June 06, 2007


Well, another bad week, this time largely because of Amazon. A number of you have very generously made donations using my Amazon Honor System account, for which I offer my immense gratitude (which I similarly offer to everyone who has supported my work). Amazon regularly transfers funds from the Honor System account to my bank account. Normally, such transfers take three to four business days, and five business days at the most.

On May 6, Amazon initiated a transfer of $403.89. When it had still not shown up in my bank account on May 15, I wrote to Amazon about it (and trying to figure out how to write to Amazon at all about such matters is quite an experience in itself). I received a perfunctory reply, and they said they would look into it. After this dragged on for a few weeks (during which time a later Amazon transfer went through without a problem), I finally lodged a complaint with the Better Business Bureau toward the end of last week. The BBB wrote to Amazon. That, of course, elicited a very prompt response from Amazon, from what appeared to be a living human being.

This alleged human being said Amazon had experienced certain "problems" with "several" transfers of this kind in the month of May. But now, they had everything straightened out! The funds would be in my bank account by the end of business yesterday.

So I checked my bank account first thing this morning. Of course, the money is not there.

I just wrote to Amazon once again (to the alleged human being), and copied the BBB. I told Amazon that, at this point, receiving only the money which I am due -- which is mine in any event (thanks to some of you), and which I was owed a month ago under the terms of Amazon's own service agreement -- is not sufficient. I demanded an additional $100.00, to compensate me for the loss of use of funds, for the anxiety and worry this has caused me, and for the time I have had to spend trying to resolve this matter -- plus an additional $10.00 per day for each additional day this problem is not satisfactorily addressed, beginning today.

I've removed the Amazon donation link, as well as the Amazon Wishlist link (which I may replace with a Powell's link or a similar one). No more business for them. I do not intend to restore those links even assuming this problem is resolved -- which I do assume, by the way, so those of you who made donations in the week or two prior to May 6 need not worry. I'm sure the money will turn up eventually. But Amazon's service on this and some other issues has been so uniformly lousy, that I'm through with them for the foreseeable future.

As regular readers know, I live very, very close to the edge financially. $400 is a huge amount of money to me, half a month's rent. If I have to, and I've often had to over the last few years, I can stretch $400 to cover food and a few regular bills (electricity, phone and the like) for almost an entire month. So this has caused me considerable worry and aggravation.

Anyway, I'm completely distracted and in a thoroughly rotten mood, and ready to throw something against a wall, very, very hard. I'll try to get back to writing later today or tomorrow. I think I'll go play with the cats now, and let them cheer me up.

Again, I wouldn't worry if you used Amazon to make a donation. A few of you made donations just in the last several days. Many thanks to you, and to everyone else who has been so generous, and again, I don't think you need to be concerned. Another transfer has gone through without a problem, after the transfer that got "lost." It's only the one from early May that has disappeared. And as I said, I'm certain the $403.89 will get to my bank account at some point, although God knows when. Just a very unhappy and nervous-making experience.

So, on we go...