Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Answering Google Searchers

We've already established that I like to check out my traffic stats. Of course, there's that little section that tells you what search terms were used to find your site. I've seen plenty of sites simply lampoon people for searching things. I'm going to do things a little different and try to answer some questions.

Ever since I wrote my complaint and follow-up about Chegg my blog has started to come up when people try to find out more about book rentals. I'm still a big advocate of this, it is usually the cheapest way to get textbooks. So I'm going to focus on that right now, since we're right at the beginning of the semester.

"chegg crappy service"
It makes me a little upset with myself that this was the top search term for my site last month. I was venting after a bad experience. I want to take a moment to clarify that one experience doesn't define a company with hundreds of thousands of customers. If you hit my site because of this I hope you read that and let it sink in. It is also worth noting that eventually Chegg responded to my complaint, this indicates that up the chain people care and it's actually a sign of a good company to resolve issues like this eventually. While it can be terrible to be on the consumer end of these exchanges, we have to take the corporate side into account. Some extent of the treatment I received is there because Chegg must deal with fraudulent claims. There is always some friction required to push back and keep frauds from running wild.

"chegg charged me for full cost of book", "chegg lost book fee", "chegg missing book", "what happens if you dont return chegg books"
Chegg does charge fees for lost and damaged books. So do all book rental services. In fact, if you change the media you'll find that under certain conditions you'll be charged for the replacement of DVDs from Netflix or games from GameFly. It's a perfectly reasonable requirement and it is necessary for these service to stay in business. However, that does not excuse these services from providing their customers with reasonable due process to prove that the missing book is indeed the fault of the customer. Netflix is pretty good about this, they excuse a certain number of missing discs before they begin to bill you. They also monitor their distribution and return process closely to look for theft trends. I think there may be a problem with this process for Chegg. That doesn't excuse you if you lose a book. My suggestion is to thoroughly document the return process so that if something goes wrong you can easily demonstrate that it was beyond your control.

"what box do we use to return to chegg"
Ideally you'll save the box they shipped your book in. However, I realize that's not always possible. Use the smallest box that will fit your book while still allowing it to lay flat. I suggest you wrap it in newspaper and put something in the box to keep the book from bouncing around, which may damage the book. I returned the last book I had in an Amazon box and had no problems. If you can't find a box for free then you can buy one cheaply at a UPS store, the couple of dollars likely won't break the bank and it's still cheaper than buying used from most sources. You have to go to a UPS location to drop off the package anyway.

"quality of chegg books"
Chegg books seem no better or worse than any decent used books. I didn't have a problem with them at all. In fact, I've actually found some useful notes. I don't recall any books being pristine, but the economics books I rented were both in very good condition. Comparatively, the used books I've bought were no better. Also, I recently rented a book from BookRenter, which I was expecting to be in excellent condition since their policies are less lenient to abuse, and I found it was in no better quality than those I'd received from Chegg.

I hope that helps you wayward searchers. Next time it seems I should take up some questions about Hulu.