updated 02:15 pm EDT, Thu April 16, 2009
Amazon Bans Kindle Accts
Amazon is banning Kindle owners' accounts based on the number of purchases they've returned, anecotes from readers indicate. At least one MobileRead user has had many of the services on his e-book reader disabled after Amazon believed he had returned too many products of any kind. The shutdown allows reading already paid-for books as well as other material loaded offline to the Kindle; however, it bans re-downloads, subscriptions and e-mail conversion of documents.
While intended to prevent abuse, the policy is believed to be unfairly targeting customers that have simply bought too many flawed products. It also provides no information to customers as to what ratio of returns triggers a lock on an account or a warning ahead of these closures, leaving Kindle owners at a possible risk of losing crucial Kindle features in mid-ownership.
"I was not trying to game the system, I was not trying to get things for free - I just wanted products that worked properly, and if they didn't, they went back," the user says. "In effect, I now have a $359 brick, not covered under any warranty, not able to be used the way it was meant to be, not able to be returned."
The account was ultimately reinstated after contacting executive support, but Amazon said that it would close access again if a "higher-than-acceptable" amount of returns were detected in the future, though others have had less success in restoring access.
Officials haven't commented on the possibility of a change in policy.
Amazon has received criticisms of its copy protection system since the Kindle was first launched in 2007. The company's e-books will only work on its own devices, while other protected formats are also unsupported. Although the online retailer claims the system allows for subscriptions and for owners to re-sync their collections in the event they lose their devices, opponents of the method charge that it unfairly pushes customers towards the Kindle bookstore alone and that Amazon has too much authority over when books can be downloaded or copied. [via The Consumerist]