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Old 06-06-2008, 05:47 PM   #1
Taylor514ce
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A dialog with Borders

My Question

I appreciate being a member of the Rewards program. However you exclude e-books. You sell the Sony Reader, but don't provide any content for it. I'm forced to use the Sony eBookstore, which, though you've co-branded it, doesn't participate in the Borders Rewards program.

This is a serious issue for me, and is degrading my enjoyment of Borders. You promote and sell the Sony Reader, co-brand the eBook Library software, but remain at arm's distance from content.

I shop your store to find books I want, then go home and shop Sony to see if they are available, and if they aren't, go BACK to the store and reluctantly purchase the printed edition. You can understand how this is not a pleasant shopping experience. If I DO find the book on Sony's site, I can't use your coupons. This is a lose-lose situation, and I'm on the verge of taking ALL my business to Amazon.

Borders' Response

Thank you for contacting Borders Customer Care with your comments and Borders.com inquiry.

Feedback from valued customers like you is essential to us as it allows us to keep in touch with areas where we can improve our services. Your suggestion will be included in our regular reporting to our various departments and in information presented to the executives at Borders. While I cannot guarantee that a change will be made, we appreciate your sending us your ideas.

We are currently making improvements to the Borders.com web site. As a result, you may encounter some service interruption. Be assured that we are working to enhance your online shopping experience as quickly as possible and we encourage you to visit us again soon. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Thanks again for taking the time to write to us. If you should have any other thoughts on how we can improve the shopping experience at Borders stores, please don?t hesitate to share these with us.

My Reply

This is non-responsive. I purchased the Sony Reader at a Borders book store. The Sony Install CD had the Borders name and logo on it. It was reasonable to assume, then, that I could purchase books from Borders to run on this device. I feel I was misled. Telling me you'll float the idea up the chain of command until eventually an executive notes my objections as a tick mark on a bar graph does not address my concern.

Borders' Response

Thank you for contacting Borders Customer Care with your inquiry,

You can go online to www.borders.com and purchase the e- books for the Sony reader. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

I hope that this information is helpful. If you should have any other questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact us.

My Reply

NO, you cannot. Please re-read my original email. You provide a link from your site to the Sony site. When I thus purchase a book, I'm purchasing it from Sony, which doesn't participate in the Borders Rewards program. Again, please re-read my original email for a full discussion of the problems with the current system.

Borders' Latest Response

Thank you for contacting us about Sony e-readers,

Due to the high prices of electronics and restrictions set by the manufacture they our excluded from our coupon offers and Borders rewards program.

Thank you again for writing. If you have any other questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact us at rewards@bordersstores.com

Last edited by Taylor514ce; 06-06-2008 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 06-06-2008, 06:22 PM   #2
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Translation:

Look, dude. I'm just a flunkie getting paid in coffee and pizza. I can't fix this for you. So, I'll forward it along, but I don't know what to tell ya.
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Old 06-06-2008, 06:33 PM   #3
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The point is, each reply gets progressively further away from the issue. If you're going to sub-out your e-book business to Sony, at least integrate your storefronts and Rewards programs. The answer? Uh, electronics are too expensive to discount. Ok... and what is the price of tea in China?
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Old 06-06-2008, 06:43 PM   #4
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exactly why I see Borders going out of business in the near future
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Old 06-06-2008, 06:52 PM   #5
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This is why I stopped buying anything at Borders several years ago and do my shopping at B&N. The local Borders store was as irrelevantly responsive as Borders.com is when it comes to customer service.
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Old 06-06-2008, 06:53 PM   #6
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I really think you're asking too much. TCV put it well.

I agree with your point, in general.... but that's also "how it is." You don't have to pay to be in the Rewards program, it's free. But there are other companies involved in this business, and just having Borders involved doesn't mean their discounts mean anything or that you should even, really, expect it.

When you're getting discounts, etc, for free.... I think the "gift horse in the mouth" adage is appropriate. If you bought a Sony Reader and were thinking you'd get a discount then you didn't read the print on every single coupon Rewards offers that says, clearly, that these do not apply to electronic devices. Either way, it may be a point of contention but I was getting these emails from you I'd be dismissive, too.
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Old 06-06-2008, 08:25 PM   #7
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Yes, there is a degree of feigned ignorance in my replies. I wanted to provide general feedback about the overall shopping experience, but every one of their email us, Contact Us, Feedback forms were broken, so I sent my frustrations to the "rewards" email address. Their completely irrelevant, clueless replies spurred me to get more and more blunt.

