Amazon Banned Me Randomly For No Reason

Hello All - my first post, so please be kind ;) .

I was hoping somebody might be able to offer some advice about how to approach an issue I have with Amazon.

Mid-afternoon on 31/12/23 I received an email from Amazon out of the blue stating that my account was linked to an account that they have previously closed and as such they had closed my account with immediate effect and I would no longer be able to use any of their services.  Simultaneously all the Amazon Echo devices in the house signed out and as such I realised that this wasn’t a scam, or a phishing exercise.

I have only ever had one Amazon account for well over a decade and as far as I am aware have never been in breach of their T&Cs, in fact I would like to think I was a model customer with various Amazon devices and the occasional purchase.  I have certainly never had an account closed. 

I immediately called Amazon Customer services who said they couldn’t help me, but confirmed I was banned from their platform, and I must reply to the [email protected] email address.  I have been trading emails with them since. 

Despite pleading my innocence, I just seem to repeatedly receive standardised emails, with one or two tweaks relating to whatever I have previously emailed to them, claiming that I have in the past had an account closed down for breaching their T&Cs and somehow my current account is linked to that (all of which is a complete fabrication!).  They continually say that they have completed an in-depth review and their decision is final, they refuse to share the detail of what they are basing this decision on and are also refusing to allow me to escalate the matter to a supervisor or similar.  I can only think that some kind of algorithm has erroneously flagged me for the special treatment and am astounded by how poorly they are treating me despite having been loyal to them. 

Searching through threads they often seem to do this to people who have returned too many items but I have only ever returned a set of headphones several years ago and as above am told it’s because my account is linked to another (which is just not correct).  We have lived at our address for the last 15 years and equally it cant be related to any previous occupiers of our property because the older lady that lived there previously (for 84 years) didn’t even have a PC.

I am at a complete loss as to what to do.  Amazon won’t engage with me, all my speakers and smart home gadgets will no longer work as they should and there isn’t a grain of truth in their claims.  If it weren’t for the echo devices I’m not sure I would want to deal with them again in any event given my experience of the last few days!  I'm a man of principle and am considering getting my solicitor to send them a letter, but the cost will likely outweigh the benefit - that said I am feeling victimised and they shouldn't be allowed to get away with it.

Has anybody else been in this situation and managed to resolve it? 

Thanks in advance.

Mike

PS: I have now also fired off emails to a couple of customer service addresses that I have found randomly online but had no response from them as yet....
«134

Comments

  • MorningcoffeeIV
    MorningcoffeeIV Posts: 1,906
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Forumite
    edited 3 January at 2:50PM
    You could submit a SAR if you can't think of any connected accounts that would have impacted yours (such as family plans).

    Definitely don't start paying a solicitor, unless your principles are to jettison as much money as possible.
  • Aylesbury_Duck
    Aylesbury_Duck Posts: 13,795
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Forumite

    Hello All - my first post, so please be kind ;) .

    I was hoping somebody might be able to offer some advice about how to approach an issue I have with Amazon.

    Mid-afternoon on 31/12/23 I received an email from Amazon out of the blue stating that my account was linked to an account that they have previously closed and as such they had closed my account with immediate effect and I would no longer be able to use any of their services.  Simultaneously all the Amazon Echo devices in the house signed out and as such I realised that this wasn’t a scam, or a phishing exercise.

    I have only ever had one Amazon account for well over a decade and as far as I am aware have never been in breach of their T&Cs, in fact I would like to think I was a model customer with various Amazon devices and the occasional purchase.  I have certainly never had an account closed. 

    I immediately called Amazon Customer services who said they couldn’t help me, but confirmed I was banned from their platform, and I must reply to the [email protected] email address.  I have been trading emails with them since. 

    Despite pleading my innocence, I just seem to repeatedly receive standardised emails, with one or two tweaks relating to whatever I have previously emailed to them, claiming that I have in the past had an account closed down for breaching their T&Cs and somehow my current account is linked to that (all of which is a complete fabrication!).  They continually say that they have completed an in-depth review and their decision is final, they refuse to share the detail of what they are basing this decision on and are also refusing to allow me to escalate the matter to a supervisor or similar.  I can only think that some kind of algorithm has erroneously flagged me for the special treatment and am astounded by how poorly they are treating me despite having been loyal to them. 

