Amazon sent me a broken Apple Watch — twice. Now it won’t accept my return

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By Christopher Elliott

Shirley Justice’s Apple Watch, which she ordered from Amazon, doesn’t work. Neither does the replacement watch Amazon sends her. Now Amazon won’t take back the replacement watch. Can she get some justice?

Question

I ordered an Apple Watch on Prime Day from Amazon. It did not work, so I returned it for a replacement. The replacement watch also didn’t work, and I also sent it back. I returned each watch in the original Apple packaging and using the return label provided by Amazon. 

Something went awry with my last return. Amazon won’t acknowledge the returned item or issue a $329 refund. I’m caught in an email loop trying to reach an account specialist to appeal this decision. 

I’m concerned about Amazon’s comments in the emails. It says they have discarded an “incorrect” item but are “unable to provide detailed information about the returns.”

I sent an email to two executives listed on your site, but they bounced. Can you help me get my refund? — Shirley Justice, Smyrna, Del.

Answer

Amazon should have sent you a working Apple Watch. But to have it send you a second broken watch — well, that’s exceedingly rare.

I reviewed your paper trail, in which you describe the problem. You contacted Apple Support, and after two hours of troubleshooting, a technician told you Amazon had possibly sent you a refurbished watch that never worked correctly. Hmm.

I’m sorry about the bouncing email addresses. Amazon has had some organizational changes recently. My research team is constantly trying to find working email addresses, but executives often like to hide from their customers. We’ve updated the Amazon management contacts on our consumer advocacy site elliott.org. I also publish a free guide on how to fix your consumer problem that you might find helpful.

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Can she get a refund?

So what kind of loop were you stuck in? It looks like Amazon had flagged your account for frequent returns, although it’s unclear if the returns were for this watch or for a previous purchase. It looks like you sent your last purchase back to Amazon after Apple stopped offering the watch through Amazon. (Here’s how to fix your own consumer problems.)

When you checked the status of the return, you received strange answers. Sample: “Although we understand your concern, unfortunately we are unable to provide detailed information about the returns you are looking for.” In other words, Amazon wouldn’t say if it had or hadn’t received your last watch, even though UPS had tracked the package and registered it as delivered. (Related: Help! Amazon lost my Pixel phone and now it won’t refund me.)

You’re right — you were stuck in some kind of loop. The only way out of that loop is to go over the heads of the representatives (or more likely, the bots generating these emails). I think the executive contacts would have worked — if we had been able to keep up with Amazon’s organizational changes. (Related: Can you help me finally get my watch repaired?)

I contacted Amazon on your behalf. The next day, you received an email from a real person. “We have requested a refund of $329 to the original payment method used on your order. You will be able to see the refund on your respective account statement in the next four to six business days.”

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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