Are you the Owner of this Business? ×
BBB® Accredited Business Seal

Are you...?

If yes, click here to login.

Are you...?

BBB Business Reviews may not be reproduced for sales or promotional purposes.

Description

Publishing Services; Author Services; Marketing and promotional services


BBB Accreditation

A BBB Accredited Business since

BBB has determined that Author Solutions, LLC meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.

BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services.


Reason for Rating

BBB rating is based on 13 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.

Factors that raised the rating for Author Solutions, LLC include:

  • Length of time business has been operating
  • Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size
  • Response to 235 complaint(s) filed against business
  • Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business


Customer Complaints Summary Read complaint details

235 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 75 closed in last 12 months
Complaint Type Total Closed Complaints
Advertising/Sales Issues 29
Billing/Collection Issues 19
Delivery Issues 10
Guarantee/Warranty Issues 5
Problems with Product/Service 172
Total Closed Complaints 235

Additional Complaint Information

Author Solutions has advised BBB that consumers signing a contract with the company are agreeing to binding arbitration through the American Arbitration Association for any unresolved disputes.  For more information on the American Arbitration Association, please visit their website adr.org

Customer Reviews Summary Read customer reviews

23 Customer Reviews on Author Solutions, LLC
Customer Experience Total Customer Reviews
Positive Experience 5
Neutral Experience 0
Negative Experience 18
Total Customer Reviews 23

Additional Information

BBB file opened: October 20, 2002 Business started: 10/20/2002 in IN Business incorporated 01/09/2007 in DE
Type of Entity

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Business Management
Mr. Andrew Phillips, CEO and President Mr. Bill Becher, Senior Vice President Ms. Elaine Headley-Jerome, Manager of Author Satisfaction Mr. Eugene Hopkins, Client Services Manager
Contact Information
Customer Contact: Ms. Elaine Headley-Jerome, Manager of Author Satisfaction
Principal: Mr. Andrew Phillips, CEO and President
Business Category

Publishers - Book VANITY PUBLISHERS

Method(s) of Payment
Credit card (MC VISA AMEX), check, money order
Alternate Business Names
Abbott Press Archway Publishing Author Learning Center AuthorHouse LLC Balboa Press Booktango Content Distributors LLC Inspiring Voices iUniverse, LLC LifeRich Publishing Palibrio Partridge Africa Partridge India Partridge Singapore Responder Media Trafford Publishing, LLC Westbow Press Xlibris, LLC.
Industry Tips
Contracts

Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating Summary

Author Solutions, LLC has received 0 out of 5 stars based on 0 Customer Reviews and a BBB Rating of A+.

BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating Overview

Additional Locations

  • 1663 S Liberty Drive

    Bloomington, IN 47403 (812) 339-6000 (877) 775-7551

X

BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating Overview


BBB Customer Reviews Rating represents the customers opinions of the business. The Customer Review Rating is based on the number of positive, neutral and negative customer reviews posted that are calculated to produce a score.

Customer Review Experience Value
Positive Review 5 points per review
Neutral Review 3 points per review
Negative Review 1 point per review

BBB letter grades represent the BBB's opinion of the business. The BBB grade is based on BBB file information about the business. In some cases, a business' grade may be lowered if the BBB does not have sufficient information about the business despite BBB requests for that information from the business.
Details

BBB Letter Grade Scale

BBB Rating Value
A+ 5
A 4.66
A- 4.33
B+ 4
B 3.66
B- 3.33
C+ 3
C 2.66
C- 2.33
D+ 2
D 1.66
D- 1.33
F 1
NR -----
Star Rating scale

  Average Score
5 stars 5.00
4.5 stars 4.50-4.99
4 stars 4.00-4.49
3.5 stars 3.50-3.99
3 stars 3.00-3.49
2.5 stars 2.50-2.99
2 stars 2.00-2.49
1.5 stars 1.50-1.99
1 star 0-1.49

BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating is not a guarantee of a business' reliability or performance, and BBB recommends that consumers consider a business' BBB Rating and Customer Review Rating in addition to all other available information about the business. If the BBB Rating is NR then only Customer Reviews are used for the Star Rating.

Complaint Detail(s)

7/22/2016 Problems with Product/Service
7/19/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I entered into a contact with Authorhouse to publish, promote and advertise my book, ******* ****. The contract states that I would receive royalty payments on the sale of this book. To date, I have been paid less than $20.00 in royalties, yet I have found 113 copies of my book listed for sale as used books in bookstores and online retail chains such as ebay, amazon, barnes and nobles. Those books were printed and sold by authorhouse. Authorhouse sold more books than that. Not everyone who purchased a copy of this book sold it back to a bookstore. Authorhouse owes me royalties.

Desired Settlement: I want Authorhouse to refund the total amount that I paid to them because they failed to honor the contract, plus all royalties that I am entitled to.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to respond to Mr. ****’s concerns regarding royalties for his book, ******* ****, published with AuthorHouse. (ISBNs: softcover *************, hardcover ************* and e-book *************).

As no inventory exists for print-on-demand titles, only when a book is ordered is it printed and is eligible for royalty. When his title was cancelled in 2014, the files for all his AuthorHouse ISBNs were removed from our printer’s files and distribution network and his title was designated as no longer available for print or download.    

Royalties and Used books

Mr. **** states that he found numerous copies of the AuthorHouse publication of his book listed for sale as used books and claims he is due royalties on them. It is important to understand that royalties are paid only once on the sale of book.  A “used” book is not eligible for multiple royalties.

Mr. ****’s book was published on March 15, 2005 with AuthorHouse and remained live until he requested that it be cancelled in August of 2014. Sales data for copies of his title printed during that period were validated and royalties paid. A breakdown of the sales and royalties for his title is attached.  He sold eight (8) softcover copies, seven (7) hardcover books and two (2) e-books, making a total of $25.77 in royalties (this is the gross amount, before tax withholding). 

Our investigation into his claim found that a reference to the cancelled hardcover ISBN of his AuthorHouse title appears on Amazon.com. It is posted on the Amazon marketplace portion of the site and shows two (2) “used” hardcover copies from two (2) different vendors.  As previously noted, Mr. **** has been paid for all the hardcover copies printed of his AuthorHouse ISBN and the files are no longer available for printing.

 

***** *** Publishing

An investigation into his claim found that in May of 2015, a softcover version of ******* **** was published with ***** *** ********** and the title is currently available for purchase under ISBN ************. See attached screenshot taken from the ***** *** website. The sites he lists in his filing, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com and eBay all list only the ***** *** publication and its ISBN as the one being offered by them for sale as a paperback in both “new” and/or “used” classifications.   

Neither AuthorHouse LLC nor AuthorSolutions LLC or any of its imprints are affiliated in any way with ***** *** **********. We suggest that Mr. **** contact ***** *** directly for more information regarding the sales and royalties for the ISBNs published thru them.

In closing, after a thorough review of Mr. ****’s account, we can confirm that he has been paid all royalties due to him by AuthorHouse. The majority of books currently for sale as “used” are the version published by ***** *** **********. Because AuthorHouse is not affiliated with this company, we are unable to offer any royalty or sales information regarding the ***** *** ********** version of the book. We suggest that he contact ***** *** ********** regarding the sales and royalties of the publication of his title with them.

In 2005 Mr. ****’s self-publishing services agreement was completed and released to print with his approval, rending it ineligible for refund.

We trust this information illustrates the care taken to address Mr. ****’s concern.

Sincerely,

Elaine H*************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

The information provided by Authorhouse is incorrect. Just twenty minutes ago, I ordered a copy of my book from one of the online sellers and anyone can order them. Simply google the isbn#'s and go to any of the sites and you will be able to order the books.  And they won't be published by ***** *** **********. They are published b Authorhouse. ***** *** published this book under different isbn#'s. The isbn#'s that authorhouse published under are: *************, ************* and************.  Go online and order a copy.


Regards,

**** ****

7/16/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I complaint against *********, a publishing company located at **** ******* ****** ***********, ** ***** phone number * *** *** **** fax: *** *** *****, who received the manuscript of my book, ******** ** *** ******** ***** *** and did not publish my book after withdrawing $779.00 from my bank account for publishing fee. After they received my manuscript the company wanted copyright licenses from the publishers of the Christian hymns and Bible texts I used in my manuscript. I contacted and got feedbacks via emails from the publishers of the hymns and Bibles referenced in my book, The publishers are the ****** * ****** ********** *********** at ** * *** ***** *****, **********, ** ***** and ******* ***** *** ********** *********** at **** ***** ***** ****, *****, ** ***** Phone: ************. I provided the information to *********. The company then requested me to delete the hymns and Bible texts from my manuscript before they can publish it because they said the information received from the publisher was not sufficient. Because I cannot delete any part of my manuscript as doing so would take away the essence or value of my book, I decided not to go ahead with the publication. And on February 7, 2016 I requested ********* to refund the money that they withdrew from my bank account. But they have not responded to my request.

Desired Settlement: Refund

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to address the copyright issues and refund of Mr. ******’s book project.

On June 29, 2015, Mr. ****** purchased the Premier publishing package for the discounted price of $749.50 and chose to use a three-installment payment plan, adding a non refundable $30 payment plan fee to his total.  On the following day, June 30th, he returned his signed Self-Publishing Services Agreement. 

Content Evaluation Phase

He submitted his manuscript and materials on August 3, 2015 which his Check-in Coordinator immediately acknowledged.  In addition she advised that the manuscript was being forwarded to the next phase, a review by the Content Evaluation team for potential libel, copyright and fair use infringements.

 

The manuscript failed the initial content evaluation on August 25, 2015 for five reasons.  His Check-In coordinator emailed him the results which alerted him of the issues, as follows:

  1. Written permission was needed for the use of:

    1. the copyrighted songs included in the text

    2. the map of Liberia;

    3. family photos;

  2. The quotes included exceeded the US copyright law “fair use” policy and should be adjusted accordingly;

  3. The bible citations were not properly identified.

Mr. ****** sent two emails to his Check-In coordinator with information regarding attempts at receiving permission for the hymns.  However, the emails he provided did not prove that the hymns were in the public domain or were published prior to 1900.  At that time he was told that he could either remove the hymns (if he could not obtain permission) or reduce the amount included to 8 lines or less. 

On January 20, 2016, Mr. ****** emailed his Check-In coordinator stating that he had not received anything in writing proving the hymns were in the public domain and asked if his book could be published as is.  His Check-In coordinator reminded him of what he had been advised previously:  either reduce the amount of the hymn or remove it all together if he could not obtain permission. That was our last written correspondence from Mr. ******.

Refund Request

Mr. ****** states that he requested a refund on February 7, 2016. However, we are unable to verify this statement.  We ran a call report, copy attached, of the inbound and outbound calls to his phone number of record and found that there had also been no phone contact since January 20, 2016. As previously stated, email correspondence from him also ceased on January 20, 2016. With the absence of either emails, other written correspondence or phone calls since January 20th, the filing of this complaint is the first request for refund we have received from Mr. ******. 

 

Since no permissions or public domain verifications have been forthcoming and Mr. ****** has declined to make the necessary changes to the manuscript in order for it to pass the content evaluation and has filed this complaint asking for a refund, we acknowledge the cancellation of his project and request for refund.

Refund Eligibility

Per the Terms and Conditions of his Self-Publishing Services Agreement, copy attached, refunds on manuscripts that fail content evaluation, Sections 8.2 and 8.3, are subject to the following:

8.2 Refunds. Subject to the exception in Section 8.3 below, upon Termination of the Agreement, We will refund amounts paid by You for Publishing Packages or individual Services ("Refund") as follows:

(a) Publishing Packages. The potential Refund for a Publishing Package is exclusive to the amount paid for such Publishing Package as set forth in the Service Order(s), and will be calculated as follows:

 

i) Prior to submission of the Manuscript: 100%, less a non-refundable $150 (USD) Setup Fee

ii) After (i) above but prior to the start of interior design work: 50%

iii) After (ii) but prior to Final Approval 25%

iv) After Final Approval No Refund

8.3 Termination for Non-Compliance with Content Guidelines. You or We have the right to terminate this Agreement pursuant to Section 4.4 if Your Work does not comply with Our Content Guidelines. If, after Our Initial review of Your Manuscript, We terminate this Agreement due to non-compliance with the Content Guidelines, We will Refund to You the amounts paid for the Publishing Package and/or individual Services, less a fee of one hundred and fifty dollars ($150), which will be assessed as Our fee to review the Manuscript for compliance with Our Content Guidelines ("Content Evaluation Fee"). If Your Work fails to comply with Content Guidelines at any time after We complete the initial review of Your Manuscript, Your Refund will be calculated in accordance with Section 8.2.

Therefore, Mr. ****** has been refunded the $749.50 paid for the publishing package less the $150 failed content fee and the $150 administrative fee, making his refund $449.50. As mentioned previously, the payment plan fee is nonrefundable, reference Item 3 of the attached payment plan agreement.  A refund of $449.50 was returned to the card he used to make the purchase. He will find the refund in two transactions as follows: Transaction IDs: ********************************  for $249.83 and ******************************** for $199.67, totaling $449.50..

In closing, Mr. ******’ manuscript did not pass the initial content evaluation and was advised of the options available to him for the manuscript to move to the next phase of publication.  A review of his account found no record of a phone call, email or written request for cancellation or refund prior to his filing of this complaint. Per his request and in accordance with the terms and conditions of his Self-Publishing Services Agreement, a refund was approved and returned to the credit card used to make the purchase.

Sincerely,

Elaine H*************

Manager of Author Satisfaction


Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

I am contacting you because I called and got your name and contact information from the BBB that you are the person to contact about my complaint. I am writing because I rejected the business' response to my complaint because they claimed that they returned $449.50 to the card that I used to make the purchase but I did not received the refund in my account. I contacted my bank today and they could not track any refund made to my account from that business. 

 

I propose a new refund option and that is for the business to return my refund directly to my personal checking account; this is the account I used to make that purchase. The bank is Wells Fargo, routing number 091000019 and account number: 1524440078. Please send this information to the business to send my refund. Thank you.

sincerely,

Jonathan Morris 



Regards,

Jonathan Morris

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to update Mr. ****** regarding his refund.

On June 9, 2016, Mr. ******’ refund of $449.50 was returned to the Visa credit card ending in **** that was used to make the purchase.  Our finance team verified that this transaction has not been returned to us and therefore was accepted by the credit card company/bank. As the funds have not been returned his request for advancing a duplication of the monies thru Direct Deposit to his bank is declined.

We suggest that he inquire of his Visa card company again regarding the transaction number we provided in our original response.

Sincerely,

Elaine H*************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

7/3/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I paid Xlibris for advertising services for my book, and according to an email I have from one of their employees, Lance S******, many of these services remain unfulfilled. Because of this, I have requested a refund, which has not been forthcoming. I have attempted to speak with their representative, Erica T****, in order to clear this up, and I have been repeatedly told that she is in a meeting and will return my call. However, Erica has never called back or responded to my concern. If some of these services have been fulfilled since I received the email from Lance S******, I need to know. Otherwise, I wish to be refunded by Xlibris.

Desired Settlement: All I wish is to be refunded for the amount Xlibris owes me, or if services have been fulfilled since the communication from Lance S******, then I need confirmation of that.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

 

Thank you for the opportunity to review the status of the resubmission of Mr. ****’s title.

 

Mr. **** purchased a Premium Black and White publishing package with Xlibris on December 20, 2010, taking advantage of a special price offer.  At the time he indicated that he would be submitting his materials for his work, a translation of the New Testament into modern evangelical English, late the following year.  The submission specialist assigned to his project contacted him in October of 2011 for an update on his progress and was given a new anticipated submission date of early 2012.

 

His anticipated date came and went and he asked us to continue to check in with him regularly which we did. On January 2, 2013, he submitted his manuscript. The manuscript and cover design were prepared for publication and with his approval released to our printers on February 22, 2013 and made available for sale thru distribution on March 10, 2013.  On May 24, 2013 the order for the copies of his book included in his publishing package was fulfilled. In the ensuing months of 2013 marketing and promotional services were launched with his approval and others purchased.

 

In mid-February of 2014 a request for a subtitle modification for the work and some internal changes were requested. The changes were made and with his approval our printers replaced the previous files with the modified ones and his title was re-released in May 2014. A copy of each version of the book was again sent to him so that he could view how the physical book looks.

 

As is customary for resubmissions, a content evaluation is conducted to ensure that any changes made meet our publishing standards. It is important to note that with our acquisition by Penguin Group in July 2012 and the Penguin Random House merger on July 1, 2013, our content requirement standards were strengthened and the requirements were more specific. In completing the content evaluation several issues were identified as potential copyright concerns and attempts were made by both parties to comprehend their impact.

 

His title bounced back and forth between resub and complete status three times in 2014 with the most recent resubmission finalized in January 2016 and released to our printer on 1/22/16.  Please note that his royalty report statement (copy attached) shows royalty earning sales were made in Q4 2013, all four quarters of 2014 and 2015 and Q1 of 2016, illustrating that his title was active and available for consumer purchases during resubmissions. On April 26, 2016 Mr. **** purchased 6 copies of his book and on June 2, 2016 books were ordered for fulfillment of the Book Exhibit service at the National Education Association in New York. 

 

Fulfillment of Marketing and Promotional Services

Authors may purchase enhancements to their publishing services package and/or marketing and promotional services as add-ons to the original package for as long as their publishing agreement is in force. In addition, for as long as the book is in-print, the author may purchase copies in volume at discounted pricing.

 

A list of the add-on marketing and promotional services Mr. **** purchased is attached for your reference. Please note that these services were purchased in 2013, 2014 and 2015.  The reports denote three categories--those services that have been fulfilled (closed or launched), cancelled or are open awaiting information or the onset of the service’s event.

 

Cancellation Request

A request to cancel the unfulfilled marketing services was received from Mr. **** on January 5, 2016. We responded pointing out the refund eligibility terms as stated in the Self-Publishing Services Agreement he has with Xlibris. The Term and Exclusivity section of the Author Agreement states, copy attached, that “Fees related to other pre- or post-publication services such as marketing services, data entry, copyediting and /or corrections or book sales are not refundable.”

 

Mr. **** through his representative Nancy S**** has been in contact with Xlibris about the cancellation request. Xlibris received instructions from Ms. S**** by email to not communicate by phone but by email only going forward.

 

In light of our review and consideration of his circumstances, Xlibris has agreed to make an exception for services purchased within six (6) months of his January 5, 2016 refund request. The three (3) marketing and promotional services refunded are listed below and the combined refund made through check and credit card chargeback:

 

Refund Ticket           Refund Amount        Service Order Item

***********                  $1,000.00                          Bookstore Returnability Kit - Starter

***********                  $2,499.00                          Extended Campaign - Regional Bookstores Pitch Campaign

***********                  $2,499.00                          Extended Campaign - Regional Bookstores Pitch Campaign

Xlibris, through our refund representative, Erika T****, has notified Mr. ****’s representative that their request was forwarded for executive review and denied. Upon receipt of this complaint, the request was presented again for review.  Please note that the agreement was signed in 2010, released in 2012, again in 2013, 2014 and 2016. The review stands by the terms of the agreement, and declines any further refund eligibility.

 

As his book has been released again, the marketing and promotional services, with his cooperation, can be fulfilled in accordance with the service description.

 

Sincerely,

 

Elaine H*************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

7/2/2016 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: At my request my wife has spoken to Authorhouse three times regarding the fact they have placed my book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers without my permission. The book is not ready for selling as of yet, because I am still in the process of working on the revisions with AuthorHouse. They have jumped the gun and have presumably made arrangements with these sellers, who in turn have put up advertisements for it even though it does not yet exist. Besides embarrassing ME, the effect of this is that they have undermined our ability to sell our remaining, sizeable stock of Ist editions, since customers will want the latest, the 2nd edition. I find this highly disrespectful on the part of Authorhouse, because , after all, they sold me the copies I have. They're undermining one customer, the most important one, the author, to please another customer. My wife spoke with employees of Authorhouse and one of them told her that it would be taken care of right away ~ THAT DAY ~ and at the end of the day and the next the book was still offered for sale on Amazon. That was two weeks ago, and the phantom 2nd edition is still up for sale on Amazon! Another employee told her that Authorhouse would have to fill out a form and contact Amazon and it could take up to three weeks for the book to be taken off the seller's online selling list. My wife told AuthorHouse this was not acceptable and that they must remove this book immediately because it is not ready for sale and they are selling a book I have not approved, and, as I noted, they are effectively obstructing our sales of our remaining 1st editions.

