*This post was written in June, 2011. It is based on personal experience and judging by the comments, I am not the only one who has had issues.
I have previously recommended Fishpond for books, but after continuous bad customer service and having to chase them over everything I would advise against using their services.
I have dealt with them as a buyer, a seller and as an affiliate, each method having it’s own problems. I am over it. The most recent issue I have been trying to sort out for over a month and keep getting the run around, so I decided to outline for you all the many, many issues I have had with them and why you should not use them.
Using Fishpond as a buyer
1.) The site will say the book is available or can be dispatched within 2 days. I often got told I can expect it within a certain timeframe. It never happened. I regularly had to wait over a month, chase them constantly and it resulted in a lot of wasted time and energy. This is for new books, not used books from private sellers
2.) If they run out of a book you purchase, they don’t inform you. Instead, they take your money and it is only after you have pushed for months that they will admit they do not have the book and it will take 7 to 21 days to refund you.
3.) Many books are listed above RRP.
4.) Customer service is slow, almost non-existent. They do not answer anything directly and they do not respond promptly.
As a seller
1.) They used to offer 20cents credit when you listed a book with them. They changed this, which was fine. I had not used my credit, which did not bother me, but when I put up new listings, which I did not receive 20 cents for as per the new rules, if I later deleted those books, 20cents credit was deleted from my account. I deleted a bunch of books in bulk that I had listed after numerous issues. None of these I had received the 20cents credit for, but each one I was charged 20cents to remove, resulting in them saying I owed them money!
2.) They charge postage on your behalf, which does not really cover the cost of posting most books, plus they add the postage to the sale total THEN deduct their percentage, so they essentially give with one hand and take with the other. I have no issue with them taking a cut of the sale price. I have an issue with them taking a cut of the postage they charge customers “on your behalf”. That is just wrong and a lie.
3.) After books are sold it can take up to 21 days to get paid, they say 7 – 14, but most of the time I had to email asking when I will be paid and often it took over 1 month from when I sold it to when I got paid.
4.) Sometimes if a buyer purchases a book, then changes their mind and requests a refund you get stiffed. Fishpond expect you to send the book within 3 days, but if the customer cancels their order after that, after you have already sent it, you don’t get paid. Tough luck, you lost the book and made no money.
As an affiliate
1.) They do not pay you what you are clearly owed. In my affiliate account, I have money that should have been paid to me in November, 2010. Instead, I keep getting the runaround and they obviously have no intention of paying despite the paperwork clearly indicating I earned it.
2.) They do not answer emails promptly, if at all. I have waited days; other times over a week and had no response. Their customer service is atrocious and they could care less about you as an affiliate.
There have been more issues and at first, I didn’t mind so much because they often ran great discounts, free postage etc. They no longer do this. Plus, when you got paid 20cents to list a book with them and it was so easy to list I didn’t mind. I got my first few affiliate payments, despite having to chase one, so I was ok. But they gradually went from bad to terrible and now, I would not recommend them to anyone.