I posted the above exchange mainly for the entertainment value and as a Cautionary Tale for potential Sony Reader purchasers. Had I to do it over again, I would have bought the Kindle.
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Old 06-06-2008, 08:50 PM   #8
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So sad. If I could buy Amazon books for my Reader I would be in Heaven.
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:06 PM   #9
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Just to be clear:

I am sympathetic to the representatives (and, yes, it's very likely more than one) on the other end. I've worked in phone support for years and am occasionally drawn into things about which I have no control. The folks replying to the mails here likely do not have the answer you're looking for. They're stalling. There's nothing to say. Pushing someone like this -- especially over email -- is likely to produce nothing but nonsense answers and half-hearted promises to send things along.

I agree largely with your points, Taylor514ce. Still, I don't think you're going to get anymore than this. Try another avenue if you want a better answer, but don't expect much.
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:19 PM   #10
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Whoa, whoa. There is a difference between not knowing the reply and saying so, and not knowing the reply and so giving a completely irrelevant answer. There's also, in most major companies, an escalation process. I know, I've had to design them! In all of the above, except for the first response, it's been the same rep. Why hasn't the rep escalated up to someone who at least knows what an e-book is?
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:29 PM   #11
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All I can give is my experience, professional and personal. In this case, it seems to me the rep (or reps) doesn't know the answer and won't say, "I don't know." Why won't they say this?

Well, I've worked with companies who believe that customer support and helpdesks should be neither seen nor heard. Agents are discouraged from passing things along. If you would prefer other proof, just grab Consumerist's RSS feed for the gory details.

Honestly, I can't tell you if that's going on here. I can tell you as an agent that if I have no one to send your request to -- or if I know there's not going to be any meaningful response -- it's maddening, but I can't tell you that, ESPECIALLY in email.
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Old 06-06-2008, 10:21 PM   #12
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You should take ALL your business to Amazon. Problem solved!! LoL
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Old 06-06-2008, 10:36 PM   #13
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Old 06-07-2008, 04:14 AM   #14
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Just a couple quick thoughts:

1) Remind me again which B&N coupons are good towards eBooks

2) If you don't want a robo-letter then don't send it to a robo-rep with no authority to say anything other than what is (pre)written in their manual. Start at the top of the chain. Borders has a president, multiple vice-presidents and their names and titles are posted right on their web site. They have their own staff who can more (if only slightly so) directly answer your question. And write your letter on paper, not email. It gives it more urgency and personalization.

3) Odds are Sony's agreement with Borders doesn't allow Borders to discount. That is the SONY way. As the Sony reader format is proprietary Borders may have little say in the matter. Perhaps your issue is with Sony, not Borders.

4) I don't see the nexus between Border's eBook Store, Border's replies to you, and the fact you wish you know wish you bought a Kindle. If you did your research before you bought a reader you already knew the Sony/Borders store is the only way to get current books from major publishers. I certainly did.

5) Remind me again, what coupons does Amazon accept for Kindle books? Also how to I sign up for the Kindle Rewards program?

6) If you pine for a Kindle now go sell your Reader and buy a Kindle. It really IS that simple. If you don't want to do that b/c you will "lose" your Reader books, well then maybe you should not have bought in to an eReader that relies on DRM'd books. But you knew that was a risk going in. Kindle books are no less DRM'd.

Last edited by spec2; 06-07-2008 at 04:17 AM.
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Old 06-07-2008, 04:44 AM   #15
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The only thing I would add to this discussion is that for content I wish I had bought a Kindle, but for the reading experience I am definitely glad I bought the Sony, and when my PRS 500 breaks, I will definitely buy a PRS505, not a Kindle.

In the meantime, I wouldn't stop shopping at Border's simply because their support personnel are clueless. B&N's support people are even more clueless about the world of ebooks! I never make my purchasing decisions in the technology realm based on the knowledge of the tech support personnel (or even the customer service personnel) -- if I did that, I'd never buy anything technological, because they're ALL clueless!
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