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77 Reviews
  • Expected dispatch time is inaccurate
  • Shoddy customer service
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    77 Reviews
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      04.08.2010 13:48

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      Terrible service. I order a product for next day delivery, assuming as post is delivered on Saturdays, that it would be delivered on Saturday. It was not. I tried to change my address, they wouldn't allow me to. Then TNT lost the parcel. I alerted Bol.com - they told me I had to wait another day to report it as lost, even though they could also see that TNT had lost the parcel. I wait a day. They tell me they will refund the money in 3 weeks. 3 weeks!?! I wanted them to just send a new one, but they will not. I can order a new one after I get my money back for the first one. As if I will ever be using Bol again. And all the while the customer service was terrible. Hard to speak to anyone and email responses take a day.

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      05.09.2006 23:08

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      RUBBISH Service, Non Existent Delivery, and Still fighting for a REFUND for Books that were not delivered but paid for 2 MONTHS AGO.

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      12.11.2005 15:36
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      on line book club with great offers but poor customer service and delivery

      I love a bargain, who doesn’t? When a friend told me she could buy latest book titles for up to 60% off the high street price I was impressed and wanted some of these amazing bargains too. The company offering these great deals was bol. com.uk, an Internet book club. My friend did mention that delivery was a little slow, but nothing was going to detour me from those sorts of price reductions!

      Bol.com.uk
      ~~~~~~~~~~
      Having typed in the address the home page was quick to load and presented me with lots of offers and information about how to join. The page is well laid out even though it contains a lot of information. To join simply follow the join now link on the left of the home page, answer a few simple questions and providing you are over 18,live in the u.k and agree to purchase one additional title in the next 6 months, you will be accepted. You will be given a membership number via email that will give you access to your account in the future.

      bol advertise that all their titles will be discounted by at least 20%, many will have 60 % off and some clearance titles will have as much as 80% off. bol carries books on most subjects although the selection is very limited when compared to Amazon. They do update their selection on a regular basis and usually have several best sellers on offer, both fiction and non-fiction.

      In addition to books you can order DVD’s via bol’s partner, choices direct although I have no experience of this.

      Purchasing is simple too. Make your selection, place in your basket and proceed through the checkout. You will need to log on using your membership number and password.

      Once you have placed your order you will be able to see when it has been dispatched by checking your account on line. This facility will also enable you to check that any books you have returned have been received as well as seeing your ordering history.

      Delivery
      ~~~~~~~~~~~
      Delivery is free if you buy 3 or more titles, otherwise it will cost £1 per book. Delivery is by carrier and will need to be signed for. bol have told me that if you only buy 1 book they use royal mail and no signature is necessary, but I have always bought more that 1 to avoid paying postage. Bol advertise that most orders will be delivered in 5-7 days; my experience however has been very different and this is where it all really starts to fall apart.

      I have never had a parcel from bol delivered in anything like 5-7 days, it has often taken over 20 days for a parcel to arrive and on several occasions I have had to phone their customer service department to find out where my order has got to, despite the order status saying that it had been dispatched!

      Returns.
      ~~~~~~~
      Returning unwanted items is easy and free. You can either ask for the item to be collected by filling in a returns form online, or phone customer service on 0870-1650216 to request a returns label and post back to bol. Remember to get a proof of postage if you choose this method. Unwanted books do have to be returned within 28 days.

      Customer service
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      This is another huge minus point for bol. Customer service can be contacted either by email or by phone on 0870-1650216. I have contacted customer service on several occasions and unfortunately have never been very impressed. My first experience was when my order had not arrived despite the order status telling me the order had been dispatched. I was told that another order would be sent, as my order had probably been lost in the post. I waited for another week and then phoned again. This time I was told the original order had in fact only just left the warehouse and that the previous operator was incorrect in her advice!

      I have had other contacts where I have been given wrong information, been kept waiting for ages and not been sent a returns label I had requested.

      I have received several books that have been damaged and customer services have seemed unconcerned when I have phoned them.

