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my open letter to amazon.com, concerning audible.com

here is my open letter to amazon.com, concerning audible.com, sent in response to a survey i received after finishing a chat session with a customer service representative:

your chat-rep was excellent. professional, courteous, helpful, informed. i could not ask for a better online customer experience.

however, the underlying issue that led to this service chat is a serious defect in your Audible marketing. first, you've relentlessly pushed commercial popups to me while i am reading content i paid for on a device i paid for using network connectivity i paid for. i will never buy any products advertised to me by popups, especially popups in a fully prepaid premium experience. you have poisoned audible for me, for all time, simply by not respecting my privacy as a reader. you are taking unfair advantage of your monopoly power in the book reading market. at a minimum, this is a bad trade practice, and has led me to reconsider keeping my kindle account. i won't love lugging paper books onto airplanes, but i will go back to doing so if it's the only way i can read in peace without having to look at commercials.

however, as bad as that is, the situation got worse yesterday. i bought an e-book to be delivered to my kindle, and the next thing i saw was email welcoming me to audible. then i found a $229 charge from audible on my business amex card, which i never use for kindle. then i found a $4 charge from audible on my citibank mastercard, which i never use for kindle. i called the "888" number in the audible e-mail i received, and i complained that i had been charged for services i never signed up for, and was assured by the phone representative that the charges would be canceled. that didn't happen. so, today i disputed both charges, which means, you'll be hearing from my credit card companies. i then went into audible.com and found that my amazon credential worked there, so i deleted all of my credit cards from your records -- but was unable to cancel my account. i used your chat-service and a very helpful and courteous team promised to refund both charges and cancel the account.

audible is a marketing disaster, and does not represent the amazon i've known, or the amazon where some of my friends are employed, or the amazon that i think amazon truly wants to be. amazon should be ashamed of audible, and should take it off the market for a re-think, and should send the marketing team who thought up this nightmarish disaster to receive more training in corporate ethics.

paul vixie