Amazon Has Lost its Mind (and Ethics, Apparently)

This morning at 5 a.m. when I was checking my email, I had a strange missive from the Amazon Kindle store.  It told me I was being subscribed to the “Kindle Compass” for a “14-day free trial,” and that after that time, I would automatically be charged the usual subscription fee, to my credit card ending in **** which is on file with Amazon (they used the numbers of the credit card on file in my account).

Really, Amazon?  Now you auto-subscribe people to newsletters for our Kindle, without asking first if we even want it?  The ONLY way to keep from getting it (and paying for it) is to opt out on our account page?  Worse yet, there is no indication anywhere about how much we will pay for the subscription once the “trial period” is up.

Pardon me, Amazon, but have you lost your mind?

I’ve been an Amazon customer for probably fifteen years.  The first thing I ever bought online was from Amazon, and it was a book.  In those days, that’s all Amazon sold.  I have gone on to buy many things from Amazon over the years; not just books, but CD’s, MPs (that I can download), clothing, toys, special coffees, maple syrup, and yes, books for my Kindle.  In all that time, I’ve never seen them operate this way.

Of course I was suspicious, because this didn’t really seem like something Amazon would do.  But the email address was legitimate and when I hit “reply” it was an Amazon address that came up in the “to” box.  The links in the email (to the “manage my subscriptions” and “Kindle Support” areas on Amazon) were legitimate and took me to those destinations.  They were not spoofed, and neither was the email.  And the subscription to this new newsletter, the Kindle Compass, was on my list of subscriptions.  I immediately canceled it, and got the confirmation email that I canceled it.

Then I got on the phone to my mother in Florida (yes, at 5 a.m.) and made sure she checked her email while I was talking to her, and helped her to unsubscribe.  In her case, the email from Amazon ended up in her spam filter, where she may have never seen it in the first place.  I also posted on my Facebook account, catching all of my friends who have gotten Kindles recently, so they could take care of it as well.  But how many others are not going to be notified, or think the notification is spam and ignore it.

And even if the subscription ends up being free, and no one is charged anything, just the fact that Amazon would do this in the first place is more than disturbing.  It is appalling.  In this day and age, when we have a million choices online to buy products and services, Amazon just made one of the biggest faux pas I’ve ever seen!  The Amazon customer service forum is in an uproar this morning, and it’s not even daylight yet.  How many people, like me, are waking up to the same email?  How many hundreds of thousands, or should I say MILLIONS of Amazon users are waking up to the same email?

Shame shame shame on you, Amazon.  I thought you were better than this.  Of all the sneaky, underhanded, low-ball ways to do business…

Do you want to let Amazon know how you feel?  Customer service can be reached at 866-321-8851.  You can also see what people are saying on the Amazon Kindle customer support forum, you can visit