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Amazon’s unfair e-book refund policy

Amazon allow refunds on e-books for up to seven days after purchase. While I agree it is reasonable to allow someone to change their mind if they buy a book and then, reading the first chapter, realise it is not what they wanted or expected, I do feel that authors are getting a raw deal here. A 24 hour refund policy should be reasonable. Also, on Kindle, it tracks how far through a story has been read, surely it is not beyond Amazon’s programmers to refuse to refund if a whole book or substantial part has been read?

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4 Comments so far

  1. Kathryn Jankowski April 5th, 2013 8:27 pm

    Interesting. I knew about the seven-day return period, and I agree, it’s much too long. I didn’t know that Kindle tracks your progress. Is that true for every book on your e-reader, or just the ones you want to return? Kind of scary, isn’t it? Big Brother is here!

  2. phillip April 5th, 2013 8:51 pm

    Hi Kathryn,

    The amount of tracking is quite scary! Big Brother indeed.

    Every book I read on my Kindle shows a bar at the bottom of the screen indicating how far I have got through it. When I switch off or close it, on restarting it goes to the last page read.

    It even synchronises across devices: a book I read part-way on my Kindle, if I then go to it on the family iPad (which is also registered as a Kindle device on my Amazon account) it will open at the point I had read up to on the Kindle!

    Of course, all this is neat and useful as a reader, but just suppose a government wants to know just who has been reading “Animal Farm” or “1984” or Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verse” (or whatever is not flavour of the month).

  3. Kathryn Jankowski April 5th, 2013 8:55 pm

    Oh, right, there’s a percentage mark at the bottom of my Kindle that shows where I am in any given e-book. I guess I was wondering if this info, which I assume is stored in the “cloud”, is available for Amazon to check at will.

  4. phillip April 6th, 2013 7:19 am

    Given data synchronisation between devices my assumption is that this is stored at an Amazon account level. It may not be retained over time but I suspect technically it would be possible to retain or reference “”Furthest Page Read” data field and challenge persistent refund requesters.

    Just publicising this could be done and would influence whether or not a refund is made would, I think, put off the bulk of “offenders” who decide to try it on. The actual number of interventions would not be great. An analysis of the account’s number of refund requests against purchases could trigger a warning if higher than a baseline.

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