Contacting Amazon customer support

Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
33,183
5,083
126
I have their support line on autodial on my phone. A machine answers and I have to announce my purpose and I say something and in general it says it will connect me with a representative. I get muzak until a CSR takes the line. Then they say "for security purposes I need to verify your account" and they ask for my name, address and email address. Usually these people are ESL, which doesn't help. I'm wondering why it's so difficult. Don't they have my unblocked phone number right in front of them? I imagine it shows right on their screen as soon as they identify my account. It should show my name, address and email address. Otherwise how can they verify what I'm saying? These people are making me spell out my email address sometimes. Why do they waste a minute or more of your time before you can get to the reason for your call? Is it to discourage customers from calling them?
 

rmacd02

Senior member
Nov 24, 2015
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Why do they waste a minute or more of your time before you can get to the reason for your call? Is it to discourage customers from calling them?

Yes. Whenever I had a problem, I used email, or the app to resolve it.

Actually, I only had one problem, and they fixed it with only one message sent.

I, too am an old timer who would rather phone in my problem, but we must adjust to the times it would seem.
 

pcgeek11

Lifer
Jun 12, 2005
19,028
2,595
126
I have their support line on autodial on my phone. A machine answers and I have to announce my purpose and I say something and in general it says it will connect me with a representative. I get muzak until a CSR takes the line. Then they say "for security purposes I need to verify your account" and they ask for my name, address and email address. Usually these people are ESL, which doesn't help. I'm wondering why it's so difficult. Don't they have my unblocked phone number right in front of them? I imagine it shows right on their screen as soon as they identify my account. It should show my name, address and email address. Otherwise how can they verify what I'm saying? These people are making me spell out my email address sometimes. Why do they waste a minute or more of your time before you can get to the reason for your call? Is it to discourage customers from calling them?

They are trying to verify that You are in fact who you say you are.
 
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Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
33,183
5,083
126
They are trying to verify that You are in fact who you say you are.
Yeah, I get that. But most companies don't go for the interrogation they put you through, they ask date of birth, maybe a security question or two.

The girl I got first tonight I had to end the call, that almost never happens to me. I think she had a speech impediment and I couldn't make out what she was saying.
 

Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
2,919
654
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Yeah, I get that. But most companies don't go for the interrogation they put you through, they ask date of birth, maybe a security question or two.

The girl I got first tonight I had to end the call, that almost never happens to me. I think she had a speech impediment and I couldn't make out what she was saying.
Where I work, we ask for 5 to 7 different pieces of information depending upon the situation. And, from my experience having dealt the steadily worsening fraud scum epidemic, there are times that doesn't even seem to be enough.

As far as your CSR goes, I guess Amazon is so hard up for employees that as long as you are breathing and can sit upright in a chair unassisted they will hire you.
 
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WelshBloke

Lifer
Jan 12, 2005
28,316
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Amazon really isn't set up for people to phone in.
They are an online retailer, they are set up for you to contact them that way as well.
You're first contact should be their chat thing, they answer that quickly and they have access to your account info automatically then.
 

pcgeek11

Lifer
Jun 12, 2005
19,028
2,595
126
Amazon really isn't set up for people to phone in.
They are an online retailer, they are set up for you to contact them that way as well.
You're first contact should be their chat thing, they answer that quickly and they have access to your account info automatically then.

This is the method I have always used. Within a minute or two my issue has always been resolved to my satisfaction. IMO Amazon has the best customer service of anyone I have ever dealt with. Bar none.
 

pmv

Lifer
May 30, 2008
10,193
4,933
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Never had that much of a problem with Amazon CS, but that's probably because I've pretty-much always used their on-line 'chat' option.

But in a more general sense, customer-service lines drive me mad. Firstly all those endless multiply-nested automated voice menus, that go on for an eterntiy (and constantly try to push you to 'go to our website') and never, ever include an option for the thing you are actually calling about. Then there's the way each person you speak to asks you for all the same details you already gave two minutes ago, either to the automated system or to the person you spoke to who passed you on to this person.
Also, these days there always seems to be the added time-waster of a long spiel about something-to-do-with COVID, whether it's of any relevance to what you are calling about or not.

Most of all every business or local-authority, and including my doctor, is _obsessed_ with pushing you to you to use their website instead of trying to actually speak to a human being (with Amazon I'm usually already on their website, so web chat seems the logical first thing to try).

