And Then There Was One: Barnes & Noble’s Lack of Customer Service

For a long time I have advocated buying ebooks from Barnes & Noble. Not because B&N was the cheapest or had the very largest selection (although I admit that I consider the argument that Amazon has more titles than B&N to be a specious one; after all, does it truly matter that one has 1.3 million titles and the other has 1.1 million titles, as long as the store where I shop has the title I want to buy? How likely is it that I will read even 10% of the available titles — or, more importantly, even have an interest in 90% of the titles that make up those numbers?), but because I do not want to see a retail ebook world that is essentially Amazon only.

Alas, B&N seems to be doing its darndest to give the ebook world to Amazon on a silver platter.

In recent weeks, I was given a Nook Tablet as a gift. It is an excellent device and works smoothly with the B&N ebookstore. I think B&N’s hardware is excellent and even many of the critics rate the B&N devices as the better devices.

Between the Amazon and B&N ebookstores, I prefer the layout of the B&N store. Whenever I visit the Amazon store, I feel like I am being assaulted by an infomercial for some unneeded and undesired product that shows at 2 a.m. on local TV. I know that Amazoners praise the one-click buying system at Amazon, but I don’t find the two-click system at B&N overtaxing.

The bottom line is that I think B&N has a lot going for it, yet it is handing over to Amazon a little bit more of the ebook world daily. B&N has a significant flaw, one that it appears unwilling to address, or perhaps it is simply unable to address. That flaw is customer service.

As I reported in an earlier post (see The Tablet and Me: The Nook Tablet), the impetus for giving me the Nook Tablet was the deal combining a New York Times subscription with a discounted Tablet. Those of us who read the Times know that it is a morning newspaper — it is meant to be read at the start of the day, not at the end. When I had the print subscription, the paper was usually delivered by 4 a.m. and no later than 5:30 a.m., allowing me to read the Times at breakfast (I am an early riser). This delivery schedule was met day after day, year after year, the exceptions generally being when Mother Nature intervened and prevented timely delivery. If the Times was not delivered on time, a quick telephone call resulted in a credit to my account. No-hassle customer service.

What I get now from B&N is the electronic version — bits and bytes sent over the Internet — that is, when I get it. Some days it arrives by 5:30 a.m., but never earlier; some days it arrives by noon or later; some days, it doesn’t arrive in a timely way at all. So when it doesn’t arrive by 5:30 a.m., which is already late as far as I am concerned, what can I do? Turns out: nothing.

You can’t contact B&N customer service because it isn’t open; it has banker’s hours. When it does open and you do get someone, as helpful as the initial reps may want to be, they are hamstrung by B&N policies, at least as communicated by the customer service representatives.

On one occasion, when the Times hadn’t arrived by noon, I called and asked for a credit. The customer service rep tried to give me one but couldn’t, and so very politely passed me to a supervisor. At first, the supervisor told me I’d have to take the matter up with the Times. I replied that it was B&N that sold me the Times, it is B&N that I pay every month for the subscription, and it is B&N that delivers the Times to me, so why would I contact the Times?

The supervisor then told me that it was my problem, not B&N’s; that B&N doesn’t give refunds even when it doesn’t deliver the purchased item; that there would be no credit of any kind; and I “had to eat it.” I suggested that not only was this theft, but more importantly to B&N, it was giving paying customers another reason to abandon B&N for its arch-rival Amazon.

I understand that we are not talking a lot of money — about 40¢ — but it is the idea that B&N simply doesn’t care that matters (and I’d be less concerned if this happened once rather than several times over the course of a few weeks). After the incident, B&N sent me a satisfaction survey. I wrote of my dissatisfaction and even gave my telephone number so B&N could followup. I’m still waiting for that followup. In my business, if I get a hint of dissatisfaction, I’m on the telephone trying to do damage control. It doesn’t always work, but I try. B&N seems impervious to the idea of customer satisfaction.

(This disinterest in customer satisfaction goes back to the beginning of B&N’s latest foray into ebooks. You may remember my complaints about how B&N treated its club members when it introduced the original Nook. B&N refused to give members the 10% discount on the Nook, claiming that, even at $259 per Nook, it was losing money. Not long thereafter, the price dropped to $150 before going even lower. I had wanted to buy two Nooks and ended up buying none.)

