College students have a growing concern over the rising cost of course materials. The cost of textbooks for just one semester can be anywhere from $800 to $1,000 depending on the course load of the student. By using eCampus book rentals, some students report saving as much as sixty-five percent off the retail price of a new book by renting it. There are several book rental services available to college students. One such service is eCampus.com. The company has been in business since July 2, 1999. Students who carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of what the site has to offer will get the most for their money out of this service.
eCampus.com sells new and used textbooks to college students through their internet shopping service. Other products offered include eTextbooks, DVD & Blu-ray products, and college clothing collections. The company will also buy used DVDs and textbooks from students. Students can sell eCampus.com their used textbooks by entering the ISBN number of the books on the company website. They will make an offer to buy the book which is good for seven days. They also pay for the shipping of the book and mail a check to the student once the book is received.
If students need to return a book purchase or rental for some reason, they will find the return policy listed on the company website. Students must obtain a return authorization number from the site to process their returns. Purchased items can be returned for a refund for up to 30 days after the date of purchase. The refund excludes shipping charges and a ten percent restocking fee. Access codes for eBooks are non-refundable. A student should take notice of the condition of the book they are returning. Any books returned that do not meet the company’s expectations may not be accepted. They will shred and destroy such books.
The website has a navigable design. The search options are easy to find and clearly visible on the home page. Shipping is free for all orders over $59 and return shipping is free through a printable mail label obtained on the website. Students also have the option of subscribing to the eTextbook service. After paying the subscription fee, eBook titles are accessible to students for 360 days. Their eBook library includes over 100,000 electronic textbook titles. An interesting feature of eCampus.com is the Entourage program. With this program, students save on their own purchases when their friends order books through the service. They offer a $5 discount to a student every time his code is used to purchase a book.
Service issues seem to be the biggest complaint with this website. While they do have a Contact Us option on their website, some students report that it is taking several days to hear back from the customer service department. These service issues could perhaps be growing pains for the company as it has expanded to become one of the nation’s biggest online retailers of campus textbook rentals. One other disadvantage of eCampus.com is that if a student sells a book to the company, they might not get paid at all. If the company finds the book is not in the shape reported by the seller, the book will not be paid for, nor will it be returned to the sender. This is in their terms of service. The terms state that such books will be recycled.
The Better Business Bureau has rated eCampus.com with an “A” rating. Their rating system ranges from a scale of “A+ to F.” The company was accredited by the Better Business Bureau in December of 2010. To be accredited, businesses must live up to certain standards such as making good-faith efforts to resolve customer complaints. There have been a total of 344 complaints against the company in the last three years. Of these complaints, the majority were with service issues. Only three of the complaints were with guarantee or warranty issues. In the past 12 months, there have been 92 complaints. Overall, complaints are decreasing and the service issues seem to be getting better. All complaints listed, have a status of “closed.”
Students looking to purchase eCampus book rentals will find good prices at eCampus.com. It is comparable to other college book rental services and has a large selection of titles. However, students may experience service issues based on past customer reviews. The “A” accreditation by the Better Business Bureau speaks well of the company in that they seem to be resolving some of these issues. A student might want to think twice about selling their books to eCampus.com. If the book does not meet their expectations, they can keep the book without paying the student.