Having recently discovered that Amazon closed my affiliate referral account, this article describes the support odyssey I went through in figuring out why and getting the situation resolved.
Surprise account closure
Yesterday morning it occurred to me that it seems to have been ages since I’ve received any referral payments from Amazon. So I logged into my account, and was greeted by this:
Lots of thoughts simultaneously went through my mind:
- When did this happened?
- Why the hell didn’t Amazon inform me about this?
- What do I need to do to get this resolved?
After some googling, though, I began to suspect it was related to the fact that my Amazon account is associated with a Georgia address, and the internet is full of articles about affiliate programs with Georgia residents being closed due to some internet sales-tax law passed in the state.
In any case, to get some clarity, I decided to email Amazon a screenshot of this account-closure alert and ask what’s going on.
Of course, customer support in general is getting so shitty these days that I wasn’t expecting much in the way of a reply, but even I wouldn’t have expected the reply from “Vishal” to be so bad.
So here’s what he communicated:
- He’s sorry my account got closed.
- That is NOT what Amazon want their customers to experience.
- My account, however, is not actually closed—so I don’t need to worry about it.
- BTW, if I can’t login, here’s a link. (WTF!?!)
- My account is safe and secure with Amazon.
- Amazon looks forward to seeing me again soon.
- Amazon are building the Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company.
There, there’s that weird bit about “following the link” to provide “the information they requested”. What information? The email doesn’t request any information. Well, here’s what you see when following that link.
What the hell is that? My 17 digit order number!?! OMG this is insane.
Anyway, I decided to check my account just to see if Vishal had somehow cleared things up, but as expected:
So I replied saying, “Hey Vishal, any thoughts on that BIG FUCKING BOX THAT SAYS MY ACCOUNT IS CLOSED that’s still there? Just wondering. Sincerely, Matt.”
Within a few hours, I received a reply from “Amrita” that looks like something from a random-text generator:
- “I’m sorry you received email of Account closed”. What? I didn’t receive any emails from Amazon. That was the point!
- “Your account is active.” What? What about the honking huge alert!?!
- “I’m forwarding your complaint to the concern department and the right people in my company so that they’ll come to know about the problem.” Are we speaking English?
- “Further, In this case I request you to contact us back but via phone as our phone rep will help you to verify some security question like credit card details”. My credit card details?!? OMG.
My mind boggles trying to imagine about how the contents of Amazon’s support response could have gotten assembled. I wonder whether “Vishal” and “Amrita” are actually a humans, or if this is all some advanced computer response system gone terribly awry. And I wonder what Jeff Bezos would do if he saw this? (Anybody know how to get in contact with him?)
I finally decided to call the support center, and was connected to someone in India. The first call got terminated just when I was explaining to Indian-accented “Amy” what was going on. On the second call, after spending 15 minutes convincing Indian-accented “Scott” that my problem is related to my affiliate account and not an order, he said he was going to have to transfer me to a higher level of support.
After a few minutes, the definitely American-accented “John” came on the phone, and within 10 minutes it became clear what had happened: Back in 2015, Amazon required all affiliates to confirm that their sites don’t target kids. I didn’t receive that notice, and therefore never responded. And so, at some point in 2015, my affiliate account was irrevocably closed.
The solution was simple, though — John just had me sign out of my affiliate account, and click “Get Started” to create a new one. The new one was created within the same core Amazon.com account as my previous one.