Desired Settlement: I want for AuthorHouse to immediately stop selling my book to anyone but me: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, eBay, private parties and so on. Authorhouse has put my reputation as an author in jeopardy and I want them to stop selling my book unless and until I have given full, new, written permission for them to do so. Besides which, the royalties they have sent me are paltry, not even worth troubling with, but these tiny sums suggest some sort of collusion between Authorhouse and Amazon to essentially usurp nearly all the rightful gains of the author. We will file a separate complaint about Amazon.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to respond to Mr. ******’s concerns regarding the availability of his book.

Mr. ******’s book, ** *** ***** **, was originally published on ***** **, ****. In November of 2015, he elected to make changes to his book and purchased a resubmission.  On April 14, 2016, we sent Mr. ****** the final cover proof for his review and approval after several attempts to create a cover that matched his specifications. We received his signed cover and interior approval forms on April 18, 2016 (copies attached). These approval forms state that by signing the form, the author approves and consents to the publication, printing and distribution of the book (distribution is defined on the form as the book being made available for public sale on online retail sites such as Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com). The fact that the book would be made available for sale after approval was received for the cover was also mentioned in our response to Mr. ******’s previous filing in April 2016 which stated “once he has approved the cover design, the book files will be submitted to our print vendors and the revised version will become available for purchase.” Because we had received signed approval forms from Mr. ******, we proceeded with our standard process of publishing the book. The new files were sent to our print vendors and the book was made live on April 26, 2016.

After a book goes live, we send the author one complimentary printer copy of each available print version of their book (in this case hardcover and softcover) so that they may see a finished product. At this point, the book has already gone live and is available for sale. The same process also applies to resubmissions. Once new files are approved, they are sent to our print vendors, the old files are removed, the new ones installed, the new version of the title is made live and available for sale. A complimentary printer copy of each version is also sent to the author.

On May 12, 2016, Mr. ****** sent an e-mail stating that he had received the complimentary copies of his book and that the bold text on the cover was different when compared to how it appeared in the electronic files. Over the next week, these concerns were discussed in more detail. After consultation with the printer and our design and distribution staff it was decided that to obtain the cover Mr. ****** desired in a printed product some adjustments to the electronic file would be necessary.

On May 20, 2016, the status of the book was changed in our system to reflect that a resubmission would be done. On May 26, 2016, after some adjustments were made, the status of the book was changed back to live so that we could have copies of the adjusted files printed for the team working on the color correction in order to see how the book would look coming directly from our print vendors.

On June 1, 2016, we received an e-mail from ******* ****** stating that the book went live without their permission. Their Check-In Coordinator sent an e-mail to our submissions team asking that they put the title on hold with our print vendors and we changed the status of the book in our system back to resubmission. On June 8, 2016, ******* called and explained that he wanted the book removed from reseller websites, and that he wanted the book to be on hold as they had more corrections that they wanted to make to the book. They were informed by the customer service representative that it may take two to three weeks for resellers to update their websites. Unfortunately, we have no control over how quickly sites like Amazon or Barnes & Noble update the information on their sites. It is up to them when they add or remove titles once they are provided the updated information.

Later that week, ******* sent interior modifications that needed to be made to the book. As of this writing, the book is not live in our system and is in resubmission status. Because this revised version uses the same ISBNs as the first version, there are copies of the original edition listed for sale on the Amazon Marketplace of both the paperback and hardcover formats.  On the title’s listing Amazon states that they have several hardcover copies of the original version in stock.  These copies were purchased by Amazon for stock and in accordance with their policy will offer them for sale until they are purchased. 

Amazon has placed a “Just so you know” disclaimer on the title’s hardcover Look Inside option that refers to the version of the book (****) that one will receive when placing an order on the Amazon site or thru the Amazon Marketplace . The new cover is appearing on the Amazon site because the new files were submitted in April after Mr. ****** submitted the signed approval forms.

Mr. ****** states in his filing that he wants AuthorHouse to stop selling his book to anyone but him. Although this choice is requested on occasion, there is a print option that will restrict sales to the author alone called “short run only”.  This means that for the purpose of maintaining the print files his title would be recognized as not available for print or distribution at the printers.  When he desires to place an order, he must do so thru an AuthorHouse book consultant; the file will have to be temporarily activated so that the requisite number of copies can be printed and then the “short run only” status restored. This “short run only” option makes his title unavailable to any resellers or consumers and removes it from any AuthorHouse bookstore listings.  At this point, we can keep the status of the book on hold, or if Mr. ****** wishes, we can make the status short run only so that he alone may purchase copies at any time. We await his instruction on whether this option will meet him needs.  We hope this information helps clarify our process for Mr. ******.

In closing, Mr. ****** requested revisions to his book and approved the modifications made when he signed both the cover and interior proof files as ready for publication, printing and distribution. The new files were subsequently submitted to our print vendors and made available for sale.

The first record of being notified that he wished for the book to be on hold was June 1, 2016 at which point we immediately made the book unavailable in our system and communicated to our distribution channel that the title should be placed on hold. Regarding the removal of the book from reseller sites, as bookseller other than AuthorHouse are responsible for the contents of their websites, the timing of removal from their website(s) is at their discretion and subject to how often they update their sites. This process may take several weeks. However, the ability to print new copies has been stopped at our print partners.

We trust this information illustrates the steps taken to address Mr. ******’s concerns.

Sincerely,

Elaine H*************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

6/26/2016 Delivery Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I have published four books with Xlibris Publishing Corp. - 2 written in 2014, one in 2015 and one in January of 2016. My 5th, which I intend to cancel, is "in production". In research, they DO NOT LIST any of my books with MY name, the book's description, my biography or the "free preview" which came with my last book (book four) that should remain effective for two years - past 2017. Even the Google listing of my books with them default to a page that says "this information is currently unavailable". This, I am positive, is a direct result of my filing a negative survey I was asked to complete (with complete) anonymity, where I voiced serious complaint about being LIED to, blatantly, by this individual - for the second time. I had to deal with him last year and he is inept. This is their PAYBACK, I believe. They will NOT even return my e-mails etc. I want them to reinstate my former book's profiles, cover art and delivery/payment system and return to me the money I paid for book five which I have only submitted part of the content to them, a failure at their end (drop-box transmission system) kept failing!,

Desired Settlement: I would like a refund of half of the money I paid for this last project: "A 2nd Book for a $1.00 deal), but which you actually pay for, and I want them to HONOR their contractual responsibilities to list my books as long as I live on the Bookstore website. I was told by the Sales Associate, Jet L****** (left company) on 1/15/14 that my books would be displayed & advertised, independent of any additional charges etc. for the duration of my life.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

 

Thank you for the opportunity to investigate the interruption of her books’ listings on our bookstore and to assure Ms. ****** that we are committed to working with her to complete her remaining book of poetry.

 

During 2014 and 2015, Ms. ****** purchased five (5) publishing packages from Xlibris to publish her works.  Four (4) titles have completed their publication and the fifth project is currently in Production. We have attached the list of projects on Ms. ******’s account with the dates of their purchase, materials submission and publication for your reference.

 

Ms. ****** relates that her books in publication are not appearing on the Xlibris Bookstore and on Google and speculates why.

 

Appearance of Books on Xlibris Bookstore

Xlibris conducts bookstore and title maintenance yearly. Tests are conducted to ensure that the online bookstore system operates effectively and efficiently. These tests check the functionality of the system and probe to ensure it is running up to code.

 

During the maintenance tests conducted between May 24 and June 2, 2016 several Xlibris titles were temporarily removed from the online bookstore. Her titles were among those affected.  We extend our apologies to Ms. ****** for any inconvenience or frustration this temporary interruption may have caused her and assure her that the issue was immediately addressed as soon as it was discovered.  Her titles were restored to the bookstore on May 31, 2016.  Please reference the attached May 31, 2016 internal email confirming with screenshots that all four (4) of her titles in print during the period, had been restored to the bookstore.

 

In order to respond to her reference of a Google listing statement, more specifics are needed, such as the address where she found the reference, where in Google she was searching (a general search; a specific vendor search ; from her personal website), is she referring to one or all of her titles, etc. Without such information we are unable to investigate further.

 

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Customer satisfaction surveys are sent to authors at the end of each publishing stage and allow Xlibris to continuously monitor and improve the customer experience of our authors. We can assure Ms. ****** that her feedback is used only for customer satisfaction analysis and process improvement initiatives.

 

Partial Submission of Materials for Package Five

In her filing she attributes her inability to submit the materials of her entire manuscript to the failure of Xlibris’ drop box transmission system. In her emails of May 24, 2016 sent to her submissions representative, she explains that the delay in her submission is the result of the breakdown of her own computer system.  Copies of those emails are attached.

 

Settlement Request

Ms. ****** has requested a refund on the project currently in production and assurance that the contractual responsibilities for listing her books will be honored for her lifetime.

 

According to the refund policy of the Self-Publishing Services Agreement she signed, Section 10.1, she is no longer eligible for refund as the effective date of the agreement, January 18, 2015, exceeds six (6) months. A copy of the agreement is attached for your reference.  We assure her that we are committed to continue to allocate the necessary resources to assist her in completing her submission and the publication of her work. We await the completion of her submission at her discretion.

 

Regarding her concern that her work be listed by Xlibris for the duration of her lifetime, we refer her to the term information of the agreement contained in Section 2. The agreement has no expiration date and unless the agreement is terminated by her, us or both parties as described in Section 9, the listing of her books for sale will continue with Xlibris and our distribution network partners until notice is received of her demise. Should she desire to bequeath her book rights to someone, she may do so through her will.

 

In closing, we again apologize for the interruption of the listing of her books on our website due to title maintenance work.  Her bookstore listings were restored immediately upon learning of the interruption situation and thank her for her understanding.

  

In accordance with the terms of her Self-Publishing Services Agreement, the package in production is no longer eligible for refund and her request has been declined.  We are prepared to work with her to complete the publication of her work and await her full submittal of materials.

 

We trust this information illustrates the steps taken to address Ms. ******’s concerns.

 

Sincerely,

 

Elaine H*************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and find that this resolution would be satisfactory to me. 

Regards,

****** ******

6/24/2016 Problems with Product/Service
6/6/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: To better understand my complaint, I am pasting below copies of the mail exchange between me and Xlibris, that is, Authour Solutions and their representatives Jude S**** and Adam B*****. Nina L***** is the new consultant assigned to me. The original person was Joan C***. They just told me two days ago that she no longer works there and has not been there for at least four months. But I just heard days ago because I called to talk to her. Should they not have notified me? I am just curious. That's the type of business experience I have had since I signed up with them to publish a book for me. The Title of the book is "***** ****** *". So read my exchange with them and understand what they have put me through. Jude First of all, let me say this to you again. I wrote this in my last mail to you that I HAVE PAID FOR THIS RE-SUBMISSION SERVICE. In case you did not get it into your head then, get it now. To begin with, I paid for Editing service with your company Xlibris. At the end of the day you sent me an electronic copy of the edited book. I naively took you by your word when I was told that you guys are professionals. So I just assumed that being the professionals that you are, everything in the book is alright. Then I appended my signature. Then it came to the time you sent me a printed copy of the book. It was then I decided to read it. As I did I discovered that what you gave me is junk. I raised this up with Xlibris, pointing out areas of missed spellings, poor grammar, omissions, and what have you. Your defense was that I should not have signed off on the book. I was told I should have held out until I was satisfied that the book has been fully edited to my taste before signing. Though I was not happy with that reasoning I accepted it because, truly it was my fault to have made that rookie mistake. All told, I was made to pay again for re-submission for editing and I did. This time, instead of you doing the editing I began doing it, only sending you occasionally copies of the editing as I did it section by section. I am not a professional so I began doing it at my own speed. But then, many times I sent in updates for you to implement them into the book, you sent back to me a galley full of half of the errors I had corrected and sent in. I will then go through the list to pick out the ones you missed and sometimes, you introduce som problems and errors that was not there before. We will go through this several times before the corrections for that section is fully implemented. Then we move to the next. That's how I ended up sending in many updates because you will not do a professional job. You kept either missing, omitting or creating new errors. This frustrated me a lot but I just endured since we have begun. I felt that I should exercise my patience till we get to the end. It is an irony now that all the many times I sent back your omissions and errors are now begin counted against me as having sent in too many updates. You fail to note that many of them were caused by your unprofessional work. Thankfully, I have all the evidence with me. I will like to see you explain to a Judge why I should pay for one service three times. I paid originally, and then I paid for re-submission. Even then, it has been me doing the editing and not you. If you insist that I have to pay this your extortionate $25, know for sure that we will be standing before a judge because I will never pay it. I have paid for it already. I have spent over Eighteen thousand dollars paying for services that I have not gotten yet. Some of the services I paid for I ended up doing myself. This is the last of the updates I am sending in. Once this is professionally implemented I will sign off just like I told you. But you are trying to intimidate me into signing again. Then in the end, when I point out any error you will ask me "Why did you sign it?" Isn't this what they call run around? That's what you are giving me. The first thing I will do is speak with Joan C***, and then I will let her know what action I am about to take. This is too much of you. And know this, once we get to court I will be asking for the refund of my money while you keep your junk service that you have been rendering me. I tried to work with you but you are now pushing the envelope by trying to force me to sign an unfinished business. This is it. I get the blame for what things you did wrong and the ones I did wrong. I am sick of this. It is either you implement this for me to sign, or we stretch it a little further. Take my word for it. And, by the way, replace the last attachment I sent in with this one. ****** ******* Adam I don't know what was logged in your record but what I can tell you is that I paid for re-submission. I did it to get the book into editing a second time. So you are not waving anything for me. If they logged that the fee was waived it is probably because I already paid it. Joan C*** was my consultant then. I learnt now that she is no longer there. Michelle A**** was my re-submission contact there. Joan knows that I paid for the re-submission or you guys would not have started put the book into editing again. That's what I was told and that is why I paid. Check your record very well. About errors in the book, check your record and see how many I have sent in for correction. They are plenty. Thankfully I saved the copies of the updates I sent in. And the editing work has been sloppy to say the least, but I was willing to work with you to the end. Now Jude is giving me a hard time. What I sent in included the latest update. I attached it to the mail I sent him. And coincidentally, as I told him, that would be the last as soon as it is correctly implemented. Unless the editors introduce new errors, as they have done plenty of times before. Once they take their time to update this and do i

Desired Settlement: I want them to apply the latest update I sent in. Correctly implement it, I sign off on the editing and the book is published. They should stop giving me a hard time by asking me to pay again for re-submission which I have done. I paid for Editing service, they did a poor job. I paid again for resubmission. They have not done the work to the end. Now they are asking me to pay again. What type of a business deal is that?

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to review the editing and production phases of Mr. *******’s project and resume the resubmission of his book.

 

Mr. ****** ******* signed up with Xlibris on December 4, 2014 to publish his book entitled “***** ****** *”. He purchased a Black and White Executive publishing package at a special discount. In addition to the marketing and promotional services included in his package, he strengthened his marketing plan’s focus with the purchase of other marketing and promotional packages and services to be implemented once his book was completed and in print. On February 10, 2016, he added the DIY Audiobook option to his services.

 

Xlibris allocates a team of specialists for each project and the author works with them in a specific order according to their specialization. Once the team member’s role is completed, the project advances to the next phase and is under the direction of the specialist in that area. Mr. ******* expresses concern that he was not informed when the Publishing Consultant he had worked with left the company. The Publishing Consultant is an author’s first point of contact. Here, a discussion of the author’s vision for his/her book takes place and the services we offer are explained. If the author decides to purchase publishing services the consultant finalized the decision. Once the paperwork is completed the project moves to the next phase where a specialist in pre-production services takes over. Mr. *******’s project advanced thru several phases and the specialists in those phases were working with him to complete his book. A different publishing consultant was assigned to his project should he need their assistance. 

 

A review of his account found the following:

  • On February 9, 2015 he approved the copyediting of his manuscript, copy of approval attached. The approval form instructs the author to review the edit and make changes where desired.

  • His manuscript was forwarded to the next phase.

  • On February 20, 2015 he provided his signed approval for the cover galley.

  • On March 10, 2015 he approved the interior galley for release to print, copy attached.

  • On March 10, 2015 his cover and interior files were submitted to our printer distribution network.

  • On March 13, 2015 his book was made available for sale.

  • On March 26, 2015 he notified us that spelling and grammatical errors appeared in his published work that should have been found in editing.

     

    In his filing he indicates he made assumptions and gave his approval without verifying content. The approval forms at both the copyediting and galley phases specifically advise the author to carefully review the document presented to them and identify any changes or modifications they desire to have made.  The interior galley sign off explicitly states that approval attests that the interior is ready for publication and distribution and any subsequent change requests will incur additional fees.

     

    Our review of his file found that after discussion he and his Publishing Services Associate, Alyssa R******, worked out a resolution for the identification of the editing issues.  In May 2015 he paid resubmission fees for modifications and as agreed he submitted the revisions in batches.  As part of the agreement the resulting rounds of revisions were completed at no additional cost.  However, due to a change in the assigned representative for this phase, he was mistakenly asked to pay for correction charges upon submission of the final set of changes.

     

    Xlibris acknowledges that this situation would be frustrating for Mr. ******* and accepts responsibility for failing to fully address his copyediting concern when he called it to our attention after receiving his printer copy of the book.  We apologize to him for our oversight.  We have since reviewed the full copyedit and addressed the results with the editor.  We have taken the necessary measures to ensure that this will not happen again.  We also apology for the confusion surrounding the revision submission method agreed upon.

     

    As a good will offering, Xlibris will refund the resubmission and revision fees that have been paid by Mr. *******.  The refund has been requested and he should receive reimbursement within 30 days.

     

    The implementation of the final revisions will be completed at no additional cost.  A galley will be provided and submitted for his approval.  We trust that he will carefully review the galley to ensure that the revisions he had requested were implemented and that the book looks and reads as he had desired.  If requested revisions were not made, he may identify them and we will implement them. If new revision requests are made, they will be reviewed for origin and may incur additional fees.

     

    We hope the information illustrates the steps we have taken to address Mr. *******’s concerns.

     

    Sincerely,

     

    Elaine H*************

    Manager of Author Satisfaction

 

6/3/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I originally paid $412 to get my book published. Then, as a disabled person, I fell on hard times. I told them that I would not be able to go through with the project. I knew that I would lose $180 out of it and I was fine with that. They told me I would receive my refund in two weeks. Then, things got worse. They drafted MORE MONEY from my account instead of applying the refund. They took an additional $382 from my account. The guy, Janes N***, was really nice, but almost didn't acknowledge the extra money. I had already cancelled! They stole more money from me. I shouldn't have to wait two weeks for this when I did things right by cancelling.

Desired Settlement: I want a full refund of $614 refunded back into my account IMMEDIATELY and I want them to lose my credit card number immediately after refunding the purchase.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to acknowledge that we have cancelled Ms. ******’s project and refunded her according to the terms of her self-publishing agreement.

 

Ms. ****** ****** signed up to publish her book entitled “*********** ******” with ******* on March 21, 2016. She purchased a Black and White Custom publishing package taking advantage of a promotional rate of $949.50 from the regular $1899 price. She also purchased an Editorial Assessment add-on for $199. Ms. ****** opted to use an installment payment plan which added a $30 non-refundable surcharge, making her package total $1,178.50. Ms. ****** made the first payment of $ 412.84 that day with the remaining two payments of $382.83 each set up for auto-charge on the same day of the following two months.

 

For your reference, a copy of the services included in the package and a description of the add-on service are attached along with copies of her signed self-publishing services agreement and the installment payment plan agreement.