Much as with the self-service tills in the supermarket. Technology just gets used to make life easier for the corporation or government, not the ordinary person trying to deal with them, who is expected to change their ways to suit the technology, not the reverse.
 
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Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
33,183
5,083
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I have done little online CS at Amazon, when I have an issue I usually call and I suppose it's because I have had good results talking to their reps, good outcomes on almost every occasion and I'm instinctively skeptical that dealing with an online system where I don't interact with an actual human being isn't going to consider my case specifically to my concerns. I wasn't aware of Amazon Chat!!! I'll have to look for it, AFAIK it's not prominently presented to the customer the way it is with so many other online entities. I have no aversion to chat with a CSR, I have done it many times, I type well, can formulate good English that gets my thinking across. I just didn't know that Amazon has it.

In the instance I had last night, I was uncommonly frustrated. I'll explain:

I was shopping for file folders a couple weeks ago or so. I droplisted at least two Amazon listings with Honey and got an email from them about a price drop for one of those. It was from around $7.50 down to ~$2.50. I ordered 3 sets of 36 (4 different colors), great deal. I get an email a day later from the seller (I guess an Amazon 3rd party seller) saying the price listed was by virtue of an error and they requested that I accept a refund and their apology. I answered something like how about meeting me halfway? I'll pay you $5/set. I didn't hear back from them but looking at my Amazon account a few days later I saw that the order was scheduled for delivery in a time window. I chanced on a screen yesterday indicating it was Out for Delivery, great. Last night I keep going out to my porch or checking my email but it's not here. Finally, 3 hours after dark I look online at Amazon and it says the order was delivered the day before, on Nov. 9. I was perfectly aware that it wasn't delivered to me, I did get at least one other delivery that day (Tuesday), but not the file folders. I immediately call Amazon and get the weird woman I couldn't understand. I call again and get a woman who I can understand and she says, after a long hold, that they are contacting the seller and the seller will contact me within two days or else Amazon will take up the matter.
 
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balloonshark

Diamond Member
Jun 5, 2008
5,515
1,723
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Hypothetical: I just ordered this with your Amazon account and want it delivered to my property so I called customer service to change the delivery address. I spoofed your phone number when I called customer service and it matched what was on your account so I didn't need to verify anything else.


Now you get it?
 
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Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
33,183
5,083
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Hypothetical: I just ordered this with your Amazon account and want it delivered to my property so I called customer service to change the delivery address. I spoofed your phone number when I called customer service and it matched what was on your account so I didn't need to verify anything else.


Now you get it?
Yeah, well, they aren't that stupid. But hey, let's be real here. Knowing my name, address and email address does not prove a caller to be me. There's no security questions involved, nothing that only I would know.
 
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pmv

Lifer
May 30, 2008
10,193
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Yeah, well, they aren't that stupid. But hey, let's be real here. Knowing my name, address and email address does not prove a caller to be me. There's no security questions involved, nothing that only I would know.
That seems a fair response. Though I don't know why all these companies ask for personal information which both fails to prove your identity and also is none of their business anyway. It's neither necessary nor sufficient.
 

pmv

Lifer
May 30, 2008
10,193
4,933
136
I just had a irritating experience trying to get a 'parking voucher' from the council so that a workman who is supposed to visit to fix something in my place can park in the car park that is outside (that I have to pay for, through my service charge). Of course you can't just collect a paper ticket to display from the local office any more, that's far too low-tech.

Now you have to create an on-line account, provide multiple proofs of identity by scanning various documents you don't have with the scanner you don't own, and then order an 'e-voucher' that the visitor has to access with the smart phone (that they also probably don't have) in order to be allowed to park in the carpark I already pay for (even though I don't have a car - needless to say no secure bike-parking is provided).

And of course, to do all this I have to give them reams of irrelevant information, including my date-of-birth (why? What does that have to do with a visitor being able to park outside?)
 
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balloonshark

Diamond Member
Jun 5, 2008
5,515
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I had my debit card number stolen once and it was used to make online purchases. It was a headache doing without a card while a new one was issued. It was also a headache trying to get my money back because my bank didn't care since it wasn't their money. Luckily it wasn't much money and I was able to contact the places where the money was spent. One charge was in Europe but I got a really nice lady on the phone that understood and reversed the charges. So I'm all for any and all layers of security that protect my money since all it takes is one wrong answer to stop a scammer.
 
