Banned by amazon for returning faulty goods _ money _ the guardian

Computer programmer Greg Nelson is a self-confessed Amazon addict, buying hundreds of items on its site. Baking oatmeal cookies But after sending back 37 items of 343 purchased, the online giant has blocked his account with immediate effect – and told him he would lose a gift card balance that he had on the account.

He insists there was a genuine reason for all his returns over the past two years – the goods were either faulty, damaged or not as described.

Banana and oatmeal cookies However, Amazon has refused to let him continue buying from the site without giving him, in his words, a “proper explanation”.

Amazon told Nelson that the money held on his account as a gift card balance is lost to him, as gift vouchers can only be used on the site and have no transferable value.

His case will alarm anyone blocked by Amazon who has spent a lot of money building up a large library of Kindle books or other digital purchases, as they will fear being unable to access much of it (see below).

Customers who may, for example, have been given a £200 gift voucher for Christmas, and then had their account closed before they spent the money, would lose the lot under the terms of the policy.

Nelson says: “As a previously fervently loyal fan of Amazon who has been a customer since 2002, I understand that it is trying to protect its business – however I find its actions in this situation totally egregious. Oatmeal raisin cookies recipe quaker oats I could understand if there were evidence that I had somehow tried to abuse the system, but I haven’t. Oatmeal chocolate cookies Of course, Amazon can refuse to serve whom it likes, but surely it cannot legally keep gift card balances and other purchased goods which have already been paid for by the customer – despite what any potentially unfair small print might say?”

He emailed Amazon to point out the unfairness in closing accounts based on unpublished limits of legitimate returns, but says he received a standard response refusing to reopen his account. Oatmeal raisin cookies no eggs He has also questioned whether it is legal for the internet giant to refuse to refund a customer’s unspent gift balance.

“Our goal is to deliver the best experience for the millions of customers who shop with us. Oatmeal cinnamon raisin cookies In a tiny fraction of cases we are forced to close accounts where we identify extreme account abuse. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies best This decision is only taken after we have reviewed the account carefully and tried to work with the customer over an extended time period to resolve any issues,” he said.

The former distance selling rules, now part of the consumer contracts regulations, allow online shoppers to return an item within 14 days without giving a reason for a full refund, provided the item is in the original packaging. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies smitten kitchen Amazon voluntarily extends this policy so items can be returned inside 30 days, but acts against customers who do it too often.

Items that are damaged or not as described, or simply don’t last as they should, are all often sent back by unhappy consumers, as they would return an item to a physical shop.

Although relatively rare, Amazon has been cancelling customers accounts since at least 2008, and in some cases has even reportedly cancelled the accounts of other family members living at the same address.

In November last year Money highlighted the case of Nigel Colledge from Kingskerswell, South Devon, who similarly had his account cancelled despite spending thousands of pounds with the firm.

He bought 246 items in 2015 alone, and had been a customer since 2006. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies eggless The self-confessed electronics junkie, who prided himself on having all the latest gizmos, said the majority of items he returned were high-value electronic items that had failed. Oatmeal cookies all recipes He had chosen to cancel problematic purchases rather than wait for Amazon to simply exchange the item. Recipe for oatmeal cookies from scratch It is unclear whether that would have saved him from being banned as Amazon refuses to explain the policy, or to differentiate between returns made for genuine or other reasons.

In January Amazon closed down another customer, Katy Kilmarton, after she returned 30 out of 112 items bought. How to make crispy oatmeal cookies She also lost a £170 gift card balance and the remaining months of her Amazon Prime membership, which costs £79 a year.

Money spent several hours on the Amazon website this week, but could find no reference to the policy. Quick oatmeal cookies We have repeatedly asked the company what constitutes too many returns, but it has refused to divulge the figure.

Nelson points out that both the customer and the company have no control over deliveries once they leave the warehouse, and asks if it would ban a customer who just happened to have several deliveries damaged by the courier.

While thousands of UK consumers boycotted Amazon over its controversial tax situation, many disabled and elderly customers – and those who live in rural areas away from big shops – have come to depend on the company’s slick online operation. Oatmeal cookies resep Are they now going to have to accept damaged or wrongfully described items to avoid the risk of being banned, asks Nelson.