Account lock-ups, frozen funds and class actions: the Amazon system damages contract workers and customers

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This contribution of ZDF reporter on the working conditions of temporary workers in the Christmas business at Amazon has hit high waves in recent weeks. On too Best of HR –® The displeasure of many readers who are ready for a class action lawsuit, because Amazon unlawfully blocks customer accounts and collects money from customers. Behind both systems plug.

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisher, German Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.


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Shitstorm vs. Amazon

In recent weeks, the outrage about Amazon and the inhumane conditions in the treatment of agency workers has been great, including politics. A real shit storm broke out on Amazon's Facebook page. Angry customers had their accounts blocked

Zoë Beck writes that she does not understand the excitement: "Anyone who thinks a bit has to figure out that a logistical effort, such as that carried out at Amazon, Zalando, Otto, etc., costs money." And these costs would have to be saved on the workforce.

At the expense of customers and temporary workers

And actually, the figures that Thomas Hutter submits, that the anger about Amazon is also fast track again. Everything so not so bad, just another, annoying Shitstorm? This is unfortunately too short.

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Because the Amazon method also has a long-term system - and that is damn sophisticated. According to the FAZ, one of Germany's most well-known newspapers,, Amazon founder and CEO Bezos has decided to show off his cleverness at the expense of others and not to excel in charity.

Absolute efficiency is at the forefront

The result is a company that focuses on absolute efficiency. And in which not only temporary eggs are harmed, but also the customers.

For example, because Amazon, like on Best of HR –® described, also freezes customer funds, blocks customer accounts or, as in the aforementioned FAZ, one of Germany's most well-known newspapers,-Article reports that it is using its monopoly to drive up prices.

From online store to data octopus

And because Amazon is gradually developing from an online shop to a data octopus. When blocking customer accounts, Amazon apparently even matches IP addresses to prevent the blocked ones from opening a second account.

Therefore, it is not to worry about Amazon for a short time but to have the long-term development of the group in view - especially from the political side. Amazon will only rethink if the company is forced by the economic calculus.

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A customer reports

For how much the decisions made at Amazon are determined by the US and how small the efficiency of the individual is, this report from our reader shows Uncle-D:

We have completed the complete scenario with the large group as a dealer. Almost since the beginning of October our membership has been withheld by small sales. This was not very nice, but we still enjoyed it. When the revenues and thus also the funds withheld were rising, we started to contact Amazon again and again. by phone or by eMail you have just no chance. Just before Christmas, the super Gau: our account has been blocked and receipts should be 90 days frozen. Reason for this was connection with other, closed seller accounts, which was absolutely not / is. A big blow in the face for us, because there are considerable sums, which for a small company the Existens strongly threatened, if these sales simply do not enter. In the same week we went to Munich, to the headquarters of AMAZON Germany to talk to the CEO. This, of course, was not to be said. However, we were treated very politely. There followed a conversation with the responsible and people who had something to say (without mentioning names). We even received business cards with handynummer etc. We were promised that the problem was taken care and one would call the same day by telephone. So far so good. We were relieved to go home again. In the evening then the call came and they informed us that everything was reviewed again, but unfortunately nothing could be done for us. The reason: The people who decide something like that sit in the USA and you can from here on nothing more.Unser account thus still locked. Money still frozen. Now we have initiated a court order for payment procedure and made an announcement with the police.

What can we do?

But when it comes to the question of what the individual customer can do, then I would like to quote here the call of our reader Mathias Wolfgang: He writes up Best of HR –®: Bottom line, Amazon is only the profit, people and humanity are obviously nothing more. Therefore, and not only because of the ARD report only, I have the consequence pulled and my account at Amazon terminated. For all those who have been harmed by Amazon, or deceived, I can only recommend you join the collective accusation. Amazon has your money. And you have the right to bring it back to you. I wish you lots of strength and all the best and much success.

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  1. Jörg

    Well, there are other platforms for the sale of books and books from the UK you can also get other platforms. The Amazon problem has been conscious for several years. It is not just the data pit, the much worse problem is the Amazon, Zalando and Co. destroy our economic and social system !!! I think we should click all the yellowish Google ads from Amazon. Because for every click Amazon has to pay! I would call a real Shitstorm. We should not stop until Amazon finally shows a different behavior.

    • Simone Janson

      Jörg, thanks for the hint. The idea with the Ad click is at least productive, I am not sure if such an appeal is legal ... and if it really does bring something.
      However, as far as the destruction of the company by online retailers is concerned, the development can not be stopped - refer again to Zoe Becker's article linked to the text.

  2. Benjamin Wagener

    Amazon strives not only on its own site as a data octopus, but now also on Facebook. Since Amazon has been running a few weeks actions where they promise customers a small coupon to answer a simple question or the like and then let them authorize an app that not only wants to have access to pretty much all the Facebook data of each member, but also on the birthdays and likes of the member's friends. Amazon thus entices more or less Facebook users to sell the data of friends for a small present. Very shabby the number.

    • Simone Janson

      Hello Benjamin,
      thanks for the hint. Also ironic somewhere: The data octopus No 1 is fished. For years, we spent a lot of time on FB & Google and did not even look at Amazon. The real problem is: It can not go without it. As many of my complacent commentators wrote: They depend on Amazon. I am still using Amazon - for the sale of used books there is nothing better and also in the blog I am pleased about the fast integration of the book covers in reviews.

      • Benjamin Wagener

        I'm similar. Amazon is also the easiest way to get eg cheaper DVD / BluRays or books from the UK. And Kindle is also a really nice platform to visit eBooks to come and then be able to read both on the smartphone, as well as the calculator.

        • Simone Janson

          This calms my bad conscience a bit ;-) but shows exactly the mess in which one is today. No one has found a solution to the problem yet.

          • Benjamin Wagener

            Well, as a liberal I say for once that the state has to intervene. It can not be that on the one hand we pretend that we are one entity in Europe through the EU, but then EU citizens from other countries can be exploited. Everyone who works here in Germany should be treated the same, no matter where the people come from. And then it can not be the case, for example, that the job centers can simply shift the responsibility to the temporary work agencies, who then act as they are funny. There has to be transparent control. When you receive ALG you will be controlled as well as nothing good, with much less abuse than in the temporary work sector.

          • Simone Janson

            The thought sprouted me more often - not only in this case.

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