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Recents problems with Amazon's trade in program

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Posted on Jun 20, 2014 1:15:24 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 20, 2014 3:16:02 PM PDT
MDH says:
Prior to June 2013, I submitted multiple textbook buybacks. Credits were always issued within a few days after they received the books. Since June 2013, I have submitted 3 textbooks in the buyback program and there has been nothing but problems with Amazon customer service -- incompetency and misinformation, excuses, and more delays. Case in point.

Early this year, I submitted a textbook for buyback. They received the book, but credit wasn't issued so I contacted Amazon customer service via online chat. For over 50 minutes, the customer service agent kept delaying and putting me off so he could handle other chats. I finally called him out and told him I was using a video recorder to capture the chat dialogue, which really rattled him. It was clear that he was in over his head and he didn't know how to handle the issue. By the end of the chat, it was apparent that he had led me on the entire time because he finally backtracked on everything he told me, and then he terminated the chat - apparently scared from the fallout and pr nightmare he'd created. I ended up filing a complaint online and I also sent a detailed email of the events, including the screen shots I captured from the chat dialogue, to the executive ranks at Amazon. Within 36 hours, Amazon forced the customer service agent to send me a written apology, and full credit for the textbook I submitted was issued along with a nominal promotional credit for by bad experience.

Now virtually the same things are recurring with 2 more textbooks I submitted for buyback. Both ISBN numbers were verified before I submitted the trade-in, and both books are in nearly new/excellent condition without any markings, damage, etc. so there's no reason why credit should be denied. Today I when I contacted Amazon customer service I was told that they have 30 days to issue credit for buybacks, which is false. Credits are supposed to be issued within 10 business days. Then Amazon customer service told me they haven't received my shipment, yet the USPS tracking number shows my parcel was indeed delivered to them. I suggested that the customer service agent look up the tracking number on the USPS website, and she said the USPS tracking info was not reliable. The customer service agent didn't have any definitive proof that the shipment wasn't received. All she did was arbitrarily make up stuff as she went along, so I asked to speak with a supervisor. The supervisor acknowledged that Amazon has 10 business days to issue credit -- not 30 days. Also, the supervisor said that I should never have been told the item wasn't received because the tracking info shows otherwise, and if the issue doesn't resolve itself by next week, she would ask that a promotional credit be issued to me. However, I informed her that issuing a promotional credit was an unacceptable solution because 1.) promotional credits do not appear on customer's accounts and by not being able to see it on my account I have no way of know if it's there; 2.) promotional credits can only be used toward purchases made from Amazon -- they cannot be used to buy things from other sellers on Amazon, and 3.) promotional credits are valid for only a brief period of time -- they have expiry dates so when customers don't use them or forget about them the credits vanish, so customers lose money. I informed the supervisor that the only acceptable solution was a normal, non-expiry credit being issued to my account so I have the liberty to utilize the credit however I want in the future. The supervisor stated that her hands may be tied and I may not have a choice about what type of credit is issued to me, but she would research it then follow up with me. If Amazon sticks me with a promotional credit, instead of issuing me a normal credit, I will escalate the matter again.

Bottom line: Amazon has become inefficient; they are creating a deepening bureaucratic mess. It isn't right how customers are being mistreated and unjustly punished. I'm at my limit with Amazon's lame excuses and delay tactics that do nothing but buy them more time. And it smacks as if they are trying to exploit their customers and unjustly enrich themselves at their customer's expense. I'm in the process of filing a written complaint with the attorney general's office in my state.

P.S. It's also worth noting that friends have told me that they have recently submitted textbooks for buyback, but credit was denied them because the conditions didn't meet standards. As a result, books were shipped back to them. However, my friends made small and inconspicuous markings inside the books before they submitted them for buyback, yet the books that were shipped back to them didn't have these markings inside of them, so apparently there's some underhanded switcheroo going on.

UPDATE: June 20, 2014 at 4:05PM MT
The credit for one of the textbooks I traded in was just posted to my Amazon account. I'm not sure if it happened on it's own or if Amazon customer service made it happen, but at least one credit has finally been issued and I'm grateful. I still have deep concerns about how the textbook buyback program is being run, the misinformation I was given by Amazon customer service, etc., so at this time I'm leaning heavily toward not making any future textbook trade ins.

