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The Price of a Free Kindle

Posted by susabelle at 5:04 PM on December 31, 2011

When we moved from Missouri to Colorado, it meant we had to find a new bank, new utility providers, the whole kit ‘n k’boodle.  I chose a bank by seeing which one was closest to the house.  A bank is a bank is a bank, in my experience.

So it turns out this bank (FirstBank) gives free gifts to customers who use direct deposit and a debit card.  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t use these two things, and after three months and three direct deposits, I got an email from the bank informing me that I qualified for a free gift.  The gifts were things like an iPod touch, a Kindle, electric coffee mugs, and ski lift tickets.  I decided to go with the Kindle, since I had had to give up my Kindle DX when I left my job in Missouri.

I got it in the mail, unboxed it, plugged it in to charge…and immediately saw an ad for the Twilight books on my Kindle.  Dismayed is not a strong enough word to describe my feelings about this.  Yes, I realize I didn’t pay anything for this Kindle, but couldn’t they have given me one without ads?  I get to see ads instead of the usual screen savers, and there are ads at the bottom of my menu.  The ads disappear when I’m reading, so far, but how long will it be before a software update gives me ads in the middle of the book I’m reading?  Right now the thing is sitting here giving me a T-Mobile ad because I set it down for ten minutes.  Later, there will be another ad, and generally, the ads aren’t even for things I would buy or be interested in.

I’m annoyed.  I suppose if I’d have been buying the Kindle, I’d have to chosen the non-ad-supported one.  But in this case, I didn’t have any choice, so therefore I have no way of turning off the ads.  I guess I’m stuck with them for the life of the device.

I understand it.  I really do.  Companies need to make money, especially in this economy.  But really, ads on my Kindle, which my bank did pay for, after all?  Really?

How utterly rude.  Can’t they make enough off the books I’m buying, and all the other stuff I manage to buy through Amazon in general, to provide a paid-for device that is not laden with ads?

6 Comments

  1. From mace at 7:58 pm on December 31, 2011

    You know you can pay to have the ads removed? I’m not sure how much it is because that ads don’t really bother me, so I haven’t done it. There is also a hack out to remove them, but the ethical thing to do would be to throw the few bones to Amazon.

  2. From tomwiles at 10:25 am on January 1, 2012

    Realize that the customer is ultimately paying for and therefore sustaining the bank’s (or any other business’s) services. If the complaint is that one does not like the way a particular business is run, there’s always the option of taking one’s business elsewhere.

    If I were the bank and a querulous customer complained about ads on their “free” Kindle, I’d be tempted to take the Kindle back and perhaps offer them a lollipop instead.

    As the old saying goes, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”

  3. From susabelle at 8:33 am on January 2, 2012

    I would pay to have the ads removed, just don’t know who to contact to do that.

  4. From GNC-2012-01-02 #734 Happy New Year - Geek News Central at 12:28 am on January 3, 2012

    [...] for a million please. Verizon Unlimited Data. Steve Jobs Action Figure (Weird). New Years Ball. Kindle Free option not Good. Nest Real World Review. LG TV Details. Stanford Apple Archives. WP7 Phone Unlocker Pulled. Two in [...]

  5. From Jeremy at 6:06 am on January 9, 2012

    Depending on which Kindle with Special Offers you have, you can pay to have the ads removed.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200671290

  6. From susabelle at 5:10 pm on January 10, 2012

    The cost to remove the ads is $50, I checked. It’s not worth $50. Still miffed that I got one with ads to begin with!