Gifting An E-Book From Kobo: No Book, No Help

Kris purchased the new biography of Steve Jobs through the Kobo e-bookstore as a gift for his dad, but here’s the trouble with buying an e-book: no one knows where it went, and no one at Kobo is capable of helping him. The Kindle version cost $3 more, but actually worked.

I decided to gift a Kobo e-book version of the new Steve Jobs biography to my dad for Christmas, but little did I know that I would soon be descending into madness to try and save the couple dollars in price as compared to Amazon’s Kindle store.

After purchasing the e-book as a gift to my dad’s e-mail address, I received confirmation that it had been sent, but not claimed. The only problem was that he never got it.

After checking the e-mail address, and the junk folder, I tried to resend the e-mail several times to no avail.

Contacting the customer service line, I first asked if it were possible to try another e-mail address in the hopes that it could send to his company e-mail. I was told that there was nothing the customer support centre could do to help, and that a support staff member would e-mail me in 24-hours.

After asking for a supervisor, I was told that there were no supervisors working at all, and that the support department had no phones and would only correspond by e-mail.

Giving up, I resigned to waiting for an e-mail from the support staff, which never came.

The customer support rep I spoke with on my phone summed up my concern with an incident e-mail describing it:

“I sent a Giftcad [sic] to a wrong email address, and I would like to get this changed.”

I’ve recontacted the support centre via e-mail, and am waiting for open hours in the hopes that someone at the customer service centre is available to help.

In the meantime, I’ve gone ahead and purchased a copy of the book through the Amazon Kindle site, which worked flawlessly, and may have been worth the extra $3.

I’m still waiting on a refund.


Edit Your Comment

  1. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    Oh Borders, your legacy lives on.

  2. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Did the OP actually send the book to the wrong email address or did he send it to the right one and it just never arrived at his dad’s inbox?

    If the email was sent, but not received, that might not necessarily be Kobo’s fault. If the OP mistyped the email address, that’s not Kobo’s fault. But, I don’t know why Kobo’s customer support staff can’t just refund the book due to error and let the OP make a new purchase.

    I accidentally bought a book from B&N when I first got my Nook Color. When I got the confirmation email for my purchase, I called B&N and customer support was able to refund my purchase right away. How come Kobo can’t refund a purchase right away, mark the book as returned, and let the OP make a new purchase?

  3. IT-Princess: I work in IT, you owe me $1 says:

    It’s not that difficult for a company to verify that an e-mail was delivered at what time.

    Even if it was an incorrect e-mail address, this can be easily verified. While that situation isn’t the company’s fault, it isn’t difficult to prove and good customer support for a refund or fix of the e-mail address would go a long way.

    • phsiii says:

      Not necessarily. They can prove (if they have the server logs) that it was accepted by some gateway, but not that it was correctly delivered. If a gateway accepts it, is then unable to deliver it, and sends no NDR (bounce message), the sending server can’t tell what happened. And this is far from uncommon.

  4. Thyme for an edit button says:

    I’m confused how you can call the customer support line and then they tell you over the phone that they don’t have phones and to e-mail instead.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I’m guessing there are two facets to cusomer support, one dealing with the account and billing or orders, and the other is tech support.

    • Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

      Where I work technically it is possible to reach me via phone, however to keep myself from being on the phone all day everyday with people calling about non-emergencies we just say that we do not have direct phone lines. Essentially they are trying to keep everything to email which has a much better paper trail for both sides to rely on. It can be aggravatingly slow but it can also be beneficial when you need to prove something.

  5. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    They sound like they don’t aren’t too easy to deal with. I won’t be buying any e-books from them.

  6. rdclark says:

    What do they expect? They’re all Canadians. (Where the government subsidizes Kobo, which is why Kobo books are cheaper than Kindle books there.)

  7. Dover says:

    Give ’em a week to contact you and get it sorted out. If they fail, chargeback.

  8. KoboCare says:

    Hi Laura,

    We are very sorry to hear that your friend Steve has had a negative experience with our Customer Care. Please have him contact us directly at so that we can rectify this situation immediately. We would like to apologize and will continue to work to best serve our customer’s needs.

    The Kobo Team

    • ahoythere says:


      Yeah, Steve Jobs definitely had a negative experience.

      If this really is Kobo’s “executive support” staff posting, they fail even more.

  9. KoboCare says:

    We are very sorry to hear that Kris has had a negative experience with our Customer Care. Please tell him to contact us directly at so that we can rectify this situation immediately. We would like to apologize and will continue to work to best serve our customer’s needs.

    The Kobo Team

  10. Darrell@Kobo says:


    I am sincerely sorry to learn that this unfortunate situation has occurred, this is certainly not the level of service we aim to provide. We value all of our customers, and this should be displayed whenever we get the opportunity to interact with our customers. If Kris, and or any other customers are reading this, I welcome the opportunity to speak with you about your Kobo experience.

    A member of our team posted here earlier today in an effort to apologize, I also wanted to offer assistance, and my sincerest apology to Kris and any other Kobo customer that may have had a negative experience. Please feel free to contact us at:


    Kobo Executive Care.
    Kobo Inc.

  11. Kris says:

    Hi, OP here (and an update).

    I actually had sent it to the right address, but also asked if it could be changed as perhaps it would have worked with a different e-mail address.

    Anyways, after not hearing from customer support via e-mail in the time I was told, I decided to try calling the customer service line again and see where the issue stood. This is especially considering the original complaint had been summarized by the original representative without a lot of the background information.

    I received an e-mail right before my call saying that they would process the correction as a credit to my Kobo account, though I had been very open in both asking for (and being told I’d receive) a refund, as I was highly disappointed in the experience. So I decided to call again.

    The second customer service rep I spoke with at Kobo’s phone line told me that they would process it as a credit regardless of what the other rep had told me because “they don’t do refunds”. I asked once again for a supervisor and told that there weren’t any. Wondering whether there was just an unsupervised customer support centre, I asked if they were not there or unavailable (the first rep told me that there are no supervisors here; it’s close to the holidays and they don’t work then) and was told that they were busy. I offered to hold until one was available. The rep told me to hold and that he’d speak with one of the supervisors.

    After being put on hold, I was told that a supervisor told him it was okay to request a refund, and that he would pass along the information to the support team who would e-mail me within 5 business days (I wonder if this is the standard time and the first rep told me 24 hours in error), but as before the customer rep was unable to modify, cancel, or process anything to do with orders or payments.

    I thought it was strange that the supervisor wouldn’t speak with me still (as I did want to pass along my disappointment), but all I wanted was my money back, and received the credit back through Paypal to my credit card the other day.

    I have my money back (my original desire) and will be extremely unlikely to ever use or suggest Kobo again after their bizarrely unempowered customer service line that is apparently entirely unsupervised and only able to relay messages to the actual support team who has no phone.

    I have been contacted by Kobo for my feedback, and I do appreciate their follow-up, as I hope that those who are in a position to make a positive change can take this and hopefully improve their process and service, because my experience with Kobo has been both confusing and deeply frustrating.