Is Amazon better? I only know what I read and what I read is that had I had the same problem with Amazon, something would have been done. I also suspect that Amazon would deliver the newspaper on time. But it really begs the question to ask if Amazon’s customer service is better — it can’t be worse! And this is what B&N doesn’t seem to understand. Customers will put up with a lot if they think they are being fairly treated; if they think they are not being fairly treated, they will put up with little to nothing — and will let others know of their dissatisfaction.

The point is that it is these little slights to customers that build into major frustrations, and it is these little things that should be taken care of immediately. You are better off putting out the fire while it is still in the BBQ than waiting for it to ignite the forest — a lesson that B&N sorely needs to learn.

I am happy with my Nook Tablet; I really cannot say enough good things about the device to express my pleasure with it (I like it so much that it has been a month since I last used my Sony 950). I enjoy shopping at B&N’s ebookstore (although I dread what customer service I will get should I buy the wrong ebook or an ebook that is missing material). I especially like that I can automatically download ebook purchases to my Nook Tablet, as well as download those purchases to my desktop computer for storage (and that it is easy to strip the DRM from B&N ebooks so they can also be read on my Sony 505 or 950). All of this is to the positive.

Yet the problems with customer service, the limited hours of operation, and the attitude that the customer is to blame is irritating. I’m gradually getting closer to leaving B&N in the dust; each time I call customer service and am told I need to “deal with it,” and am displayed B&N’s indifference to customer satisfaction, I get closer to saying “Enough already!” What holds me back is my unwillingness to give the ebook market over to a single gorilla ebookstore. But what I want may be of no matter as B&N seems to be working diligently to turn another customer into an ex-customer.

Ultimately, whether B&N survives the ebook wars will rest on its customer service. So far, it is losing.


  1. fjtorres16 May, 2012

    Simple solution: ask Andrys to run a poll among her Kindle following. 😉

    Or post a query at the Kindle Forums asking when their NYT editions get delivered.
    It might be a B&N problem or it could be a NYT problem.

    I do agree that is you got noon delivery (or worse) Amazon would refund you rather than lose your good will.

    You may also need to consider dropping the NYT for another digital paper. Or stick to the print edition.

    1. Barry Ostrow2 September, 2013

      This weekend I hit a brick wall with B&N technical service. Twice I tried to download two different books and twice the downloads didn’t work. Yesterday I got stuck with a tech in Manilla who could barely speak English. After an hour, she couldn’t help me so she issued credit for the book. Same thing today. The online chat tech tried to transfer me, but ended up cutting me off. 800-TheBook proved to be a commercial for Dish TV. If the live tech in the bookstore can’t help me tomorrow it’s sayonara Nook.

  2. Fbone16 May, 2012

    I couldn’t find on the B&N website the delivery times. Amazon says 5 – 5:30am. It couldn’t hurt calling the NYT to see if there is anything they can do. Even if there isn’t you can state your displeasure.

    Looking at the reviews at both B&N and Amazon there is much dissatisfaction with the service. Complaints vary but formatting and missing pages are common.

  3. karen wester newton16 May, 2012

    I had the original Kindle, where you used a wheel to control the “cursor.” It was really easy to buy a book by mistake on that Kindle, when you really only meant to get the free sample, because the damn wheel would slip as you pressed down on it and you would click “buy this book” instead of “send sample”. They had a fail-safe in that you had to confirm you meant to buy the book, but the wheel could slip on that, too. When I called Amazon to tell them I had bought a book without intending to, they immediately credited my account and asked me to delete the book from my Kindle. No wait, no questions, no problem. Amazon seems to make bad corporate-level decisions sometimes (e.g., deleting 1984 from people’s Kindles without warning) but they must train their customer service people that their only goal in life is to make the customer happy, because that’s what they try to do.

  4. DavidW16 May, 2012

    I think that BN actively hates their customers! A few years ago I ordered a big cd box set from them (the complete works of Bach) because they were only ones left that had it in stock. They sent me the wrong box set, but refused to refund without a 20% restocking fee.

    Fastforward a few years and I’m convinced that they’ve changed their ways and I bought a Nook STR. Well most of a year goes by without any problems, but recently when I picked up the Nook Glow I had a couple of problems and had to contact customer service. The first was an ebook was missing the cover art. They didn’t even contact me back they simply ignored my request and then asked me to fill out a satisfaction survey.

