Double charged by Amazon and “totally stuck”

Dylan Tack is hit with an extra $359 for an impact wrench he orders from Amazon.com. Can this accidental billing be repaired?

Question

I was double charged by Amazon. The company charged my debit card $359 twice for an impact wrench I ordered recently. The company’s customer service agents couldn’t resolve the issue. They instructed me to dispute the double-charge with my bank.

Several months later, Visa resolved the dispute in my favor. From my perspective, we’re square — I was double charged by Amazon, and then Visa refunded me once.

However, Amazon is insisting I still owe them and put a hold on my account. I’ve tried talking with supervisors on the phone. And I’ve e-mailed them documentation. I also contacted @AmazonHelp on Twitter.

Inspired by your site, I also sent an email to Dave Clark, the senior vice president of customer service. After many calls and emails, I’m totally stuck. Can you help me? — Dylan Tack, Portland, Ore.

Answer

You should not have been double charged by Amazon, obviously. Amazon should have apologized and immediately reversed the erroneous charge.

What happened to you is something Franz Kafka might have come up with — a bizarre tale with pretzel-like corporate logic that defies any common sense — but in this case, it would be true.

Double charged by Amazon for one wrench

You showed me the paper trail between you and Amazon. The company did, indeed, place a hold on your account after a chargeback by your credit card. Although there’s no written evidence that Amazon told you to dispute the erroneous charge, it hardly matters. Point is, you disputed a charge and your Amazon account was frozen. Meanwhile, you only had one wrench.

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A closer review of your emails suggests that some, if not all, of the responses from Amazon were form emails. These were probably automatically generated. That suggests no one, at least no human being, was aware of the problem. You were just being bounced between machines. Odd behavior for a business that claims to be “Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company.”

The good news

I’m surprised Amazon didn’t respond when you emailed an executive. We list executive email addresses for Amazon on our consumer advocacy site. When a dispute gets to that level, I know Amazon pays attention — I’ve seen emails between executives that show such concerns are taken seriously.

I contacted Amazon on your behalf, and it reinstated your account.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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