• Report: #144944

Complaint Review: Half Price Books

  • Submitted: Fri, June 03, 2005
  • Updated: Fri, December 31, 2010

  • Reported By:Fort Worth Texas
Half Price Books
5417 S. Hulen Street Fort Worth, Texas U.S.A.

Half Price Books Ripoff unfair pricing for books and software several times below fair market value Fort Worth Texas

*Consumer Comment: I'm Confused

*Consumer Suggestion: Shop Your Books at Several Stores

*Consumer Suggestion: Is Half-Price Books A Criminal Enterprise?

*General Comment: Don't sell them anything


*Consumer Comment: I have to agree with the OP

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Look at the whole picture.

*Consumer Comment: Rip Off or Ruthless, either way they are not what they advertise

*Consumer Suggestion: Costs

*UPDATE Employee: It's not cheap to run a business

*Consumer Comment: Join the Growing Army of Customers RIPPED OFF by Purchasing Practices at Half-Price Books!

*Consumer Comment: What Makes You Think?

*Consumer Comment: This is not a Rip-Off

*Consumer Comment: What price ?

*Consumer Suggestion: What exactly did you think they were doing with your items?

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I have been a patron of half-price books for several years. Many books and CD's that I have owned have been sold to you and put into your inventory so that I would be able to have a little bit of money when I was in a tight spot. Recently, I went to your store on Hulen in Fort Worth, Texas and sold some old computer games and almost my entire Dungeons and Dragons Collection. For this inventory, I was paid $27.75.

Today, I went back to this particular store to sell some more books and I was offered $9.00 for the books that I was selling. After I accepted the offer and was paid, I was browsing through the store for a bit. I happened to locate every single one of my computer games and Dungeons and Dragons material that I recently sold. I added up the prices on the tags and realized that the prices were $208.12.

My former Dungeons and Dragons collection and computer games have been marked up seven and a half times what I was paid!!! Right now I am very angry and have come to believe that your company is in the position of taking advantage of people who may be in a tight spot financially. Selling at twice the value paid or even four times is understandable, but seven and a half times the buying price is completely outrageous and nothing short of piracy versus the customer.

Half Price Books has lost a customer forever and I will make sure that everyone I know who does business with your company will go somewhere else. I have several friends and family members who have extensive collections of books and music that frequent your stores and they will go elsewhere once I have informed them of the racket that you are running. I hope that you sell my former belongings soon because I will make sure that it is the most expensive $208.12 your company ever earns.

Fort Worth, Texas

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/03/2005 09:49 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Half-Price-Books/Fort-Worth-Texas-76132/Half-Price-Books-Ripoff-unfair-pricing-for-books-and-software-several-times-below-fair-mar-144944. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment

I'm Confused

AUTHOR: amt469 - ()

If you think you get great buys when you shop there.... how do you think that happens? They aren't going to give you premium prices and still be able to sell so cheaply. Also, this is a consignment store you're talking about. What do you expect to get out of selling to them? Realistically, DVDs, CDs, and used books are just kind of on their way out of vogue. Everyone does everything on the internet now. So yeah, the prices they pay you are going to be low. It's still better than the $0 that you are going to get by donating them, throwing them in the garbage, etc. Seriously people. Grow up a little bit. 

Also, go ahead, don't shop there. That means more awesome deals for the rest of us. 

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#2 Consumer Suggestion

Shop Your Books at Several Stores

AUTHOR: Karl - (U.S.A.)

If you want the best price for your books at HPB don't take a large box to one store. Spread out your sales to several stores. Even if you do this you won't get much for your books. Most of what HPB sells are publisher's overstocks and if you take books in to sell they need to be in mint condition andeither recent or antiquarian and desirable.

As several people have said, the market for used books isn't that great. You can buy books on Amazon for 20 cents plus postage. I've sold on Ebay for a fraction of what some antiquarian books sellers are offering the same book for. I don't mess with sales anymore, especially to HPB. I just donate books to a thrift or the library and take a tax writeoff.

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#3 Consumer Suggestion

Is Half-Price Books A Criminal Enterprise?

AUTHOR: Helene - (U.S.A.)

I think this idea started in Dallas, Texas and the guy who started was a Zales Jewelry store high management retiree. The first store was located across the street from the Doctor Pepper bottling company in what I think was a converted laundry. I must have bought hundreds of dollars worth of books and magazines in there back in the 1980s.
They then moved to a building shaped like a ship that had housed a Captain's Cargo import store. The staff was knowledgable about literature, courteous and had everything organized where you could find it. Amazing place.