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pmv

Lifer
May 30, 2008
10,193
4,933
136
I had my debit card number stolen once and it was used to make online purchases. It was a headache doing without a card while a new one was issued. It was also a headache trying to get my money back because my bank didn't care since it wasn't their money. Luckily it wasn't much money and I was able to contact the places where the money was spent. One charge was in Europe but I got a really nice lady on the phone that understood and reversed the charges. So I'm all for any and all layers of security that protect my money since all it takes is one wrong answer to stop a scammer.
But the more irrelevant information you have to give companies, the greater the chances of someone getting hold of that information and using it for something nefarious.
 
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balloonshark

Diamond Member
Jun 5, 2008
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But the more irrelevant information you have to give companies, the greater the chances of someone getting hold of that information and using it for something nefarious.
That is true. I figure most criminals aren't smart or that motivated while some are really good at what they do. The purpose of the security questions is to eliminate the criminals looking for an easy score with little to no roadblocks along the way.
 

Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
33,183
5,083
126
But the more irrelevant information you have to give companies, the greater the chances of someone getting hold of that information and using it for something nefarious.
Having worked in database administration (and programming) I know how insecure that information you give them can be. I dislike giving info that's typically used for security purposes, such as SSN, DOB, address, even email address. I have done well in terms of my intuition when I'm talking to reps. Rare is the time I think "how do I know I can trust this person?" Usually it's clear to me, but it does happen. A few times I gave them info I didn't want to reveal. Don't recall getting into trouble doing that. But yeah, even if they are 100% legit, that data is probably going into their nest and no nest is totally secure. Witness the mega-hacking going on all over the planet.

I did have my CC# snagged by some creep, have no idea how, this was around maybe 6-10 years ago. They bought an item on the opposite coast, went back and bought another within a day. Then they ordered a pizza! My CC company reversed the charges, I didn't take a hit, got a new CC#. For me that's no biggie because I have a bunch of CC's these days. In my experience Paypal hasn't screwed me. Ebay's pretty much got your back. I've managed to not get scammed. I picked up the phone on a scammer a month or so ago out of curiosity. Got a woman, I figure somewhere in Asia. I asked her "where are you," and she hung up.
 
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Lost_in_the_HTTP

Diamond Member
Nov 17, 2019
6,275
3,688
106
I wasn't aware of Amazon Chat!!! I'll have to look for it, AFAIK it's not prominently presented to the customer the way it is with so many other online entities.
Yeah, they hid it. Bottom of most pages, Help. Then a maze of other help and 'more help' and 'something else'.

Once you get that far, you get to tickle the bot a few times. If you're asking about an order, it will pull up a list of which items and let you select it.
 

manly

Diamond Member
Jan 25, 2000
9,556
911
126
I don't know if there's an existing thread for it, and I don't feel like making a new P&N thread but Amazon allegedly collects a staggering 1/3 cut of all third-party sales:


I had my debit card number stolen once and it was used to make online purchases. It was a headache doing without a card while a new one was issued. It was also a headache trying to get my money back because my bank didn't care since it wasn't their money. Luckily it wasn't much money and I was able to contact the places where the money was spent. One charge was in Europe but I got a really nice lady on the phone that understood and reversed the charges. So I'm all for any and all layers of security that protect my money since all it takes is one wrong answer to stop a scammer.
This must have been a while ago, because debit cards don't have the consumer protections of credit cards (Fair Credit Billing Act). But most large banks have moved to limit liability for customers whose debit cards have been defrauded. It's fairly outrageous to expect consumers to go haggle merchants to reverse unauthorized charges.

I try not to give out my credit card account numbers if I don't have to, and Citibank's Virtual Account Number (VAN) is quite useful to generate unique numbers with spending limits. Strangely enough, that didn't prevent my Citi Card account from being defrauded twice in 6 years. Based on limited circumstantial evidence, the bad actors somehow were able to defeat/access the VAN service itself. What I mean is that my actual CC# or generated numbers were not used to defraud. So the fraudsters had some other way of perpetrating charge fraud. Citi recently revamped its VAN service after nearly two decades on the old one, which was licensed.
 
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