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Old 29.06.2012, 16:25
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www.books.ch - so much quality it makes me sick

I am writing this review for www.books.ch so that everybody who reads it would know not to buy from them as they are mostly trying to cheat you!
These are the facts:
- I needed to buy some books online (SW books written in English) and after looking on www.books.ch and seeing that after a certain amount (I think it was 400 CHF) the shipment would be free of charge and that the books I needed were said to be delivered in 2-3 days, I chose to order them.
- The amount ordered was 1375 CHF. The order was done on the 15th of June. I actually needed the books as fast as possible.
- I received an email on the 16th of June saying that given the ordered amount is very high, they need me to make a pre-payment of 400 CHF. There were no other details in that email regarding how I could make that payment. The pre-payment condition was not stated on their site.
- I emailed them back and asked about their bank account details. I received no reply. I emailed them again the next day, with the same request and also asked them to confirm the books will be sent to me in 2-3 days as mentioned on their site. No reply.
- I called them on the number provided (which turned out to be a number for which you pay more) and after two long and costly calls with them I managed to get their bank account where I should transfer the money. I transferred the money and hoped everything would be ok. It wasn't.
- It was already the 20th of June and I called them again asking for the books. At first they could not confirm that they received the money. I sent them a screenshot from my bank account showing that the transfer was made and they confirmed they will start sending the books and I will get them as soon as possible.
- I asked them about the invoices and about the receipt of the 400 chf and they confirmed the following:
"You will receive an invoice for the full amount. Our Accounting departement will then send you a payment slip and a confirmation of your payment over 400.- CHF."
- I nicely asked them to send both the invoice for the full amount and the confirmation for the pre-payment at the same time. I needed to expense that money and I also didn't want to pay more than I should.
- Their reply was as follows:
"As we still do not have the definite confirmation of your 400.- CHF payment, only a notification that we will receive the payment, this is not possible, I'm afraid. We can't send an invoice for the books in advance either, because the order has already been placed and we can't change the process once it's started. We hope this information is of some help to you."
- In the meantime I started to get the books (starting with the 25th!!). The books came in smaller packages, on different days and each lot had its own invoice saying that I have to pay the shipment as well. I found this incredible, since I should not have paid the shipment as well. But then again, I should have received the books on the 18 the latest and I shouldn't have paid the 400 chf.
- I paid the invoices and I have just emailed them asking for the 400 chf back. I haven't received any reply yet and I hope I will get my money back eventually.
So don't buy from www.books.ch / Orell Füssli The Bookshop! They are crap.
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Old 29.06.2012, 17:25
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I've ordered from them many times without any problems.

You placed your order on a Friday - do you really expect it to arrive on a Monday? 2-3 days would be business days......which would put delivery around the 20th. If they're having problems processing the huge order of course it will take more time.

Were you not able to order this huge load of books in a more timely manner?
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Old 29.06.2012, 17:34
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Re: www.books.ch - so much quality it makes me sick

I totally agree with you: 2-3 business days. Should we consider also Saturday? Still does not count up to 25th when I did receive my first book.

Usually my rants come after carefully analyzing what was the situation. If most of the people would consider my story as being normal, excuse me for not being normal.

I consider your question as being rhetorical and not related with the subject.
That huge amount of books is actually 16 books. Really, is that huge?

I understand that your experience was nice and I'm happy for you, but please do not come here to say that their behaviour is my fault.

Cheers
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Old 29.06.2012, 18:40
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I wasn't saying their behavior is your fault at all - more along the lines of you can't order something on Friday and expect it on Monday. And no Saturday doesn't count.

Even Amazon wouldn't be able to get an order of 16 books out that fast. Books.ch has multiple providers they use. And you'd have to tack on a reasonable amount of additional time if they had troubles processing it because they needed a down payment, etc. Its probably not a daily situation where they get an online order for over 1000 CHF for English books.
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Old 29.06.2012, 18:49
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Re: www.books.ch - so much quality it makes me sick

The real info is that the site finds it difficult to handle large orders. Thanks for the info.
Can I add that amazon sucks at it too? My experience at work last year.

Maybe OP and I run out of luck, our luck credit is up. But I still recommend that you do not change your opinion about amazon just because of me, what ever your opinion was in the first place.
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Old 29.06.2012, 22:08
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Re: www.books.ch - so much quality it makes me sick

www.thebookdepository.com

Free delivery worldwide, prompt customer service, excellent value!
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Old 29.06.2012, 22:27
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Re: www.books.ch - so much quality it makes me sick

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www.thebookdepository.com

Free delivery worldwide, prompt customer service, excellent value!
I'd agree I used these when I was in the UK and I always found their customer service to be top notch
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Old 29.06.2012, 22:53
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Re: www.books.ch - so much quality it makes me sick

A lot of online shops in Switzerland are just horrid.

They're so far behind the times it's not funny. It's definitely the worst thing I've noticed since moving here - I hardly order anything from online Swiss shops now because it seems every time I do there's some major problem, they're too slow, they don't have the item in stock (despite saying the contrary on the website) or they charge me 4 times for the same item.