In Austin, Texas, like everything else here, nobody cares and they are out to make a fast buck at your expense. Half-Price Books is no exception.

I have so many horror stories I can tell of taking DVDs and books and magazines and even some lithographs -- all to be told that I had donated the lot and I was not going to be paid anything for them.

I see that their unsold inventory is piling up because no one will go in there and buy like they used to--maybe the customers are mad like me and boycotting their stupid store.

 How do I know it I don't shop here?

Because Goodwill s Store is right next door to theirs and I make sure those snotty scumbags in Half-Price Books see me with two boxes stuffed with merchandise they could have sold but it is going to be donated to Goodwill. Goodwill will at least give me a tax-deductable receipt for my donation whereas Half-Price tells you have donated your items and won't give them back. That's theft where I come from.

I am getting ready to take another box to Goodwill.
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#4 General Comment

Don't sell them anything

AUTHOR: Snotienose - (USA)

Don't sell Half Price Books anything, they give you a penny for it and resell it for half of what it sold for originally.  I laugh every time I go there and hear " Mr. Dodo your bid is ready" over the pa system.   What a joke!  or RipOff!   Wake up people!


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#5 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Joe - (U.S.A.)

Because of the bad economy I do NOT go anywhere anymore. I went to work and then I come home and I DO NOT HAVE THE MONEY TO SPEND AT HALF PRICE BOOKS.

They DO have COMPETITION IN AUSTIN,TEXAS AND IT IS FRUGAL MEDIA and they are just a few blocks down the street from the North Lamar location.

And in the next block and in the same shopping center as the Half Price Books WHO WANTS TO BE FOR YUPPIES ONLY -- at Koenig and North Lamar is BOOKPEOPLE!

So they will be surrounded by lots of bookstores who maybe will treat their people better...


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#6 Consumer Comment

I have to agree with the OP

AUTHOR: Debbie - (U.S.A.)

I, too, used to be a big fan of Half Price Books. That was, until *I* tried to sell some of my stuff and realized that...yes indeed...it is a pittance that they give you for your items.

Like the OP, I realize that they are going to mark it up a few times, they are a business - but to mark it up SEVEN and a half times? Insane.

ONE time I went into HPB with a box full of paperbacks. Now, these were current titles - Nicholas Sparks, Danielle Steele, Terry McMillan -- not some dusty fossils from the 70s. So I lug these in, maybe 40 books in there - and they offered me something like $15 for all of it. Huh? Of course, I did what most people do and TOOK the money because I didn't want to haul all these books back home.

I think that's what they count on. They want you to view HPB as really a "drop off" site for unwanted books, because they know you'd rather have whatever scraps they toss at you versus taking them back home with you to take up space.

Now, I knew what they would be selling these books for - HALF the cover price...so while they gave me around 37 cents for each book, they sold them for at least $4 each. Nice. Chalk it up to experience...never again.

Now I just donate books to thrift stores or Goodwill...and that makes me feel better about helping someone else rather than feeling ANGRY that I was ripped off.
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#7 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Look at the whole picture.

AUTHOR: Jefferson T. Airplane - (U.S.A.)

What you fail to understand is that Half Price Books buys literally thousands of books everyday at every location. The overwhelming majoirty of those books will end up being clearanced and then donated. You look at the shelves and you see $208. The reality is, if that store is lucky they'll sell half of the books they purchased from you. Realistically though, that won't happen.

The thing I think you have to keep in mind is, the prices at Half Price Books are unbeatable. While you might not be getting what you think your books are worth when you sell to the store, you also have to admit that you're getting an amazing deal on the book you're leaving with.

Seeing only one side of the story is irresponsible.
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#8 Consumer Comment

Rip Off or Ruthless, either way they are not what they advertise

AUTHOR: Crashtx1 - (U.S.A.)

So their commercials have Grand Pappy talking about the wonders of the store, to make it seem like a friendly neighborhood place. The stores are cramped, poorly stocked, and run by beatnik wanna bees. The reality is that it is a ruthless business, and I guess we should expect nothing more. They are fortunate at this time to have little to no competition or they would not survive. I am no dummy since I've dealt with them before. When I dared to ask about certain books I was shown the lowest price on the book on Amazon.com used books. So I have book I bought for new at $15, and they offer $1, then they sell for $10. I've learned to just donate my books since I'd rather go that route than help make Half Price any more money.
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#9 Consumer Suggestion


AUTHOR: Ashley - (U.S.A.)

