Amazon account management: Hard to quit

By J. Carlton Collins, CPA

Q. I can't figure out how to delete my Amazon account. Can you help me?

A. In my November 2016 Technology Q&A item "Internet Privacy: Account Killer," I described a website called Account Killer, which provides instructions for deleting hundreds of popular online accounts. Some companies make it virtually impossible to delete your account. For example, I recently spent many hours trying to delete a deceased family member's cable television service, but the company kept telling me it had to speak to the deceased family member to confirm the request. (I'm not kidding.) By searching online at the time, I found this cable company routinely uses this ploy, seemingly to milk additional monthly service fees from their deceased customers. Ultimately, a friend was able to supply me with the phone number for the cable company president's secretary, who personally helped me cancel the account. I can't imagine what others in my situation have had to go through to delete their deceased family members' accounts.

Following this trend of making it relatively difficult to cancel an account, Amazon has also made this process rather challenging. To delete your account as of June 2018, you don't click My Account from the Amazon.com homepage as you might expect. Instead, you must scroll to the bottom of the page and select Help, Need More Help?, Contact Us, Prime or Something else (as pictured below). Then from the Select an issue drop-down box, select Login and security, and in the next drop-down box select Close my account. This will pop up options to E-Mail, Phone, or Chat with an Amazon representative about closing your account.

In the end, you can't delete the account yourself; the Amazon representative must delete the account for you. Eventually, it is possible to close your Amazon account, but that is not the case for many other accounts. Keep in mind that in some cases, once you create an account, it cannot be permanently deleted. The lesson learned is that it can be very difficult to remove yourself online, so proceed with caution.

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About the author

J. Carlton Collins (carlton@asaresearch.com) is a technology consultant, a conference presenter, and a JofA contributing editor.

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