Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Kindle's Cancellation Policy: Very UnAmazon-ish

Doesn't it drive you nuts when a company makes it simple to buy but difficult to cancel or return your purchase? Amazon prides itself on customer service and rightfully so. Then again, I've never tried to return anything to them so I'm not sure how difficult that would be...

If you ever decide to cancel your Kindle magazine or blog subscriptions prepare yourself for something other than a 1-click operation. In fact, even though the Kindle is touted as PC-free, your computer will come in handy when you look to cancel a Kindle subscription.

As Harry McCracken notes in this PC World article, it's difficult (at best) to cancel a subscription on the Kindle. This is a very unfortunate design flaw and something that Amazon needs to fix sooner rather than later.

It's sad to think that Amazon would reduce itself to the level of AOL and every other company with shady cancellation procedures. It's clearly a business practice that's put in place with the intention of discouraging cancellations. After all, if the customer can't quickly figure out how to cancel, they're more likely to give up and just keep the subscription. The cancellation process should be just as simple as the purchasing one.

Amazon, is it really worth sacrificing your sparkling customer service record just to reduce subscription cancellations? That seems like an awful trade-off to me.

8 comments:

Fran Toolan said...

Hey Joe. Did you hear about the 'kindle bug'? It's probably sorted out by now, but back in early December, if you cancelled your whole Kindle service, you were credited for the books that you bought - which was ok - but you were credited at the hardcover price, instead of the ebook price. So, if you bought an ebook for 9.99 and it's hardcover 'parent' was priced at 35.00, then you were credited at the 35.00 price.

Joe Wikert said...

Hi Fran. Wow, what a nightmare! No, I hadn't heard about that one till I read your comment. I wonder how these sales and subsequent returns will show up on publisher reports...

Fran Toolan said...

I wonder how anything will show up on publisher reports, Joe! I bet they don't show up at all yet... which might be why they aren't shipping!

Joe Wikert said...

Fran, are you trying to ruin my year-end holidays? ;-) I shudder to think what life would be like back at the office if Kindle purchases aren't properly reflected in the data Amazon provides. What a nightmare that would be. Given Amazon's great history of meticulously tracking and reporting all the details, I'm betting they'll have everything in place for this as well...I hope...!

Fran Toolan said...

Me, too! You will see them before I do. this could all be fodder for another article for you. to date, ebook sales have been so anscillary that most publishers have accounted for them outside their normal systems.... I wonder what the impact of the Kindle will be on all of that?!?

J said...

Wow, that article's complaint was incredibly lame and the tone of your blog post seems to imply it is difficult (AOL difficult) to cancel a subscription, but the difficulty only lies with canceling ON THE KINDLE. Mr. McCracken even states "So I canceled my blog subscriptions on my PC, where it was simple enough" which I think is fine because if you've navigated with the Kindle, you know it is primarily a READER, not a web surfing device. The cancellation process is NOT EVEN CLOSE to AOL's cancellation process. You seem to bring it up for hyperbole or I don't know why. It makes it obvious that you don't own a Kindle with a subscription. It is very easy to cancel a subscription. This whole requiring a PC thing is a red herring. The fact of the matter is, if you purchased a Kindle, you had to order it WITH A PC. Surely within 2 weeks, someone could find the 2 minutes required to cancel a subscription and get on a PC somewhere in the world. I own a Kindle, but I am not in anyway affiliated with Amazon.

Joe Wikert said...

Dear J. I'm guilty as charged, I'm afraid. I apologize profusely if I offended you in any way by bringing up the AOL reference. Totally unfair. I'll try not to be so overly critical in the future. The whole cancellation thing is a non-issue and I have no idea why Mr. McCracken even mentioned it.

andy m. said...

ah, dripping with sarcasm. gotta love it! seriously, although its probably wrong to invoke the aol example, why doesn't amazon make this cancellation process simpler? i'd compare it to an email newsletter cancellation. every issue comes to your inbox with a link that quickly allows you to cancel. why can't amazon offer the same easy option for these kindle subscriptions? the answer is: they don't want to make it so easy to cancel, which i believe was the original point in all this!