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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Post # 169 - Getting a Little Nook - 1/17/2011

The exchange below happened after my wife bought a Nook.  The events in the first note are accurate.  I wrote my letter two days after the flippant service punk's promised email didn't arrive in my wife's inbox (he promised a few hours).  She had done a stellar job working him over, asking for managers, etc.
Dear Barnes and Noble,

I am extremely dissatisfied with your customer service.  Extremely. 

I have been a loyal Barnes and Noble customer for over twenty years.  Your books helped me through the toughest college courses.  They helped me plan my wedding.  They offered me comfort when I lost a friend.  They put my children to bed, and taught them to read.

On January 2nd, after much deliberation, I purchased a Nook.  All of my friends tried to steer me to the Kindle.  They cited your recent bankruptcy.  I cited brand loyalty.

I neglected to purchase the $60 protection plan.  The Nook itself put me back quite a bit.   I couldn’t afford it.  Besides, I take care of my things--I’ve had the same cellular phone for eight years.

On January 14th, in the bleachers at my daughter’s swim practice, a woman walked by and her long coat brushed my precious Nook off of the bleacher.  It fell 18 inches.  The protective cover flopped open and it landed face down.   The screen cracked.

On January 15th, I called your customer service, asking if there was a way the screen could be replaced, on my dime.  Your representative stated that “due to the fact that the accident occurred within 14 days of purchase, the Barnes and Noble store at which it was purchased had to take it back.”  He went on to state that had I purchased it online, he could have completed the transaction via mail.  This seemed awfully courteous. 

I, with two bundled up children, hopped into my car, and made the hour round trip to Barnes and Noble.  Alex, who I deal with all of the time, and is the nicest associate ever, wasn’t able to help.  He couldn’t repair it.  He couldn’t replace it.  I wasted a trip.

I called your customer service back.  I dealt with a fellow named Aras.  Our discussion went like this:
    -I explained my situation. 
    -He said, essentially, that “this whole thing was my fault.”  

I really didn’t need to hear that—I know.  I really didn’t appreciate having insult added to injury.  I let him know that I was dissatisfied with his customer service.  I asked to talk to a manager.  He put me on hold.  He came back and offered me the following: 

      1) I purchase the service plan.
      2) He sends a confirmation.
      3) I was to call back after five days and order a replacement.

I gave him my credit card, my email, my phone number.  Before we hung up, I requested a confirmation number.  Aras refused.  He said “check your email in a few hours.”  The confirmation never came.  The $60 was never charged to my credit card.  I feel that I was brushed aside by a bad customer service rep that had better things to do in India.

These people on your customer service line are the face of your company.  They are an embarrassment.  One of the people, when I asked “if I can charge my payment,” said “Yes.  You plug the unit into the wall.”

So there it is.   What do you have to say for yourselves?   You need to get your people on the same page.  Make them accountable.  Tell them to quit giving loyal customers the runaround.  Companies live and die by loyal customers, and those people are turning people away.  Am I done as a Barnes and Noble customer?  I’m pretty sure I am if it ends like this.


From: service
Sent: Wed, January 19, 2011 6:37:11 PM
Subject: Your Recent Inquiry to Barnes & Noble (KMM29051905V80024L0KM)Dear Valued Customer,

We received your recent email and apologize that we have not responded.  We are experiencing unusually high email volume, and want to assure you that your concerns are always very important to us.

We invite you to have a look at our Help Desk by clicking on this link:

We've worked hard to include answers to many of our customer's questions right here, so the solution you are looking for may be right there.

If you have a question about the status of your order, please check the information we provide on your online account.  If you placed an order without an online account, just click on the drop down menu under My Account in the upper right corner of our website.  Complete the information on the left side of the screen and click on View Order.  As always, you can rely on the information sent to you in your shipping confirmation email, which also includes a link to track delivery.

If you still need our help, we are available by phone from to
Monday-Friday and on Saturdays and Sundays,
EST.  Call us at 1-800-THE-BOOK (843-2665), international customers can
reach us at 201-559-3882.  Please note that due to high call volume,
you may experience a delay in reaching a Customer Service

Thanks again for your patience and loyalty during this busy time.


Barnes & Noble
They had sent this note to my wife forty minutes prior....
 From:Barnes & Noble
Sent: Mon, January 17, 2011
Subject: Your Barnes & Noble Order 1181043753 Has Been Shipped  
Dear Jerry's Wife,

Congratulations on your purchase of the Barnes & Noble Protection Plan for your NOOK! Enjoy years of reading with confidence knowing we've got you covered.

Your Barnes & Noble Protection Plan is active as of the date of this message and is linked to your NOOK with serial #2005XXXXXX.

Please take a moment to review the details of your warranty coverage and keep this email for your records.

Serial Number        Warranty 
005XXXXXXX         Barnes & Noble Protection Plan

For further assistance, please email us at

We're glad we could be of service and look forward to your next visit.
 Barnes & Noble

A few days later, a new nook showed up with the retroactive service plan. 

We sent the old one back for durability testing.  The guy at the Barnes and Noble Store tried his best on his end, to no avail.  He was very interested in our story, when my wife told him she was successful. 

The lesson here is, always always always get the service plan on anything handheld that can break.  Or read a book--they don't shatter.
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  1. Jerry, the second letter from Barnes and Noble and the text after it are cut off on the right side. :-(

    (I checked it in a second browser to make sure before I wasted your time on something that was my issue.)

  2. Thanks, Jerry! Good to get to read the rest of the story in full! :-)

  3. The letter is great but Barnes & Noble has never gone bankrupt...

  4. Thanks Amycakes. I don't know why it was doing that. It was an ordeal.

    You're right, Anonymous Guy. They were on my radar with all the sale talk last summer. My bad.