How hard is it to get a replacement Kindle from Amazon?

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:

BusinessWeek’s 2009 Customer Service Champs

 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:

Search for Bad Customer Service in the Kindle Community forum

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.

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34 Responses to “How hard is it to get a replacement Kindle from Amazon?”

  1. Blonde Says:

    I have same experience! I must change my Kindle (problem with freezing) and new Kindle was in my hand during ONE day!

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Blonde!

      I’m curious…were you outside of the US when that happened?

      Oh, and we should note that you have a website/blog that deals with the Kindle, right? Full disclosure, after all…

  2. Harold Delk Says:

    It’s been some time since, but my K1 was out of warranty by a few months when it started having screen problems. I called Kindle CS and they had a new one in my hands next day w/o charge.

    I have never had a problem with ANY problem not resolved to my satisfaction; and sometimes well beyond what I expected. I find them very generous with and caring about customer satisfaction. I spent over 25 years as a consumer fraud investigator working to either resolve or prosecute customer complaints against companies … if I had specialized in Amazon complaints I fear I would have been unemployed rather quickly.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Harold, thanks for writing!

      It’s great to have a professional (and witty) perspective on it. ;)

  3. Mara Says:

    Poll answered! This is my “story”.

    K2: in less than 3 months the battery lasted less then 5 days. I got a replacement without a problem. The only strange fact: I had to pay for it and then got a refund.

    K3: same as above. The battery lasted exactly like my k2. I found it weird. But I couldn’t convince the Customer Center that it was a problem. (I still think it is :D)

    Same k3: broken case. I got a replacement without a problem. They asked me to pay for it. I explained I rather not (for a glitch in their system I had a second partial refund and the a second charge… bit of a mess). They agreed to it. But I had to pay for the shipping. :) (I will get a refund on it too.)

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Mara!

      I appreciate you sharing that story. I haven’t been asked to pay for one first, I think…

  4. Casey Says:

    About two years ago, my boss had just bought the brand new 2nd generation Kindle. She had a minor problem with fade-out, called customer service to find out if she had accidentally changed a setting, and their first response was to tell her they’d send her a new one right away.

    Amazon made some money off of that. Two of us in the office bought Kindles just after that, impressed with the customer service, before the big price drop that summer.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Casey!

      Great Customer Service is expensive…but it can be a worthwhile investment for a company. :)

  5. David Cuen Says:

    I had the same experience as you. One day the screen of my Kindle 2 stopped working. I called customer services and even though I had bought it from eBay they sent me a replacement.
    The replacement was defective as well and after another call they sent me another one. They even reimbursed me the shipment fees.
    So I was very happy with them.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, David!

      I appreciate you sharing your similar experience to mine. I wasn’t happy that the replacement had to be replaced, but I was happy with how they did it. That’s with my earlier K3 screen failures, not this one that fell.

  6. Jeff Hansen Says:

    I had a problem with my screen after dropping it about 3 ft while in a case. I called customer service and explained what had happened. The CSR immediately had a new one sent out to me and it arrived barely 24 hours later. This was my first dealing with Amazon customer service and it was pretty amazing. The only possible reason I may have gotten any kind of expedited service is that I am a Prime member. I don’t know if they take that into account.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Jeff!

      I appreciate that field report. :) I’m not a Prime member, so we don’t have that in common.

  7. Jamie Lynn Braziel Says:

    My issue with Kindle CS is the canned email responses you sometimes get. For example, I recently emailed them about The Lord of the Rings trilogy no longer being available in the US even though the first and third books were available individually. The second is not. I asked for an explanation as to why it was unavailable especially considering it had been available for a long period prior to now. The email I received stated that it was currently unavailable in my country (Duh, I knew that; it says that on the Kindle book page.) with no explanation as to why.

    Bufo, by the way, if you’ve heard why it’s unavailable, I’d love to know.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Jamie!

      Yeah, I do have to say, I haven’t been e-mailing them…I’ve been having them call me. I think that’s more effective.

      I haven’t heard a reason…I have heard about the unavailability, though. The single volume omnibus is not currently available in the US. The Fellowship and Return are. My guess is that they may have pulled the omnibus…that’s a different situation in e-books versus p-books. They are charged for the size of the file, so it may be less profitable for them to have one giant file. The middle book…could have been pulled for formatting reasons, that happens. Don’t know, though.

  8. Daz Says:

    My husband’s Kindle switch was sticking when turning the Kindle on and putting it to sleep. I called CS and they immediately told me it was not a problem they could fix over the phone and organized to send me a new one. No problems, no questions asked.

    My friend’s Kindle was freezing regularly and after a week of hard resets frequently she called CS and they immediately sent her a replacement. Again, no questions asked.

  9. draegi Says:

    I’m not so sure the Kindle forum is the best place to go for complaints about customer service…

    When my kindle 1 broke a couple of years ago I most certainly did not get offered a replacement, although I suppose it wasn’t under warranty so might have been my fault.

  10. Tom Madsen Says:

    Always been excellent. I’ve sent a few back in my time. I had a wifi K3, and had the screen go out like your 2 original. I then decided to go with wifi/3g had an issue with battery and restarts (before we knew about the cover issue). They sent another one out same issue.

    But I waited a few weeks, after posting on the forum for information. Then it really lit up about the non-lighted issue. Then contacted them and they sent me a lighted case. I was put on hold a few times for this as they looked up information about issues. Now works beautifully.

