This Woman Just Got An $828 Refund From Amazon Without Having To Return The Item

First things first: if you're looking for a playbook on how to pull a fast one on Amazon, this isn't it.

Rather, this is a story about a woman whose rights were violated when Amazon misrepresented an item, and how that woman later convinced Amazon to refund her $828 purchase--without requiring her to return the item.

So, if you're here looking for a "good guy rights wrong against all odds by going toe to toe with a $1.7 trillion company" story, then read on.

It's the classic setup: Amazon seller lists Chromebook for sale, seller does not disclose that the Chromebook is used…does that ring a bell?

In this case, it wasn't just an issue of not disclosing that the Chromebook was used; it was also an issue of whether or not the Chromebook would still be under the standard factory warranty.

Not only would a used Chromebook without a factory warranty be much less valuable than a new Chromebook with a factory warranty, but the buyer in this story might not have opted to purchased the Chromebook at all, for any price, had she known that the Chromebook was used and without a factory warranty.

In legal terms, this detail about the Chromebook's status as new or used, therefore, is what is a called a "material fact." Same for the detail as to whether the Chromebook came with a factory warranty or not. When a seller misrepresents a material fact, that is called guessed it: "misrepresentation of material fact."

amazon buyer dispute
Amazon's own dispute policy explicitly covers material misrepresentations.

In general, the test for determining whether or not a fact was material is whether that fact would have likely given the buyer, at a minimum, reason for pause--to further consider the purchase before deciding to make it--or, on the other hand, resulted in an entirely different purchase decision (e.g. whether to buy the item or not, or whether to further negotiate the price down before opting to buy).

But in the case of Amazon purchase specifically, according to Amazon's dispute terms, Amazon appoints itself the exclusive right to "determine material difference." So, as you might expect, it gets interesting when the seller who misrepresents the item is Amazon itself. 🤦