Ebook Returns a Year Later? Color Me Gobsmacked

oEKiurzzuCtigWf-556x313-noPadAfter doing a couple rounds with Amazon over two returns of a book a YEAR after the purchase (it was published through a consortium of authors I managed at the time), I decided the bloom is off the rose.

The book in question was unpublished in August 2013 and republished by the author with a new cover but the same content. I noticed a return credited to my account in June 2014, then another one in August of this year. I checked the Excel report and sure enough, $2.74 was deducted from my royalty statement twice.

I assumed the republished book was returned and mistakenly debited to my account. So I wrote to KDP and explained what had happened, providing ASIN and all the other necessary details.

I got this in return (bold and italics mine):

Thank you for contacting us about this error you see in your reports, it is my pleasure to investigate this further.

I did a search in your bookshelf for the ASIN XXX and I was able to confirm that this particular ASIN was published under this email address. Our system works with ASINs and not titles so, if the ASIN is returned, the system will make the refund from where the book was sold.

I checked your reports and found these returns for this specific ASIN:

30-JUN-14 XXX amazon.com     1 csv    -2.74    3.99     .07       USD

01-AUG-14 XXX amazon.com    1 csv    -2.74    3.99     .08       USD

I checked internally and was able to confirm this specific title was unpublished on Wednesday, August 10th 2013, to explain a bit more about the policy, customers can return any item purchased from the Kindle Store within seven days of purchase. However, sometimes we have cases where we can apply an exception and grant the refund out of this time frame, which is what happened with these two refunds.

We’ve found this time frame is a good compromise for customers and publishers, and allows us to provide the best experience for both.

You can view our Kindle content return policy at the following link:


We may also issue refunds for reasons we deem appropriate, which may include accidental purchases, dissatisfaction due to poor visual quality, or a book’s contents not matching its description. We actively monitor for abuse of this policy.

Please keep in mind, for account security reasons, we’re unable to share specific information about our customers and their purchasing history. Thank you for your understanding of this policy.

You can rest assured our system is working as designed and the refunds reported on your account are compliant with sales that occurred in this very same account.

I hope this information helps. Thanks for using Amazon KDP.


FYI: the KDP return policy does NOT mention exceptions, exclusions or any other indication of how and why one would be permitted to return an ebook outside that 7-day time frame.

This is it, direct from the Help page:

Returning Kindle Books

Books you purchase from the Kindle Store are eligible for return and refund if we receive your request within seven days of the date of purchase. Once a refund is issued, you’ll no longer have access to the book. To request a refund and return content, visit Manage Your Content and Devices , select the Actions button next to the title you’d like to return, and select Return for refund, or contact customer service.

So, Amazon actually believes granting an exception outside their own stated policies, on digital content, a year after purchase is a good compromise for publishers/authors. Really?


And of course they cover their collective corporate asses with the “…for account security reasons, we’re unable to share specific information about our customers and their purchasing history…”

Fraud AlertYou know what, even if there was a technical problem—which I am always more than happy to rectify with another copy of the book—why in the name of all that’s holy does a customer get off on deciding they don’t like XYZ a year after the fact? And why is Amazon pandering to this?

Le big f**king sigh. Yes, I clicked on the “this doesn’t answer my question” and went into further detail and expressed my counter argument professionally. I also informed them I have a s**tload of ebooks purchased over the last year that fail miserably in formatting and editing, or that don’t coincide with the blurb, and that I shall prepare a list of books I wish to return for a refund because they don’t meet Amazon’s stated policy on quality.


FYI: if you want to return a Kindle device for whatever reason, after 60 days you get ZILCH.

Word-of-Mouth-thumb-589x424I’m curious to hear what y’all have to say/think about this.


About Nya Rawlyns

Crossing boundaries, taking no prisoners. Write what’s in your soul. It’s the bass beat, the heartbeat, the lyrics rude and true. Nya Rawlyns is the pseudonym of a writer who cut her teeth on sports-themed romantic comedy and historical romances before finding her true calling in the wilderness areas she has visited but calls “home” in that place that counts the most: the heart. She has lived in the country and on a sailboat on the Chesapeake Bay, earned more than 1000 miles in competitive trail and endurance racing, taught Political Science to unwilling freshmen, and found an avocation in materials science. When she isn’t tending to her garden or the horses, the cats, or two pervert parakeets, she can be found day dreaming and listening to the voices in her head.
This entry was posted in Ebook Returns a Year Later? Color Me Gobsmacked and tagged Amazon return policy, fraud, refund fraud. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ebook Returns a Year Later? Color Me Gobsmacked

  1. jeanjoachim says:

    Their ebook return policies are ridiculous. They encourage people to buy, read, and return books. And you get a number of people out there who plan to do just that. To me, it’s the equivalent of piracy, they get to read your book for free. But as long as they are the biggest deal in town and they pay me regularly, I’ll stick with Amazon, and hope that they fix this type of situation soon. A year later, no returns should be accepted. That is so over the top.


  2. Will says:

    This is an outrage, of course. I sell so few copies I’d be afraid to cash out any check Amazon sent me. No credit cards in this household! I cannot WAIT until my mortgage check bounces because I ended up three dollars short, because… of this? Egad.
    My personal favorite is that a troll can buy your book, give it a one-star and then return it, using the same money like sourdough to move on down the chain. I absolutely maintain that if you return the book, your review should disappear, no questions or excuses. Put your name on it, sock-puppets. You want to savage some author’s rep by NOT reading their book and just hate-reacting on the blurb, then lay down the cash and leave it there.



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