    Then my Ex had an issue with the K2 after 6mos couldn’t charge it at all. They sent a replacement, but it had the screen problem (you originally had with K3). Called them right away then they stated they couldn’t send another til I sent one of them back. That was the rules even though I offered to buy one. Called back got someone else that said ‘No Problem’. Had the K2 (now 3) the next day. Sent the non working ones back.

    By the way I did say I was refused before but I called back to get a shipping label. He stated he could see that I had just called, and appreciated my honesty. He noted I had been a loyal customer and usually but their is some exceptions. I know I don’t have a VIP or fancy blog like you. :)

    I really like everything about Amazon, they have always been honest. Good about returns, and easy to deal with.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tom!

      Interesting about calling back! That’s legendary in Customer Service, but certainly works some times. I do ike they said that you had been a “loyal customer”…that’s close to what they said about me, so that makes it sound less related to any other activities of mine.

      Amazon has three main tenets: price, selection, and service. Those sound like a pretty good set of guiding principles. :)

      They also value innovation, but they don’t state that as one of their customer-facing guidelines, but in a way, it is.

  11. karin Says:

    Let’s see, I have had a kindle since October of 2008. I have called them 3 times, they have always been very courteous. One fixed the Kindle over they phone, one replaced my Kindle with an apology that I wouldn’t get until Monday (it was a Saturday), and commiserated with me about the loss of the Kindle for a day, apparently Kindlers hate losing their Kindles for even a short period of time. The last my Kindle 3 was replaced free within 24 hours. I have never had anything but wonderful service with Amazon.

  12. André Says:

    Hi, I’am from Brazil and dropped my Kindle at 3AM Christmas Eve, called CS and they sent me a new one right away. It’s the best CS I have ever talked to.

  13. Ajay Says:

    My kindle had a dot on the screen. It wasn’t that big, and realistically wouldn’t interfere with reading, but the kindle was less than a week old and I hadn’t mistreated it. My first call to CS dropped out and i couldn’t get through when I called back, but before that I was told that they would replace it. It eventually took me 4 or so calls to actually get a kindle sent, but that was more because I’m in Australia and there were issues with my address (although I don’t see why as I’ve had stuff sent to my address since :/). Amazon also didn’t require me to send the faulty kindle back. They just deregistered it and sent me a new shiny one.

  14. Michelle Says:

    I found this site when I was searching to see how common my problem is. Unfortunately, I had a horrible experience with customer service. Kindle 2 3G was purchased in Nov. ’09 by my husband, given (and thus registered) Christmas of ’09. While I was away on business during the summer of ’10 it began developing lines. Customer service convinced me it was just a re-boot issue. I didn’t read much during Fall of ’10 (had a new baby). Pick it up to start reading again Jan ’11 and POOF, screen lines all over, more each day. Of course Kindle wasn’t under warranty anymore. Wouldn’t replace it, they don’t offer repair (offered me a refurb’d Kindle 2 for more than the price of a Kindle 3 wifi). BOO, TOTALLY regretting the 3 kindles I bought for family members as gifts during the ’10 holiday season.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Michelle!

      I’m sorry you had an unsatisfying experience. It sounds like the gap was that they didn’t replace it in the summer of 2010 (something like six months after purchase). They did, however, offer you a reduced cost replacement after the warranty had expired, right? That doesn’t sound horrible to me…that’s more than they are required to do. Your situation of use is unusual, unfortunately.

      If you think you were misled in the summer of 2010, I think it’s worth contacting Kindle Customer Service again and explaining that. The first answer isn’t always the last answer.

  15. Ferausquin Says:

    It might be a little late for this comment, but I think it’s relevant for this matter.

    I live in Perú and got a Kindle on january this year, it’s screen got cracked by my keys and I got on touch with Amazon CS hoping they could tell me where can I fix this on my country but they sent me a new one for free, I just had to sent them mine paying the courrier (Wich cost me more than the kindle itself, so I waited for them to charge it from my card).

    Now, since that new kindle (wich felt a little refurbished, But I can’t be sure) was defective their are sending me another one and since I explained them that the cost of the courrier from here to US was higher than the kindle itself (and that this was a defective product) they are making an exception (as I’ve been told) and are taking care of the courrier cost.

    In addition, a couple of years ago, two books I bought from Amazon and never arrived, on this occation they sent me another copy within the next three days and a couple of weeks later, the first two copies arrived.

    As you can guess, I’m really happy with Amazon and their Customer Service :)

  16. Shaun Says:

    My kindle fire just stopped working and would not connect to wifi or charge and my kindle was a month out of warranty and I got a Kindle Fire HD and they even payed for overnight shipping

  17. Mitchell Says:

    My daughter accidentally dropped her Kindle Fire and the screen cracked. unfortunately it was after the 30 warranty (45 days). I believe Amazon should just give me a free replacement since it is still new and now i can’t even use it since my daughter already cut her finder on the glass. Please help on convincing Amazon in sending me a free replacement one.

    Thanks

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Mitchell!

      Sorry to hear your daughter cut her finger!

      Have you talked to Kindle Support yet?

      http://www.amazon.com/kindlesupport

      If so, what did they say?

      Did you buy the Kindle from Amazon.com or a store in the USA? If not, post again and let me know in which country or from which site you got it, and I’ll check for information from them.

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