We’ve had a couple of people lately complaining that we have not filled their orders or – even more insidiously – trying to get us to re-send books they say they paid for months ago but which have been damaged or lost since then.
Let’s make a couple of things clear about this:
1. Our online shop software assigns an order number to every completed transaction and issues an order confirmation to the purchaser. If you don’t have these, you haven’t made an order with us and we are not going to to be sending you a book.
2. In the unlikely event that you do not have an order number or order confirmation from us but the money has been deducted from your account anyway, your argument is with PayPal and not with us. Unless the money is in our account it is not our responsibility and we will not be sending you a book.
3. If you buy a book from us which is subsequently lost, stolen or damaged you will need to pay for another one. If you bought a physical book from Amazon or Barnes and Noble which was later lost or stolen, you would not expect them to provide you with another one free of charge – and yet they are far more able to do so than we are. It’s no good coming to us three months later and asking for a replacement; it simply isn’t our responsibility to provide you with a free book if yours is stolen. (For anyone who thinks it is, we recommend an occasional trip to the real world.)
4. We did not come down in the last shower. We may be a very small organisation run on a shoestring but we keep good records and our finances are meticulously organised – they have to be, when there is no margin for error. We are quite capable of searching back to see whether we have had a transaction with you in the past and whether any money changed hands, and we’ll spend all day getting to the truth of it if we have to. Attempting to deceive us into thinking you’ve bought books from us when you haven’t just isn’t going to work.
5. We’re aware that our online shop/Paypal set-up doesn’t work for everyone, which is why we have signed up with the GLBT Bookstore. Oddly, though, the response we have had via them so far does not match up with the number of people who had previously complained about being unable to buy from us in the usual way. Obviously we can’t provide a ‘tailored purchasing experience’ for every reader and it doesn’t matter how keen you are to buy from us (or say you are) – there may be times when it just isn’t possible, and that isn’t our fault and it probably isn’t yours; it just is.
6. We have done everything we can to make the online shop as compatible as possible with most people’s requirements. There is nothing more we can do now. If a certain country is not specified on the drop-down list which is part of the order process, we are happy to add it. (We’ve explained before why this is necessary.) After that, it takes a few hours for the software to update and you should then be able to order. Beyond that, there is absolutely nothing we can do; we buy in these services and are completely at the mercy of our supplier. Yes, we could change suppliers – but that would be expensive and time-consuming, and we have no guarantee that it would solve the problem. What would you do, in our position?
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I am not at my own location this weekend so statistical information for the week will have to wait until I get home.