Amazon Local Register joins Square and shuts me down

In some of the earliest posts on this blog in 2011, I wrote about the best ways of manufacturing spend through the use of Square.  Square is a device that connects to your smartphone or tablet and lets you accept credit card payments for a flat 2.75% fee.  While this isn’t cheap, it can make sense for people trying to meet minimum spend requirements.  And, it can be a really good deal for those buying Amex Gift Cards through portals.

It turned out that there was a big problem with this plan.  I didn’t think that Square would mind what we were doing since they were still getting their fee, but I was wrong.  We were apparently violating the Square user agreement.  Square closed my account.  After warning readers, I stopped writing about the Square option.

Amazon Local RegisterThen, recently, Amazon joined the game with Amazon Local Register.  I wrote about it here: Amazon takes on Square with 1.75% swipe rate until 2016.  I thought that Amazon might be more lenient than Square (wrong again Greg!), so I gave it a try.

I used Amazon Local Register to liquidate two prepaid cards: one Amex gift card and one unregistered Barnes & Noble Campus Edition card.  At first, the only problem was that Amazon didn’t give me immediate access to my money.  Eventually, though, they released the money to my bank account.

Then, I received my first shut down notice (bolding is mine):

Hello from Amazon Local Register.

This message is to inform you that we have blocked your Amazon Local Register account. A recent review indicates that payments were made to your business with gift cards under your control. Making payments to your own business is a violation of our user agreement.

To learn more about card payments please review our user agreement: ;

You may respond to this email with specific reasons for these payments. We will review the block on your account based on your response.

Please understand that we take such steps in the interest of maintaining a secure transaction environment.

For further information about Amazon Local Register, please visit our Help and Support page:

This email gave me some hope.  I was invited to respond with “specific reasons for these payments.”  I could do that.  I explained to the Amazon powers that be that customers had asked me if gift cards were accepted (which is true, but admittedly taken out of context) and that I wanted to test them before accepting gift cards from customers.

Sounds reasonable right?  Apparently not to whoever read my reply.  They responded with this:

Hello from Amazon Local Register.

Thank you for writing back to us.

We are writing to let you know we have removed your selling privileges and account access because your transactions may be in violation of our Acceptable Use policy. This policy prohibits the use of Amazon Local Register for these transactions:

The Acceptable Use policy is available in our Help section under the topic User Agreement & Policies (…).

Best regards,

Account Specialist

Funny that they didn’t even both to list the prohibited transactions.  Oh well, on to the next thing…

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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  1. Here’s a thought, bro: WHY NOT STOP POSTING ABOUT THE “NEXT THING!”
    You cant, I get it. You have to kill it. But here’s how this works–one more time for those who never believe:
    things like Amazon swiper are scammy by nature because they do NOT list the things we cannot do. But that being said, they would allow GCs if only some people did it. But the problem is that EVERYBODY is doing it. Way too many people!
    Just before the haters get on my case about hiding deals or something, know this: I never used this swiper. So shut up.
    See, FM… if you stopped yapping in here about all these things, then hundreds and hundreds less people would have signed up for this thing and then it would still be alive–no wait, YOUR swiper would likely still be alive! So you see, you shoot yourself in the foot by babbling about every deal online!
    Let things be. Let them be found on their own. Stop pumping them.
    But you cant do this. You need hits for those links.
    When are we all gonna write to Chase and Amex and tell them the real problem is this blog and ones like it? I mean we know they already read FT and laugh as they cancel people’s accounts for this and that (see death of Blue) but C’mon people!
    The only saving grace is that eventually, not too far off from now, all the gigs will be gone and there will be nothing to write about. Will something else come along? I doubt it will be as good as what we had.
    I have unsubscribed from your newsletter. It depresses me every time I read it. I’m an idiot for having read and responded to this one! Some sickos like to sip their coffee and not know they are getting burnt. I am done with it.

    • MM, I understand that we have divergent goals when it comes to this stuff, but I’m mystified why this particular post upset you in any way. This post is certainly scaring people off from doing this sort of thing. And, in my previous post about Amazon Local Register, I dissuaded people from the get go. I wrote:

      Caution. For those thinking of using this to liquidate gift cards, consider:
      1. They will most likely shut down accounts that use the service “not as intended” (this happens frequently with Square, for example).
      2. You will receive a 1099-K if you have more than 200 transactions AND $20,000 in gross payments processed through your Amazon Payments account in a calendar year. You can read their tax information here.

      • Dear Marathon Man,

        Just wanted to let you know how much of a huge douche bag you are. You see, I work in a douche bag factory where we make giant douche bags for very large women. I’ve been here for 20 years, and in that time I’ve seen some huge douche bags come and go. Despite my extensive experience here at our douche bag factory, I’ve never (not once) seen a douche bag as big as you. Your parents must be overwhelmed with pride. The web is replete with websites that post deals about one thing or another…this website is no different. Shut your pie hole, please.

  2. Frequent Miler,
    I appreciate the information you share. I personally feel that we are all part of a community, so we should all share the information we have and ride it until we no longer can.

    No need to be selfish. This hobby is fun and one day I am sure this will all end, but until that day, lets all enjoy it!

  3. FM, I have been reading your blog since the beginnng. I have gained knowledge from it and also shared. Keep up the good work and disregard comments from people like MM.

    MM, get a life buddy. You go onto all these blogs and forums and piss all over them. It gets old with your comments about people killing deals, etc.

