How many small businesses can boast to have had a legal dispute with the largest online retailer globally? More than we would initially think, I dare say. This is the first post in a new blog series about our own story with Amazon.com after they closed our affiliate account and withheld about $8,000 of outstanding payments from us. Instead of just accepting the loss, we decided to fight, hired an attorney, and sued Amazon.com at a commercial arbitration tribunal.
For the record, this series is exclusively about Amazon.com in North America (USA, Canada and Mexico) and Japan. Each Amazon branch is a separate business entity, and we have not had any issues or disputes with the other Amazon branches, such as in Europe, Australia or Brazil. In fact, they have always been supportive whenever there was any issue or problem.
We are also not going to remove Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com.mx and Amazon.co.jp from any of the existing web apps that we provide (such as free Kindle books, and the price check tool), even though we are no longer earning any money from them. We provide these apps for the benefit of our readers and followers, and not for the reason to squeeze out the maximum amount of money.
The lawsuit turned out very interesting indeed, and over the course of the next few weeks, we will provide you with many entertaining, surprising, exciting and shocking facts that came to light during the case. I am not yet revealing the final outcome. However, just as in cinema, you're now getting a teaser with the highlights beforehand.
It turned out that Amazon.com accuses me of fraud and conspiracy. On the other hand, they presented numerous lies in their evidence against me. Looking at the details of each of these claims will be quite hilarious!
Amazon.com refuses to grant data subject request under GDPR
I strongly suspect that my Amazon.com user account is still branded with the accusation of "fraud", which describes, after all, a criminal offence. I therefore made a data subject request to Amazon.com multiple times, which, as a citizen of the European Union, I am entitled to under the GDPR. Of course, my requests were completely ignored. If it can't be avoided, we're ready to sue again.
A data subject request would answer, for example, which consequences a fraud label in my user account might have for any kind of future transaction with Amazon.com. It would also reveal to which entities Amazon.com has given the information that I have "committed fraud". We'll keep you posted on the progress of the GDPR request. Even now, that the (first) legal dispute is settled, this story is far from over and done, and has the potential to become even more exciting.
The giveaway to match Amazon Smile donations to your favourite charity when you buy your stuff elsewhere, was not really successful. The funds set aside for the giveaway will be used on a different, better giveaway. If you want to be informed when the giveaway starts, follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube).
We don't have a comment section here in the blog, but you can leave comments and questions in our forum.
The first three parts of the series are released today. Subsequent parts will follow every couple of days over a period of a few weeks. This is what's been released so far:
- The History of a Legal Dispute
- HeiDoc Smiles back at Amazon.com
- Closure of the Affiliate Accounts
- Playing the Waiting Game
- Conspiracy and Fraud
- More Allegations against us
- Breaking the Kindle Monopoly
- The Verdict
- How to sue Amazon.com
- Amazon's GDPR Fail