Online store owner Low Voltage and MORE! , who is based in Hong Kong, bought a Kindle Fire tablet for his five-year-old son and decided to rename it on his Amazon account. He introduced the Latin word “Baba” – “dad” in Chinese, not suspecting that this could lead to any problems. However, the new Kindle was tied to a Hong Kong work account at Amazon: his store is a partner of one of the largest marketplaces in the world and sells lamps and small electronics.
Amazon decided that the man not only changed the name of his son’s tablet, but changed his name in the marketplace system. The name Baba seemed strange to Amazon administrators, and after three days they blocked the man’s account – thus depriving him of access to his own online store. Amazon demanded that the entrepreneur provide documents that will help him regain access. When the man forwarded the necessary papers, the administrators said they needed a passport in Baba’s name. And until they see him, access to the account on Amazon will not be returned to the man, they explained in technical support.
This is what blocking a seller account on Amazon means. The company blocks all money transfers over the past three months (in this case, $ 40,000), denies access to all goods stored in Amazon’s warehouse (total cost – about $ 100,000), and prohibits the use of communication channels with customers. For the owner of the Low Voltage online store, who lives in the American city of Botel near Seattle, the damage from the blockage would be critical: he could lose his home; he would not have enough money to pay for the delivery of his wife, who is now eight months pregnant; two of his employees risked being left without pay. And all this is only due to the fact that he changed the name of the new tablet. In fact, as the entrepreneur writes on Reddit,his whole life almost collapsed due to an insignificant and harmless action.
The entrepreneur’s communication with Amazon technical support went in a circle: he tried to explain that there was no reason to block his account, and he was told that they would unblock it as soon as he showed his passport in the name of Baba. “I am a loyal Amazon customer, loyal seller and loyal user of many of their subscription services. All I wanted was to teach my kid to use the tablet, and I never would have thought that it could cost me and my subordinates work, ”the entrepreneur writes.
Desperate to find understanding from Amazon tech support, he posted a post on the Seattle subreddit (a specialized thread on Reddit) in the hope that someone from the company (Amazon’s office is located in the capital of Washington state) would see him and try to help. The post collected about 200 comments; Mostly, the entrepreneur was advised to write to Amazon creator Jeff Bezos, who responds to emails from strangers from time to time, or was encouraged to contact a particular employee.
The entrepreneur was so desperate that he was ready to travel to Amazon headquarters in Seattle every day. In the update of the post, the businessman continued to complain that he was still receiving meaningless replies – and still did not know what to do. In the end, however, he got a message from an Amazon employee who read the post on Reddit and registered on the site specifically to help. By chance, this person had the authority to fix the problem with access to the account. A day after the publication on Reddit, the entrepreneur was given access to his account back.
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