Last week’s news about Amazon’s derisory tax payments to the British government was the final straw. But that wasn’t the only reason why I closed my Amazon account and abandoned one of the planet’s biggest ecommerce platforms.
8 reasons why I closed my Amazon account
- I believe international brands like Amazon should pay respect to the spirit of the UK’s tax laws, not just the letter. It’s our government’s fault, of course. They’ve agreed loophole-strewn tax laws that allow Amazon and their ilk to pay substantially less tax than other businesses. But if I was head of Amazon I’d pay the full whack, earn my brand equity a huge global boost, and take the moral high ground. As a marketer it seems mad not to.
- I agreed to test drive Amazon Prime, fair enough. But I don’t recall agreeing to carry it on. I didn’t even know I still had it until I noticed twelve quid had been mysteriously disappearing from my account every month for several months running. They sneaked that one past me. Passive marketing like that is terrible. It has long been acknowledged as a shitty way to treat punters.
- Talking about Prime, I don’t need orders delivered the next day. Nothing’s that urgent, and I don’t like the thought of delivery firms being put under such pressure. Talking to them on the doorstep, I know how difficult it makes their lives. Speed isn’t everything.
- Is it coming from China? Hm, I’m not sure. While it’s easy to spot goods from China on Ebay, where you can filter the results by location, several times I’ve mistakenly bought things from China when it would’ve made a lot more sense – and been a lot faster – to buy it from the EU or UK. It’s a UX thing, and it isn’t good enough.
- The entire Amazon user interface is a visual mess. Finding things has become hellish. The home page is stuffed so full of content, links and visual noise that I can’t be bothered to navigate it any more.
- Amazon is incredibly nosy. They want to know all about me. But because I don’t trust them, I don’t want them to access my data any more. Small independents don’t take, store and use my data without asking, so why should big brands like Amazon?
- It feels a bit too much like they’re out to take over the world. There’s been far too much brand extension for my taste, which is probably one reason why the interface is such a dog.
- I realise I can easily buy everything I buy on Amazon elsewhere. I used to adore their second hand books option, but there are oodles of independent bookshops online. The same goes for independent shops of every kind; aquatics, garden tools, art materials, DIY stuff, all the things I regularly buy. I can get it all elsewhere. It’s actually quite exciting. In future, instead of shopping at an online ‘superstore’, I’ll be shopping down little digital back streets lined with unique shops owned by ordinary folk like me. Much more fun.
Problems finding the ‘close my Amazon account’ facility
If you’ve ever tried to track down the ‘cancel my Amazon account’ button on the site, I bet you a tenner you couldn’t find it. I had to do a Google search for instructions and eventually found the button buried deep inside the Amazon site, in a place you wouldn’t be able to guess. That’s rubbish, too.
Chat was excellent, but telesales are on the menu
Once I found the right place I used the ‘chat’ facility to cancel my Amazon account. The customer service person I chatted to was excellent… mostly. He wanted to know a good time to telephone me. I wrote back that I hoped it wasn’t going to be a sales call trying to persuade me to stay. He backtracked instantly and cancelled my account via chat, which tells me it would indeed have been a telesales call. And that’s bad, too. If someone wants to cancel a service or an account it should be instant, achievable at the click of a button. No quibbles, no telesales.