Author Topic: Problem with textbook rental  (Read 4250 times)

MrsPete

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Problem with textbook rental
« on: July 07, 2016, 10:09:13 AM »
I think I'm just screwed here, but I'm interested in any ideas y'all might have.  Here are the facts:

- I rented a college textbook through a third-party seller through Amazon, it arrived and was useful for a semester, and all seemed well. 

- I returned the textbook, but two weeks later it came back to me in the mail.  The seller said it was damaged and charged my credit card full price for the book (which was almost $200 -- and just for insult, they tacked on shipping).  The book is NOT damaged in the least (which I can prove through photographs), but I see online that a newer version is now out -- meaning that this older edition is no longer valuable to the renter. 

- I have complained to Amazon and the seller, and I've been told that the seller has complete discretion to say what's damaged and what isn't.  NO recourse for the renter whatsoever. I will remember this in the future and will not rent from Amazon again.  As I said, I think I'm screwed here. 

- I have submitted the problem to my Discover card, and I hope they will reverse the charge.  That's still in the works.  Nothing to say on that front yet.

You know all the facts, NOW FOR MY QUESTION: 

I want to leave blisteringly scathing negative feedback for the textbook renter, but my purchase was made more than 90 days ago, so it's too late! Does anyone know how I can do this? Essentially this policy means that no textbook renter can ever be evaluated on the complete transaction! 

Sibley

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Re: Problem with textbook rental
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2016, 10:26:15 AM »
Well, I would at least consider disputing the charge on your credit card.

Probably stuck with amazon though.

MrsPete

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Re: Problem with textbook rental
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2016, 01:50:57 PM »
Well, I would at least consider disputing the charge on your credit card.
Already done -- waiting for response.

Probably stuck with amazon though.
I was afraid of that.

Jack

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Re: Problem with textbook rental
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2016, 02:01:42 PM »
Not suggesting this, but wondering aloud: if disputing the charge with Discover doesn't work, would the OP be likely to achieve satisfaction in small claims court?

ohsnap

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Re: Problem with textbook rental
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2016, 02:11:40 PM »
Wow, I had a similar story about 4 years ago through BookRenter.  My credit card company found in their favor; luckily it was a cheaper textbook.  After that I vowed to only rent through Amazon, and that has always worked fine.  I'm dismayed that Amazon has not advocated for you.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2016, 02:13:23 PM by ehallison »

robartsd

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Re: Problem with textbook rental
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2016, 02:43:00 PM »
I'd post publicly on a blog/social media about how this was dealt with by the seller and Amazon (with pictures of documenting the current condition of the book - and if there is ANY apearent wear, the condition you originally recieved it in if possible), perhaps even get a network of people contacting Amazon about this issue on your behalf. Even though you can't give feedback directly on Amazon, you can still give negative feedback on the internet. Just be sure to update your post if/when they do provide a satisfactory resolution.

trashmanz

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Re: Problem with textbook rental
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2016, 03:39:16 PM »
Sucks. My condolences to you. Hope your credit card comes through. Otherwise yes perhaps at least try small claims.

Choices

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Re: Problem with textbook rental
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2016, 04:30:33 PM »
I'd post publicly on a blog/social media about how this was dealt with by the seller and Amazon (with pictures of documenting the current condition of the book - and if there is ANY apearent wear, the condition you originally recieved it in if possible), perhaps even get a network of people contacting Amazon about this issue on your behalf. Even though you can't give feedback directly on Amazon, you can still give negative feedback on the internet. Just be sure to update your post if/when they do provide a satisfactory resolution.
+1

So sorry you're stuck in the middle of these shenanigans. I agree that you've tried the proper routes with the rental company and with Amazon. Since you haven't had any luck, if you're 100% confident that you're in the right (did they describe the damage they claim? Did something accidentally spill on a page that you didn't notice?), then blowing up their social media feeds seems fair. Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, wherever. Tag them so they are sure to see your comments and see if they respond more favorably. Make sure that your comments are true and that you can prove them so you're not guilty of libel.

If you want to be a little nicer about it, you could start with a private message through their Facebook and Twitter feeds and mention your plans to see if that's enough to make them chainge their minds.

MrsPete

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Re: Problem with textbook rental
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2016, 06:59:42 PM »
Update:  Amazon came through and refunded the money to me.  Kudos to them! 

