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Thread: Unclaimed Gift Orders Of Kindle Books - Amazon Just Pockets The Money?


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James Paris

Posts: 21
Registered: 09/29/12
Unclaimed Gift Orders Of Kindle Books - Amazon Just Pockets The Money?
Posted: Mar 14, 2014 9:13 AM
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As a Kindle author I regularly 'gift' copies of my Kindle books to members of the media. I find this is a more professional presentation than simply sending a PDF attachment. I have now seen a number of examples where the 'gift' was never claimed by the recipient, but Amazon does not automatically refund the money to me. There is no mechanism for this to happen. There used to be a way to look at a digital gift order and see if the gift was claimed or not, that seems to be no longer available. What makes matters worse is that Amazon does not count this as a sale until the book is claimed by the recipient. I happened to catch this when my stats went to 0 at the beginning of the month and noted that my gift orders triggered no royalties. So, does Amazon just pocket 100% of the money from gift orders that go unclaimed by the recipient? It would seem that state and federal 'unclaimed funds' laws would kick in here. Either the author should be getting paid the royalty or the retail customer be given a refund after a period of time. If I am wrong, please correct me on this. If I am correct, there may be millions of dollars of gift orders simply being pocketed by Amazon when the gift goes unclaimed and no royalty is paid to the author.

I am not talking about gift cards here, but gifting a copy of a Kindle book. I am adding this due to the fact that the first two responses are off topic and for some reason are responding to the issue of unused GIFT CARDS

Edited by: James Paris on Mar 14, 2014 9:13 AM

Edited by: James Paris on Mar 14, 2014 9:14 AM

Edited by: James Paris on Mar 14, 2014 4:50 PM
cdalebrittain

Posts: 11,569
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Re: Unclaimed Gift Orders Of Kindle Books - Amazon Just Pockets The Money?
Posted: Mar 14, 2014 12:35 PM   in response to: James Paris in response to: James Paris
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All retailers (on-line and bricks & mortar both) love gift cards. The person making the gift pays up front, but the recipient does not use it until later, or sometimes never. I've seen the figure that 10% of gift cards are never redeemed (Amazon, Sears, Applebees, etc.). Many retailers (though I don't believe Amazon) charge an annual fee on unused gift cards that eventually eats away their total value.

Your recipients may well have used their gift cards, but not for your book. When you give someone a gift card, there is no legal requirement that they actually use it for what you wanted them to get. It's a gift. It's legally theirs to do with what they want. They might have bought someone else's book. They could have applied it toward a toaster. You'll never know.

To the best of my knowledge, no retailer refunds gift cards unless someone walks in with the card and asks for their cash back. Sorry!
thrasherll

Posts: 5,078
Registered: 06/27/12
Re: Unclaimed Gift Orders Of Kindle Books - Amazon Just Pockets The Money?
Posted: Mar 14, 2014 12:50 PM   in response to: James Paris in response to: James Paris
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The Amazon Terms and Conditions about gift cards states very clearly that as of October 1, 2005 Amazon gift cards do not expire. It must be legal or it wouldn't have been in effect for that many years.

I last sent a gift card on Valentine's Day 2014 and in my account it shows the status, which is Redeemed. At first, its status was Sent or something like that, and then it was something like Received or Viewed, letting me know the person I sent it to had opened the email. With physical cards, you won't know if they received it, of course.

Since a gift card is just that -- a gift -- recipients can spend them for anything they want. Amazon rightly does not count it as a book sale until the book is actually sold. If they counted the purchase of a gift card for a book as a sale of that book, there would be "authors" sending gift cards for their own books to everyone they know at Christmas and other gift-giving holidays and telling them to spend it on whatever they want.

Why don't you contact them and ask if they received them? Maybe they just need a reminder.

L. L. Thrasher
James Paris

Posts: 21
Registered: 09/29/12
Re: Unclaimed Gift Orders Of Kindle Books - Amazon Just Pockets The Money?
Posted: Mar 14, 2014 4:49 PM   in response to: cdalebrittain in response to: cdalebrittain
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I made no mention of 'gift cards' in my post. Please read it again. I am talking about gifting an eBook. If you are unfamiliar with this, go to any Kindle book and you will see 'give as a gift' as an option in addition to ordering for yourself.
James Paris

Posts: 21
Registered: 09/29/12
Re: Unclaimed Gift Orders Of Kindle Books - Amazon Just Pockets The Money?
Posted: Mar 14, 2014 4:49 PM   in response to: James Paris in response to: James Paris
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I made no mention of 'gift cards' in my post. Please read it again. I am talking about gifting an eBook. If you are unfamiliar with this, go to any Kindle book and you will see 'give as a gift' as an option in addition to ordering for yourself.
cdalebrittain

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Re: Unclaimed Gift Orders Of Kindle Books - Amazon Just Pockets The Money?
Posted: Mar 14, 2014 7:38 PM   in response to: James Paris in response to: James Paris
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Sorry, I thought you realized, when you "gift" a book, you are not actually giving the person your book. You are giving them a gift card in the value of your book, along with the suggestion that they use it to buy your book. But they don't have to. Amazon explains this. Good luck!