Posted on Jun 16, 2014 8:30:14 PM PDT
RK says:
I agree with everyone thus far that management needs to take a good look at this program because there are some serious issues with it, unlike before when it was very well run.
I submitted a large textbook trade-in a few months ago via amazon's instructions with USPS the very next day after I registered the items. Apparently USPS took too long to deliver the items so they blamed me and returned them without even processing them. When I called to complain I was told that there was some obscure place in the terms and conditions (which I still cant find) that says that the trade ins must be received within 27 days. I explained that I had nothing to do with the delay, I sent them the items exactly per their directions! They said there was nothing that could be done other than me re-submitting. When I went to re-submit, I found that the total trade-in value of the items had gone down by more than half! Reluctantly, I resubmitted and now they are returning items saying that the ISBN was "mismatched."
I'm guessing that after they quote the trade-in values they reach a point where the value of the book goes down so they try to find some excuse to not honor their agreement one way or another and in my case it was that they chose to blame the customer for why their trade-in was rejected. Its uncanny how every time they've blamed me for why an item was rejected the value of the trade-in price of the item(s) had gone down significantly from the time I registered the item to the moment where it was ultimately "rejected." I can accept that trade-in values can and must fluctuate. Just be honest Amazon, and state why the prices cant be honored anymore instead of trying to blame your customers.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 7, 2014 10:56:39 AM PST
Delos says:
Hmmmm. I'd check back with Amazon customer service again, make sure they're looking at the right transaction number. I had a couple that were marked delivered on Feb. 26, and they entered "Processing..." and were converted into credit a few days ago.

2 weeks, if you mean 10 business days, is actually about how long does take from "delivery" to "processing" (there are many steps in between) - but that's during their very busy textbook return seasons, end of Fall and Spring semesters.

Posted on Mar 7, 2014 9:05:49 AM PST
Larry says:
I know exactly how all of you feel. I had some books delivered to them on February 23rd. I have not seen my screen change from "Not received yet". It has been two weeks since delivery and nothing. I called customer service and they claimed they wasn't received. The tracking number said they have. I have used this service a few times before with no problems. Amazon is really going downhill on their service with the trade-in program.

Posted on Feb 11, 2014 5:00:13 PM PST
Well, I'm done with the trade-in program. I have had 2 items from 2 separate orders never returned and now, looks like there will be 3 more, 3 dvd sets bought from Amazon, 1 severely damaged (obviously once it arrived), the other sets "not authorized" which played fine. The last order a set was said to have the wrong UPC code??? Yes, you can get a promotional thingy from Amazon but it is too much of a hassle and, frankly, the prices being paid aren't worth the trouble so I would rather donate items or sell at a yard sale. It just looks like someone doesn't want to pay, says they will return them but they never are returned making it necessary to track your items and spend extra time making complaints. Obviously after reading all the other posts, I'm not the only one running into trouble and it appears to be a long standing issue. If you trade-in, be prepared to pour over the invoice as items are picked through a couple at a time and make sure your items are being returned when rejected for what appears to be no fair reason. Not worth the effort.

Posted on Jan 20, 2014 9:25:47 AM PST
Wow, I can't believe how bad this has gone with Amazon! I sent two books in for Trade-In and both were returned as not in listed condition (I had to find this out by talking to an Amazon CSR) with no explanation. Which is incorrect both books were sent in described condition.

As I write I am on the phone with another heavily accented CSR (India?) for the third call. I am now trying to get the original offer value as it has decreased on one of the books by $20 in two weeks since I sent it in. 14 minutes in, thus far for a total of over 40 minutes on the phone. Amazon executes very well electronically but not so well when you need to talk to them. At the end of the call the CSR told me to resubmit and gave me a $20 credit to our account. So, to be continued.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 5, 2013 3:38:20 AM PST
Delos says:
The 'without unpacking it' was probably a problem. The few times I've had something sent back to me, they did not pack it up as securely as I did it send it to them. It was probably damaged on another round of deliveries. I've traded in old iPhone models to them just fine, however, they were only *very* lightly used. 2 months or so, with case and screen protectors, with all original packaging.

