Wednesday, June 19, 2013

An Annoying Book-Buying Experience

Well, I meant to post about the upcoming Paris in July event, but something bookish happened today that really steamed me, and I need to vent.

I will begin at the beginning.  A few weeks ago, I started reading Barbara Pym novels for the wonderful Barbara Pym Reading Week celebration hosted by Thomas at My Porch and Amanda at Fig and Thistle.  So, I started reading some of the Pym novels on my shelves.  Some of them are beautiful Moyer Bell editions that look like this:


They're out of print now, and some of them are rather pricey.  I was lucky enough to get a couple at good prices, and a few months ago, I even got one from Paperback Swap.  Anyway, I was all into Barbara Pym and ordered some more.  Some of them were in the $20 range, which is a little spendy but I was feeling flush (I'd just had a birthday and had a little extra cash).  

Anyway, I opened up a package yesterday, but this is what I received: 


Not the same book, at all!!  And I was charged more than $20!!!  At first I thought I'd accidentally ordered the wrong book, but no, I checked the Amazon order, I definitely ordered the Moyer Bell copy.    This particular copy is a Harper Perennial, they list for much less.

So, I contacted the bookseller, and they can't see what the problem is!!!  Their response was basically, well, those books are really expensive, they're out of print, so we "upgraded you."  Really!!!  How is it an upgrade if it's not the book I ordered????  This book's cover is in good condition, but the pages are all browned and it is not a Moyer Bell.  Here's the latest response:

We are baffled by what you say, as all editions here are of the same price and quality, but if you do not want the book, please simply file a return request and send it back. 

Really and truly, we did definitely deliberately upgrade you. You ordered a lightly used book and we upgraded you to one which is un-used. About a $5 value.  We did that to try and make you happy. We are sorry it did not work. 


Now, I have nothing against Harper Perennial.  I'm sure it's a fine book and they didn't misspell any words or leave any chapters out.  But that is not the point.  If you order something, it should be as pictured.   And I'm darned if I'm going to pay the return shipping!!  It's their mistake!

The kicker here is that the slip enclosed in the book states that "we are a new company on Amazon, and we strive to be the best."  Really?  How is misleading your customers and arguing with them about the books "the best"????

And the worst part is, I accidentally ordered the same book from them TWICE.  I haven't read all the Pyms yet, and I was putting in an Amazon order the other day and accidentally ordered the same book from this seller.  AGAIN 

Bloggers, do not put yourselves through this.   Please, please, check your past order history when you order from Amazon!!

The one comfort is that I purchased them through Amazon with a credit card.  Amazon is normally very good about items that are not as pictured; if not, I'll call the nice people at Visa.  

It's just so annoying.  Seriously,  am I in the wrong here?  Am I asking too much to expect to receive what was pictured on the Amazon website?  Please let me know.  

16 comments:

  1. I am amazed that a bookseller would not understand that book buyers want specific editions - maybe not everyone, but I'd think the majority do. At the very least they should have contacted you before shipping, to offer you the other edition if you wanted it. They may not last long in the business with that attitude. Are you going to rate them on the site?

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  2. That would make me SO MAD. I'm very particular about the editions I order, and I would be be SO MAD to get something I didn't order!

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  3. A seller at Amazon once sent me a 60 cent abridged used copy of War and Peace by an unknown translator in place of the used "like new" copy of the Pevear and Volokhonsky (sp?) translation I'd ordered for about $13.00. Fortunately, Amazon "got it" right away and I had what I ordered two days later -- and an apologetic credit for my next book.

    I hope you gave the 3rd party seller a poor review at Amazon to save other folks from the same experience.

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  4. How frustrating! I haven't had a bad experience with any of them -- not that I've ordered much that way -- but even so I wonder about all those used book sellers on Amazon. It's hard to believe that they have all those books they describe sitting on their shelves just waiting to send out.

    I once bought a lamp with a glass shade from an online store and it arrived in thousands of broken pieces. The one I had ordered was no longer available but they insisted oh so helpfully that I could choose any of the other colors. I almost had to stamp my feet and throw a tantrum before I could convince them that I didn't want a different lamp and just wanted my money back. :) I still like to look at their web site but I would really hesitate to ever order from them again.

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  5. What kindlf bookseller doesn't understand there are different editions and that some of their customers are discerning readers who want a specific edition.

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  6. The seller obviously knows nothing about books or they would know how important the edition is to the book buyer! What a pain, especially for them to treat you like you're the one who is being unreasonable. I hope you get your money back.

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  7. That is maddening. Any bookseller should be aware that there are collectors of particular editions. I am very wary of Amazon Marketplace sellers, though there are some lovely ones. Indeed I was one myself until the big commercial sellers forced prices down and squeezed many of the little people out.

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  8. Wow--this bookseller is definitely clueless when it comes to customer service. My experience is that most Amazon vendors will do everything possible to prevent you from giving them a less than glorious review or rating. Could be they're just ignorant and don't realize that "covers matter."

    I do like the Moyer Bell editions too!

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  9. I would gently but firmly point out that the edition you ordered lists at considerably more than the edition they sent, that had you wanted the edition they sent you would have ordered it for a lower price elsewhere, and that not sending the book they had advertised is at best misleading, at worst fraudulent. I would also give them very poor feedback, not so much for sending the wrong edition but for arguing about it and trying to tell you it was a favour.

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  10. You are absolutely right. They are not real booksellers, if they are unable to understand why a book collector prefers a particular edition of a book. They should have ask you if you want or not the other edition.

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  11. I'm so sorry - this has happened to me a few times and it is so gutting when you open the parcel to find a cheap and nasty book! I am now very cautious when shopping for a particular edition - I always email and ask for confirmation. You'd be surprised how many booksellers have no idea what edition they have and don't seem to care - the concept of collecting particular editions seems alien to them!

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  12. It's sad that this seller of books seems to consider a book just a commodity. I'd be very cross if I were you - and I hope you get it sorted out quickly.

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  13. This situation is far from acceptable and the customer service has been nothing short of appalling. Over the past few months I've been keeping my eye out for the third book in a Mary Hocking series - I want the Virago edition, not the Abacus. There has been a couple of instances where the Virago image has appeared on the ad but my eagle-eye has spotted 'Abacus' in the publisher line - tsk, tsk. All the best to you in getting some satisfaction and thanks for the cautionary tale, Karen!

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  14. Barbara Pym Week was not supposed to have a frustrating ending. Still, I wonder how Barbara would have written about your experience. If you still have the Harper Perennial, check out the title page, they often used a simple line drawing based on the motif that Jackie Schuman did for Dutton. I think Dutton licensed the PB rights to HP.

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  15. The other thing about Pym, is that if you are patient and don't want/need to book right now, she is often easy to find in all sorts of editions at really low prices at used shops. But that doesn't help if you are itching to read a particular book.

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  16. Once I have also experience the same incident in which I bought something else and they sent me different book of high cost.I got so much angry on that delivery boy and sent that book back to its dealer.

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