Kindle Forum banner
1 - 20 of 44 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
400 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I noticed that one particular book was listed with a "list price" that was higher for the hardcover than for the kindle version, but an "actual price" that was higher for the kindle version than for the hardcover version. So, I emailed amazon and asked why there was that discrepancy, and I received a form letter suggesting I look at the website (URL helpfully included) to find out what the price is. So I emailed them back, saying that no, they did NOT answer me satisfactorily, and repeating my actual question carefully. I got another form letter that didn't address the question! So then I sent a kind of snarky email which I will share here (edited for brevity):

I wrote to you and asked why on earth is a Kindle book priced HIGHER than a paper book??
Then you wrote back to me with a form letter that doesn't explain anything but basically blaming the publisher for setting their list price higher for the digital version. My point is that the digital list price is a tiny bit LOWER than the print list price provided by the manufacturer, and yet amazon's actual pricing is HIGHER for the Kindle book than for the print book. Please explain why on EARTH the Kindle book would cost MORE!!! I really truly want a real explanation and not another form letter. Every time I write to support I get an irrelevant form letter and have to write back and it wastes my time and irritates the heck out of me. Thanks very much.


I got this email back just now and I'm kind of gobsmacked:

Hello,

I understand that you are frustrated, but as the previous email stated, it is indeed the publishers that set the prices for Kindle content, not Amazon. The reason for this, for the most part, is the publisher wants the consumer to purchase the actual book, rather than the Kindle version, to clear out inventory, to promote the author, or other factors to which Amazon.com has no control of.

We encourage you to contact the publisher to let them know of your frustration in their pricing of books and Kindle books. I mean, it's not like there aren't more important things to worry about, like child abuse, homeless people dying in the streets, or even poaching of whales in the Arctic. So of course, your problem of just a dollar or two matter more than anything in the world.

Thank you for contacting Kindle support.

Please let us know if this e-mail resolved your question... (snipped URLs)

Please note: this e-mail was sent from an address that cannot accept incoming e-mail.

To contact us about an unrelated issue, please visit the Help section of our web site.

Best regards,

Teddy
Amazon.com
We're Building Earth's Most Customer-Centric Company
http://www.amazon.com/your-account


The irony: I got this email upon my return home from a family shabbat at my synagogue, which I had personally organized for the congregants with young kids, and at which I had a meeting about how our Mitzvah Corps is going to be stepping up and providing additional help to needy community members during these troubled times.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,456 Posts
I'm guessing that this is occurring because they're discounting the hardcover version to the point that it's cheaper than the Kindle version. That's why the actual price for the hardcover comes in lower, even though the Kindle version is cheaper based on the list prices.

I think that the note you received from CS is true about the publishers setting guidelines for the prices. I'm sure that if Amazon could make the Kindle version cost less, they would do so!

Fortunately, most publishers see the sense of getting their content out digitally, and the great majority of Kindle books are cheaper than their paper versions.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
67,487 Posts
But, the one sentence in the reply:

webhill said:
I mean, it's not like there aren't more important things to worry about, like child abuse, homeless people dying in the streets, or even poaching of whales in the Arctic. So of course, your problem of just a dollar or two matter more than anything in the world.
is out of line. . .and might be worth an actual call to customer support. It was uncalled for for the person to respond in that manner. Now, I do not in any way believe this was anything more than frustration on the part of one over worked CS agent -- which I can even understand. But that doesn't excuse the person belittling your concern.

Ann
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
You know Harvey, I would have agreed with a couple of days ago, but....
Recently I have noticed that the same book at fictionwise is either MUCH more or MUCH less than Amazon and that Amazons price deviation is much smaller than fictionwises.

For example
Use of Weapons, Iain Banks - Amazon $9, fictionwise $1
The Last Colony, John Scalzi  - Amazon $8, fictionwise $24

So if publishers are setting the price, why the huge disparity between amazon and fictionwise?
I don't get it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Ann Von Hagel said:
But, the one sentence in the reply:
is out of line. . .and might be worth an actual call to customer support. It was uncalled for for the person to respond in that manner. Now, I do not in any way believe this was anything more than frustration on the part of one over worked CS agent -- which I can even understand. But that doesn't excuse the person belittling your concern.

Ann
I disagree Ann, that CS rep should be fired. If you hate your job that much let me help you, you're fired.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
67,487 Posts
Please re-read what I said. I think we are in agreement: The comment from CS was uncalled for. . .I only said that I could, on some level, understand the frustration that probably prompted it. Amazon should certainly be made aware of it.

Ann
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Ann Von Hagel said:
Please re-read what I said. I think we are in agreement: The comment from CS was uncalled for. . .I only said that I could, on some level, understand the frustration that probably prompted it. Amazon should certainly be made aware of it.

Ann
Oh. :)
I thought that you were saying that it was uncalled for, but understandable. I was just saying that its not understandable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
323 Posts
I work in a customer service field. I can assure you If I responded in that way to a customers problem, I'd have a bigger problem .............. NO JOB!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,236 Posts
I agree that the CS agent was way out of line. Amazon CS in general has not been the best lately. The form letter responses that don't answer your question at all are the worst part.

But this takes the cake.

I know this economy sucks and Teddy probably has a family to support, but he should have thought of that before being so ridiculously rude. I was ready to congratulate him for explaining the situation so thoroughly, but then he had to bury himself by ending it on such a nasty note.

So, yeah, I don't feel in the least bit sorry for whatever happens to Teddy. That was just plain inexcusable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
400 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Harvey said:
I'm guessing that this is occurring because they're discounting the hardcover version to the point that it's cheaper than the Kindle version. That's why the actual price for the hardcover comes in lower, even though the Kindle version is cheaper based on the list prices.