      My verdict
      ~~~~~~~~~~
      Although bol.com do not, in my opinion, have a good track record for either delivery or customer service, I would not dismiss them. Bol.com do offer some really great bargains. Their selection is not nearly as extensive as Amazon, but they do carry some best sellers and the selection is regularly updated. I would recommend you give them a try but allow for plenty of time for your order to be delivered.

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        24.01.2005 15:34
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        • "slow to reply to emails & unhelpful"

        After finding a newly released book that I wanted reduced from £14.99 to £5.99 it was fair to say that I immediately thought www.uk.bol.com was a godsend. My subsequent experience with customer service will explain why that might not be the case later on; but firstly, allow me to familiarise you with the site.


        UK.BOL.COM

        This is the UK website of bol.com and initial impressions are good! The home page seems to be logically arranged with links at the top for ‘home, my basket, my account, contact us, help and login.’ Underneath that are larger tabs for Bestsellers at 60% off, 1000s more titles, Film Music, Gift Ideas, Gift sets, Booker Winner, and Book of the Month. Down the left hand side is a slimline quick menu with hyperlinks to categories that may be of interest to you. Overall the homepage is pleasantly full without being brightly coloured, confusing, or overly cluttered.

        At the top there is a little box for searching, so if you know what you’re after you’ll know whether they stock it within a few seconds. If you don’t know what you’re looking for you can either use the hyperlinks on the left or search through the tabs at the top. It’s an easy site to navigate, easier than its rival Amazon which I find can be a bit weirdly arranged at times.

        Once you’ve found the book(s) you want, just click ‘add to basket’ and you’ll be transported to your basket. If you wanted more than one book you can continue shopping until you’re got everything. If you only want the one then click on ‘checkout’ and you’ll be prompted to open an account (which is necessary to place an order). Fortunately registration only requires basic information and doesn’t include storing your credit/debit card details online, which is always a good thing. The only possible disadvantage to registering is that in doing so you commit yourself to promising to purchase a second book from the site within the next six months.

        Despite being heavily discounted bol don’t rip you off on Postage and Packing either, standard 5-7 day delivery costs a measly £1 per book, and if you order 3 or more books it’s entirely free of charge. Can’t say fairer than that!?


        MY EXPERIENCE

        I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re thinking this site is as great as I initially thought it was. Cheap books, cheap delivery within a week, what more could you need?

        The first thing I might mention is that bol charged me for the purchase on the same day. I consulted my account several days later and was pleased to see that the book had (apparently) been dispatched 3 days after my order so I expected it to arrive in the following week. When it didn’t arrive on time I emailed to ask what the situation was. Customer service took a few days to reply but eventually informed me that the courier must have been delayed. I accepted this and waited a further week.

        Seven days later I emailed and was told (again, after a few days) that there was a backlog of delays and that it would arrive soon. I replied to ask whether they had any idea when it’d arrive so I could be home and they told me that in fact there had been a problem in the warehouse and that my order would take a further 5-7 working days. I guess this meant that it had been sitting in the warehouse all the time because the time they stated was identical to the original time estimated.

        After TWENTY FIVE days waiting for the book it eventually arrived, and to add insult to injury it was slightly dog eared and dented in the bottom. I was rather annoyed by this as I don’t want to wait nearly a month for damaged goods so I wrote a letter to their customer service and posted it on the same day. One week later I received a standard mass produced email stating that I could have free delivery on anything (presumably they’d received lots of complaints). I wasn’t satisfied with this as there was no apology for the damage to the book so I proceeded to cancel my membership and arrange for return collection of the book. I could only do do this via their website as their phone line was broken.

        After two days there was no reply so I was rather concerned as I only had one more day for the courier to collect the book (you have to return the order within 10 days to receive a refund). Their phone line was working and someone confirmed that they’d arrange a collection and make sure I wasn’t charged the full RRP. Two days later a courier came and collected the book. I was satisfied.

        Two hours later the Royal Mail delivered my post which contained a very polite letter from bol.com apologising for the terrible service and stating that they’d refund my money and allow me to keep the book – damnit!


