Two years ago, when I published Through Kestrel’s Eyes with the Kindle KDP program I had only one email address. Everything associated with Amazon – Kindle, Createspace, Amazon.com and my Kindle devices – were connected to that email. There had never been issues until I published this second book.
When I tried to access my KDP account I found it blocked. Email is KDP’s only option for customer service – ever – no matter what. Keep that in mind as I proceed.
I spent the next week or so in email hell. First they said a passcode change was needed. Then they told me I needed a second email account because I had too many Amazon accounts. I didn’t want a second email. It had always been fine before.
I’ll try to keep this short. Each email I sent to KDP customer service was routed to a different rep. No matter how much I clarified my situation, each email seemed to muddle things even more. I called Amazon customer service. At that time the person I spoke to escalated the problem to someone in IT who worked in South Africa. He worked with me until we had everything back on my original email.
I breathed a huge sigh of relief, thinking all was well. My relief was short-lived. The next day, when I tried to access the account it was once again blocked. I was back in email jail. The cycle began all over again, each contact making things worse. They insisted I still needed a second email account for KDP publishing. I was stonewalled.
The stress was taking a toll on my health. After two weeks of futility I gave up and gave in. I created a second email just for KDP and went on with my life. Because the only thing I used that second address for was KDP, I missed any messages associated with KDP, including the warnings about needing my ITIN from the IRS or they would close my account.
In the meantime I had filled in my papers for the IRS and followed the downloaded instructions to the letter, only to be rejected twice with no explanation, just the usual form letter. After the third rejection I called them and talked to a rep who explained that the rules had changed.
This coincided with publishing my third book, The Dreamt Child. It made it onto the KDP account the day before it was blocked. From that point I could not make changes to it. Both the IRS and KDP issues overlapped over the same three-week period. My KDP account was blocked while I tried to sort out the IRS problem. This meant that I could not edit or change the price of my books for a Seasonal Special.
Are you confused yet? I went through it and even I am confused.
I resubmitted my request to the IRS according to the new rules. Again my application was rejected with no explanation. Again I called. The rep I spoke to at that time offered to escalate my request, citing ‘hardship’. The person she referred me to explained that the rules had been changed once again. When I explained the urgency of my situation, that rep offered to see what he could do. He was wonderful and came through several days later to give me my ITIN over the phone, telling me written confirmation would take a while. After two years I finally had what I needed to get my royalties.
Elated, I went back to KDP, assuming I would be able to plug in the tax information and my account would be unblocked. Not so. I was still in email jail.
I searched for a customer service number for Amazon and called them. That rep gave me the broken-record response about KDP only dealing via email so many times that I asked to escalate the problem to a supervisor. I’m certain my tongue was bleeding from biting it continuously so I wouldn’t shout the expletives that were pressing to get out. But I stuck with the issue and stayed civil. The supervisor tried the same broken-record routine but finally agreed to send an email to KDP requesting that a team leader deal with my problem. It was better than nothing and I knew I would get no more, so I agreed to try that.
I was now back in email jail with KDP. After the initial email from the team leader, the cycle began all over again. I could access my account, they told me. All I needed was a passcode change. I could see the writing on the wall but tried to play along. According to them I could still get into the account, just not my bookshelf. And I would be able to merge the account onto my original email.
Hah! Not so fast. Now the system did not even recognize my name. After being given the same instructions three times and telling them twice that their instructions did not work I was tearing my hair out.
I sent one last email accusing them of not reading the entire file, of sending me to a different rep each time who did not read my explanations, highlighting key bits in bold. Even then I stuck to the issue and held back my ‘real’ feelings. In it I requested that the issue be referred back the original team leader, as I had been promised by the Amazon rep.
I ended that message with this: “All other departments in Amazon have access to a rep by telephone. I strongly believe that it is KDP’s refusal to offer that option in cases where emails do not resolve the issue is the reason I have been unable to get anywhere. This policy needs to change. There has to be some way to get a rep to look at an account in person in complicated situations such as I have now twice encountered. There are times when email simply doesn’t work.”
That got results. I got an email from the team leader offering to call me on the phone. When Pablo called he was very helpful. By this time I had my verbal ITIN number. He offered to merge the account back onto my original email. The rules had apparently changed from two years previous. He offered to call me back to confirm that I had access again. I had received confirmation of my ITIN from the IRS just the day before, so when Pablo called me I was able to fill in the tax form with him while he guided me through on the phone. He explained that merging the account would take a couple of days and offered to call back to make sure everything was working as it should. He was true to his word. I could have kissed him. Instead I asked to speak to his superior to give him a commendation.
Knowing that to suggest that they offer telephone help for complicated problems would be ill advised, I chose instead to make a different suggestion to Pablo’s superior. I suggested that they change their procedure such that when a customer emails them with a problem, the same rep deals with that customer until it is resolved instead of routing the call to the next random rep. At least that way one person gets the whole story. Will they follow through? We’ll see. I probably don’t have that much influence.
But all is well with my account now. I have all my work associated with one email and I am out of KDP email jail – at least for now.
Thank you, Pablo.