Beware of buying textbooks online

<p>My older son is a junior in college and I've bought his textbooks on half.com many times. This semester something happened that will likely prevent me from ever using online stores again.</p>

<p>I purchased a marketing text for $95, and chose expedited shipping -- total of $101. After several days I checked the tracking number to see the status of the shipment, and to my great surprise, read that USPS Delivery Confirmation said it was "delivered" last Friday! My son is really good about telling me when books arrive so I know he got them and he hadn't told me he received this textbook.</p>

<p>But, despite the PO saying they'd delivered this particular book...nope. No book.
My son checked with all his neighbors in case it accidentally went to one of their houses. No.
Checked with the post office -- no book accidentally brought back to the PO.</p>

<p>And here's the worst part -- the seller of the book says her obligation has been met; she shipped the book and purchased Delivery Confirmation for the package, which "proves" the book was delivered. Except that it wasn't! I asked her whether she had insured the book; if I was mailing something worth $100, I would definitely insure it. But she did not, and also stressed that half.com sellers are not required to insure. She really had a "not my fault, sorry" attitude.</p>

<p>I contacted customer service at half.com. They do have a buyer protection policy, but it seems to say, for the most part, that they refund buyers if there is no delivery confirmation saying the book was delivered. No word on what happens when the book disappears. And the post office absolutely will not take responsibility if the package is not insured.</p>

<p>I've now filed a mail theft report with USPS, and I will go through the item-not-received process with half.com, but I don't know if they will refund me since the PO marked it as delivered. Meanwhile, my kid still needs a marketing book, and I have told him he'll have to buy it at the book$store at school.</p>

<p>So what I've learned: If you buy a textbook on half.com, and the book is lost in the mail or stolen off your porch, or if the mail carrier erroneously marks it "delivered," you are up a creek. It's gambling, except the customer isn't even told that when he purchases an expensive textbook that he's taking a big risk. Personally, it's not a risk I'll take again.</p>

<p>If you charged it with most major credit cards, you are not responsible for any purchase you did not receive. Contract was not fulfilled.</p>

<p>Sorry this happened to you, but perhaps the mistake was in having it sent to your sons room/ home/ apt, and not to a locked mail box? Things that are not locked up do get stolen at colleges- bikes, computers, etc....
I bought lots of books for DS but always sent them to his college mail box address.</p>

<p>Yes, I did pay with a credit card, but wouldn't the credit card company look at the Delivery Confirmation and see that as proof of delivery? </p>

<p>My son lives in a house with one other guy, in a (nice) residential neighborhood.</p>

<p>My biggest gripe is that I had no idea I was taking a risk -- I would never have guessed the package would not have insurance. It's sort of shocking -- why wouldn't half.com advise buyers that their packages are NOT insured? The sellers should be offering an insurance "upgrade" if they don't insure. Especially some of these really pricey textbooks!</p>

<p>menloparkmom -- last Christmas, a box of gifts was delivered to my house...that was not addressed to me. It had a Delivery Confirmation sticker and I'm sure the PO marked it "delivered." And they did deliver it...just not to the person to whom it was addressed! My husband drove the package over to the correct house, about a dozen doors down. It happens.</p>

<p>I think the problem could be that you purchased it from a private party on half.com. I buy only from the site itself, never a person, and have never had a problem. I follow this rule on amazon as well - never buy from an individual seller. I have never shopped on e-bay.</p>

<p>I both sell and buy on half.com and ebay. I always purchase delivery confirmation when selling stuff because of issues like yours. Although I am sure your son is not trying to scam the seller, there are folks that do. I believe when you check out you are offered the option of buying insurance, perhaps in the future it will still be worth using half.com if you buy the insurance. I have found textbooks so much cheaper there than in the bookstore. Sorry you have had this problem, not only you are out the money but now have to spend more money.</p>

<p>SJR: I have had this happen with a delivery.....called credit card and told them I never got the shipment; never had to pay......</p>

<p>Sorry to hear about this but I don't think this is necessarily a problem from buying online, but rather one from buying from a private seller and using USPS as the shipping method. I would just dispute it with my CC company, as rodney said, and chalk it up to experience. We tend to use Amazon for almost all their purchases with the free 2-day Prime Student shipping and have never had a problem. I try to order far enough in advance that they ship to home or, if that's not possible, they have them sent to a friend who lives on-campus as the mailroom will accept and hold packages. In the total scheme of things, having to endure one snafu after saving thousands of dollars over the years (and lengthy bookstore lines) would still make it worth it to me but it is a headache to have them scrambling for textbooks!</p>

<p>
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Beware of buying textbooks online

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<p>It's 2012. The above statement sounds like it came from 1998. Amazon's yearly sales is now somewhere in the neighborhood around 40 billion dollars.</p>

