Fraud Warning: audible.de (an Amazon company)

Recently, my sister in law gave me an audio book in English (‘Bones of the Lost: A Temperance Brennan Novel‘, by Kathy Reichs) as a present. I prefer to read usually. But I thought it might be quite nice, to actually hear, how some of the words I regularly throw around here, sound actually. The second thought, I can listen to it while commuting and it will make the drive less stressful and prevent me from speeding.

Well it was really good, the experience. The book was OK, though. I wont’t bother you with a review.

But eventually the book has ended. Two days with “Funkhaus Europa”, on the edge of speeding again, and I missed listening to the English language. Desperately. Yesterday yet another Amazon parcel arrived and held, besides the intended content, a coupon for one free audio book on audible.de (don’t know if they operate outside of Germany).

I did as advised on the coupon, learned that I just bought a subscription with a monthly fee of 9,95€ with the first month free and decided rather randomly for ‘Good Morning, Midnight‘ by Reginald Hill. I downloaded the ‘.aax’ file and imported it to iTunes. So far so good. To attain something my car could understand, I tried to burn a MP3 disc, which iTunes refused to do.

Some research let me to the conclusion, that you have to burn regular audio CDs, rip those to MP3 and then burn a MP3 disc from those files. To circumvent burning real CDs I bought Virtual CD-RW by Burning Thumb, which acts as a real CD burner and outputs CD images instead of real CDs. After creating and ripping ELEVEN CDs I finally had MP3s in my iTunes library. I burned those to two real MP3 CDs and they work in my car, like a breeze.

Well, a somewhat smelly breeze, since the audio quality is really bad. I thought that might have to do with ‘the process’. But it hasn’t. The quality of the original file isn’t better. It’s too muted and the sibilants are far too prominent. It really hurts in my ears.

OK.

Given all this (the stupid format, the clumsy handling to make it work in my car, the bad quality) I decided that audible.de isn’t going to work for me in the future. So I decided to cancel my subscription. They promised, that you can do this anytime and simply online.

On my accounts page the link to cancel the subscription was quite prominent. I clicked on it.

And was redirected to a page holding some recommendations. Only at the bottom of the page was the question asked: ‘Do you really want to cancel?‘ and beneath it, a drop-down box where I should select my reason for the cancelation.

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 08.46.07

But selecting anything didn’t result in any notable behaviour. At first I thought I was already done. But a second look at my account revealed, that my subscription was still active.

I clicked the ‘cancel’-link again, selected a reason, still nothing happens. Trying the same thing with Safari (I’m usually using Chrome) yields the same result. I thought, well this might be an error on the page. I opened the JS console and really found some error messages.

I examined the area beneath the drop-down field and found an invisible submit button.

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 07.20.59

After discovering this, I was really pissed. No normal internet user is able to cancel a subscription.

The invisible button was even clickable. Dragging the mouse over the area where the invisible button resides turns the mouse pointer into the ‘pointing hand’. I clicked it and was redirected to yet another page. There, I should rate the likeliness of recommending audible.de to anyone else. I fumed and selected: absolute unlikely. Beneath the likeliness drop-down box was a pretty large text field, where I was encouraged to enter stuff, that I ever wanted to tell them. I started to vent my disappointment. But was cut off after one and half lines.

What the fuck.

The text box simply didn’t let me enter more!!!

That’s basically the reason why I have written this. I will see if I can come up with any eMail address at audible.de and Amazon to let them know what I think about such business practices. Amazon should better think twice with which companies they partner up. Amazon’s reputation is declining with such things. Even more than bad labor conditions for their workers, IMHO.

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