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Back in March, I received an invitation to join this book club (www.booksforchildren.co.uk). As a joining bonus you could choose up to six books for a discount price of 50p each. The only condition was that you bought another six books at full club price over the next 12 months. It seemed fairly reasonable so I signed up.
A week or so later, three of my six books arrived. One of these was a book with electronic sound effects - half of which didn't work, but for 50p, I thought what the heck. I was advised that the other three books were on order.
After another couple of weeks, I received a letter telling me they could no longer supply the three outstanding books, and enclosed were vouchers which I could use to order replacements with free P&P. I duly filled in the vouchers and sent off my replacement orders.
A week later, two books arrived - then the third book a day later. All seemed well until I got my statement. I was surprised to see they had charged me almost £6 P&P for the replacement books. I called customer services and encountered a real 'jobsworth' who insisted they were right to charge the P&P, but after about 5 mins agreed that I could speak to his supervisor. The supervisor reiterated that they were right to charge P&P, despite the fact that I was looking at the top half of the voucher which clearly stated 'Free P&P'. Eventually, the supervisor went to get a copy of one of these vouchers and finally agreed that they would refund the charge. This amount was refunded to my account 17 days later.
A month later I recieved their new catalogue which contained a special offer where you could receive a free gift (about £7.50 value) if you ordered two or more books. I duly ordered my books, one arrived a week later with a note to say the other book was on order. When I received my statement, it said I was ineligible for the free gift. Again, phone call to customer services who said they would look into it and call me back. Five days later, no call. So I e-mailed customer services. Received a reply a couple of days later saying there had been a computer error, and they had now ordered my free gift and it would be with me shortly.
It is now two months from the date of my order and I am still waiting for the second book I ordered and the free gift.
It is a shame that the service has let them down because the basic premise of the club is good. They have a monthly magazine containing books targeted by age group so it is easy to identify those books which are relevant to your child(ren). They also have frequent special offers, such as free gifts or an extra £1 off if you order online etc. Prices on the whole are pretty good and I have often found they are cheaper than Amazon.
However, one of the things they have introduced is the monthly 'editors choice'. This gets sent out to every month unless you notify them that you don't want it. I hate clubs that do this. If I want it I'll order it - don't send me things just becuase you hope I can't be bothered to send them back. Now I have to remember to go online and reject the editors choice every month. Its not a massive deal, but its just extra hassle.
Overall, I am pretty dissatisfied with this club and shall be looking to terminate my membership as soon as my minimum obligation is met. However, if they don't deliver my free gift and remaining order soon, then I might just look for a 'breach of contract' angle to get out sooner.