Last week I was on Amazon looking at mermaid YAs because I'm in a bit of a mermaid kick at the moment. After finishing Forgive My Fins, I realized that I didn't have any mermaid books on my shelves. I'm trying to be a bit better about buying books due to my finances, so I decided I would buy the mermaid books I wanted one at a time. Each one would be the reward for finishing the before. The three I was trying to choose between were Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown, Of Poseidon by Anna Banks (I'm also holding out hope she'll venture over to my end of Florida for a signing), and Wrecked by Anna Davies.
Although I don't usually buy through the Amazon Marketplace because I've gotten "Like New" books in the past that looked like they had been run over by a car, I couldn't pass up the price I found for a copy of Wrecked. So it was decided. I had a couple dollars in credit card rewards to cover shipping, so I was really excited for the price.
Fast forward to this past Wednesday. I open up the mailbox to find my copy of Wrecked has arrived. I immediately notice the envelope seems a bit too slim (I had looked at the book at B&N) and the book inside feels too soft. I went inside, changed out of my work clothes, and opened the envelope...
To find an ARC. My first thought was WTF?! My next thought was Son of a b*tch?! I may or may not have said these out loud... I couldn't believe that I had purchased an ARC. Nothing in the product or condition description from the seller led me to believe I would be receiving anything but a hardcover. Even the packing slip said hardcover.
An overwhelming feeling of wrong-doing overtook me. Even though I knew I hadn't done anything wrong on my end, I still felt guilty and dirty. I didn't want to return the book, because I didn't want the seller to just turn around an sell it to someone else. I logged on to Amazon with the intent to find a way to alert them of the seller. I was also going to leave feedback, but it was too early since the delivery window hadn't closed yet. But I did see a button for filing a claim.
So I filed a claim. I explained that I did not get the product as described, and went on to tell them that the ARC should never have been up for sale, seeing as it says "Not for sale" on it (although it is much smaller and less noticable than many ARCs, but that's not the point). I almost ended the claim with "Shame on you" but decided to keep it unconfrontational.
Now I just had to wait and see. I got a response the next afternoon, much sooner than expected. Here is the response I received:
"Dear Sara, Thank you for notifying us of the ARC of the book you had ordered. I am sorry that we had over looked the item, and I assure you we do not intentionally mislead our customers. For this I have refunded you the price of the item. Please feel free to discard the item or do what you wish with it. Again, I apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused you."
First, they refunded the purchase price, but not the shipping. So it ended up being the same as if I paid for another blogger to ship an ARC to me. But it still feels dirty to me. Second, while I applaud them for apologizing for sending the wrong version of the product, they never once acknowledged specifically selling ARCs is wrong. It makes me wonder how many people who aren't aware of what an ARC is have received one and just shrugged and gone with it.
So now that I got the majority of my money back (since the rewards covered most of the shipping), I'm left wondering what to do. I have a co-worker with a twelve year old daughter, and he's been using my book knowledge to help decide what books to let her read. I can pass the ARC along to him for his daughter, but I'd like to read it first to make sure it's appropriate by his standards. And if it's not appropriate, I can have a giveaway right here or donate it to my local librarian. I'm just left wondering what book to order with the refund. Should I go with another copy of Wrecked, because what are the chances of having issues again? Or should I grab a copy of one of the other mermaid books if I find a better deal?
Update: In browsing Amazon as I contemplate my decision, I found that the same seller has another copy of Wrecked at an even lower price. Is this the hardcover they meant to sell me? Is it possibly another ARC? Am I curious enough to find out? I'm gonna go check their feedback to see if others have received ARCs...