        OVERALL VERDICT

        Bol.com is just not what I’m looking for. I want a well organised website which emails you when your order is dispatched and actually gives you swift and helpful replies to your emails (a la Amazon.co.uk). I appreciate that they do offer hugely discounted titles and I don’t doubt that the experience is probably not the norm but it’s been enough to deter me. I know that the sentiment was there in the letter I received back from Customer Service but it really was too little too late as I was worried about exceeding the 10 day return period.

        Also, I might mention that although bol has a large selection it seems to be considerably smaller than Amazon as I can’t find hardly anything of interest to me on there. If I found something that was considerably cheaper in the future I would still rather not use them due to the hassle that I had to deal with for this order.

        After this ordeal I took steps to close my account immediately. It took them over a month to refund the amount to my card and in the two months before my account was official closed it never showed up on my account that I had returned an order.

        …and in case you were wondering after my experience, ‘bol’ is not short for ‘b*llocks’, it is in fact short for Books On Line ;)


        carly_pussycat - dooyoo UK ©

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          17.01.2005 17:08
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          I don't know if it's a bad patch or if I am just unlucky again. As a regular Amazon customer I tried BOL about a year ago, only to find I had to chase them when the books did not arrive as advertised. I waited 3 weeks for books offered on a 7day delivery. This year they had some good Christmas offers (cheaper than Amazon) so I thought I'll try them again.

          I ordered on 12 December and as of 17 January have still not received the goods. The stated delivery was 3-5 days, but I left it until after Christmas to contact them. When their website says "dispatched", it means that the order has been "dispatched to the warehouse", not the delivery service. I've tried calling customer service, but you do resent paying for being put on hold for over 15 minutes with no response.

          The bottom-line - BoL.com may be cheap, but until they sort out their delivery operation and customer service, don't hold your breath.

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            04.01.2005 15:16
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            • impersonal

            I have used BOL.com twice.

            The first time was very slow delivery but because it is SO cheap I decided to use them again.

            I placed the order in August, after numerous emails and many telephone calls which if I were to detail you too would feel like you had a sore head! It is now January and I still haven’t received the books or received a refund.

            My advice to you is that if you are lucky and you receive your order then great! But be warned if you don’t then it is a very ardous journey in order to get a replacement or any form of reponse at all.

            Be warned, they are a faceless organisation with NO customer service.

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              03.12.2004 17:35
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              I ordered a book a month ago which stated that supposed delivered in 5-7 days. After a month, as I haven't receive anything, I start asking them:customer service by e-mail.
              They reply anything yet. I mean ANYTHING after five times e-mail for begging them to tell me where is my order. How could this happen? I have never had this things before.
              One more thing, you have to know is that when you order something, you have to put your date of birth, your mother's maiden name, credit card security code(the number which on the back of the card). This is tatally unnecessary information to charge you.
              Be CAREFULL...... I just want to say for you.


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                27.11.2004 14:00

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                Bol delivery problems - Advantages: Price - Disadvantages: delivery

