Instead of a home tour post today, I wanted to talk about a frustrating situation that I've been dealing with for months now.
About a year ago I was invited to Amazon Headquarters in Seattle for a presentation by Amazon about a rumored "Handmade store" to "rival" Etsy. I kept an open mind as it did peak my interest to see what Amazon would offer. When I arrived at the conference room - which was more like a hipster library setting, there was a large fancy food spread along with free beer. I'm an old timer in the Maker scene now, the fanciest treats I've ever received was some free sponsored granola bars and a reusable bag. I recognized a few familiar faces in the room and I felt comforted by that. I'm sure we were all mostly curious about what this "local" mega company could do for us.
The presentation was good. It was everything that we suspected it would be. The presenters, while really friendly and seemingly passionate about supporting handmade work, they were obviously prepped and poised to provide generic corporate answers if a question touched the confidential zone. Understandable, but it did feel very corporate. Regardless, we kept an open mind.
A couple months went by Handmade at Amazon launched. By this time, we were personally feeling good about it, we were apart of the initial launch. We had personal emails from at least two of the leads on that team. One actually remembered us and chatted with us at a show we were vending at in San Francisco. It was nice to see the human side of Amazon. I should note, for those of you who are reading this that do not live in the Seattle area, Amazon is headquartered here and isn't always viewed favorably with its expansions. In addition to the local issues, we also took into consideration the Handmade at Amazon policies issues. There were many articles that dissected the policies. Some sounded quite scary. We have many maker friends that absolutely refused to join Handmade at Amazon. Keeping that in mind, we chose to not list all of our products we make. We had daily sales and payments came regularly from Amazon. It was like that for months.
In late April of 2016 I got an email in Spanish from Handmade at Amazon. I thought it was strange but it was quickly followed up with another email that said to disregard the previous email. I assumed it was a glitch in their system. About a week went by and I noticed that I hadn't received any sales notifications from Amazon for a couple of days. I logged into our account to see what was going on. My password failed. Which I thought was odd as my computer saves all my passwords for me. I tried a few times until I became locked out of our account. I followed their contact/support online form to ask to have my password reset. I received an automated email reply from "Mary L." stating: (screenshot below)
So from the title of this blog entry, you can guess that I didn't get the help that I needed. I followed the "take a screen shot of the error page" instructions and replied to that email, only to have it state that the email didn't accept communications. I tried sending it to the Contact Us link that was linked at the bottom of that email. Only to have it require me to log into my seller account which I was locked out of. So I started the online contact form again - only this time to receive no reply. I even called the (866) 216 - 1072 support number and was told that someone would in fact get back to me within 24hrs of sending that email. Guess what, nope. I gave up for the time being because I was getting ready to vend at a show with my other company.
The show I vended at was actually sponsored by Handmade at Amazon. They provide an gigantic spread of food in the "vendor's lounge" and had representatives for Handmade at Amazon. I thought, "Great! I can actually talk to a human who could refer me to someone who could help me with my issue!" I did talk to four individual Handmade at Amazon representatives and explained my situation. These poor fresh faced recent college graduate looking folks had no idea how to help me. One said to call the 866 number that I had already called.
That was the end of June.
Again, I gave up because we have quite a bit going on right now and I have devoted A LOT of time to this issue and have received NO HELP. I think I called once in July and tried the online support AGAIN. Gave up.
I called again this past Monday and spoke with "Jovial" via that 866 number, she looked up information for me and said their was nothing wrong with my Seller's account. But my buyer's account is on hold. WTF? WE DIDN'T BUY ANYTHING WITH THIS ACCOUNT! So she gave me a number to call - wanna guess what it was??? That's right the same number I called her at (866) 216-1072! But to top it off - SHE COULDN'T EVEN F---ING TRANSFER MY CALL. So, at this point I was worked up enough to call again go through the whole long phone process AGAIN. I end up on the phone with "Edgar". I told him my whole schpeel. He actually seemed helpful and finally the help I've been seeking and promised would actually happen. Every time you call that number they end the conversation with "You will receive an email within 24 hours about your issue." I got one from "Jovial" which stated that she said to call that 866 number for help. (Great - thanks). But my dude "Edgar" who was super friendly and seemingly helpful let me down. It is now FRIDAY and I am still locked out of my account, no one is helping us and I've devoted way too much time to this only to continually be frustrated over and over again.
If you are accepted into Handmade at Amazon, hopefully nothing ever goes wrong with your account. From our experience, you will be sitting on your problem and no sales for months and months.
Lasers and love (and frustration with Handmade at Amazon) - Thea
P.S. Handmade at Amazon feel free to call me back at (206) 659-1748.