Report: #1404295

Complaint Review: Half Price Books

  • Submitted: Wed, October 04, 2017
  • Updated: Wed, October 04, 2017
  • Reported By: consumerfraud — Mason City Iowa USA
  • Half Price Books
    10201 University Ave
    Des Moines, Iowa
    USA

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

Visited Des Moines, IA, store on 10/3/17 for the purpose of testing this chain store. I have seen multiple bad reviews of this chain and wanted to test them myself to see if the bad reviews were are true. Unfortunately, the bad reviews are true, if not a major understatement.

 

I have been involved in online selling of books, antiques, collectibles, and other goods for 17 years and similar offline sales since the late 1970s when I was buying and selling items as a kid. I have sold on eBay, Amazon, my own web site, and other other 3rd party web sites. Frankly at this point time I can practically sell online in my sleep due to the many years of past experience I have. I've written software for inventory management and photo product photo manipulation for internal businesses use. [continued below]....

..... I also have years of experience in shipping and warehousing items for 3rd party companies ranging from fork lift driving and inventory counts to packing orders and shipping orders.

 

I took approximately 875 pounds of items to the store carefully sorted into numbered boxes which were cross referenced to a description sheet. These items included 343 pounds of recent magazines which are sent to a couple of businesses I own for free by various publishers for research I conduct for a 3rd party company. A wide variety of subjects were covered such as fashion, celebrity, home improvement, music, and so on. Some of the magazines are specialized subscription only publications on subjects such as cigars, wine, sport fishing and so on and are not sold in retail outlets. Many of these magazine have covers with celebrities and recent political activities and commanding prices on eBay for $6.00 to $20.00 each even though they are newer issues. The magazines were in like-new condition, with no external or internal wear - any slightly damaged issues had already been donated to charity at my end.

 

Also included were 66 pounds of DVDs, VHS tapes, CDs, cassettes and a couple of computer games, 75% of which were factory sealed and unopened, with some items dating back to the 1980s such as a sealed IMB DOS PC game and some sealed cassettes dating from the 1970s.

 

I also included several dozen small ephemera items such as postcards, booklets, valentines, and so forth dating from the 1930s onward. These were in plastic protective sleeves and labeled on the front as to content. I frankly doubt if any of the 20-somethings working in the store would even have a clue what the items were if they were not labeled let alone what their worth was.

 

I also included several dozen hand made laminated bookmarks made from old paperwork.

The approximately 466 pounds of books included materials from the 1930s onward. One box of books were what I considered "seconds" - in good condition, but missing their jackets or with minor cover rubs thus they would sell as reading copies. As these books were from my own inventory many included small purple of white lined paper bookmarks with hand written notes denoting the year, edition, any condition issues such as creases and highlights such as the volume being signed by the author. The books included 1st editions, and even a couple of privately printed books with only a few hundred copies in existence. The value of these privately printed books can't be looked up online as almost no copies exist which makes one wonder exactly how the store is determining their value. To make the test more interesting I included three obviously sought after leather bound factory sealed books from Easton Press (To Kill a Mocking Bird, Fathers & Sons, and Great Expectations) that have a current combined selling retail price of $160.00 on eBay with the Mockingbird edition being sold $109.00 alone. The store's own "collectible" section contained a used copy of Fathers & Sons for $10.00 plus other Easton Press editions thus the store can't claim ignorance.

The boxes, some of which weighed 69 pounds, had stickers on five sides which denoted their contents and crumpled newspaper had been added to prevent any movement of the contents to thus prevent damage during the movement of the boxes. The store lacks a loading dock and is located at the edge of a mall so that means parking your vehicle in the mall parking lot and loading books onto two wheel carts, moving across the parking lot, across traffic on the main access road that runs along the front of the mall, up a long ramp into a front entrance of the store, through glass swinging doors that you have to hold open while moving the two wheel cart inside, and then to the back of the store. I had brung along a folding two wheel cart in my vehicle to help out on the unloading. The store sent out one helper on the first trip, then two employees with carts. With three carts it took three trips. I was told it would take 20 minutes, which I knew could not be true because of the volume of items.