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                20.06.2004 19:38
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                I have always considered myself a reader, but it was only when I left full-time education and began reading for pleasure that I started reading properly. I set several rules for myself at that point. 1. I will only read something that I want to read. This seems like a strange rule, but you would be amazed how many people try to lend you books once they know reading is one of your hobbies. (Sidebar Rant: Part of this rule means owning everything that I read rather than borrowing. I feel there is more of an investment if it has cost me time and money to purchase the book. It?s one of the main problems I have with professional reviews of things like books, movies, theatre and concerts. So often the reviewer does not have the same investment as a normal person. How can they give an objective opinion of something they were never that inclined to see in the first place and then got for free. In my imaginary magazine, reviewers would only write about things they were interested in and they would have to pay the standard price for everything they review. Kind of like Ciao, but less needy.) 2. I will challenge myself, but I will also treat myself. 3. I will only read one book at a time. 4. I will finish everything I start. If you?re not careful, reading can be an expensive hobby. I have traveled the world for work and everywhere I go, I look for contraband to feed my habit. I picked up my Philip Pullmans for a song on Yonge Street in Toronto. I found a surprisingly comprehensive selection of John D MacDonald paperbacks on the Khaosan Road in Bangkok. In Manila, the exchange rate made a bargain of McEwan and Roth. When I come back to London I always spare a day to trawl the Charing Cross Road and I have to ment
                ion Two Jays Bookshop in Edgware, the best hometown, second-hand store a boy could wish for. Satisfying as this life of literary bargain hunting is, it has never solved the problem of keeping up with the critics. If you limit yourself to second-hand shops and remainder warehouses, you are limiting yourself to books of a certain age (and perhaps of a certain type). If you want to be reading the latest books by the current titans, you are stuck with barely discounted hardbacks or the increasingly pricy paperback versions that come out a year later. Then along comes bol.com. I first encountered the site in its previous incarnation. It was a pale imitation of other online booksellers with a limited selection and nothing special in the way of discounts. Then in September 2002 bol.com was reborn as a book club. Commitment Before you get nervous about the obligations associated with joining an online book club, let me clearly state the rules as found on the website. Your initial purchase can be as small as one book or as many as ten. After that your commitment is clearly laid out in the Terms & Conditions: ?As a member of bol.com, all we ask is that you buy at least one more book from us within the first six months of your membership. We will not send you anything you have not ordered, and we don't ask you to decline anything either.? I have been a ?member? for nearly two years now and I can assure you that this is the case. Postage One of the major obstacles to buying online is hidden charges for postage and packaging. At bol.com they have simplified matters considerably. You are charged one pound per book for postage, but if you order three or more books there is no charge at all for postage. In two years, I have never ordered less than three books at a time and, therefore, I
                ; have never paid a penny for postage. Prices The sales tagline at bol.com is ?Bestsellers at 60% off, everything else at least 20% off?. Let?s start with some of those so-called bestsellers. The 60% off list is currently divided into the following categories: ? Art, Philosophy & Poetry ? Biography ? Children?s ? Contemporary and Literary Fiction ? Crime & Thrillers ? Entertainment ? Food & Drink ? Health, Beauty & Self-Help ? History, Politics & Science ? Romantic Fiction ? Science& Nature ? SF & Fantasy ? Sport ? Travel All the books listed within are discounted to at least 60% off the cover price. There is a ?but?, though and for many it?s a deal-breaker. Most of the fiction books are not actually hardbacks. The majority are paperback versions of the hardback, that is, the same size and printing as the hardback but in a soft cover and usually paperback quality paper inside. If you have ever been a member of QPD or TSP, or if you have bought an oversized airport edition you will know what to expect. I should point out though, that not all the books come like this. Sometimes a book is randomly offered at 60% off and it is the actual hardback edition. I have picked up Paul Auster?s The Book of Illusions and Neal Stephenson?s Quicksilver in hardback editions. Either way the binding is clearly defined on the page for each book either as Hardback, Paperback or Special Paperback Edition. Also, if a book is not a standard size print then bol will sell it as a hardback. I bought the original editions of Schott?s Original Miscellany, Lyra?s Oxford and Eats, Shoots and 
