08 August 2005

Alibris Sucks Ass

A response from Alibris, regarding my noble quest for Bad Ronald:

Thank you for contacting Alibris.

I am sorry, we are not able to make any changes to the price which is mentioned on our web site.

The practice in the out-of-print and rare book, music and movie trade is that, because these are secondary market goods, the owners decide what to charge for them. As in other similar markets, there is no "right" price for any one item, yet the diverse knowledge of a particular title by sellers is why prices tend to vary.

Prices differ because of all kinds of factors, including the condition of the item and/or dust jacket or cover, or the collectability of a particular item. Also the availability of a title is a factor in pricing used books, music and movies. Many of the sellers in our worldwide network independent sellers also operate stores where the prices may be determined by the seller's familiarity with the local and/or global market.

Please let me know if you require any further assistance.

Sincerely,
Terence
Alibris Customer Service


The patient, talking-to-a-retarded-child tone of the message is a nice touch, but despite all the "worldwide network of independent sellers" and "secondary market goods" jargon, the basic message is, "We're gonna squeeze $84 out of some hapless collector eventually, even if you didn't fall for it" and also, "Instead of selling this book to you now, we'd rather wait X number of years until some fool coughs up our ridiculous $84 asking price."

FYI: This is the exact same book I looked at around Christmas of 2003. I guess Alibris subscribes to the "Cut Off Your Nose to Spite Your Face" school of capitalism. Or is it the "Two in the Bush? Fuck This Bird in Our Hand" theory of economics?

9 comments:

Improving customer service said...

Alibris ... quickly is becoming the definition of poor service and dumb service practices. Imagine if you can waiting 7 weeks for refund and it arrives with a statement clearly showing the amounts paid and refunded ... and the amounts are different!

I'm putting on my eye patch and taking no prisoners. Stay clear of Alibris!

nick from MO said...

What the.....
They took away my money and sent me a email that the item you order is no longer available and I tried to call them but they didn't reply me.

-------------CAUTION---------------

Stay away from ALIBRIS.COM even though they offer little cheap book.

Cuppy said...

Alibris is far and away the best exchange on the web. I've never had any problems with their customer service. Quite the contrary, I've found their reps to be kind, to the point, and very efficient.

Anonymous said...

I cannot imagine ever again using Alibris except as a textbook example of puffery hiding wholly inadequate service. I recently ordered a book and paid extra for quick delivery and got...nothing. Instead I was offered, by way of backhanded apology, a $2 coupon that I'm required to use against another purchase within two weeks. If the coupon were on paper I could use it to light a fire; instead, it's electronic and thus less than worthless.

Steemer said...

AMEN to that - they are horrible.

I ordered about eight books and patiently waited for them to arrive in the preordained time. Following that, I sent them an email asking the status of my book order.
Twenty four hours later, I received a response email telling me my order had been cancelled due to a "technical glitch".
"If you did not received a cancellation notice, we apologize."

THAT'S IT???
Give me a break, just send the frickin' books later if you have a "technical glitch".
Why cancel the order unless you're selling books you don't even possess? "Technically", Alibris, you are pathetic.

Never, I say, NEVER deal with Alibris if you actually want to receive merchandise you ordered...
they don't have a clue.

Anonymous said...

I just used alibris for the first time. Excited to thought I would have been saiving 50% on books for college!!!! I havent seen my gawddamn text book from BOOKXPRESS NJ and ALIBRIS HAS NO CUSTOMER SERVICE!!!! THESE PEOPLE SUCK!!! I WILL FILE A COMPL:AINT WITH ATTORNEY GENERALS OFFICE AND WITH THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU!!! THEY NEED TO BE PUT PUT OF BUSINESS!!!

Henry said...

I ordered a book described as hardcover for over $100 in April. The bookseller sent a softcover, so I followed the instructions on the Alibris website and returned it, in April. It's now almost August. The bookseller does not acknowledge receiving the book, and Alibris won't refund my purchase price until the bookseller acknowledges the return, but really, why should they? They already have my money, and the jerks at Alibris take no responsibility. DO NOT BUY FROM ALIBRIS.
How, to whom can I file a complaint?

Peter Vogel said...

I've dealt with Alibris on a couple of occasions and never had a problem (I mostly use Abebooks). But, fundamentally, Alibris doesn't exist: it's a clearing house for used bookstores. As a result, if you have a problem you don't really have a problem with Alibris--you have a problem with whatever bookseller you bought your book from.

And it is you who do not understand how economics works, not the booksellers. One of the foundations of economics is that if the number of copies of something is less than the number of buyers than the price will go up until the number of buyers = the number of copies available (this is why air is free--supply exceeds demand--and diamonds are not--demand exceeds supply). It does not matter how few buyers there are (and you think that there are few for Bad Ronald): if the number of available copies is less than the number of those buyers then the price will go up. For instance, because you aren't willing to pay $200 for the book, and have dropped out the process, the number of available buyers has shrunk and gotten closer to the limited number of available copies.

You can check this: once a week check to see who has a copy of the book for sale--in all probability the book will disappear from that bookseller's inventory within two to three months. It would be economically foolish for that bookseller to have sold the book to you for $4.00 when they can sell it for $200.00 in some "reasonable" period of time.

Anonymous said...

Every time I've ordered from Albris they cancel because sellers are offering their items on multiple sites and don't take them down. What's worse is they don't allow for negative feedback on these sellers. Every year for the last decade I've ordered and had items cancelled. I do a lot of online shopping, and you'd think I'd have learned my lesson. Hopefully, you'll be smarter.