Amazon Adventure: When Your Nintendo eShop Code Was Already Redeemed…

I am no stranger to Nintendo eShop cards or codes. Friends and family alike know that the way to light up my birthday or holiday is to slip me some credit for my Switch. That being said, I rarely purchase a digital code – I unusually get them in the form of physical gift cards.

Here is the story of the time the Nintendo eShop code from Amazon arrived… already redeemed… and how I got the issue resolved. I’m not sure who should have taken the responsibility for this issue. But in the end, Nintendo was pretty quick to resolve it… after I’d jumped through a few procedural hoops.

Sunday, December 13, 2020: My dad buys me a $10 Nintendo eShop code as part of a Christmas gift on his Amazon account.

Hours Later: The code still hasn’t shown up in his game downloads section. I do some research around – some say that the code could take up to 4 hours to process. This went far beyond 4 hours.

Monday, December 14, 2020: I check the download section to see if the code arrived. It finally had. But strangely enough, I also noticed that on the item page, it said that two had been purchased (which I know wasn’t so). This was strange….

Not to mention, there was only one code in the download section… so…. that was weird.

Anyhow, I go to enter the code in the eShop just like I would normally and…

This activation code has already been used.

Say what?

Now, there’s not a chance that someone else with access to this Amazon account used this code. My parents don’t even own a Nintendo, much less know what the games download section of Amazon does. And my dad’s account is protected with OTP so no one else is getting in there except him or me.

I try the code again, and got the same response. So, it was off to Amazon support chat for me.

I explained the situation to the rep on the chat and she had someone from Amazon digital games support call me directly. This happened almost instantly – I do have to say that the response times were very fast in support!

Then, I explained the situation to the new rep over the phone. He proceeded to “gather information” about the situation, including what’s called a Control Number – which was provided along with the code. Then he told me he was sending this information to Nintendo Support and that I would have to call Nintendo and they would sort it out for me.


This felt like a lot of to-do for a $10 card and an error I did not make.

But this was a Christmas gift from my dad, so to honor the money he spent, I chose to pursue this to the end.

So I call Nintendo support.

In all the years that I’ve been a customer of Nintendo (since childhood) I’ve only ever called support once – when my Switch dock got fried by a power surge. So I wondered how this would unfold.

Again, wait time was surprisingly short! The first rep I got was pleasant, quick to respond and helpful. He took the information I provided (I guess Amazon’s information had not arrived?) and was able to confirm that the code had indeed been used (before I got it).

He escalates my issue to a Specialist. And this is where the ball sorta drops.

He was like: Did you contact Amazon?

And I was like: Yes, and they sent me to you.

He remarked that this was “very strange.”

Then he was like: Are you sure you used the correct code?

And I was like: Pretty sure. And it recognized it (1) as a code (2) a code that had already been used. That’s why I’m here.

The fellow was polite enough, but he was so very uncertain that there was anything he could do to help me. In fact, he told me straight up, “I don’t know what to do about this.” and later said “I can’t promise this will get resolved.”

I’m like… what…? This is a $10 card for Heaven’s sake! It’s not like I’m talking about $75 or $100. Just $10…

The main reason he was so uncertain (or so I gathered) was because this was a digital code. Apparently, if you have this issue with a physical card, you can take a picture of the back of the card and send a photocopy of the receipt to prove you bought it.

In this case, all I could do was provide a screenshot of my dad’s digital download section and the invoice from Amazon. I had to tell this fellow repeated times that this was a digital code, not a card, so I didn’t have an actual card or receipt to send.

Still, he got the ball rolling for me, though acting still very unsure that I could get this resolved, and certainly having no clue how to handle it himself. And that’s… just not what you do in support (saying this as someone who worked retail and support for years).

He sends me an email from Nintendo Support, to which I have to respond with the information requested. So I do this as completely and thoroughly as a tech writer can. I typed out my story again, using bulleted lists to describe the steps I’d taken to get this resolved.

I then explained this was a code, not a card. But included a screenshot of the digital download section of Amazon and the invoice from Amazon because that’s all the proof I had.

From there, I could do nothing but sit and wait. After dealing with the uncertain Specialist, I wasn’t too confident that I’d get an answer or a resolution.

BUT. A few hours later, I get this email:

Seeing it was only 7PM EST when I got it, I realized I still had time to do this, so I hopped on the phone that moment. With pretty minimal wait time, I was then forwarded to someone who identified herself as a Supervisor.


She looked over the notes in my case, and told me that Supervisor permission was needed to resolve this, and that she would, right then, give that permission. She told me that I’d either get a new code in the mail or that my account would be credited directly (since they did have my Nintendo account info).

I came away pretty pleased by that.

Not even 15 minutes later, I get this email:

Wow! I checked my account, and sure enough, there it was.

Now, I don’t know if it should have been Nintendo or Amazon who rectified this situation. And I’m not going to say this is what everyone else will have to do if they run across this. I honestly don’t know if the fault lay with Amazon’s code distribution or the code itself from Nintendo.

But that was quite an adventure for the $10 eShop credit. And while a little of the Nintendo support was iffy, the first rep and the supervisor who ultimately resolved this were great. I did fill out my customer feedback survey and spoke honestly about my experience – I don’t always do this, but this time, I felt I should.

And there you have it. The story of the already redeemed digital Nintendo eShop code bought from Amazon.