                6;eaves for 40% of their cover price. These books may never be issued as paperbacks and they have been heavily discounted elsewhere, but never by 60% and never in their first month of publication. Similarly the non-fiction and cookery books usually come in their original hardback editions. My five year old has both What Not To Wear books on her shelf and my thirty five year old has a complete set of Delia Smiths on hers, all in hardback (they both like looking at the pictures). I have also bought hardback reference books including an amazing visual dictionary from Dorling Kindersley and the Times Atlas of the World reduced by 60% from £150.00 (it was a bar mitzvah present for my nephew, but I was sorely tempted to get two). One downside is that the books don?t stay at the highest discount forever. I check the site at least once a month and I often find that books that were previously at 60% off are now only 28% off or, worse, not available at all. You have to be quick. A search for all the books I have mentioned so far will only turn up one or two at the price I paid for them. At the other extreme some books stick around for ages and stay available well into their paperback printing. I notice that the overblown, underdone, potboiler Brick Lane is currently on offer for 60% below the paperback price i.e., £3.19. But the edition they are selling is the Special Paperback Edition which is exactly the same version that I bought a year ago for 60% below the hardback price which was £5.19. I don?t begrudge the two quid because it was important to me to have read the book while it was still being discussed and nominated for things, but a lesser man may feel piqued. Every month the site updates the books in the 60% below categories, but it is also worth having a look at the rest of the books
                available. The claim is that the books will be at least 20% off but I have found some real bargains that were not in the main listing. I bought Peter Carey?s My Life as a Fake at 78% off and I saw they were selling Zoe Heller?s book at over 80% off. Admittedly these prices were only available once the book was out in paperback, but it still provides classy new literature for under four quid. New Authors One of the great by-products of bol?s pricing policy is that I have been able to try new authors that I may have shied away from before. British publishers don?t like to take risks on unknown quantities and recently they have taken to publishing newer authors in outsize paperbacks rather than offering a paperback edition. These books carry a cover price of between 10 and 12 pounds (as opposed to 12 to 20 quid for a hardback) and if they are successful may end up in the standard paperback format. At 60% off a tenner, I have been able to sample Dan Rhodes and ZZ Packer where, in the past, I may have waited for more of a critical consensus. Customer Service I had one occasion to gripe at bol when a book which I was semi-interested in went up in price before I had a chance to match it with two more to make a free delivery. I sent an email outlining my complaint and received a perfectly polite reply offering the book to me at the cheaper price whenever I wished to purchase it. Very Satisfactory. Delivery Reading through other opinions on bol.com I notice that this has been something of a sticking point for people. Unfortunately I have to remove myself from the debate. I don?t live in the UK but I get my books sent to my parents? house and then I pick them up or they get brought out to me so time is less of a factor for me. As a
                result I am totally unaware of any delivery issues except my mum complaining that they always ring on the doorbell on Saturday mornings and she has to find her dressing gown and go downstairs and it?s always my bloody books. I have tried to appease her by chucking in the latest Kellerman but she?s still pretty miffed. However, I?m not sure delivery issues pertaining to my mother are strictly representative for the consumer-oriented readers of Ciao. Summary I love bol.com. It enables me to buy books now that I would otherwise have to wait a year to read. It is affordable and efficient. I find myself looking forward to the first of the month to see what new books they are offering. I have ordered from them at least once every two months for the past two years and have never been disappointed by their service or their product. Their stock is tiny in comparison to Amazon, but it changes regularly and stays current. Despite the narrower range I have found presents for nearly every member of my family at one time or another. The best bargain currently on offer is Bill Bryson?s A Short History of Nearly Everything. Although the book has now been published in paperback, bol.com are offering the hardback at 82% off cover price. That is £3.59 for a 700 page hardback. In comparison Amazon.co.uk have the paperback edition for £8.99 plus postage. If you buy new books, you owe it to yourself to check out uk.bol.com