Just avoid if at all possible. I've even had very basic and childish issues with popular stores like digitec.
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Old 29.06.2012, 22:53
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Re: www.books.ch - so much quality it makes me sick

I read a lot and during the course of the last ten years, I have ordered plenty of books not only from Amazon, but also from smaller local websites in the US, Germany, UK and Ireland. And my experience has always been that smaller local online retailers more often get orders wrong, have delays and are slower to resolve problems with billing and credit cards.

Now I watch out and if a small online shop promises the same terms as huge ones - free and very speedy delivery, I tend not to believe them. IMHO small bookstores are good for specialty and rare books, but for the rest the big ones provide much better service.
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Old 29.06.2012, 23:09
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Re: www.books.ch - so much quality it makes me sick

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I've ordered from them many times without any problems.

You placed your order on a Friday - do you really expect it to arrive on a Monday? 2-3 days would be business days......which would put delivery around the 20th. If they're having problems processing the huge order of course it will take more time.

Were you not able to order this huge load of books in a more timely manner?
Wonderful. So you hear the OP giving all the information with dates and quotes from the website, which makes obvious that they didn't meet the delivery time they publish, and you still address him with contempt? I think it is quite easy to understand the OPs frustration.

Were you not able to reply a fair complain on a kinder way?
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Old 29.06.2012, 23:31
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Re: www.books.ch - so much quality it makes me sick

When ordering English books I definitely shop from bookdepository.co.uk, no matter what amount they deliver for free. It usually takes about a week though, so if you need the books asap I would not try them.
Having said that, today I went to Bider & Tanner and they have a pretty good selection of English books and the prices are not THAT outrageous, so I usually buy from them on a regular basis as well
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Old 29.06.2012, 23:41
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Re: www.books.ch - so much quality it makes me sick

I think there was a misunderstanding by the OP.
In the english version of this website it reads "available within 2 to 3 days" which could be interpreted in the way the OP did.
But if you switch languages to German it reads "ready to ship within 2 to 3 days" (Versandfertig innert 2-3 Tagen).
If you now consider that his order was blocked due to its size, and thus could not have been proceeded before say thuseday, the arrival date of the books is not at all unreasonable.

You should not forget, that the books the OP ordered probably were not bestsellers but quite specialists books. So it is quite possible that they did not have them in stock. As far as I can see they do only claim to have a book ready to ship within the time stated, not that they actually have the item in stock.

If you look at the availability times given on the site, you notice that some books are said to be available to ship within 1-2 days, while others are said to be available within 2-3 days. I bet that the second category are the ones they do not actually have in stock. So the problem likely was not even caused by Orell Füssli but by their supplier (remember they only claim that the item should be available to be shipped within the given time, not that they actually have it in stock.)
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Old 30.06.2012, 00:00
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I once ordered a lord of the rings themed book for a birthday from the same website. I received a notification that the book was no longer available. Fair enough! Imagine my surprise when the book and the bill were delivered....three years later!
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Old 30.06.2012, 00:53
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Re: www.books.ch - so much quality it makes me sick

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I totally agree with you: 2-3 business days. Should we consider also Saturday? Still does not count up to 25th when I did receive my first book.

Usually my rants come after carefully analyzing what was the situation. If most of the people would consider my story as being normal, excuse me for not being normal.

I consider your question as being rhetorical and not related with the subject.
That huge amount of books is actually 16 books. Really, is that huge?

I understand that your experience was nice and I'm happy for you, but please do not come here to say that their behaviour is my fault.

Cheers
Your experience proves that Orell Füssli of course basically still is a BOOKSHOP and not a mail-order company. "Huge" ? Well, 16 books is a very sizeable order, as people usually order one or two or three books but NOT 16.

I in fact in case of books prefer to visit bookshops, look at the books well and then loading the stuff into one or two bags. As books are generally between 100 grams and 2 kilos, the total will be definitely BELOW 20 kilos, which makes less than 10 kilos on each side and so no problem
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Old 30.06.2012, 02:02
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Re: www.books.ch - so much quality it makes me sick

Thanks for the groan Commets. Interesting how mindset changes. will quote from one of your first posts: "it is very frustrating for someone looking for help to be slammed like that. "

The OP was also trying to get some help. On taking his frustration off chest and helping others not to get trapped on the website misleading information.

You can groan this one too. Salute.
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Old 30.06.2012, 02:34
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Re: www.books.ch - so much quality it makes me sick

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Thanks for the groan Commets. Interesting how mindset changes. will quote from one of your first posts: "it is very frustrating for someone looking for help to be slammed like that. "

The OP was also trying to get some help. On taking his frustration off chest and helping others not to get trapped on the website misleading information.

You can groan this one too. Salute.
The problem I see is entirely on the side of Orell-Füssli, a very old and very traditional and highly renowned bookshop, who in recent years started to break into the mailorder business.

WEBsites often are a disease. We just recently found out that OUR WEBsite does NOT even mention that we accept credit-cards, and DOES not indicate the IBAN-codes of our accounts which are vital for payment-transfers in a modern world. Will try to update that medieval info piece to a decent level !

