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Report: Amazon Wipes Woman's Kindle Without Explanation

By - Source: Bekkelund.net | B 34 comments

Amazon apparently told the woman her account had been linked to another account that was closed for abusing Amazon policies.

Amazon is making headlines today after it reportedly closed a customer's account and remotely wiped her Kindle without offering her any explanation. The story was first reported by Martin Bekkelund, who says his friend Linn has been outlawed by Amazon.

Linn is said to have reached out to Amazon for help when she discovered that her account had been closed and her Kindle had been wiped. She apparently received an email back from Amazon UK's customer relations team stating her account had been closed because it had been linked to a to another that was closed for abuse of Amazon policies. Further, she was told that any attempt to open a new account would be met with the same action -- closure of that account.

Linn, from Norway, told the etail giant that she uses Amazon.com, not Amazon.co.uk, and that she's never had another Amazon account. Despite her best efforts to obtain additional information regarding the other account in question or the apparent abuse of policies, she received no explanation. In the end, Amazon told her the action was permanent and that it couldn't 'offer any additional insight or action."

Amazon hasn't yet commented publicly on the story. However, the tale highlights the importance of the issue of DRM when dealing with services like the Kindle store. A few years ago, Amazon made waves when it remotely deleted copies of George Orwell's 1984 from customers' Kindles. Naturally, the fact that Amazon had the ability to delete books that customers had paid for ruffled a few feathers. Amazon even had to settle a lawsuit filed by a student who had been taking electronic annotations in his version. When Amazon remotely deleted his copy of 1984, his notes were lost. Amazon ended up paying him $150,000.

Though it's not yet known exactly what Linn is supposed to have done to violate or abuse Amazon's policies, Boing Boing's Cory Doctorow reckons Linn might have been using a friend's address in the UK to buy books that weren't available to purchase in English in her native Norway. However, if what Linn says about not using Amazon.co.uk is true, then that doesn't add up either. We'll update if Amazon releases a statement on this.

[Update]ComputerWorld says Linn got in touch with them to say her account has been reinstated and that she is repopulating her Kindle with her books. Apparently Linn bought her Kindle in the UK and took it back with her to Norway, where Amazon does not have a presence. CW's Simon Phipps reports that she then gifted the Kindle to her mother, bought herself a new used model, and had been using her Norwegian card to buy books for some time. When her Kindle failed, she sent it to Amazon for replacement and the company insisted on sending the Kindle to an address in the United Kingdom. Shortly after, her account was closed. It's not clear if the original owner of Linn's Kindle was the person guilty of abusing Amazon's policies, and the etailer is keeping quiet. For now, Linn has her account back, but has not received an explanation or an apology.

Further Reading

Martin Bekkelund: Outlawed by Amazon DRM

Guardian: Amazon wipes customer's Kindle and deletes account with no explanation

Boing Boing: Kindle user claims Amazon deleted whole library without explanation


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Top Comments
  • 12 Hide
    Anonymous , October 23, 2012 12:56 AM
    I can come to a conclusion: I won't be buying a Kindle.
  • 10 Hide
    hellwig , October 22, 2012 11:38 PM
    Don't know about the laws in Eurpoe, but unless this woman received a full refund for her purchases, Amazon has a massive lawsuit on its hands. Unless this woman "bought" books then canceled the charges through her credit company she's gonna win. Imagine if you paid-in full for your car, and the dealer had it repo'd anyway.
Other Comments
  • 10 Hide
    hellwig , October 22, 2012 11:38 PM
    Don't know about the laws in Eurpoe, but unless this woman received a full refund for her purchases, Amazon has a massive lawsuit on its hands. Unless this woman "bought" books then canceled the charges through her credit company she's gonna win. Imagine if you paid-in full for your car, and the dealer had it repo'd anyway.
  • Display all 34 comments.
  • 4 Hide
    spectrewind , October 22, 2012 11:38 PM
    "the fact that Amazon had the ability to delete books that customers had paid for"

    This is why you RESEARCH the product you are paying for folks...
  • 2 Hide
    spectrewind , October 22, 2012 11:39 PM
    hellwigDon't know about the laws in Eurpoe, but unless this woman received a full refund for her purchases, Amazon has a massive lawsuit on its hands. Unless this woman "bought" books then canceled the charges through her credit company she's gonna win. Imagine if you paid-in full for your car, and the dealer had it repo'd anyway.


