British newspaper The Guardian reports that some Amazon.com customers have learned the hard way that there is more to the company's return policy than meets the eye.
The recent article details the cases of several Amazon customers who have had their accounts closed by Amazon because it said they returned too many purchases — despite the fact that Amazon's policies don't appear to define what constitutes an excessive number of returns.
As a result, some of those customers also lost the value of gift cards or Amazon Prime memberships that were attached to their accounts.
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Shoppers who have experienced such consequences may be surprised, especially if they've read the return policy on the Amazon website.
"Returns are easy," reads Amazon's Returns Center home page.
"Items shipped from Amazon.com ... can be returned within 30 days of receipt of shipment in most cases," explains another page about the company's return policies.
In regard to an excessive-returns policy, The Guardian says: %shareLinks-quote="[The newspaper] spent several hours on the Amazon website this week, but could find no reference to the policy. We have repeatedly asked the company what constitutes too many returns, but it has refused to divulge the figure." type="quote" author="The Guardian " authordesc="" isquoteoftheday="false"%
According to the Guardian, Amazon has been canceling customer accounts since at least 2008, although the practice is "relatively rare."
The cases identified by the newspaper last week include those of:
A self-confessed Amazon addict whose account was blocked after he returned — with good reason, he says — 37 items out of 343 he had purchased.
A self-confessed electronics junkie who had spent thousands of dollars with Amazon since becoming a customer in 2006 — buying 246 items in 2015 alone — before his account was canceled. He says the items he returned were high-value electronic items that had failed, and he opted to cancel the purchases rather than wait for Amazon to send replacements.
A woman whose account was canceled after she returned 30 out of 112 items bought. As a result, she lost her Amazon Prime membership (which costs $99 per year) and the balance on an Amazon gift card (170 British pounds).
Have you had any issues returning purchases to Amazon? Let us know what happened in a comment below or on our Facebook page.
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