Having been involved with the used book market some, this sounds fairly standard. Most used stores around here sell items for around 50% of the original retail value. If you are looking to trade your items in for new items, they will usually give you 25% of that value. If you want cash, look for that to be 25% of that value.

so 1/8 of what they are going to sell it for is pretty normal in the industry. They are not ripping you off, they informed you up front what they were willing to pay you for it. If you thought the price was unfair, you could have left and declined their offer.
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#10 UPDATE Employee

It's not cheap to run a business

AUTHOR: Phil - (U.S.A.)

If you take into account the cost of running stores the size of HPB's, wages, rent, utilities etc, the actual profit margin is probably around 5 to 10%.

If they manage to sell something for $200, and that's usually not the case since items are marked down and a large percentage end up in clearance or donated, the actual profit for HPB would be $20 at the higher end.

Since you got $27 you actual made more money than the store and THEY ended up doing all the work of buying, sorting, shelving and selling.

With so many avenues on the Internet to sell your items, you will ALWAYS make more money if you do the work and sell the items yourself.

Finally, you have to remember when you sell things to HPB, or any other store, the seller is in command. You either say yes or no. If you accept the offer then the items become the stores and they can do with them what they will. If you say no, then no harm done. You're in charge of the entire transaction.
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#11 Consumer Comment

Join the Growing Army of Customers RIPPED OFF by Purchasing Practices at Half-Price Books!

AUTHOR: Joe - (U.S.A.)

They got me twice but NEVER AGAIN!

I am amazed that they would be so stupid as to put the stuff they wanted to jack up the markup on in the same store so blatant and in your face. What were you supposed to be, some homeless dude or a hype who steals some items and comes there to fence them??? Like you won't see your own stuff and recognize it?

They used to have a little white bobtail truck they would load the things in ad take them to different stores so that people wouldn't be able to see the hug price discrepancy between the pittance offered and the huger price to be paid...
I guess the gasoline prices must be getting to them too. Or maybe it was diesel...

I didn't say anything in their store because they have surveillance cameras and I didn't want to get arrested when they lied to me, discriminated against me and then they RIPPED ME OFF in there!

I was a LOYAL customer every since they moved into that location...

It's like a bunch of trust fund kids who have no idea of what working people can afford to pay for things... and since someone else has apparently supplied them with a credit card, they have no idea of what anything is worth. Assuming they have been in touch with the real word and not lighting up a doobie or holed up in Rehab...

I am thinking when enough people ( FORMERLY LOYAL CUSTOMERS) have had ENOUGH,we will just NOT SHOP THERE and do dealings with someone who offers what WE consider a fair price.



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#12 Consumer Comment

What Makes You Think?

AUTHOR: Cory - (U.S.A.)

What makes you think someone is going to buy each and every one of your computer games and almost your entire D&D collection? They'll probably sell a couple and junk the rest. Exactly how many other copies of your computer games were there on the shelf along with yours?

Posts like this come up every now and then from some moron who doesn't have a clue on how business works. If you didn't like the price, WHY DID YOU SELL THE JUNK? Posts like this make me; 1) want to barf and 2) want to go to Half Price Books and look for some computer games and some almost entire D&D collections.
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#13 Consumer Comment

This is not a Rip-Off

AUTHOR: Jay - (U.S.A.)

I cant believe you would even write about this on Rip-Off report. This is a place to talk about scam artists and true rip off's. What you just described was a perfectly legal transaction much in the vain of a pawn shop. Get a grip dude.
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#14 Consumer Comment

What price ?

AUTHOR: D - (U.S.A.)

I am wondering, What price should they be selling your USED stuff for? And you should have TRIED to sell it on E-BAY if you wanted to TRY to get more money.
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#15 Consumer Suggestion

What exactly did you think they were doing with your items?

AUTHOR: Julie - (U.S.A.)

I am not sure what you expected to happen. This is the way this works. It is like a pawn shop. They give you $80 for your ring, they sell it for $600. They get YOU out of a bind by buying stuff off of you, what are you griping about?

This isn't a rip off, this is a company in business to make a profit. Once they buy it from you, they don't owe you an explanations regarding what THEY do with the items THEY now own.
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