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…

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