I had recently been doing research for a client and found an organic Google listing on the Search Engine Results page from Amazon.com, it was the third listing. Specifically I was looking for industry information on the heating and air conditioning business and was enticed by what I read “Plumbing and HVAC Industry Report.” Knowing that Amazon was a trusted source I clicked.
When I got to the amazon.com page to order this, I found it was a downloadable PDF and there was the cover page for me to view. This looked like exactly what I wanted and I placed my order.
After the PDF downloaded, I opened the document, and on the cover page was some new information that hadn’t appeared previously on the order page. It said, “Plumbing and HVAC Industry Report, Industry Breakdown: 1997 to 2001”
What? How old is this information? For anyone of you doing any kind of marketing research, you know that information that is nine or more years old is basically worthless. I had just spent $24.95 for information that was so ancient, it should have been free.
I did the natural thing, I immediately tried to contact Amazon to inform them that this was not what I wanted and not to charge my card. What I was amazed about was that there really is no customer service to speak of. Amazon.com simply has a “Help” webpage of commonly asked questions. Since this was a download, apparently I was unable to cancel the order.
My next step was to contact my credit card company to dispute the charge. After investigating, they wrote and said that “no error was found” in the disputed transaction with Amazon Digital Services and that “the disputed transaction has been credited to your account and absorbed as a loss by the bank.”
Well, I’m not out any money but why in the world should my bank absorb this loss? This was Amazon’s lack of advertising honesty.
My question is this: If I received this kind of service and lack of transparency in the small transaction I experienced with Amazon, why would I take a chance in buying a “Kindle?” Frankly, Amazon needs all the help it can get competing with Apple’s IPad.
So, when you promote products or advertise services, whether online or in a store, be sure to be transparent and tell the whole truth. Otherwise you can end up reading blogs like this that have a tendency to spread very quickly and the old brand takes a big hit.
Have you had any experiences like this? Let me know.