 

Ms. ******’s manuscript was received and endorsed to content evaluation on March 28, 2016. Per Section 4.3 of the Self-Publishing Services Agreement, her manuscript was reviewed for possible libel, copyright and fair use issues that would preclude it from meeting our publishing standards. After passing the review, on March 31, 2016 the manuscript was forwarded for editorial assessment.  Here a section of her manuscript, up to 1700 words, underwent a preliminary diagnostic edit in order to aid her in recognizing areas that may need editorial assistance and recommendations made for the type of assistance that would be beneficial. The typical time line for the assessment is two to three weeks depending on our work queue and the complexity of the author’s work.

 

******* received a cancellation request from Ms. ****** on April 15, 2016. Per the payment plan agreement the second scheduled payment for her package was set-up for April 21, 2016. Any installment scheduled for payment prior to the completion of the refund process is due on the date stated in the agreement and will be automatically taken. The cancellation and refund request was processed and a refund paid to her account on April 26, 2016, within our committed timeline of 35 days from the date of the termination request.

 

Ms. ****** states in her filing that she was quoted a two week timeline.  The twelve (12) day elapsed time from the original request on April 15th to the refund date of April 26th meets the two week expectation provided to her.

 

 

Our full refund policy is stated in Section 8 of the Self-Publishing Services Agreement. Projects like Ms. ******’s with a submitted manuscript that has proceeded thru pre-production phases and has yet to begin the interior design work, qualify for a refund of 50% of the publishing package cost less the $30 non-refundable installment surcharge, Section 8.2(a). Her Editorial Assessment add-on service has been fulfilled and is ineligible for refund per Section 8.2(b).

 

The following is a monetary breakdown of the refund.

Service Order Items and costs:

Black & White Custom                                        $ 949.50  50% eligible for refund

Editorial Assessment                                           $ 199.00  service fulfilled; ineligible for refund

Payment Plan Fee                                                $ 30.00     non refundable

                                                                

Total Order Amount:                                            $ 1,178.50

 

Amount paid:                                                          $ 795.67

Less:

(50% of package cost)                                          ($ 474.75)

(Editorial Assessment)                                         ($ 199.00)

(Payment Plan Fee)                                              ($ 30.00)

 

 Refund Amount:                                                   $ 91.92

 

On April 26, 2015 we returned the amount of $91.92 to her Visa ending ****, via transaction ID ********************************.

 

In summary, at her request, Ms. ******’s project has been cancelled and she has been refunded in accordance with the refund policy stated in her Self Publishing Services Agreement within the time line promised.   

 

We trust this information illustrates the steps taken to address her concerns.

 

Sincerely,

 

Elaine H*************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

I am submitting the proof I have that shows they transposed my signature onto their documents. I did not sign anything. I repeatedly asked for cancellation and you will see in the screenshots that I am submitting that they admitted it. I have no idea what kind of monsters they are, but they are thieves and they are featured on Rip Off Report several times. I am not the only one.


Regards,
****** ******


5/19/2016 Problems with Product/Service
5/4/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I purchased a package from Balboa Press in December 2014. I did NOT sign the contract till 25th of May 2015 and this was when we started to work together. The package I got included editing/design/formatting and publishing my book. They delivered such awful and unacceptable service that I ended up hiring an outside editor/designer and formatter. Even after I asked Balboa to implement what I've outsourced, they couldn't do it well, and took over 3 months of my time (while knowing that I was working under a tight deadline). When I told them that I could't accept such quality and asked for a refund, they did PROMISE a REFUND (I have it in writing). After taking 2 months, and me calling - they said that they changed their mind about refund. They said that it's been over 6 months after I paid. HOWEVER, it's been only 3 months after I signed the contract and we started to work together. According to their agreement - nothing starts before I sign the contract, regardless when I pay for the services. So I'm eligible for a refund of services I could Not use due to the unacceptable quality and their inability to deliver. I edited, designed, formatted and published my book with a different publisher. The book has become a bestseller, so I'm happy I didn't go with Balboa and their horrible work standards and ethics.n

Desired Settlement: While no-one can return my wasted time. I'd want to be reimbursed for the services I could not and did not use.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to review and address Ms. *******’s request for a refund of her publishing package.

On December 30, 2014, Ms. ******* purchased the Embark package from Balboa Press for the discounted price of $585 and chose to add-on the Cover Copy Polish service for $239. She opted to pay in installments which added a non refundable $75 payment plan fee, making her total cost $899. She made the first payment that day with the remaining payments due the same day in the following two months.

On May 22, 2015, she signed the Self-Publishing Services Agreement (copy attached) and work began on her book. The Content Evaluation and Cover Copy Polish elements of her package were both completed in mid July along with formatting of the interior of her book. Throughout the phases of the design process, Ms. ******* was unhappy with the results and ultimately decided to cancel her publishing package with Balboa Press on September 17, 2015.

With regards to the refund of her publishing package, Ms. ******* is correct in stating that she is eligible for a refund as she requested it within six months of the signing of the Self-Publishing Services Agreement. The refund policy is outlined in Section 10 of her signed self-publishing services agreement (copy attached) and reads:

“You may be entitled to a refund of all or a portion of the amount You paid for a Publishing Package. The refund opportunity is exclusive to the amount paid for the Publishing Package as referenced in the Service Order. All other Services are non-refundable after purchase. You shall be entitled to a refund of the amount paid for the Publishing Package as follows:

a. Prior to submission of the manuscript: 100% [less a $150 (USD) setup fee]

b. After (a) above and prior start of interior design work: 50%

c. After (b) but prior to final sign-off: 25%”

As her book had been submitted and interior design work had been performed but no sign off received, she would be eligible for a 25% refund on the $585 cost of her Publishing Package or $146.25. The $75 Payment Plan Fee is non refundable, and the Cover Copy Polish has been completed making it ineligible for refund.

In closing, although it has been over six months since she purchased her publishing package, she did not sign the Self-Publishing Services Agreement until May 2015 and therefore, we have granted Ms. ******* a 25% refund of the cost of the publishing package. The amount of $146.25 was refunded back to her credit card on January 8, 2015, transaction ID ********************************.

We allotted the necessary resources to assist Ms. ******* in the preparation of her project and are saddened that she has chosen to complete her project elsewhere. We wish her success with her publishing endeavor.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.


I purchased the Embark package from Balboa Press (which at the time cost $999  http://www.balboapress.com/Packages/CorePackages/Embark.aspx)

for the discounted price of $899.00.
All the mentioned services (design and so on.) were INCLUDED in the package. 
I did NOT get any Additional or Extra services - I got the basic package and everything that was included.  If I did have a choice to pay less and get less number of 'services' - I would. But there was NOT such choice.
Since I was hesitating and it was New Year eve (the sale had to made in order for the representative to get holiday bonus), I was given an extra bonus (back cover polish), but I did NOT buy it as extra, did NOT pay for it as extra, it was simply added to my package.

Here is the part from my agreement: 
"The amount due for the services associated with this agreement plus a $75 non-refundable processing fee will be billed to you in four equal payments as outlined below.
·         $299.66 – 1st payment

·         $299.67 – 2nd payment 

·         $299.67 – 3rd payment"


So my package was NOT $585, but $899!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What Balboa representative is now saying is a word-game, I was told differently - a plan for $899 (which could NOT cost lower) with added benefits.

Below is what Balboa representative wrote about their guarantee policy: 

"2.  I know that most publishers offer a 100% investment Guarantee in case something goes wrong. 

Do you offer any Guarantee? what is it?

 

We also offer 100% investment guaranteed authentic. We cannot guarantee book sales though."


Below is what I wrote about this Bonus I got WITHIN my package: 


"yes, I'd need help with my front/back cover text, not just from editing but also from MARKETING point of view

so thank you for allowing me to have it within the basic package!  

-          Yes, it is included for the back cover formatting. There is no price in editing the cover since that is part of the package (Custom Cover dersign)


I also have a letter from Balboa representative that I'd be given a REFUND in the amount of $749

I did get this information Before I cancelled and I Trusted Balboa would fulfill its promise, and I invested that money in a different publisher.



"Dear Lucille ****,

Thank you so much for all your help!

As we spoke, I'm awaiting for the $749.00 refund.
The rest of the amount can go towards the interior design (the only Balboa package service that I'll be able to use and work on further while going forward with my book).

Although it's been over 4 months that I've 'lost' - it's been a learning experience that probably was a part of my publishing journey.

I ended up NOT being able to use ANY of Balboa work as it was an unacceptable poor quality, however I'm willing not to have a full discount, but I want to be paid what I was PROMISED by a Balboa representative (have the email from them)

Thank you for your help!




Regards,

***** *******

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to respond to Ms. *******’s concerns.

Ms. ******* is correct in stating that Cover Design and a Personalized Back Cover were included with her Embark Publishing Package that she purchased on December 30, 2014. Descriptions of these services can be found at the following links: http://www.balboapress.com/Servicestore/ServiceDetail.aspx?ServiceId=BS-1569 and http://www.balboapress.com/Servicestore/ServiceDetail.aspx?ServiceId=BS-1580.

The service in question is the Cover Copy Polish, a separate service where the author’s front and back cover texts are reviewed and critiqued by an editor. The complete description can be found here: http://www.balboapress.com/Servicestore/ServiceDetail.aspx?ServiceId=BS-265. The Cover Copy Polish service is typically only included with the highest level publishing package (Amplify Package), and carries a cost of $239 when purchased as an add on. A comparison of our publishing packages can be found here: http://www.balboapress.com/Packages/CorePackages/Compare.aspx .

The order for Ms. *******’s Embark Publishing Package was entered into our system by the Publishing Consultant showing the Publishing Package with a cost of $585 and the Cover Copy Polish with a cost of $239 (a screen shot of how the order items appear in our system is included). After reviewing the communications between Ms. ******* and her Publishing Consultant, we have determined that there was some confusion between the normal Cover Design that is included with every package, and the Cover Copy Polish. Because the meanings of some statements in these communications seem to be unclear, we will adjust the refund amount as if the Cover Copy Polish was included with the package. After this adjustment, the package price would be $824. The $75 non refundable payment plan fee makes the total $899, which is what Ms. ******* was charged for the order. A complete copy of the Payment Plan Agreement, referenced by Ms. *******, is attached.

Regarding the guarantee that Ms. ******* highlighted in her response, we reviewed the full text of the e-mail she referenced and found that the guarantee her Publishing Consultant was referring to was the refund policy in a situation where Hay House elects to pick up her title from us for publishing. While we do offer refunds for other reasons, they are pursuant to Section 10 of the Self-Publishing Services Agreement (copy attached). Ms. ******* signed this agreement on May 22, 2015. As stated in our previous response, this section reads:

“You may be entitled to a refund of all or a portion of the amount You paid for a Publishing Package. The refund opportunity is exclusive to the amount paid for the Publishing Package as referenced in the Service Order. All other Services are non-refundable after purchase. You shall be entitled to a refund of the amount paid for the Publishing Package as follows:

a. Prior to submission of the manuscript: 100% [less a $150 (USD) setup fee]

b. After (a) above and prior start of interior design work: 50%

c. After (b) but prior to final sign-off:  25%”

Because her book has been submitted, interior work and Cover Copy Polish completed, she is due a 25% refund of the cost of the publishing package, which we have adjusted to $824. In regards to the possible refund amount of $749, this figure did not take into account the fact that the $75 payment plan fee is non refundable, and that the progress on Ms. *******’s book fell into category C of the policy listed above.

In closing, we granted Ms. ******* a partial refund of the cost of her publishing package in accordance with the Self-Publishing Services Agreement that she signed and returned to us in May of 2015. A refund of $146.25 was credited to Ms. *******’s credit card on January 8, 2016, transaction ID ********************************. After reviewing the correspondence between Ms. ******* and her Publishing Consultant and finding that there seemed to be some difficulty in clarification of the services being provided, we are offering Ms. ******* an additional refund in the amount of $59.75. If we operate under the conclusion that the Cover Copy Polish was intended to be part of the publishing package, the total price of the package is $824. A 25% refund on $824 is $206.00 for which she has already been reimbursed $146.25. The additional amount of $59.75 was returned to her credit card on March 30, 2016 via transaction ID ********************************

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

I understand the %25 refund policy.  However, after looking through my complaint and agreeing that Balboa services were totally unacceptable, my Balboa agent said that I should be refunded and promised that my refund would be in the amount of $750.

I have this promise in Writing!!  After being reassured, I was able to approach another agency and re-invest in my book publishing. I did rely on the given promise and planned accordingly.

I have more then dozen friends/authors who went with Balboa and ALL say that it was a BAD decision.  I'd hope that the company would at least try to keep and stand for its reputation... and pay what they promised.... Don't see it happening..

Regards,

***** *******


4/29/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: This company keeps on lying to my husband and me. We paid good money to publish a memoir and the service has been poor. We finally left them after so many issues. Problem: We still have yet to receive a single dollar back from them in royalty money. We know they have sold many books, both individual and libraries, as we see that online at Amazon yet still no money to us. We paid them thousands of dollars to get our book published right, they kept messing up and a sample of that follow. Book was published April 2015. Now February 2016 and still no royalties. Honestly they kept messing up our book cover, author names, it has been a mess. Our book is a memoir of our son who fought cancer and died at age five years. Please help us. Thank you, **** * ******* *******

Desired Settlement: We want all of our royalties and we want full reimbursement for fees paid due to the bad service and the bad treatment they have given to us.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to explain Ms. *******’s royalty earnings and customer service experience with Archway.

Ms ******* states that she has never received a royalty payment for her book, **** ****** ***.

Ms. ******* published her book with Archway Publishing as a Print-On-Demand title, and it was released into the retail distribution channel with her approval on April 29, 2015, during Q2 2015.

Schedule A, Section 1, Royalties of her Services Agreement (copy attached) explains when royalties are paid (subsection c) and the royalty rates for print and e-book version of a title (subsections a and b). Also, on our website in the FAQ tab more information regarding sales and royalties can be found in the Pricing and Royalty section.  http://www.archwaypublishing.com/FAQ/Pricing.aspx#Calculate

These documents explain that royalties are earned quarterly with payments made within sixty (60) days after a quarter ends.  Payments are made by check unless the author chooses to receive them by electronic funds transfer.

  • For check payment the earnings for the quarter must exceed $75 dollars. If the earnings fail to meet the threshold, they are rolled into the next quarter and accrue from quarter to quarter until the threshold is met. If the threshold is not met within a calendar year, the author will be paid with the Q4 “clean-out” quarter in February of the following year.

  • If desired, authors may enroll in an electronic funds transfer (EFT) option, bypass the threshold requirement and receive payment electronically to their bank account.

  • All royalty payments are subject to applicable US Federal tax requirements unless a W-9 form is completed and placed on file.

Sales and Royalty Data, Payment and Statement

Upon receipt of this filing we initiated an audit of her sales and royalties. The results are contained in the attached Sales and Royalty Information document. 

  • The document contains three (3) tabs: a Sales Informer Report containing raw sales data from our retail partners dating back to the publication of her book in April of 2015, a complete Payment History of all earned royalties issued to her and a the data from the Amazon printer, Createspace, referenced later in this letter.

  • The Sales Informer Report contains the data reported to us by our distribution partners.  It lists the invoice number, date an order was ingested into our payment system, book title, type of order, quantity ordered, net sale amount, royalty rate, royalty earned and book format sold.

  • The Payment History tab contains data for the payment date, the payment number, amount earned, tax withholding, the net amount paid on the check, and the status of each payment. Ms. submitted a W-9 tax form in April 2015; therefore no federal taxes were withheld. 

  • The sales made and royalties earned per the Sales Informer Report and the Payment History are in agreement.

  • In October 2015, Ms. ******* submitted EFT information and became eligible to receive royalties via direct deposit to her bank. Subsequently, the Q3 2015 payment included the accrued amount from Q2 and the earnings for Q3 and was deposited into her bank account. Her bank statement should reflect a deposit from CDI or Content Distributors Inc. around December 1, 2015 for the amount of $40.44.

  • Once the quarterly sales and royalty data is verified and payment issued, a royalty statement is posted to her online, password-protected author account and accessible to her at any time and may be downloaded. A copy available upon request. The statement is in agreement with the Sales informer report and the Payment History.

  • Q4 2015 earnings are still being processed, and are scheduled to be issued at the end of February. Any earnings will be deposited directly into her provided bank account. Therefore there are no outstanding royalties to be paid.

Amazon Sales Rankings and Used Books

Ms. ******* has expressed that she does not believe her royalties have been reported accurately based on the activity seen on Amazon. Regarding Amazon, every book that has sold at least one copy at Amazon is automatically assigned a sales rank by Amazon. No two books are assigned the same sales rank at the same time. This means that the many titles which have all sold at least a single copy through Amazon are further ranked within a range by some arbitrary measure, like for example first-come first-serve, or alphabetical order. In this atmosphere, a single additional sale for a book that has only sold one copy will change the ranking by about 500,000. The top 10,000 books at Amazon are re-ranked every hour, while the slower selling titles are re-ranked at a slower pace, as long as several days.

A report was obtained from CreateSpace, Amazon’s printer, to confirm the number of copies of Ms. *******’s book printed by them. That report is included as tab 3 of the attached Sales and Royalty Document. The report shows that there have been two (2) copies of Ms. *******’s book printed through Createspace, which matches the quantity of Amazon.com sales found on the Royalty Statement and Sales Informer Report.

Customer Service

Ms. ******* stated in her complaint that she was unhappy with the customer service she received throughout the production process for her book. We received Ms. *******’s initial materials for publication in December of 2014, and her book went live in April of 2015, a production period of approximately four (4) months and three (3) weeks.

Upon submission of the manuscript, a Content Evaluation is conducted to assess the work for libel, copyright infringement, or protection of privacy issues. The Content Evaluation team sent Ms. *******’s manuscript back to her for revisions on January 5, January 14, and January 27 of 2015 due to the fact that identities needed to be hidden within the manuscript for privacy protection. Each time, the author received an email with the evaluation results, containing examples of the issues and actions required to move forward. A copy of the evaluation results is attached with this letter. Content Evaluation passed on February 12 with the requirements that the author remove all images of people from the book, including the image of her son on the cover. She agreed to this, and the final manuscript was moved forward to the Editorial department on March 3.

The Editorial phase is quoted to take between two (2) and three (3) weeks. In the third week, Ms. ******* indicated to her Check-In-Coordinator that she would like to cancel her publishing project since it was taking too long. However, the Editorial process was completed according to timelines, as were the content evaluations. Had the manuscript been resubmitted according to the content evaluation instructions after the first evaluation the project would have moved forward sooner. Ms. *******’s sales representative, Ms. Nicole O****, was able to encourage Ms. ******* to continue publishing her book with Archway.

In communication with her Check-In-Coordinator, Ms. ******* made it clear that she was expecting a hardcover version of her book to be published, which is not included in the Foundation publishing package that Ms. ******* selected. The hardcover format was purchased by Ms. ******* as an add-on service on March 13.

On April 3 Ms. *******’s book was put into the design process. Ms. ******* was shown proofs of her cover and interior, representing how they would be printed. After one (1) round of cover corrections these proofs were approved for printing by Ms. ******* submitting a Cover and Interior Sign Off Forms on April 29 and April 27, copies attached.

On May 21 Ms. ******* contacted Archway because she needed to make changes to the text on her dust jacket cover in order to update names and protect privacies. Since the hardcover format was added after the content evaluation had concluded, Archway completed this change and resubmission to the printer at no cost to Ms. *******, out of goodwill, services which typically total $250.00. The changes were completed and the book resubmitted to the printer on May 29.

On August 31 Ms. ******* contacted Customer Service in response to an author satisfaction survey that she received, but was having difficulty submitting. The Assistant Production Manager, Ms. Emma G********, called Ms. ******* the next day, September 1. Ms. ******* requested that Archway send her a cancellation form so that she could publish her book elsewhere. Ms. G******** sent this to the author along with the files for her cover and interior with the Archway logos and copyright page removed. As another goodwill gesture, Ms. G******** refunded Ms. *******’s hardcover add-on for a refund of $350. This refund was originally paid to the credit card used to make the initial purchase, however the refund was rejected due to the account being closed. Instead Archway issued Ms. ******* a paper check for $350.

