Amazon isn’t the “Earth’s Most Customer-centric Company” It claims it is

David Okwii
4 min readMay 3, 2018


After one week plus of back and forth with Amazon customer care via email and phone call, I still can’t login to my account. I am tempted to believe it’s all my fault for setting up secure way of accessing my Amazon account via Two-Factor Authentication.

Since last week, I have been attempting to login to Amazon. I use Amazon’s retail business to shop mostly electronics while I rely on the computing side of Amazon or AWS mostly to run remote cloud backups. Now I can’t access my data.

Given how sensitive my information is and increased incidences of security breaches and hacks online, I thought it wise to setup Two-Factor Authentication(2FA) using my Africell Uganda line. Every Time I have to log in to my account, Amazon system sends me Authentication codes via SMS to my line almost in an instant. And if for some reason the codes don’t arrive, then I have the option of receiving an automated call from Amazon with the codes.

This has been working perfectly fine until recently.

For the last one week, I have made several attempts to login without success all because the codes never arrive. I contacted Amazon support via email and they responded within 6 hours which is great.

The Email contact could not resolve my issue due “security concerns” that necessitate verification of my Identify only through a “live medium”. I was advised to call an agent which I did.

Ironically, I made the call using the same phone number that I setup as the 2FA cellphone in my Amazon Account. I asked the customer agent to explain why SMS codes were not being delivered to the very phone number I was using to make the call, but they could no give an explanation.

To verify my account, the agent needed my billing address which I registered on my Amazon account. I did read it out to them, but they (called twice) could not verify my identify because apparently I was still missing some “number”. Was it the plot number? House number? phone number? ZIP code? ID number? They could not be specific. Keep in mind that living in Uganda as with other African countries, one has to Improvise data for those nonsensical e-commerce forms. You can read more about my reasons about the failure of e-commerce sites in Africa here.

20-minute call reached a dead-end and the only option was to resolve the root cause of my issue — non-delivered SMS codes. So I asked the agent if the Amazon system had blacklisted by phone number. He said No. And that the only logical reason was that my carrier was failing to deliver SMSes to my phone. So I contacted @africellUG Uganda who confirmed to me that everything was perfectly fine on their end.

At this point, I am still locked out of my account. Neither Amazon nor my network takes blame. The so-called “Earth’s Most Customer-centric Company” has failed to live up to its promise. My data is locked in some remote data center, waiting to rot in some digital abyss somewhere. I obviously feel terrible for losing my data to Amazon, but going forward, I don’t intend to risk using any other Amazon service and suffer the same fate.

Update: I finally managed to login to my account after receiving valuable help from Amazon help twitter account. They sent me a link where I upload any verified government document such as national ID, driving license or passport before 2FA can be disabled.

I did just that and the next day, I could happily login again to my account. I don’t intend to enable 2FA if at all I continue using Amazon services.

Image: Flickr



David Okwii

Transforming Africa into a country, one line of code at a time. Dev blog