    But after I decided that I didn’t want to live with a delicate screen, I contact them by phone to get the requisition # and correct address to return my nook glow. The CSR told me that I did not need a requisition # so I had to read off of the website the whole without a # you will not be refunded. Finally she did her job, and it took her a whopping 40 minutes to get me the # and return address! I spent 40 minutes on the phone just to make a stupid return!!?!!?! Now they should have received the device a week ago but there has been no email confirmation that they have received it nor have they refunded me yet.

    While I was waiting during that time I googled up to see if any others had any problems with BN customer support and discovered a charming story of someone serving overseas where BN shipped him a nook when he bought it, but when they agreed to replace the faulty device under warranty THEY REFUSED TO SHIP A REPLACEMENT. Seriously that is how they treat our soldiers overseas.

    Amazon on the other hand has always resolved my problems to my satisfaction within half an hour, and it is very, very easy to return things.

  5. burger flipper16 May, 2012

    Amazon does take the “customer is always right” approach. They refund any ebook purchase within 7 days (and it can be requested online w/o speaking to anyone. They also habitually replace broken kindles, in or out of the warranty window. When they don’t outright replace them, they offer discounts on a replacement.

    I actually own a Nook. Do not own a Kindle. But I buy my ebooks thru Amazon.

    So if B&N does take a loss on Nooks, I guess I am their worst sort of customer.

  6. Doug16 May, 2012

    B&N’s customer service used to be pretty good (albeit still with limited hours). But in the run-up to the NOOK Color release, B&N outsourced their customer service to the Philippines. It hasn’t been the same since.

    Is there *any* company that can honestly say that their outsourced customer service does a good job?

    The best way to get customer service from B&N is to go to a B&N store. Sometimes the bookseller can help you directly, otherwise they can use their direct number to the US-based support people who *can* help.

    Periodicals on NOOK have always been problematic. Personally, I don’t subscribe to them.

    Oh, as for Amazon having more e-book titles: that’s mainly in non-fiction. When it comes to e-books, B&N is primarily a fiction seller; their selection of non-fiction e-books is quite limited and tends to be unusually expensive.

    1. fjtorres16 May, 2012

      With the current economic conditions, quite a few companies are bringing previously outsourced call-center jobs to the US. The jobs are finding more takers than before and the companies have discovered that locals don’t have to escalate support calls anywhere near as often so they actually process more calls per low-level employee.
      Not sure how good that is in the greater scheme of things but it should result in better support for consumers.

    2. Sondra C19 September, 2012

      I agree with you on all counts, I started to have a problem the moment I opened the B&N Nook box. It was not assembled and led me to believe it had already been returned by a disgruntled owner, I have had problems with the nook from day one, I complain to service but no one wants to listen or even care. I want to return it and am offered an already returned Nook, I paid full price and I should get a brand new Nook, They read my previous complaints and do nothing to help.

      Amazon is the best place to buy any thing, They are polite and you can return it with out a problem, They are customer oriented whereas B&N shove customers away. I can see their stores closing pretty soon. As you said they are not customer oriented.

      They just do not care. I am going to contact the Corporate Office . I did this once and will do it again. If everyone would take their complaints and email directly to Corporate. I think they are hiding but keep up trying. You can find the Office of the President if you do not give up.

      I am also going to write a blog similar to yours as to B&N not caring about Customers.

      I will keep with Amazon. they are the best.

  7. Janice in GA16 May, 2012

    I refuse to buy any more ebooks from B&N unless they are the ONLY store that has an ebook I want. Sometimes it takes an HOUR to be able to download a book that I just purchased. And I kinda hate their web layout.

    Honestly, I really just hate them.

  8. Mike Cane16 May, 2012

    I have not spent one cent at Amazon. Yet I have over 3,000 (that is not a typo) FREE Kindle books from them.

    Because I created an account years ago and forgot about it, I wound up creating a second account and this has sometimes caused their systems to become confused, switching me from my new active account to the old one. The old one with a password I’d long forgotten.

    Within *ten minutes* of asking for someone to phone me, they did. And we were able to get me back into the correct account.

    This has happened *twice*.

    I mean, I’m basically *costing them money* and they’ve treated me like a King!

