Attention Impulse Shoppers (and kids!), Amazon Wants YOU!

If you received a Kindle Fire that was purchased for the holidays, you may have until January 31 to return it. If you know someone who purchased one, especially if it was for a child, be sure to share this information with them, as there is a new policy that may be a deal breaker. I posted about my frustration about Amazon’s credit-card only policy. It stinks. But this one is scarier.

Now that lots of people have brought home that awesome Kindle Fire for the holidays, a brand new policy has been implemented. Downloading free apps now requires that users enter some form of payment. Of course, your account won’t be charge for the free stuff.  And it can even be a gift card, so long as it has a balance of at least $.01. But here’s the problem. This new policy means that users who would like to download free apps must activate 1-click payment.

What this means for parents is that the device you put in your kid’s hands would now be connected directly to a payment method without the added step of password protection. They click it, they buy it. And it bothers me.

The timing of this policy is interesting, I think. It wasn’t on their site three weeks ago when I was first considering returning my Fire. But with only two weeks left for holiday shoppers to return the goods, it has made its magical appearance. And I’m not okay with it. Yes, you can usually return the things that were bought on impulse or by accident, but dealing with customer service can sometimes take hours. And it can take several days for the money to be credited to your account again.

One of the concerns I initially had with the Fire was the 1-click payment. If you check reviews, some users experienced what amounted to identity theft when their device fell into the wrong hands and someone simply changed the shipping address and had a nice spree. Amazon did respond and create a way to disable 1-click. But now users will have to reactivate it if they would like to take advantage of free apps.

The important thing is for users to decide if this new policy is a deal-breaker. There are workarounds.  If you choose to keep the device, you can:

Purchase an Amazon gift card to connect to the account. I contacted Customer Service because the smallest increment I could find was $50. You can purchase cards for as little as $1, but you may have to contact customer service in order to do it. I couldn’t find a way through the normal links.

Disable 1-Click after you download the free apps you want.  This may be a hassle. You’ll have to reactivate it each time you find new apps you want to download.

But there’s not a lot of time to decide. There are only a couple of weeks left for holiday returns. Good luck.

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23 thoughts on “Attention Impulse Shoppers (and kids!), Amazon Wants YOU!

  1. I got a 25$ one for my daughter a couple of weeks ago – when you choose your delivery method under the gift cards tab, the next page allows you to choose your amount – pre set goes to 25, and right next to it, you have the option of entering your own amount – all within 2 clicks from going to amazon . com…
    I hear you – and share your stress – but the gift card stuff isn’t hard at all – 🙂

  2. That’s really disturbing, actually. And yet another reason I’m not a fan of Amazon right now. I also thought their holiday campaign, where they asked you to go into a local store, find something you liked, and then go home and buy it through Amazon, to be pretty mean-spirited. I do shop there, but I’d much rather support small business.

    Thanks for the head’s up!

  3. I got a Kindle for Christmas myself and by mistake purchased some ebooks via the 1 Click method and not even realizing it. Only the next day when I wanted to read something did I see some extra book there. Jeez I thought how did that happen? But I send an email via the amazon website and my purchases were straight away removed from my Kindle and the money refunded – thank God. But yes, it is sooo dangerously easy to purchase things you didn’t want via this 1 Click option. Totally agree!

  4. We cut up our credit cards years ago, and it made it really hard to use online shopping as a way to save money, so I bought a Wal-Mart money card, its a prepaid Master Card. I use it for all my Amazon / Ebay purchasing. But I have been trying to decide for a l long time whether to buy an iPad or a Kindle, and now I’m thinking I should just keep saving towards the iPad….

  5. I only use a debit card as well. It’s amazing how much people try to get you to get a credit card. No way. We don’t have a lot of money, but we don’t have any debt save a car loan and a mortgage, which is way better than so many people our age with fab houses, cars, etc. They will pay for it later.

    • I’m hoping FTC will take a look at the credit card requirement. There’s a class action suit in one state because kids were running up huge bills with the card attached to the tablet.

    • Thanks for the reblog. Amazon is marketing Kindles for kids, which terrifies me. For one thing, there is so much erotica in the free book section. A customer service rep told me there was no way for me to filter that stuff out.

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