    Searching through threads they often seem to do this to people who have returned too many items but I have only ever returned a set of headphones several years ago and as above am told it’s because my account is linked to another (which is just not correct).  We have lived at our address for the last 15 years and equally it cant be related to any previous occupiers of our property because the older lady that lived there previously (for 84 years) didn’t even have a PC.

    I am at a complete loss as to what to do.  Amazon won’t engage with me, all my speakers and smart home gadgets will no longer work as they should and there isn’t a grain of truth in their claims.  If it weren’t for the echo devices I’m not sure I would want to deal with them again in any event given my experience of the last few days!  I'm a man of principle and am considering getting my solicitor to send them a letter, but the cost will likely outweigh the benefit - that said I am feeling victimised and they shouldn't be allowed to get away with it.

    Has anybody else been in this situation and managed to resolve it? 

    Thanks in advance.

    Mike

    PS: I have now also fired off emails to a couple of customer service addresses that I have found randomly online but had no response from them as yet....
    That will achieve nothing other than cost you money.  What would the letter say and what would you hope it might achieve?  No laws appear to have been broken, and they're perfectly entitled to close your account unless you have evidence they're discriminating against you on the basis of a protected characteristic.

    I've heard it said that when an account is closed for flagged activity, that it's not only that account that's closed, but also the accounts of anyone using the same payment details or delivery address.  I have no idea if that's the case, but it's plausible because otherwise, someone banned could simply set up a new account with a friend/relative and have all deliveries sent to their own or that friend/relative's address.  Is it possible that you're linked to someone else whose account has been closed?  Are you the recipient of lots of deliveries from another account?

    Other than that, there's not really much advice anyone can offer because it appears a case of a business taking a decision that they're perfectly entitled to do without explanation.
  • Alderbank
    Alderbank Posts: 2,696
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Forumite
    You have no consumer rights to force Amazon (or any other trader) to sell to you.

    You have no rights under Equality Act either unless you can show they are discriminating against you because of a protected characteristic, which they don't appear to be doing.

    Firing off lots of angry emails to all and sundry might not be the best strategy.

    We don't know your family and living arrangements. Amazon's sophisticated software is very good at sniffing out links with other family members or others living at the same address. They do have form for banning users by association but I don't think that is illegal. Other opinions may vary.
  • 400ixl
    400ixl Posts: 2,641
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Forumite
    Could be that someone else has used your address and that account got banned which you would not necessarily know about.

    Submitting a SAR request was the only thing that came to my mind as to getting any insight.

    Ultimately as a private business they can decide who they do and don't want as customers. They don't have to give a reason and you can't force them to.

    Not sure if you can have an Amazon Elexa account in isolation to an Amazon Marketplace account. It would certainly need to be on an unrelated email account and if required anywhere address.
  • sheramber
    sheramber Posts: 18,636
    First Anniversary I've been Money Tipped! First Post Name Dropper
    Forumite
    It is not necessarily an account in your name.  It could be somebody else's account that was closed but there is a connection to you.

    Has anybody in your family had an account while living with you or using your address at any time?

    Have you used somebody else's address at any time. Perhaps bought something for somebody else and sent it to thier address?

    Has anybody else used your payment details on their account or have you used somebody else's payment details on your account?
  • Undervalued
    Undervalued Posts: 8,817
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Forumite
    Alderbank said:
    You have no consumer rights to force Amazon (or any other trader) to sell to you.

    You have no rights under Equality Act either unless you can show they are discriminating against you because of a protected characteristic, which they don't appear to be doing.

    Firing off lots of angry emails to all and sundry might not be the best strategy.

    We don't know your family and living arrangements. Amazon's sophisticated software is very good at sniffing out links with other family members or others living at the same address. They do have form for banning users by association but I don't think that is illegal. Other opinions may vary.
    Indeed.

    However there is the question of access to services and previously "purchased" content such as videos. As far as I know that has not been tested in a high enough court to set a binding precedent. I suspect (but of course don't know) that Amazon may be reluctant to take the risk of losing and might well offer some kind of settlement if the matter is pushed far enough. Whether any individual is likely to have deep enough pockets to push it that far is perhaps unlikely.
  • Aylesbury_Duck
    Aylesbury_Duck Posts: 13,795
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Forumite
    Alderbank said:
    You have no consumer rights to force Amazon (or any other trader) to sell to you.