    Barnes & Noble better wake up. Amazon knows how to get free and unsolicited testimonials even out of *non*-customers like me. And if you ask anyone on Twitter, they’ll tell you I only rave about something being good when it’s *deserved*.

  9. Peter16 May, 2012

    I’m going to blame the OP here.


    I’m quite frequently delighted and amazed by Barnes and Noble’s customer service. I ordered a book from Tikatok and received a free ebook they did not advertise and I did not request simply because I put the order in too late for Mother’s Day delivery, I ordered some toys for my nephew and ended up receiving one for free, and I saw that they were on Twitter a couple weeks ago giving away free $5 gift certificates to people for just mentioning their marketplace service.

    My secret is: I don’t call the customer service line with oddball requests I’m not entitled to and I KNOW they will not and cannot grant.

    First of all, Amazon has a policy of offering refunds on digital goods, which is nice but irrelevant, Barnes and Noble does not. This is not a secret- it is very clearly defined in the terms of service as well as FAQ on the website. So right away, you are wasting your time, and the CSR representative’s time trying to get one. It would be like me calling Amazon and trying to get them to credit a return to my paypal account, or open a store.

    But at least there is some precedent for a simple ebook refund- the competitor does it- you went two or three steps further than that on the odd-sense of entitlement scale:

    1. You refused to even speak to the NYT.

    Why not? They may have actually been at fault, they receive the lions share of the revenue from your subscription, and they are the ones who have a delayed issue refund policy in the first place!

    2. You don’t appear to know what you wanted Barnes and Noble to do.

    If you just wanted to lodge a formal complaint about the issues being delayed- they gave you the forms to do that. If you wanted to return the entire nook/ NYT subscription combo the CSR might actually be able to do that- even if it is against policy- because taking unit returns and cancelling subscriptions is a fairly common request and normal function of business.

    But you wanted to somehow keep the subscription and the nook but have just the cost of a single issue refunded- which you calculate to be sixty cents, but I have no idea where you are getting that number from since I would have guessed 29.7 cents (Barnes and Noble’s 30% cut of the 99 cent single issue price) or 38 cents ($240/yr NYT subscription- $100 nook discount / 365 days per year).

    It’s not the cents though- it’s the fact that they would have no system in place for even processing such a bizarre and unexpected request. It would be like going to McDonald’s and asking for a nickel because you thought the pickle on your Big Mac was too small. Or ordering something from Amazon and trying to return just the box itself for a refund because you thought it was too big.

    It’s just nutty, and I think Barnes and Noble customer service deserves a gold star just for not hanging up on you.

    1. fjtorres16 May, 2012

      A bit harsh but defensible, I suppose.
      Still, let’s say it *is* Mr Adin’s fault for expecting good service from B&N.
      But at that point, his basic thesis kicks in: if B&N doesn’t do good service and customers are supposed to know it and factor it in, why shouldn’t they factor it in by taking their business elsewhere? Say Kobo, Apple, or Amazon?

      All four players are selling *ecosystems*, not just hardware, and not just content.
      It’s a package deal: hardware, software, content, and service.
      And service is the glue that holds it together.

      I would suggest that, at a time that reader sales seem to be plateau-ing and repeat/upgrade business is going to be the main source o hardware sales growth, telling customers not to expect good service is basically telling them to go elsewhere. Why settle for an incomplete package when you can get a full combo?

      1. Peter16 May, 2012

        Yeah, it was pretty harsh- and that was after I self-edited for a while.

        I’m not saying Mr. Adin shouldn’t expect good service, I’m saying that Barnes and Noble DOES offer good service- his complaints simply don’t make any sense.

        Mr. Adin has written 3 articles in a row complaining about “poor” customer service at Barnes and Noble and here are his beefs-

        1) They didn’t offer BN members 20% off a nook when they first came out.

        2) They didn’t create a way to gift emagazines, which was awkward for his use case of the Nook discount NYT deal.

        3) They don’t give him free money when his digital newspaper is late.

        My rebuttal to all three points- nobody does these things, including Amazon, why are you singling out Barnes and Noble?

        On the one hand, I think Rich would make a fantastic membership director for Barnes and Noble- they’re looking for one on Linkedin, BTW- because these are some really innovative ideas for discount programs. But on the other hand, why is he UPSET that they aren’t doing things he just invented?

