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Customer Discussions > Textbook forum

sellers are deceivers

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Showing 1-25 of 27 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 26, 2012 2:30:18 PM PST
kitty purfet says:
I bought a book from a seller through Amazon marketplace. I paid $29:00 plus shipping. the seller said tha the book was used but "like new" I was very disappointed with the book. In its present condition, the book is not worth $4:00. I am asking for $29:00 back. this is wrong and deceiving. I will not buy from this seller in the future or ever. this transaction was robbery.

Posted on Feb 26, 2012 6:39:57 PM PST
L chandler says:
it's important to read the comments within the descriptions. MOST sellers are great, honest. But more and more are listing up, and not posting within Amazon's guidelines. Often you will see a "like new" book, but you will then read the comments and see that it has marks or a torn dj.. Clearly Not Like New!! Buyer Beware. And don't give up on the marketplace sellers; most are great but the smaller to medium sized ones are far better, in general, that the huge monster book shops who are in cut throat competition and it breeds dishonesty.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 26, 2012 7:21:59 PM PST
I totally agree with L. I am a small seller and take great pains with every book that I sell to review the guidelines and ensure that my description and condition are accurate. None of my sales are "robocopy" condition descriptions. Take a look at the seller's Amazon sales page. If you see all of their condition statements are identical then consider going to a different seller.

I would also suggest that you consider sending an email to the seller immediately before you make a purchase asking them to confirm that their copy conforms to the Amazon Condition Guidelines. You could even cut/paste the guidelines (listed below) into your email. If they don't answer and you still wish to make the purchase, at least that gives you additional ammunition if you have to dispute the sale and seek a refund. Amazon also reviews all of those emails and could take additional action regarding the seller.

Guidelines for New and Used Books items:

New: Just like it sounds. A brand-new, unused, unread copy in perfect condition.
Like New: An apparently unread copy in perfect condition. Dust cover is intact, with no nicks or tears. Spine has no signs of creasing. Pages are clean and are not marred by notes or folds of any kind. Book may contain a remainder mark on an outside edge but this should be noted in listing comments.
Very Good: A copy that has been read, but remains in excellent condition. Pages are intact and are not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged.
Good: A copy that has been read, but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact, and the cover is intact (including dust cover, if applicable). The spine may show signs of wear. Pages can include limited notes and highlighting, and the copy can include "From the library of" labels.
Acceptable: A readable copy. All pages are intact, and the cover is intact (the dust cover may be missing). Pages can include considerable notes--in pen or highlighter--but the notes cannot obscure the text.
Unacceptable: Moldy, badly stained, or unclean copies are not acceptable, nor are copies with missing pages or obscured text. Books that are distributed for promotional use only are prohibited. This includes advance reading copies (ARCs) and uncorrected proof copies.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 26, 2012 9:59:11 PM PST
Baby Strange says:
I used to be a seller, and I still buy a lot of used books on Amazon. But after a few bad experiences with large booksellers who think anything not ready for the recycling bin is "New" or "Like New," I've stopped buying from them.

I agree with L and K--stick to the smaller sellers who obviously write individual descriptions for each book they list. I've still ended up with a few books I was disappointed with, but nothing like the high-volume sellers.

Posted on Mar 1, 2012 4:29:48 AM PST
stargazer says:
I recently attempted to buy a textbook on amazon. I completed the transaction for a price of $10 and expected to receive my book in a week or two. Instead, I received an email telling me that the transaction had been canceled. I went back to the amazon website to find that the book was still for sale, but now for $45. I wonder if the Federal Trade Commission would be interested in this kind of bait-and-switch tactic being conducted across state lines.

Posted on Mar 1, 2012 12:04:15 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 1, 2012 12:06:18 PM PST
Star, that seems highly unlikely as to whether the prices were from the same seller, and if they weren't then you'd have no case whatsoever for "bait-and-switch". Often, when Amazon doesn't currently have an item in stock, they'll put a third-party offer on the listing page for people to buy. If someone doesn't pay attention, they can easily believe they're ordering from Amazon itself. While I have seen Amazon prices shift dramatically from one day to another, I have NEVER, in all my time shopping with them (since just months after the site first started), seen Amazon itself do a "bait-and-switch" by cancelling an order to try to make someone repurchase for a higher price.

