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Amazon UK: you fail.

It so happens I like(d) Amazon but they really have failed me now, probably for the last time.

First of all you have to know that the majority of Italian credit cards aren’t like the one around in US, rather than paying all at once at the end of the month, they tend to force you to pay in installments, which is quite fine as long as I’m waiting to be paid, but are not good if I have the money at hand, as it adds interests that I could avoid otherwise.

Sure there are pre-paid cards, but it’s an hassle to handle, they are quite limited in payment, can’t be confirmed in PayPal, and usually allows you to charge them only with a fixed amount of money, so you can’t just load 234.34 euro. And each charge costs you money too.

So when I did see that my bank’s (UniCredit Banca) debit card switched to a smartcard with embedded the 19 digits Maestro code, and that Amazon UK supposedly accepted Maestro debit cards, I decided to get a new debit card, replacing my old one that didn’t have the Maestro code. This took me two weeks to have my new Bancomat card working with its PIN. Incidentally, about at the same time I had trouble with my prepaid card, so I returned that too, leaving myself with just the MasterCard credit card.

When I finally decided to place an order, my Maestro card was rejected: they wanted either a start date or an issue number, and Maestro cards in Italy don’t have either. Googling around, seems like Irish cards also don’t have those, and they actually seem to be an UK-only feature. So I contacted Amazon customer care. (I also tried placing an order with, but although they first accepted the code, they rejected it afterward, which pissed me off in a different way)

The first mail from Amazon UK customer care suggested me to set the payment method to cheque, and then call in to get it changed to Maestro, giving the card’s details to the phone operator. So I did, this morning I called the UK non-free number, thanks to VoIP at least I paid very little, but I still paid! After 20 minutes, the operator told me that unfortunately they only accept Maestro cards with an issue number or a start date, and suggested asking the bank for the data. So I did.

The bank of course doesn’t know anything about issue numbers or start date, what they provided me should be quite enough, it just isn’t for Amazon UK.

Interestingly, for both email requests and phone calls, Amazon asks you if the customer care sastified you, so I told them I wasn’t satisfied because their own documentation repeats that Maestro cards are accepted, without stating that only some Maestro cards are accepted.

And then I got a more interesting reply, credit cards are accepted almost worldwide, but debit cards, as well as cheques, need to be pounds-based, that’s why they require the two attributes that are not part of my card. So I again asked them to make it clear in the documentation that Maestro cards in eery other part of the globe are not accepted.

The last message I received didn’t make sense to me, as they repeated where I could find the Issue Number for my card (I can’t, I told them!) and referred to a combo menu I talked about, I didn’t talk about a combo menu.

Now, I’ve had to cancel my order, and this makes me angry as I was hoping to get Devil May Cry 4 soon enough, as I completed Ratchet and Clank and I need something new to vent off. And Amazon made me even more angry so I’d need more venting off.

Amazon you most likely have lost a customer.

Comments 4
  1. Strange and indeed very frustrating.I have a Danish VISA-card (debit-card!!) without start-date or issue-number. Works fine with, but haven’t used it for some time as I’m based in the UK. However it has happened quite often with other UK-shops that it is not accepted. Simply because their software can’t handle it. Most of the time it could be resolved when phoning, but unfortunately not will all companies.I find it strange that no bank in Italy would offer “normal” debit-cards. Have you checked the banks that have head-quarters in other countries? ABN-AMRO jumps to my mind for Italy.

  2. I don’t think this is limited to Amazon, I think most UK sites only accept Maestro with a start date or issue number. I didn’t think there were Maestro cards without them. Maestro recently replaced Switch in the UK and as far as I know, that always had one or the other.

  3. Same problem, my maestro card is from Sa Nostra in Spain, and has no issue number or start date, i always had vise debit in uk so dont even know what these are or where to find them…. rubbish

  4. I have just ordered a MasterCard from my bank because Amazon does not accept the Hungarian Maestro card numbers.Seriously: Maestro is only good for using them in ATMs and paying with them in real (I mean not online) shops.

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