They have to be tighter on this with electronics because people are SO picky about seeing any damage on items, even when they're selecting a used listing from Warehouse Deals or something. They're basically expecting a new item that the box has been opened on just once, it sounds like, from the seller reviews of warehouse deals I've read on here.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2013 3:39:31 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 5, 2013 5:34:47 AM PST
Nebraska Red says:
I sent in a tablet for trade in which , to my mind, met the "good" condition. They said it was heavily scratched. it wasn't, just scuff marks from a black cover. I sent it in again as acceptable, without unpacking it, and now they say it is "severely damaged"
If they don't want certain items, such as older tablets, don't tempt people with the prospect of getting some credit for what is, basically, a paper weight. I will think twice before dealing with Amazon for any purchase after this debacle.

A follow on from the comments above.
I fired off a very unhappy email to Amazon Customer Service and received the usual half hearted apologetic response. After rating them poorly, I received an option to get a call back. I did get a call back, I vented my frustrations and the rep applied a promotional credit to my account , he gave me a credit for the "good" condition trade in, and I get to keep my "paper weight."
The moral of this story. Take the time to let them know how you feel and "vent" at the rep on the phone. These people clearly have a lot of discretion when it comes to dealing with these issues.

Posted on Nov 19, 2013 3:36:41 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 19, 2013 3:37:03 PM PST
Milly says:
They are so damn SLOW! My package was delivered last Friday and I still haven't received my credit yet. I want to order something with this credit, but I can't because those "merchants" are such slackers! This will be the last time I'll use this trade-in program.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2013 12:57:14 PM PDT
They did this today last week! I am so angry! I never used the book and it comes back with binding broken and the book falling apart!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2013 6:03:55 AM PDT
HDpalooza says:
I'm in the same boat. I sent $45.00 worth of DVD's via UPS which were received within 2 days of shipment and now 2 weeks later... nada, my account shows not yet received. My first experience with the trade in program was smooth with credits within about 5 days but now I have reservations about using the program in the future. Yes, I have contacted CS they recommended waiting until Aug. 1 and then get back to them if I have not been credited. A month, really!

Posted on Nov 18, 2012 5:54:35 AM PST
J. P. Huang says:
It seems that they outsourced the trade-in department to a third party company which amazon has little control over. I have some issues also, and the customer service rep told me to sell the book else where. Very bad experience.

Posted on Oct 30, 2012 10:21:23 AM PDT
MommaNuch says:
I have only addressed any issues in is the only was to have documentation of what has occurred..(it can be time consuming and a pain, I know)......but I have never had problems getting things taken care of doing it that way...I think people think about what stares them in the face so much more than what they hear (I am a speech pathologist by trade...people seem to tune others out easily....sad, but true) Hope this helps! Marji

Posted on Oct 30, 2012 8:59:52 AM PDT
dlytle75 says:
I've used Amazon's trade-in program multiple times in the past and had great satisfaction; however, the last one that I did has really changed my opinion of Amazon. It has been a horrible experience. The package was received on October 11th and today is October 30th, and my trade-in account still says, "Processing". They still have yet to deposit my gift card. I've spoken to four different customer service agents. The first three told me the package had been received, and the deposit should be made the next day. One agent did give me a promotion credit; however, this has so many restrictions and is not the same as a gift card or what I agreed to. The last agent that I spoke to lied to me saying that the package was received on the 19th and had not had time to be processed yet. When I challenged her on the tracking number and the October 11 delivery date, she became defensive and told me that I would just have to be patient with the gift card credit. I've been a loyal Amazon customer for many years; however, this experience has really change my outlook. I definitely will not be using the trade-in program anymore. Very bad experience this time and poor customer service.

Posted on Feb 20, 2012 10:37:05 PM PST
INSPI(RED) says:
I sent back 3 txt books.. one never even used but when I sent them back that was the txt book they said (1st) wasn't the same condition (2nd)was a different edition of the book. The book was never used & was returned in the same condition it came. When I received it back I noticed on the front & back the "used" stickers was partially removed. Amazon did that, Not Me so in essence they damaged my book more & lowered the condition of it.

