FAYETTE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Thousands of Amazon customers are outraged, reporting they have been locked out of their accounts this week and without warning. When shoppers try to log in, Amazon tells them they have violated the company's terms of service or that their account cannot be found.
Customers are taking to social media, saying they did nothing wrong to warrant their account's deactivation or are unaware if they did anything wrong.
As a busy grandmother with a disability, Susan Steveson of Montgomery Heights, is always looking for a good deal and convenience, so online shopping and her Amazon Prime account make life a little easier.
"All the time. I mean, I purchase dog food in bulk by the month. I've been purchasing since 2011," Stevenson said.
That was until several days ago when she was suddenly locked out of her account.
"I was told that my account had been shut down due to terms of sale violation," she told WSAZ.
She was also unable to get in to delete her bank account and card information.
"I was afraid that there was a breach or possibility of a breach," Stevenson said. "Has our privacy been compromised?"
Thousands of Amazon users have taken similar complaints and questions to social media, some using #AmazonClosed. A Facebook group: Amazon Account Closure Discussion Group is made up of users complaining about the issues and looking for answers has more than 3,000 members.
Stevenson's account was reopened about a hour before sitting down with WSAZ. Amazon did not provide her any explanation for reopening or deactivating the account to begin with.
During the interview, Stevenson called the company, letting them know a reporter was listening to the conversation and recording.
The supervisor gave Stevenson a vague response to the reason her account was deactivated for approximately one week.
"They didn't have any answers. All they said is I violated a policy," Stevenson said. "It doesn't make any sense."
She also asked the supervisor what she could do to avoid her account being deactivated in the future. The supervisor told her to read the terms and conditions on amazon.com.
According to CNBC, one issue could be with the third party sellers compensating shoppers for leaving a review of their product.
Stevenson says she leaves reviews of the products she purchases often and has reviewed products from third party sellers in the past and then received a discount code from the seller. She says she did not know that is against Amazon's policy. Even if that is the reason for her account being deactivated, she says she has not received a discount code from a third party seller in at least a year.
So far, over several email and phone conversations, Amazon will not tell Stevenson if these kinds of reviews are the reason her account was deactivated.
Shortly after Stevenson's afternoon interview with WSAZ, Stevenson got another email from Amazon, saying" We appreciate you being an Amazon customer and thank you for your patience. We detected unusual activity associated with items previously purchased on your account. As a result, we had deactivated your account while we conducted a deeper investigation. Based on that investigation, we have restored access to your account. Any pending orders will be processed. You can track the progress of your orders in the "Your Account" section of our website. We appreciate your patience while we conducted this investigation, and if you have any additional issues with your account, please feel free to contact us."
Stevenson says she will still buy from Amazon but to better protect herself, will not keep her account information saved on the website anymore.
"I definitely learned my lesson there. I'll definitely use a pre-paid card from now on," she said.
During Stevenson's phone call Friday, Amazon agreed to give her a $10 credit in exchange for the inconvenience of not being able to access her account this week.