    Exactly...
  • -5 Hide
    joytech22 , October 22, 2012 11:44 PM
    Contrary to popular belief, big companies don't normally get things wrong.
    In all likelyhood she knew exactly what she was doing, she just didn't know her other accounts would be banned too.
  • 0 Hide
    jaquith , October 22, 2012 11:44 PM
    Quote:
    linked to another account that was closed for abusing Amazon policies

    The don't abuse the Amazon policies - I mean come on! DRM is here to stay, and the guy who got $150K because of losing notes -- RTFM -- "Annotations Backup."
  • 5 Hide
    groveborn , October 22, 2012 11:50 PM
    Whether they got it right or wrong, it doesn't matter. Nobody has the right to take back what they've sold you. Amazon doesn't control distribution rights after the product is sold. They can't choose to maintain those rights even if you agree to the terms. Once a product is sold, it belongs solely to the person who purchased it. They can delete the accounts, they can delete the stuff held in storage on the accounts, but there is simply no excuse for deleting the stuff stored on the device. That's the same as breaking into a remote computer.
  • 7 Hide
    spectrewind , October 22, 2012 11:51 PM
    joytech22Contrary to popular belief, big companies don't normally get things wrong.In all likelyhood she knew exactly what she was doing, she just didn't know her other accounts would be banned too.


    Right... She must have been holding it wrong (Apple reference)?

    Big companies get things wrong all the time... then they just cover it up as best they can as a form of damage control, possibly factored in originally in their risk analysis.
    Big pharma has med FDA recalls constantly. Auto recalls happen a lot too. Just two examples, not even in the same industry.
  • 4 Hide
    zoemayne , October 23, 2012 12:07 AM
    hellwigDon't know about the laws in Eurpoe, but unless this woman received a full refund for her purchases, Amazon has a massive lawsuit on its hands. Unless this woman "bought" books then canceled the charges through her credit company she's gonna win. Imagine if you paid-in full for your car, and the dealer had it repo'd anyway.


    maybe her son or such is committing fraud... law wont defend that. she might be playing stupid... i'm not gonna come to a conclusion w one side of the story.
  • 12 Hide
    Anonymous , October 23, 2012 12:56 AM
    I can come to a conclusion: I won't be buying a Kindle.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , October 23, 2012 1:01 AM
    If its Apple that did it, I'm sure nobody would be saying that the woman is in the wrong. ;) 
  • -6 Hide
    timw03878 , October 23, 2012 1:35 AM
    spectrewind"the fact that Amazon had the ability to delete books that customers had paid for"This is why you RESEARCH the product you are paying for folks...


    Totally agree.
    Ignorance is not an excuse.

    people are so quick to shell out money for houses without reading the fine line..
    they certainly aren't bright enough to do it for a kindle...
  • 3 Hide
    bllue , October 23, 2012 1:36 AM
    For no reason or because no one's bothered to read the entire policy? With services like this sort (or any subscription type) you should really the policies so you're not violating anything and end up in these situations. If I'm not mistaken the policy is if you're a Norway customer you must use Amazon UK, not Amazon US...for tax reasons and publishing rights (some publishers only allow Amazon to sell in certain territories for example).
  • -3 Hide
    xerroz , October 23, 2012 1:44 AM
    How do we know this woman is even telling the whole story? Maybe it wasn't her, maybe someone got a hold of her CC and abused Amazon's policy
  • 3 Hide
    ivanto , October 23, 2012 1:58 AM
    Just skip companies that treat it's customers like that. Vote with the wallet and don't deal with abusers.
    -IvanTO
  • 4 Hide
    ven1ger , October 23, 2012 1:58 AM
    joytech22Contrary to popular belief, big companies don't normally get things wrong.In all likelyhood she knew exactly what she was doing, she just didn't know her other accounts would be banned too.


