Can a Blog Post Resolve a Service Issue? A SuperBookDeals Experiment

When I was a kid, my mom used to listen to Jack Carney’s show on KMOX Radio in St. Louis. Carney was the biggest personality on the biggest radio station in town, and he did endorsement commercials for a camera shop. My mom went to that store and… I can’t remember the details anymore, but she felt she was treated poorly.

She called the radio station, managed to get Carney on the phone, and told her story. Within 30 minutes of that conversation, the store manager called my mom and offered to do whatever it took to make things right.

In the age of the internet, can a blog post accomplish the same thing? We’re going to give it a try. Here’s the story.

I ordered a book from — actually from one of their “Marketplace Partners”, an outfit called SuperBookDeals. Here’s the book I ordered:

When the envelope from SuperBookDeals arrived, here’s what was inside:

Can we agree that it’s not even close? And that anyone who reviews my Amazon order will confirm that I ordered the Ellington book?

Okay, good. Let’s continue.

I emailed SuperBookDeals and told them of the mistake — their mistake, by the way. I received an email asking for the ISBN number of the book I received. I sent them the proper number. Here’s what I got in reply:

Thank you for contacting us. We are sorry to hear that you received the wrong item. Please return the item(s) to us via USPS Media Mail with delivery confirmation, along with your full name, order number, reason for return, and a copy of the receipt for return postage, and we will reimburse the cost of return shipping. Please send the item(s) to:

SuperBookDeals Returns

Ref: [transaction or order number]

5520 Brick Road

South Bend, IN 46628

Upon receipt, we would be pleased to process a refund or order a replacement from the publisher, which would take approximately 1-2 weeks to be delivered to you. Please let us know whether you would prefer a refund or a replacement copy (if available). We apologize for any inconveniences this may have caused, and we appreciate your patience in this matter.

In other words, to correct their mistake, I have to write out a letter with a bunch of information they already have, take the book to the post office, shell out the postage myself, include the receipt with the book (God forbid I try to make an extra fifty cents in the deal), and wait for them to receive it via (extremely slow) Media Mail. Then, and only then, they will send me the book they should have sent me the first time.

I objected — both to them and to Amazon. I’m willing to return the book, but while they’re waiting for the wrong book to come back they should be sending me the right book. Eventually, I received another email from SuperBookDeals:

Thank you for contacting us. We do apologize for the confusion and that you received the wrong item, as we did indicate in our email below, to please return the wrong item via USPS Media Mail with Delivery Confirmaton and we will be happy to reimburse you for that cost. Once you have done that please email us with the delivery confirmation number and we will be happy place a new order to send you the correct item. At that time if you could also email us with us the cost of the return shipping we can start the process to send you a refund check for that amount. Again, we do sincerely apologize incorrect item sent.

Okay, better. Not great, but better. I dutifully wrote the letter, brought the package to the post office, put the receipt in the envelope, mailed the thing, and then sent the delivery confirmation number to SuperBook Deals.

And got this reply:

Thank you for your response. At of yet we have not received your return merchandise. The delivery confirmation number you provide is invalid. Please provide us with the correct delivery confirmation number. Once we have that number or the book we will immediately ship out the correct book. If you have any further questions please contact us. Thank you!

No, no, thank you, SuperBookDeals, for screwing up my order and treating me like I’m trying to pull a scam.

I now have to go back to my office, find the delivery confirmation slip, and see if perhaps I missed a number on the 20-digit delivery confirmation slip. Is it possible I got the number wrong? Sure it is. And by golly, SuperBookDeals isn’t going to fix their mistake until I jump correctly through every single hoop they’ve set up. Rules are rules, after all.

So here’s the experiment:

Now that this rant is up in the blogosphere (and a separate, shorter rant is on Amazon’s Customer Feedback), will it affect SuperBookDeals in any way?

Will a Google search of SuperBookDeals put the post on the front page?

Will SuperBookDeals find the post on their own? Will Amazon? Will either of them care?

I’ll report back.

UPDATE 5/19/08 This morning, I photocopied the delivery confirmation slip, created a pdf, and attached it to an email to SuperBookDeals — my hope was that this way they would have proof that I’d sent the book, and there would be no question as to the confirmation number. Late in the day, I received this message in reply: We are not allowed to open attachments please include the information in the email. Thank you. I have complained bitterly to Amazon.

UPDATE 5/21/09 Amazon took care of business. Details here.


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15 thoughts on “Can a Blog Post Resolve a Service Issue? A SuperBookDeals Experiment

  1. I have made the same mistake ordering from superbookdeals and going thru the same sufferings and frustration.

    These people should not be in any business.

    I have no hope getting my book these incompetent idiots.

  2. Beware of Super Book Deals. Although they may advertise a low price, after taking your order they will refuse to honor it by making up some story about why then cannot accept your credit card, at least until the price goes up!

