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Amazon takes one for the team

Amazon’s been occasionally putting collections of classical music MP3 s on sale (99 Essential Pieces by <composer>).  These collections are performances by orchestras and artists you’ve never heard of… akin to the classical music you used to find in the bargain bins at the record store (remember record stores?). I like classical music so I bought one last night… 99 Essential Beethoven Pieces.

However, recently I got a new Discover card. Discover had some sort of security issue and even though I hadn’t had any problems, they issued me (and probably thousands of others) a new card. Well, I hadn’t updated my Amazon account, deleting the old Discover card and adding the new one in its place. Since my Discover card has been my primary card on Amazon, that’s the one they used for last night’s purchase. Now, one would have expected that when the transaction was processed, it would’ve said “Hey… you can’t use that credit card… it’s not valid.” But for whatever reason (possibly because I buy a lot of crap through Amazon), the transaction went through unchallenged and I downloaded all 99 Beethoven pieces last night.

Bright and early this morning, I got an email from Amazon that they had not received a valid method of payment for my order so they were cancelling it. Oops… mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Hard to cancel a transaction though when I’ve already received the merchandise. So I signed in to Amazon, deleted the old Discover card and added the new one. That business taken care of, I tried to figure out how to actually pay Amazon for the purchase I’d made. Lo and behold, there was nothing there about it. The transaction wasn’t even in my purchase history.

Being the nice guy I am, I decided I’d better call them and try to make it right. Well, there’s a challenge, let me tell you. Try to find an actual phone number on the website of most merchants… it’s always a challenge and in some cases impossible. However, persistent sod that I am, I finally managed to find a page where I was told that if I clicked the button below, Amazon would call me back. “Click.” Immediately the phone started warbling my default ringtone, Harlem Nocturne. So I answer, and after the announcement with the usual disclaimers about how the call might be monitored for quality assurance, I’m connected to a helpful call center agent named Anne.

I explained my situation to Anne, that I owe Amazon $3.99, and I’d like to pay it, and that I’d already dealt with the cancelled credit card and added the replacement card. She went “Hmmmmm.” Then she said she was going to transfer me to the MP3 department. I said thanks, and after about 45 seconds on hold, an agent came on the line. After I explained my situation, she told me that they didn’t have a way of taking my payment so I should consider last night’s purchase a gift from Amazon. She did ask me to tell her the last four digits of the credit card I’d like to use for future MP3 transactions, so I told her and she took care of that. Having concluded my business, I thanked her profusely for her help and signed off with my customary “Take the rest of the day off with pay and tell ’em I said it’s okay.”

So Amazon… thanks for the free music, for handling the call very nicely and and for taking one for the team. We hear all too often about bad experiences but not often enough about the good experiences.

One Response to “Amazon takes one for the team”

  • Point well taken. As I followed you through all the steps, I was lead to feel your pain.
    The main reason I stick with my cellular phone provider, U.S. Cellular, besides the important one of service–no dropped calls, is customer service. I want an iPhone and U.S. Cellular doesn’t offer one—they say the numbers just don’t work, but I’m loyal to them, they accommodate me in all other ways.
    I used to have AT&T and they were a bunch of…(expletives deleted). They may be changing their ways; every year they are rated last in customer service satisfaction, and I hear they’re starting to pay more attention to their customers because their grasping, intransigent attitude has cost them sales.

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