        Then I feel like I’ve gone to crazy town because I see people nodding along, like these are actually valid complaints.

        I do have to admit though, that I am totally perplexed about why people like Amazon’s customer service so much. When I think of customer service I think of a friendly, helpful and knowledgeable, but not overly pushy staff. Amazon doesn’t have salespeople, they don’t even have delivery people- so they get a 0 in my book. I suppose people like their complaint line and return policy, but in my whole life, I’ve never tried to return anything except clothes that don’t fit or waste time calling a complaint line so I don’t care about those things.

        Perhaps its just a rorschach test because people don’t want to admit they’re just cheap and too lazy to leave the house or they like Amazon’s cloud technology.

        1. Nate Hoffelder17 May, 2012

          Your first point is not completely true. Amazon covers the Kindle in their Prime membership. There’s no discount, but they did ship it free when it was fist released. Of course, now shipping is free on the Kindle, but back then it cost money.

          I think you missed the point of the second point. B&N will let you gift the Nook, just not the bundled subscription. IMO that was poor planning on their part.

          And since you’re bringing up the older posts, you also skipped over the poor tech support B&N provided when Rich first tried to get it to connect to Wifi. That too supports his argument about the poor customer service.

    2. Nate Hoffelder16 May, 2012

      I disagree. I think B&N should have to follow through on what they promise. And it turns out that B&N did promise that the newspaper would be delivered by a certain time. Here’s what the press release said about the NYPost coming to the Nook:

      New editions will automatically download to users devices early in the morning.

      That’s a promise made by B&N and I don’t see why they shouldn’t have to honor it. When an issue isn’t delivered on time they owe a credit.

  10. Stephen16 May, 2012

    Funny, I started an e subscription to The Economist for exactly the opposite reason. They could never deliver the print edition on time (thursdays or friday). Rarely it would come on Saturday, mostly on the following Tuesday. It is a newspaper and it is late if it is not at my home at most a day or so from Thursday; however The Economist does not consider it late until the following Thursday. The e version from B&N always came to my nook color on Thursday.

  11. vaughnmr16 May, 2012

    I think my opinion of B&N can be summed up well by Peter’s comment: “I don’t call support with “oddball requests” (like late delivery) and he already knows they can’t deal with it, so it’s ok to punt and lay the blame on the customer. Now outsource the support to another country (good luck with that, try to have a conversation), well you can see what happens. I give B&N 6 mo. to 1 yr and they will be dead in the water.

  12. Andrys17 May, 2012

    The idea of asking subscribers to respond in the Kindle forums (Amazon’s and also would be a good idea. I already know that Amazon’s customer service is officially a heavy focus and B&N’s is not good. I’ve done B&N boards fairly heavily because I own a NookColor.

    I do know that Amazon would accept the feedback on the NYTimes delivery delays and that they’d be more communicative on what is done, where possible, in those circumstances. Delays -were- not infrequent during the initial launches of Amazon’s periodical subscription offerings.

    I saw your worry over asking for a refund on an e-book that is missing pages. B&N has taken flak for having a rigid e-book return policy that is just =NO returns for any reason=, including missing pages that people had reported.

    There have been a couple of rare occasions I read about when they’ve made an exception because the situation was egregious and many were discussing it. But they ARE very rigid about these things.
    Amazon, on the other hand, has an official policy that if you find a flaw with an e-book, you can call them and return the e-book within 7 days of having purchased it. I’ve done it twice and had no trouble doing so, and time was just taken to explain why so they could log the reason for the publisher, and they thanked me for reporting it. They train their customer service reps to be customer-friendly. I haven’t had that impression with B&N. I nevertheless buy a member subscription from them each year. I like a physical book store (one is near me) and I want them to survive, but their customer service policies online will not help them in that. I’ve had very good customer service IN their brick & morter stores though.

    These are policies available online and they do tell the difference between their approaches to customer service. With Amazon you can get a return call usually within one minute with their contact-us button. Not so with B&N.

    I think it’s made a big difference in customer loyalty.

    B&N does have better hardware specs for its Nook Tablet, but its fairly quiet rules on how it’s used (I posted to you on this in your thread recommending your Nook Tablet) show a company that has a device far less open than the Kindle Tablet with less interest in what the customer would want. If you can’t find my reply to you, I’ll try to go find it later.