So, even if what you said WERE true, you'd only even remotely possibly have a case against the third-party vendor involved (if, and only if, it was the exact same vendor both times). Furthermore, I can tell you right now from personal actual experience with this with another company, there isn't a federal agency out there that'll give a damn unless it's a pervasive, common, and widespread occurrence with tons of customers coming forward to make claims. So, sorry, but you'll need to do all the pesky legal work on the matter yourself, if you care that much about it.

Posted on Mar 2, 2012 10:46:26 AM PST
I agree with L, K, and Baby Strange ... as both a seller and a purchaser of used books on Amazon. We are a small independent bookstore and carefully select and individually describe each book we list. When we are purchasing a used book for a customer (we are located in a largely rural area with limited internet access) we always select a used copy with a complete description over a blanket "robocopy" description. On occasion we have had to return books on our customer's behalf because they were not as described. When doing so, we always remind other sellers of the IOBA guidelines for listing books online:

AS NEW; FINE; MINT: Without faults or defects.

NEAR FINE: a book approaching FINE (or AS NEW or MINT) but with a couple of very minor defects or faults, which must be noted.

[NOTE: From here on, there may be "+ (Plus)" or "- (Minus)" in a grade, which will mean that it is above the grade noted but not quite to the next higher grade for "+", and that it is below the grade noted but not quite to the next lower grade for "-", i.e., Very Good + (or Plus)/Very Good - (or Minus). Which means the book is better than Very Good and the dust jacket grade is less than Very Good.]

VERY GOOD: A book showing some signs of wear. Any defects or faults must be noted.

GOOD: The average used book that is totally complete (as issued) and intact. Any defects must be noted.

FAIR: A worn book that has complete text pages (including those with maps or plates) but may lack endpapers, half-title page, etc. Any defects or faults must be noted.

POOR or READING COPY: A book that is sufficiently worn that its only merit is the complete text, which must be legible. Any missing maps or plates must be noted. May be soiled, scuffed, stained, or spotted, and may have loose joints, hinges, pages, etc.

EX-LIBRARY: Must always be designated as such no matter what the condition of the book.

BOOK CLUB: Must always be noted as such no matter what the condition of the book.

BINDING COPY: A book in which the text block, including illustrations, is complete but the binding is lacking, or in such poor condition it is beyond realistic restoration efforts.

REMAINDER MARKS, BOOKPLATES, PREVIOUS OWNER'S NAME: These are faults and must always be noted, if they apply.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 2, 2012 8:08:53 PM PST
Gillette, those aren't Amazon's condition standards, and therefore are not the standards sellers here are held to. You'd probably have better luck "adapting" your message to the rules of the site you're purchasing from. Most people would probably read that message and be like "you don't know what you're talking about" and ignore it. I know I would. I sell on Amazon, and I thus follow Amazon's rules. I don't know anything about "IOBA guidelines" and in my mind if you were to send me a message about them I'd just assume that it has nothing to do with me because those aren't the standards or phrasing that Amazon uses. You need to remember, most sellers on here, even now, are regular people. We're not bookstores and not "in the know" on the terminology and standards bookstores follow. We go only by the rules of the site we sell on (well, hopefully we follow the rules of the site we sell on).

Just thought I'd offer a different perspective on what you say your standard procedure is.

Posted on Mar 15, 2012 8:55:34 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 20, 2012 12:11:28 PM PDT
C.N, says:
I have experienced the same thing. Often times I get a messed up book. Most recently I received a book with an entire chapter detached from the binding. I couldn't return it because I had class right away. The pages and everything are in great condition, it is just the binding. I sold it on Amazon but I made sure to note that there were pages detached but included. I also sold it for a deep discount. Making sure I contacted the seller to make he knew exactly what the condition was.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 19, 2012 3:55:44 PM PDT

I would file an A-Z complaint through Amazon and get your money back in the even the seller refuses to refund you. It is always wisdom to look into the policies of who you are buying from by clicking on the name of the seller (their amazon business name), then clicking on detailed seller information and scrolling to the bottom). This is where they should spell out their return policy. But in any case, the buyer is usually protected from stuff like this and you should file the claim, after giving them ample time to respond to your complaint.


