If anyone follows me on twitter, you will have seen my tweets about The Book Depository not sending out books on time, or when I receive emails telling me they will send out early copies.
So, I thought I would post about my past and present experiences, and see if I’m expecting too much from services. 0_o
Once upon a time, a very long ago, I used Amazon’s services to purchase books. At first, I was a happy customer, but slowly and surely, Amazon started to fail to meet these orders: Advertising books which were ‘supposedly’ in stock, but were not! Failure to update book information pages – which misleads customers. Sending out patronising emails, telling customers that they realise we don’t understand their complicated shipping process.
Yes, as you can imagine, I apologised profusely for expecting Amazon to send out books when they advertise the stock. We pesky customers, how dare we expect a service to cater to our needs.
So, after numerous orders cancelled from my behalf and theirs, I sent my last pesky email informing them I would not be using their services again.
Enter what I thought was a shining beacon:
**sparkles** The Book Depository **sparkles**
Oh, how excited I was to be using their service. Their prices were cheaper and they seemed to have more choices available. They were timely with their customer emails and actually sent out books on time. I was in book-land bliss. To top it off, they would send out early copies of books which hadn’t been released yet. An extra bonus. Oh, I was a happy customer. I was shouting from the rooftops how fabulous this company was.
For a good set of months, this kept up in a fantastic manner. Not so much the early copies, but a great service. Then, suddenly a month or so back, things started to change. At first, I thought it was a slip up. Hey, I’m not that much of a pesky customer that I expect every single book to be shipped out directly on release day, no. Not all services are perfect.
But, I saw something that starting to ring alarm bells inside me. They messed up two pre-release dates, informing customers it was in stock when it wasn’t!! Oh, the alarm bells rang.
So, I sent off an email asking them if they could give me a reason why the books-which they took money from- were not being sent out? And if they were not being sent out, instead of keeping me hanging on, could they send me a refund. I did not receive an email back. So, when a week had gone by, and no book had been sent out, I was going to send another email when low and behold, the book information page declared they had it in stock. **cue for wary celebration**
I was all excited. A much awaited book was going to be sent. It was a Meredith Duran book, so I think for those who have read her books can understand why I was excited.
Then horrors of all horrors, Book Depos suddenly cancelled the order and gave me a refund – this happened to another person I know of. **cries* So, I had to wait for the online ebook release date. When the date arrived, I purchased it. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
Now, the reason for this post is to ask others: Is it wrong to expect a service to do what it says?
If they advertise information which leads the customer to believe something, then shouldn’t they hold on to that promise?
Last week and the past two days, I received two emails from The Book Depos, informing me they had early copies of Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs and Blood Promise by Richelle Mead. And that they would be sending them out in the new few days.
Blood Promise has not arrived and Hunting Ground is still being processed on my order tracking page.
Last night, I sent an email politely querying if they had early copies of Hunting Ground and would they be sending out the book in the next few days. I received an email from a worker who obviously didn’t read my email since they didn’t offer an explanation. They told me that they would re-order the title or refund me the money. Wait…re-order the title? What do they mean re-order the titled? I have already ordered the title, they have taken my money. Why does it need to be re-ordered again?
My freaking rant is: If you don’t have copies of books available, don’t bloody send emails to customers telling us you have copies and will be sending them out. When you don’t send them out, it doesn’t make us happy. Update your bloody book page to the correct release date so customers are not misled. Answer the emails in which are sent to you and actually read them correctly. And mainly, when you take money for a book that hasn’t been sent yet, expect customers to be unhappy.
If this was a bookstore that I walked into physically, this would not be acceptable and it wouldn’t happen. They would not advertise false information. If the book is not there, you won’t see it on the bookshelves. Why do online stores think they are allowed to do this?
I don’t care about how complex their shipping system is. I wouldn’t be so irritated if I had to wait for the correct release date or even a few days after the release date. I wouldn’t be pissed off if they didn’t have a early copy. But, don’t inform me you have books when you don’t.
This just makes purchasing ebooks a whole lot more easier. Ignoring DRM and the geographical restriction – which BOB (books on board) have found a solution to, ebooks are so much simpler. If it’s available, you purchase and download. If it’s not available, the page informs you. They don’t send emails to customers telling us one thing, then not doing it.
I sent back an email to Book Depos, not as ranty as this post but snappish indeed. Lets hope they actually read my email and I get a satisfactory answer.
Edit: Ok, literally in the last 3 minutes I received a very nice email from a different customer service person apologising for the other customer advisor. He explained why Book Depository listed Hunting Ground out of stock. Rather than advertising it as a pre-order, they list it as out of stock while they are awaiting the deliveries. It’s so nice to have an explanation. He didn’t explain why they sent emails informing me that had the book, but it’s a step in the right direction. I sent a nice email asking if they could update the correct release dates on the information page.
Update: Ok, I’ve been sent another email but this time from the nice Customer Service Manager. He explained the situation regarding release dates on the book information pages. Basically: Book Depository uses a catalogue and they rely on a electronic data feed for the publication dates. Within this data feed, publishers send the release dates. This is to make sure that all dates are ‘accurate as possible.’ But, when a change of publication occurs they also rely on publishers to tell them, but apparently this is not always the case.
I was still not given a reason why I received emails informing me certain books being in stock, but this is the first time that I have been given a full explanation regarding the above. So, kudos to Book Depos and thank you to the manager. But, it still misleads customers who do go by the release date given on the pages, especially if they don’t know the information I was just given.
I have sent off one last email asking about the two emails I received. And then, all my queries will have been answered. So, again big kudos to Book Depos. if they do answer. This is hell of a lot more than what Amazon did.
Book Depository replied back again, and their system generates emails as soon as title become available to them. So, I’m not sure if it’s whoever ordered their pre-release first that gets early copies or if they go by location.
Again, thank you Book Depository for explaining.