Report: #1076328

Complaint Review: HALF PRICE BOOKS - PITTSBURGH Pennsylvania

  • Submitted:
  • Updated:
  • Reported By: Carol — Coraopolis Pennsylvania


*General Comment: Similar experience

*Consumer Comment: Why do you even have books?

*Author of original report: Your statements are incorrect

*Consumer Comment: Where is the RipOff?

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

Is this
Ripoff Report
About you?
Ripoff Report
A business' first
line of defense
on the Internet.
If your business is
willing to make a
commitment to
customer satisfaction
Click here now..

8/10 my husband and I(in our 60's) packed up 470 books (65 hard cover - 405 paperbacks) and took them to half price books to sell. These were ALL new within the past 2 years, all large print books and only read once - excellent condition. Girl working the "sell your books here" counter was approached by me, asking for assistance in getting the 7 boxes from our car - told to use one of the small shopping carts in front. We attempted to but too small, asked her again for assistance, she seemed annoyed and in no way wanted to help us, and finally another girl got a dolly and helped us.

We were told (rudely) not to leave the store and may take a 1/2 hour.....after wandering for almost 45 minutes, we inquired and were told it has been finished, and their offer was $65! WHAT? I questioned the amount for 470 books and was told that's it....you want the empty boxes? We were so disgusted with the entire process and their attitudes, we took the $65 and left.

On Monday 8/12 I called and spoke with the asst mgr Sharon. Explained all in detail and she was quite upset with how we were treated, the fact that no one explained the $$ we were paid or told how it was arrived at (should have been once I questioned)She explained $$ paid = supply (finding that to be their standard line). She was to discuss with the mgr the next day, pull a copy of our order, and was told he would call me.

After no return phone call all day, I called again and left Sharon a message - shortly after Adam Pierce, the manager called me back. The only thing he seemed interested in was the employee being rude with us and kept saying we will discuss it with her.....I asked about the $$ paid (which basically came out to less than $.14 per book!)He gave me the well I can't see what you brought in, but our records show you were paid $35.00 for 56 hard cover books - I told him I brought in 65 hard cover - not 56...where did they go? his comment: we may have decided to donate them! REALLY TO WHERE AT WHO'S AUTHORIZATION?? Ok - now paperbacks...he stated we were paid $30.00 for 345 paperback - AGAIN I brought in 405....where are they? Again he stated they must have donated them! TO WHERE - are they using books THEY HAVE NOT EVEN PAID FOR AS DONATIONS/TAX WRITE OFFS???? How can they do this - and not even tell or ask the customer???

Basically, there are 69 books they kept but didn't pay us for - or ask if we wanted them back, or is it ok to donate? Why was this not disclosed when I questioned the $65 for 470 books? Got the standard "supply" statement from him as well...and told him their large print section is one small rack - that we basically tripled in size with our books to them - and they pay you less than $.09 for a paperback that they sell for HALF the manufacturer cost??? We made a whopping $.6250 per hard cover book....again that they sell for $4.50 and up!

Adam's final statement of well, we are going to talk to the employee, I don't know what else you want, pushed me right over the edge - told him I didn't want another thing from them, and I would be filing a complaint and would never do business with such an unethical organization again. How can they justify highway robbery - basically "stealing" if you will and then expect people to be grateful for their treatment and come on back for more! My next 7 boxes of books will be donated to Goodwill or Vietnam Veterans - legitimate, organizations with high ethics and business practices.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/16/2013 05:29 AM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/half-price-books/pittsburgh-pennsylvania-15275/half-price-books-unentical-business-practices-unfair-treatment-and-money-paid-for-books-1076328. 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

Search for additional reports

If you would like to see more Rip-off Reports on this company/individual, search here:

Report & Rebuttal
Respond to this report!
Also a victim?
Repair Your Reputation!

Updates & Rebuttals


#4 General Comment

Similar experience

AUTHOR: kingofrock - (USA)

POSTED: Tuesday, March 15, 2016

I agree with Carol.  My experience selling books at HPB was similar.  They go through the books, and then provide an extremely low, low-ball price.  I am not obligated to accept the price (it is true), but the amount of time I had to wait plus the sheer unpleasantness to repack and schlep the books back out of the store again makes it almost a situation where taking their pathetic $$ offer as the only solution.

It is obvious to me that the business model is set up as described above to dissuade you from turning down the offer.

My experience this past summer at 3 different HPB stores had the same pattern, low ball price, no explanation as to pricing, no breakdown of what books were "valueless" so I could take them back out with me (as I requested!) and sort of sketchy explanations of what they do with the books after I agree to sell them.  (Claimed to store them all physically at the store, not to sell them online, not to ship them to a warehouse among other things--all of which are clearly not true.  It really makes no sense why they are lying about this institutionally, but they must think it makes it more romantic to explain their "love" for books...?!)  

I ultimately went to 3 different stores to see if they had independent buying strategies, or if they were all exactly the same.  I eventually "sold" almost all of the 1000 books, including ones the first 2 HPB said were "valueless" but depending on the buyer at the desk, you can have a real disappointing experience.