Other comments: 

- How much trouble /expense is it to take someone to small claims court?  Obvious this situation is finished, but I'd like to know for general knowledge.
- No, the book absolutely was not damaged in any way.  You can barely tell it was used; I'd accuse my daughter of not having read it, but she made an A in the class. 
- For y'all's knowlege and so you'll know I do carry a grudge, the company was RentU.

Lyngi

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Re: Problem with textbook rental
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2016, 10:30:26 PM »
Thanks for the heads up on your issues.  So far I've been able to get away with just buying used books from Amazon sellers.  My most expensive book to date was almost $200.  But since DS will be using it for 2 semesters it didn't make sense to rent it for almost $100 per semester.  We'll just try to sell it back next spring.

whodidntante

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Re: Problem with textbook rental
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2016, 10:36:53 PM »
I avoid renting textbooks from Amazon for this reason.  I've never been burned, but I consider it a matter of time.  That policy is way too one sided.  A lot of books can be had used for the rental price, or you may have an international version available to you. 

Jack

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Re: Problem with textbook rental
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2016, 07:51:44 AM »
Glad you got the issue resolved in your favor!

By the way, there is another option regarding textbooks: skip using them entirely. After my freshman year (when I got wise), and excepting maybe two or three classes where the "textbook" was really a photocopied pile of required readings and/or instructor's notes, I never bothered to get the textbooks and did just fine relying on only the lectures instead.

With This Herring

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Re: Problem with textbook rental
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2016, 08:01:38 AM »
I'm glad it got fixed for you!  I had never heard of textbook renting until recently.

When I was in college (after an expensive first semester), I emailed all professors before each course to confirm the oldest version of the textbook that would work for the class, then bought it used on Amazon.  After the semester was over, I sold it to either another student at my school or via Amazon once more.  For most of the lower-level classes (again, after that first semester), I ended up breaking even or making money on the majority of books.  I learned to avoid the university book store and the used book store in town, which were the most expensive ways to buy books.  For one or two classes, I shared a book with another student.

ketchup

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Re: Problem with textbook rental
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2016, 08:05:24 AM »
Wow, good to know.  I'm glad Amazon made it right (even if it took a bit of doing).

My sister rented a textbook from Amazon last year and it went well, maybe I'll steer her elsewhere next time...

robartsd

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Re: Problem with textbook rental
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2016, 09:22:36 AM »
Congratulations on a good resolution.

After a semester or two of college, I learned that many times the textbook really was optional. I'd certainly look at the college bookstore and off campus bookstore for the books listed for a course I was enrolled in (and compare to what was available online). Unless I felt highly confident that the book would actually be needed AND I expected to pay more for the book if I waited until later, I put off buying until I was actaully going to open the book. If you need the book for learning from, a previous or international edition is usually just as good; but the problem sets are likely different than the version the instructor is using. Often a copy is on reserve at the school's library where you can check it out for an hour or so to do the homework and/or copy the problems you need.

School bookstores are very conservative in their textbook buyback processes - they do pay a fairly reasonable price (usually about 50% of the new price) for a used book if they are sure that they can sell that book to another student at the used retail price (usualy about 75% of the new price); but if there is any uncertainty about the need for the book for retail used textbook sales, they offer a wholesale used price (usually less than 25% of the new price). For courses that are only offered once a year, I'd see time and again all the books come in purchased wholesale after the course ended, then the next year, used books were in short supply. Even worse was the courses where the teachers were always late getting their booklists in to the bookstore, so students would sell to the bookstore wholesale, then at the last minute before the new term starts, we'd move the books from wholesale to retail because the teacher finally told the bookstore that they were using the book again.

Rural

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Re: Problem with textbook rental
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2016, 05:13:40 PM »
Glad it worked out, and thanks for the heads up.


Glad you got the issue resolved in your favor!

By the way, there is another option regarding textbooks: skip using them entirely. After my freshman year (when I got wise), and excepting maybe two or three classes where the "textbook" was really a photocopied pile of required readings and/or instructor's notes, I never bothered to get the textbooks and did just fine relying on only the lectures instead.


Please check with the professor somehow. If a book isn't needed for my classes, I don't ask the bookstore to order one.


