Well, posters on the Insider list are still having hissy fits over the new plan by the Advanced Book Exchange to process all customer charge cards themselves (instead of letting booksellers who chose to do it themselves do it). One poster did bring up a valid point, which is that a customer can always do a chargeback through their credit card issuer if they do not receive their books.
So why all the flap-flap about the new ABE system and chargebacks? Fact of the matter is, the customer can ALWAYS claim non-receipt and get a chargeback. However it is easier for the customer to do it through ABE, and as retailers this game is all about the customer's convenience, not ours. To be frank, if their local supermarket or department store treated them the same way, and held them in the same contempt, that some internet "booksellers" profess to treat and view their customers, they'd be plenty sore about it.
While the situation I described with the $75 book was going on there was a parallel situation with a $500 book I ordered from Europe, supposed to be sent via Air. That book became long overdue also. I also got no response to email queries to the bookseller. Now in this case my credit card had been processed by the bookseller, not ABE. ABE's response to me was "please work it out with the bookseller".
Now, as a customer, which of the following responses makes you more comfortable? Which makes you more likely to buy another book from the ABE site?
1. We are so sorry your book has not arrived. We are processing a refund.
2. We're sorry your book has not arrived, but there is really nothing we can do. Please work it out with the bookseller (despite the fact that they don't answer your emails).
I know which response makes me feel better...
[The Mad Bookseller has been slogging beeks professionally for 25 years. He's been grumpy for 20 of them. He has no connection with ABE, beyond selling the odd (very odd) beek there. He writes several blogs, none of which are to be trusted much, except for Mulligrubbing Fudgenuts, which is the total, complete truth, swear to God...]