Amazon’s Deceptive “Prime Day” Deals

By , August 25, 2015

&$*%*&@ ‪#‎Amazon‬ ‪#‎PrimeDay‬

(Aug 26 & Sept. 7 updates below)

Back on Prime Day, the only worthwhile deal I found was a promised $40 promotional credit if I paid $9.99 per month for a one-year subscription for Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan (Photoshop CC + Lightroom).

Today, I learned that they’ve decided to change the terms of the deal, so I won’t be able to use the credit.


Last week, on the promised deadline day, I received an email with a subject indicating that it was about the $40 credit from Amazon. But it contained no information, just a bunch of category “buy” links. I contacted support, and eventually was promised a follow-up email this week with my promotional code.

Confusion: each time, Amazon Support asks for my order number, but Amazon does not assign order numbers to software subscription orders. Yeah.

Today, I got another email with a promotional code, which was rejected by Amazon.

After several frustrating chat sessions (each transferred eventually to an unstaffed queue) and a phone call, I’ve learned that Amazon has now applied a restricted $40 credit for purchase only of “digital software/video games,” which will expire in 60 days (and of course cannot be used against my monthly subscription charges).

More chat sessions were transferred to unstaffed queues. Eventually, a chat agent asked for my phone number to call me — and I got a call connecting me to an unsuspecting support agent in another department with no info about my case.

Enough: it’s not worth $40 to keep chasing this down.


Update August 26: Amazon replied, by email and phone, assuring me that it was granting the $40 credit to be used with any purchase.

Today, I ordered a Kindle ebook (John Markoff‘s latest, Machines of Loving Grace, and Amazon did NOT apply any of the credit to the ebook. Instead, they charged the full cost to my bank card (image below showing my Amazon credits, and the charge sent to my bank).




Update September 7: I bought another Kindle eBook today, and again, Amazon did not apply the credit to the purchase.   I notice that the credit shows as for “Kindle Editions” but I cannot find any subcategory of books on Amazon called “Kindle Editions.” Apparently, it’s either a guessing game, or the credit applies only to items that nobody can buy.

I eventually spoke with an Amazon support agent today, who explained that the credit applies only to books which are published by Amazon.  And it does turn out that when you view one of these titles, you will see the words “Kindle Edition” next to the title.  But there is no way to search for these titles, and to be sure you must scroll down to see “Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.” (other publishers’ names are displayed “above the fold” at the upper right, but Amazon hides its own status as publisher far below the fold).

I’ve just scanned through my Wish Lists and bought four anthologies edited by Andrew MacRaeThe Anthology of Cozy Noir,  Destination: Mystery,  The Case of the Murderous Mermaid and Other Stories, and Stories from the World of Tomorrow. The credit was applied, reducing my remaining credits to $28.04.


One Response to “Amazon’s Deceptive “Prime Day” Deals”

  1. Barry says:

    Gee.. If I were a lawyer I’d sue ’em. If I were a writer I’d write a nasty article about the whole scheme.

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