    Here’s a sort of Russian Roulette set of links I made:
    At any time, run these to do a google search for either of these companies on the words “customer service” to see what comes up.

    Barnes & Noble’s:

  13. […] week I wrote about my experience with Barnes & Noble’s customer service and how frustrating I found B&N’s attitude. Ted Weinstein twitted about the article and […]

  14. Syn9 June, 2012

    Well I know this is an old post. A good one to Rich. I thought I’d chime in here.

    I work for Barnes and customer service and I thought I’d address some of the things that has been said.

    First, our hands are tied by Barnes and Nobles policies. Most of the policies are so bad that I won’t even shop with them and I do all my business with Amazon.

    If you by a Barnes and Noble Gift card you can’t use it for ebooks unless you have a credit card also on file. Most customers don’t understand this and some point out its not this way with Amazon. That part I’m not sure about but I know you don’t need a Credit card to get a free book from Amazon but you do from Barnes and Noble.

    I think the no refunds on ebooks for any reason is crap. As one example, a customer read the description for a book online and bought it. The only problem is, while the description was in english, the book was in spanish. No where on the site did it say this book was in spanish. Could I refund her? Nope, customer was sol. So yes, the only reason we can refund is if the customer meant to buy the hardcover or paperback and bought the Ebook by accident. It doesn’t matter if the issue with the book is our fault. You bought it, your stuck with it.

    Take the example I just gave, then the customer fills out a survey. Its the Agents that get penalized because of the companies policy and its totally unfair.

    I know Rich is worried about it being a Amazon only world, but what is Barnes and Noble doing for the customer? Don’t get me wrong, as an employee, I like my job. I’d like my job a lot more if BN was pro-consumer but they aren’t.

    I do agree that Nook Tablet/Color is better then the Kindle Fire (Hard ware, not software). I think the Kindle e-ink reader is better then the Simple Touch.. mainly because it has more robust features, like indexing and phrase searching across your entire library.

    I think the Agency model is allowing BN to be lazy. They don’t have to compete on pricing and apparently on customer service either. If things return to the whole sale model I really think its their policies that will send people running and not so much the higher prices.

    By the way, I’m in the US, but most of the Nook Tech support is in Taiwan.

  15. john23 August, 2012

    who the hell calls for a forty cent credit cuz a newspaper is late? the opportunity cost of the phone call alone is more than forty cents! i guess if an e-book is missing a cover and it’s a particularly sentimental one, i can see a call to inquire, but seriously, my ebook doesn’t have cover art? must be a google library book. lol. we seek perfection in the strangest of places……

  16. Sondra C19 September, 2012

    I need to respond to some of the posts. The very first day I received my Nook and it was not set up thus someone had already returned it.

    I called them and said I want to return it and they told me they would charge me $65.00 to return it. I did not know whether to laugh or cry. They sent me a nook that obviously someone else had returned. I paid full price and now they wanted me to pay more to return it. That is really very bad customer service. I think you all should agree.

    I will never buy another thing at B&N and will never pay them to buy or read a book. I will finish those I already have d/l and put aside the Nook. I learned a bad lesson this time but what can I do…I will not make that bad lesson again.

    btw I only have the Nook a month or less. They took my money and never looked back. I see they did the same thing to others. They will close their doors soon I am sure. If enough people complain they have to read it. I am going to buy the new Amazon when it comes out.

  17. Sean R23 October, 2012

    I’m leaving the B&Nverse as soon as my NYTimes subscription is up. I got the Nook as part of the Times’ promotion. The delivery has been abysmal. There has been only one month of timely (before 7am) delivery. This morning is the 4th day in a row the paper’s been late. I’m writing at 9:45am – still no paper. Customer service blames the Times. I have called the Times about this. They say it’s on B&N – that they gave them the digital version for dissemination on time.
    I was initially pretty happy to be supporting a tablet and content-delivery company that wasn’t Amazon. But not now. Sorry B&N couldn’t be bothered to make it work. (I have a very bad feeling about how their Microsoft backing is going to go.)