On October 16 Ms. ******* contacted Archway Customer Support inquiring why her book had not been cancelled. She was informed that Archway never received her cancellation form that was previously sent to her by Ms. G********. Ms. ******* promptly returned the cancellation form that day, and the cancellation process was initiated. Ms. *******’s book is currently cancelled within our system.

In Summary

Ms. ******* has been paid in full for all royalties earned through Q3 2015 via direct deposit into her banking account. Any royalties earned in Q4 2015 are still being audited and will be paid at the end of February. Also, all of Ms. *******’s production services were completed on time; she was given a free resubmission to the printer along with corrections, and a refund of her hard-cover add-on. Any questions or issues that were brought to Archway’s attention were responded to and resolved promptly. Since all services in Ms. *******’s publishing package were completed they are no longer eligible for refund.

We trust this information illustrates the steps taken to address Ms. *******’s concerns.

Sincerely,

Elaine H*************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to further clarify royalty earnings for Ms. *******’s titles, the publishing process.

Ms. ******* confirmed that she recently received a royalty payment of $40.44 direct deposited to her bank account. This royalty payment represents the amount earned per the Sales Informer Report and Payment History tabs of the spreadsheet attached to our response to her original filing.

Unreported Book Sales

Ms. ******* states that she knows more copies of her book have been sold. We would be happy to investigate her statement further; however, to do so, we need concrete figures and identification of the sources of her information.

In her rebuttal she alleges that she “can count the authentic purchases from Amazon,” however, she fails to provide details to substantiate her statement. Amazon is part of our distribution network and the sales data they have reported to us appears on her statements as explained in our previous response. In order to dispute the sales data they have provided or any other of our network vendors, we need concrete evidence of missing sales data, such as when the copies were purchased, from what vendor, how many copies were purchased, a copy of an invoice or receipt, or the printer code on the last interior page of the book. 

She also states that the ****** ****** ******* purchased two (2) hardcover copies of her book.    We will be happy to look into this claim if she or the ****** ****** ******* will provide us enough additional information to identify the order. We are in need of the time period when this order occurred, the retail outlet where the books were purchased or the printer code on the last interior page of the book.

As stated previously royalty payments are made quarterly following a prescribed schedule which is posted on our website. Our network print and eBook venders report their sales and royalty data to us and after verification, payments are made in accordance with the terms of our self-publishing services agreement. 

It is important to note that purchases that shipped from the beginning of 2016 thru March 31st are part of royalty earnings for Q1 2016 with payment in May 2016.

Number of Publishing Staff

In her rebuttal she expressed frustration with the number of representative working with her throughout the publishing of her book. Because the publishing of a book has many phases that require specialized training, Archway Publishing allocates a team of staff members with expertise in the various phases of publishing to complete the services of an author’s project.  The Welcome Package distributed to her in mid November 2014 by her second contact point, her Check-In Coordinator, contained a Road Map showing the steps her manuscript would take on its journey to becoming a book.  At each step a specialist with expertise in that area would perform the necessary functions to ready her project to move to the next step. At the next step, the specialist in that area will perform their role and forward the manuscript to the next step, and so on. The number and complexity of the services included in a publishing package will determine the number of steps needed for its fulfillment and subsequently, the number of team members required to complete the project.   

Hardcover Spine

Ms. ******* references an error on the spine of her hardcover book, underneath the removable dust jacket. This error was introduced when the pen name in our system was changed to meet the requirements set by the Content Evaluation team, as referred to in the previous response letter. The pen name was correct on the removable dust jacket design file, but the hardcover spine was not updated. When Ms. ******* originally brought this to the attention of Archway Publishing Customer Support, upper management was notified and the file corrected at the printer within two (2) business days. As compensation for this error, Archway Publishing refunded Ms. ******* the amount paid for her hardcover format as a courtesy. In September the $350 cost of the add-on was returned to the credit card used to complete the purchase and her bank rejected the funds. Subsequently a check was issued and sent to her address of record.

In summary, the sales and royalty data reported to Archway Publishing by our distribution network partners for her title has been verified, validated and is accurate. Quarterly royalty payments have been made in accordance with her self-publishing services agreement. 

In order to dispute the sales reported by our distribution partners, we must present verifiable documentation of a missing sale(s).  When Ms. ******* submits that evidence we will be happy to initiate an investigation with the vendor.

The cost of the hardcover format of her title was refunded in September 2015. All publishing services have been fulfilled. Royalties have been successfully paid in full for all sales reported.

Ms. *******’s request for compensation of $500 is denied.

Sincerely,

Elaine H*************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

I am disabled with no energy to fight this sham of a business any further.

All I want now, is for others to be aware of the shady practices they do for service. 

I am house bound, I can't drive to ****** and hunt down the purchase numbers or anything else. 

Now, I just want my statement of their lack of service/poor service to be shared with others so that they are informed. 

Regards,

**** *******


4/29/2016 Problems with Product/Service
4/28/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I signed a contract to publish a book on the 7th of September 2015. The sales agent and contract was clear that I can cancel within 6 months for a refund. On the 1st of Febraury 2016, I requested cancellation of the contract that we signed on the 7th of September 2015 leaving us with days before the 6 months expiration. However xlibris proceeded to take a sixth payment in February while refusing to repay our money. A few weeks later, after asking about the repayment, we received a mail saying that we have exceeded the 6 months grace period and hence not entitled to a refund. On being prodded for exact dates, we received the response that the agents Mary L**** (supported by Annie M******) was going to check and she never came back days later. I replied them with a mail stating the dates but also no response. This just confirmed that they neither have the fact or decided to ignore it, supporting similar complaints by others on the internet. It is just sad that I never read the reviews before parting with my money, I would not have not proceeded. Kindly let me know how to proceed. My request is simple, that Xlibris refund my money and cancel my contract as requested before the expiration of the 6 months period.

Desired Settlement: Refund of my payments already made.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to review and complete Mr. ****’s refund request.

Mr. ****** **** committed to publish a book with Xlibris on August 26, 2015. He purchased a Full Colour Executive publishing package taking advantage of a promotional rate of £2499.50 and opting to use an installment payment plan which added a £20 non-refundable surcharge, making his package total £2519.50. He made the first payment of £436.60 that day with the remaining five (5) payments set up for auto-charge on the same day of the five (5) following months.

On September 7, 2015, he signed and returned both the Self-Publishing Services Agreement and the Installment Payment Plan Agreement, copies attached for your reference. His final installment was scheduled for and made on January 26, 2016.

Three business days later on February 1, 2016, Mr. **** and his Publishing Consultant, Annie M******, spoke regarding the cancellation of his project. An email confirmation of their conversation was sent by the Publishing Consultant which included a reminder of their phone appointment set for 7PM UK time the following day to discuss the matter further.  The Publishing Consultant called at the agreed upon time, unable to reach Mr. ****, she left a message. 

He returned the call on February 25, 2016, conveying that he and his wife were in agreement to proceed with the cancellation of their package. The refund request was entered for processing on February 29, 2016.

All refund and cancellation requests are reviewed for eligibility under the tenets of Section 8 of the author’s signed Self-Publishing Services Agreement. As stated in Section 8.6, the processing of the review request may take up to thirty-five (35) days to complete.

Upon receipt of this complaint, we conducted a review of his file and refund request. Our investigation found that a misinterpretation of Section 8.2 (c) of his publishing services agreement occurred concerning the Effective Date. Applying the date the agreement was signed as the Effective Date, the time span between his signing of the services agreement and his request for refund are within the 6 month eligibility window.  We apologize for the error in computing the 6 month period and thank Mr. **** for calling it to our attention.

As he has yet to submit a manuscript, according to Section 8.2 (a) he qualifies for a 100% refund less the non-refundable setup fee of £105 and the £20 non-refundable installment surcharge (Section 8.6). The refund of £2,394.50 was processed back his credit card (per Section 8.6) on April 21, 2016. Please refer to the payment breakdown and transaction codes of the refund below.

Processed refund and credited £2394.50 back to card used to make the purchases:

£416.58 to Visa ending ****, transaction ID ********************************

£416.58 to Visa ending ****, transaction ID ********************************

£416.58 to Visa ending ****, transaction ID ********************************

£416.58 to Visa ending ****, transaction ID ********************************

£416.58 to Visa ending ****, transaction ID ********************************

£311.60 to Visa ending ****, transaction ID ********************************

In summary, we apologize to Mr. **** for the confusion in finalizing his refund request and any inconvenience that resulted from the delay in receiving his refund.  In accordance with the refund policy of his self-publishing services agreement, his monies have been returned to his credit card.

We trust the information provided with this letter illustrates the steps we have taken to address Mr. ****’s concerns.

Sincerely,

Elaine H*************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and find that this resolution would be satisfactory to me. 

Regards,

****** ****

4/25/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Ever since November 20, 2015, five months ago, AuthorHouse has been sending us their renditions of the cover of the 2nd Edition of our book. All of their work has grossly misrepresented our own cover graphics, which we sent them in early November and asked them to exactly copy. They have sent us six unique versions of the cover artwork for our approval, all of which differ markedly from each other and from what we asked them to use. Without fail, we have responded right away by telling them that their work is unacceptable and everytime we have repeated clearly that all we want is for them to use the version of the cover that we created and sent them in the first place. All we want from them is the book we paid them, in advance and in full, to set up, using our cover graphics. They have delayed our publication 5 months, and we are not yet seeking compensation for damages. We are hoping that it won't come to that.

Desired Settlement: Bring the book to its exceptably printable state, without trying to obtain more money from us for their long time work. We see the span and the number of iterations as being their fault, not ours.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to review the progress of the resubmission of Mr. ******’s book.

Mr. ******’s book, ** *** ***** **, was originally published on April 23, 2012. On November 10, 2015, he elected to make changes to his book and purchased a resubmission service for $375 ($100 for interior revisions, $25 for cover revisions and $250 for the resubmission of files to our print vendors).  He indicates that the proofs of the revised covers that have been presented to him are unacceptable and questions why the elements of the revised cover he provided with his resubmission information are not being implemented.

To understand his concerns we initiated a review of his title’s revision and the steps taken with the cover design. Our review confirms that multiple attempts to create a cover design acceptable to him were made without success. After examining the materials provided by him and the designs presented by the cover designer assigned to his project, we also question the designs created. 

We thank Mr. ****** for calling this circumstance to our attention and apologize for the designer’s failure to produce a cover representative of the design requested.  Subsequently, we have reinforced with the designer the protocols for working with author submitted cover designs. Also, we wish to assure him that we have committed the necessary resources to provide him with a satisfactory cover for his revised book.  On April 14, 2016 we sent him an additional cover proof for his review and approval. As of this writing we have yet to receive a response from him.

In closing, we apologize that our attempts to create a cover design for Mr. ******’s book have been unsatisfactory.  We have submitted another cover design proof for his review and await his response. Should he determine that additional modifications are needed, we are prepared to perform them at our expense until the cover is acceptable to him. Once he has approved the cover design, the book files will be submitted to our print vendors and the revised version will become available for purchase.

We trust this information illustrates the steps we have taken to address Ms. ******’s concern.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and find that this resolution would be satisfactory to me. 

Regards,

******* ******

4/22/2016 Guarantee/Warranty Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I was guaranteed services by AuthorHouse that I did not receive. I purchased essential package and was promised several times that I would receive hardback version of my book, hardback with dustcover and a softcover along with 10 hardback versions of my book. Two days after paying in full packages were also marked down to 50 percent off and I asked that my price be adjusted as my package is not complete. Price that I paid for package has not been adjusted, mistake was admitted by sales associate and I was offered a 50% off for hardback for the mistake which requires more money out of pocket. My book was said to be completed when it fact the things promised to me were not provided making my package not complete. I have also been shipped books from another author that did not belong to me and told to dispose of the books. I asked that the price point for the book be adjusted as the hardback version I received for one individuals book was 33.99 nearly 600 pages my book is 52 pages and is the same price. Stores are not willing to sign on my book because of the overpriced that author house has placed on book. Lots of bad business practices with this company.

Desired Settlement: Refund Essential Package to me in the amount of $429.00 to my visa Hardback Version of Book Created as Promised Hardback Authors Copy and Hardback Dust Cover Authors Copy delivered Price Adjustment to market standards for cost of book

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to explain Mr. ****’s publishing package inclusions and book price. 

On January 29, 2016, Mr. **** purchased the Essential PC publishing package, normally priced at $1999 for the discounted price of $1399.30 (a 30% discount).  Mr. **** chose to pay for the package on a three installment payment plan, adding a non refundable $30 payment plan fee.  He returned the signed Terms and Conditions the same day.

The next day, January 30, 2016, Mr. **** sent his materials needed to create the book. 

On February 3, 2016, Mr. ****’s initial proofs were emailed to him.  He provided galley corrections the same day.  Those corrections were done and the revised galley was emailed to him.  Mr. **** approved both the cover and galley.  He also contacted payment central and made his second and third payment plan installments, as the project must be paid in full before the book can be submitted to the printer.

Mr. ****’s files were sent to the printer February 5, 2016 and his book was available for purchase on February 9, 2016. 

Below are Mr. ****’s issues, followed by our response.

I purchased essential package and was promised several times that I would receive hardback version of my book, hardback with dustcover and a softcover along with 10 hardback versions of my book.

No record could be found that Mr. **** was promised a hardcover option of his book.  Below is a link to the color publishing packages offered by AuthorHouse.  As shown, no color packages offer a hardcover option.

http://www.authorhouse.com/Packages/Comparison/FC.aspx

A hardcover option is available as an add-on service but only as a casebound hardcover (similar to a text book), not with a dust jacket. 

At no time during the production process was Mr. **** told he had a hardcover version, nor was he provided hardcover proofs to review. 

Two days after paying in full packages were also marked down to 50 percent off and I asked that my price be adjusted as my package is not complete. Price that I paid for package has not been adjusted, mistake was admitted by sales associate and I was offered a 50% off for hardback for the mistake which requires more money out of pocket.

Each month AuthorHouse offers special offers on publishing packages.  It varies from month to month and sale staff is not aware ahead of time what the following month’s special offers will be.  Mr. **** purchased his publishing package on the last business day of January, the day that special ended. 

No record can be found of a “mistake was admitted by sales associate” as no mistake was made.  Mr. ****’s publishing package was discounted appropriately for January’s special offer.  The discount provided on the hardcover add-on was a goodwill gesture, not an admission of guilt.

Mr. **** is not eligible for the February publishing package special as he purchased his package in January. 

My book was said to be completed when it fact the things promised to me were not provided making my package not complete.

While it’s not clear what “things promised to me were not provided making my package not complete” means, Mr. **** did have to wait one day from sign off until the files were submitted to the printer because we were waiting for the Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN). 

The LCCN is applied for once the initial galley has been created.  It typically takes the Library of Congress 2-5 business days to respond with the number.  Mr. ****’s LCCN was applied for on February 3, 2016 and received the next day, February 4, 2016, so there was no delay.

It should be noted that most books are in production for at the least a month to two months.  This is the reason several month payment plans are offered.  Mr. ****’s project passed through the production process extremely fast. 

Mr. **** will need to elaborate on this claim before we can be sure it’s been addressed fully.

I have also been shipped books from another author that did not belong to me and told to dispose of the books.

While no record can be found of this, Mr. **** was provided the correct information.  If the printer sent him another author’s books, he can simply dispose of them.

I asked that the price point for the book be adjusted as the hardback version I received for one individuals book was 33.99 nearly 600 pages my book is 52 pages and is the same price. Stores are not willing to sign on my book because of the overpriced that author house has placed on book.

Book price is determined by the book type (color, black and white) and page count.

Mr. **** was provided his book price in the email containing his initial proofs on February 3, 2016.  That email stated:

The estimated retail price for your 8.5x11 size book is $33.99 USD with the current page count of 52. All eBooks are priced at $3.99. 

It was reiterated in the second email the same day with the revised galley:

Also for your reference, the retail price for your book is $33.99 USD with the current page count of 52. All eBooks are priced at $3.99.

At no time did Mr. **** mention his concern about his book price to his publishing services associate.  He discussed this issue with his book consultant after the book was available for purchase. 

Once the book is available the book price cannot be changed.

Mr. **** mentions comparing his book price to another book with more pages that was the same price.  The prices for Print on Demand titles are typically higher than traditionally published books because prints on demand books are only printed when an order is placed.  Traditionally published books are printed in large quantities thus making the cost less.  Mr. **** doesn’t mention whether the book he compared his to is a color or black and white book.  Black and white books are lower in price because it costs less to produce them.

In closing, Mr. ****’s project moved through the production process extremely fast.  While he had to wait a day for the LCCN to be received, it was all done well within normal timelines. 

No record can be found that Mr. **** was promised a hardcover, nor do any of the color publishing packages come with a hardcover option.  Mr. **** was given the option of a 50% discount as a goodwill gesture, should he like to add one.

Mr. **** is not eligible for the February publishing package discount because he purchased his publishing package in January.

We trust the information provided in this letter illustrates the concern we have taken to address Mr. ****’s concerns.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID********, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.



Regards,

****** ****

 

If you will note on the last paragraph made by AuthorHouse in attempts to resolve this Dispute they offered "discount" on the publishing package as a "goodwill gesture".  This was due to the blantently falsified and erroneous information provided to me by AurhorHouse representive.  There attempts to cover up and make ok errors was not to provide what was promised but to cover it up with a discount which would have been additional money out of pocket.  I have several witnesses to live phone conversations with AuthorHouse and can provide documentation who heard several times these promises.  I have also asked about my royalties and sales of my book which has already sold several copies and these sales are also not being posted to my account either which I have many witnesses who have purchased the book.  My next step is to take appropriate legal action against this company. 


Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you again for the opportunity to explain Mr. ****’s publishing package inclusions and his book royalties.

Hardcover inclusion

As we stated in our previous response, no record could be found that Mr. **** was promised a hardcover option of his book.  The link to the color publishing packages offered by AuthorHouse (http://www.authorhouse.com/Packages/Comparison/FC.aspx) show that no color packages offer a hardcover option. A hardcover option is available as an add-on service but only as a casebound hardcover (similar to a text book), not with a dust jacket as he mentions in his filing. 

Mr. **** writes “If you will note on the last paragraph made by AuthorHouse in attempts to resolve this Dispute they offered "discount" on the publishing package as a ‘goodwill gesture.’  The response does not mention a discounted publishing package in the final paragraph.  It does say that Mr. **** was offered a discount on the hardcover add on, should he choose to purchase it.   That offer still stands.

Book royalties 

Mr. **** writes “I have also asked about my royalties and sales of my book which has already sold several copies and these sales are also not being posted to my account…”  Mr. **** has inquired once about his royalties.  On March 17, 2016, he called and spoke with a customer service representative who explained to him that he could see his royalty statements on his author center and because his book was just made available for purchase in February, no retail sales would be posted until at least 60 days after the quarter ends.  Below is the royalty schedule as outlined on the AuthorHouse website:

How often do you send out royalty payments?

The Quarterly Schedule is as follows:

1st Quarter
Sales Period: January 1 through March 31
Quarterly mailed to author late May/Early June

2nd Quarter
Sales Period: April 1 through June 30
Quarterly mailed to author late August/Early September

3rd Quarter
Sales Period: July 1 through September 30
Quarterly mailed to author late November/Early December

4th Quarter
Sales Period: October 1 through Dec. 31
Quarterly mailed to author late February/Early March

There is a reason for the gap between when the quarter ends and when the checks are mailed out. This is due to the delay in retail sales being reported to us by the distributors. They send this information to us 4 to 6 weeks after the close of each quarter. We then compile those sales with the AuthorHouse sales for the quarter and audit the report 3 times before creating and mailing the check to you. To have an idea of how your book is selling during a quarter, you can always log on to your Author Center account to view sales through AuthorHouse. However, sales placed directly through the distributor will not be listed on the AuthorHouse page, as they are only reported to us quarterly.

In closing, the hardcover inclusion was addressed in Mr. ****’s previous response.  There is no record of Mr. **** being promised a hardcover in his publishing package.  The hardcover add on discount was offered as a goodwill gesture.