Do check (politely), though - I've just this evening discovered our bookstore is listing software as required for one of my classes when I listed it as recommended. I have the order receipt to prove it, so  I will be making things interesting for the bookstore manager tomorrow - they would like to make as much profit off our students as they can, and I shifted to recommended this term specifically because they arbitrarily increased the price more than 20% last term, with no corresponding increase from the publisher. Now they are lying to my students about study software to make more sales. (The textbook for that class is a free online book that I wrote.)


The textbook for my other class, I'm happy to see, is under $15. I knew it would be inexpensive for students to get used (and I emailed them all a link to the used version at Amazon a month ago), but now that our bookstore has finally come off the book order information this week, I can see there's a convenient and inexpensive option.


By the way, college bookstores intentionally drag their feet on releasing information as long as they legally can to try to keep students from being able to shop around. That information they finally released this week? It's from book orders the faculty placed before our deadline on April 15.

ohsnap

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Re: Problem with textbook rental
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2016, 07:02:55 AM »
...
Please check with the professor somehow. If a book isn't needed for my classes, I don't ask the bookstore to order one.

Do check (politely), though - I've just this evening discovered our bookstore is listing software as required for one of my classes when I listed it as recommended. I have the order receipt to prove it, so  I will be making things interesting for the bookstore manager tomorrow - they would like to make as much profit off our students as they can, and I shifted to recommended this term specifically because they arbitrarily increased the price more than 20% last term, with no corresponding increase from the publisher. Now they are lying to my students about study software to make more sales. (The textbook for that class is a free online book that I wrote.)

The textbook for my other class, I'm happy to see, is under $15. I knew it would be inexpensive for students to get used (and I emailed them all a link to the used version at Amazon a month ago), but now that our bookstore has finally come off the book order information this week, I can see there's a convenient and inexpensive option.

By the way, college bookstores intentionally drag their feet on releasing information as long as they legally can to try to keep students from being able to shop around. That information they finally released this week? It's from book orders the faculty placed before our deadline on April 15.

Thank you for doing this for your students.  I adore professors like you!  I second (or third) the recommendation to politely inquire of the professor, if the professor isn't immediately forthcoming about using an older version of the book.  Sometimes, for example, they have to list the 9th edition as the official book because it's the only one in print, but the 8th edition is almost identical (but still sort of expensive), but they'll tell the students that it's OK to use the $12 7th edition with just a few page number modifications.  It's nice when professors remember what it's like to be a student!

MrsPete, so happy you got your money back!

Dee18

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Re: Problem with textbook rental
« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2016, 09:59:46 AM »
I am teaching a summer course at a university.  When drafting my syllabus last month, I checked my favorite used book site, slugbooks.com, for current prices.  I told my students the used texts were available, one for $12 and one (newer) for $30. Retail price for each was > $200.   For the third book of laws that is updated annually, I recommended a 2 year old copy that was available for almost nothing.  Several students thanked me the first day for alerting them to slugbooks; a few admitted that they usually just paid the bookstore retail price!  ......spreading MMM one grad student at a time :)

FIRE47

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Re: Problem with textbook rental
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2016, 11:25:34 AM »
I think I'm just screwed here, but I'm interested in any ideas y'all might have.  Here are the facts:

- I rented a college textbook through a third-party seller through Amazon, it arrived and was useful for a semester, and all seemed well. 

- I returned the textbook, but two weeks later it came back to me in the mail.  The seller said it was damaged and charged my credit card full price for the book (which was almost $200 -- and just for insult, they tacked on shipping).  The book is NOT damaged in the least (which I can prove through photographs), but I see online that a newer version is now out -- meaning that this older edition is no longer valuable to the renter. 

- I have complained to Amazon and the seller, and I've been told that the seller has complete discretion to say what's damaged and what isn't.  NO recourse for the renter whatsoever. I will remember this in the future and will not rent from Amazon again.  As I said, I think I'm screwed here. 

- I have submitted the problem to my Discover card, and I hope they will reverse the charge.  That's still in the works.  Nothing to say on that front yet.

You know all the facts, NOW FOR MY QUESTION: 

I want to leave blisteringly scathing negative feedback for the textbook renter, but my purchase was made more than 90 days ago, so it's too late! Does anyone know how I can do this? Essentially this policy means that no textbook renter can ever be evaluated on the complete transaction!

Absolutely brutal - my guess is they just do this with any book that has become worthless to them in the hopes that 90% of people will just let it go and eat the charge.

Can't stand companies like this.