Maybe you can’t even trust Amazon when buying Microsoft Office


Here’s the sad tale of a Californian woman who bought a pirated copy of Microsoft Office from an Amazon retailer and the hassle she had getting Amazon to do the right thing.

There’s a happy ending but only because a local TV station intervened.  That’s not an option for all Amazon customers.

Cynthia Brizard, a San Diego accountant paid $345.55 to Amazon for the third-party seller to supply Microsoft Office.

But when she tried to install, she could not activate the software.  Microsoft told her the product key was illegal / pirated.

Sample image from Amazon – not directly connected to the troubled sale

Cynthia contacted Amazon who repeatedly refused to intervene.  Amazon took the attitude that “all the authority and information regarding warranty replacement is with the manufacturer.” and insisted there was nothing they could do.

She even wrote to Jeff Bezos but no-one on his extensive staff bothered to reply.

Enter NBC 7, “your San Diego news leader“.  When the TV station contacted Amazon there was a sudden change of policy.  It took only 2 days for Ms Brizard’s purchase to be fully refunded.  The “MSM” still has some power it seems.

No word on any action taken against the supplier of pirated goods.  For all we know, they are still selling stolen products via Amazon using the same or a different name.

Amazon resorted to corporate platitudes which are in stark contrast to their real-world actions when a customer complained.

“Customers trust that they will receive authentic goods when they shop on Amazon and anything that diminishes that trust is unacceptable,
Counterfeit is an age-old problem, but one that we will continue to fight and innovate on to protect customers, brands, and sellers.”

Not Happy, Amazon

Like Cynthia, we are very disappointed in Amazon.  They should have an established procedure for customers reporting pirated software especially if Microsoft Support has confirmed it’s an illegal product key.

It’s worrying that there’s such a gap between what Amazon did at first and their hasty actions when they knew the issue would go public.

Microsoft?  Where are you?

What does Microsoft think of this?  Does the Redmond software piracy team even talk to Amazon about sales of illegal software?

One sure way to discourage sellers of pirated software would be knowing that any customer complaints don’t just go to Amazon but also quickly to Microsoft.

With Amazon stonewalling their customers over pirated software, there seems little hope they’d bother reporting to Microsoft.


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