Double charged by Amazon and “totally stuck”

By | January 26th, 2017

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

Question: Amazon charged my debit card $359 twice for an impact wrench I ordered recently. The company’s customer service agents couldn’t resolve the issue, and 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 got charged twice, 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, I’ve e-mailed them documentation, and 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: Amazon shouldn’t have charged you twice, obviously. And if it did, Amazon should have apologized and immediately reversed the erroneous charges.

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.

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.

Related story:   A successful Amazon gift card case. How did he do it?

A closer review of your emails suggests that some, if not all, of the responses from Amazon were form emails and 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.”

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.

  • Rusty Shackleford

    Good job Chris getting LW’s account reinstated, but perhaps Amazon could show in some type of goodwill gesture. LW had to deal with this for “several months” after dispute with Visa and while he may have been issued a temporary credit, I honestly think is one of those cases where he might actually deserve some sort of tangible apology.

  • Annie M

    Now this is a good story for someone that really needed help. Very surprising that this seems too have fallen through the crack st Amazon but what’s more mysterious is why they couldn’t just reverse the duplicate charge themselves.

  • llandyw

    I know someone who works in CS for Amazon. I know that had this person gotten through to her, the issue would have been properly resolved. The phone number for Amazon customer support isn’t easy to find on their website. However, I just happen to have it handy. 866-216-1072

  • PsyGuy

    I’d have just created a new Amazon account, I don’t have the time to argue with machines.

  • PsyGuy

    I’m sure they have a computer script that can generate an apology letter.

  • joycexyz

    I’m really surprised because I have found Amazon to be very responsive and consumer-friendly. But I suppose anything can fall through the cracks.

  • Lee

    Yes, this number is almost like magic. I found it a few years ago and have used it about 3 times and all with quick, efficient resolutions.

  • S363

    I know this gets repetitive, but: Don’t use a debit card for online transactions! You have more protection with a credit card, plus,YOU keep the money while you fight, whereas with a debit card THEY keep the money while you fight.

  • greg watson

    I am glad that Amazon finally did the right thing. but, I am really curious why this took so long. Did Amazon provide a reason, when you contacted them, why they decided to reinstate the account &
    why was he double billed in the first place ? This provides a little more insite to what the OP was dealing with & would be of interest to consumers.

  • Rusty Shackleford

    Dear PsyGuy,

    My name is Rusty Scackleford and I am from Please allow me to apologize for the problems you’ve had. I will now be taking ownership of this issue until it is resolved.

    I have issued you this form greeting as an apology.

    Thank you,

    Rusty Shackleford

  • TobySparky

    And I know this also gets repetitive, but: Not everyone has a credit card!

  • S363

    That is certainly true, but most people do. Anyone who wants to shop online should, and the dangers of using debit certainly extend beyond online shopping. Any competent adult can get a credit card and use it wisely.

  • TobySparky

    I’m very tired of commenters on this site bashing people who may not be as privileged as others. It has little to do with “competence”—there are hundreds of thousands of people in this country alone who have barriers to obtaining credit cards that have absolutely nothing to do with competence.

    I work with people every day who don’t even have bank accounts—but they have lived in other countries and been in places in the world that many people in the US couldn’t even point to on the map.

    Over the past two weeks alone I’ve seen ableism on this site and multiple instances of bashing people based on class status/inability to get a credit card — I don’t know how the moderators find any of this acceptable when things such as sarcasm & snark are grounds for being banned from commenting. (This is especially bothersome when the site itself is so heavily skewed toward the interests of people who can afford thousands of dollars to switch tickets while overseas, a luxury the majority of people in the world simply cannot afford.) If this persists, I’ll continue to find the site increasingly irrelevant to my own life.

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