I think that the note you received from CS is true about the publishers setting guidelines for the prices. I'm sure that if Amazon could make the Kindle version cost less, they would do so!
The recommended list price was higher for the hardcover, but the actual sale price was higher for the Kindle. This makes me think that the price was amazon's doing. But honestly, that wasn't what upset me - it was the comment about my apparently caring more about book prices than I do about abused children and dying homeless people and poached whales. I so happen to be very active in my community's mitzvah corps, I am a veterinarian who does a lot of pro bono work, and I give to charitable organizations to the best of my ability. I am highly offended at having been spoken to in this way!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
493 Posts
I'm interested in the poaching of whales...how do you do it? And where do you get a pot that size?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,456 Posts
I totally agree, webhill.

That sarcastic comment from Customer Service is way out of line. I agree with you and the others that it should be reported, whatever that mechanism may be. Unbelievable!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,236 Posts
I have no idea why Teddy would even pontificate about other world issues. He's an Amazon rep, not a rep for "Save the Whales." Of course people are going to write in to Amazon about the PRODUCTS THEY SELL and NOT about what's going on in the rest of the world! Sheesh!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
400 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, FWIW: I have received a telephone call from Teddy's boss. She said he wanted to call himself, but they wouldn't let him, which is good, because it would probably not have gone well. I have a background in tech support myself, and I wouldn't have been easy on him. She was appropriately apologetic and said that actually immediately after he sent me that email, he turned himself in, explaining that he'd written it out of annoyance and with the intent to delete it, but then he'd accidentally sent it. I had expected that would be the case, but I also felt the management team should be aware. I told her that if Teddy were so lucky as to walk away from this event with his job intact, I hoped he'd learn from it, and never let it happen again. She agreed. So in the end I think amazon did the best they could with a bad situation. Still, though. How bad a day do you have to be having to actually send out that email?? I had experience with a LOT of stupid, annoying, frustrating, lame, crazy-making users who refused to RTFM or listen to a darn thing I said, and I still never emailed anything out like THAT!!!

Anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,286 Posts
I hope you are going to report Teddy to Amazon.  His comment was totally uncalled for and not in keeping with the superb customer service Amazon prides itself on and wins awards for in magazines.  If he worked for me he would be gone if I found about his response.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
286 Posts
kirwoodd said:
I disagree Ann, that CS rep should be fired. If you hate your job that much let me help you, you're fired.
I work at a mental health clinic, and if I had responded to a patient like that, I would have either gotten beaten up by the patient, or more than likely, fired by my manager. I have to agree with kirwoodd in this. In CS, one will always encounter clients that are either mad, or downright complaining over any little thing. Now, the question is, how will one deal with that without affecting his/her employment status? A good CS employee, I believe, can be straightforward, but must show respect. That CS response, my friend, is "you're fired" material.

Amazon, give me the job!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,981 Posts
I think Customer Service is getting hit with a lot of questions right now. There are people complaining about the K2 contrast like mad at the Amazon website, there have been whispernet connectivity problems, and more and more people are complaining about the price of the books. Amazon seems to be using form letter after form letter to answer questions which is only further annoying folks.

That in no way shape or form excuses Teddy's behavior. Amazon should be sending you a nice gift card to cover the cost of the book that you want as a way of apologizing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,967 Posts
They did at least call and Teddy did own up to it. I'm sure he is regretting it big time now. One thing I have learned over the years is that you can deny you said something, but when it is in writing it is hard to deny.

Years ago I flew out to offshore oil rigs to teach an email program and computer software to the roughnecks for Mobil Oil. While teaching email, I had my laptop hooked up to a projector and showing everyone how to create and send emails. I sent an email to each person and had them reply. Some of the replies were pretty raunchy.  :-[ When they realized that their names were displayed in the return emails I saw a look of horror on the faces. They were very strict on sexual harassment and I knew that they were scared that I would turn them in. I just had them delete the emails. From that point on I made sure I started the class with a warning that anything they sent would have their name displayed. Lesson learned from both sides.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
679 Posts
Teddy was completely out of line... and I am glad it was brought to the attention of his supervisors...

However, I can imagine their frustration over all the complaints they are getting, especially over books prices; especially whe  people complain becuase they get a form letter answering thier question, which, since it is a common question/complaint, actually makes sense they would use a form letter.

The publishers do set the list price for books... Amazon (or other retailers) can then mark it down if they so choose, usually eating the difference themselves... So, in this case Amazon had a bigger sale/discount offered on the hardback (maybe becuase they were havening to eat it all... that the publisher was giving a deal). Why should they be espected to always have the biggest discount/sale on the Kindle version?

I don't get the compalaints... to me it would be like going into a store and compalining that one item was on sale for a greater discount than another item. Now when a publisher sets the list price higher, i can see some complaints on that... but to complain that Amazon is offering a higher discount on the hardback?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
See, I guess I'm just more cynical than a lot of you... how do you really know that it was Teddy's supervisor who called you, and not just one of Teddy's friends???  Personally, I can imagine a scenario where Teddy rips off the e-mail to you, brags about it to a friend who is a little smarter than Teddy, and asks Teddy if he's crazy, and does he realize that you'll probably call and cost him his job.  Teddy then gets his friend to call as his "supervisor", and circumvents your complaint.  I think I'd have to still contact Amazon and thank them for having a supervisor call you about the snarky e-mail...
 
1 - 20 of 44 Posts
Top