It took way longer than 20 minutes during which time numerous other customers were bringing in various quantities of books and being paid thus the store does not serve you in the order you arrived. During the long period of waiting I milled around the store and occasionally glanced over at the buying counter in the back of the store where they were still working on my books. I really didn't get a good impression of the store staff starting with first box that was opened. The employee immediately grabbed a large paper bound volume and and held it by the spine, page facing upward, in one hand while quickly fanning through the book. Not exactly how to treat a large size softcover book as that handling puts stress on the spine and can easily cause damage, but the employee was only interested in going from one book to another as quickly as possible. When they pulled the 1980s sealed PC DOS game out of the box one employee attracted the attention of another employee and said "sweet" to denote a great find. After well more than an hour I finally received a call over the intercom that my "offer" was ready. Upon reaching the buy counter I found that only a portion of my items were still visible on the counter - most appear to have disappeared to a back room to make room for other buyer's items. All my boxes had been cut open and were laying on the floor in front of the buy counter. My offer was $133.00, which I decided to take solely to document and complete this test and review.

Do not take your items to this book store chain. They are far worse than any reviews could construe. The prices they pay for items should be denoted by terms such as flimflam, cheat, scam artist, con artist, and so forth. Their prices are a tiny fraction of even wholesale pricing. If you itemize your taxes you are far better off donating the books for charity and taking a tax deduction. I suggest taking group pictures of your donated items and using printed price guides available online for your deductions so you have documentation for the IRS. Make of the charities and dates you drop items off. You are far better off selling your books online yourself or enlisting someone, such a consignor, to do it for you for a commission. Other alternatives would be a local book store or a auctioneer located in a larger city that specializes in partial or whole estates. Make sure the auctioneer has their own web site to showcase the items in addition to advertising within auctions. Many sellers on eBay actually buy their items at estate auctions thus you may at least get some competitive bidding for you items as opposed to being ripped off by this store chain. Some auctioneers will also offer online bidding or may alternatively consign items for you on eBay and/or Amazon.

Remember to consider how much time its going to take to box up the books, take them to the store, and then waiting, waiting, waiting - it might be cheaper for you to actually throw the books in the garage when considering their prices. Do not be fooled by the slick videos they place on the site to try to entice you into bringing books into their store under the guise of perhaps making some good money. Their job is to con you out of the most money as possible. For example, If you bring a group of dozen hardbound books and one of those happens to be a Stephen King volume worth $2,000 count on them offering a few dollars for the lot. Don't count on them pointing out any valuable items in your lot and thus offering fair price.

Don't bring in large quantities of books as their entire process of unboxing everything and then making an offer on everything is designed to put pressure on you. If you reject their offer then you will be faced with carefully boxing everything back up. I strongly suggest taking some rolls of 3" tape and tape gun with to box your items back up. If you must take books to this store chain take only a small number of books. Research your books on completed sales on eBay and print these off for any valuable books in order to counter their offers. Use completed sales and not just what people are asking to establish at least a minimum value. Keep in mind many things sell at lowered prices on eBay these days as compared to alternative sites. Alternative value guides include Amazon and such multi-dealer sites as AddAll and AbeBooks. This chain store best elicits memories of a phrase "There's a sucker born every minute", which is closely associated with P.T. Barnum. Don't be sucker and be forewarned.

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/04/2017 09:04 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/half-price-books/des-moines-iowa-50325/half-price-books-dont-be-a-sucker-des-moines-iowa-1404295. 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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4Consumer
0Employee/Owner

#1 Consumer Comment

The Difference...

AUTHOR: Robert - (USA)

I looked at the link you provided and do you know what the difference between their posts and yours?

Unlike your posts, their reviews were succinct and to the point. What they did in a few dozen words..has taken you several hundred...and you still were NOT as focused as they were.

There were a couple of reviews that stood out...

One stated they brought in 80 books(notice an actual number not some weight). They told us they were offered $2, and they received $30.50 at a different store. Unlike you tap dancing around this simple question of value they gave us a direct statement. Also contrary to your contention they did not just take the offer, they left and got a better one. Oh and they only needed to take about 80 books to show the same thing you were trying to prove with almost half a ton of items.

Then we had one who claimed they had 395 volumes of manga retail valued at $10-$13 each, they were hoping for $1 per book. So before they even stepped foot in the door they were willing to accept a loss of around $3600 over retail. They were offered $150 and took it but stated they regret doing that. Why would they regret it? They were willing to take a loss of $3600, yet this extra approximately $250 really caused them regret? Perhaps because they can blame that $250 on someone other than themselves, where the $3600 was totally on them.