<p>I am sorry you had an unpleasant experience. But "beware of the online boogeyman" ship has sailed a very long time ago.</p>

<p>I have spent more money ordering online with Amazon, Dell, Lands' End, Musicians Friend, etc. than I care to admit. And I have never, ever, repeat never, had a problem.</p>

<p>I do feel badly for the OP but agree that they should contact their credit card company ASAP. Our kids bought all of their texts from half.com or amazon without any issues whatsoever. </p>

<p>The same delivery issue could happen with ANY vendor. If a package is left, and no one is there...it can get "appropriated" by others. It's not half.com or the seller's fault.</p>

<p>
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The same delivery issue could happen with ANY vendor.

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<p>Exactly. I buy and sell on half.com quite a bit. And I prefer to buy from the individuals. I find their descriptions more accurate and I have never had a problem receiving the books. I also seem to receive them more promptly than some of the larger sellers.</p>

<p>I did have 2 cases that were a problem in selling. I had one person who did not receive the book. I had tracking on it, and it showed it was stopped at a PO facility in her state. It was quite frustrating. The PO couldn't tell me anything. I had not purchased insurance for it. The seller is responsible for the buyer receiving the book. So I refunded the buyer (who was very nice about it). Don't ya know about 2 months later I received the book back. It was finally delivered to the buyer who refused it, which allowed the PO to return it to me. Who knows what had happened to it.</p>

<p>In another case, I sent a book to a buyer across the country. I had delivery confirmation on it. It said they couldn't deliver it for some reason. They would try again in x amount of time. They tried again and apparently the buyer had moved. The book was sent back to me by the PO and I had to refund the buyer. She never contacted me, but half.com said that I needed to do that.</p>

<p>From that point on, I purchase insurance on any books I ship.</p>

<p>No, insurance was not offered as an option. If it was, I would have chosen to buy it. I was given the option of media rate or expedited shipping, and chose expedited. I do think it is the seller's responsibility to tell a buyer that insurance is NOT included, so the buyer can decide whether to buy or not. Otherwise, someone who has only been a buyer (never a seller) would never dream a $100 book was not insured. I also order a lot from Macys.com, Lands End, Baseball Express and others...and the one time a package never arrived, the company sent out another item, no problem. Yes, a delivery issue can happen with any vendor. The difference is that other vendors replace the missing shipment if it vanishes. Turns out sellers on half.com don't have to.</p>

<p>I'm still buying online. I paid $360 for books that would have cost over $900 at the bookstore. Even if I had to take a $100 hit, I'd still be saving $$.</p>

<p>I suspect the book was delivered, then stolen. Things happen and it is annoying when they happen. But in no way will it stop me from buying online.</p>

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Yes, I did pay with a credit card, but wouldn't the credit card company look at the Delivery Confirmation and see that as proof of delivery?

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<p>Does your son have student property insurance? If so, it may be covered under that if it looks like a theft situation.</p>

<p>Tell your credit card company about what happened and place a hold on the payment to the seller I was on the other side of something like this (worked for a retailer and a package was "signed for" but the customer did not get it). After the customer contested the charge, me as the retailer (after fighting - including getting copies of the signed delivery receipt) ended up being responsible for the cost of the "lost" product. So, in your case most likely the seller would end up eating the cost of the book!</p>

<p>I bought an item from Amazon and the USPS had indicated that it had been delivered but I didn't receive it. I contacted Amazon and they said that they would be happy to send me another one, no questions asked. I held off for a few days and the book showed up - it had been delivered to another address and they figured out that it wasn't theirs and returned it to the post office. In general, Amazon does a very good job at standing by their sales. They use the USPS which is really inexpensive and expect some number of lost items but the amount that they save is more than dealing with the losses. Amazon is really good on customer service.</p>

<p>What happened to you on an item getting lost does happen with the USPS. It's best to get delivery requiring a signature. At this point, your dispute is with the post office and trying to resolve a dispute with the post office is usually futile. UPS and FedEx are far better at this stuff than USPS.</p>

<p>The amazing thing to me is that the parent was involved in the transaction at all. Except for oldest kid first semester freshman year, I've never been directly involved in the textbook purchase. Having the students do that for themselves has been part of their college learning experience.</p>

<p>I buy my son's textbooks through Amazon (and highly rated sellers on Amazon) and have them delivered to my work, so there is less likelihood they will be stolen. Amazon usually uses UPS, which is easier to track than the Postal Service. Everything has worked out very well, and he got new books for the price of used books at the college bookstore.</p>

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<p>Very common where I work. The shipping office is very full in December. I can get an idea as to where people are shopping by scanning the shipping boxes. Lots and lots of Amazon boxes.</p>