The holiday shopping season has arrived, and many of us are already buying presents to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the New Year. One of Chatterbox's favorite places to shop is Amazon.com, which has a wonderfully large inventory and usually ships items very quickly. Nobody's service is perfect, however, and Amazon is no exception. Should something go wrong with your order, you can click the "Help" button at the top of the page and be directed to a menu with various subheadings ("ordering," "shipping," "returns," etc.). If none of these answers your question, you can click on a "Contact Customer Service" button for "immediate assistance." This turns out to be another menu with more subheadings ("order and refund questions," "account assistance," "using features & services") that link to various FAQs (that's Web-talk for "frequently asked questions"). There's also a help department search engine that enables customers to find answers to more unusual queries.
What you will not find is a customer service telephone number. That isn't because Amazon lacks a customer service number. Rather, it's because Amazon doesn't want you to find it. As more and more people traverse the Web, Web site proprietors are increasingly hesitant to give out phone numbers. Many Web sites stash the phone numbers in a place where only the most determined Web surfers will find them. Other Web sites don't give out phone numbers at all. Amazon falls more or less into this second category. According to an article by Brad Grimes in the September 2001 issue of PC World, the only Amazon page that gives out its customer service number is the one you're sent to after you've bought something. So if you're having trouble with an order or purchase and need to speak to an Amazon customer service rep about it, the only way you can do so is by placing a second Amazon order. Neat, huh?
Actually, there is another way. You can come here! Chatterbox is pleased to announce that the customer service line for Amazon.com is:
Chatterbox tracked it down by scrolling to the bottom of Amazon's home page, clicking on "Investor Relations," clicking (in the left-hand column) on "SEC filings," and then clicking on Amazon's last quarterly filing, dated Oct. 24. Here Chatterbox found Amazon's corporate address and phone number in Seattle. Chatterbox dialed the number, asked for the customer service number, and was given it. (Only after going through this exercise did it occur to Chatterbox to search Google for "Amazon.com customer service phone number." That turned up a few non-Amazon sites that give away its customer service number. See, for example, this and this.)
That number, again, is
Chatterbox urges Amazon shoppers to bookmark this page and refer to it next time there's a problem that can't be solved without a human voice. That number, one last time, is
Tell 'em Chatterbox sent ya!