But since you obviously haven't figured it out yet, let me tell you where you have failed. You use all of this "fancy" talk about how investigations work. But I am sure even you would agree that one primary point in an investigation such as this is to show a pattern.

You say.."but..but..but..I have all of these other reports". Great but we are talking about YOU the "expert", not some generic consumer who you claim to be trying to protect, after all based on your posts they are clueless uninformed people who don't know a single thing about books...right? But their "reviews" would just be considered hearsay anyways and not allowed.

Had you split up your "sting" into 3 or 4 trips at a few different stores, or even the same store getting different employees you could have perhaps shown a pattern. To complete your investigation you should have done what others did and spent the time to box up the books, and take your entire collection to another store for a valid comparison. As all we have right now is your claim that one clerk at one store at one time offered you less than you "think" you should have gotten.  What if you did this and the next store only offered you an extra $50?  Are they both wrong?  What if the other store actually offered  you less?  You can't say what another store would have offered because you no longer have the exact same items at the exact same time you did this transaction.  

You can't use the "Well I needed to accept the offer" as if you really do know anything about investigations would know that an offer(especially since you have it on video/audio) is proof enough of intention. You can't use the "well it would have taken too much time", because you are leaving the impression this is your primary mission in life so a few extra minutes to do this and get solid proof should have been well worth it.

That is where you failed, that is where it has been shown you have some ulterior motive, that is where even if you make it to "Ignorance is bliss 85.0" it won't change this.

By the way still waiting on the link to your more detailed report.

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#2 Author of original report

Ignorance is Bliss 3.0

AUTHOR: - ()

Your deception knows no bounds. For the sake of consumers lets look at that 4 star rating on Google of this location:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Half+Price+Books/@41.601551,-93.7599027,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m7!3m6!1s0x0:0xa1d1cb51833c89ed!8m2!3d41.601551!4d-93.757714!9m1!1b1

These reviews have been saved as a pdf for the convenience of consumers here:

http://docdro.id/HTKSYWW



Of of those 87 only seven mention actually mention trying to sell books whereas the remaining reviews don't mention anything about selling books, but often describe buying. Of those seven we have four one star reviews; one two star, and two three star reviews for an average known seller rating of 1.7 out of 5. Including buyer reviews to skew the data is deception 101.

Of course searching Google we can find thousands of other reviews, including the target audience we actually talking about - people who attempt to sell books or have sold books.

The following site contains 53 reviews which include more seller ratings. The chain is rated 1 star on this site. Taking out the buyer reviews here would drop the rating.

http://www.resellerratings.com/store/Half_Price_Books

"You are basically stating that people are getting "low balled" and because of their ignorance and they don't even know it. But if they are so ignorant that they don't even know it, why are they complaining about getting low balled?"

Gee, do you think consumers are not intelligence enough to know there are various subgroups of sellers. - i.e., those that have no idea what their items are worth, are ripped off, and never write a review; those that know the value of their items and do not sell and then write a review; and so on. You certainly do not have a very high opinion of consumers - are you a politician?

"If they knew they were getting low balled why would they accept the offer?" Who says they do. Most reviews of those than know the value of their items say they didn't complete the deal. "Because they are too lazy to pack up the books and take them back?  Wow...you sure have a low opinion of people."

"Lazy" has little do do with those bringing in large quantities of books. Its called time. Time is money. The practice of unpacking all the customers books at one time is designed to put added sales pressure on the customer as now the customer is faced with spending more time in the store packaging up their books. The haphazard way store employees unpack items, throwing packaging and boxes in piles, means items are unlikely to be packed into the same boxes and adds to the customer's frustration which the store can conveniently make "go-away" by accepting the offer. Surely you don't think the store sends out employees to do their own thing as opposed to following a careful plan.

The two closest schemes to this store chain practices are:

1. Appraisers who undervalue books and then offer to buy based on those deceptive pricing.

2. Groups of antique dealers who visit varies towns and set up a antique fair which emulates the Antique Roadshow and then proceed to undervalue items in the same manner.

This chain operates its this same scam, but on on a massive scale.

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#3 Consumer Comment

Hey Fred Astaire (or Ginger Rogers) as the case may be...