Regarding sales and royalties, the information Mr. **** was provided by customer service on March 17, 2016 was correct.  Sales made in first quarter 2016 (January through March) will reflect on the payment made in late May/early June, with statements posting around the same time.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction


Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID********, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

Dear Better Business Bureau,

Please allow me again to shed further light on the mishandling of my package by AuthorHouse and its Associates.  I have attached a copy of a witness statement, of several that I have, against AuthorHouse.  Again, I stand firmly behind my previous statements.  I have addressed my royalties on several occasions that are not showing up and not just once. 

Regards,

****** ****


4/8/2016 Delivery Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I contracted with Authorhouse, and their subsidiary Authorsolutions in March 2015 to produce a electronic and soft copy book through Fred *********. I bought packages of production and marketing services to get the book produced. The cost of the packages was about $7,000 with Authorhouse also getting the majority of any funds from any sales. The book is titled ******** ********* *********, *********. The manuscript was sent without my knowledge or consent to the Philippines for design, layout and production. Unfortunately, once I knew the book was overseas, it had already been taken into their system by Jessa ******. I was assigned employees in the Philippines who did not understand the complex inter-connectivity of multiple culture's in early American decorative arts, to include furniture making (Jo ******* and Nova ****). As I encountered problems of understanding and performance with Authorsolutions' overseas workforce, there were efforts to blame me for a poor manuscript, low resolution images in an attempt to sell me additional or enhanced services (Tim *******). In addition, I was told by a supervisor at Authorhouse (Rich *** ***), I was acting discriminatory against their foreign and female workforce, which is not true. This was meant to blunt my arguments and to deflect my concerns. I provided Authorhouse and Authorsolutions with a basic design, legible illustrations, legitimate sources, and all necessary permissions to accomplish a responsible and reasonable product. Instead, I received a product that is difficult to read, random in design, and featuring illustrations that are cut-off, and/or distorted in size, color and clarity (Tim ******* and his design team). I contacted the BBB last year to discuss my situation. I was told then it appeared I had grounds for a legitimate grievance, and that there were other authors who had similar issues. After some discussion with Authorhouse and Authorsolutions (Again Rich *** ***, John ***** and others), I was persuaded to try and work with their design team, and resolve the design and layout issues. Unfortunately, I did not take my own advice and seek a mediated solution sooner. Very little got better and my recent review of the book is distressing because of the lack of identified corrections and required modifications to Authorsolutions' design, layout and production of the book, even when I was assured the corrections were made. I have nothing against anyone working for either company, even though, at times I have been lied to and give assurances that were not true (Fred *********, Danica ******, and Nova ****). I believe Authorsolutions employees were put in an impossible position, and did things they probably would not do. The result was an inability to produce an American decorative arts history book of adequate or better quality. I seek a mediated solution and return of the marketing portion of the $7,000, or about $2,000. I also ask for an additional $1500 for deceptive business practices and poor delivery of services and product.

Desired Settlement: I seek about half of my fund back or $3,500. I accept my responsibility for contracting with Authorhouse. However, Authorhouse and Authorhousesolutions should accept their responsibility for deceptive business practices, lack of transparency in dealing with production problems. Finally, I expect an apology for the insinuation by a manager at Authorhouse, I was acting discriminatory by bring forward these problems.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to explain the pre-production and production of Mr. ******’s book.

Attached is a timeline that shows what has transpired from the time Mr. ****** purchased his publishing package through March 28, 2016. 

For clarity we have listed his concerns as they were stated in his filing followed by our response.

“The manuscript was sent without my knowledge or consent to the Philippines for design, layout and production.”

AuthorHouse LLC is an imprint of Author Solutions LLC, a global company with offices in cities around the world. Mr. ******’s material was assigned to AuthorHouse production staff in our office in Cebu, Philippines and not outsourced to another company.  All the staff members who worked on his project are employees of AuthorHouse LLC . 

Per his Self-Publishing Services Agreement (copy attached), AuthorHouse is not obligated to advise an author which office an employee assigned to the fulfillment of his/her publishing package works out of. 

“I was assigned employees in the Philippines who did not understand the complex inter-connectivity of multiple culture's in early American decorative arts, to include furniture making…”

No matter which office a project is assigned to, the staff members are required to be proficient in the use of our design software and accepted industry formatting styles, their nuances and variations for different genres, such as academic works, fiction, non-fiction, cookbooks, poetry, children’s literature for all ages, journals, etc. These tools along with the instructions supplied by the author are applied to the submitted manuscript and materials to create a document for publishing.  The topic of an author’s project is independent of the assignment of staff to complete the design of a book.

“…there were efforts to blame me for a poor manuscript, low resolution images in an attempt to sell me additional or enhanced services…”

Mr. ****** was not “blamed” for the material he submitted.  We recognized that by following his instructions certain submitted materials when placed in our design software would respond in an unflattering manner.  We advised him of the images that were in question and options to remedy the situation.   Also as a courtesy to all our clients, their materials are reviewed for compliance to our standards for publishing regarding libel, copyright, fair use, and content that contains sex and/or drug paraphernalia. Although he had provided evidence of permission to use many of the images in his work, several were submitted without and he was asked to provide them.

Poor manuscript

We are unclear what he is referring to exactly but there was an issue broached with Mr. ****** regarding his index.  Attached is the email chain from October 27, 2015 between Mr. ****** and several staff members.  Mr. ****** was not blamed for the index issues.  Mr. ******* explained what COULD happen with the index page numbers and how it could be remedied if it did happen.  He also provided two examples.  Nowhere in the email chain is there a mention of additional services needing to be purchased by Mr. ******.  Instead of Mr. ****** waiting to review the galley proof to see if the issue actually occurred, he requested to cancel the project and threatened legal action. 

Low resolution images

Some of the images Mr. ****** submitted were below the required 300 dpi (dots per inch) resolution the printer requires for printing.  Mr. ******* emailed the following to Mr. ****** about the low resolution images on January 12, 2016:

Also, we are in the middle of creating the layout and our design team pointed out again the issue of the image resolution (Please see screen shots below). Part of your instructions, is that we should follow the layout of your submitted manuscript, and that includes the sizes of the images.  However, most of the images have low resolution.

In order for us to resolve this you have the following options:

1. Supply again the images with high resolution and same/bigger size on how you want them to be in the book.

2. If you won’t be able to supply a better version, you can sign a waiver.

3. We may also resize the images to improve the resolution, but the layout of your manuscript won’t be followed.

Let me know how you want to proceed with this.

Again, Mr. ****** was not blamed for the low resolution images, nor was he pitched any additional services.  Low resolution images are typical when authors provide photos.  Mr. ****** was asked how he would like us to proceed and given three options by Mr. *******.  Mr. ******’s response is shown in the attached timeline, essentially telling the design staff to do as they see fit.

“…I was told by a supervisor at Authorhouse (Rich *** ***), I was acting discriminatory against their foreign and female workforce, which is not true.”

We believe Mr. ****** is referring to the above mentioned October 27, 2015 email chain, which shows Mr. ******’s response to Mr. ******’s intent to cancel and sue over an issue that had yet to occur.  Mr. ******’s email is not accusatory nor was it intended to read that way.

“I received a product that is difficult to read, random in design, and featuring illustrations that are cut-off, and/or distorted in size, color and clarity…”

The file has been reviewed and none of the issues above can be seen in the final printing file.  Mr. ****** will need to elaborate on these claims for us to address them accurately.  For example, what makes the text difficult to read--is it too small, too much on a page?  What page(s) feature images that are cut off?  The color and clarity of the images may be a print quality issue; however, we need the issues to be specified.   If Mr. ****** would provide scans of the issues, we can address his concerns with our printer, determine if they are within the standard print variance, and what action needs to be taken. 

Mr. ****** approved the galley, cover and pricing on March 17, 2016 and the files were released to our printer network for installation into their systems.  His approvals are attached.

“..at times I have been lied to and give assurances that were not true”

As there were no notes in Mr. ******’s account that allude to or verify this claim, if he would like to elaborate, we will investigate his statement further. 

Implementation of Marketing Services

Marketing services whether included in the publishing package or purchased individually as an add-on service are subject to the terms and conditions of the Self-Publishing Services Agreement. To ensure the timing of his On-line Newsmaker Publication Campaign coincides with the availability of the book for purchase throughout our distribution network, the marketing service elements are scheduled to begin once the book has been released. 

On March 29, 2016, his marketing services representative, John *****, emailed him the service’s questionnaire requesting his input and information to enable both the social media expert and the publicist to integrate their efforts in introducing his book into the marketplace and obtaining visibility for it. We encourage Mr. ****** to complete the questionnaire and return it to Mr. ***** expeditiously.

Desired resolution

Mr. ****** is requesting a refund of $2000 for marketing services and an additional $1500 for poor delivery of services and deceptive business practices.

He approved the galley, cover, and pricing, returning the agreements on March 17, 2016.  Therefore, the publishing portion has been fulfilled and ineligible for refund. A stated in his Self-Publishing Services Agreement, attached, “The refund opportunity is exclusive to the amount paid for the Publishing Package as referenced in the Service Order. All other Services are non-refundable after purchase.” Therefore, no refund will be granted for the marketing. 

Mr. ****** received a substantial discount on the purchase of his services He asks

In closing, AuthorHouse has allocated the necessary resources to prepare Mr. ******’s work for publication and has waived fees to accommodate his requests for revisions and modifications to his manuscript as noted in the attachment of the timeline for his project.

In accordance with Section 10 of his Self-Publishing Services Agreement, upon receipt of his approval to release his files to print on March 17, 2016, the services of his publishing package became ineligible for refund.  The agreement also states that all other Services are non-refundable.  His request for refund is denied. His request for monetary compensation outside the agreement terms and conditions is declined.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID********, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

This is not a satisfactory response because it omits, and does not fully address, facts that are listed in my complaint. I do not see any reason to continue since there is no way to prove a negative. Therefore, since I cannot get an full response, I want Authorhouse and/or Authorsolutions to withdraw any product they published with my name on it from all Internet venues. I consider them unauthorized books. 

Regards,

*** ******


4/5/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: In 2014 I paid to have a book published by them ..."*** ****** ****** ***", but they failed to include a chapter of contents and I was told that that was my responsibility. In 2015, I decided to pay $330. to have the book republished and I provided them with the information, but they refused, saying that my book was libelous, even though the book was already published and I was not asking to change anything except a revised Preface and the addition of a chapter of contents. I feel that the whole thing is ridiculous and told them to just return my money if they did not want to fulfill the agreement. They refused to return my money.

Desired Settlement: Either finish what I paid them for or return my money.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for providing us the opportunity to review the content evaluation of Ms. *********’s manuscript submission.

Mr. **** ********* initially signed up to publish his book, “*** ****** ****** ***”, on June 17, 2014, purchasing a Black & White Advantage publishing package at a promotional rate of $250 from the regular price of $499. On July 10, 2014, the package was upgraded to a Black and White Basic package at the reduced price of $349 from the regular $699 price. The book completed its publication and was made available for sale with his approval on July 21, 2014.

With the intent of republishing his book with an updated manuscript, Mr. ********* purchased another Black & White publishing package on May 27, 2015, taking advantage of the special promotional rate offering of $300 and choosing to use an installment payment plan which added a $30 non-refundable surcharge, making his package total $330. 

Content Evaluation

To ensure that an author’s manuscript meets our standards for publishing, a content evaluation is performed to identify potential areas where the author may be legally at risk. General guidelines and best practices to ensure that an author’s manuscript meets our evaluation standards are readily accessible to authors through our website’s FAQ page.

Both the manuscript and materials submitted for use with the manuscript are reviewed for copyright, libel and content that contain sex and/or drug paraphernalia or hate speech. Our guidelines have evolved through the years and some content previously acceptable may have become unacceptable. All manuscripts for publication go through content review regardless of publication history. The updated content of Mr. *********’s book was flagged due to possible libelous content.

A further review of the manuscript by the management team confirmed that the difference between the initial and second content evaluation outcome may have resulted from a difference of interpretation on the content policy related to libelous content by the assigned evaluators. In consideration of Mr. *********’s previously published book of the same title and the scope of the changes he has made to it, Xlibris has agreed to make an exemption.

We would like to apologize to Mr. ********* for any inconvenience the review results may have caused. As of this writing, Mr. *********’s manuscript has been endorsed to Production for initial layout and design.

We trust this information illustrates the actions taken to address Ms. *********’s concern.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction


4/2/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I have several issues with them. 1) book 1 was published before book 2. Book 2 was published with mistakes after I review the correction lay out. Book 2 was paid for twice. Book 3 was printed with mistakes after correcections were made. Book 3 was paid for resubmission when book 2 needed the same but I was charged full price of republishing. Nobody could explain why. Book 4 was canceled and money taken off project without my permission and submitted materials can't be found. Book 2 materials had to be reordered due to them being sent to the wrong address. They were lost or stolen but I was advised to pay for the order again. I had to deal with more then 10 people due to the high volume of turn over with the company. When asking questions about my work it was said oh we don't no that person no longer works there. When spoke to supervisors and mangers I was hung up on and problems were never fixed. No refunds no accommodations no help.

Desired Settlement: My first desired outcome would be for someone to explain why I was wrongfully charged. Or advised to sign up for a service with out being advised of all my options. I would like billing adjustments made to be charged properly and my money for project 4 to be placed back on that project. I would like to be contacted by head quarters of the company in reference to why people have been so rude and have treated me unfairly when I've done nothing but pay my way and bring my business to this company. I want the job finished all four projects in which I paid for in the beginning! I want a copy of all my contracts.

Business Response:

Dear BBB:

Thank you for the opportunity to review the fulfillment of the publishing packages purchased by Ms. ****.

Ms ****** **** purchased two (2) Black and White Basic publishing packages from Xlibris on June 28, 2014 and two (2) Full Color Basic publishing packages on January 8, 2015.  In July 2015 one of the Full Color Basic packages was exchanged for a new Black and White Custom package and in January 2016 a second package exchange occurred to a Black and White Basic package.  These packages were used to publish the titles described in the succeeding paragraphs.

Black and White Basic Packages

  • Book 1—BID ******—“** *** ***** ** *** ******”--completed its publication process and was made available for sale with her approval on December 20, 2014.

  • Book 2—BID ******--“**** ****** ****** *******”--completed its publication process and was made available for sale with her approval on December 12, 2014.

Full Color Basic Packages

  • Book 3—BID ******--“***** ** * ****** ****”--completed its publication process and was made available for sale with her approval on March 3, 2015

  • Book 4—BID ******--“* **** ***** ** ** ****” – materials received. See Book 4 Production History below.

Additional Packages and their Project Assignments

  • Book 4 and Book 2--On July 29, 2015, with the author’s approval, Book 4’s Full Color Basic Package was upgraded to a Black and White Custom Package plus an Editorial Assessment add-on service, designated as BID ****** and re-assigned to Book 2. See Resubmission vs. New Package discussion later n this response.

  • Book 2--BID ****** –Exchange of ****** (see above) to a new Black and White Basic Package with author’s approval; completed revisions and made available for sale with her approval on February 3, 2016.

To ensure understanding of the circumstances related to the publication of Ms. ****’s works, we shall address her titles as Books 1, 2, 3 and 4 and in the order she presented and described them in her complaint.

Publication Timelines (Book 1 Vs Book2)

In her filing Ms. **** states that “book 2 was published before book 1.” This statement is correct for the initial release of both Book 1 and Book 2; there was an eight (8) day difference between the release of Book 2 and Book 1.

As described on our online website and our publishing services agreement, Xlibris acts as a service provider and supplies authors with the necessary support and infrastructure to accomplish the ultimate goal of publishing their work. While we aid in the accomplishment of this goal, Xlibris cannot guarantee the publication date of each work or their order of completion. Factors such as length of the manuscript, format and design instructions, content review compliance and subsequent set(s) of corrections after the initial galley, all affect the publishing schedule of each book.

Our author centered process requires an approval prior to publication. Subsequently, a title is only released for publication after expressed written approval is received from the author giving their consent to the release of their work and full payment for the package and any added services has been received. These factors apply to Ms. ****’s titles.

Corrections after Approval (Book 2)

Ms. **** states that “Book 2 was published with mistakes after I reviewed the correction layout.”

As explained in the previous paragraph, no book is published without giving the author the opportunity to review and make corrections and/or modifications to the galley proofs sent to them of their work. The galley sign-off documents are explicit in relating the author’s responsibility for reviewing their work and explaining that giving their approval not only authorizes the release of the files for publication and distribution to the public but that any subsequent changes to the files will incur additional fees.

A review of the production history confirms that Ms **** approved the galleys for Book 2 affirming the accuracy of the text and format of both files on September 4, 2014. Once the final payment was received, the files were released to print on December 12, 2014.  A copy of her approval is attached for your reference.   

Book 2, “**** ****** ****** *******,” was re-published with her approval under a new ISBN and released on February 3, 2016.  Please reference the next two sections—Resubmission Vs New Package and Book 4 Production History.

Corrections after Approval (Book 3, PID ******)

Ms. **** states that “Book 3 was printed with mistakes after corrections were made.” 

A review of her the project found that galley proofs were sent to her on January 23, 2015 (copy attached) and the title was released to print on March 3, 2015 after final payment was received. A resubmission is currently underway with corrections submitted in early February 2016. 

Resubmission Vs New Package (Book 3 and Book 2)

Ms. **** writes that she needed changes made to both Book 2 and Book 3 and the revisions were handled differently.  She was charged a resubmission fee for the changes requested for Book 3 and a new publishing package was used for the revisions to Book 2.

We refer her to the attached signed Interior Sign Off and Pricing form and the section regarding changes to the book after receipt of approval.  It states that post-publication costs will be incurred ranging from $125-$175 base fee plus a $2 charge per correction depending upon the publishing package.  Submitting a revised manuscript is possible but will incur a cost from $249-$349, dependent upon the type of publishing.  As the approval documents are sent by the Publishing Services Associate (PSA) assigned to the project, requests for modification and signed approvals should be returned to the Publishing Services Associate for implementation.  Any questions regarding the document should also be addressed with the PSA.

A comparison of the original printing of Book 2 and the re-published version found that there were 341 revisions made.  When facing extensive post production corrections, the option to publish under a new package may be more economical and would become a viable consideration.

A review of Ms. ****’s file found that she spoke with her Publishing Consultant about her Book 2 revision concerns.  Their discussions led to Ms. **** expressing interest in additional services.  Eventually a budget conscious proposal was suggested by the Publishing Consultant that added an Editorial Evaluation for Book 2 and complimentary copies for the revised book.  The proposal called for the upgrade and transfer of the unused Full Color package designated for Book 4 to a Black and White Custom package with Editorial Evaluation designated for the republication of Book 2. Ms. **** agreed to the arrangement and signed a publishing services agreement for the new package on July 30, 2015.

Later she changed her mind and the package was again exchanged to Black & White Basic package and the Editorial Evaluation was cancelled.  During these exchanges the funds received were applied to the succeeding package. Payment plans and package balances were adjusted accordingly.  

Book 4 Production History

Book 4 originally allocated for the publication of the manuscript entitled “** **** ***** ** ** ****” was eventually used for the republication of Book 2 entitled “**** ****** ****** *******”.

As described previously, Ms. **** agreed to exchange the Book 4 package for a Black and White Custom package with an Editorial Evaluation on July 29, 2015. A review of the conversation between Ms. **** and one of our Finance representatives confirmed her understanding of and authorization to exchange the package.  She had been advised of the financial differences in the packages and agreed to the resulting payment schedule. The package was later exchanged again and downgraded at the author’s request to a Black and White Basic package with no Editorial Evaluation on January 27, 2016. The package was used for the republication of Book 2.

Ms. **** states that the materials she submitted for Book 4 cannot be found.  However, we have six (6) documents on file for the  title “* **** ***** ** ** ****”--a twenty (20 )page manuscript of poetry, four (4) picture collages and an interior page design template. 

Book 2 Marketing Materials

Ms. **** states that Book 2 materials had to be reordered because they were sent to the wrong address.  We have attached the online tracking information confirming the delivery of the Single Item Accessories (business cards, postcards, bookmarks) for Book 2 and an email from Ms **** confirming receipt of the posters for Book 2.  These materials were fulfilled through two different printer resources and shipped direct from the printers to the author at the address on record. Our review of her files found that a change of address was provided after these orders for materials were in production at the printers. 

