Our holiday gift to you: 1-800-201-7575

That’s the secret number for Amazon.com customer service. Write it down. You won’t find it on their web site no matter how hard you look. Because Amazon doesn’t want you to find it.

Search for “customer service” at Amazon.com and you get books on customer service, not helpful phone numbers. Click on “help,” and you get web pages that tantalize you with “contact us by email or phone” … but click there, and you get a screen saying you need to give Amazon your phone number and THEY will call you. So what if your order at Amazon goes wrong, and you want to talk to a live human being?

Slate tracked down the phone number by going to Amazon’s home page, then investor relations, then SEC filings, and then the last quarterly filing. The number has been working since 2003, just hidden very, very well. We’re sure that call center consultants from McKinsey, Bain, or BCG informed Amazon it could save $312.56 million (consultants always use precise forecasts) each year in service costs by hiding its phone number. You can’t fight the math.

But just in case you need it, it’s 1-800-201-7575.

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