AUTHOR: Robert - (USA)

You must be tired from all of that Tap Dancing you are doing around answering any question directly.  However, I am not going to follow the verbal gymnastics you are going through to try and twist things into anything close to what you think is justification.  I am just asking for very specific answers and getting diversions and attempted redirection in return.

What ever the real reason is that you are posting, nothing you have shown indicates any fraud.  There is no law that says a company is under any obligation to offer one person what someone else THINKS is fair. It is up to the consumer to decide if they think it is a fair price or not.  This applies to buying as well as selling.

You were asked a very simple question. What is the retail value you put ALL of the items you "sold" to them, not one or two items. Then what would have been a fair price for them to offer it to you. I'm not asking you to justify your value of any item as you are the "expert" so we will accept the value you state they are.

If you STILL refuse to give us a value for all of the items then you CANNOT state that they did not offer a fair price and have your comment believed, because you have failed to give us a comparison. Is it really that hard for you to comprehend?

I guess all the thousands of consumers who have been filing complaints against Half Price Books are just wrong according to you.

- Thousands? Can you please provide us with the source of these thousands of complaints you mention.  As I found 26 reports on this site. I have no idea if those complaints were right or wrong, but we are not talking about their complaints, I am talking about your comments.   I went one step further. I actually looked up this specific location in some of the most popular review sites...they had average ratings in the 4-5 star range(out of 5 since I am sure you would try to state otherwise). But I guess you are now going to tell us that those are all of the ignorant consumers you were talking about and trying to protect.

You are basically stating that people are getting "low balled" and because of their ignorance and they don't even know it. But if they are so ignorant that they don't even know it, why are they complaining about getting low balled? If they knew they were getting low balled why would they accept the offer? Because they are too lazy to pack up the books and take them back?  Wow...you sure have a low opinion of people. 

Well anyways good luck, perhaps in some point and time your true motive will become apparent. Until then I will state it again...when you do release your more detailed report please post the link.

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#4 Author of original report

Ignorance is Bliss 2.0

AUTHOR: - ()

"You have a MORE detailed report...you have to be joking. Well if you are not please when you publish it I hope you post the link here, I am always interested in reading consumer. reviews that rival War and Peace in length.

however, for the purpose of this ripoff report simply using weights would suffice as most consumers wouldn't have a clue about the value of the items in any case."


"Your right why throw out things such as dollar amounts or an actual number of items. Consumers don't waste their time with those numbers they always describe how many books and magazines they have by the weight."

 

LOL, do you even read what you wrote before posting it? First you complain about me not providing dollar amounts or an actual number of items. You then say consumers don't waste time with those numbers. You then say consumers always describe how many books they have by weight. Perhaps its time you go back to elementary school to learn "The three Rs". That going to make readers of this post really confused as to what you want. Of course most will figure out you are at the very least nothing more than a troll unworthy of any further responses.

 

Actually, I have thrown out actual dollar amounts for some sample items. The three Easton Press books mentioned have a established lowball value of $160.00 on eBay, but sell for more on Amazon and other sites. On he other hand common mass market books typically sell for less on Amazon than at Half Price Books.

 

What does the total number of items have to do with value? Its what you got that is most important. Most consumers are taking in mass market books with often low resale value and thus describe what they are taking in by numbers. Other consumers are attempting to sell items that may have added value such as comic books, signed books, rare books and thus use dollar amounts based upon their experience within a hobby such as comic collecting or from research. These consumers generally use dollar amounts over straight numbers. I have both.

 

"Wait...that is one of the main points of your "complaint" that they wouldn't tell you that you had a valuable item.. But now you don't expect them to?"

 

Yeah, its called making an offer of an adequate dollar amount. This company posts slick marketing materials on their site to encourage consumers to bring in their books under the guise so that the consumers can receive the best offers for their potentially rare materials. This is a large scale program to defraud consumers. The easiest comparison are antique appraisers who under value items and then offer to buy those items for their appraisal values. Another comparison are those antique appraisal fairs which visit various towns and set up various booths in an effort to emulate the appearance Antique Roadshow; however, they are pulling the same scam - they under value items and buy for a fraction of their true value. Half Price books is far worse and on a massive scale.

 

"And with your video and audio evidence you still were required you to actually SELL your items to them?  Getting an offer somehow wasn't enough proof?"

