

Merchant Service Inc. has a lot of different options at affordable prices. Call 1-877-877-9592. The sales staff are great!!

Anonymous said...

Well done, and please Do keep up the good work Mr. Frensham!

I sincerely hope you will get you money back, and some other form of well thought through compensation.

Something that should lie in the interest of the company itself, but probably does not.

Until then, I am looking forward to following the progress on this ill handled matter.



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The Drones Club