I debated whether or not to post this, but decided to (obviously). This is my personal blog, so I feel it’s ethically okay.
An online competitor of mine sells e-books (something I’ve been encouraged to do by several different people, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon — sorry). Competitor in the sense we’re presumably going after the same market. Since I don’t trust e-books or e-book sellers (the exceptions can be named on one hand), I never bought her book, plus it was too expensive for mere research purposes.
In my Google Alerts, I noticed she had a new blog. Its subject matter seemed a little odd, but okay. Then I discovered she outs people on her blog. In particular, customers who order her e-books. I found this out because an escort paid for the e-book, never received it and got blasted when she dared contact the seller about the issue. Not only has the poor girl not gotten her money back, all the information she put into the ordering system is now posted online in connection with the escort book.
Thought tempting, I’m not going to discuss the morality of this. I think any sensible person is on the same page with me.
What I have to wonder is, how someone who is writing a book (a couple books, actually) about running small businesses and making money having such difficult times with her customer service? I had to make a refund once and though it put me in the hole (what with the cost of fulfillment services and payment-processing fees), I cheerfully refunded the money once I received the book and receipt. It sucked, but I guarantee refunds. End of story. (I sold the book on Amazon as a “used” copy and recouped some of my loss.)
If the customer wants their money back and provides a receipt, the required action is very clear. Ranting at them and posting rants online along with their information is no way to run a business, especially when the customer requests are reasonable.
One rant I read was directed at an under-age purchaser. Fair enough, I ask that those under 18 not buy my book either. But simply refund the kid’s money and request they do their research elsewhere. (My lover pointed out that publicly posting a minor’s information is probably illegal.)
Is her business suffering so much she needs to fleece her customers? And then totally alienate them? Maybe this is just some of the crap that goes along with selling e-books? (Then count me out!)
I’ve certainly spent a lot of space on here moaning about the self/small publishing industry and trying to get my work accomplished. And there have been times I’ve been tempted to name names, but I have not, even though I would be naming businesses and not individuals. I try to think through my knee-jerk angry reactions.
It’s a bad day when escorts who want hard-to-find information are punished for their need by the very people supposedly helping them.
No, I don’t think I’m a saint of any kind, simply a business-person behaving as I expect to be treated. And besides, I’m selling a book. You can buy one or dozens, either way it’s just a book. Not much to argue about. Everything else I offer is free of charge. Maybe that’s stupid, but it’s how I’ve decided to do things. It sure seems to make business simple, though.
PS: The good looks and charm comment was a joke, FYI.
PPS: Buy dozens.
UPDATE: Amazon won this round. But the authorities quoted in the article certainly seem to believe Amazon won’t win every round. Not good news for any of us, even if the info requested isn’t posted online.