  18. Looking back on 2012; forecasting for 20137 January, 2013

    […] clunky interface and poor search functionality of the Barnes and Noble bookstore, coupled with B&N’s poor customer service and diminishing consumer interest in the Nook eReader, has seen some indies suggest the B&N […]

  19. Blue Event2 February, 2013

    Be advised that a B and N membership can be hacked, with the info stored there used to make fraudulent purchases, and Barnes and Noble responds by outright disinterest characterized by a brazen disregard, just before they claim to be transferring you to some unrelated department, but really are trying to leave you hanging. Happens every time you try to ‘chat’ online with them. (You should always go directly to your cc company to deal with B and N fraud). I think the whole company is about to fold, and no one anywhere in it’s employment cares what happens, as their jobs are as good as gone.

  20. Stacey G.8 June, 2013

    Just found this article but had to say that I just had my first and last experience with B&N customer support. I was given a B&N gift card but I own a Kindle, so I thought I’d give the Nook for PC a go. I tried a free book for starters and right away got an error message about technical difficulties and to try again later. Later was no better so I tried chatting with customer support. The first person just abandoned me in the middle of chat – window was open for 10 minutes and he never came back. I tried again and the second person declared my problem resolved after making one suggestion that did not work, and I told him that, but he said he was glad it was resolved and disconnected me. I will use my gift card to buy something physical in-store but will never give B&N a penny again and will also never feel guilty again for shopping at Amazon.

  21. Rich B8 July, 2013

    Like most others in this thread, i enloy the Nook Color device and it works well for the web. Its short comings are trying to use it as a phone and it has no camera. The largest issue as everyone has said here is the awful customer service. I first gried chat to resolve a problem with an ebook I purchased. When I bought the book, I was stunned to learn it had 6 pages and could be read in 5 minutes. I paid one dollar for it and i know thats not much money but had I known I would not have purchased it. There is no way to tell how long a book from Shop. It must be done by switching to the website. I found this out after contacting customer service.

    I tried using Chat to my great displeasure. I waited maybe a minute before I saw i was connected to Doty. GREAT, i tnought. I started immediately typing in my question about how to locafe ghe number of pages in an ebook when i got a statement drom Doty thaf she would only wait two mintues for my question and then terminate the session because she had other customers. I had spent less than a minute typing my question from my Nook. I hit send almost immediately. I waited 5 minutes for a reply. I coulsd see that I was still connected. I then see a message from here saying that there was a way and which book was i buying. I ended the session and decided to call instead. After less than 5 minutes Inspoke to a man whos e name I cant recall. I explained the problem about the inability to tell how long an ebook is. He curiously asked for the serial number of my device. I didnt know how to find it and so i asked him to help me find it. Once that was done, he asked me to go to a book and scroll to the bottom of the book description. I did that and lo and behold there is no indication of the number of pages. He said he was surprised by that, said it would be a good idea go havetbat feature. He had to go to his own Nook device to make that discovery. I then mentioned the problem with Chat and Doty. I was tbinking the problem may have been lag time buf the man i was speaking to suggested that some customers are slow typists. Even if that were true which in my case it isnt, even with the Nook Color keypad. There is no excuse for a two minute warning. The man even admitted that other customers had the same issue. When will BN get tbat quick anx knowledgeable customer service will determine success or failure.

  22. Mary bragger13 July, 2013

    Have had excellent service from B& N twice in dealing with technical problems with my nook(I actually still have the original nook and love it). Major problem when I received an e gift for Mother’s Day tried several times to retrieve my gift without success. On 3 0ccassions spent total of 3 hours without success. Yes yes they were always so sorry went to the B &N store 2x. Finally the best they could do was say they would credit the senders credit card. Still no Mother’s Day gift for me. I did tell themseveral times that I woul accept a $10gift for the $11 book and call it even NO ONE at B&N had the authority to release a $10 gift card. Finally I just gave up. Just read that one of their CEO’s resigned. I see why they are having trouble. My advice. Don’t ever send an e gift. Stick with a small amt gift card and spend it quickly. Hope B&N doesn’t go the way of Borders but I’m not too hopeful

  23. Lisa Wilson14 August, 2013

    Bad experience at B&N this weekend. I bought a buy 1 get 1 free eBook from the in store promotion. After I got home, I found the clerk had charged me for both books and entered a wrong book. I used the online CS and was told to go back to the store to fix the problem. Back at the store, they said to call CS because the receipt says ‘Item Not Eligible for Return’. The following day, after an hour on the phone with the Online division, they told me to go back to the store and have the store call them!!

