Amazon Prime members can now send gifts with just a phone number or email address

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Amazon is unveiling a new gifting function today that will allow Prime members to send gifts to others using simply an email address or phone number, with no need for a physical location.

Gift-givers must be Amazon Prime members, the service is limited to the continental United States, and it can currently only be utilized on mobile devices. Even while Amazon has put in some safeguards—the gift-giver never sees the recipient’s shipping address—this seems like a horrible concept that may be used by scammers, stalkers, and those who like harassing others online.

The new feature works as follows: The presenter of the gift wishes to surprise the receiver with a gift but does not know the recipient’s shipping address. However, the gift-giver has either the recipient’s email address or phone number. The gift-giver selects the gift on his Amazon mobile app, selects the “add gift receipt for easier returns” options during check-out, and is presented with the option to “let the recipient supply their address.” After that, the giver includes the recipient’s email address or phone number.

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The gift card givers aren’t charged at this moment, but a hold is placed on their payment card for the purchase amount.

The recipient is then notified by text message or email — that she has a gift from the giver waiting for her. If the recipient does not already have an Amazon account, they can establish one now. To accept the gift, the recipient must have an Amazon account, but only the sender must be a Prime member.

The recipient can open the Amazon notification to see what the gift-giver sent, and then choose whether to deny the gift, accept it but convert it to an Amazon gift card (in which case the gift-giver will not be alerted), or just accept the gift. If the gift is accepted, the giver’s credit card will be debited.

If the recipient completely disregards the gift notification, it will expire in a few days and the gift-giver will receive a refund.

When asked if there was a way for Amazon members to opt-out of this new service, the company responded that there isn’t!!

If the recipient doesn’t want the gift, Amazon says they may simply decline it or ignore the notification. What’s to stop a troll, harasser, or stalker from sending many presents to a recipient only to spam them with notifications, knowing the recipient won’t accept? Nothing, technically, however, the recipient could contact Amazon customer support, which will decide what to do. Such conduct appears to be in violation of Amazon’s community guidelines.

Although not all things sold by Amazon are eligible for the new giving option, the business claims that “millions” of them are. Products offered by Amazon and third-party sellers on its site are among the qualifying items.

This is a nice Amazon feature that should theoretically attract more members; keep in mind that you can’t accept a gift through this approach unless you have an Amazon account. It’s also well-timed: the holiday shopping season is rapidly coming, and we’ve already heard reports of shipment delays and supply shortages.

However, receiving a gift from someone who does not know your address is troublesome; there may be a solid reason why the present-giver is unaware of the recipient’s address. If someone spams your phone or inbox with several gift alerts, even if you don’t accept or decline them, the recipient is responsible for notifying Amazon. Since Prime members register their identities, addresses, and payment methods with Amazon, shipping phony presents should not result in their account being terminated. However, this is far from a failsafe technique of preventing harassment.

This feature will be available in the coming weeks, according to Amazon.

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