On Dec 1, 2020 I deleted my Amazon Affiliates account. In that article detailing my decision, I wrote the following:
In the coming weeks I ecstatically look forward to deleting my personal Amazon account as well. I have one long outstanding order I have to resolve, but after that, it’s bye-bye even to the personal Amazon account.
Oh how naive I was to think it would only take a little bit of time to delete the Amazon account.
Those snakes make it incredibly hard to delete an account. It was the most painful account deletion I’ve ever been through.
I attempted to start the deletion process on Dec 3. It’s now Feb 5 and I finally got it deleted.
Most online accounts, you hit a button and it’s deleted. Amazon? Oh no. Prepare for hell.
So, what’s the process?
First, you have to go online and find their very hidden “account closure” request form. This doesn’t actually delete your account, it just sends an email into the abyss that if you’re lucky they’ll respond too.
The first one I sent didn’t receive a response. So I sent it again about 3 days later.
It then sends you an email trying to convince you to stay. In it, it has another link you have to click to formalize the closure process (I call this the “magic link” – this link will be important for later and is the only version of it you will ever get).
You click that link and it sends another email. This second email is the only one that will “resume” the closure process. Nothing else that I found can do that.
The next day I get an email saying I need to close my AWS account which I had already closed months prior.
Apparently, the world’s biggest company can’t figure out how to close all your accounts at once so you have to do it.
But wait! You can’t just close your AWS account. You have to wait 90 days after you close it before its “closed enough” for closing your personal Amazon account. So have fun waiting 90 days:
(if images are too small: right click -> open in new tab to enlarge)
That’s stupid but whatever. I only had like 45 days left at that point.
So 45 days pass.
I repeat the steps to close the account.
But then I get to the next part in the process and it says “You already have a pending closure from Dec 3). Apparently, you can’t have more than one closure process at a time.
So I try to contact Amazon support to get that moving forward but no one on the call lines have any idea how. Most of them I can barely understand what they are saying.
I wait a week to see if it will progress naturally.
As expected: Nope.
So, I spend forever trying to figure out how to progress this closure process or let me do it again. Eventually, I go back through my emails and find that “magic link”. I re-click it and it tells me my process for deletion is continuing now.
So, you just have to save a single link from over a month prior and can only use that to continue the deletion process. Got it.
Then they come back with another email. The gift card balance is too high. I didn’t want it, but apparently you can’t close with the gc balance. So I try to transfer it to another person, but of course you can’t do that either.
They tell me to email back if I want to do something with my gift card balance. So I email back. And of course, I get an automated response saying your closure has been halted per your request. But no information whatsoever about the gift card issue.
But whatever. I get that figured out. I re-start the closure process. Then I go through the magic link yet again (because trying to submit another request just sends you into the abyss).
Now I have to close my Amazon Affiliates account, apparently. But wait – It’s already been closed.
So how do I close what has already been closed?
I have to email Amazon 500 times and not receive a response, and then try again a week later, and suddenly the magic link works again. Great.
But wait! Now I have to close my seller account.
Uhhh, what? I never even had a seller account. I’ve never sold anything on Amazon in my life.
Still, have to close this account that they apparently opened for me without my knowledge:
Now I have to try to figure out the horrific seller account menu and spend however long figuring out how to delete this new account.
Because again, Amazon can’t figure out how to do this internally when you say you want to delete your Amazon services.
Then, after all of this, you still have to write back to them and wait for days to get an automated response:
Once you finally go through the process again, it says “Sorry, your account already has a pending deletion from Dec 3”.
Now I pull my hair out further.
Then, I take a deep breath and go find the magic link yet again from the first response email back in early December. I click it and send in account deletion requests at least 10 times within one day to annoy whoever has to go through these, because at this point I’m losing my mind.
Then finally after two months, on Feb 5, the fateful email arrives:
The email I’ve been fighting for for 62 days finally arrived. The email letting me know I’m finally (personally) free of the beast.
It was hell but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
And you should, too.
Likewise, this story should show you how monopolies do everything they can to trap you in and keep you from leaving. Many times, it’s not even about the orders you place. It’s about the data collection and centralizing you under one authority.
That’s why this process is so ridiculous. It doesn’t have to be. Amazon has streamlined everything and made efficiency a key goal of their business model. This is not difficult because it needs to be, but because they want it to be to dissuade you from doing it.
Which should give you all the determination you need to do it anyway and encourage others to do so as well.