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Amazon runaround

Reader comment on item: Amazon.com's Koran Desecration Problem

Submitted by Patricia Ouimette (United States), May 24, 2005 at 03:54

Here's the sequence of emails when I wrote to Amazon.com.

I read Daniel Pipes' story about Amazon.com and one of its booksellers. I am getting very tired of the Moslems dictating with very suspicious evidence stories they claim are offensive to them. Personally, I don't believe this even happened. I've done business with Amazon for years now and have never had so much as ONE bad problem. I think Americans are falling all over themselves for no valid reasons. Honestly, tell that customer you're sorry, things happen, get over it. If the Koran meant so much to her, she should have ordered her own new copy.
Patricia Ouimette

Amazon "reply":

Thank you very much for writing to us about this sensitive issue.

Amazon.com does not tolerate discrimination of any kind, and we share
the distress and deep concern that the Muslim Public Affairs Council
has expressed about the report concerning the used book purchased from
one of our third-party merchants. As soon as we learned about the
defaced product, Amazon.com immediately apologized to the customer and
contacted the seller to investigate the incident and ensure they take
steps to prevent this from happening again.

The altered book was purchased in used condition from a third-party
bookseller through Amazon's Marketplace. As you may know, Amazon.com
provides a platform where third-party sellers can offer new and used
books for sale alongside new books offered by Amazon. Products
purchased from a third-party seller are fulfilled directly by the
seller, not Amazon.com. In this case, the seller has listed its
products on Amazon.com for over a year, and has received a 4.9
"star rating" (on a scale of 1 to 5) from thousands of Amazon

In this case, the seller was not able to determine when the product
was altered, and it appears likely the book was defaced before it ever
reached the seller's inventory. At our request, the seller is
instituting more stringent quality control over its incoming stock.
Also, Amazon.com has suspended the seller from listing any copies of
the Qur'an on our site for the indefinite future, though they are free
to sell all other books.

As a bookseller, we believe that offering customers open access to
written speech is one of the most important things we do. We place
the utmost value on providing customers the ability to partake of any
and all viewpoints and ideas freely, without scrutiny or judgment by
others. We know firsthand that the ability to share ideas can foster
greater understanding among and between people of all faiths and

Thank you for your comments. It is always important for us to hear how
customers react to all aspects of shopping at Amazon.com.


Customer Service Department

my reply

I don't think you even read my letter. I was upset because Amazon is too quick to grovel and assume blame before checking out the facts. The person making this claim is a known member of a radical Moslem group. She can't even prove she didn't deface the book itself. I think incidents should be investigated before the kowtowing begins.

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