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How christianbook.com Mismanages Canadian Credits

Canadian consumers who purchase from christianbook.com generally enjoy a high level of customer service and support. But their system breaks down when they need to reverse a Canadian credit card purchase. Let me explain with an example. (The purchase is hypothetical, but the exchange rates are correct for the dates given.)

On October 1st “John” purchases a Bible. It’s a clearance item, with real leather, regular $199.99 on sale for only $99.99. He’s thrilled about his purchase.

He’s charged $99.99 + 25% flat rate shipping + 5% tax at an exchange rate of 1.30966. for a total of $171.88.

So far so good, right?

Something goes horribly wrong. The Bible arrives but it looks like it was run over by a truck in the warehouse. Or something similar. He phones right away only to be told that the Bible is no longer carried by Christian Book or by their supplier. Not realizing what is about to happen, John agrees to have his VISA or MasterCard credited while he considers a different Bible.

Not such a great plan, John, as you’re about to see.

On October 12th, John’s payment card is credited, but this time he’s not buying US currency, but he’s selling US currency, so the credit is processed at 1.20982.

He does get 13% tax credited however. He was only charged 5%, but he doesn’t realize this extra “blessing” at the time, and it’s just as well, because things are about to go south.

He is given $99.99 + 13% at 1.20966 for a total of $136.68.

That’s $35.20 less.

Do you see what’s missing? The $25 US flat rate shipping charge…

…As a Canadian bookseller, christianbook.com is my competitor. I have no reason to help them succeed, but believing that we’re all brothers and sisters united in purpose, I do, at least once every three weeks, notify them of database errors and the like.

With this situation I’ve reached out to them repeatedly by phone and by email and they just don’t get it. If you’re going to sell to Canada, you should have dedicated people responsible for sales to Canada, and you should make that person accessible. They don’t.

Also, remember that in the example, “John” got back an extra 8%. (This is based on several true stories, and I have received documentation.) That shows that their system is not airtight when it comes to how they process orders for Canada.

What should have happened?

They should have been aware that “John” was going to take a hit in the process — the exchange rate difference alone is about $13 — and told him to select another product or offered him an online store credit.

This has been the system at Christian Book for a long time, and I’ve experienced it myself, going back as many as ten years.

They have no intention of fixing it.

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