The non-story about Amazon’s price drop guarantee


There is a story from yesterday from Recode that’s gotten some traction in the news that says that Amazon has stopped refunding for price drops withing 7 days of your purchase. The information is based on a Reddit thread of what seemed like mostly unhappy customers.

The truth is, this is sort of a non-story. Amazon has experimented for years with dynamic pricing  (where different customers may see different prices for the same item). Prime Membership status has also been a factor. (You used to be able to see a different price if you logged in in as a Prime member and a lower one if you browsed under a non-Prime account.)

Amazon officially dropped the price adjustment on most items back in 2008.  Originally, the price guarantee extended to 30 days. The policy was then dropped, although some customers continued to be able to get refunds within seven days of a purchase. You can read a thread about it here on the Amazon customer forums. The thread has been resurrected several times over the last six months when customers started reporting that Amazon was no longer honoring refund requests.

According to the Recode article,

Amazon spokeswoman Julie Law told Recode the policy was always limited to televisions and that any customer who has received refunds on other products was granted an “exception.” But it’s clear that those exceptions were previously given out freely, and now they are not.

The Recode piece suggests that price-tracking companies like Earny and Paribus have played a role in Amazon’s change in their unofficial refund policy. While price tracking may be a factor, it is apparent that Amazon has  paying more attention to its bottom line. A few months back, we were seeing stories about serial returners getting their accounts banned for excessive returns.  One of the Reddit posters said they had asked for price drop refunds over 50 times in the last 3 years. That seems like a very high number – I’ve been an Amazon member for almost 20 years and have only asked for a price drop refund once. Given the cost of providing customer service, maybe Amazon is deciding that price drop refunds are just too expensive in the long run.

Does it matter to you whether Amazon does refunds when prices drop? Or, do you do like I do and watch prices before you buy?

Daily Links and Deals: A Guide to Binging Digital Comics

daily_links_1In today’s stories, tips on your digital comic reading choices, Amazon is on the hook for kid’s in-app purchased, implications of the Google and Android limitations and more. In deals, savings on anSD card, Mother’s day Kindles, Fires and a new , later, ship date for Oasis orders.

Daily Links for Wednesday, April 27, 2016:

A Guide to Binging Digital Comics (Inverse) An article on navigating the choices when it comes to reading digital comics.

The Cover of George Orwell’s 1984 Becomes Less Censored with Wear and Tear (Open Culture)  This is a delightful story about how the physical copy of this book changes with time.

Federal Judge Rules Amazon Must Refund Parents Duped By In-App Purchases (Gizmodo) No surprises here after the same thing happened to Google and Apple.

What everyone’s missing about Google Play and Chrome OS (Computer World) Cross platform integration and how that ties into Google’s long-term plans.

Len Riggio, Barnes & Noble Founder, Announces Retirement (Publisher’s Weekly) It is truly the end of an era.

Text-to-Speech Voice Found on the Kindle Oasis (The Digital Reader) This could make the Oasis a whole new e-reader with the right update.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes Lie In Wait by Eric Rickstad for 99 cents.

In Today’s Deals, there’s savings on a SanDisk Ultra 64GB microSDXC UHS-I Card with Adapter.

Just in time for Mother’s Day, Amazon has some deals on both e-ink Kindles and Fire tablets. First, you can get $20 off the Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite and theKindle for Kids bundle.  Amazon is also offering the Fire HD 10 for $50 off for a limited time.

Amazon is still offering savings on the Fire HD 6, and deals on pre-owned Fire tablets. I am also still seeing the option for 5 payments of $58 for the Kindle Oasis pre-order. The Oasis is now scheduled for a June 1, 2016 delivery date.

You can also take advantage of a trade-in offer from Amazon on your old Fire tablet.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is Understanding Stocks 2E by Michael Sincere for $1.99. The Romance Daily Find is Through Waters Deep (Waves of Freedom Series #1) by Sarah Sundin for $2.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is The Broken Window:  A Lincoln Rhyme Novel by Jeffery Deaver for $1.99.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes Sing It To Her Bones by Marcia Talley for 99 cents.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)

Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.