 

You might want to do some further research into the matter and how such investigations are conducted. Perhaps consult law enforcement or some reporters, all of whom engage in completed transactions.

 

"Did I ever use the word "printed"..NOPE..don't think so...nice try though. There can be many types of "catalogs" including electronic ones."

 

Its clearly you know nothing about the subject matter at all, otherwise you'd not used such an archaic term as "catalog" in the first place. I haven't used one of those since 1982 and even then it a Scott stamp catalog used for printing technical data and not for pricing.

 

"Stranger I do not remember saying you expected retail either. Perhaps YOU should re-read that..I stated 'If you expected anything near "retail".'. But how about telling us what your collection was worth, and what you would expect to be "fair". After all you can't call something a ripoff or that you are not getting the correct value if you don't have a value in mind. Oh and don't worry about us poor uneducated consumers if you think we won't grasp the value I think we can take that chance."

 

Like it or not its a fact. If you are not a dealer in books you are unlikely to recognize the potential value of books. This comes with experience gained over years. Its the same for anything else - stamps, coins, antique cars, and so on. Without such experience you'll need to be provided with supporting data and ripoff report lacks sufficient resources for providing much of that. "Uneducated consumers" is exactly who Half Price is preying on - people lacking knowledge in a given area. Lacking knowledge does not make someone stupid as you would suggest - it means you lack education in the matter.

 

"Perhaps you had a business that was forced to close when they came in."

According to the April 20, 2010 issue of the Des Moines Register (via my newspaper.com account) they appear to have opened a store in Des Moines in 1989 and moved in 2010. I see you enjoy pulling so called facts out of your behind. This shows just how uneducated in the matter of online and offline sales you are - or are you just lying?


"Perhaps you were fired from the store."

That does not jive with your previous post in which you questioned the mental capacities of Half Price Book's "minimum wage or close to minimum wage employees". Surely such a minimum wage employee would never have the mental capacity to complete such a operation. Talk about arrogance - you actually judge the worth of people on the wages they are paid. So under your scenario I got fired from the Des Moines store, but go back into the store so sell books - yet they would recognize in the store would they not? Not a very good plan for a undercover report. Also a moot point - they are either engaging in fraud or not.


"Perhaps you are associated with some attorney looking to start a Class Action Lawsuit."

Lawyers do not "start" consumer lawsuits. Its injured consumers who hire a lawyer. You are against consumers righting financal and criminal wrongs?


"Perhaps you are interviewing for a Consumer Advocate job and are trying to show them what you can do."

Sorry, its been over 30 years since I last wrote for a college newspaper. Hardly how the industry works - talk about pulling things out of this air.


"But what ever the reason, I would just about guarantee that you will not tell us the "real" reason, even if I did hit it. After all you want us to believe that you are willing to sacrifice almost half a ton of inventory for not even a couple hundred dollars, just because you are a nice guy and trying to provide some education."

I guess all the thousands of consumers who have been filing complaints against Half Price Books are just wrong according to you. The world is wrong and you are right - thats a serious psychosis sitting on your shoulders. I suggest getting help.

"Oh and since I am sure the next thing you will ask is my motive. Well I am not associated with this store in any way, I don't even think there is one within a couple hundred miles of where I live. But this is a PUBLIC web site and as such the PUBLIC can respond...just like you were able to post. What drew me to your post is your outright arrogance and as I stated in my first line your "PITA" attitude..oh and I didn't have to turn in over 800 lbs of books to make my point."

Arrogance = "an insulting way of thinking or behaving that comes from believing that you are better, smarter, or more important than other people".

 

Liar = "a person who tells lies".

 

The only arrogance I see if from you. You repeatedly make statements of opinion as opposed to statements of facts or based on past expertise and/or easily verified by outside data, which you are doing intentionally (a liar) or unintentionally due to the lack of education (arrogance). Or perhaps its a combination of both - i.e., and "arrogant liar".

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#5 Consumer Comment

And brevity is the soul of wit

AUTHOR: Robert - (USA)

A more detailed report with various pictures is to be published elsewhere as part of consumer education.
- You have a MORE detailed report...you have to be joking. Well if you are not please when you publish it I hope you post the link here, I am always interested in reading consumer. reviews that rival War and Peace in length.

however, for the purpose of this ripoff report simply using weights would suffice as most consumers wouldn't have a clue about the value of the items in any case.
- Your right why throw out things such as dollar amounts or an actual number of items. Consumers don't waste their time with those numbers they always describe how many books and magazines they have by the weight.

