Amazon–Excellent Service

My Kindle has been with me for a few years now. Still 2nd generation. It has served me well so I saw no need to upgrade.

Last week, the 5-way controller malfunctioned. When pressing it down, instead of selecting it would scroll down. I tried to reboot the device; no luck. I sent Amazon an email and got a reply that I need to chat or speak with them. I chatted online with a representative. After two minutes he offered a replacement Kindle. He then came back and said that they run out of the 2nd generation model, so they’re going to send a 3rd generation model. He asked for my shipping address and I told him I live in Israel (my Kindle account has a US address). Without blinking, he said they’ll send it to Israel by express courier.

This was last Thursday. Yesterday, Monday, the new Kindle arrived at my home. Four days after my complaint.

It doesn’t end here. I was expecting to pay some fee to the DHL guy for Israeli Customs when the Kindle was delivered. But he asked for no money. It turns out Amazon not only sent a free replacement Kindle. They also pre-paid a deposit for any Custom charges I might incur when receiving the device.

If this is not excellent customer service, I don’t know what is. Thank you Amazon.

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3 thoughts on “Amazon–Excellent Service

  1. Of course I agree with the razor/blades theory. After all, that’s what Kindle was created for in the first place…

    But I look at things very simply:

    – It’s easy and convenient to order books and read them on Kindle (and on my PC, on my phone, on my tablet…)
    – In many cases the price of Kindle books is still cheaper than the paper book equivalent
    – The cost of books in English for me (living in Israel) is a LOT cheaper buying from Amazon, paper or Kindle

    If and when these things change, then I might become dissatisfied with Kindle (or interested in the Amazon-publishers battle).

  2. I’ve had the same great customer service from Amazon. In 2000, a shipment of books I needed for graduate school got vandalized by my neighbor’s kids’ friends. Amazon replaced the entire order without charging me for it.

    Over the years, though, as I have observed Amazon, I have been less enamored. Indeed, I believe that Amazon’s excellent customer service comes with the price of harsh business tactics. Note that in recent months, Amazon has tried to tell publishers what they can charge for their books. Note too that the price of Kindle books have risen and will continue to rise as physical books become rarer. The group that is really going to suffer will be authors. I don’t see how they will make a living if a gorilla player like Amazon is going to call all the shots.

    As for Amazon sending you a replacement Kindle — they almost have to do that if their business model is to work. It’s the old razor-and-blades theory: You make that razor purchase once, but you’ve got to keep buying the blades. It’s the same deal at Amazon: One Kindle, many e-books. Almost like a drug dealer who gives you the needle at no cost and then sells you crack!

    • What a lovely story. I agree that it’s in Amazon’s interest to keep consumers — especially ones who read so much — supplied with a working Kindle, but I disagree with some other points. The price of Kindle books has risen because big publishers insisted Amazon switch to an agency model (in which the publisher sets the price consumers pay rather than the retailer). Apple was involved with insisting on changing the ebooks sales model from wholesale to agency, probably to create a level playing field at the consumer’s expense when the iPad got big. I’m sure Kindle editions would still be $9.99 if Amazon could have it their way. In the end it’s all business, but I don’t think Amazon is out to mess with consumers or publishers so much as its out to rather ruthlessly squash its retail competition. In fact, it’s Apple and the big publishers that have been charged with price fixing by both American and European courts.

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