Anyway, I do like the stores to shop, but the strange way they are so vague about some things makes me wonder WHY.

You either want my books, and want to tell me how much, or you don't.  Don't assume it is okay to take ALL of Carol's books without clearly telling her the breakdown.  It is certainly her fault for accepting the offer.  But Half Price Books is relying on the customer not wanting to waste their time in offering such a low low price.  Not worth the hassle at all.  Being so mysterious about something so obvious is a FAIL.


Respond to this report!

#3 Consumer Comment

Why do you even have books?

AUTHOR: Robert - ()

POSTED: Saturday, August 17, 2013

How in the world do you even make it through your day without falling on your face?  Seriously..sorry to be so blunt but for someone who is in their 60's it is a wonder you have made it this far.

We were also NOT told we could turn the offer down at that time - that was not disclosed until my phone calls several days later. 

- So you are really going to say that once you put the books on the counter you thought you HAD to take the offer?  It didn't dawn on you that you could take your books back if you didn't like the price offered?

I am quite familiar with store mark ups and profit,

- How about overhead and expenses?

Even if the book lands in the $1 clearance section, they have made a significant profit!

- Yes they have made a whopping $0.92 cent GROSS profit.  Or as people who want try and make their point more impactful..an over 1000% profit.   Of course let's figure out NET profit...Let's first just go on labor.   Say that everyone that touched your book is a minimum wage employee at $7.25/hr.   So you have the person who bought the book from you and then after they bought it the one who actually inventoried it and shelved the book.  Let's say that in total this entire process took 30 seconds per book.  Meaning it costs them $0.06 to do this.  Now, I think you would agree that it takes a minimum of about 2 minutes to complete the transaction when the customer buys the book.  So just ringing up the customer costs the store $0.24 cents.  So the "signficant" profit of $0.92 is now down to $0.62.   Did that customer get a bag?  Well deduct another $0.02 cents.  Did they charge their item..well deduct another $0.03 as the cost to the Credit Card Company.   So we are now down to $0.57 cents, and that is not even including things such as utilities, insurance, building rent, advertising, taxes(and I am not talking about the sales tax that the customer pays).  All which take a significant dent into the cost of running a business.  In fact by the time it gets to this $1 section they are probably very close to loosing money..meaning they need the sales at the higher prices to make up for it.

Of course if it in your mind comes down to profit..where are all your reports on other companies and how much profit they are making?  In your mind what is an appropriate profit for a company to make?

Respond to this report!

#2 Author of original report

Your statements are incorrect

AUTHOR: Carol - ()

POSTED: Friday, August 16, 2013

 When the offer was made, we incorrectly "assumed" it was for all 470 books, but after speaking to the Manager, that was when we realized they did not pay for all the books they kept, and had donated what was not theirs to donate.  We were also NOT told we could turn the offer down at that time - that was not disclosed until my phone calls several days later.  My intent with the phone calls was to indeed find out exactly how much we were paid for both types of books, which was never disclosed to us at the time we were there.  It was questioned, but not explained, as it should have been.  I am quite familiar with store mark ups and profit, and paying $.08 for something they turn around and sell for $2.75 and up is in no way a fair business practise.  Even if the book lands in the $1 clearance section, they have made a significant profit!

Respond to this report!

#1 Consumer Comment

Where is the RipOff?

AUTHOR: Robert - ()

POSTED: Friday, August 16, 2013

 Basically, there are 69 books they kept but didn't pay us for - or ask if we wanted them back, or is it ok to donate?

- Incorrect.  You brought in 470 books and they offered you $65 for them.  YOU then had the choice to either accept it or walk out.  You choose to accept it.  Once you sold your books to them..they are no longer your books.  Most likely after they took another look there were several that were basically worthless so they donated them.  But since they are now their books..they had every right. 

Think of it this way.  Say you sold a car to someone for $100.  If a day later they turn around and donate the car or perhaps cut it up for parts.  Do you think you have a right to have a say of what happens to it and complain that they didn't tell you it would be donated?  If you do you are 100% wrong.

Adam's final statement of well, we are going to talk to the employee, I don't know what else you want,

- Well that is a very good question..what else did you want?  Did you want the employee fired?  Did you want some sort of "compensation"?   You say you wanted nothing, but if that is the case why did you keep calling them?

Now, you complain about how much you got per book and how much they sell them for.  Well again..you knew this amount before you agreed to sell it to them so if this was a problem..the time to bring this up was BEFORE you accepted the $65..not after.  As for the price you obviously have no concept of business and "overhead".    But again if you really think you could have sold them for more, why didn't you take them back and start up a Yard Sale...Oh I know because at a Yard Sale you may be lucky to get $0.25 to $0.50 per book...of the ones you can actually sell.

One other item.  The reason they don't want you to leave the store is because they are not a book landfill.  If they allowed people to just come in and drop off their books..a good portion of those people wouldn't come back.

Respond to this report!

Advertisers above have met our
strict standards for business conduct.

What do hackers,
questionable attorneys and
fake court orders have in common?
...Dishonest Reputation Management Investigates Reputation Repair
Free speech rights compromised

Segment Now