Posted on Mar 20, 2012 2:04:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 20, 2012 2:08:14 PM PDT
Mature Gent says:
OK..we all agree that there are some bad sellers out there, but there are bad sellers everywhere. My question is, what is Amazon doing about it? It is not sufficient to simply say that there are bad sellers, and that we need to be careful before we buy, or yidda yadda. We, buyers, are the ones investing the most in this marketplace - trust. Therefore, there must be sanctions for those sellers who seek to deliberately defraud us, Amazon customers. Is it wrong to expect Amazon to be more protective of us? We are here trusting in the Amazon name for value service. Is it wrong for us to expect Amazon to take some measure on our behalf in reducing these type of incidents on their website?

Posted on Mar 21, 2012 10:22:42 AM PDT
If you give them a poor rating you will suddenly find that they send you urgent emails asking of they can fix things for you...haha! That is what usually happens to me. They will do almost anything to avoid getting bad customer ratings.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 22, 2012 12:34:23 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 22, 2012 12:52:13 PM PDT
Amazon DOES take measures to protect the customers, and scam sellers DO tend to get banned from the site. But, it's a bit more complex and complicated than people make it out to be. For instance, if a seller sells 1,000 items, and 900 buyers are never heard from in any way whatsoever (no A-Z claims, no feedback left, nothing), 50 of them leave positive or neutral feedback, and 50 leave negative feedback and/or file A-Z claims, is that a "scam" seller? Probably not, in Amazon's eyes. Heck, they don't know jack about the quality of 90% of the deliveries, and they can't assume the worst. So, they have no choice but to assume that about 95% of the deliveries are problem-free or at least problem-resolved. That's not bad enough to constitute a "scam". Buyers on Amazon simply have a well-earned reputation for not doing anything, to put it simply. Don't believe me? Read the forums, or better yet, sell some stuff. By reading the forums, you'll see that a TON of people simply don't contact the seller, file a claim, or do anything except maybe post a vent in the forums when an item they receive isn't in the proper condition. Therefore, they ARE part of the problem. The same goes for leaving feedback. I've sold eleven items in my time as a seller (yes, all properly listed per the condition guidelines and with full descriptions, I'm very careful to be as honest as possible), mostly textbooks. Know how many buyers have left feedback on my account? One. Buyers here simply don't bother. That's part of the problem as well. So, if you want to complain about something not being properly guarded against, then you really do need to take a look at yourself first and make sure you aren't contributing to the problem. Do you leave feedback on every third-party transaction you make? Do you contact the seller if there's a problem? If the problem isn't resolved, do you file a claim or at least leave negative feedback? If the answer to any of these questions is "no", then you ARE at least as much to blame as anyone else for why it takes so long for problem sellers to be rooted out. If you answered "yes" to all of them, then good for you. You are in a tiny minority on this site. The point is, Amazon isn't going to "shut a seller down" based on one bad or dishonest transaction, no matter how "cheated" you as an individual may feel. They can only look at the cumulative numbers. If we can assume that even a slight majority of buyers here don't leave feedback on their orders, or take action when something goes wrong, that means that a seller would need to have several times more "bad" transactions than they otherwise would (due to a much smaller portion being "on the record", so to speak), before Amazon cracks down on them for having an excessive percentage of bad transactions. See what I'm saying? I hope it makes sense.

Posted on Mar 22, 2012 10:08:00 PM PDT
Eric H. Roth says:
Getting cheated seldom brings a smile to our faces, and I completely understand the dismay and anger expressed kitty who started this engaging consumer conversation. I've also had negative experiences, and sometimes lack the energy to hassle with giving negative feedback or mailing back the defective book.

Having said that, it behooves all of us to avoid making vague, loose, and damaging generalizations like "sellers are deceivers." The vast majority of Amazon sellers have a strong sense of integrity - and many simply want to make a few bucks during an economic hard times by purging your libraries. Amazon remains an exceptional way to augment the income of many people and many mail order businesses. Perhaps this broad generalization - made in real frustration - can serve as a reminder that the stench of poor customer service remains and spreads to many reliable, honest, and dedicated sellers. Finally, allow me to confess that I've sometimes sold used books on Amazon - and bought many, many used books and audiobooks - on Amazon because it's an affordable, fast, and usually reliable means to get fairly obscure books. (I also frequent and support two local bookstores, but that's another story - and those gentlemen are sellers too.) As ever, balance and perspective seem key.