I didn't need them to point out any books of value as I already know what they would fetch at the various avenues I currently use to sell such books and various other goods
- Wait...that is one of the main points of your "complaint" that they wouldn't tell you that you had a valuable item.. But now you don't expect them to?

This test is part of an effort to educate consumers on businesses that rip them off.
- And with your video and audio evidence you still were required you to actually SELL your items to them?  Getting an offer somehow wasn't enough proof?

Price catalog? What are you talking about? You really think they are looking up the prices of items in printed catalogs.
- Did I ever use the word "printed"..NOPE..don't think so...nice try though. There can be many types of "catalogs" including electronic ones.

Strange, I do not remember saying I expected retail. I expected a reasonable fraction of retail pricing
- Stranger I do not remember saying you expected retail either. Perhaps YOU should re-read that..I stated 'If you expected anything near "retail".'. But how about telling us what your collection was worth, and what you would expect to be "fair". After all you can't call something a ripoff or that you are not getting the correct value if you don't have a value in mind. Oh and don't worry about us poor uneducated consumers if you think we won't grasp the value I think we can take that chance.

I actually could have gone on, but you have so many contradictions and outright arrogance on your part it would be useless as anyone reading this post can see just how much of a total... you are making of yourself without me having to point it out any further.

The real mystery here is what is your motive for posting this?

Perhaps you had a business that was forced to close when they came in.
Perhaps you were fired from the store.
Perhaps you are associated with some attorney looking to start a Class Action Lawsuit
Perhaps you are interviewing for a Consumer Advocate job and are trying to show them what you can do.
Perhaps it is some other reason.

But what ever the reason, I would just about guarantee that you will not tell us the "real" reason, even if I did hit it. After all you want us to believe that you are willing to sacrifice almost half a ton of inventory for not even a couple hundred dollars, just because you are a nice guy and trying to provide some education.

Oh and since I am sure the next thing you will ask is my motive. Well I am not associated with this store in any way, I don't even think there is one within a couple hundred miles of where I live. But this is a PUBLIC web site and as such the PUBLIC can respond...just like you were able to post. What drew me to your post is your outright arrogance and as I stated in my first line your "PITA" attitude..oh and I didn't have to turn in over 800 lbs of books to make my point.

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#6 Author of original report

Ignorance is Bliss

AUTHOR: - ()

"It is appreciated the level of detail you put in to post this "RipOff". While I am sure you think you are so smart and suave, the only thing you have really proven is how much of an **s you can make of yourself."

Actually no, I don't think anyone is "smart" - they just have or do not currently have a given knowledge. Consumers definitely have a need to be educated about the business practices of this store chain. A more detailed report with various pictures is to be published elsewhere as part of consumer education. I haven't decided yet to publish actual footage taken of the incident obtained via a hidden camera a mike yet . Apparently a lot of people involved in scamming consumers are so arrogant in their mindset that they figure they could be never be exposed for what they are. You are familiar with reporters and law enforcement going under cover and engaging in transactions for the purpose exposing fraud are you not?

"You did not have just a few books, or even a couple boxes of books. You had so many books and items you didn't measure it by the number of items, or even the number of boxes..you had to give us the weight. Where that weight was just short of 1/2 a ton. Based on the descriptions of your items, I would imagine it was well over 1000 unique items."

I apologize. I guess I should have provided a detailed itemized multi-page list of the items and provided a link to a external picture gallery; however, for the purpose of this ripoff report simply using weights would suffice as most consumers wouldn't have a clue about the value of the items in any case. Actually, the ripoff report I filed is not detailed at all - it was just the basics to get by for now until a more detailed report can be authored on another site. Hopefully this report will save a few consumers in the mean time.

"Yet you show up at this store to "test" them (most likely unannounced)."

There is no announcement to be made. They do make appointments. You either do not know anything about the chain or are purposely proving false information. By your own standards that would make you a** and someone you thinks they are smart but are not. So are you simply lacking knowledge about the chain, lying, or a little bit of both? There are saved screen shots of their web site and videos and and a recorded phone conversation attesting to these facts. Having been a former college newspaper reporter I am very thorough in gathering facts as opposed to opinions.

