|Logo courtesy of Amazon.com|
Here is a cautionary tale for any one who shops from Amazon. Last month my husband and I decided to buy two items on Black Friday from Amazon.com's Lightening Deals. The one item went through fine and we received our confirmation email and were charged the correct amount. However the second item which was more expensive caused us much frustration. We had ordered the new Skylander's Giants Portal Pack for our XBox360. The order seemed to go through fine and we received our order confirmation. However, the next day as I signed online to check my checking acount balance I noticed something odd. There was a double charge for the Skylander's. I thought to myself this has to be wrong. I was worried that maybe I had done something wrong and had accidentally ordered two somehow. So I logged into my Amazon account only to confirm that I had only ordered one.
From here the trouble starts. I immediately contacted Amazon. Number one getting in contact with people at Amazon is a nightmare. First you have to find the contact us information on their website. The website doesn't just give you a number to call you have to go through trying to look up answers to your issue before you can even find email/phone numbers. After sitting on hold for a few minutes I was put through to someone who very obviously was not a native English speaker. Though they give names like "Sam" and "Vicki" it is obvious that is the American name they have taken on for Amazon's Customer Service. I explained the situation to the person on the line. I spent nearly 20 minutes arguing with the person. I was told that my bank had put a hold on my account and that it should clear up in 6-10 business days. I was also told that Amazon does not take out any money from accounts till an item has been shipped. I told the woman politely that "well then my items must have shipped because I have 3 charges on my account and only 2 were authorized". I was then lied to again and told that once the items shipped that extra charge would go away. She then said that she would put in a request for their fraud detection team to see if I was double charged and that I would be CALLED in 12 hours.
48 hours later I still had not received a call from Amazon. It turns out instead that they had sent a copy and pasted email to us stating that their bank only showed one charge and that if our next statement showed the double charge we could fax our statement over to Amazon. I called my bank at that point and had them look in to it on their end. They had to forward the issue to the people who work on the debit portion of my checking account. They called me 20 minutes later to confirm that indeed Amazon had double charged me. They told me I had two options I could come down to the bank to file a dispute or I could fax Amazon a screen shot of my checking account. You see my bank like so many others has gone green and no longer sends out paper statements. At this point I email back Amazon and explain to them how my bank does NOT give paper statements and I attach to the email a copy of my online bank statement clearly showing the double charge. I also mentioned how my bank confirmed the double charge and gave my bank's contact information. On top of that my husband also faxed over the same exact thing to Amazon. So what happens? We receive the same exact copy and paste reply we received before that their bank only shows one charge. The only thing on the emails that changed is the replying person's name at the bottom.
As you can imagine at this point I'm getting pretty angry. Well the next bit had me ready to completely leave Amazon all together and never look back. We could not afford that double charge and it began to cost us even more as two automatic payment charges came in causing us to receive 2 $30 overdraft fees. We would have been fine had we not been charged that extra $40. At this point we were out nearly $100. Wednesday we received both items we ordered and we still were showing the double charge plus now we had the two $30 overdraft fees. I decided to stop dealing with Amazon since I was just stuck talking to people in India who really didn't care that now my son was only going to be opening the Skylanders gift on Christmas since that $100 would have bought him a number of nice little gifts and mommy and daddy are broke and behind on bills. I then go to my bank and fill out a dispute on the charge. My bank refunds me the double charge but did not refund me the $60 for overdraft fees.
Continue in Part Two-I'll tell you what I personally believe you should do if it happens to you and how I got Amazon to pay for the overdraft fees.