Staff Assignments

We would like to apologize to Ms. **** for any inconvenience the change of project contacts have caused her. Xlibris assigns a representative to assist authors in every stage of the publication process. Each representative is trained based on the support they provide in the publishing process (i.e. submission, editorial, production, distribution, royalty, etc.). We would like to assure her that with each transition to a different representative a thorough endorsement process is in place to ensure the success of the project.

Ms. **** alleges that she has been treated rudely and unfairly.  After reviewing her files we found that there were aspects of her experience that caused confusion.   We apologize for any circumstances we created that caused her frustration or inconvenience.

Agreement Copies

Ms. **** requests a copy of all of her contracts.  Since each of the six (6) self-publishing agreements she endorsed is eleven (11) pages in length and there are limitations placed on the number of attachments allowed for BBB responses, we are sending a copy of each agreement by USPS to the current address on record.

The agreements list the terms and conditions under which the services the author has hired Xlibris to perform are to be executed. In the upper left hand corner of each page is a document number which is unique to the author’s purchase and allows the author accessibility to the electronic signature option which appears on the last page. 

We have also included a copy of the receipt for each package purchased which was emailed to Ms. **** at the time of purchase.  For clarity and her convenience, I have attached the purchase receipt copy, a description of the services in the package to each of the agreements.

In summary, we again extend our apologies for any frustration or inconvenience the publication of her titles has caused her.

Manuscripts have been submitted for the four (4) original publishing packages. Books 1, 2 and 3 have completed the publication process and have been released to print.

Before work was done on the Book 4 package it was exchanged for another more extensive package and transferred to the already in-print title of Book 2 for its republication.  Later this package was exchanged for a basic package and the republication was completed. Subsequently, Book 2, “**** ****** ****** *******” is in print in two versions—the original release and the republished version.  Book 3, “***** ** * ****** ****” is currently undergoing resubmission.   .

Had the Book 4 package transfer not been authorized, Ms. **** would have been subject to resubmission fees for Book 2.  Although she agreed to the republication of Book 2 through a new package and the advice she received fit the added services she said she desired for her book, the resubmission alternative was not part of the discussion. 

In the interest of goodwill, we will reinstate the Book 4 publishing package for her use with the manuscript, “* **** ***** ** ** ****.”  Although the original package for Book 4 was a Full Color Basic, she has the option to choose either a Full Color or Black & White Basic package.  We await her decision on which package she desires.  Also, if Ms. **** desires to remove the original version of Book 2 from print, she may do so by requesting its removal in writing. 

She will receive copies of her agreements via USPS.

We trust this information illustrates our attention to Ms. ****’s concerns.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

4/1/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I entered into a contract with BALBOA PRESS to publish a book, making 4 installments totaling $3220 (Inspire Package), then another $659 (to purchase 100 books). In mid-August 2015, I received my author’s copy, and immediately called/emailed to express my dissatisfaction with the end product, namely: • The storyline print was unevenly distributed (ex.: A, D, O, W, e, p, w, x), where the letters were darker than surrounding print (like an ole-fashioned typewriter where keys stick); • The black and white photos were blotched, unclear, and/or streaked. I asked to have my 100 books, plus copies (included in my bought package) to be put on hold until the problems with the word print, and the photo blotches, clarity and streaks were rectified. I was asked to take pictures of the pages and the “BP team” would evaluate my complaint. Of course, they concluded that I could resubmit my manuscript (I was using Microsoft Word on Windows 8.1 PC) and they would fix the problem if I paid Balboa Press another $800. I was told “the poor print was not the printer’s mistake,” but mine. I was even sent a sample, (smeared) FABRICATED printout of my supposed manuscript, showing that specified lines were darker than others. I checked my manuscript and the author’s copy; this was not the case. Balboa Press would not refund my money for the additional 100 books, saying they had a No Refund Policy, as indicated on the receipt emailed to me AFTER my payment. Repeatedly, I tried to have the problem resolved through numerable emails. Nothing. Several voice messages were not returned. When I did get a real person, I was often transferred from one department to another. There was no rectification for the poorly published book or my requested refund. In fact, I was told that since I went with another company, as well as asking for my book to be taken offline, that they had nothing further to discuss with me, and I was rudely disconnected. The SAME MANUSCRIPT AND THE SAME PICTURES WERE SENT TO A SECOND PUBLISHING COMPANY and the republished book turned out phenomenally well, where the print was evenly distributed and the COLOR pictures met my highest expectations for one-third the price of what I had paid to Balboa Press. I am going through the BBB first before taking other actions against Balboa Press's unethical practices. COMPLAINTS to: Angel *****, Shelby ****, Ron ******, Jade ******, Kevin ****, Shawn ********, Greg ********, Customer Support, Marketing, Billing, contentdistributorsinc.com, (I have many emails to prove my correspondence to have the issues resolved: 2015: 8/20, 8/24, 9/2, 9/9, 9/11, 9/13, 10/10, 10/15, 10/19/ 10/20, 10/23, 11/2/2015, and responses from the various employees of Balboa Press, including a recording of Greg ********’s and my conversation on 11/19/2015, with him insisting that I should resubmit my manuscript ~another $800.)

Desired Settlement: I expect adequate financial compensation from Balboa Press for investing so much time and money into them, and for them not living up to professional standards as a publishing company, and giving me a final product that I could be proud of.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to review Ms. *****’s concerns about print issues in her printer copy and the fulfillment of her book order.

On February 2, 2015 Ms. ***** purchased an Inspire publishing package to publish her book, **** **** ******** **!,  at the special price of $3,059.15. She opted to use an installment payment plan which added a $75 non-refundable service fee, making her total $3,134.15.

We received her signed Self-Publishing Services Agreement (copy attached) and Payment Plan Agreement on February 13, 2015 and, with her approval, her book was released to print and made available for sale August 10, 2015.

Ms. ***** relates that in the printer copy she received certain letters arbitrarily appear bolder than adjacent letters and some photo images are unclear. As it is important to us that the print quality standards required of our print partners are maintained, upon receipt of this filing, we initiated a thorough review and investigation of these printer copy issues.

Ordering Books Prior to Receipt of Printer Copy

When a book is released a printer copy is provided to the author to demonstrate that the book was successfully installed in the print system. Until the author notifies us they have received the printer copy any volume order placed by the author is placed on a HOLD status.  On August 17, 2015, Ms. ***** had placed a book order with her Book Consultant for the book copies included in her package and an additional 100 copies. The order status was designated as on fulfillment HOLD pending notification that she had received the printer copy. When she received the printer copy she found inconsistencies in the boldness of certain letters in the text and the clarity of two (2) pictures, causing her to request the book order hold continue until the issues were corrected.

Printer Copy Issues

The approval documents sent with galley proofs for both the cover and interior emphasize the importance of reviewing the files and identifying any revisions and modifications prior to approving the files for release to print. As a reminder of Section 5.5 of the Services Agreement, the approval forms indicate that the author is responsible for any resubmission and correction costs for changes requested after they have given their approval of the files. The approval of the selling price for each version of the title is also an element of the sign off form. 

To determine what causes printing issues in any book, a Book Order Customer Service representative must see a sample of the issue and confer with the printer.  We thank Ms. ***** for providing sample pages showing the text variance and the images in question. Those samples were addressed with the printer who advised that the text issues were in the files provided, the images were within the industry standard 10% print variance and therefore not a printer error. These results were conveyed to Ms. *****. She indicated that these issues were not in the galley proof she authorized.   

Although we found an offer to connect her with the corrections department to discuss her revision options, our investigation failed to find evidence that her files were referred to or assessed by a production team manager. 

To further investigate the origin of the text issues we went back to the final manuscript she had submitted to us for her book on July 14, 2015.  We reviewed our production files and compared her final manuscript, the galley she approved in August and the sample page she provided from the printer copy.

Our research found the following:

  • The submitted manuscript font, Calista mt, was changed at her request to the Andy font, gill sans mt on July 16th for use on both the interior and cover.

  • The new font was implemented; the initial galley proofs were created and sent to her for approval on July 27th.

  • She requested revisions for both the cover and interior which were performed and the revised electronic proofs sent on August 6, 2015.  

  • She approved the galley proofs the next day and the book was released to print on August 10th.

  • Within the manuscript submission some words and first letters of words were designated to be in bold type. A comparison of the manuscript with the galley proof and the sample page confirm the consistency of these words and letters in all three documents.

  • The darkened letters referenced in her filing are not in her final manuscript submission, they are vaguely visible in the electronic galley proofs if one is specifically looking for them, and highly visible on the sample page of the printed book.

  • We also printed out the page that was sampled on our office printer using her approved galley file. The darkened letters were again prominent. 

  • We consulted with a Balboa Press production manager who advised that there appears to be an issue within the font itself that should be looked into further. 

When working with photos there are many factors that can affect  how the image will appear when printed such as the dpi and type of camera used, the age of the photo, the techniques and settings used by the photographer, the way the image was saved, etc.  Although the image issues are part of the original photo, the production manager advised that with “tweaking” the clarity could have been improved.  

Book Order Release

As stated earlier in our response, Ms. ***** had a fulfillment HOLD placed on her book order until she had received and viewed the printer copy.  We confirm that once she received the printer copy, she asked to cancel the order and receive a refund. Due to the nature of print-on-demand, there is a no refund policy on book orders.  Her book consultant reiterated this to her and suggested that a resolution to the issues with the files should be worked out through the Books Sales Customer Service staff before fulfilling the order. She responded that a resubmission would be necessary for which she did not feel she should incur additional fees. She spoke with the book consultant’s manager about the refund request.

The book order was released with no revisions to the files and we found no written waiver from the author to release the HOLD. As an act of goodwill we have refunded the amount of the book order and shipping costs to the credit card used to make the purchase.  The refund was issued through CDI (Content Distributors Inc) via Transaction ID is *********************** on March 8th.

In conclusion, we apologize to Ms. ***** for the release of her book order prior to the resolution of her print file concerns and for any inconvenience or embarrassment it may have caused her.  A refund has been issued for the full amount of the book order and should appear on her account within 3-5 business days.

In accordance with Section 10 of her Self-Publishing Services Agreement, her publishing package is no longer eligible for refund.  Her agreement was signed on February 13, 2015; its refund eligibility extended for six (6) month to August 13, 2015 and has subsequently expired.  Should she desire to reinstate her publishing package, we would be happy to work with her to make the modifications needed to correct the aforementioned text and images at our expense and with her approval resubmit and re-release her title.

On October 22, 2015, at her request, her title’s publication was cancelled at Balboa Press

We hope this letter illustrates the steps taken to address Ms. *****’s concerns.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID********, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

I still contest the following:

  • The Inspire Package was $3220, which also included pricing for additional photos.
  • I was told (by Jade ******) prior to my book's publication that the SKU.001007139_TEXT.pdf file was of lesser quality than the actual book would be. Thus, the reason I signed off on the Digital Signature page.
  • The Calisto MT was requested to be changed to the Andy font for the COVER and the CHAPTER TITLES. Nothing else.
  • Greg ******** informed me that the issue with the poor print (bold letters w/surrounding lighter letters) was corrected, so I said to go ahead and print my 100 ordered copies, but when I received the 100 copies, the poor print issue was not resolved.
I told Greg that the 2nd company that re-published the book had put out a FINAL PRODUCT  of excellent PRINT (for 1/3 the price and with colored photos) , and this company received the SAME MANUSCRIPT and PHOTOS as Balboa Press.  Greg "dropped my call" when he expected me to buy and send my republished book to him for scrutiny, plus a copy of BP's.

I did receive a refund for the 100 ordered copies; however, I feel I should be compensated at least 1/3 of my package price, namely $1073. That would satisfy me.


Regards,

***** *****

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to clarify further our refund policy.

Upon receiving the author copy of her work Ms. ***** expressed concerns with the text and picture clarity which were unaddressed prior to the release of her book order.  In her rebuttal response, she acknowledges receipt of the refund for her book order and shipping fees as described in our original response. 

She lists several points which she contests.  We have addressed them in the order they appear in her rebuttal.

The Inspire Package was $3220, which also included pricing for additional photos Purchase

The published price of the Inspire publishing package is $3,599.  With her special discount on her February 2, 2015 package purchase the cost was reduced to $3,059.15.  By choosing to use an installment payment plan, a $75 non-refundable service fee was added, making her purchase total $3,134.15.

During the pre-production phase of her project, her Check-In coordinator identified that she had submitted 19 images in excess of the 10 that were included in her package. She was reminded of the production fee schedule provided in her welcome packet information that listed a $5 fee for each additional image.  She accepted a 10% discount and, with her permission, her credit card was charged $85.50.

If one adds together each of her purchases--the publishing package, the payment plan and the additional production item--the total expenditures are ($3059.15 + $75 + $85.50) or $3219.65.

Proofs of “lesser quality than the actual book would be”

Galley proofs are presented in low resolution to ensure that the size of the files can be easily sent, received and opened by the author via conventional email. The printer files are high resolution. 

The difference between high resolution and low resolution lies in the number of PPIs (pixels per inch). The more pixels per inch, the better the quality will be, with some exceptions. Such factors as the dimensions of the original image and how it translates proportionally into smaller or larger sizes, could produce an unwanted result in a high resolution print file and an acceptable one in low resolution and vice versa.  As noted in our previous response, the history of an image will have an effect on how it will project itself in print.  It is unfortunate that prior  to approving the files, Ms. ***** passed on the opportunity to request the “tweaking” of images she felt were unclear in the low resolution galley proof she received.

Font changed for cover and chapter titles

Ms. ***** confirms that a font change was requested and that the change applied to both the cover and interior as the chapter headings are within the book. 

Book order and Corrections

Ms. ***** states that she released the hold on her book order because she was told by Mr. ******** that the text issues had been corrected. Our research found that on September 11th Ms. ***** and Mr. ******** discussed receiving a refund on her book order to deal with a resubmission issue and her options.  Mr. ******** recalls stressing the no refund policy for book orders but fails to confirm her statement that he advised her that the text revisions had been made. Their conversation resulted with the hold on the order being released.  In our investigation we failed to find evidence that a resubmission of her title had been initiated, reviewed or completed.

 

Our policy is to not print a volume order for a title that the author has earmarked for revision until the issue is settled or a written waiver to release “as is” is received.   As a result with conflicting recollections and the absence of either a revised galley or a waiver, in the interest of goodwill, we reimbursed her for the book order and shipping which she has acknowledged receiving.

Refund and Cancellation Requests

After researching her file regarding her request for refund for her publishing package, we found that on October 10 she emailed expressing how disheartened she was with the book order she had received and that she was “still reflecting and consulting on what action to take.” 

On October 15th she emailed requesting her book be removed from our website and that she expected compensation. On October 19th she emailed asking why her book was still appearing on the website.  We replied the next day explaining that it sometimes takes a while for our website to update itself and pointed out that all three formats were no longer on our bookstore.  We also advised that removal from the full distribution network required the completion of a specific form which we attached to our reply and she returned.  Notifications to the network partners were made the following day.   In addition she was advised that “although it is too late to refund what you’ve spent on your publishing package, Balboa should still be able to help you with your print quality concerns.”   

Refund Policy

According to the refund policy as stated in the Self-Publishing Services Agreement she signed, she is no longer eligible for a refund on her publishing package. A copy of the agreement was attached to our original response.

The refund policy is found in Section 10 of the agreement and reads:

10.1 Refunds following Termination. Unless specifically noted in this Section, if You terminate the Agreement, or any Service Order, You shall remain liable for payment of the balance of any payments due pursuant to any outstanding unpaid Service Orders or for any unpaid amounts for Additional Services, and no refund shall be due to You.

Exception for the Publishing Package:

You may be entitled to a refund of all or a portion of the amount You paid for a Publishing Package. The refund opportunity is exclusive to the amount paid for the Publishing Package as referenced in the Service Order. All other Services are non-refundable after purchase. You shall be entitled to a refund of the amount paid for the Publishing Package as follows:

a. Prior to submission of the manuscript: 100% [less a $150 (USD) setup fee]

b. After (a) above and prior to start of interior design work: 50%

c. After (b) but prior to final sign-off 25%

Irrespective of (a-c) above, after six (6) months from the Effective Date no refund is due to You.

As her project no longer qualifies for either a, b, or c of the refund options listed above and in the agreement, it does comply with the after six (6) month clause. 

She activated the agreement on February 13, 2015 with refund eligibility expiring on August 13, 2015, six (6) months after the effective date of the agreement.   The refund request for her publishing package occurred in October 2015.

In summary, she has been reimbursed for her book order and shipping and acknowledges receipt of the funds. In accordance with the terms of her self-publishing package, she is no longer eligible for refund. Her project has been cancelled at her request.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction


Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

It's a she said-he said back and forth. Of course, Balboa Press will shift the blame to the client. What else is new! As regards the refund, I tried to work with the employees there, but was referred from employee to employee to employee with no results. And, regarding my interactions with Greg, he even denied what he said to me when I talked with him a second time. I wrote down our conversations in REAL time, as goes: it's his word over mine. That's the way they do business.

What actions do I take to post my scripts to the BBB website?

Regards,

***** *****


4/1/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: 1. Breach of contract. Contracted for six monthly payments of $616.50 over six months for a total of $3,699. They secretly charged my bank account $739.80 a month instead, calculated for five months period. 2. Failure to launch my book and sending it live 0n 12/18/15 after receiving full payment in advance. They were advised of this launch date approximately six weeks in advance. 3. Failure to provide book cover in green and blue color per my request and their promise. 4. Failure to produce wording in jumbled format per my request and their promise. 5. Failure to deliver my Author’s copies in a timely manner even eight days after they have received full advance payments. 6. Failure to deliver my set of 60 paperback and 20 hardback books according to the Executive Package I purchased even eight days after they received my advanced payment. 7. Claimed my book would be listed on various sites (which even included companies that have long gone out of business). 8. Listed my book on Amazon without any image or brief commentary. 9. Fraudulently debiting my bank account in excess of contractual amount without my knowledge or consent. 10. Refusal to disclose what expenses would be charged against my 100% royalty. 11. Non-delivery of my copies prevented me from entering a $10,000 prize contest for my book.

Desired Settlement: There are over 267 complaints against this company. Sadly, I found out after I researched them because I started having problems with them. My desired outcome is for a full refund and that they be cited and fined if the BBB is able to hold this company to a standard of professional and business conduct that is customer-centric.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to review Mr. ********** account and explain the areas he has expressed concern about.

Mr. ******** signed up with Xlibris on October 14, 2015 to publish his book entitled “****** *******”. *** purchased a Black and White Executive Package taking advantage of a promotional rate of $3699 from the regular $7499 price. He opted to use an installment payment plan which added a $30 non-refundable surcharge, making his package total $3729. Mr. ******** enrolled in a five (5) month payment plan making his first payment that day for $769.80 (the first $739.80 plus the $30 installment fee) with the remaining four payments of $739.80 each set up for auto-charge on the same day of the four (4)following months. The book completed its publication process and was initially made available for sale with Mr. ********** approval on December 18, 2015.

We will address Mr. ********** concerns in the order they appear in his filing.

Payment Plan Agreement and Amounts to be Paid (Items 1 and 9)

Financial payment transactions with Xlibris go through a detailed approval process. Before any charge was taken from his card, the payment plan terms and conditions were disclosed and agreed to by Mr. ******** on October 14, 2015. The initial payment, outstanding balance, number of installments, number of recurring monthly payments, dates and the amounts were just some of the required information reviewed by a Finance representative and affirmed by Mr. ******** through phone when he signed up for a package. Contrary to his claim that the charges were made without his knowledge and consent, Mr. ******** sent Xlibris a signed copy of the Installment Payment Plan agreement with all the details in question. A copy of the signed agreement is attached for your reference.

Publication Date (Item 2)

The fifth and final installment of Mr. ********** package was scheduled on February 2016. Based on Section 2.1 of our Publishing Services Agreement; Payment Precedes Fulfillment. Xlibris is not obliged to fulfill the Services set forth in each Service Order until after the full payment for such Services has been received. We have explained to Mr. ******** that the publishing package has to be fully paid in order to get the book published and available for sale. Mr. ******** paid the remaining balance for the package less $30 on December 16, 2018. Mr. ******** refused to pay for the $30 installment for the plan. As an act of goodwill, Xlibris waived the $30 fee on December 18, 2016 and endorsed his project to distribution.

