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TL;DR - frustrations with Audible and Amazon, only partly because I'm being stubborn.


The background:
I have an Audible account that predates Amazon's purchase of Audible. I'm trying to keep my accounts at the 2 A's separate, mostly to avoid that feeling that Amazon is swallowing the world…at least what Google isn't getting to first.

I bought the Audible version of John Scalzi's Lock In, which comes in 2 flavors, narrated by Wil Wheaton or Amber Benson. (I'll not say why as Scalzi is treating it as a spoiler for now.) Somewhere I read that the ebook would also come along with the audiobooks, and indeed, when I to to my library on Audible, there's an icon beside Lock In that says "Congrats. You own this title as both a Kindle book and an audiobook so you're ready to seamlessly switch between the two."

Probably because the accounts aren't linked, I can't see the ebook for Lock In in my Kindle app or account at Amazon. On to technical support, using the chat client at Audible.

I start with Shaneha from Audible.com. Shaneha reads my problem statement, entered before the chat started, tells me I have to talk to Amazon, and dumps me over there without waiting for a response.

Next up is Liv, though the chat says she's at Audible, not Amazon. Liv says because it's related to an ebook she has to transfer me to their Kindle Department. At least she asks if thats OK.

Now comes Ashwani, the stereotype of "customer support". Chat software still says Audible.com, but he does seem to be from Amazon. He asks for name, email, address to verify that I'm the account holder, sends a link to the Amazon page for Lock In to be sure we're talking about the right book, then starts pasting in text from the Whispersync help file. I hate that…..

Ashwani then tells me there is no Lock In Kindle ebook. Funny, I can see it all over the Amazon page. Then he says "this book is readily not available due to some correction purpose and once it will available on the website, you can purchase for only kindle ebook." I ask if I can chat with his supervisor as he isn't grasping my problem: he says his supervisor isn't available. Right.

I got a little testy, re-explained that I don't need to buy the ebook but to find out how to access the one Audible says I own. He says he'll transfer me to "our kindle specialized team".

Now comes Kathleen. Chat still says "from Audible.com"…let's just ignore that as non-informative. Kathleen asks more questions on the purchase, then asks for the order number from Audible, as she can't see that. But as soon as I give it to her, she says she has to transfer me to Audible.

Do you see it coming? I get connected to Shaneha. Again. She'll "be happy to help me with my issue". I ask to speak to her supervisor, but she asks to review the chat so far. She tells me Audible doesn't sell ebooks so I must have gotten it from Amazon, then also surprisingly says that my accounts are connected. I don't think that's true. Shaneha eventually punts to the "kindle support department".

Jessica says she's from Amazon Customer Service, says she's sorry I can't see the ebook in the app, and that this is not in her scope of support. Transfer to a Kindle Specialist.

Harpreet looks at the chat record and connects me to "our concerned team" without further interactions.

Now up: Shanieka at Audible. She can see I own the audiobook(s), but can't see anything that tells her if I own the ebook. She tries hard to see if I'm misreading the GUI--asks me repeatedly to describe the icon and the hover text, asks what's in the next column over, verifies what column the icon is in, asks if I see the hover text in the help icon at the top of the eBook Companion column. (Yes, and it's not the same as the text that says I own the ebook.) She repeats, as others said, that I need to buy the ebook at Amazon. She can't check anything at Amazon for me because my accounts aren't linked. (Sorry, Shaneha.) I need to merge my accounts to be able to sync the ebook and the audiobook, but I explain I don't want to do that. I just want access to the ebook…if I really own it. She repeats Shaneha's comment that Audible has nothing to do with ebooks so I must have purchased it (or need to purchase it) at Amazon.

If Shanieka is right that Audible has nothing to do with ebooks and never has promotions to get the ebook if you buy the audiobook, then I must not own the ebook. (I know I haven't purchased it. Bought the hardback, just got it signed yesterday.) But then why does Audible's library view tell me I own the ebook?

After Shanieka asked me to describe the icon for the second time, sister-in-law called to say dinner was ready. (She cooked tonight, I'm cooking tomorrow.) I asked Shanieka for a case number but they don't do that,--she said the chat would be attached to my account. Of course, then the chat session software said it would email me a transcript which never arrived. I saved my own copy.

After dinner I found Audible's 'send us email' form, wrote a short summary, and attached the chat. We'll see if I get more than "you have to merge your accounts to do anything, and we don't know if you own this ebook or not".

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
filkferengi
Sep. 4th, 2014 06:45 pm (UTC)
Eep! How very frustrating! You're much more forbearing than I would've been. Language would undoubtedly have been involved very early in the purported process. What a tangle! Not even mentally hearing Mary Crowell singing "Is you is or is you ain't my e-book?" helps.

:(
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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