Tuesday, February 13, 2018

It Doesn't Cost Half if you Charge Three Times

I don't think I have to tell you that customer service is a thing of the past. I bet each and every one of you reading this post has a story of your own. This is hardly my first, but it is to date the longest ongoing and most frustrating experience I've had.

This situation has been going on for weeks. And it just continually seems to get worse and worse. I don't like the word "hate", but I really think I hate Amazon. To put both me and my son through this much over their mistake is beyond absurd.

Let me set the stage for you. PurDude has Amazon Student Prime. It's the exact same services as "regular" Amazon Prime but, for students, at half the cost. He gets many things through Amazon, including his school books. Since I'm financing his education, he has used both his own credit card in his account, and mine for school related items.  He always lets me know when to expect a charge on my account.

In November his Student Prime was up for renewal. Amazon, without me or my son knowing, just took my credit card information from his account and charged me. I saw the charge for $51.70 on my credit card and thought it was either a mistake or fraud. I was going to stop the payment but contacted Amazon and was able to piece together what the charge was for. I wasn't happy that they had charged my card without my permission, but . . . whatever. Truth is, I have access to my son's debit account because I transfer money in there for his bills and would have ended up paying for it one way or another so I just let it go.

In January I saw in my son's bank account, a "recurring charge" from Amazon for $11.59, and questioned him about it. He says that he went to use his Student Prime and was told he didn't have it, that it hadn't been renewed, so he approved them charging his account in increments. I guess I hadn't told him I'd been charged and his Prime had been paid for. 

OK, no problem, it's just a mistake. 

I went to Amazon's website and scoured it looking for a phone number for customer service but couldn't find one. There was a "contact us" email section so I explained my story. I included PurDude's name, account number, date I'd been charged, date he'd been charged and the amounts. Their response, in stilted English, was that it's not my Amazon account so they wouldn't discuss it with me. I responded that they had to talk to me because I have the right to question charges to my credit card.

A huge issue with Amazon customer service is that there is no continuity. When I respond to their email, it does not go to the person with whom I'd been talking, it goes to someone else. Ten days and multiple emails with a myriad of people with varying familiarity with English vacillated between some who wouldn't talk to me because it's not my account, others who needed me to repeat the story (but then didn't get my response) and still others who did not understand the issue. I asked multiple times to be contacted by a supervisor but each request was ignored.

Let's just say that if baking relieves stress for me, and it does, I have spent an inordinate amount of time in the kitchen these past few weeks. 
Peanut Butter Lover’s Sandwich Cookies, peanut butter flavored cookies sandwiched with fluffy peanut butter filling. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cookies #peanutbutter
Peanut Butter Lover's Sandwich Cookies

I noticed that at the bottom of one of their useless emails, there was a survey to fill out about my experience. Oh hell yeah, I'll tell you about my experience. Apparently when you give them a poor rating, they respond with a request for your phone number so they can call you. I put in my phone number and the phone rang. 

Finally. I can talk to someone.

The first person wanted to know how she could help me with my Kindle. The second person deals with Amazon Prime but not Student Prime. The third person told me my son was charged because he's switched from Student Prime to regular Prime. No, of course he didn't, it makes no sense at all to pay double for the same service, but they weren't going to take that from me, falling back on the old "it's not your account".

It Doesn't Cost Half if you Charge Three Times, a Customer Service nightmare. | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

During this time PurDude had the flu. I was really worried about him and it's one of the reasons I was trying to settle this myself. Frustrated and temporarily defeated, I let him know that when he felt better he needed to call Amazon and tell them that he had not switched to Prime from Student Prime and they needed to refund him the $11.59 as the full amount was paid by me in November.

He did call and checking his debit account a few days later I saw that there was a credit for $11.59. Success! 

Not so fast, Grasshopper. There was also a "recurring payment" charge for $51.70. So now we have BOTH paid for his Student Prime. Great.

I emailed them again. Once again I couldn't speak to the same person twice and once again they told me it wasn't my account. My stance was that it doesn't matter whose account it is, no one should have to tell them that you cannot double charge a customer. Another week of back and forth and incredible frustration and I FINALLY got someone to agree to credit PurDude's account for the $51.70. Success!

Not so fast, Grasshopper. Within minutes I got a private message from PurDude on FB. "Mom, I just got an email from Amazon that my Student Prime has been canceled." 

Seriously? So now I've paid for a Prime account that he doesn't even have. 

I went back to the email I received from the representative who'd agreed to refund PurDude's double payment and explained AGAIN, that the Prime was paid for in November and she was supposed to be refunding the double payment, not canceling his Prime.

Can you guess what happened next? Bet you can. An email from yet another representative telling me they won't discuss it with me, it's not my account. 

At this point PurDude had given up: "they're just not going to let me have Prime, Mom", he said to me on FB. "Well, I'm not throwing my $50 bucks out the window" was my answer. Meanwhile, despite the cancellation, there was no credit for $51.70 to his account. So we're right back to we've both paid for Prime and he doesn't have it. 


This is war. Any mama bear will not allow you to take advantage of her child. This mama bear isn't going to let you take advantage of her checkbook. Amazon has done both.

