Having made the rounds through Amazon.com’s customer service in India multiple times and its corporate office in Washington state, I was not a happy customer. Come to think of it, I was not a customer at all. I was someone who was defrauded by misuse of my Amazon.com account. It was late afternoon and I had spent most of the day trying to get information from Amazon.com to deal with the fraud and visiting my bank to file a fraud affidavit. My day was shot, and I had no results to show for my efforts.
The corporate office receptionist old me no one was in the legal department. I asked whether anyone was expected back that day and was given some garbled response that smelled like a yes. So, I asked to be put through to voice mail. The legal department’s voice mail was not encouraging. While law enforcement agencies and lawyers with cases were invited to leave a message, Amazon.com customers with internet frauds were directed to call, you guessed it, the useless customer service department over in India.
I left a message, explaining that I am an attorney from Washington, D.C., requesting an immediate call back. Within a short time, an attorney from Amazon.com’s legal department called me. I explained the situation briefly and was favorably inclined when this attorney immediately said she could help resolve the situation.
By now, this incident had taken an odd turn. A delivery truck had delivered to me a laptop I did not order from Amazon.com. Its price was within the ballpark of the charge on my bank card. Add in two day shipping and it looked like a match. What in the world was going on? Someone stole my bank card information to buy a laptop for me? This made no sense. Less so, since I just bought a new laptop a month ago (not from Amazon.com). How many laptops does a girl need?
Amazon.com’s legal counsel was a bit puzzled by this but suggested that this scenario usually plays out one of two ways: an inside job (a child’s friend trying to be funny, for example) or a thief close by, one who knows where I live, who planned to show up and retrieve the laptop from my house before I got it. This was worrisome news, and we agreed that it was important to find out what was going on as soon as possible. It was also possible, she said, that someone changed my account email and tried to place an order but was unable to complete it. Built into Amazon.com’s security is a little safeguard that prevents someone from shipping an item to a never-before-used shipping address on an account unless the entire bank card number is typed. Amazon.com only displays the last four digits of bank cards even to the card holders, so if the thief was relying on Amazon.com for my bank card number, the only addresses to which the thief could ship items purchased on my account were addresses I had previously used. That would be just one, my own.
Amazon.com’s legal counsel still declined to give me the specifics of who used my account. But she did tell me that someone had changed my Amazon.com account from my email address to another yahoo.com address and that the address was not one that included a name. She agreed to check the Internet Protocol (IP) address used by the other email account to see if it was the same as the one used in my area at that time. This would help narrow the possibilities.
Amazon.com’s legal counsel was able to immediately clarify how a customer service rep who had spoken with my husband earlier could have verified the use of my bank card when reviewing my husband’s account. Because we share a joint bank account, even though we have different bank card numbers and different Amazon.com accounts, the information would be available to anyone checking his account because of the common bank account.
Within the hour, Amazon.com’s legal counsel called me back to report that someone from Michigan had accessed my Amazon.com account, changed the email address listed for the account, and attempted to buy a laptop. Unable to change the shipping address, he apparently let the order go through with my home address as the shipping address. So I got the laptop delivered to me, and now all Amazon.com and I have to do is make the exchange of their laptop for my money.
Amazon.com’s legal department deserves a commendation for its timely and responsive handling of this matter. If I ever have another problem with Amazon.com, it’s the legal department I will contact. Amazon.com’s legal department was both knowledgeable and respectful. Sure it was an attorney talking to another attorney, but I would venture to guess that anyone with a similar problem would have gotten similar service. Sometimes you can just tell quality when you see it.