Posted on Feb 20, 2012 3:11:48 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 21, 2012 6:07:55 PM PST
Jessica says:
I recently sent in a rather large trade in order with boks and most importantly my kindle keyboard. Once there a few of the books were credited, a few were not acceptable (which I understand), but I sent the kindle in perfect condition. It was literally in the original packaging, not a mark on it, all the documentation included all the way down to the cardboard sleeve that held the charger at purchase. I packed the box well, with plastic packing material, etc. However, when amazon received it they said the kindle was "severly damaged." I understand things can get damaged in shipping, but the kindle was in the box they mail them in. If it can get damaged that severely in that box INSIDE another box with packing material, then why is amazon selling them in that package?

UPDATE: Amazon offered me a promotional credit for the full value I should have received for the kindle, so that's good. I'll be less upset when I actually see the credit applied to my acct.

Posted on Feb 8, 2012 12:54:32 PM PST
AllieJean says:
I had them return a bunch of my books saying there was water damage when there clearly was not.

Posted on Feb 8, 2012 12:53:33 PM PST
RECD says:
Try your college store! They pay now and do not lose books. Besides: cash is King!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2012 12:07:43 PM PST
I sent back a biology book and it has been several months. Amazon sent me an email telling me to contact another company. Still haven't resolved it.

Posted on Feb 6, 2012 9:48:17 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 6, 2012 9:57:09 AM PST
love to read says:
Maybe I've just been lucky. Over the last year I sent in six separate trade-ins. Each contained several books. I used USPS on the first four and UPS on the last two. UPS was much faster. On all of them I received my credit within two days of the packages being received. All together I got over $200 in Amazon gift cards. My take on this is that if you follow the instructions exactly and pack the books well, the system works. Then again, it may just have been luck!

Posted on Feb 6, 2012 2:11:21 AM PST
Schorsch says:
I sent two shipments on the same day. They are showing they received one box and that the other box is MIA. The have credited me for one of the books immediately. The other six books (which they quoted me prices on all of them and theISBN's are identical matches) are in excellent or new condition have been pending for over 7 days. I don't know what to do. I am filing a claim with the Post Office on the missing box. At least I have a record of the box and it's value...I should have gone with another service but I am an Amazon Addict (due to a disability my shopping trips are limited). We know our UPS man by name and are teased by the neighbors for our daily deliveries. I hate to have to find a new vendor for all our shopping but this does not bode well for Amazon. I also had two returns that are taking forever to post. Both of them brand-new still in their packaging and returned withing 7 days for one and 1 day for the other. Keeps saying they are determing if I am able to get a refund (odd as they said I was when I set up the return).....UGGGG....not another retailer I cannot trust!!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2012 10:16:46 PM PST
Kelly says:
This program has been a nightmare for me, with no one on the other end to fix problems. Amazon just throws credits at it rather than fix the problems which continue to plague this program. Thank God I have graduated and am not buying textbooks from them anymore. Still have one on my desk that was just returned in the exact condition I purchased it, never left my desk, and was returned TO HAWAII as not the condition I marked, AND even though I said don't return it. Other orders they returned several times each as they said they didn't arrive in time even though I mailed them the next day. What a waste of resources, apparently Amazon is rollling in it so much so they don't have to fix problems.

Posted on Feb 5, 2012 8:01:14 AM PST
J. M. Holden says:
I double checked my isbn on my book before sending it in (first time to try the system.) It took them almost a week after receiving it to give me an answer. (The book was in new condition the cd's inside were still sealed. They tried telling me it was the "incorrect isbn" and sent a book back. (The reason I say "a book" is it wasn't the one I sent in the first place.) I had planned on sending 4 more books, but cancelled the trade after this happened. It is not worth the time and effort.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 4, 2012 1:38:02 PM PST
"Very unfair to give the customer a worse deal for their mistake."

What do you mean? The trade-in program has always been and is still trading in books for an Amazon gift card balance. If they gave you the amount that was offered for the books in a promo balance, how is that a worse deal for their mistake, since that's exactly what you would have gotten anyway? Amazon gift cards have always been for items purchased on Amazon only, including the Marketplace and such. It doesn't sound like you got anything different.

Posted on Feb 3, 2012 10:50:48 AM PST
eslaws says:
Service is really unreliable. I sent in 6 textbooks and they never processed 2 of them (the most expensive ones). I called several times and someone kept saying they would get back to me but they didn't. After my 3rd call they finally offered by a promotional certificate for the amount. Unfortunately, you can only use it for Amazon items. Very unfair to give the customer a worse deal for their mistake.
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Initial post:  Aug 16, 2011
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