Thursday, February 7, 2008

Amazon's One-Click Ordering Has Got to Go!

Amazon.com's One-Click Ordering is a feature that, like its name indicates, allows a customer to order an item with a single touch. 

Smart shoppers will know, of course, to avoid the temptation to click that button on a whim. 

But what if a smart shopper clicks "Add Item to Cart" in order to think about it... and clicks "One Click" order by mistake? 

There is no way to reverse it. There is no confirmation click (hence the name, of course.) That item is on its way to you. 

Here is the scary part: what if this smart shopper was not logged in to his Amazon account at the time? What if our smart shopper did this from his public (workplace) computer--clicked on an expensive camera lens, and selected One Click instead of "Add to Shopping Cart?" 

Would the item be ordered? Yes. 

Would the person's credit card be charged? Yes. 

Was the person logged in to their Amazon account? No! 

This is a true story. The item is on its way. The person I know who did this contacted Amazon and was told that the only way to "reverse" this situation is to refuse the shipment. And Amazon will only credit the account [which was never logged into in the first place] when the item arrives back at their warehouse! 

How does this happen? (Again, the most frightening part about this incident is that the customer was not logged in to their Amazon account at the time!)

Amazon uses cookies to offer 1-Click ordering. Somehow this is enabled the first time you sign in to Amazon (and yes, you can turn 1-Click ordering off--but that's not the point here!), which must be how this can happen without being logged in to your account. Amazon gets your info off your computer through the cookie, perhaps. 

It also goes without saying that this purchase (and the thousands like it that undoubtably occur accidentally every day) is added to Amazon's profits until the refund is issued. 

Book- and music-lovers, beware. Amazon One-Click purchases can be made--and are only very inconveniently reversed--at your computer without your being signed in. 

(I think I'll write to Lou Dobbs.)


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