Posted on Mar 24, 2012 11:53:04 AM PDT
Urizen says:
I agree with most of the comments here. I have had mostly good experiences with 3rd party sellers. importcds is especially good. I have had more mixed results with books, I did receive one book a couple of years ago from a seller that turned out to be a remainder but was sold as "new" and not identified as a remainder in the comments. When I complained the person said I could send it back for a refund, but that is sometimes more trouble than it is worth and usually not my first option. In that case the book was nearly as expensive as the Amazon copy, I think I saved about 10 percent or so on a $28 paperback. I, like many who shop here, don't always rate a buyer; I rate them if their service is 5 star all the time, but I don't rate them at all if it is just disappointing or mediocre--that is it takes too long or doesn't ship for a week, and so on, but if I think they are pulling something like intentionally misidentifying their goods, or sending books in inferior packing and so on, I do give them a lower or the lowest rating and explain why so other customers can see what they might expect. After that experience, if I have any doubts at all, I send an email asking if the book is a remainder, in most cases when I have asked I have gotten a "we don't respond to inquiries about individual books," or some such and I have used another seller. In the last few months I also received a book club edition that wasn't identified in the remarks. In that case, it was an out-of-print book and the copy was certainly like new and fairly inexpensive for what it was so I didn't rate them but I won't buy from them again. There are some great people selling on Amazon, the last seller I used sent a St Patrick's Day Greeting Card and candy with the order and the item was perfect! Once I found a $40 book new for $7! I thought it was too good to be true, so I sent an email and the person said they had bought the book for a graduate class and then decided against taking the class so it was brand new and perfect. Not only did I get a beautiful new copy for an incredible price but the seller even sent it Priority Mail so I had it in two days! The main problem as far as I can tell is not so much blatant dishonesty as sneaky little sins of omission. So if I have any reservations at all, I just send an email, the big sellers won't give any additional information and that is generally all the information I need. The rest will generally answer my question honestly, if I ask the right ones!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 24, 2012 7:03:09 PM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Mar 28, 2012 12:50:40 PM PDT
Robert R. says:
The problem is that a lot of non-professionals are now selling on Amazon (students leaving town, spouses tired of dusting bookshelves, ebay hustlers, you name it) who are in it for the short term. They don't know a POD book from an LOLcat, and they don't care. I have had 1 or 2 bad Amazon experiences in which the seller has refused to take the book back for a refund, or wouldn't refund shipping. One even told me to just file an Amazon A-Z claim. My advice is to document everything (letters to the seller, photos of the book) and file the claim with your documentation. Don't settle for the Amazon store credit. Good luck.

Posted on Mar 28, 2012 2:03:32 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 28, 2012 2:17:01 PM PDT
John Jacob says:
Management I have found most transactions to be trustworthy and accurate; book conditions toted as "very good" tend to be accurate, and details such as slight damage are typically noted. However, I have found too many that are deceptive, even deceitful. Case in point, I purchased the book indicated in the included link on June 2nd, 2011. As always with course textbooks, I search by the ISBN, which is nearly always provided by the syllabus; if not, I will get it from the campus bookstore. Nowhere was it mentioned that this would be an Instructor's Evaluation Edition. Lo and Behold, what arrives at my door, but the "IE" version. The main reason that I shop at Amazon instead of Ebay or Craigslist, is because I have been burned by unscrupulous deceitful sellers before, and I held Amazon to a higher standard. This was not some obscure amazon re-seller, but one that was flagged "Fulfillment by Amazon" This wasn't a tremendous problem for me, until I went to sell the book back on Amazon. Sorry, Charlie. Guess I have another text for my reference library. Shame on me for not immediately sending it right back.


Management Management [Hardcover]
By: Richard L. Daft
Condition: Used - Good
Sold by: Nebraska Book Company, Inc.