  3. I am looking for a phone number for their customer service department. I too ordered a book, and subsequently returned said book well within the 30 day limit. Better than two weeks later I still have not seen the refund pop up on my credit card. Nor have I received a response from their so called customer service department?? I would call and keep calling but I can’t find a number anywhere!! This is getting frustrating. Granted we are only talking about 20 bucks for the book but it is now the principal of the whole deal.. I did what they wanted, returned it with all the crap they said to return it with and still nothing… If anyone has a phone number great.. let me know.

  4. Hi Phil,

    I was just about to buy a book from these guys. I thought to myself “No, before I buy anything, ill check out what others think of them”. Needless to say, you have convinced me to purchase somewhere else.

    Thanks for the heads up!


  5. Here it is, September, 2011, and SuperBookDeals is still doing business on

    I am still waiting to see what action I have to take to get my money back from SuperBookDeals, but I am confident that the truth is with me and I will eventually get satisfaction, one way or the other.

    I will be sure to leave a complaint for SuperBookDeals at the BBB in South Bend, Indiana when this ordeal is complete.

    What follows is my experience doing business with SuperBookDeals.

    My son needed a text book and said they did not have the book in stock and said they might not get it for a week and a half or maybe two weeks.

    I needed the text book as soon as possible and SuperBookDeals said they had the book in stock, so I ordered it. I made note that there were some delivery problems as mentioned in the feedback, but thought that might be a postal service problem, so went ahead with the purchase. I figured the book was coming from Indiana, so how long could it take to get here, right? Wrong.

    August 29, 2011, I placed my order.

    September 1, 2011, SuperBookDeals sent e-mail saying the book had shipped, but no tracking information.

    September 8, 2011, SuperBookDeals sent an update e-mail saying the book had shipped via USPS. This time they sent tracking information but it never worked at the USPS web site.

    September 17, 2011, the book arrived.

    I studied the shipping label. The tracking information they sent me was their transaction number, not the USPS tracking number. I put the VALID tracking number in at the USPS site and found out the book did not ship until…

    September 12, 2011, the book actually shipped.

    Sellers at agree to send shipments out within 2 business days. I ordered August 29th and the order shipped September 12th.

    I think SuperBookDeals uses this tactic on a fairly regular basis, after reading customer feedback more thoroughly. I think they purposefully put wrong tracking information in their e-mail to me because they didn’t want me to know how late this shipment really was and they figured I’d be too stupid to look at their label when the book arrived. Not only that, if they can delay sending the orders out closer to when their 30 day guarantee expires, people will not be able to send the return back in time for a refund.

    Victims of SuperBookDeals say their customer service requests go unanswered or if they do receive a response, it is a canned response having nothing to do with the question. I can verify that I had the same experience.

    Victims of SuperBookDeals at say this company sends tracking information to them that never works. Been there, done that…

    Customers also say they return items to be told by SuperBookDeals that the items were never received by SuperBookDeals, so I purchased tracking information when sending my return.

    September 25, 2011, SuperBookDeals sent me an e-mail saying they never received the return.

    I told them, yes they did receive it, because I have tracking information to prove it was delivered at 10:21 am on September 21, 20ll and if they don’t refund my money, I will take it up with

    This is still playing out, so while I feel that I will eventually get a refund, I’m not sure how much more aggravation I will have to endure before this saga comes to an end.

    I order from sellers on on a regular basis and this is the first one I have had any kind of problem with. While most sellers are honest, SuperBookDeals gives sellers on a bad name.

  6. My experience is identical to Cathy’s (above). They claim to have mailed the book the day after I ordered and gave me a fake USPS tracking number. They didn’t actually mail it until 2 weeks later and I received it 3 weeks from my order date. I suspect they claim to have mailed books immediatley to prevent cancellations. They don’t respond to emails and Barnes and Noble were useless in helping me with this reseller.

  7. Update on my SuperBookDeals saga…

    Although SuperBookDeals said they had initiated a refund, it was not forthcoming.

    I contacted and after reading my complaint, filed an A to Z guarantee claim in my behalf AND also credited my account for the postage expense I had incurred to return the item.

    I have been 100% refunded.

    I also complained to the Better Business Bureau in South Bend Indiana about SuperBookDeals.

  8. My thanks to everyone here for their comments. I ordered a book from this outfit on October 19. The next day I received an e-mail from indicating that it had been shipped. It is now October 29. As I live less than 100 miles from South Bend, the book should have arrived by now. I wonder how much money SuperBookDeals saves by delaying shipment. Do they benefit from a “bulk rate”?

  9. FWIW: Almost immediately after posting my comment, the book showed up at my door, well-packaged and in perfect condition. At the same time, I received a “Shipping Update” from The book was shipped, not on October 20, but on October 25. This might amount to “All’s-well-that-ends-well”, but I will think twice before ordering from SuperBookDeals. Thanks again to everyone for sharing their experiences.

  10. JLV copies part of his correspondence to SuperBookDeals
    “I still can’t work out why you asked me for the name of the book when you had already stated its name in your email to me.” ” I will return the book today and wait with bated breath for a partial refund. You have given customer service a whole new meaning.”