"Where you go on to complain that it took them over an hour to go through your boxes. Where they had the nerve to help people who came in after you but had less items."

First come, first served is among the top expectations of consumers. I waited my turn in line at the buy counter and expect to be served as such. When one visits a restaurant; for instance, one expects their order to be completed in a timely manner basis or you walk out. A store promoting the practice of "cutting in line" is not serving consumers. This is called called bad order management, which one can easily learn by actually working in a non-dysfunctional warehouse. If a single employee can process 100 items in 1x time units but an order is received for 300 items then you divert 3 employees to handle 100 items in 1x time units teach in order to complete the job in the same amount of time as 100 items would take. Its called serving your customers in a timely manner.

"Of course at the same time you complain that they wouldn't point out any books you may have that were of value."

I didn't need them to point out any books of value as I already know what they would fetch at the various avenues I currently use to sell such books and various other goods - i.e., eBay, Amazon, live auctions, consignment stores, antique stores, and so on. They are expected to reflect that value in the amount of the offer unless of course that offer is a ripoff and they think they have a rube offering the books to them.

"I guess you really expect what admittedly are minimum wage or close to minimum wage employees to have every price catalog memorized where they can instantly recognize a valuable book, evaluate it's condition, and within 3 seconds of seeing it tell you it's exact value."

Price catalog? What are you talking about? You really think they are looking up the prices of items in printed catalogs. Printed price catalog are a thing of the past. Any modern books with a UPC code are scanned with a hand held barcode scanner in seconds. Older books without a UPC can easily be checked via internal and external online databases by typing in the title and author. So what you are really saying is its a bad idea to take items to this chain because your items will be handled by incompetent minimum wage employees? That does not jive with the propaganda videos and other information on their web site whereas they encourage consumers to bring in their items to be accessed by the store's employees who can determine the value of your rare and valuable books and get you the best price for them.



"Oh but wait..you spent the time to basically catalog and cross index every thing you brought them, and figure that they should just read the list and "trust" that everything you put on there is correct. Where the "To Kill a Mockingbird" book should have made them stop and instantly give you the "good news"."

Actually no. The items are stored in boxes on my steel shelving units with a inventory number denoting their general contents such as V1, V2, V3 for video and B1, B2, B3 for books. Essentially these are BIN location stickers. The contents of each box is cross-referenced to a internal database. The store was provided with a general list of box content such as V1 to V6 containing video and media while B1 to B16 contained books. This was done to facilitate the examining of the items by store employees since its far easier and efficient to concentrate on one type of item at a time as opposed to randomly skipping among different types of items. There was no need to provide a detailed itemized list of all the items as that would serve no purpose at all. Of course you'd already understand these facts if you actually had years of experience in a warehouse environment where organization is everything as its means more profits.



"You had one book worth over $100 and many of your books commanding prices of $6 to $20 on Ebay."

Actually not what I said. Many of the magazines (not books) sell for $6.00 to $20 on eBay due to them having celebrities and so forth on the cover. Of course eBay has steadily declined over the years and is now more or less used for lowball pricing figures for many items. The same $109 book on eBay is priced at $149 to $250 on Amazon. If you bothered to sell this book on Ebay it would likely be bought to be resold on Amazon, which tends to command much higher prices based upon my sales on both venues.



"You have magazines that are so special that you can't even can't even get a hold of them through the regular retail channels." Every square foot of retail space has a fixed cost to the store. More specialized magazines with fewer readers tend not to be carried by retailers; however, used copies of such magazines are desirable simply due to the fact they are far less common

"Yet even though you have this collection of tremendous value you accepted their offer of $133 so you can "document" this RipOff.

Yea..you sure showed them."

You might want to reread this part form above:

This test is part of an effort to educate consumers on businesses that rip them off. A more detailed report with various pictures is to be published within a blog as part of consumer education. I haven't decided yet to publish actual footage taken of the incident with a hidden camera a mike yet - apparently a lot of people involved in scamming consumers do not know they exist and are so set in their scams they figure they could be never be exposed for what they are. You are familiar with reporters and law enforcement going under cover and engaging in transactions for the purpose exposing fraud are you not?