I called them again and got Jose. I was furious and I think you could hear my teeth clenching as I told Jose the story. I told him that it was my son's account, that he was very sick and that I felt I had the right to discuss the situation because my card was charged. Jose asked me for PurDude's Amazon account number, the email address and the home address associated with the account, ending digits of my card that was charged (same last name and address as my son). He had enough verifiable information to be willing to talk to me about the account. A-frikken-men.

I first asked him to confirm the November 15th charge to see that I'd paid for the year. He found it. I went through the 2 weeks of emails and phone calls, the $11.59 charge and credit, the $51.70 charge and promise of credit that did not materialize, and the cancellation. He got it. All of it. 

Here's what he's going to do. He's going to reinstate the account. He'll do that by charging PurDude another $51.70. Oh holy mother of all that is holy you have got to be kidding. No frikken way. Now you want us to pay for it THREE times. Hold on, I think my head just exploded.

He was patient with me, I'll give Jose that. He said that he had to charge for the Prime to reinstate it. Once it was active again and the charge went through he would return the fee.

Listen, fool me once, shame on you, fool me 50 times, shame on me. No way I was trusting him to do that. We haven't even gotten the $51.70 credit that resulted in the account being canceled. Jose assured me that he could see the credit on his end. I asked him over and over again, verifying that we would now get one charge and two credits and the account would remain active, that the second credit would not cancel the account again. He confirmed it all. I asked, based on all that had happened, how I could talk to him again when that didn't happen. You can't call a specific customer service rep, of course, but he said that he would call me back in 24 to 48 hours. Yeah, right. And I suppose pigs would fly too.

Guess what happened 24 hours later? 

He called. Yes, he did. He said that PurDude's debit card had been charged (it hadn't posted to the account yet so I wasn't able to see it) and asked me to hold while he put through the credit to PurDude's account. I think while he had me on hold I may have cried a little.

When Jose came back on I made it clear how skittish I was in believing this was actually handled. What if the two credits don't come through? Or they cancel his account again? I asked Jose if he could call me one more time at the end of this week to verify that everything went through. He agreed.

Within minutes PurDude forwarded me two emails, both from Jose. One said that the Amazon Student Prime account had been reactivated. The other said that he would be calling me on Friday to confirm receipt of a refund.

I hate you, Amazon. But Happy Valentine's Day, Jose, I just might love you.

Not so fast, Grasshopper. I'm withholding judgement. We'll see what this week brings . . .

Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Peanut Butter Lover's Sandwich Cookies         

Printable Recipe

1/2 stick butter, softened
1/2 stick margarine, softened
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
up to 3 TBSP milk 

*Beat 1/2 stick butter, 1/2 stick margarine, 1/2 cuup sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda and salt.
*Roll into plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
*Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover cookie sheets with parchment paper.
*Roll dough into 20 balls. Place onto prepared cookie sheets, gently flatten with the heel of your hand and bake for 10 - 12 minutes. Allow to cool for 2 minutes, remove and cool completely before filling.
*Beat the remaining butter and crunchy peanut butter. Staring on low speed, carefully beat in the powdered sugar. 1 TBSP at a time, beat in the milk until filling reaches piping consistency.
*Pipe the filling (you will need a wide piping tip as you are using crunchy peanut butter) onto the bottom of half of the cookies. Top each with another cookie to form a sandwich.


  1. We are going through a "double bill" scenario with Drury Inns right now and we'll see how long it takes (our charge is over $500, grrr). I feel for you! This really sucks, no matter how many cookies you bake, and I can only hope "Jose" didn't get fired for giving you actual service. I would be holding my breath, too. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

    1. I'm sorry, but not surprised that you're going through this same scenario with another company, seems to happen all the time. Hope you get your situation settled before you lose your cool, or your mind.

  2. Dear God, I would have had a nervous breakdown and hired a lawyer Cookies sound great though

    1. There were many times through this situation that I really thought I might be having a nervous breakdown. I do have to admit that it helped that we were able to laugh at each absurd step along the way at the dinner table.

  3. I've gone through similar crap Karen but not to the extent that you did. I've taken to "starting a conversation" on Twitter with some companies who obviously have people scouring for comments about their customer service. I usually get an immediate DM asking how they can help because they hate having anything negative, no matter how small, on social media. My comments usually start out pretty benign. If they actually get me the help and answers I need, I tweet my satisfaction. If I don't, well that's a different story. My tweets usually end up satisfactorily. Glad your problem ended up well. Reisa

    1. I do the exact same thing with both FB and twitter. This is the first time I've done it and had a company completely ignored my comments, though.

  4. I am hoping you won the Amazon battle. Amazon can be a raging Gorilla. I sell on Amazon and it is not easy to get in and set up. I think Google and Amazon keep their productivity high by leasing out customer service and hiding phone numbers. BTW Cookies look great. My favorite kind of sandwich.

    1. You are right, at least with Amazon. They hide phone numbers, specifically do not allow for any continuity with customer service and none of them spoke English well. It was truly a nightmare.


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