Amazon Deletes User's Account And Kindle Data Without Explanation

Amazon's terms of service grants it basically God-like authority over its domain, but we all buy in because we believe that the company will be benevolent with its power. That's not always the case. Here's the story of a user whose account was deleted and her Kindle wiped with no explanation whatsoever.

Tech blogger Martin Bekkelund reports the unfortunate saga of his friend "Linn". Linn claims she received an email from a character named Michael Murphy representing Executive Customer Relations for Amazon.co.uk. Murphy said Linn's account had been removed because it was related to another account, which had been deleted for abusing Amazon policies. The email ended with recitation of Amazon's rights:

Per our Conditions of Use which state in part: Amazon.co.uk and its affiliates reserve the right to refuse service, terminate accounts, remove or edit content, or cancel orders at their sole discretion.

Linn had no idea what Michael Murphy was talking about and responded asking for more details. Mr. Murphy's follow up was cryptic and contained nothing new.

While we are unable to provide detailed information on how we link related accounts, please know that we have reviewed your account on the basis of the information provided and regret to inform you that it will not be reopened.

So in other words, Linn's account was irrevocably gone, and there was nothing she could do to find out why. Besides essentially blocking Linn from the Amazon's huge retail marketplace forever, Amazon also revoked access to the many books she had on her Kindle. Remember, just because you've spent hundreds or even thousands of dollars on ebooks for your Kindle, you don't really own any of them. Thanks Amazon's DRM, the company can take your purchases away whenever it feels like it.

We called and emailed Amazon to find out if the story is true — and how it's even possible that an innocent user could get caught up in a bureaucratic nightmare like this without recourse. We'll update when we hear back. [Martin Bekkelund]


Comments

    DRM raises its ugly head again...
    Why do people put up with it?

      Is there a DRM-free, you-pay-therefore-you-own alternative to amazon kindle? I know there's Barnes & Noble's Nook, and Google Play does books too, right? And Apple? But I believe these are all still DRM-laden "you don't own these, you're just licensing the right to read them from us" models?

      (Project Gutenberg doesn't count)

        hear hear...this exact reason why i still haven't adopt the e-book saga

        still hearing about this nightmare stories every once in a while

        i bought a kobo because its does not force me to buy books from kobo. i can buy from kobo if i want or i can buy from anywhere else. also once you have paid for you book its not that hard to strip it of drm and read it on any device you own

    "how it’s even possible that an innocent user could get caught up in a bureaucratic nightmare like this without recourse."

    Because that's how large coprorations operate.. they get too big and start to automate processes without any proper human checking. They get lazy and believe the computer is able to think like a human and work out the facts rather than just suggestions.

    Come on everyone tell me how *my* privacy etc is not important, that I should have faith in large companies.

    And Another person turns to piracy because companies are too stupid to realize that we actually Want to pay for stuff, but they won't let us.

    Lesson:
    Don't pay for anything digital.

    Apparently she has it back now, and a free kindle is winging it's way to her. Calibre all your drm'd content!

    http://xkcd.com/488/

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