EDEN — When Tom and Diane Strauss lost access to their Amazon account, the hundreds of dollars of voice-activated Echos and Dots they own became unusable. The couple couldn't access the multiple movies and e-books they'd purchased licenses to stream and download.
"I have five Alexas," said Strauss, "I have Prime Video, and can't use any of it."
That's because Strauss said Amazon locked him out of his account.
He explained that last year a crook got access to his credit card information and began making bogus purchases at many retailers, including buying six Xbox consoles on Amazon for $2,200. They were shipped to an address in California with which Strauss was unfamiliar.
Strauss disputed the charges as fraud and said company after company accepted it as the work of an identity thief and waived the charges. All except Amazon.
Strauss said Amazon told him "we're closing your account and the only way it's going to be reopened is if you give us another credit card that's valid that can pay for this $2,217."
He claimed he protested by email four different times to Amazon, but only ever got the same form letter response with the same request for an additional credit card.
This time, KSL Investigators reached out to Amazon on the Strauss's behalf through the company's corporate communications department. Within hours, Amazon responded they "worked directly with the customer to address this and made it right."
Their account was reinstated without having to pay for the fraudulently purchased gaming consoles.
A look at Amazon's terms and conditions on buying digital materials shows consumers are not buying the actual movie or book, but instead have purchased "right to view, use, and display" content "only as long as you remain an active member of the underlying membership or subscription program."
Amazon's spokesperson told us anyone who sees suspicious activity on their account should report it immediately to Amazon.