Overstock.com - Never Again

My wife and I were out shopping one day and found a few books we were interested in… I surfed around on my phone and found that Overstock.com (not linked, intentionally) had them at a substantial discount. We didn’t need them immediately, Overstock takes PayPal, so we figured ‘what the heck’… we went home and ordered the books from Overstock. 

Once again, you get what you pay for. 

In this case, the fact that we paid less for the books entitled us to: 


  • Two of the three books showing up damaged (ripped, fouled with what looked like copier toner, and shabbily re-packaged). No packing slip, invoice, or other order details. Just two destroyed books wrapped in a sheet of cardboard (not to be confused with a box).

  • The third book didn’t show up at all.

  • We’ve had the runaround from Overstock.com for nearly three weeks.

You’d think that in a business as competitive as online book sales, that a company trying to make a name for itself would want to differentiate themselves on the customer service front. Apparently, not Overstock.com.

On the first phone call, we were told that return labels would be sent for the two damaged books, we were given RMA numbers, and the third book was being re-shipped. Sounds good, so we wait a week.

On the second phone call, we were told that nothing had happened and that apparently the first phone call was “handled incorrectly”. They would now send out return labels, no RMA was needed, and they had to refund us for the third book. Wait a week. 

On the third (most recent phone call), we’re told that both of the previous phone calls were handled incorrectly. This time, we were sent printable return labels immediately for the two damaged books. On the third book, we’re now told that we have to wait for a “tracer” so they can see if the book is in a warehouse somewhere.

Asked for a supervisor… “none are available”. Asked for an address for customer service issues “I don’t have that, check our website”.

Later, we get seven (7!) more email messages with return labels… including a label for the book that never arrived. 

It’s been three phone calls, handled by three people, so let’s check our math… two out of three customer service reps at Overstock.com are apparently unqualified for their jobs, while the third is merely ineffective. At this point, I’m not holding my breath that the refund will be processed correctly when the damaged books arrive at their warehouse, nor that anything will come of this “tracer” without us having to follow-up yet again. 

I wish I could say that there’s a happy ending to this story… but for now, we’re out over $50 with Overstock.com and there’s no sign of this being resolved soon. That’ll teach us not to use Amazon, huh? 

So with Overstock.com, not only do you get to “pay up to 80% less every day” (their slogan), you also get roughly 80% less satisfaction and customer service. Actually, back on the math front, it's more like 100% less satisfaction or customer service -- we have neither our money nor a single usable book. Avoid this place at all costs.

Update: Disappointing that it took a public web log posting to make it happen, but Overstock.com came through for us today.

This post made its way to the right people and they processed our refund right away. Thanks go out to Dawn, from Overstock’s Office of the CEO, for handling the issue so quickly and and completely once it came to her. Whew!