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Old 12-15-2010, 10:54 PM   #1
CraftyDan
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Kobo: Gift cards + promo codes may not be a fair deal

Just wanted to issue a warning to those using the discount codes and have Kobo store credit (from their new gift cards).

I just tried to use a coupon code to buy something on store credit. The preview screen accepted the code for the book and showed the discounted price, but when I purchased it, it charged FULL PRICE.

This may be a bug in their new system -- I've got an email into their help line -- but caveat emptor! Agreeing to a price and charging something different is an egregious breach of trust, even if it is unintentional.

If I hear more from Kobo (fixing the problem or brushing it off), I'll post progress.
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Old 12-16-2010, 01:24 AM   #2
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I have a gift card there and have used coupon codes the past two days, without any problem.
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Old 12-16-2010, 05:55 AM   #3
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Dan--you would not be the first person who somehow missed clicking the little red word "apply" next to the field in which you enter your discount code. There are several steps before your book is actually purchased--including the whirling thing that calculates the new price after the discount is applied.
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Old 12-16-2010, 06:10 AM   #4
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Dan I love to hear a bit more detail about your problem.
Can you check the balance of your gift card to confirm that you were charged the full price? There was a bug a few weeks ago where people saw the reduced price and then pressed the buy button only to have the full price appear on the confirmation screen. This happened to me twice but fortunately I was actually charged the discount price.

Currently I am having another problem using the discount codes - instead of the cute little whirling thing that taming mentioned I get just a box with a cross and no reduced price. I haven't ever clicked BUY as the price stays at the original full price. Is that what happened to you?

Not that I'm wishing my problems on anyone else (cos it really stinks) but I would feel better if I knew it wasn't just me.

I'd love to hear what the help people have to say. So far they haven't really had much to offer me.
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Old 12-16-2010, 07:01 AM   #5
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@tamming - yes, I clicked apply. The storefront accepted the coupon for that book and an updated the price in the "grand total". It wouldn't have done that if I hadn't pressed apply.

@HarleyB - That's how I noticed it. I checked the balance and found $0.11 instead of $5.05 I expected - big sticker shock! (BTW, I know what you mean about not-much-to-offer -- If it wasn't for the promo-codes, their prices usually stink.)

From Catlady's comment, it looks like I fell into a hole in their storefront software -- and it looks like it's not the only one in there.

I don't like it, but I can afford to loose $5 -- once -- on a processing error, BUT I cannot afford to do business with a company that doesn't respect a proper billing process.

Kobo's response will tell if I spend that $5.05 (and more) or abandon the $0.11 and find my books elsewhere.
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Old 12-16-2010, 07:42 AM   #6
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There have been instances when the website did not reflect the discount, but the correct charge was made to the credit card. can you check your account to see if this happened to happen to you.
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Old 12-16-2010, 05:39 PM   #7
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Unfortunately there isn't a credit card involved. This is store credit, and their balance for my store credit is $4.94 shy.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:35 PM   #8
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I hope Kobo CS follows up your email quickly. They're well-meaning, but they can also be slow.

Thanks to Catlady's suggestion, I bought a gift card yesterday, applied it to my own account with store credit, and successfully purchased a book using the store credit and the 25% off coupon code. I really am very very pleased with this, especially since my CC company called me just this morning to inquire about all the little charges from Kobo I had been racking up, hehe.
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Old 12-17-2010, 09:29 PM   #9
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On the other hand, Kobo: Gift cards + promo codes may not be a fair deal. Unfortunately, even when issues are resolved or a problem which was a mis-understanding is clarified, thread titles stay as they were originally.

I certainly hope, Crafty Dan, you get your issue resolved quickly and to complete satisfaction. I have enjoyed many discounts, all applied correctly. I haven't tried the store credit thing yet but all the promo codes I have had have worked as advertised.
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Old 12-18-2010, 11:09 AM   #10
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Thanks SP. You're right, the issue seems to be "Kobo's storefront is buggy", but the die is now cast.

Did get a reply back from the triage CS -- forwarding it on to billing. I have a feeling viviena is right -- they seem sincere but SLOW.
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Old 12-19-2010, 08:59 AM   #11
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Glad to see that triage CS is actually doing something. From what I have been told by a Kobo Project Manager, they put most of their staff into triage during the last week to clear up CS requests. I know they have been hiring and training CS workers as fast as they can and absolutely know that the CS has been horrible.
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:13 AM   #12
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To report back, 29 days later Kobo has resolved the issue.

To recap since the last email:

At the 28 day mark Kobo sent out a "sorry for the wait, have a $4 coupon" message. It wasn't clear if this was an attempt to bribe me into giving up, an auto-apology for the continuing delay or a precursor to the solution.

In response, I replied that coupon < credit and $4 < $4.94 therefore problem != solved.

On day 29, I got another response that the refund to the credit was forthcoming, followed by another response 5 hrs later saying the credit was applied.


On the bad side, I'm less than thrilled with their turnaround time. There is no good reason for a company to take nearly a month to sort out a customer credit issue. Also, their CS site is nearly useless -- if it's not in the FAQs, be prepared for frustration. Why should I have to create a SEPERATE account for CS issues?!? and why does it take logging in TWICE to review an existing request?!?

On the good side, the issue was resolved and I did get a $4 coupon -- more than they usually hand out. It's something, but it does seem weak coming from a company that overcharges then hands out coupons like candy.

On the whole, I'll still do business with them, but if another vendor is even close in price, then Kobo will lose the sale -- they're just not worth the trouble.
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Old 01-17-2011, 02:31 AM   #13
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Dan--the support site on Kobobooks.com is not really the place Kobo is providing day-to-day support any longer. They opened http://getsupport.com/kobo a few months ago.It hasn't been widely publicised, and it is possible that doing support this way is still kinda sorta beta-ish.

Kobo staffers were very clear that they knew their CS was a gong show and it seems like they have worked hard to improve things. They took forever to get through the backlog, but they seem to be getting there.
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Old 01-17-2011, 10:16 AM   #14
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Why would any customer of kobobooks.com even look for some other site for support? I know they even respond on some of the boards out there (many odd ones, like "getsatisfaction"), but what consumer would even think to track those down? Better they take their limited resources and wall off the high school kids they have working for them (and playing on all these social sites) and make them respond to internal emails off their own site. Or, have their own CS link go to the site they are on in the first place.
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Old 01-17-2011, 01:18 PM   #15
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Kobo staff are officially the managers of the getsatisfaction/kobo board and they are assigned to trouble shoot there as part of their jobs. This is very different than them choosing to hang out on the Kobo MR forum. The Get Satisfaction site is now the official support site for folks using the Kobo FaceBook page.
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