  4. Glad to see that companies are cracking down on the MS scams. Makes life better for those of us who actually earn our miles via travel.
    Faster, Please!

  5. How does Amazon know that these gift cards are “under your control”? I can take an AMEX gift card to the local grocer and buy a box of cereal; why can’t a real customer use that same gift card to make a purchase at your business?

  6. MM,
    I’m sorry Amex revoked your wife’s Old Blue Cash. Both of you have been leaching Amex for 10 yrs and they fixed that. Now you are pissed that other people are getting a piece of the pie and you are not.

    You should write for brevity. Just say “I don’t want other people to find these deals because my money machine shuts down quicker.” Feel free to do your own work and discover the next great MS deal.

  7. There’s no need to sh*t on MM here in a personal way (by all means disagree with his opinions), this is a public forum and he posted his thoughts. I’ve also seen him share extremely valuable insight on FT.

    I’d love to hear how it goes when you two (FM and MM) are at the same conference. Does it get weird? Do you two resort to blows? Or do you just get wasted together and stay up till 4 in the morning debating these things?

  8. All, as Ben L said, please don’t attack Marathon Man personally. If you dislike what he wrote or what I wrote, then please do comment on the content, but there’s no reason be mean to the individual.
    To answer Ben L, I consider Marathon Man to be a friend. We’ve talked at several conferences now and have always been friendly with each other. I don’t see that changing.

  9. Yeah, I think MM needs another deal from a Craptera run portal to take his mind off of things and give him a crusade..I hear AA portal has a miles bonus.

    Never bothered with swipers, the fees are too much to bother with….even best case scenario would get you 1% until you get shut down.

  10. As Drew at TIF detailed on his blog, attack the content–not the blogger. Too much negativity and too many personal attacks have entered this space. There are blogs that like to encourage the negativity but you can get your point across better with constructive comments on the content. MM seems a little short on the constructive side at the moment but has provided good comments at other times.

  11. I think MM has had a rough couple of days as have most of us, but he’s got a point. This is new territory. This isn’t just about “sharing deals with the community” anymore. This is feeding it to the masses and when this happens the deals bust for all of us. (I am clearly talking about Old Blue here, not ALR as this was never that scalable.) We don’t have a community anymore. We have an ever-growing population of people that have found this niche through infinite ways on the internet and don’t give a sh!t about each other. I know it was never your intention to help let this game devolve to this, Greg. You seem to be the most genuine of all the bloggers who really is concentrated on helping people. You don’t pimp your links and you try to give unbiased views and break the stories that people want. But just as you have been at the forefront of innovation as a points blogger, I challenge you to help fix this. Flyertalk is broken. Everyone is moving to these private forums. We need a way to protect the average Amex employee from figuring out exactly what we’re doing with a few seconds on google. But the private forums could be way better. Would love to see you start your own as I think you would be the best moderator and final arbiter as to what stayed “within the circle” and what did not. Would also love to see you leave this affiliation with BoardingArea. I know you don’t feel like dealing with the hosting/support side of this crap but I bet one of your readers would gladly help you here. Help move this thing back to sustainable cuz right now it aint and theres no way whores like MMS will ever step up to the challenge.

    We miles hounds are CAPITALISTS! Not SOCIALISTS!
    (That one was for you, MM!)

    • A few thoughts:
      – I have thought about setting up a private forum for things that I don’t think should be posted widely, but I simply don’t have enough time to do it (and to make sure its done well).
      – I think that a forum like that would be helpful for a number of reasons, but I don’t think it would solve the issue you’re worried about. No matter what I do, sensitive info will get published on other blogs and public forums.
      – I don’t understand how my hosting on Boarding Area is relevant. They’ve been great to me and have no control (or input even) on my content. I’m really curious why you would think that it would be helpful for me to leave?

  12. 1. Indeed a few good deals/promos have recently ended. But those events are hardly \new territory\, \broken\ or any other hyperbole — more like tempest in a teacup.

    2. Bank analysts can just as easily infiltrate private forums. They can also measure profitability of their products with internal metrics. Our hobby can well continue with restrained use of sharing and perks.

  13. Nah, no one could see it coming. Considering that AP worked without a hitch for so many years, who could’ve thought they would get so sensitive so fast? Besides, if the problem is ONLY the that they can see who owns the gift card, there are very easy workarounds.

  14. Slowly slowly with a mix of gcs (not registered in your name or anybody with the same last name) and regular ccs (again, no relation to you) works the best.

    Not worth the hassle in the end for me, but some are making out like bandits.

  15. I was shut down too. And I only use the Register to clean out odd amount Visa gift cards < $10. Funny how they handle it I must say. Above all, their app is clumsy and buggy. It took multiple attempts to set up and withdraw money. I'm glad that it ends and I hope other people won't use it. I even returned the swiper and get my money back 🙂

  16. With friends like MM who needs enemies?The guy has lost it just because he was greedy and his OBC was shut down. He reminds me of a 5year old who gets mad when he loses and takes his ball home. He blames blogs like this for his shut down but it was his greed that shut him down. Guy is mad because he didn’t follow the rules of MS and bought more than what he could afford to pay back in fees, now he is out two months worth of cash rewards and dipping in to his own pocket to pay all those 5.95 fees. MM is the perfect example of what happens when u are too greedy in this game. I especially hate that he would post his stupid songs anywhere he could.

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