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Amazon makes amends to a seller and relists her ‘cereal killer’ bowl

June 16, 2016 04:46 PM
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Amazon.com Inc. has apologized to a Handmade by Amazon seller and relisted a “cereal killer” ceramic bowl that generated backlash on social media over the weekend.

Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, tweeted a picture of the bowl with “#Guilty” and a link to the bowl just hours after a gunman killed 49 people inside Pulse nightclub in Orlando early Sunday. Amazon deleted the tweet about an hour after it was sent and after dozens of Twitter users criticized Amazon for its poor timing.

The bowl is made by Desirae DeBellis, who owns and operates Dab-A-Do’s, selling handmade craft items through Etsy Inc. (No. 23 in the Top 500) and Amazon. DeBellis says she didn’t know Amazon would be promoting her bowl and was blindsided when Amazon decided later Sunday to remove it from the site. Amazon informed DeBellis via email that the bowl, which has red paint splatter that resembles bloodstains, fell under its “Offensive Products” policy.

On Wednesday, Amazon changed its stance and relisted the “cereal killer” bowl. Amazon did not return requests for comment but DeBellis says Amazon emailed and called her to explain its decision.

“The product was flagged as offensive by an automated system, and we have sent it up for review and it has been reactivated and unblocked it is now live on the catalog,” a customer service representative wrote in an email DeBellis received Wednesday.

A Handmade at Amazon employee followed up soon after with an email and a voicemail apologizing to DeBellis and offering to talk about what had happened.

“I returned her call, and the short version is that Amazon is deeply sorry about the incident and [the rep said] ‘we really love your item,’” DeBellis says.

In addition to relisting the “cereal killer” bowl, Amazon began featuring three ceramic lanterns made and sold by DeBellis in an “outdoor living” feature on its website.

DeBellis, upset by Amazon’s tweet and initial actions, has changed her tune.

“Overall, I am happy with this outcome,” she says. “It’s been crazy today for me, a good type of crazy.”

 

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