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Amazon stopped giving refunds when an item's price drops after you purchase it

Except for TVs.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
Chip Somodevilla / Getty
Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

The company that prides itself on customer centricity may have just alienated some customers.

Amazon has been known to give refunds if the price of an item drops after a purchase and the customer notifies customer service. But it appears that Amazon stopped providing these refunds earlier this month, except for televisions, according to price-tracking companies and customer postings on Reddit.

The move may have something to do with the rise of startups that track prices for Amazon customers and automatically request refunds when appropriate. One of them, a Santa Monica-based startup called Earny that is backed by the startup incubator Science, first pointed out the change to Recode.

Earny scours a customer's email inbox for digital receipts, and then continuously checks the price on a retailer's website to see if it drops. Brooklyn-based Paribus, another price-drop tool, also noticed the recent change.

Amazon spokeswoman Julie Law told Recode the policy was always limited to televisions and that any customer who has received refunds on other products was granted an "exception." But it's clear that those exceptions were previously given out freely, and now they are not.

It's also clear that startups like Earny and Paribus, which require users to hand over their Amazon account credentials, are on Amazon's radar.

"[W]e take customer security very seriously and want to remind them not to share their Amazon account credentials with anyone," Law said.

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