Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why I Canceled Everyone's Orders

For those of you who didn't notice the refund notification in your inbox, I was forced to cancel and refund everyone's Amazon.com orders in full. Why? Well, here's the whole headache—I mean story...

Long before the party and the amazon.com explosion, I sent an email to Amazon support, asking them if I could sell pre-orders with an FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) Merchant Account. The response was, "If a book it posted as pre-order and it Merchant fulfilled, it would work as intended. If you would want to use FBA for the same, it would not work at all."

So I followed that advice. I set up a Merchant Account (in which I fulfill the orders) listed Kestrel's Midnight Song for sale, and sold pre-orders on the party day. (Thanks everyone!)

Amazon.com has a policy for its sellers that states all products must be shipped within two business days of the order.Obviously, since I sold pre-orders, fulfilling that policy was not going to be possible. But I didn't think that was a big deal.

I was wrong.

There's a nice shiny button you get to press that "confirms shipment." I thought the button sends a message to the buyer notifying them that the order had been shipped and sends a green light to the Amazon.com people watching to make sure I don't steal everyone's money. So I figured if I pressed it, and then sent a message to everyone letting them know that the pre-orders would be delivered on schedule—months from then—everything would be fine.

I was wrong.

A couple days later I got an email from Amazon stating my account was being reviewed. My profits were being temporarily withheld.

I sent them an email stating what happened and that it was all a small misunderstanding.

The response was that my account was now being suspended, and that I'd committed a serious offense.

I'll spare you the details of the back and forth. It all concluded with Amazon telling me to refund everyone's orders. So I did.

I'm not sure what the original amazon.com support person was thinking, but I'm at least partially to blame. My biggest mistake was my false presupposition that the deal-making would take place between me and the customers. I saw Amazon Marketplace as resembling a real marketplace. Amazon.com provides the location; I set up shop and sell stuff. As it turns out, it's nothing like that. Amazon closely monitors and surveys and regulates all transactions.

So, I'm very sorry for the hassle and confusion, everyone. I appreciate the support you showed in ordering lots of copies of Kestrel's Midnight Song. However, there is a bright side in all of this!

*Drumroll*

As of today, you can re-pre-order Kestrel's Midnight Song straight from my website (done securely through PayPal.) The good part about that is there's no restrictive Amazon.com shipping policy (in which every copy sold must include a $3.99 shipping charge) or fees. So that means the pre-order is now cheaper! $9.95 with a flat shipping charge of $2.38, no matter how many copies you order. So go re-pre-order your signed copies now! And if any new people want to join in, feel free. ;)

All original transaction deals will be honored. So, for instance, if you ordered five copies the first time, and you order at least 5 copies this second time, you still get all the free stuff you would have gotten before.

Please note that the pre-order price is temporary. The low pre-order price on Amazon was intended to be a short-time thing, and this is too.

And... oh, right. The party reschedule! It will be in July. That much is certain. I'm still waiting to hear from someone who—I just discovered—has been on vacation for a month. If you don't know what party I'm talking about, check this out. Mwahaha.

8 comments:

BlueBengal said...

That's a bummer, I hope your account is not suspended for very long. I suppose I would have figured it would work a similar way, pre-order then pay when the book is released. I know when some stores have pre-orders, they don't charge you until the product is available, that or you have to pay a small fee to reserve your pre-order.

Will these copies be signed if ordered through your site?

Andrew K. York said...

I have a question: If we pre-order it on your site will the price we pay for it ever change? What do you mean by temporary price?

Jacob R Parker said...

Jared: Yup, the copies ordered on my site will be signed.

Andrew: The price won't change after you order. Once you order, the price is locked in. It's done. I mean the price will change in the future, and that price change affects future orders. In other words... order quickly! ;)

Thanks for helping me clarify, guys.

Seth said...

Urgh... I just spent the refunded money to buy two copies of Venom and Song lol. Hopefully I'll be able to pre-order another copy(s) soon.

Sorry all that happened, but the Amazon Blitz still technically worked didn't it?

Andrew K. York said...

Thanks!!

Kat Heckenbach said...

I'm sure that had to be a major frustration for you, but at least it shows Amazon is there to protect the customers and won't let them order something that's not going to be shipped according to Amazon policy.

At least you have another means now, and cheaper, too :).

Memzie said...

Man, that is tough. Thanks for letting us know.
I'll see if I can re-pre-order soon.

Anonymous said...

I'll get ahold of my new copy ASAP. I'm really sorry you had to go through all this confusion, Jacob.

If it's any consolation, I've heard from someone with experience that, when you're doing great and difficult projects, nightmares happen. There's going to be roadblocks and catastrophes. But God is absolutely sovereign, and he made this chaotic incident happen, specifically because he knew it would be best for everyone, yourself included. I don't mean to be preaching to you; I'm sure you already know this, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to remind you. :)

At any rate, I'll be praying that this goes well.

-whisper