Thursday, March 14, 2013

{Blogger Babble} Buyer Beware

BB

Something disturbing happened to me this week with an order I placed through Barnes & Noble online. Something that has never happened to me before, and something I think that you all should know about, in case it happens to you.

In January I pre-ordered 2 books, both of which came out on March 5th. Knowing the way of it, I knew they would ship that day, and based on the shipping option I chose, I would have possession of my shiny new books 3-6 business days later.

When March 8th (the 4th business day) passed and the weekend came, I thought I’d check my tracking info. What can I say, I’m impatient, and really isn’t this one of the benefits of tracking numbers – to know where and when something might arrive?

I learned 2 things from my tracking information provided by B&N:

1. My package was expected to arrive the 11th, which was the coming Monday, and subsequently this made it’s arrival land on the 5th business day – early in my book!

and more worrying

2. For some reason, my package was no longer in the hands of UPS but had been handed off to the United States Postal Service and was currently at a St Paul branch 8 miles from me.

This confused me, I must confess. I have ordered from B&N more times than I should admit because my husband might see this and be all like, “Hmmm, oh reallllly book hoarder”. Never once have my books arrived in any other fashion than by a happy UPS man in a brown suit driving a brown truck.

So I called B&N. Because I’m a bit out of sorts about why I paid for UPS shipping and was getting the unreliable, slow and irritatingly uninformative assistance and shipping procedure of the Post Office. This was their ONLY answer (and I might add that this is a scripted answer, I got it 3 times from 3 different customer service reps)

tumblr_mbvlu2HJeq1rqczm7The manner of which something is shipped is left up to the discretion of our shipping department” 

Yea, thanks that totally helps. And I though the manner in which it was shipped, was decided upon what shipping option I PAID FOR?

After getting no where with the Rep, I let the situation go, knowing that my books would arrive on the Monday to come, and I would wash my hands of this whole weird situation.

But then Monday came and went. As did Tuesday. I’ve now, not just passed my 3-6 day shipping promise per what I paid for, but according to my tracking info my box was STILL sitting at this office 8 miles away, waiting to go to my local branch, and then to me. So I called B&N again. They told me to call the local Post Office branch, and as predicted they were totally and absolutely not helpful.

In case you are not aware of this, even when you purchase a tracking number from the post office, they are NOT required to scan it at every stop it makes. This has always fascinated me, because what’s the damn point of the thing if when it passes through a branch no one bothers to note it was there?? Isn’t it called a TRACKING NUMBER for a reason? Sure I can prove that it left my hands and landed in yours if I send you something, but it’s the in-between bits that I would like to know about. tumblr_l90ps5ZAbL1qzkf6z

The Post office Rep had no way of knowing if my box was still in fact at this branch or if it was on it’s way THE 8 MILES to my local branch (.3 miles from my house according to Google Maps….mind you), OR if it was on it’s way to me. What she could tell me was that per this particular shipping arrangement, called Innovations, where they take UPS items and deliver them – my items were expected to have an 8-12 day delay. Minimum. Even though it was scanned in just 8 miles from my house. Apparently, they are not a priority. There is no way to rush this and no I could not go pick it up. I asked. Twice.

Understandably I am now sufficiently angry. I want my damn books and I’m pissed they shoved my shipment off on the post office. And I’ve just been told I’ll be waiting until God knows when to get them.

After yet another call to B&N demanding my shipping cost be refunded, (much to the extreme confusion of the Rep) I still sit here staring at an unchanging tracking info screen wondering IF my books will ever arrive. The B&N Rep offered to overnight me new books, if I agreed to take the other box, when it actually arrived, to a UPS store to have it shipped back. I was too angry to think this was a good idea at the time because all I heard was “I’ll get you your books if you do something for me”. And that is NOT good customer service. At. All. I’m busy and shop online for a reason, so I don’t have to leave my house with a potty training toddler who’s been known to announce she peed her pants AS she walks to the bathroom.

So if you are planning to buy something from B&N, and don’t want this to happen to you – I have been told if you call them to place your order (how annoying is that?) you can tell them you don’t want the Innovations shipping option and they will TRY to make sure it stays with UPS. *shakes head*

In the end, I will NOT be buying anything online from B&N. Ever. Again. And you should be careful as well.

amber1

23 comments:

  1. Oh yes, it is because of their terrible shipping that I myself never purchase online from B&N. I am an Amazon Prime member, and aside from their (rare!) dealings with Lasership, I have always received my books within 1-2 days of shipping. Pre-orders are usually received the day BEFORE the release date.

    I have been screwed over by B&N Online in the past. Never again.

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  2. That happened to me too, around Christmas. I ordered from B&N around Dec 16th and my brother received his gift January 10th. Never again.

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  4. Hmm I have never had a problem with B&N, I've been a member for years and my books come within 1-3 days and normally I have them super fast.

    I guess you shall just have to become another Amazon person!

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  5. As a B&N employee, I'm sorry to hear that. I actually prefer the USPS shipping as it seems quicker, and get annoyed with UPS a lot. But I have noticed that the USPS tracking number is a waste of time. They don't ever seem to update it. I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. I understand why people like Amazon, so I can't say don't use them. Although I've had bad experiences with them as well. I tend to give places more than one chance, but that's me! Good luck, and again, sorry you had such a bad experience.

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    1. No no - I think you misread - I prefer UPS, not USPS.