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                  10.02.2004 18:26
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                  if you are looking to buy dvds, cds and pc or console games then look no further than wwwBOL.com. i have been buying dvds, cds and PC games from this company for many years and can not fault them on their service or price. firstly, the web site is very user friendly. big easy to use buttons quickly guide you from the front page (which usually has details of all the offers on at the time, news about new releases etc.) to the area you are interested in e.g. the dvd section or the pc games section. when you get to the section you require it is very easy to either browse the catalogue or search for a specific item. there is a very easy to use search facility in the top right section of the screen, just enter a key word (title of a film, artist etc.) and you will be given the best matches on a results screen. if you are unable to locate what you are looking for you can then use the advanced search facility to narrow down the search. if you are just interested in seeing what is on offer each section of the web site has a number of very useful buttons on the left hand side with which you can choose a category (e.g. action films, easy listening music, adventure games etc.) or you can browse lists of recent releases by date or forthcoming releases by date. once you have found something you fancy buying could not be easier. just click the ?buy me? button and the item is placed into you shopping basket. when you have all the items you want in your basket you then go to the checkout. if you are using the site for the first time you enter all your details, address, credit card etc. to open an account and then confirm your order. after you first visit you can simply logon, place the items in your basket and click express checkout, you order will be placed automatically without you having to do anything else. the order will go to the address on your account and the credit card details held will be used. once an order has bee n
                  placed you get a very helpful confirmation email to your specified address. Another useful feature is the confirmation of dispatch email you get when you item(s) are dispatched. Thus, if an item gets lost in the post you know when to contact customer services about it. This happened to me once and the customer services were very quick to act (responded to my email the same day) and send out a replacement with absolutely no fuss whatsoever. Another great feature of BOL is their pre-order facility. You can order items before they are available, usually if you do this the price is significantly reduced from the rrp which you can?t complain about, and BOL will post them to you so that they arrive in the post the morning of their release. If you get the post before the shops open, you get the item before most other people. The final thing worth mentioning is the postage system at BOL. If you order over £29 then postage is free. However order under this and postage is minimal however many items are placed on that order. In addition if some items are pre-ordered and some not or some are released at different times BOL will post them to you separately at no extra cost. So in summary a very easy to use web site with a great service, selection and very reasonably priced (most items are at least a few pounds less than the rrp i.e. what you would pay for them in the high street but if you order in advance of release you can sometimes get a bargin).

