Sunday, December 30, 2007

Amazon Kindle Phone Customer Support Sucks

My bf bought a Kindle. My opinion is that it's a very nice e-book reader. There are a lot of reviews out there that think it should be prettier or flashier or do more.

But they are wrong. It's an e-book reader. And it does that job very nicely.

As long as it's working.

Our Kindle seems to be having some issues with the battery—just flat-out really bad battery life, even with the wireless off. Some people have speculated this is because the device is draining too much power when the screensaver is on, and that things work better if you turn it off between reading sessions.

Okay, fine. But rather disappointing from a device you just paid $400 for.

Our Kindle has another issue, though, where if you leave it in the screensaver and not plugged into an outlet, it often won't wake up from the screensaver. Getting it back to life involves various resets, battery-poppings, and always needing to get it plugged back into an outlet.

And it's not that the battery is dead. When it wakes back up, it shows the battery as having plenty power left.

This rendered it unusable for the bf to take on his trans-Atlantic flight to see his family for Christmas.

That's not acceptable from a device you just paid $400 for.

The bf contacted customer service by e-mail. They said that from his description, they couldn't tell if the problem was in the Kindle itself, or just in the battery, and he needed to contact them by phone. Fair enough.

When he got back to the States, we did that.

For Kindle customer support, Amazon has a system where you enter your details into their online support site, and then support calls you at the phone number you provide—you can choose immediately, or in a few minutes. We chose immediately, and indeed were immediately called.

Only to be put on hold until a support representative was available to take our call.

I expected this. I understand this is how customer phone support works. You usually have to wait a while. But you know, if your business has a system sophisticated enough to have support call the customer back like that, they could actually make it so that support only calls when they have someone free to handle the call.

It's just a thought.

The bf and I passed the phone back and forth, waiting for a human. (Our speaker-phone died a terrible death a while back.)

Every few minutes, a pre-recorded voice broke through the music, saying the things those pre-recorded voices usually do, including that someone would take our call within a few minutes.

We passed the phone back-and-forth like this, waiting and waiting.



Furthermore, we are not the only people this has happened to. In the Kindle discussion forums on Amazon, at least one other customer said something similar had happened to them.

Amazon, I know you're a big enough company that you don't care how one customer feels, or even a few.


The bf and I are still deciding if we will try getting through to the Kindle phone customer support again, or just send the thing back. (We're still within our 30-day return window.)

Right now, we're favoring the latter.


  1. Weird... the one time I had to contact Amazon support for my Kindle, it was painless as can be. I basically told them I'd tried everything but couldn't get the Kindle to boot, and instead of giving me the runaround like I expected (have you tried plugging it in? Did you try turning it off and on?), they just told me I'd be receiving a new Kindle in the mail within a week.

    I was just like... oh... okay... well thanks!

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