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Distinguished Correspondent
blemons
Posts: 129
Registered: ‎10-11-2010
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Free Books That are NOT Free... and Getting Refunds...

I just want to share my experience - in case it can help others.

 

On Feb 8, I "purchased" a book that was supposed to be free.  But I was charged.  And it didn't confirm that it was charging my card before charging me.  It just told me, after the fact, in the order summary.

 

So I called BN - and I think I chose the option regarding an existing order - checking the status and then chose to speak to a representative.

 

Anyway, they told me they would issue the refund and asked me to delete the book.  So I did.  They said it should take up to 5 business days to see the refund.

 

I forgot to check back.

 

But then today I ordered another supposedly "free" book (Gray Matter - the book sumary page actually said it was free when I tried to order it).  Anyway, they charged me $9.99 - again no notice up-front - only in the order summary.

 

So I called again.  The first person I spoke to was having difficulty figuring out what to do, but she did transfer me to digital support.

 

I spoke with them, explained the situation, and they said they are issuing a refund for the new book I just "purchased". 

 

Then I asked on the status of the other (because I had checked and not received a refund).  They said there was no request showing on my account!!  But they put in a new request for refund.

 

So - I will have to wait a few days to see if they show up.  But if they do, I will have to conclude that (at least based on my experience) digital support is the way to go when requesting refunds for nookbooks that are supposed to be free but aren't - not just "checking on an order".

 

Yes, I realize it could just be the specific CS person I got and that another digital support person may not be as thorough or helpful.  Or that a different "regular" CS person might be helpful enough.  But with 2 tries, 2 different "regular" CS people - neither was really able to solve the issue for me.

 

And it's also a reminder to be sure and follow-up with these issues! 

 

 

Contributor
PremiumCrouton
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎01-20-2011

Re: Free Books That are NOT Free... and Getting Refunds...

Whenever I have had to request a refund for an ebook, I have gone straight to digital support....And remember, if you need help...even when dealing with digital support, you can go into your nearest BN store and they can also call in for you.

Distinguished Scribe
blkeyesuzi
Posts: 730
Registered: ‎01-26-2008
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Re: Free Books That are NOT Free... and Getting Refunds...

I just had the same issue with the book 'Gray Matter'. Showed free everywhere and then suddenly there is the confirmation with a nice price attached to it. It took quite a long time on the phone and the questions I answered to explain such a simple thing. The same questions three or four different ways. Kind of like being on trial. Lol. I am getting a refund and they were quite nice about it. I have to check back with them tomorrow, though. Not looking forward to another long phone call. My days are busy enough. Oh well,
Suzi

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. " --John Burroughs
Inspired Wordsmith
Colleen_Rose
Posts: 313
Registered: ‎10-17-2010
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Re: Free Books That are NOT Free... and Getting Refunds...

Well they must have fixed the issue with Gray Matter. I just downloaded it and everything attached to it showed 0.00.

Colleen

Optimist: Someone who isn't sure whether life is a tragedy or a comedy but is tickled silly just to be in the play. ~Robert Brault
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rerose1975
Posts: 142
Registered: ‎12-30-2010
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Re: Free Books That are NOT Free... and Getting Refunds...

I just got charged for Gray Matter, after everything showed as $0.  How weird!!!

 

 

Inspired Contributor
ivondale
Posts: 53
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Free Books That are NOT Free... and Getting Refunds...

This happened to me on the 10th and I still haven't gotten a refund.  Time to call again!

Wordsmith
Pink_Maiden
Posts: 499
Registered: ‎10-08-2010
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Re: Free Books That are NOT Free... and Getting Refunds...

I was looking at the posts for Gray Matter and when I held my cursor over the one for Doug it showed $0.00 and then when I held it over blkeyesuzi's post it showed the $9.99 price.  Then I went back and held my cursor over Doug's again and the price showed $9.99, I moved it and held it back over it again and it went back to $0.00, then I held it over blkeyesuzi's again and it showed $0.00.  How's that for weird?

 

Needless to say, I didn't get the book, I didn't want to take the chance that it was going to charge me.

 

Pinky:smileyhappy:

Wordsmith
Pink_Maiden
Posts: 499
Registered: ‎10-08-2010
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Re: Free Books That are NOT Free... and Getting Refunds...

Just an FYI, Sony has it for free too if anyone is still looking for it and doesn't want to take a chance of getting charged.

 

Pinky

Distinguished Correspondent
rerose1975
Posts: 142
Registered: ‎12-30-2010
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Re: Free Books That are NOT Free... and Getting Refunds...

Quick update, I received my credit today!  BN didn't take the book back either, which was nice.  I thought I would have a hassle trying to get the book for free.  The phone call with CS was quick and painless.  All in all, I give the an A+ in how they handled my issue.

 

I hope everyone else has an easy go of it!

 

R

Distinguished Correspondent
blemons
Posts: 129
Registered: ‎10-11-2010
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Re: Free Books That are NOT Free... and Getting Refunds...

I got credit for both of my issues!  The one took 2 calls, but the last person I spoke with (In digital support) was extremely helpful and ultimately got the job done (although it took a little while on the phone).

 

Overall - great support and worth the call to get the 2 books credited back!

Contributor
liz_funk
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎07-20-2010
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Re: Free Books That are NOT Free... and Getting Refunds...

I'm wondering if anyone else has had this issue...

 

This morning I went to download Highest Stakes--I had clicked on it last night, so the product page was still open, and it still reflected a price of $0.00. I clicked on Buy Now. Rather than confirming the price, it took me straight to the "thank you" page, where I was told I had been charged $7.99! I looked on Doug's list, and yep, he had posted that it was no longer free 4 hours previously. I didn't want the book enough to justify paying $7.99 for it, so I called CS.

