How hard is it to get a replacement Kindle from Amazon?
I recently wrote about Amazon sending me a new Kindle when I called them because of some keyboard problems I was having after it was accidentally knocked out of my hand.
This is the third time I’ve gotten a replacement from Amazon for a Kindle with a problem. In the first two cases, Kindle 3 screens failed…and I was (and am) quite certain I hadn’t abused them.
One of my readers suggested that it was very unusual that I was given a replacement Kindle. It was suggested that I got special service because I write a Kindle blog.
That really isn’t my impression of it. I read the Kindle community regularly, and I was sure that I’d heard many times of people getting replacements easily. Yes, I’ve heard some people who report bad experiences with Amazon Customer Service there…but they are few and far between. Amazon does not prevent people from posting negative things about the Kindle or the company there, by the way. It ebbs and flows, but I’ve seen many negatives posted…sometimes, ones which seem to be impossible stories to me. I’ve seen people complain that you “can’t do” something with a Kindle…when you can, for example.
Amazon’s Customer Service is highly-rated. I went back and did a quick look: they were #1 in BusinessWeek’s Customer Service Champs in 2009. That was just the first one I found:
In 2010, Amazon was #11 on BusinessWeek’s list. That could suggest a degradation in service, but it’s still a very high rank.
I looked for anything statistical on a Kindle return rate, and didn’t find it. I didn’t really expect to find it…they don’t report sales numbers, I didn’t expect them to report return rates.
So, I searched the Amazon Kindle Community. I put in “sent me new” to see what I get.
I got 1,341 results. Each post counts as a result. I don’t know how many posts there are in the forum, so I can’t give a percentage.
Here are some of the first results that I found:
“…Amazon’s CS is great. They sent me a new one overnight” (October 2010)
“…i called Amazon and they sent me a new Kindle within 24 hours” (1 month ago)
“that happened to me last month and they sent me a new one in 2 days. It was still under warranty, though.” (August 2010)
“Call CS. Mine did that and they sent me a new one.” (August 2009)
“i dropped my kindle they sent me a brand new one overnight for free. amazon is the best” (July 2010)
“My first K2 squeaked in a way similar to what you’re describing, and CS sent me a new one right away.” (September 2010)
“Yes, they sent me a new one and I then returned the broken one. Mine wasn’t defective. I dropped it.” (September 2010)
“My kindle was dropped in my sink full of water.It was less than a year old and they sent me a new one.” (September 2010)
“Call KINDLE CS. (never reg amazon cs.) I had a “unique” problem with my nearly 2 year Kindle…they sent me a new one.” (1 month ago)
“They still have K2′s available for this reason… I had to get a new one under warrantee last week and they sent me a brand new K2. :)” (August 2010)
Not all of the 1,341 results are going to be about replacement Kindles being sent…there will be some false positives. Some, for example, will be about Amazon sending new covers when people had concerns with those.
I wanted to narrow the search a bit, so I searched for “dropped sent new”. I got 74 results. Those would be a subset of the above most likely, unless they don’t include the word “me”. :) Skimming through that, many of them are actually about dropped Kindles being replaced (I also saw one where it was the price that “dropped”).
I ran a search for “bad customer service”. I got 521 results. I started to look at them, they generally weren’t about Amazon giving bad service. They were about other companies (contrasting it with Amazon) or good customer service for “bad” formatting, that kind of thing.
Here’s the search I did if you want to review that:
Based on what I can find, I think getting a replacement Kindle sent appears not to be hard. There are many reports about it online (admittedly, in an Amazon forum) and Amazon’s Customer Service ranking by other entities (at least BusinessWeek) is high.
I’m going to poll you, although clearly this is a group that may have had mainly positive interactions. If you had a bad interaction with Amazon, would you still be reading a blog called “I Love My Kindle”?
Obviously, the number of returns that Amazon may be doing could be a concern about the reliability of the device. However, my opinion that it isn’t that hard to get a replacement is buoyed by the research I’ve done this morning.
Do I get special treatment because I have a blog in the Kindle store? That’s an interesting question. I have gotten a couple of calls from Kindle Customer Service following up on an issue. That might be unusual. It’s possible that by the time it got to that point, it got to somebody who knows that I have somewhat of a public presence. I doubt that there is something on my account that says VIP when I call Custome Service, though. I’ve had some questions (hypotheticals…not requests for service) where they just haven’t answered me. When I returned one of my damaged Kindles, they couldn’t find it…and said they were going to charge me for it. That took a bit of straightening out (although it did get straightened out).
I had a book pulled because of a formatting issue. It took some correspondence to get resolved.
My guess? There are some people at Amazon who know who I am and know about the blog. I hope (but don’t expect) that Jeff Bezos reads this blog. :) I don’t think that’s the front-line people who answer the phone at Kindle Customer Service, though.
Feel free to share your experiences with Kindle Customer Service (good and bad).
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.