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                    03.05.2003 16:48
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                    Yesterday I received an e-mail from BOL telling me I need to buy a book as part of an "Agreement". They told me that when I last bought a book from them I ticked a box to say I agree to buy two books within six months. I don't remember this so presume it's hidden in the small print. What gets me here is that this used to be a reputable company who offered cut-price books. I must have bought 50 books online over the years and I've found BOL to be the cheapest place on two occasions - once many years ago and once a few months ago. Now, because many other people have also found their prices are nothing special, they've resorted to sneekily getting you to sign up to say you'll buy from them. They've exchanged making money by offering books at good prices for making money by forcing people to spend more than they have to. This practice is a disgrace and I urge and warn you to stay away. Instead, try www.bookbrain.co.uk, www.addall.com or anyone who sells books rather than rams them down your throat with an invoice attached.

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                      09.03.2003 06:40
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                      This seems to be one of those 'love it' or 'hate it' sites. I prefer to think of it like paracetamol. Very beneficial if used correctly. First up is the site itself. The layout is quite 'busy', but not over-crowded. At the very top of the page towards the right side are the main controls [Home - Basket - Your account - Contact us - Help - Login]. These also appear at the very bottom of the page with the addition of the 'Privacy policy'. At the top left side is bol.com and their blue and white logo. Next are the, for want of a better word, folder headings [Bestsellers at 60% off - Bookstore - Software & Games - Book of the Month - Bargains]. The last two are liable to change depending on the current offers. Hugging the left side are the categories within the main folders. For example the following are what you will find under 'Bookstore'. Art, Philosophy and Poetry Biography Business & Computing Books for Older Children Books for Younger Children Contemporary Fiction Crime & Thrillers Entertainment Food & Drink Health, Beauty &Self Help History, Politics & Society Home & Garden Reference Romantic Fiction Science & Nature Sport Travel Other folders have similar category lists, sometimes to a lesser extent depending what's on offer. Soft ware & Games is very limited. It's worth a look if you just want to browse, but don't expect to get excited over it. That said, you might find something you like and it all has at least 20% off, so who knows. The main part of the page is generally taken up with some examples of books from various categories. One book picture plus a short list of some others per category. Several of the most popular categories are given this treatment. Over on the right side are things like Book of the Month, Pre-order and Weeks Bestsellers. Navigation is easy
                      . Pages load quite quickly and there are no ads other than BOL ones directing you to their own pages. You have to be a member to order books, but not to view. Members login is at the top left hand side just below the bar containing the folder headings and the search facility. Signing up is quite easy and takes no longer than the usual 5-10 mins. Right. That's what you see, now what do you get. Bargain books? Definitely. The range is fairly good but beware, some are 'special titles'. This means the content is the same as the original, but the cover may be paperback instead of hardback or the size may differ for example. In most cases this doesn't bother me too much, but if you're purchasing the book for a gift or you want a genuine first edition copy of something, then my best advice is consider getting it elsewhere to be on the safe side. I recently ordered Terry Pratchett's Nightwatch at £7.19, a saving of £10.80. Delivery took about a week from ordering. When it arrived it was a BOOKCLUB edition and rather smaller than the rest of my collection. Normally I wouldn't care, but I'm just that much fussier about my Pratchett books. In the same order was the latest Pratchett diary, which I saved 60% on, and is EXACTLY THE SAME as the shop's version, as is the more recently ordered 'What The Tudors And Stuarts Did For Us', which only cost £8 (full price £20, Amazon price about £15). So I returned Nightwatch. To return a book you simply click the returns button found on the 'Your Account' page and proceed from there. Three days later someone collected the parcel, leaving a numbered parcel receipt. The only downside here, was not knowing when the parcel was to be picked up, and I hovered around the house a lot until it was retrieved. A date and approximate time would be useful here, because if you're out at work all day, I can foresee problems arising. Then I dutifully ch
                      ecked my account every day to see when it had arrived back. The page says allow a few days, but since this was just before Christmas I allowed extra time. It took about two weeks, plus another 2-3 days for my credit card to be repaid. The nice part though, was that I was also repaid the p+p charge, which I didn't expect. If you order 3 books, p+p is free, so if you return one, I have a nasty feeling this will incur p+p charges on the other two. Oh well, you can't have it all ways I suppose. P+P is £1 for each of the first two books ordered, then free for 3 onwards. Considering the discounts available I think this is cheap. On becoming a member, you agree to buy one further title in the next six months. Since I'm on my third order in less than two months, I think I'm home and dry on this one. Definitely one for book addicts! BOL gives a generous 2pts per £1 spent for those who collect ipoints, but you must visit via the ipoints site and enter the same email on registering as you use for your ipoints. I received mine quite quickly. So quickly in fact that they were there before the book was registered as returned. Although they weren't retrieved, my next order, which was of less value than the returned book, received no points. The points I did get arrived just before Xmas. One of the main gripes with this site seems to be the length of time it takes for ipoints to arrive. I?m still waiting for them from my third order and I'm beginning to think they only arrive once a year at Xmas as a kind of bonus! In fairness you have 28 days to return books so you can't expect them within that time normally. To be on the safe side, save your emails from bol.com confirming your order. Should you then need to contact ipoints to chase up your points, you'll have some proof of your order! Security is provided by Trustwise Secure Site. Your credit card details are not 'held', so you'll need to e
                      nter them every time you order. Personally I prefer this. Details of your orders can be viewed on the 'Your Account' page, along with returns and transactions. Orders cannot be cancelled once placed. For some reason your 'orders' sometimes disappear completely for a while. I think this is when they are changing from 'on order' to 'dispatched'. Don't panic! They will reappear after a day or so. Your details, such as email and address can also be updated from this page. I haven't had to contact BOL personally, so I can't comment on their customer service. If at any point I do contact them, then I'll update this op. So far I haven't had to complain which can only be a good thing. All my books have arrived well packed and in much better condition than many shop bought specimens. COMPLETELY pristine in all cases! I cannot stress enough the beautiful condition of the books! This is a good site if you accept its limitations. Most of the gripes concerning it seem to be where people?s expectations of it are too high. Also it seems to have undergone a re-vamp some time recently but since I didn't use it before this I can't comment on the difference. If you haven't visited for a while perhaps now is the time for another look. Ideally a more honest approach to the shortcomings would probably save a lot of grief for all concerned in the long run. I'd certainly like to see the 'bookclub' editions more clearly marked. I don't mind waiting a week for delivery, I'd just like to be told that's how long it's likely to take. Order tracking has two phases. Your book is 'on order', your book is 'dispatched'. Fair enough, they haven't spent a lot on technology, but in return you make the savings on the books. This site will not replace sites like Amazon because it's range is too limited. It can serve as a very useful supplement to other s
                      ites because there are some really great savings to be made! I hope this op helps you avoid some of the pitfalls on this site because there are some really great bargains to be had here. Happy shopping!