    That evening, I posted to B&N on Facebook where they removed my post and told me to call Customer Service Retail. Today, I called CS Retail and they told me to go back to the store and speak to a manager.

    Still out the money, do not want the book and faced with another trip to the store.

    To avoid this catch-22, review your receipt every time and refuse to pay if the clerk gets it wrong!! I am very unhappy with this B&N service – they need to coordinate their knowledge and problem handling skills across their departments.

    Not happy with Barnes & Noble at all.

  24. JTex26 September, 2013

    Barnes and Nolbes and UPS= 2 world class losers:
    Wanted to make a time sensitive book order online. Misleading BnN ad said 1-2 days shipping. After jumping through numerous hoops to get to the final checkout, informed that “express” shipping [from 100 miles away] would take 3-6 days and cost almost twice as much as the 4-14 days snail’s pace that “standard” shipping took and it could only be done through the thugs at UPS, who selectively trashed the only box marked “Fragile,” when my son shipped 7 boxes across country, ie, neither is to be trusted.

  25. P.Matzelle5 June, 2014

    Thank you for the F/U. I must say that I am not impressed with your refund amount. Unfortunately I thought there was a free trial for the magazine and not a continuous subscription. Your store representative informed me that you could document that none of the subscription issues had been downloaded to my Nook and that should indicate that I did not understand what the consequences were from using the B&N services to view a subscription without purchase. Unfortunately I had nothing but trouble trying to use the Nook and I would not recommend purchase to anyone. It has not been charged for at least 2 years. I am tremendously disappointed in the B&N services regarding this refund and will certainly utilize this disappointment when considering using a B&N purchase in the future. Add to my displeasure your ABSOLUTE LACK of customer service !!!!
    Thank you
    From: NOOK by Barnes & Noble [mailto:[email protected]]
    Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2014 10:37 AM
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: Your Barnes & Noble Order # 303297169

    Dear Patricia Matzelle,

    A refund has been processed for the unused portion of your NOOK Subscription. Credit has been issued in the amount of $2.15 to the original form of payment that you provided.

    The following item(s) were refunded:
    Product Description Qty
    Popular Mechanics 1

    * Please note your refund amount may reflect a partial credit.
    This amount $2.15 will be refunded to your Credit Card.

    We appreciate your business and look forward to you visiting us again soon at

    — Barnes & Noble

    Help | Contact Us

    View our Privacy Policy.

    © 2014 Barnes & Noble. All Rights Reserved.
    BN.COM Customer Preferences, 76 Ninth Avenue New York, NY 10011

  26. Tunisia Rader8 June, 2014

    I was being charged for a subscription I didn’t authorize and then after deleting my card account they still went into my account and took money. I spoke to them for two weeks straight everyday speaking to the same 4 managers whom kept telling I had to wait 1-5 days for a response from a real a manager being they didn’t have enough clout to refund or fix anything

  27. Colby Menning8 August, 2014

    Returned book in bag with receipt and VISA card . Barnes and NOble collected cash by debit off my VISA and then gave me my return receipt back but IT WAS A STORE CREDIT
    WHICH I CAN EASILY LOSE. Then you are beached. The cashier was also the store manager who said nothing of a store credit.
    My opinion is that this is a predatory practice providing B & N m;millions of dollars of consumer cash annually and consumers should avoid trading with them.

  28. WhoMustNotBeNamed28 October, 2014

    I was a Tech Support for B&N and I am based in Manila.

    For all of you who say we cannot speak English: I’m sorry but why the heck would we even apply if we cannot? Second, we are bounded by the rules and regulations of the company. Just because we cannot meet your demands does not mean we cannot understand you nor does it mean we cannot communicate what you want in a clear manner. If for one second, and just one second, you understand us by listening and understanding why we cannot guarantee your request, I’m sure you would see that we are doing our utmost best in solving your problem.

    The problem here lies with how you guys just want to blame us, the representatives from Manila, in everything damn wrong things happening when you cannot even think that maybe, and just maybe, how we respond is just based on WHAT THE COMPANY WANTS AND HOW WE WERE TRAINED.

    That’s all and have a good day.

  29. […] & Noble, for example, struggled with  handling the bundle offers as gifts and in delivering the content in a timely fashion, but their program ultimately failed when the Nook imploded in late 2012 and early […]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to top