You might now want to reread my post, as it's fully applicable.
thrasherll

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Re: Unclaimed Gift Orders Of Kindle Books - Amazon Just Pockets The Money?
Posted: Mar 14, 2014 9:51 PM   in response to: James Paris in response to: James Paris
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James Paris wrote:
I made no mention of 'gift cards' in my post. Please read it again. I am talking about gifting an eBook. If you are unfamiliar with this, go to any Kindle book and you will see 'give as a gift' as an option in addition to ordering for yourself.

I'm responding more to this statement: > There used to be a way to look at a digital gift order and see if the gift was claimed or not, that seems to be no longer available.

I send Amazon gift cards (digitally) and I gift Amazon books, which I think of as a gift card for books, hence my use of the term "gift card." For both types of purchases I can go to my Amazon customer account and see the invoices. This is printed on the invoice for the last book I gifted, which was a few months ago:

Gift Recipient Email: (email of the person I sent it to)

Items Ordered
No Turning Back: Six Short Stories Kindle Gift Purchased
By: L. L. Thrasher
Sold By: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

- Status: Claimed

It shows the status, just as I said (although I used the term "redeemed" instead of "claimed" because I was relying on memory). I seriously doubt that they have taken away the ability for their customers to check the status of any order they place, including gifting books. I found the invoice by going to Your Account > Your Orders, then typing the title in the "search orders" box.

L. L. Thrasher
Notjohn

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Registered: 02/27/13
Re: Unclaimed Gift Orders Of Kindle Books - Amazon Just Pockets The Money?
Posted: Mar 15, 2014 3:37 AM   in response to: James Paris in response to: James Paris
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I made no mention of 'gift cards' in my post. Please read it again. I am talking about gifting an eBook. If you are unfamiliar with this, go to any Kindle book and you will see 'give as a gift' as an option in addition to ordering for yourself.

That's a distinction without a difference! In the process of gifting, you should see a clear statement that it is indeed a gift certificate, and that the recipient can use it as such. That's probably what happened to your gifted books. Not many people will leave five dollars lying there unclaimed.

Good luck! -- NJ

The book: Notjohn's Guide to Kindle Publishing: Ten Steps to Selling Your E-book on Amazon (Or Anywhere Else) (Fourth Edition)

The blog: Notjohn's KDP Guide
Travis W Hill

Posts: 13
Registered: 04/08/13
Re: Unclaimed Gift Orders Of Kindle Books - Amazon Just Pockets The Money?
Posted: Mar 29, 2014 6:16 AM   in response to: James Paris in response to: James Paris
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I too just found a list of unclaimed ebook 'gifts' that I would like to claim myself since the original recipients never did. I see the list, but I see no way of redeeming the gift codes, and when I look up the email for the ones I sent to myself (easier to distribute over FB than asking everyone for their email address), Amazon claims the gift was already used. If it was used, why is it showing up as unredeemed gift code? Also, for the unredeemed codes sent to other email addresses, there's no way to 'cancel' the gift code from within my account.

Please let me (us) know how to get our money back from these unclaimed gifts.
cdalebrittain

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Re: Unclaimed Gift Orders Of Kindle Books - Amazon Just Pockets The Money?
Posted: Mar 30, 2014 2:48 PM   in response to: Travis W Hill in response to: Travis W Hill
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This is something you will have to take up with Amazon directly (contact link at lower right). Good luck!
bearstardiode

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Registered: 05/22/12
Re: Unclaimed Gift Orders Of Kindle Books - Amazon Just Pockets The Money?
Posted: Dec 17, 2014 2:52 PM   in response to: James Paris in response to: James Paris
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Seems to me nobody answered your question of:

So, does Amazon just pocket 100% of the money from gift orders that go unclaimed by the recipient?

I remember a while back (I can't remember how the process played out) I saw that there were several unclaimed gifted digital books in my account and Amazon gave me a credit for them. (And that was a credit for the full price I paid for the books. Not a royalty.) Certainly there should be some sort of policy in place for unclaimed digital book gifts.

