Amazon’s Way Of Not Charging Until The Gift Is Fully Accepted

Written by Evan Schuman
June 13th, 2012

Amazon was just issued a Patent for a way to let gift recipients decide if they want—and will redeem—their gift before charging the gift-giver.

What Amazon describes in U.S. Patent 8,190,519 is solely intended to deal with digital gifts (music, films, E-books, games, ringtones, etc.), but there’s no technological reason why this “no pay until the gift is accepted” approach needs to exclude physical products.

Although Amazon proposed this back on Sept. 30, 2008 (the patent was issued May 29, 2012), the problem it was trying to address still exists today. That would be giftcards that are never used, robbing the gifter of cash, the giftee of the gift and the retailer (depending on whether it was that retailer’s giftcard) of the revenue and upsell potential.

This approach would not only make sure that no money is wasted on an unused item, but it will pleasantly tell the gifter that the gift was accepted. (As my daughter would say, “Yes! No more having to write notes to Grandpa.”)

Then again, this gets into social awkwardness. If someone doesn’t want the gift, will they reject it, knowing that the gifter will be told in a matter of seconds?

For the record, Amazon’s intent is to not use this for giftcards but rather for specific personalized gifts. But today, using it to eliminate wasted giftcards might be the better approach.

By the way, for those who relish the poetry, the sheer musicality of Patent phrasing, enjoy the lawyer’s version: This process includes “an acceptance component configured to receive an input from the recipient to accept the gift, wherein the acceptance component is further configured to receive an instruction from the giver to cancel the gift before the recipient accepts the gift; and a payment processing component configured to charge the payment mechanism of the giver after the recipient accepts the gift; wherein no payment is processed by the payment processing component if the acceptance component receives an instruction from the giver to cancel the gift.”


Comments are closed.


StorefrontBacktalk delivers the latest retail technology news & analysis. Join more than 60,000 retail IT leaders who subscribe to our free weekly email. Sign up today!

Most Recent Comments

Why Did Gonzales Hackers Like European Cards So Much Better?

I am still unclear about the core point here-- why higher value of European cards. Supply and demand, yes, makes sense. But the fact that the cards were chip and pin (EMV) should make them less valuable because that demonstrably reduces the ability to use them fraudulently. Did the author mean that the chip and pin cards could be used in a country where EMV is not implemented--the US--and this mis-match make it easier to us them since the issuing banks may not have as robust anti-fraud controls as non-EMV banks because they assumed EMV would do the fraud prevention for them Read more...
Two possible reasons that I can think of and have seen in the past - 1) Cards issued by European banks when used online cross border don't usually support AVS checks. So, when a European card is used with a billing address that's in the US, an ecom merchant wouldn't necessarily know that the shipping zip code doesn't match the billing code. 2) Also, in offline chip countries the card determines whether or not a transaction is approved, not the issuer. In my experience, European issuers haven't developed the same checks on authorization requests as US issuers. So, these cards might be more valuable because they are more likely to get approved. Read more...
A smart card slot in terminals doesn't mean there is a reader or that the reader is activated. Then, activated reader or not, the U.S. processors don't have apps certified or ready to load into those terminals to accept and process smart card transactions just yet. Don't get your card(t) before the terminal (horse). Read more...
The marketplace does speak. More fraud capacity translates to higher value for the stolen data. Because nearly 100% of all US transactions are authorized online in real time, we have less fraud regardless of whether the card is Magstripe only or chip and PIn. Hence, $10 prices for US cards vs $25 for the European counterparts. Read more...
@David True. The European cards have both an EMV chip AND a mag stripe. Europeans may generally use the chip for their transactions, but the insecure stripe remains vulnerable to skimming, whether it be from a false front on an ATM or a dishonest waiter with a handheld skimmer. If their stripe is skimmed, the track data can still be cloned and used fraudulently in the United States. If European banks only detect fraud from 9-5 GMT, that might explain why American criminals prefer them over American bank issued cards, who have fraud detection in place 24x7. Read more...

Our apologies. Due to legal and security copyright issues, we can't facilitate the printing of Premium Content. If you absolutely need a hard copy, please contact customer service.