Caveat Emptor

by Janie Jones

Looking to save some money I tried to order a Calculus text from eCampus. 

I don’t advise you ever trying this. 

It happened like so:

December 26:

Order placed, money debited from my checking account immediately

January 3:

An email is received from eCampus.com

“Thank you for shopping with eCampus.com.

We regret that the Marketplace item you purchased (Calculus)  is no longer available from the vendor you selected and has been cancelled.

However, we do have copies in stock and available for immediate shipment. If you would like to order, just click on the link below. We will add the correct item to your shopping cart and give you an in-store credit of $5.00 that you can apply to your new order.We appreciate your business and we hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to save money.  In stock supplies of this item are limited so please don’t delay.

Thank you,

ecampus.com Marketplace

January 3:

I post a response to the email

“I am very angry it took a week to figure out you didn’t have this book in stock anymore, and now I don’t have time to order a new one before class starts.  I also don’t have money to buy another one from you as you haven’t refunded my money yet.  I won’t do business with eCampus again.

–Janie Jones”

January 6:

An email is received from eCampus.com

“Dear eCampus.com customer,

Thanks for your recent purchase from eCampus.com!

Here is your survey to rate your experience with eCampus.com. We’d appreciate hearing about and sharing your experience, please take a moment to tell us about it by rating eCampus.com below. Your review will help millions of customers like you make informed decisions.

Your complete review of this store/service earns you an entry into our monthly giveaway to win a Apple iPad .

 

How was your overall experience with eCampus.com? Click a rating to continue….”

 

January 6:

I leave the following comment (note, no response was received to my first reply to the cancellation of my order).

“BUYERS: BEWARE! You might get nothing for your money. I ordered a textbook and that very same day they charged my debit card. A WHOLE WEEK LATER they finally told me they no longer had the book and my order was cancelled. It has been nearly two weeks and I STILL HAVEN’T RECEIVED MY MONEY BACK. I had to order a new book elsewhere, as I WON’T DO BUSINESS WITH THEM AGAIN, but as they still have my money I had to borrow money to buy a replacement book until my refund finally shows up. I think it is very WRONG they can take your money on the day you order but not refund it as quickly. Also, because it took so long to find out they didn’t have my book anymore, I had to pay priority shipping fees to get a new book on time for class to start. BUYER, BEWARE OF USING ECAMPUS! You might get nothing for your money paid.”

–Janie Jones

January 6:

Within a couple of hours I get the following email from eCampus.com

“Hello Janie Jones,

This is regarding the review that you wrote about eCampus.com at ResellerRatings.com.

We thought you would like to know that eCampus.com has written a public comment in reply to your review. Please visit the link below to view your review along with the merchant’s reply:

Thanks,

Exxx
The ResellerRatings Team”

January 6:

Naturally, I go see what their response is.

“Hi Janie Jones!

I apologize for the inconvenience. Your order is an eCampus Marketplace order. The Marketplace is where an individual sells his/her book on our site and chooses a listing price. eCampus allows Marketplace sellers up to 7 business days to confirm and ship your order. If the seller does not confirm the order within this time frame, the order will automatically be cancelled. This was the case in regards to your order. An email was sent to your email address on file notifying you of this. For security purposes charge for an order at the time an order is placed. This allows us to check the authenticity of the information to protect our customers. As a customer courtesy I have applied $15 of in store credit to your account for use on a future order. (What they don’t mention is that the only other copies which *claim* to be available are running about double the price or more, it is a used book brokerage, not an actual store so there are no set prices.  I am certainly not about to pay twice the price when I can rent the damn book for a fraction of the price.)

We appreciate your feedback!

Axxxxx
Customer Service Representative”

 

January 6:

Unimpressed and totally unappeased, I respond by email with the following message.
“Thank you for your message.  I have reviewed eCampus’s response, and found it inadequate; I already understood all this information. I feel it ignores the real issue of my dissatisfaction and what future customers need to know about doing business here.  What is not addressed in the eCampus reply and makes me most angry is that you can debit my account on the same day I order, but you apparently can’t refund on the same day you cancel.  Protecting your seller’s interests, as eCampus calls it, is fine, but what about the buyer’s interests?  It seems I’m the one needing your protection, and by my logic, the only way I get that is with an immediate refund.  I don’t even get a estimate of when I might get my money back.

I do not regret the comment I made, potential eCampus buyers need to know that if the merchandise they order is suddenly unavailable it could take an uncertain period of time to get their money back, not to mention it could take a whole week to find out they can’t get an advertised product.  I don’t have unlimited financial resources (or I wouldn’t by buying used books from the lowest bidder) or unlimited time before I need this book.  I would have left a less negative comment if eCampus had already given me my refund or at least left me some idea of getting one within a few days.  No refund in hand and no idea of when I might see one is unacceptable, especially when I had to find more funds I don’t have to secure a book for class before it starts.
I can’t help be angry I’m stuck waiting who knows how long for a refund and I see this as eCampus’s fault for not watching out better for the interests of buyers.  Your sellers won’t make any money if their buyers aren’t happy.  Holding on to buyer’s funds after a product is no longer available and failing to communicate a time frame for when that money might be returned is not just a bad business practice that pisses off your seller’s customers, it’s WRONG.  If you can take it out within minutes of a sale, you should give it back within minutes of a cancellation.  Other business I have dealt with can do this, so should you.  PERIOD.
Giving me a $15 credit to buy more merchandise doesn’t help as placing a second order from eCampus, even if I trusted this wouldn’t happen again, could never get the book I need here before my class starts.  Please just ensure I get a speedy refund, that is the only thing eCampus could do to mitigate my negativity toward your company.
–Janie Jones”
I don’t expect any real satisfaction or useful response. 
But I can tell you if I don’t get my money back soon, there will be no dropping this.
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