I have one now that I know is not going to be claimed. (I inadvertently sent it to one of my own email addresses.) So no one gets the book. The author is out the price of the book. The giftee gets nothing (for whatever reason). And Amazon gets the full sale of the book. It's not right.
cdalebrittain

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Re: Unclaimed Gift Orders Of Kindle Books - Amazon Just Pockets The Money?
Posted: Dec 17, 2014 3:13 PM   in response to: bearstardiode in response to: bearstardiode
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Look at my original post. Yes, gift cards (I'm talking physical cards here) do not always get redeemed, and the merchant just gets to keep the money. People lose them, put them in a drawer and forget them, throw them away by mistake, etc.

With Amazon, there's an electronic record. They are thus less likely to be lost. As already noted, you can check to see if it's been redeemed and nudge the recipient if not. But Amazon isn't going to give you back your money, because that would be taking it away from the person who received it, who may have been saving it until he had enough for that new toaster. Amazon gift cards do not expire.

In the case where you sent a gift to yourself, you should just go ahead and use it on your next Amazon purchase.
bearstardiode

Posts: 816
Registered: 05/22/12
Re: Unclaimed Gift Orders Of Kindle Books - Amazon Just Pockets The Money?
Posted: Dec 17, 2014 5:49 PM   in response to: cdalebrittain in response to: cdalebrittain
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Okay. Makes sense for the most part. In a perfect world it would work better. Good suggestion on using my gift card. Thanks.
jm14

Posts: 2,651
Registered: 10/06/11
Re: Unclaimed Gift Orders Of Kindle Books - Amazon Just Pockets The Money?
Posted: Dec 18, 2014 2:51 PM   in response to: James Paris in response to: James Paris
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You still apparently, don't get it. When you gift one of your Kindle books to someone, what you're doing is gifting them the price of that book. They can redeem that gift - which is not a card but functions exactly the same way a card does - for anything they want, from one of my books to hair curlers to pack of ballpoint pens.

So it is not a sale for you unless the recipient actually redeems the general-purpose gift amount you purchased and gave gave them for your book. If they redeem that amount for one of my books, I get credit for the sale, not you.

And if they redeem it for hair curlers, well, that's what they get - hair curlers. And neither you nor I get credit for anything.

And you can rest assured that those amounts are being redeemed - probably for someone else's book, or a streaming video, or...

You really need to know how indeed things work before you start fulminating against them and accusing others, who are much more knowledgeable and experienced, of not understanding.

If I am wrong, please correct me on this.

Done.
Peter Elliott

Posts: 2
Registered: 12/16/14
Re: Unclaimed Gift Orders Of Kindle Books - Amazon Just Pockets The Money?
Posted: Jan 19, 2015 8:42 AM   in response to: James Paris in response to: James Paris
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I know this is an old post, but since no one really answered your question completely:

I agree that his is needlessly confusing, and that the "gift" should be your book, not cash, but A doesn't do it that way, something which has been pointed out ad nauseum, lol.

The best you can do for now, I think, is this:

1. Go to your Amazon account--your regular account--and look at your purchases, since there is no distinction made between the toaster you just bought and your "gift ebooks."

2. Click on DIGITAL ORDERS.

3. Look at the list of all of your gifted ebooks.

4. Click on RESEND for each book that is not listed as CLAIMED.

5. CONTACT the people you are sending the gifts to and TELL THEM to check their SPAM folders.

I just sent out a handful of gift books for xmas, and when I saw that my sister-in-law, who wanted a copy, hadn't claimed it yet, I knew she was't hoarding the 99c gift card until she had the money for something else. Same thing with my buddy who always volunteers to read my drafts--he's actually texted me back since I've started writing this, to thank me for the ebook, so I know the first email was in his spam folder or just missed in the xmas rush.

I know it's frustrating to have trolls lecture you and argue with you and otherwise do anything but help you, but it's the internet.

Re. the "do they keep the money?" part, can't you contact your Visa company and have them just cancel the transactions? It's worth a try, as is contacting A and requesting that your transactions be cancelled (as someone else suggested). I somehow sense this whole thing eventually becoming a huge class action, since, as you've correctly pointed out, there is a complete digital record here of unclaimed "gifts," which can be easily "returned" to the "gifter" instantly, without any postage or handling or anything. So we'll see what happens with that...

Hope this post helped!

You can check out my fantasy shorts here if you like;)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00RCFG8FM/ref=oh_aui_d_detailpage_o00_?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Pete
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