Years ago, I had to take a class called “Ethical Decision Making” in pursuit of a college degree. The course required a textbook, as most do. Colleges make a lot of money through the school bookstore selling these textbooks at prices that fall anywhere between $100 and $500 each. Many college students, in a quest to save money, buy used textbooks from students who took the course last semester, or even last year. This means that the college loses those sales.
To combat this, the colleges pull a lot of underhanded tricks. In the case of this ethics class, they added a chapter to the book that no other college had, and they further changed that chapter every year, which meant that the only place that the book could be had was from the school bookstore. There were no used books to be had. I thought that this was ironic, considering that this was an ethics class.
I didn’t know this, and bought a copy new on Amazon at a cost of $225. When I got the book, I discovered that the book was not the correct one, and had to buy the correct book at the full price of $300 at the school bookstore. This meant that the text book cost nearly as much as the $350 course it was used for. I put the used book on Amazon at $175 (so it would sell quickly), complete with a warning in the description that this was not the correct book for that college and that course. When the book sold, I noticed that the buyer lived in my city, so I sent him an email, telling him it was the wrong book. he replied back that he still wanted it, so I shipped it. I had never even taken the book out of its plastic wrapper.
A week after shipping, I get a note from the buyer stating that he did not need the book, because it was the wrong one. Amazon told me that their policy was that you always make the customer happy, and informed me that I had to refund his money, but since it was the customer’s fault, I could charge him a restocking fee of 20%, but only if he returned the book.
When I informed him of that fact, he changed his complaint to say that the book was not new as advertised, that the book was written in and the cover was missing. Amazon forced me to accept the return for a full refund. When I got the book back, it was still in the wrapper that I had shipped it in.
I sent pictures to Amazon, and Amazon said that there was nothing they could do. I eventually sold the book, but I didn’t get as much for it, and the entire episode also cost me the extra shipping charges for having to ship the book out twice.
To add insult to injury, the buyer gave me negative feedback, saying that I was dishonest and gave Amazon a bad name.
The first day of class, the sonofabitch was sitting right in that classroom with me.
He needed that ethics class far more than I did, but a college with this kind of textbook policy was in no place to teach it to him. Here is the kicker: He was prelaw. I keep waiting to see if he runs for political office.