Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Other on-line booksellers are available...

My attempts to resolve sign-up issues with a certain on-line bookseller have so far proved futile. I suspect the following e-mail sent today will bring me no closer to the hallowed status of "Vendor";

Dear Sir/Madam/Robot,

I realise I'm howling in to the wind here and really don't expect a reply but it'll be good to get it off my chest.

You didn't reply to my last e-mail to your "Help" desk either and I certainly felt better after I sent that.

I've got a huge pile of books I'd like to sell. Probably well over a couple of thousand pounds worth. I'd like to sell them through you because (On the face of it) your system looks terribly easy and clever.

Sadly your registration requires a 'Credit Card'. It's a shame you will only deal with the sort of people happy to pay 19% APR for cash, as I am not one of them.

As a result of only being the sort of undesirable who has a bank account with money in it, and a Paypal account, and a host of other online payment security methods at my disposal, I find I can't use your service. This, despite the fact I've been buying and selling on-line with other sites for years.

Might I suggest instead of letting me go half-way through the registration process to a page I can't safely log out of and making me enter my full card details before you decide my card isn't good enough, you just put "You must be paying a punitive rate of interest to a faceless corporation before you can sell with us now bugger off." in big red letters across your homepage.

Oddly enough your competitors Ebay have no such batty rules so I'll go there instead.

As I say I don't really expect a reply as your customer service offer has the reputation of Hermann Goering's tailor (Who'd put a man that size in powder blue?) but I thought it was worth a try. The fact I had to go through 3 drop down lists of increasingly stupid and esoteric possible reasons for why I should have the temerity to want to actually contact you suggests to me you don't really want to hear what I have to say.

On attempting to find the "Contact us" e-mail form I was reminded of the quote from Douglas Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide" in that, metaphorically speaking of course, "It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of The Leopard".

No doubt you have an admirable record for the very small number of complaint e-mails you get. I suggest this may not be because your customers have very little cause for complaint, but rather because they have collectively dissolved into sobbing heaps in frustration whilst trying to negotiate the trap-ridden labyrinth that is your contact procedure. I would be surprised if adding "Utter rage" as a possible reason for emailing you didn't increase your 'customer service' mail traffic considerably.

Thanks for not listening, I look forward to never hearing from you.

Yours (or at least I would be if you'd let me join),

Wesley Mallin


  1. Not sure who you were trying, but I was an AbeBooks seller for a while and don't remember it being too difficult to set up... looking though, I see they would like a credit card for fees (but say "If you do not have a credit card, please skip this section".

  2. Heh... oh dear. How very annoying.
    By the way, I have a credit card (egg) which allows you to set up the card to be paid off automatically at the end of every month. As a result I've not paid them one penny in interest the whole time I had the card (I guess 12 years now, maybe more).
    In an emergency I once drew cash out with it (which is punitive interest) but it was that or starve in a foreign country so I took the hit.

  3. Recently wanted to sell *one book* on Abebooks or Amazon. Cost, utterly punitive unless you're a professional bookseller.