What I find disturbing is that a large company like Orell Füssli also has such problems; problems I defend in case of small companies (KMU) but find a bit hard to accept in case of sizeable companies like O-F !

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Old 30.06.2012, 03:37
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Re: www.books.ch - so much quality it makes me sick

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Wonderful. So you hear the OP giving all the information with dates and quotes from the website, which makes obvious that they didn't meet the delivery time they publish, and you still address him with contempt? I think it is quite easy to understand the OPs frustration.

Were you not able to reply a fair complain on a kinder way?
I guess in an Internet forum setting ones tone can come off many ways. My post wasn't meant to be contemptuous but one of reason.

On books.ch you are able to order books and pay via pay slip when the books arrive. So of course an order of >1000 CHF will be flagged and it's reasonable to expect a down payment as its a risk for them. Even if they ship the books, OP doesn't pay and they send a betreibung he still may not decide to pay them, so they're out the fees due. One would have to expect a delay in shipping if they request a deposit as it would need to be processed and different banks have different processing times. So your 2-3 days is automatically out the window as the order falls under special circumstances.

Additionally, 16 books is a large order, but why was there such a short period of time to get the books? Did the OP forget he needed books, procrastinate, or did he really have 3 notice days that he needed the books? For me it's more common sense - I order a lot of books, need to pay a deposit so order gets delayed, then go complain on a forum because I didn't get the books I ordered on Friday by Monday? Is it really a valid complaint?
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Old 30.06.2012, 09:23
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Re: www.books.ch - so much quality it makes me sick

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- I received an email on the 16th of June saying that given the ordered amount is very high, they need me to make a pre-payment of 400 CHF. There were no other details in that email regarding how I could make that payment. The pre-payment condition was not stated on their site.
The issue here is that there's most likely no fixed rule about prepayments as it depends on your order and payment history.
If you regularly place orders of this size with books.ch, they most certainly won't ask for prepayment anymore after a few orders but if you are a first time customer placing an unusually large order they ask for prepayment which makes perfect sense IMHO.

There's no excuse though for not providing information on how you could make the prepayment in the e-mail. But it fits in nicely with the rest of your experience which clearly shows that books.ch doesn't have an efficient and quick process to handle prepayments.

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- I called them on the number provided (which turned out to be a number for which you pay more)
That's actually one of the most annoying things in Switzerland (and some other European countries as well). Businesses providing customer service on surcharge numbers only instead of using regular or toll-free numbers.

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- In the meantime I started to get the books (starting with the 25th!!). The books came in smaller packages, on different days and each lot had its own invoice saying that I have to pay the shipment as well.
Totally unacceptable. If they promise free shipping they have to provide free shipping. End of story. It's not the customer's problem if they have to split up the shipment due to their logistics.

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- I paid the invoices and I have just emailed them asking for the 400 chf back. I haven't received any reply yet and I hope I will get my money back eventually.
You did what?!? You paid the individual invoices including shipping charges in full without deducting the CHF 400 you already paid?

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I think there was a misunderstanding by the OP.
In the english version of this website it reads "available within 2 to 3 days" which could be interpreted in the way the OP did.
But if you switch languages to German it reads "ready to ship within 2 to 3 days" (Versandfertig innert 2-3 Tagen).
That's not a misunderstanding by the OP but poor translation by books.ch

There's no reason to translate a perfectly clear German expression into a vague expression like "Available". Available to whom? books.ch? the customer? the mailman?

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If you look at the availability times given on the site, you notice that some books are said to be available to ship within 1-2 days, while others are said to be available within 2-3 days. I bet that the second category are the ones they do not actually have in stock. So the problem likely was not even caused by Orell Füssli but by their supplier
That's no excuse. If I order books from books.ch I have a contract with books.ch not with their suppliers. I don't even know who their suppliers are. If books.ch promises to ship a book within 2-3 days, I expect them to do just that. Nothing more, nothing less.

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Additionally, 16 books is a large order, but why was there such a short period of time to get the books? Did the OP forget he needed books, procrastinate, or did he really have 3 notice days that he needed the books?
I don't really think that's our business here, is it?
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Old 30.06.2012, 09:39
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Re: www.books.ch - so much quality it makes me sick

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I don't really think that's our business here, is it?
Is any of it really our business?

For what it's worth, in the days of Amazon and the like, Orell Fuessli seems to have an archaic* IT infrastructure and order management system, both in shop and online. In fact, I can't see the point in using them online when amazon delivers faster and cheaper - but their physical shops provide a valuable service in allowing me to browse before buying, so I do purchase from them.

*Son of a gun. They have a designed-for-iPad site. Never would have thought it, don't particularly like it, but I guess that's a step up.
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Old 30.06.2012, 10:09
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Re: www.books.ch - so much quality it makes me sick

I will find OPs description of his situation very helpful in my future dealings with Swiss suppliers. There is REPEATED breach of contract by the SUPPLIER, (as already pointed out by Mark75) however, chances are, he will simply get away with it. The main reason being OP not being able (cost / bother / time) to initiate any action - other than calling them up on their paid number, and adding to their revenue.
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