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                        05.02.2003 19:19
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                        • "Shoddy customer service"

                        In spite of their apparently cheap prices, my first (and last) experience with bol.com has left me feeling that you do indeed get what you pay for. As with most internet suppliers they are very slow in responding to queries (if they bother at all), and they certainly don't respond to snail mail correspondence, but their biggest problem is their misleading advertising. Save 60% on publisher's costs they state. What they don't say in most cases is that they aren't sending you a publisher's edition of the book - they're sending a club edition, which isn't usually a fraction of the quality. Now if you're happy with that for the discount that's fine but the least they could do is be honest about it, especially when you can usually by the real version for not much more from Amazon or WH Smith. If you just want to buy the book, read it and throw it away, and if you don't mind not receiving any customer support whatsoever, then maybe bol.com has a future. If, on the other hand, you'd like honest advertising, reasonable customer service and a quality product then I'm afraid you won't find it here. Incidentally, I've reported them to the Advertising Standards Agency for only identifying some of their books as club editions, so we'll see if they change as a result. If you've had a similar experience maybe you'd like to report them as well to protect other consumers from bol.com's misrepresentation.

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                          18.12.2002 21:50

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                          • "Payment taken several days before shipment"

                          Highly disappointing online shopping experience - Advantages: Low Prices - Disadvantages: Delivery takes much longer than promised, No delivery to business addresses, Payment taken several days before shipment

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                          05.03.2002 05:50
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                          I always like to tell people when a company treats me exceptionally well. In fact, I really like companies that have excellent customer service and look after their customers and am willing to shout about them from the rooftops. My son has a Nintendo 64 console and we're always on the look out for good buys in the area of games for it. It's a bit of a problem area in that many companies have stopped making games for the N64 and so when you find someone who still sells them they tend to be like gold dust. I recently checked out Bol.com and purchased a N64 game for my son. Unfortunately when the game arrived it did not work, a rare thing, as normally all of the games I have ordered have worked perfectly. Upon realising that the game was faulty I contacted Bol.com straight away by e-mail. I was e-mailed back the same day (now that's unusual, I've found) and advised to return the game and I would have my money refunded. I was also advised that I would have my postage refunded for returning the game to them. The next day I was e-mailed again and advised that they had refunded the full amount back to my bank account. Absolutely amazing, I hadn't even returned the game, yet they trusted me by refunding my money. I e-mailed them again today to advise them of the postage I had paid when returning the game and I received a reply within 15 minutes advising me that this too had been refunded! A truly brilliant service, if only more companies were the same. This is, in fact, a slick piece of marketing on the part of Bol.com and well they know it. Smart customer service is a key differentiator these days and they know that for a small cost they've now recruited one happy customer, who is likely to go back to them again and again and again and advertise their quality of service. It's not just the single happy customer, but the ten people they tell about it that Bol.com will be recruiting. Well done, guys
                          , customer service par excellence You can find BOL at www.uk.bol.com, and basically it's an online store which sells books, music, DVD's videos, games and software and does so pretty damn perfectly, offering excellent customer service, as already said. They aim for aggressive pricing with 50% off books and CD's from £5.99, and obviously they're doing their damnedest to compete with the market leader in online leisure goods, the mighty Amazon. As always with such guys, I like to test their ability to stock the wilfully obscure, so I searched on their music section for stuff by Manchester's finest, The Fall, cos I know I can get their stuff at Amazon, and happily enough up came a nice selection at good prices. If you're going to use an online music or book shop, you would do well to check the BOL deal with its splendid customer service.

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