Amazon says soz for foisting mag sub onto Kindle-touchers
Fury as punters 'billed' for rag they hadn't asked for
Amazon has annoyed Kindle owners by appearing to sign them up to a paid-for bi-weekly magazine subscription they hadn't requested.
After receiving an email informing them of their new subscription to Kindle Compass, their first billing date and the number of the credit card they'd be "charged" on, confused customers turned to forum boards to complain.
The email reads:
Your free trial to The Kindle Compass (bi-weekly) has started - you can begin reading on your Kindle. If you enjoy your free trial, do nothing and your subscription will automatically continue at the monthly subscription rate.
Subscription name: The Kindle Compass (bi-weekly)
Current Price: $0.00 per month
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Start Date: 01/05/12
Free Trial Length: 14 Days
1st Billing Date: 01/19/12
Payment Method: Card ending in xxxx
To change your payment method, cancel your subscription or see further subscription details, please visit http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindlesubscriptions
If you have any questions or require assistance, please visit http://www.amazon.com/kindlesupport Thank You. We hope you enjoy your Kindle subscription to The Kindle Compass (bi-weekly)
Best regards, The Amazon Kindle Team
Note: This e-mail was sent from a notification-only e-mail address that cannot accept incoming e-mail. Please do not reply directly to this message.
It turns out that The Kindle Compass magazine is a free service that Amazon was trialling to a randomly selected group of Kindle owners. Customers can opt out, or in, at any time.
Amazon has apologised for the confusing phrasing of the first email which suggested that money was involved and stressed that the magazine is free and optional.
Amazon released this statement:
This morning we sent you an email regarding The Kindle Compass, a new free publication built by the Kindle editorial team that we’re piloting to a small number of Kindle customers.
This email incorrectly referred to The Kindle Compass as a subscription with a free trial. We built it to always be free for customers, and you will never be charged for it. We apologize for any confusion.
We've asked Amazon whether any UK Kindlers were involved, and for more information on the mysterious Kindle mag. We'll update when they get back. ®
Alright, so it's a mishap.
It also highlights the weaknesses of this sort of service, where you hand over payment details to be used any time you click a button or other, or even if some faceless clerk elsewhere hits a button or other. Where they're making nice and Stuff, they also could've "forgotten" to send you that email at all and just started charging. The big advantage of taking cash to the corner shop is that it has to pass your fingers, as in you *know* you're paying. Electronic payment has no such clear "payment point" as happens when you pass some coins or notes to a merchant.
It's one of the reasons various parties keep coming up with ever more fancy electronic payment methods. It makes it harder to track your money, and people not paying attention to their money are easier parted from same. For electronic money transfer to not become a scourge, we'll need to fix this. Somehow.
You just have to love Amazon
At least as much as they love to use only those "cannot accept incoming email" words. Customer communication in the digital age?
If it's free, why are they putting it on your credit card?