On May 19, 2014 I ordered two books through abebooks.co.uk.
One book (from WorldofBooks) was described as being in excellent condition ("The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged.")
and the other (from Greener Books) was only described as "We believe you will be completely satisfied with our quick and reliable service. All orders are dispatched as swiftly as possible! Buy with confidence! " which led me to believe it was in good condition.
But when the books arrived I found that neither of them was in an acceptable condition.
The book described as "excellent" was in fact a battered ex-library copy with a torn and creased cover, first page missing - it could only be described as being in "a fair condition for a relatively low price".
The other book had its front page half ripped out and was also a worn ex-library copy (with library stamping).
(I believe that ex-library books should always be disclosed as such in the description, so that I, as the buyer, can make an informed decision.)
My complaints to customer service of abebooks.co.uk and subsequently the booksellers were initially answered, but there was a poor response after that. Replies did not come, or only after further attempts. Several times, the response showed complete misunderstanding of the problem described.
In this process both sellers agreed (June 5 and June 10) that I should be refunded, and given the condition of the books and the cost of return postage (much more than the value of the books), I should not return the books but be refunded the original cost.
This was actually in accordance with their stated policy about refund/return of "books not as described".
And this was an acceptable solution to me.
However, no refunds arrived.
On June 24 and again on June 30 I contacted the sellers and abebooks.co.uk customer service to check about the refunds not being given, and experienced more difficulties with lack of reply from customer service of the booksellers and of abebooks.co.uk itself.
Abebooks.co.uk did actually process one of the refunds - but for the wrong amount - not the original cost, as agreed, but for the original cost plus an amount equal to their original postage cost (not the actual cost of postage for me) for the book to be returned. In fact, this total amount would not even cover returning the book by surface mail - which is not an acceptable arrangement for me, and was not what we had earlier agreed to. Why should I be the one to lose money when the fault (in describing the book misleadingly) was theirs?
The other bookseller - I am still waiting (July 5) for their agreed refund to be paid - but their customer service has not yet responded with any understanding of the problem.
So if consumers do not want to waste their money and time and get ripped off by Abebooks.co.uk, they should avoid buying books there, especially from sellers like WorldofBooks and Greener Books in particular.
There are plenty of good, honest and efficient booksellers out there - but Abebooks.co.uk is NOT one of them - it is a big rip-off!
Postscript:. The problems were finally resolved by Abebooks.co.uk customer service on July 11 - by processing refunds of my initial payments and not requiring the wrongly described books to be returned at my cost. As a customer, I feel it should not have been so difficult or have taken so long (4-5 weeks) to get these problems fixed - problems that should not have occurred in the first place.