 

CS seems to not realize that other books than the Free Friday selections are available for free!! I described the situation to the person on the line. She said that it was "very unlikely" for a book that had been free to suddenly go up to $7.99 without warning, unless it was a Free Friday selection, which of course it was not. The implication being that it never should have been free and there's no reason why I should have thought that. She said that they are beginning an "investigation" into this situation, and that I need to call back in a WEEK to find out whether I can get my money back. So frustrating! Any advice?

Distinguished Wordsmith
sygram
Posts: 499
Registered: ‎05-28-2010
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Re: Free Books That are NOT Free... and Getting Refunds...

[ Edited ]

If you had the page open all night it probably had not refreshed.  I would recommend refreshing a page if you leave it open all night.  If you had done that in this instance you would have seen the price had changed from 0.00 to 7.99.

I hope you get a refund, it was an honest mistake, especially if the confirmation pop-up did not show a price.


Wordsmith
Pink_Maiden
Posts: 499
Registered: ‎10-08-2010
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Re: Free Books That are NOT Free... and Getting Refunds...

I would call back and speak to another person.  I would also ask them to do the $0.00 search and look at the free ebooks available.  Also, give them the link to Doug's list.

 

I really think if you spoke to another person it would help.  I would not wait a week to call back, I would call back right away.  If that person is unable to help you ask to speak to a supervisor.  I wouldn't stop until the matter is resolved.

 

Pinky

Distinguished Correspondent
blemons
Posts: 129
Registered: ‎10-11-2010
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Re: Free Books That are NOT Free... and Getting Refunds...

Liz -  I would call back right away.  Ask for digital support (not regular cs).  Although in either category, I'm sure it may vary by individual as to how helpful they are.

 

They should be able to handle it on the phone right then.

 

I have had issues where I go right to the thank-you page (when the main page does say $0) and it says I was charged.

 

I have had those issues reversed - and the person I spoke with was aware there are other free books.

 

It may take awhile, but they have been able to handle it there, and tell me my refund is coming (it does take a few days for that to hit your account - so be sure to follow-up and see that it does).

 

 

 

Correspondent
BooksOnTheKnob
Posts: 203
Registered: ‎09-03-2009
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Re: Free Books That are NOT Free... and Getting Refunds...

I would call back, get someone else. don't confuse the issue with other free books (or doug's list, which B&N doesn't control).

 

Just tell them you had the page open, it said $0.00, but you clicked and were charged. It's such a common occurence there (it must happen hundreds of times for evey one reported here, since few nook readers come here or at least post - easily determined by looking at nook sales vs. members of the boards), that you should be easily able to get a refund (although it will probably take a week to process to your card).

 

they do need to fix their code, so that the trigger to confirm a price looks at their pricing database, rather than using the price displayed on the displayed page (sloppy programming, sadly seen often these days).

Karen
Books on the Knob
http://blog.booksontheknob.org
Contributor
MikeF_NJ
Posts: 17
Registered: ‎02-11-2011
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Re: Free Books That are NOT Free... and Getting Refunds...

 

 


BooksOnTheKnob wrote:

 

they do need to fix their code, so that the trigger to confirm a price looks at their pricing database, rather than using the price displayed on the displayed page (sloppy programming, sadly seen often these days).


Not to be argumentative, but what you call sloppy programming is  actually a trade off of coding over the web.  What you propose would necessitate going back to the B&N servers and displaying an entirely new web page for each book purchase (instead of the current client-side pop up a box if the price is not $0.00).  A better solution might be sending up the on page price and if there is a difference between that and the pricing database, sending down a price change alert verification before making the sale/downloading the book. 

 

Correspondent
BooksOnTheKnob
Posts: 203
Registered: ‎09-03-2009
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Re: Free Books That are NOT Free... and Getting Refunds...

I'm very aware of the tradeoff.  But if they don't want to use a cart (and even there, the same tradeoff can occur), they should check the price when you click (as is done at those other stores) or else honor the price in the current page. One compromise they could make is to timestamp the page and verify the price (and warn the customer that it has changed) if the current time is more than a fixed number of seconds from when it was served.

 

In B&N's case, they seem to be serving pages from one database and charging books from another. They end up with sync errors, where one shows it as free, but the actual transaction occurs at the price in the "master" (but again, without warning the customer).

 

If they don't want to incur the cost of checking at each click, it's simple enough to pass the server the price from the page, then have the server side compare that to the price it is about to use. If they are different, it can flag an error and notify the user.

 

Sloppy programming (usually by kids who didn't bother with that formal degree in CS, so they don't flowchart or diagram all the possible scenarios that can occur or think it's that not important that there can be some timing related issues from using separate servers).

Karen
Books on the Knob
http://blog.booksontheknob.org
Inspired Contributor
ivondale
Posts: 53
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Free Books That are NOT Free... and Getting Refunds...

Today was my third call about a book that I got on Feb. 8th (even earlier than I thought).  I was on the phone with an actual person, not hold, for over an hour.  But FINALLY I now have the money back on my gift card. 

 

I appreciate someone actually taking the time to fix the issue instead of just "filling out the forms."  the problem was that I had subsequently depleted my gift card, so even though the first person submitted a refund, the gift card wasn't actually attached to my account anymore - it dropped off after I depleted it - kind of just money floating around in cyberspace and of course I no longer had the gift card.  So the person today was able to track down all of the old transactions, trace the refund, find the old gift card number and e-mail it to me so I could apply  it back in my account and thus use it.

 

It pays to keep calling back.