How Audible created one very unhappy customer for no good reason at all.

audible unhappy

Today, Audible managed to turn from a  happy, long-term, high-volume customer into an unhappy customer by making me feel as if I’ve been profiled as committing some kind of fraud.

I buy most of my books a from audible. I’ve had accounts in and since 2013. For the most part, I’m a satisfied customer. The technology works and the selection is getting better.

One of the things I like about Audible is their promise that I can

“exchange any audiobooks you don’t love, at any time”

I don’t use the facility often but knowing it’s there increases my willingness to buy.


In 2017 I bought 144 books from and returned 5 (3.4%)

Today, I made an error. I was trying to buy the audiobook version of Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize winning “Olive Kitteridge”. I bought the only version available on and then discovered that it was in German and there was no English language version available.

I was surprised but untroubled. Returns are easy on Audible. You just go to Purchase History and click on the box saying return, answer a question on why you’ve returned it and the credit is refunded within minutes.


What I found was that ALL of my purchases now said that they were “Not eligible for return”


This turned out only to be partially true. I was allowed to return books but only if  I contacted Customer Service first.

I went through the hassle of contacting customer service (much more time consuming than the normal process) and they accepted the return of the book I’d bought in the wrong language and processed the credit immediately.

When I asked why my books all showed as “Not eligible for return” I was told audible reserves the right not accept returns and exercises that right based on the number and timing of the returns.

My translation is, we’ll make it more difficult to return books if we think something in your behaviour is suspect.

This is not what they appear to promise and it seems that one of their algorithms has identified me as someone who should not be allowed to make returns unless I ask nicely.

This makes me feel disdained. Now I’m waiting to see if Audible decides to take me off their unofficial blacklist. That’s not how a customer should be made to feel. It achieves nothing for Audible.

It’s a perfect example of how NOT to manage the customer experience.

Audible created one very unhappy customer for no good reason at all.



2 thoughts on “How Audible created one very unhappy customer for no good reason at all.

  1. That’s pretty asinine. Seems like they’d have bigger fish to fry than hassling a paying customer.


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