    You have no rights under Equality Act either unless you can show they are discriminating against you because of a protected characteristic, which they don't appear to be doing.

    Firing off lots of angry emails to all and sundry might not be the best strategy.

    We don't know your family and living arrangements. Amazon's sophisticated software is very good at sniffing out links with other family members or others living at the same address. They do have form for banning users by association but I don't think that is illegal. Other opinions may vary.
    Indeed.

    However there is the question of access to services and previously "purchased" content such as videos. As far as I know that has not been tested in a high enough court to set a binding precedent. I suspect (but of course don't know) that Amazon may be reluctant to take the risk of losing and might well offer some kind of settlement if the matter is pushed far enough. Whether any individual is likely to have deep enough pockets to push it that far is perhaps unlikely.
    Yes, it's interesting.  I presume that in the terms for digital content and connected devices, consumers agree to losing access if their account is closed so the retailer has a defence.  Whether that's lawful or not is interesting.

  • Undervalued
    Undervalued Posts: 8,817
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Forumite
    Alderbank said:
    You have no consumer rights to force Amazon (or any other trader) to sell to you.

    You have no rights under Equality Act either unless you can show they are discriminating against you because of a protected characteristic, which they don't appear to be doing.

    Firing off lots of angry emails to all and sundry might not be the best strategy.

    We don't know your family and living arrangements. Amazon's sophisticated software is very good at sniffing out links with other family members or others living at the same address. They do have form for banning users by association but I don't think that is illegal. Other opinions may vary.
    Indeed.

    However there is the question of access to services and previously "purchased" content such as videos. As far as I know that has not been tested in a high enough court to set a binding precedent. I suspect (but of course don't know) that Amazon may be reluctant to take the risk of losing and might well offer some kind of settlement if the matter is pushed far enough. Whether any individual is likely to have deep enough pockets to push it that far is perhaps unlikely.
    Yes, it's interesting.  I presume that in the terms for digital content and connected devices, consumers agree to losing access if their account is closed so the retailer has a defence.  Whether that's lawful or not is interesting.

    You may be right but in which case surely the word "buy" shouldn't be used for movies etc but rather "rent" for however long the account remains open?

    One would assume it would be technically possible for them to block and new business (as is their right) but still allow access to previous purchases?
  • ArbitraryRandom
    ArbitraryRandom Posts: 2,337
    First Anniversary First Post Homepage Hero Name Dropper
    Forumite
    Alderbank said:
    You have no consumer rights to force Amazon (or any other trader) to sell to you.

    You have no rights under Equality Act either unless you can show they are discriminating against you because of a protected characteristic, which they don't appear to be doing.

    Firing off lots of angry emails to all and sundry might not be the best strategy.

    We don't know your family and living arrangements. Amazon's sophisticated software is very good at sniffing out links with other family members or others living at the same address. They do have form for banning users by association but I don't think that is illegal. Other opinions may vary.
    Indeed.

    However there is the question of access to services and previously "purchased" content such as videos. As far as I know that has not been tested in a high enough court to set a binding precedent. I suspect (but of course don't know) that Amazon may be reluctant to take the risk of losing and might well offer some kind of settlement if the matter is pushed far enough. Whether any individual is likely to have deep enough pockets to push it that far is perhaps unlikely.
    I was thinking this... I'm not familiar enough with Amazon's EULA (and I'm not in the mood to dig it out this afternoon), but I vaguely recall they deleted digital versions of an Orwell book a while back, inc those which had been downloaded onto user devices, and were eventually pushed into refunding the purchase price. 
    I'm not an early bird or a night owl; I’m some form of permanently exhausted pigeon.
  • Alderbank
    Alderbank Posts: 2,696
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Forumite
    I think that has arisen before in these pages.

    As far as I remember you do not own their digital content, Amazon grants you a limited licence to use the contents under the terms of an (extremely long-winded) EULA.

    You will have digitally agreed to that EULA. Go back and see what it says.
Meet your Ambassadors

Categories

  • All Categories
  • 341.8K Banking & Borrowing
  • 249.7K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 449.2K Spending & Discounts
  • 233.9K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 606.1K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 172.5K Life & Family
  • 246.8K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.8K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards