Popular online retailer Amazon has shut down the account of a man in the United Kingdom for repeatedly sending back items that he bought over the past two years.
Greg Nelson, a computer programmer and self-confessed Amazon addict, had purchased hundreds of products from the online store. However, out of the 343 items he bought, he returned 37 of them to Amazon because they were damaged, defective or not as described on the store's page.
This caused Amazon to block Nelson's account immediately to prevent him from buying any items from its website again.
The company also informed him that he will not be able to use the gift card balance he still has on his account, because such gift vouchers are only eligible for use on Amazon's website and do not have any transferable value.
Nelson pointed out that, as a longtime customer and former fan of Amazon, he can understand that the company is only trying to protect its business. However, he said that its decision to shut down his account is outrageous.
"I could understand if there were evidence that I had somehow tried to abuse the system, but I haven't," Nelson told the Guardian.
Nelson asserted that Amazon cannot legally prevent him or any customer access to gift card balances and other products for which they have already paid.
He sent an email to Amazon making this point, but the company told him that it refuses to reactivate his account.
In a recent interview, a representative from Amazon explained the company's policy of closing customer accounts. However, he refused to talk about Nelson's case.
He said that, in a small number of cases, Amazon is forced to shut down customers' accounts because they have identified evidence of account abuse. This is only done after they have properly reviewed the account and tried to reach out to the owner over an extended period of time in order to address any issues.
Amazon has incorporated its former distance selling guidelines to its consumer contracts regulations.
Based on these rules, an online shopper can send back any product within 14 days in order to get a full refund, even without providing a good reason for the return. This can only be done if the item is returned in its original packaging.
Amazon typically extends this return policy to allow purchased items to be returned within 30 days. However, the company acts against shoppers who send back items too often.