      B&N ships UPS, but the handed my package off to the post office (USPS = united states postal service) though this service they have called Innovations, which combines UPS and USPS at the request of B&N

      Delete
  6. I had this same issue this morning. I have two day shipping, and received my book over a week later. The book actually made it w/in 50 miles of my home, then was sent across the state where it sat for 5 days.
    On the ironic side, I sent an angry email to B&N, and as I hit sent, the trusty USPS truck arrived.
    But still, I pay for 2-day shipping, and that is what I expect. This is why I almost always use Amazon.

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    1. And I would have called and demanded that money back. It might not be a big deal to you, $2-$4 but think of this...how much money are they making off of people who pay for one thing and then they don't even attempt to ship in the manner the customer paid for. They are making a lot of money off of screwing over millions of customers.

      Delete
  7. i have not had this particular issue with BN.com but i have had other issues - damaged books, items sold as new but came as marked and remaindered, charging me weird...so i have sworn off of them. and their customer service for online orders sucks. i'll still go into the store but stay away from online orders.

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    1. Wow! I'm shocked! I have never gotten a damaged book ever!!! I'm so sorry that's happening!

      Their customer service is degrading, I know that sounds weird but they use your name a million times like your a child who gets distracted too easily. "Amber, what I'm going to do for you now Amber, since I can see that you are upset Amber" OMG I was so irritated after the million calls I had to make and have them talking to me like this....

      Delete
  8. I've been using BN and having it switch to the USPS for months with preorders and usually have my books Friday/Saturday. I use the free member shipping, though.

    I'm sorry your books got lost in the mail!

    I'm having the same exact issue with Amazon right now. I had an item ship out on February 11th and it hasn't MOVED from the post office. I keep calling and being told they'll call me back. I'm really angry because it's been over a month now! And I needed this stuff for an event a week ago. So I can feel your pain!!

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    1. Why is anything shipping from Amazon at the post office, they NEVER use the post office! Did you buy from Amazon or a seller on there?

      Delete
  9. Wow, how frustrating! I've never had that problem with B&N in particular, but I have run into this Innovations option with other companies and it's definitely frustrating because they send your items on a completely backwards route. I had an item that was sent to three different post offices in Kentucky and then Tennesse, where it sat for a few days before finally making its' way to me (I'm in California) so I can definitely understand your frustration.

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  10. This same thing happened to me, but it happened to be a book I had won in a giveaway so, I myself didn't have the tracking number. The blogger whose giveaway I had won was super helpful and tracked the package for me and discovered that my package had too been handed off to USPS which took way longer for it to be delivered. They also claimed to have left an undeliverable notice at my apartment mailbox because it didn't fit, but I didn't get that either.

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  11. Wow. I would have been freaking out too. That's terrible customer service. I ordered something from them once and realized after that I made a spelling mistake in my street address. They basically told me there was nothing they could do and I just had to hope it magically came to my doorstep. Luckily it did because I only left out a letter in the street name, but still. Bad customer service in my book. Let's switch to Amazon lol.

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    1. yea that's horrible customer service - they have to have some kind of procedure in place to help in your situation.

      I'm so switching to Amazon OR Book Depository - it might be a few dollars more but even from England they get me my stuff faster than a place in New Jersey.

      Delete
  12. I've never ordered anything from B&N but I order a lot of other stuff online and I've noticed this whole UPS to USPS thing becoming much more common. I can think of 5 or 6 companies I order from all the time that do this. It's really terrible.

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    1. OMG! Really! Well I would love to know which they are so I can be prepared!!!

      What gets me is they still sell you shipping, with a time on it when you should expect the books (or items). In my case 3-6 days...and then think no one will notice when they hand it off to someone who could care less about when it gets to it's destination!!!

      Delete
  13. My amazon stuff usually comes via the post office because they usually ship it to me using Fed Ex and then Fed Ex hands it off to the PO. However, I am unusually lucky when it comes to the post office -- but I might also get special treatment because I date the post master's son, and well you know how small towns are.

    I'm sorry to hear your story though, that totally sucks. I hope it doesn't happen to you again.

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    1. I am in love with the fact you are dating the Postmasters Son. I feel like that needs to be in a book....

      Delete
  14. Nothing puts a pinch in ones mood like books that have gone missing! Pre-ordered books, no less! What's the point of pre-ordering a book if it doesn't end up on the doorstep shortly after it's released? The only other thing that rivals this is when I lose my chapstick. I HATE losing my chapstick.

    I've never heard of this Innovations shipping method, but it sounds anything but innovative. Seems like it makes holding someone accountable troubling. I wonder how many other companies use Innovations. I've luckily only had positive experiences with my online Barnes & Noble purchases.

    - Jackie

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  15. I pre-ordered a book through Barnes and Noble. I expected it to be shipped out on Monday, didn't happen so I figured they were sticklers for the street date release. Tuesday came, nothing happened, Wednesday...nothing. In the meantime, I've contacted customer service and they are no help whatsoever. I ended up posting something on author's wall on Facebook and SHE is the one to tell me that their distribution center is closed because of Hurricane Sandy. By that time I had cancelled my order, ordered it through Amazon and had it the next day! How hard is it to email me to let me know that my order is going to delayed?

    --Amy

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    1. Yes, they are sticklers for street release dates. So if you pre-order, they ship the day it comes out. Now, if you pre-order through Amazon, AND you have Amazon Prime account then you GET the book on the day it releases. I'm changing to this, even if it's $80 a year to do it.

      Did you do this recently? Because my book shipped from their distribution center in NJ and they were not closed. They should have sent out e-mails no matter what. Customer Service is just getting worse and worse I fear.

      Delete

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