Abel's Copies Won't Issue A Refund Even After Selling You The Wrong Product

Abel’s Copies is standing by their strict “No Refunds” policy even after ordering the wrong course packet for reader David. The workers at the off-campus bookstore near the University of Texas at Austin insisted there was only one instructor for David’s course and that they couldn’t order a new course packet unless David paid in advance. When David got home, he realized that Abel’s sold him the wrong packet. He called the store and learned that Abel’s had the right packet in stock for $25 less than he paid—but Abel’s refused to issue a refund…

David writes:

I feel as though I’ve just been taken advantage of, and, being a daily reader of the Consumerist, thought I could use some advice.

I’m currently a student at the University of Texas at Austin, and was told by one of my instructors that I needed to buy a course packet at an off-campus copy shop. I went to the copy shop, Abel’s Copies, and asked the employee behind the counter for the course packet for my class. I told them the course number, but could not remember the name of my instructor – I had, up until that point, only been to that class twice. They told me that there was only one instructor for the course number I’d specified, that they were currently out of copies, and that I’d need to prepay if I wanted to come pick it up the next day. I paid, received an order confirmation, and left the store mildly annoyed that I’d have to make the trek back the next day.

However, something didn’t feel right. As soon as I got home, I got on my laptop to make sure the course packet I’d ordered matched my instructor – sure enough, it didn’t. I immediately called Abel’s Copies, and was told that the course packet I ACTUALLY needed was in stock, and that I could come by and trade my order confirmation for the correct packet.

I made the walk back to Abel’s Copies, and, upon receiving the correct packet, learned that it was $25 less than the packet I’d ordered and paid for. The girl behind the counter was unsure of what to do, and got her manager. He (rudely) informed me that there were absolutely no refunds or rebates, and that it was my fault for not knowing my instructor’s name. I explained the situation to him, that I had been in the store less than an hour before, that I had been misinformed by the employees, and that I hadn’t actually bought a packet, only ordered one, but he wouldn’t budge. I asked him if I could have the number of his supervisor, but he told me that he couldn’t give it to me; the only way I could get into contact with him was if I left MY number, and he called me. Knowing that I’d probably never hear back from him, I left my name and number and left the store out $25 but with the correct packet.

Is there anything else I can do? To the store’s credit, there were many signs posted that read “NO REFUNDS,” but does my situation count as a refund, as I never received what I had originally paid for?

Don’t be scared by Abel’s sign. It’s just a piece of paper. It may be laminated, but that doesn’t change anything. You could make signs too if you wanted and they’d mean just as much. You should not have to pay for the store’s mistake.

You’re a college student, so we’re going to assume you have at least one credit card, and hopefully you used it to pay for the course packet. Call your credit card company and explain that you were overcharged and that you would like to chargeback the difference. Since it’s a small amount they may not even need to contact Abel’s to resolve the dispute.

And next time you need a course packet, double-check the professor’s name and don’t go back to Abel’s!

RELATED: What Is A Chargeback?
(Photo: Spidra Webster)