Posted on Apr 2, 2012 8:16:06 PM PDT
C.N, says:
F*** I am so pissed off right now. I just bought another textbook off Amazon. Said it was the correct version and everything. Came in today and what do I see, it the freaking International version that has different content than the one I freaking need. I can't stand this BS that I keep experiencing and this was with an actual textbook company too. What the hell am I suppose to do with this book after I am done? I don't even know if it will be the correct content for the class. I want to beat the seller over the head with the book. fhjdlsa;klsdfklsdklfsdlkvnsadklvgl

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2012 8:02:47 AM PDT
Corey, demand a full and complete refund and you don't need to return the book. Then don't even wait for a response and go dispute the charges with your credit card, you'll get your money back one way or another if you do that. And if you don't, then Amazon and the seller made money off you, and so they'll have incentive to do it to someone else.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2012 8:13:47 AM PDT
John Jacob,

Fulfillment by amazon only means the shipping is amazon quality. Anyone can sell as fulfilled by amazon, a seller can wrap their book in opaque plastic, put a unique id sticker on it and ship it to amazon's warehouse and then when you buy it, amazon will send the item with the unique sticker on it to your house but amazon doesn't know what the item is, only the seller knows.

So please stop assuming that fulfilled by amazon means anything other than that the item is already in an amazon warehouse and that amazon can handle the shipping.

Also, please think about what you are doing when you don't demand your money back right away, you are financially rewarding the behavior you received. And when people are financially rewarded for something they do it more. The people that do this to you aren't doing it because they dislike you, they do it for the money, so you encouraged them.

You don't even need to send it back, you need to demand your money back. Once you demand your money back in a timely manner to the amazon marketplace vendor then you can demand it back from your credit card, and then you'll get your monef back and amazon won't have your money anymore. Then you will be speaking a language that a business can understand.

Posted on Apr 4, 2012 11:02:22 PM PDT
nic says:
Here's a suggestion. Before leaving negative feedback, be forthright and contact the seller with your issue of concern. Maybe it was a mistake. Maybe it was the sellers mistake or maybe the buyer is mistaken. I have had bad feedback because the buyer thought they bought a new book but they purchased a book listed as Used, Very Good. I was never even contacted. It used to be customary to contact the other party before leaving unfavorable feedback. It is good etiquette to be upfront and attempt to resolve any problem. Taking a cheap shot by leaving negative feedback without even giving the seller an opportunity to correct any issue is not honorable and shows poor character.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2012 6:47:55 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 5, 2012 6:49:14 AM PDT
C.N, says:
So I contacted the seller (1st step) they say they sent me a book with ISBN blah blah. But the posted it under the listing of a different ISBN. They say that the condition was listed yet I never saw anything that said International Version. Only on the packing slip did it say this. Idk Ill get my money back eventually.

They says the will refund my money but will take a 15% restocking fee. A little ridiculous for punching in a bunch of numbers and putting a book back on the shelf. Safe to say I won't be returning the book.

It is times like these that I wish Amazon wasn't so laissez-faire with their sellers. This is my last quarter in college so I won't be buying anymore text books. Most likely when my kids go to college everything will be electronic.

Posted on Apr 25, 2012 3:00:30 PM PDT
Starrylynx says:
So many misunderstandings - many sellers upload their listings using Homebase - and the description pull down may be altered to fit many descriptions from New to acceptable - if a seller list the book as fine and the dust jacket say as near fine - and then they upload to various sites - Amazon, Abebooks, Alibris, etc.... they may find that the description varies on the differing sites - fine will go up as "very good as new" on Amazon, etc....and the dust jacket is usually not separated in the description - soooooo - buyer make sure when purchasing from a secondary seller that you pull down the entire description as seller indicates - unfortunately some sellers do not note differences in the description - not aware that it will not necessarily be the same on each site - try checking out the various sites and note if the seller is listed on more than one - then note any difference in condition listing - and beware! some isbn's are duplicated on books that do not have the same title, may not be by the same author, but usually from the same publisher - since Amazon uploads sellers listings by isbn's if there is a difference the book which comes first in the alphabet will be the one that actually list on Amazon - and the buyer if sent the incorrect book should look up a title by isbn only on say Abebooks or Bookfinder - you may be surprised - I once saw three various titles under one isbn listed -

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2016 1:37:19 PM PST
I agree with this. However, I did reach out and contact a seller for a condition issue and the seller claimed it was a "mistake." When I went to the seller's profile, several people had given feedback that the seller up-listed the condition than the condition of the book they received. There's only so many times you can make this "mistake" as a seller, who is expected to be familiar with the condition requirements.
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Discussion in:  Textbook forum
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Total posts:  27
Initial post:  Feb 26, 2012
Latest post:  Feb 20, 2016

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