    Oh come on, no company no matter their size is as infallible as the next. They are all run by people who makes mistakes. Larger companies have more people and are just as prone to run into more mistakes just because of the number of fallible people that work in the company. If companies (big) didn't make mistakes, then why do we need civil courts?

    Look at all the manufacturer recalls for car makers, toys, furniture, appliances, etc, guess those weren't mistakes. Even banks make mistakes, several of which I have to take the time to clear up.

    There could be a good chance that two people with the same name living in different countries could have been mistaken for each other. Considering how Amazon is acting, and if she is innocent, that she sues Amazon for the aggravation and gets a big lawsuit because the only way for big companies like this to mend their ways is by lawsuits.

    Btw, I purchase a lot from Amazon, so it isn't that I dislike them, I just dislike anyone treating a person like they are with this woman, if they claim she did something wrong then they should explain exactly what they think she did wrong so that she has a chance to defend herself.
  • 0 Hide
    Kami3k , October 23, 2012 2:08 AM
    I'm with others, when it comes to stories like this, often times the person is not the angel they are pretending to be.

    It could easily be someone else was doing the scamming, but ToS don't care who does something with your account unless it was hacked.

    If someone you gave access to did something against the ToS that is your fault.
  • 1 Hide
    sykozis , October 23, 2012 2:30 AM
    People make mistakes... Companies are run by people....therefore, companies make mistakes.

    It's very possible that 2 people with the same name had accounts with Amazon and this lady really is innocent. I've had that happen with services in the past.

    It's also possible that this lady is lieing about what happened.

    Until we get more details....we don't know exactly what really happened.

    hellwigDon't know about the laws in Eurpoe, but unless this woman received a full refund for her purchases, Amazon has a massive lawsuit on its hands. Unless this woman "bought" books then canceled the charges through her credit company she's gonna win. Imagine if you paid-in full for your car, and the dealer had it repo'd anyway.

    I know a guy that had that exact thing happen... He paid off his car Monday....Friday the dealer filed repo paperwork.
  • 3 Hide
    freggo , October 23, 2012 2:31 AM
    This is exactly why I will not buy any Amazon tablet.
    I will not have a company reserve the right to remotely mess with what is on my machine without so much as a court order and me having an option to state my side of the dispute (if there even is one).
  • 0 Hide
    joytech22 , October 23, 2012 3:26 AM
    spectrewindRight... She must have been holding it wrong (Apple reference)?Big companies get things wrong all the time... then they just cover it up as best they can as a form of damage control, possibly factored in originally in their risk analysis.Big pharma has med FDA recalls constantly. Auto recalls happen a lot too. Just two examples, not even in the same industry.


    I know it looks bad, but this is really rare.
    Considering the millions (sometimes tens or hundreds of millions) of users, a few hundred issues is nothing.

    We only make a big deal out of this when media comes out with the news, if we read about it somewhere nobody would give a damn.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , October 23, 2012 3:56 AM
    While I agree that there exists no small possibility that this lady was something worse than a completely innocent victim, what concerns me is the lack of an answer from Amazon about why. Assuming she is telling the truth about no response, we are now in the position of Amazon saying "we will close your account and remote wipe your devices whenever we feel justified in doing so. You can trust us. We are a big company and rarely get it wrong." Only I DON'T trust them. They DID get it wrong. Isn't that exactly how they wound up selling copies of Orwell's books when they didn't own the rights to do so in the first place? This specific company got it wrong in this specific area.
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