Cover Instructions (Items 3 and 4)

Every Xlibris book cover and interior is created based on the author’s instruction. Mr. ********** book cover was created by a trained Xlibris designer adopting the sketch he sent to us. After a conversation with our design consultant, a cover file was sent to Mr. ******** for review on November 30, 2015. The initial review files are sent to the author to obtain their reaction and feedback. A corrections process is in place should the author feel the need to make changes to the file. The corrections form is attached to the email along with the review files for use of the author, when applicable. Mr. ******** approved the files and skipped the corrections process.  Copies of the mockup, approved cover and the approval email are attached for your reference. Please note that the text and cover color approved by Mr. ******** are contrary to his claim in his filing.

Delivery of Books (Items 5 and 6)

The delivery timeline of every order includes production time (time to print copies of a book is within 5-10 business days) plus shipping time (3-5 business days depending on the delivery address). Due to the ingestion process (time it takes for the printers to ingest files in their system); our commitment is to order the author review copies within 2 -3 business days from the publication date. Mr. ********** author copy was ordered on December 22, and delivered on December 29, 2015. There was no delay in the fulfillment of this order despite the holiday schedules. The complimentary copies have been put on hold due to Mr. ********** expressed intent to make corrections on the cover. Our book order department contacted Mr. ******** on January 11, 2015; and he confirmed his desire to proceed with the order and again, forego any corrections for the book. As a goodwill offer, Xlibris upgraded the delivery option from 3-5 business days to next day shipping, excluding printing time.

Distribution and Online Placement (Items 7 and 8)

As described in our website, published books are listed in the Books in Print® database and will be available for order through Xlibris.  Subject to specific limitations, an author’s book will also be available for sale on online retailers such as Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com and may also be picked up by other resellers worldwide through the Ingram and Baker & Taylor distribution network. The title setup, file ingestion and registration period with resellers is completed within 60-90 days from the book’s publication date. A review of Mr. ********** book’s listing in Amazon confirmed that the book is available and orderable in hardcover, softcover and electronic format. Xlibris does not control the posting schedule and timelines for resellers, such as Amazon. Mr. ********** book was approved for release on December 18, 2015 and the 60-90 day allotted time for posting has yet to be reached.  We have however, made a request to update the Amazon listing of Mr. ********** book based on the results of our review below:

Softcover

  • Cover Image – available

  • Book Description – available

  • Author Biography – available

Hardcover

  • Cover Image – available

  • Book Description – none

  • Author Biography – none

Ebook

  • Cover Image – available

  • Book Description – available

  • Author Biography – none

100% Royalty Program (Item 10)

The royalty information requested by Mr. ******** is available online and in the form sent to him by Xlibris on January 5, 2015. The program allows 100 percent of all Net Proceeds (“Net Proceeds”) related to the sales of the Book. Net Proceeds are the selling price of the Book less any;

  • Industry-standard Trade Discounts taken by wholesalers, distributors, or online

    retailers,

  • Distribution Costs including printing, shipping, other costs related to distribution of the Book and sales tax of each book.

     

    A copy of the form is attached for your reference.

     

     

    In summary, throughout the publishing process, Xlibris has allotted the necessary resources and priority to fulfill Mr. ********** services as described in our self publishing services agreement.

     

    Our records indicate that most services contracted for his book have been fulfilled with the publication of his work. Fulfillment of services forfeits their eligibility for a refund. The complimentary copies are currently being printed following Mr. ********** signoff on the author copy.

     

    We trust this information illustrates the steps we have taken to address his concerns.

     

    Sincerely,

     

    Elaine **************

    Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

Thank you for your email with the response from Xlibris. I objected to their response and wish to provide you with the following points for my objection:

a.      My agreement as communicated to me with Paul **** was for six monthly installments of $616.50 for six months. See attached. At no point was there any discussion or agreement for anything other than six monthly payments of $616.50 each.

b.      My book did not go live on 12/18/15. There were no pictures of the book or any summary of it on Amazon (or any other site), neither could it be purchased from that site on 12/18/15. I took pictures of that site on 12/18/15 to prove my point. I will see if I can forward same to you from my phone. They hounded me and told me that if I paid in advance, my book would be ready to go live on 12/18/15. They lied to me. The 18th was a very significant date for me because many negative stuff happened to me on 12/18 and I wanted to take back my power by having something significantly positive  happen for me. It was on 12/18/88 that I got married. It was on 12/18 a couple years ago my marriage and family broke up. My home was schedule for Sheriff Sale on 12/18/15. So I wanted my book go live on 12/18/15 to put a positive spin on 12/18. I had many of my FB friends ready, willing and able to purchase a copy of my book on 12/18/15 but they could not because it was not live.

c.      They had even included a site that was long out of business as one of the sites they would list my book on….Borders to be exact.

d.      My book cover was supposed to be done in blue and ***** and they did it in white instead.

e.      The words were supposed to be jumbled as I communicated to Michael *****. See attached. They did the words in list format.

f.       To date I have not received my complimentary copies of 60 soft-covers and 20 hard-covers which is yet another financial setback for me, even though I paid in advance and I made the payment for the shipping.

g.      There are in excess of 200 complaints against this company and when I point that out they told me that is nothing compared to how long they are in business and how many customers they have.

h.      They breached the contract in the payment schedule and amounts they sent me and failed to deliver on my requests in terms of color and wording.

i.        They failed to deliver my complimentary  copies.

j.       I repeatedly requested that they remove (or get it removed), the copious amount of materials on my book where people can simply read for free. To date, that has not been done.

k.      They had not given me a breakdown or explanation of the 35% fee they are charging for the sale of my book.

l.       I have no guarantee that whatever online signature they showed were actually done by me as I tended to give email responses.

Because they have failed so miserably to satisfy our agreement and the delivery of what they have promised; and their track-record of customer complaints, I am requesting a refund on my account.

With kind regards,

*** ********.


Regards,

*** ********

Business Response:

Dear BBB:

Thank you for the opportunity to further clarify for Mr. ******** his concerns regarding his book. We have addressed each of his points below in the order they were listed in his rebuttal filing.

  1. Payment Plan Agreement

    As stated in our original response Mr. ******** affirmed both in writing and verbally his purchase of services to be paid in five (5) installments.

    Xlibris received from Mr. ******** the signed Payment Plan Agreement document included in our original response a few hours after his purchase on October 14, 2015, affirming his agreement to the terms of the installment payment for his account. As stated in our initial response; the initial payment, outstanding balance, number of installments, number of recurring monthly payments, dates and the amounts are specified in the agreement and were reviewed in the phone conversation between our Finance representative and Mr. ******** that day.

    Mr. ******** references “see attached”; however, the only attachments in his file at the BBB are those we submitted.  For your convenience we are again attaching a copy of the Payment Plan Agreement.

  2. My book did not go live on 12/18/15.

    Under our Self-Publishing Services Agreement with Mr. ********, Xlibris was hired to provide creative, publishing, marketing, distribution and promotional services subject to the provisions of the same agreement. None of the services mentioned above is performed by Xlibris without a written agreement affirming understanding and concurrence to the provisions of the agreement.

    Mr. ******** continues to question the publication date of his book. We have explained in our previous response that based on Section 2.1 of our Publishing Services Agreement; Payment Precedes Fulfillment. Xlibris is not obliged to fulfill the Services set forth in each Service Order until after the full payment for such Services has been received. The complete payment was received on December 18th and based on our publishing timelines, the title setup, file ingestion and registration period with resellers is completed within 60-90 days from the book’s approval for publication date. We would like to reiterate though that while the distribution setup was ongoing, the book could be ordered through the Xlibris Book Order Department by calling us at 888-795-4274 or through our online bookstore: www.Xlibris.com/Bookstore.

  3. Borders is out of business; why is it listed as one of the sites for selling my book.

    All books listed under Borders remain available with the acquisition of its trademark and customer list by Barnes & Noble. 

  4. Color of book cover

  5. Jumbled Words in Cover Design

    Cover and interior proofs created by Xlibris are based on author’s instructions. Both the cover and interior proofs are submitted to the author for their review, modification if requested and approval before they can be released to print.

    Per the documents submitted in our original response, the cover design and color that appears in the finished product was approved by Mr. ********. 

  6. Receipt of Complimentary copies

    Contrary to Mr. ********’s claims, his complimentary copies were shipped and delivered on January 15, 2016. The expected delivery was disclosed to him by our Print Department Supervisor when he contacted Xlibris about the order. The UPS shipping was upgraded at our expense as a courtesy to Mr. ********. Please refer to the delivery details below.

     Tracking Number: ******************

    Delivered On: Friday,  01/15/2016 at 9:54 A.M.

    Left At: Front Door

  7. Number of complaints listed by BBB

    The BBB accepts complaints from consumers who allege a downfall in the marketplace performance of a company with whom the consumer has a business relationship.  The BBB lists Xlibris LLC as one of the companies of Author Solutions LLC.  The number of filings posted by the BBB represents a cumulative total for a 36 month (3 year) period for all of the Author Solutions companies.  Since Author Solutions services over 100,000 unique customers each year, the accumulation of 200 plus complaints in that 3 year period represents a very small percentage of its clients.

  8. Breach of contract

    See A, D, and E above.  No breach of contract has occurred.

  9. Delivery of complimentary copies

    See F above and Delivery of Books section in our original response.

  10. Online Preview options

    Mr. ******** objects to having excerpts of his book available for viewing online yet does not specify what site or sites he is referring to. We call his attention to section 5.3 of the Self-Publishing Agreement signed by him (copy provided with our original response) where he assigned us the right to allow previews of his book on the websites of retailers such as Amazon, Google and Apple in accordance with their criteria.

    The online reseller controls the listing policies for their site and places a limit on the percentage of pages of a book that will be sampled.  These previews offer the online book shopper the opportunity to view a sample of random pages of a title and mirror the experience they would have if shopping in a physical bookstore. In a store the consumer can look at the front cover, turn the book over, read the back cover and then look inside to get an idea of the writer’s style and the book’s content before making the decision to purchase. Having the opportunity to “browse the book” online is an important tool for online book buyers, booksellers and book’s author.

    In the absence of specific references, we reviewed the major booksellers Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com to determine if their preview criteria had been exceeded.  We found the following:

  • At Amazon.com his title’s “Inside the Book” feature appears only on the Kindle e-book listing.  The paperback and hardcover versions show only the front and back covers. 

    • The Kindle preview feature includes the front matter (Copyright Page, Table of Contents, Dedication, Preface, Letter to My Readers, and Introduction) plus the untitled first chapter, totaling thirteen (13) pages.

    • Amazon’s default viewing limit for titles on their site is 20%.

    • His 86 page book is sampled at around 15% which is in keeping with Amazon’s sampling criteria.

  • At Barnes & Noble.com the “Read Inside” feature is available on the paperback and Nook e-book versions of his book. 

    • It samples only the front matter portion described above and totals seven (7) pages. 

    • Here the preview is under 10% of its total page count.

      Mr. ******** states he disagrees with the use of preview opportunities.  Since the preview feature originates thru the e-book version of the book, in order to guarantee removal for the preview sampling, he must choose to remove the e-book versions of his book from distribution.

      The preview feature originates thru the e-book version of the book. 

  1. Breakdown or Explanation of  the 35% fee they are charging for the sale of my book

    In his filing, he fails to specify the context of this statement.  We found no stipulation, provision or mention of a 35% fee for the sale of his book in the Services Agreement, in the 100% royalty program he is enrolled in or on his royalty statements.

    If he is referring to royalty earnings we refer him to the 100% royalty program document available online, the form sent to him on January 5, 2015 and provided as an attachment to our original response. The program provides to the author 100 percent of all Net Proceeds related to the sales of the Book. Net Proceeds are the selling price of the Book less any;

    •Industry-standard Trade Discounts taken by wholesalers, distributors, or online retailers,

    • Distribution Costs including printing, shipping, other costs related to distribution of the Book and sales tax of each book (when applicable).

    Within the document is a chart that lists the retail price and corresponding royalties based on the page count of the title.

    If he is referring to what he pays for copies of his book, we again refer him to the 100% Royalty program document, specifically the ordering copies section. Mr. ******** receives a 65% discount off the book price when he orders copies thru his Xlibris book order consultant. This means that the remainder (35%) is his purchase price and covers the costs for printing and the administration of the order.

    To address his question further we will need the context of his statement.

    L.  Electronic Signature

    Electronic signatures are legally binding in the United States and many countries around the world. Xlibris employs Docusign, an industry leader with unparalleled hashing and encryption standards, retention and storage practices and data security ensuring the document can only be accessed, read and executed by designated users for the signing and recording process. Only Mr. ******** was given the code and access to execute a signature on the agreement.

Refund Eligibility

Mr. ********‘s book was released to print in December 2015 with his approval. His complimentary copies were delivered in January 2016.  In accordance with Section 8.2 of the Self-Publishing Agreement he is ineligible for refund.    

We trust this information illustrates the steps we have taken to address Mr. ********’s concerns.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID********, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

Xlibris continues to lie and defraud in their response as they have done in their business practices. Let me address the following once again and the attachment I sent originally, shows the payment schedule that it was for Six (6) months, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.

A.     Payment Plan Agreement

Here is the section of their Install plan to which I entered into agreement with them. Executive Package - $7,499

Price Now: $3,699

(This Special Offer is up until October 15, 2015)

INSTALMENT

1st INSTALMENT

(with $30) instalment fee

$646.5

2nd INSTALMENT

(after 30 days from 1st charge)

$616.5

3rd INSTALMENT

(after 60 days from 2ND charge)

$616.5

4th INSTALMENT

(after 90 days from 2ND charge)

$616.5

5th INSTALMENT

(after 120 days from 2ND charge)

$616.5

6th INSTALMENT

(after 150 days from 2ND charge)

$616.5

Xlibris claimed that they did not receive full payment until Dec 18, 2015. That is also another lie. See copy of my bank statement showing where they took out the unauthorized monthly amount instead of the $616.50 on 12/14, posted on 12/15. This was followed by my prepayment balance of $1,449.60 on 12/16 and posted on 12/17.

12/17/2015

PURCHASE AUTHORIZED ON 12/16 XLIBRIS 888-******* ** **************** **** ****

 

$1,449.60

12/17/2015

PURCHASE AUTHORIZED ON 12/16 ****** ********* ************ ** **************** **** ****

 

$80.96

12/16/2015

SAVE AS YOU GO TRANSFER DEBIT TO ***************

 

$2.00

12/16/2015

Cash eWithdrawal in ************ ********** ***** ** **** ****** *** ********* ** ****

 

$260.00

12/16/2015

PURCHASE AUTHORIZED ON 12/16 ***** **** ********* ** ****************** **** ****

 

$26.77

12/16/2015

PURCHASE AUTHORIZED ON 12/15 ******** ***** ********* ** **************** **** ****

 

$11.02

12/15/2015

SAVE AS YOU GO TRANSFER DEBIT TO ***************

 

$1.00

12/15/2015

RECURRING PAYMENT AUTHORIZED ON 12/14 XLIBRIS 888-7954274 IN**************** **** ****

 

$739.80

B.     Borders was already out of business long before my book was even written. Yet, in order to mislead and defraud me, Xlibris provided me with a document showing all the sites/stores where my book would go on sale. At some point in a previous response, Xlibris claimed my book was available for sale on their (Xlibris’) website when I stated that my book was not available, not even a picture, on Amazon or any other site on 12/18. Xlibris is a Publisher, not a book store so no reasonable person would expect to visit their site to purchase books. So what difference does it make that, according to their weak claim, my book was on their site?

C.     Color of book and jumbled words. I have provided an image of how I told Xlibris I wanted the wording to appear on the book cover as well as the colors of blue and green, not white! In the interest of time and in an attempt to ensure that my book would go live on 12/18, I reluctantly decided to go with what they gave me. But still, they did not send my book live even though I cooperated with them so graciously. There is a difference between approving something and going along with it out of desperation. Xlibris put me in a position of desperation.

D.     Xlibris failed to deliver my complimentary copies in a timely manner. Complimentary copies were a part of the package I paid for. Xlibris failed to anticipate and mail my copies even though I paid up my balance in advance. After I returned from a trip I saw package at my door, which was days later.

E.      Xlibris seems to take pride in the number of complaints filed against them and the number of derogatory comments from customers who they have taken advantage of. To state that:  (The number of filings posted by the BBB represents a cumulative total for a 36 month (3 year) period for all of the Author Solutions companies) is just sickening and shameful. To rack up over 200 complaints by customers who took the time to come forward (notwithstanding the others who walked away quietly, never to ever do business with Xlibris again), is just awful and needs to be stopped even if by stiff fines and penalties. There were also class action lawsuits against this company. And it matters not which of your family of companies the complaints are generated from. I Googled Xlibris and there the complaints popped right up.

F.      I never agreed with Xlibris to allow for so much of my book content to be placed on any site. I happened to stumble upon it and had to make about six calls to Xlibris to have the content reduced or removed from these sites before anything was done about it.

G.     Xlibris needs to come clean and take full responsibility for their breach of contract in which they changed the terms of the payment installment by charging me more over a shorter period of time. Their own Installment Plan to which I agreed, showed the real amount of $616.50 over six months, not $729 that they illegally charged my account.

H.     Xlibris lied about when they received final payment. The copy of my bank statement showed the real date.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. I regret that it has taken up so much of your time because of companies like Zlibris, which does not have the guts to right their wrongs. I am fully deserving of the refund to my account because of their official misconduct.

***.



Regards,

*** ********


3/29/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Iuniverse/ Authors solutions took my money and said they would produce my book. They asked me to change cover which we agreed on new cover which they provided. The new cover included the controversial new cover title. They led me to believe everything was ok that with a few corrections they would be producing my book. This process started out in September when I paid my money and submitted my document file. They knoew what the title was and the text in September but they kept stringing me along until I said I do not wish to pay for additional editing services. When I said i do not wish to pay for additional services they finally told me I had to change the title and the cover they had provided. This was in the beginning of December. They wasted my time and took my money. I complained to the company and they refused to respond. I want my money back.

Desired Settlement: I want all my money back and want everyone to know about thir unethical practices. I cannot believe they have a good rating from the BBB when they have so many complaints and lawsuits against them.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to explain the content evaluation and refund timeline for Mr. *********’s project. 

On September 15, 2015, Mr. ********* purchased the Premier publishing package for the discounted price of $799.50.  He chose to pay for that package on a three installment payment plan, which added a $30 non refundable payment plan fee, making his total $829.50.

On September 22, 2015, Mr. ********* submitted his manuscript. 

Content Evaluation

Each manuscript submitted to iUniverse undergoes a content evaluation.  Content evaluation is the process in which iUniverse assesses the manuscript to ensure that it meets the standards for publishing.  Manuscripts are reviewed for copyright, libel and content that contains sex and/or drug paraphernalia.  This is done to identify any areas of the manuscript and cover design that could potentially put the author as risk for copyright and/or libel.  More about this can be found on the iUniverse website at http://www.iuniverse.com/faqs/Content-Evaluation.aspx. 

On October 14, 2015, Mr. *********’s project failed the content evaluation for libel and copyrighted text in the manuscript and the lack of permission for use of the cover art.  Mr. *********’s Check-In Coordinator, Emmanuel ***, emailed the results of the content evaluation to him. 

A revised manuscript was submitted on November 1, 2015. On November 3, 2015 the cover art was reworked with a new design and approved by Mr. *********.  On November 3, 2015, both the cover design and revised manuscript were sent to the content evaluation team for review. The manuscript again failed for uncited text and one instance of libel.  Mr. *** emailed Mr. ********* the results of the content evaluation on November 9, 2015.

Mr. ********* submitted a third manuscript on November 17, 2015.  However, a payment plan hold had been placed on the continuance of work on his project awaiting his reconciliation of the declined second payment.  Mr. ********* made the second payment on November 23, 2015 and work was resumed. 