"Here is the thing, they are offering you a price for your books, it is up to you whether or not you accept it. If you go in thinking you are going to get anything near "retail" you are sadly mistaken. After all they have to turn around and sell that book. If they offer you "retail" or even anything close to "retail" they would lose money after you account for the overhead. Such as Labor, Rent, Utilities, Insurance..etc. And the hope that they may actually sell the book."

Really, I would have never guessed, having started my first business as a kid in the 1970s and doing my parents taxes in high school. Strange, I do not remember saying I expected retail. I expected a reasonable fraction of retail pricing - i.e. a wholesale price. Their pricing is well below what consumers should be getting and consumers have the right to know about their scam pricing. They just as unethical as a antique appraiser who first under values an item and them offers to buy it for that price when its worth fa rmore.

"I wonder how long it would have actually taken you to sell these items individually."

Why would you sell all items individually? Surely you know that placing similar items together in one lot can command a premium as collectors often want to acquire multiple related items at once and since shipping would be cheaper?

Lets see, as they were already in my inventory I just instruct a application to list the items on eBay at a scheduled time along with thousands of other items. A app is currently uploading some items to eBay as I type this reply. This is pretty well automated at this point. I don't even need to take individual pictures of items - using a pro full frame camera all one does i place multiple items in the same picture and all items are sharp and in focus - simply duplicate the pics for each item using key code command + D and crop each picture in PhotoShop (as I have years of experience in PS that takes 5 seconds or less per photo). Obtain the description of each item by scanning the UPC code or worse case scenario type a few sentences in a few seconds. Having package tens of thousands of orders over the years packing and printing a shipping label takes no time. I then drive up to the loading dock of the post office an unload a whole pickup load of packages at once.

Of course I have various other ways to sell the items. I drop them off at a antique or other consignment store with a general list of items and the store sells them for me for a 25% commission, which is often or not more than you can obtain on eBay.

Based upon what you said you obviously have no experience in selling online or in a retail setting or are simply lying. Perhaps its a combination of both.

"So beyond that the only real mystery here is what is the real reason you posted this report and reportedly took a loss of thousands of dollars not to mention getting rid of a good portion of YOUR inventory."

LOL! Loss of thousands of dollars? A good portion of my inventory? Where on earth did you come up with those ideas? I buy pickup loads full of books at a time.

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#7 Consumer Comment

PITA to the max

AUTHOR: Robert - (USA)

PITA Customer - Pain In The Arse...

It is appreciated the level of detail you put in to post this "RipOff". While I am sure you think you are so smart and suave, the only thing you have really proven is how much of an **s you can make of yourself.

You did not have just a few books, or even a couple boxes of books. You had so many books and items you didn't measure it by the number of items, or even the number of boxes..you had to give us the weight. Where that weight was just short of 1/2 a ton. Based on the descriptions of your items, I would imagine it was well over 1000 unique items.

Yet you show up at this store to "test" them (most likely unannounced). Where you go on to complain that it took them over an hour to go through your boxes. Where they had the nerve to help people who came in after you but had less items. Of course at the same time you complain that they wouldn't point out any books you may have that were of value. I guess you really expect what admittedly are minimum wage or close to minimum wage employees to have every price catalog memorized where they can instantly recognize a valuable book, evaluate it's condition, and within 3 seconds of seeing it tell you it's exact value.

Oh but wait..you spent the time to basically catalog and cross index every thing you brought them, and figure that they should just read the list and "trust" that everything you put on there is correct. Where the "To Kill a Mockingbird" book should have made them stop and instantly give you the "good news".

You had one book worth over $100 and many of your books commanding prices of $6 to $20 on Ebay. You have magazines that are so special that you can't even can't even get a hold of them through the regular retail channels. Yet even though you have this collection of tremendous value you accepted their offer of $133 so you can "document" this RipOff.

Yea..you sure showed them.

Here is the thing, they are offering you a price for your books, it is up to you whether or not you accept it. If you go in thinking you are going to get anything near "retail" you are sadly mistaken. After all they have to turn around and sell that book. If they offer you "retail" or even anything close to "retail" they would lose money after you account for the overhead. Such as Labor, Rent, Utilities, Insurance..etc. And the hope that they may actually sell the book.

I wonder how long it would have actually taken you to sell these items individually.

So beyond that the only real mystery here is what is the real reason you posted this report and reportedly took a loss of thousands of dollars not to mention getting rid of a good portion of YOUR inventory. 

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