On November 25, 2015, the content evaluation was done and the manuscript again failed for libelous content.  Mr. *** emailed the results to Mr. ********* the same day.

On December 1, 2015, Mr. ********* submitted another manuscript for review.  It was reviewed by the evaluation team along with the cover design. The manuscript continued to contain potential libel/invasion of privacy concerns with both the manuscript and cover tagged for right of publicity concerns. The results were emailed by Mr. *** on December 8, 2015.

The same day, Mr. ********* requested a refund for his publishing package, as he chose to make no further changes to the manuscript. 

Refund

Mr. *********’s refund was submitted for processing and paid by the finance department on December 29, 2015. Per Section 8, Termination and Refunds, of his Self-Publishing Services Agreement, signed copy attached, he was refunded within the thirty-five (35) day refund timeline as stated in Subsection 8.6.  Per Subsections 8.3 and 8.6, the eligible refund amount is $499.50 representing the$829.50 paid in less the non refundable $30 payment plan fee, the $150 set up fee and the $150 content evaluation fee.

Mr. ********* was provided the refund details via email on December 29, 2015 by Richard ******* in the Author Satisfaction group.

Mr. ********* responded stating that one of the credit cards used to make a payment was no longer valid.  Mr. ******* replied “The system does not allow a refund to be processed to a different card. Since the payments were made to 2 different cards it will be credited back to those cards. You may contact your bank and provide the refund transaction details I have provided so they will be able to locate both refund transactions. “

On December 30, 2015, Mr. ********* was also refunded the $150 content evaluation fee because his publishing consultant, Dianne ***, had emailed him on December 10, 2015, stating that he would be refunded “the amount that you had invested less the $30 bank installment fee and $150 set up fee.” 

In closing, Mr. ********* chose to forgo making further needed changes to the cover and manuscript for them to pass the content evaluation and opted instead to cancel and be refunded.  Mr. *********’s eligible refund of $499.50 was paid on December 29, 2015.  As an act of goodwill and in keeping with the refund stated by his publishing consultant, an additional sum of $150 was refunded on December 30, 2015.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

Thank you for the opportunity to explain how Authors Solutions used a highly organized system of exploitation to try to exploit Authors seeking to produce books and how they attempted to exploit me.

Based on my previous dealings with IUniverse, (I previously produced 3 books and referred many other authors), I decided to publish a new book. However, I was unaware that they had changed ownership in 2007 and I was unaware of the countless complaints and lawsuits they had now engendered.  I Universe used to be a reputable company. I had produced three books with them from 1998 to 2005. I did not know the company was sold to Authors Solutions in 2007. They changed the whole format. It was revealed in a 2013 class action suit by Authors in New York and California; Authors Solutions were accused of various violations of the California Business and Professional Code, and violation of New York General Business Law. It was said they make 2/3rds of their 100 million dollar income on pushing services and fees for authors. That’s 70 million made on author’s fees and only 30 million on books sales.

When I decided to publish a new book in August, first I queried in an IUniverse chat that I wished to produce a book and the representative took my information and asked me the name of the book. For the purpose of this letter, I will not name my book; I told the representative (Diane) on September 1st, the name of my book and gave a short summary. If Authors Universe disputes these events I will go further with the naming of my book and the emails to corroborate. Before paying I contacted the representative and made sure of all the terms. No contract is afforded to you or at least it was not to me before you pay so terms are not spelled out, except for the generalized terms on the internet contract. I paid my money, they promised to produce my book.

On my first query and first submission in September they knew what my title was but yet they continued to tell me that they would produce my book with the controversial title.

I paid my first installment of 400 on September and was expected to pay the rest on October 15th. However I changed credit cards and waited for more progress on my book to make sure because I started to be concerned about the delays and lack of clear communication.

Here, I am including the first content evaluation results.

The email text is in Burgundy and the important point is in bold print. The name of the book and other copyrighted work is covered over.

I was asked to change the cover because it was too much like the real person even though it was a parody. This happened in September after my initial payment. I should have been asked at this time also to change the title if the title violated their copyright standards; however they wished to string me along in an attempt to exploit. No one asked me or said I needed to change the title.

They even went to point of providing me with another cover with that same title on it. I started saying well maybe I cannot continue with production. The cover photo was integral to my concept for the book. Hurriedly, Authors Solutions supervisor, Tim ******* provided me with another cover photo with the controversial title included.

I paid my additional amount I owed and I thought everything was ok and my book would be produced. Yes I did not meet their content approval standards however they did not give an opportunity to say whether I wanted to change my title before they took my money. They finally said they wanted me to change the cover and the title two months later in early December, after I had wasted valuable time and had paid my money.

They kept saying Mr. ********* we need you to change this or that in emails. They would not provide an extensive analysis of what I needed to change in my work and what needed to be corrected  but asked me to change a few things at a time to string time along.

They knew in the beginning that the title and picture were a problem but they were trying to exploit me for more money. They finally admitted they could not do the book after I told them I would not pay for editing services and I was unhappy with their method of stringing me along.

The following emails show when they said they wanted me to change the title and cover and my response.

They messed up a good company and I believe they will eventually lose money. I paid them a total of 859.00 plus and if they had a problem with my cover or title they should not have taken my money until that was resolved. However their practice is hold to take your money and then try to find ways to get you to pay more. I received back 650 dollars of the money I spent. They manipulated 180 dollars out of me. But had I been told in the beginning they did not like my title or cover I may have not spent my money and more importantly not wasted my time. They knew on September 15 what my title and cover were but waited till December 8th to tell me they did not what to produce book without changing title.

Again if necessary I will provide more collaborating emails and the cover they provided to prove what I am saying. Those practices were fraudulent. If you look at their practices overall, all the complaints against them and the lawsuits there is a problem for consumers at Authors Solutions and how they treat potential authors.

Only after I contacted BBB and the Indiana Attorney General did I even get a response back from Authors Solutions.


Regards,

**** *********

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to again explain the content evaluation for Mr. *********’s book.

First, Mr. ********* is no longer a client of iUniverse.  His project, “****** *** ***** ***********” was refunded and cancelled in December 2015, per his request.  Because he has no desired resolution in his latest filing, we will again go over the content issues with his cancelled project.

Mr. ********* continues to express frustration over the title of his book failing content in December.  However, Mr. *********’s manuscript repeatedly failed the content guidelines as well, including in the final evaluation done on December 1, 2015. 

Mr. ********* writes “I told the representative (Diane) on September 1st, the name of my book and gave a short summary.” A title and book summary are not enough to flag a project for potential issues by a publishing consultant.  It isn’t until the manuscript is reviewed, cover art reviewed, etc. by a content evaluator that issues are found. 

Mr. ********* writes “They finally admitted they could not do the book after I told them I would not pay for editing services and I was unhappy with their method of stringing me along.”  There is no mention of payment for editorial services in Mr. *********’s account because his project had not made it that far.  iUniverse staff never refused to publish his book; it was Mr. ********* that chose to cancel the project because he did not wish to make any further changes to the project.

He also says “They kept saying Mr. ********* we need you to change this or that in emails. They would not provide an extensive analysis of what I needed to change in my work and what needed to be corrected  but asked me to change a few things at a time to string time along.  Attached are two emails from Mr. Lee, explaining in detail what Mr. ********* needs to change, in some cases the same material both times. 

Also, we’re unclear as to what “string time along” means.  Mr. ********* never provided staff with a deadline, nor does staff impose a deadline on an author.  If Mr. ********* is insinuating that the time an author is in pre production effects the refund, it does not.  If the author’s project fails content guidelines on the first submission or the tenth, it is the same refund. And Mr. ********* was provided a larger refund than the Terms and Conditions outlined, as explained in our previous response.

That said, while the title was not mentioned in the three previous content fails, his manuscript still contained libelous material that needed to be removed or amended.  It was not only the title that failed the content guidelines in December.  Mr. ********* chose not to make any further changes to the manuscript and requested a refund, which was completed in December 2015.  Mr. *********’s project was cancelled and he is no longer a client of iUniverse.

In summary, Mr. *********’s manuscript continually failed the content guidelines.  He chose to make no further corrections and requested a refund.  The refund was completed in December 2015.  His project is now cancelled.  Mr. ********* has no desired resolution in his filing. 

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID********, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

[IUNiverse failed to meet the standards of a reputable business.  They intentionally tried to exploit money from me. The reason they gave for a continued failure to meet guidelines was I needed to change my title which they knew what the title was two months before but continued to see if they could exploit me instead of saying no Mr. ********* we cant represent you because of your book title. Only when I told Mr. ******* I was not interested in extra editing did they finally say , they could not produce book with the current title.

My final statement is IUNIverse holds no rights to this book "****** *** ***** ***********" and I ask that the computer files for all previous books be returned to me. "****** **** * **** ***** *" and "*** ******* ** *** *******". If those files are returned to me then that will resolve are outstanding balances. If those files are not returned then they still owe continued royalties for those two books.

Lastly I state if IUniverse wishing to sue me I would welcome the opportunity to prove in court in a countersuite who is reputable and who is not.

Regards,

**** *********


3/25/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I paid for publishing fees in May 2015 to ******* publishing Company, partnered with ***** and ********. They have had my book almost one year and I have not received a manuscript. I had paid them originally $$1,974.00 and an additional $99 for re-editing, plus was asked for an additional $300+ for for the book. There were several issues involved with the Check in Coordinator, I was told that some of my material had been lost, there was not appropriate communication. I would always have to contact Mr. William C**** for problems or to follow-up. Their entire publishing procedures were most unprofessional. . I had had asked them them to cease publishing my book and and have also requested a full reimbursement. I had been most appropriate sending Holiday gifts to them , but in retrospect I never should have for their business dealings.I did contact them for reimbursement and Mr. C**** mentioned something about a "threshold' that had expired for this. They had my book for a long time, I had never heard of a threshold before.

Desired Settlement: Full Reimbursement for the book fees

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to explain what has transpired with Ms. *******’s project.

On May 6, 2015, Ms. ******* purchased the Foundation publishing package at the special price of $1899.05.  She chose to pay for the package using a three installment payment plan, which added a $75 non refundable payment plan fee, making her total $1974.05.

Ms. ******* returned the signed Services Agreement on May 12, 2015.  A copy is attached for your reference. The following day, May 13, 2015, her check-in coordinator (CIC), Maneli R***************, emailed her an initial introduction email and packet of attachments, guidelines, examples and instructions for submission of her manuscript and materials. 

Submission of Materials and Data Entry

Rather than send the material electronically, as is our preferred method of receiving materials, Ms. ******* chose to mail her materials.  The first materials were received by us on September 1, 2015, nearly 4 months after the start of the process. 

 

Because Ms. ******* submitted a hardcopy of her materials, data entry was needed to convert her materials into an electronic document as stipulated in the instructions provided in her Check-in Coordinator’s introductory packet.  On September 3, 2015 she was given a quote by her CIC for us to perform the data entry should she decide to hire us to do so. Three (3) weeks later on September 24, 2015, we received a check payment for the service and were then able to begin the data entry.  Data entry was completed on October 8, 2015.  Ms. ******* reviewed the transcribed manuscript and returned it with her authorization to proceed on October 15, 2015. 

Content Evaluation

Ms. *******’s manuscript was then sent to the content evaluation team for review.  Content evaluation is the process in which ******* assesses the manuscript to ensure that it meets the standards for publishing.  Manuscripts are reviewed for copyright, libel and content containing sex and/or drug paraphernalia.  This review is done to identify any areas of the manuscript that could potentially put the author as risk for copyright infringement and/or libel issues.

 

On November 18, 2015, Ms. *******’s manuscript failed the content review because the cover image lacked permission for its use from the copyright holder and the manuscript contained copyrighted text that exceeded the fair use limit.  Ms. ******* made the necessary changes and mailed a hardcopy manuscript which we received on December 7, 2015.  Again, to bring the newly submitted manuscript into the required electronic format, data entry was needed. A quote was given and the payment was received on December 31, 2015 allowing the data entry to begin with completion on January 5, 2016. 

The newest version of the manuscript was again reviewed by the content team and passed on January 27, 2016. 

Editorial Assessment

As part of the publishing package, her manuscript received an editorial assessment.  This service examined a portion of the manuscript (typically the first chapter or about 1,700 words) and provided a specific sample edit. The assessment includes changes to make to improve the manuscript as well as a general overview of the manuscript with constructive comments for improvement.  On February 23, 2016, Ms. ******* was emailed her completed Editorial Assessment and sample edit of her book.  Her assigned marketing consultant, Zak H*****, contacted her on February 29, 2016. He provided her the price quote for the level of editing recommended from the assessment.  Ms. ******* stated that she wanted to speak with her publishing consultant before making a decision.  Ms. ******* has yet to respond to Mr. H***** and her project cannot move forward until she lets him know her intent:  either purchase editing from us or another resource or pass on editing. 

 

Ms. ******* writes that she “…was asked for an additional $300+ for the book.”

As no specifics are given, a review of her file found two occasions where a quote of $300+ is mentioned.

  1. On June 2, 2015, she inquired about adding a hardcover option to her package.  Her marketing consultant contacted her, providing her the price, $350.  She declined the hardcover on July 13, 2015. 

  2. A $339.65 quote was given for the Content Edit Plus service recommended by the Editorial Assessment mentioned above. She has yet to accept or decline the service.

 

Refund

Ms. ******* expresses her surprise when she contacted Mr. C**** about a refund and was advised that she was no longer eligible as the refund “threshold” had expired. We refer her to the publishing package Services Agreement she signed and the section regarding refunds.  The full refund policy is stated in Schedule A, Section 5. Refunds and reads as follows:

5. Refunds

If AUTHOR terminates this agreement for any reason other than a breach of contract by SERVICE PROVIDER, AUTHOR agrees to pay SERVICE PROVIDER any amounts due on services purchased. SERVICE PROVIDER will refund amounts paid by AUTHOR as follows:

Prior to submission of manuscript                       100% less a $150 setup fee

After submission, but prior to interior design      50%

After interior design, but prior to final sign-off   25%

After six months from contract date                      0%

Her agreement was signed on May 12, 2015; six months from the contract date is November 12, 2015. Since the six months have passed, she is ineligible for refund.

However, if she would like to continue with the publication of her book, she need only respond to Mr. H*****, letting him know if she intends to proceed with editing or not.  If she chooses to use editing services there is no requirement to use our services; she may make arrangements with another editing resource, make editorial changes herself or proceed with the work as is.  Also, if desired, she may ask to be assigned to a different check-in coordinator.   

Timeline

Ms. ******* indicates that we have had her book for a long time.  The amount of time needed to complete a publication is influenced by many factors.  Although a publication timeline range of 90 to 180 days is listed in Section 11 of the Services Agreement, the agreement also recognizes that external circumstances may occur beyond our control.

 

The circumstances recounted in this response illustrate the pre-publication events of Ms. *******’s project that have extended its timeline.  For example:

  • Nothing can be done on a project until it is received in house; the agreement was signed on May 12, 2015; the manuscript was received on September 1, 2015.

  • Manuscripts are to be submitted in an acceptable electronic format; the conversion of non-conforming materials to the electronic format adds another step and additional time.

  • Manuscripts and materials that fail to meet content review standards must be revised;   resolving these issues will add to the timeline and may involve rewriting or the cooperation of third party resources.

  • The Editorial Assessment provides the author with suggestions for improvement of the work; the decision to use editorial services is at the discretion of the author and if selected will take time to complete.

  • The preparation phases are organized in a sequential order and are dependent upon the completion of one phase and authorization from the author to move to the next phase. 

  • We are currently awaiting her authority to proceed with editorial services or move forward without .

 

In conclusion, ******* has allotted the necessary resources to prepare her work for publication.  Per her signed Terms and Conditions, Ms. ******* is ineligible for refund at this point in the process.  Should she desire to continue with the publication of her book, she may do so by following up with Mr. Helewa as to whether she would like to purchase editing or not.  Also, if desired, she can be reassigned to a new check-in coordinator. 

 

Sincerely,

Elaine H*************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

3/25/2016 Guarantee/Warranty Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I paid a lot of money to have my book self published. One issue was I paid for editing. When I received my manuscript there were still errors. I notified the company about the errors I found. Some were resolved others were not. After the book was printed I realized there were several more errors. I paid for eddititing! I also paid for marketing and this sham of a deal called the Hollywood ticket.

Desired Settlement: I do not think a price gouging sham of a busines should be supported by the better bussines buero. 3 out of 18 were positive reviews of Xlibris and you still give them an A. Must be part of the no child left behind act!

Business Response:

Dear BBB

Thank you for the opportunity to access the work of a third party service provider through the copyediting provided to Mr. *****.

On September 26, 2015 Mr. ***** ***** purchased a Black and White Premium Publishing Package to publish his book entitled “**********.” He took advantage of a promotional offer reducing the package cost by 30% to $2021. Also, he added the Hollywood Ticket marketing service at the special price of $479.  He arranged payment for both purchases thru a four (4) auto-installment payment plan which added a non-refundable set-up fee of $30, making his total purchases $2530. His title completed publication and was made available for sale with his approval on November 13, 2015.

On November 17, 2015 he purchased two (2) promotional event services: the Book Exhibit Plus-National event ($1,801) and the Coast-to-Coast 2016- Book Gallery event ($1,199). He again chose an installment payment plan incurring a $30 set-up fee, making his total for these services $3030.  

Editing Service

Mr. *****’s questions the editorial services performed for his title.  Upon receipt of this complaint, we confirmed that his package contained copyediting and we had received his approval of the editing before sending the manuscript to the next phase of production.  A copy of his signed approval is attached for your reference. 

A review of the edited manuscript was conducted and from it we were able to confirm that there were errors which were missed during the editorial process. A further review of the production history of Mr. *****’s title confirmed that the editorial service was performed by one of our service vendors. A third party vendor is sometimes contracted by Xlibris to perform services such as editorial, illustrations and other production services as a means of keeping up with surges in the production service demands during peak months. These vendors are chosen after completing a thorough contract bidding procedure with special consideration to their track record, output and credibility.

We thank Mr. ***** for calling this issue with one of our vendors to our attention.  We wish to extend our apologies to him for any inconvenience or difficulties he may have experienced as a result.  Xlibris is currently reviewing the terms of the vendor’s contract and taking appropriate action to address Mr. *****’s feedback with them.

Hollywood Ticket

Mr. ***** selected the Hollywood Ticket marketing service to expose his work to the entertainment community and improve its chances of being chosen for adaptation somewhere within the industry.  As each entertainment entity makes their own decision regarding the material and projects they chose to take on, Xlibris makes no guarantees that the service will result in an offer.

In fulfilling the Hollywood Ticket Service, an independent entertainment industry professional prepared a Script Coverage of his book, an industry standard report used for identifying new material for feature films or television series. The script coverage includes both a thorough synopsis of the characters and events and a critical analysis of the storyline of the book that is delivered to specific Hollywood management and production companies for their consideration.  Thru the coverage the industry reader also recommends material to Hollywood agents, writers, directors and producers via our exclusive Hollywood Database. Hollywood is notoriously slow in making decisions regarding projects. 

The service has been fulfilled by Xlibris and we have attached a copy of the script coverage for your reference.

Promotional Event Services

Both the Book Exhibit Plus-National events and the Coast-to-Coast 2016- Book Gallery events have dates in the future and therefore will be fulfilled in accordance with their scheduled dates.

In summary, we thank Mr. ***** for alerting us to an issue with our copyediting service so that we may improve the quality of our services and enhance our author’s publishing experience. With his permission, Xlibris will re-edit his manuscript and republish his work with the corrected content. Upon publication, Xlibris will also reprint his complimentary copies and printed marketing materials and announce the republication of his work through a press release to a unique 100 media list.

We hope the information provided with this letter illustrates the steps we have taken to address Mr. *****’s concerns.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

3/20/2016 Delivery Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: After I initially bought my publishing package (which I paid 1300$ for) this company tried to charge me extra for things that I was given the impression were to be included in the package I had bought. I was also supposed to be sent five physical copies of my work with other things (business cards and book marks. These I have received) but the five copies I have not gotten and was told i would receive them two months ago now for the last three weeks between emails and phone messages I have not heard anything from these people. I am very frustrated. I have already paid for their services and they have not completed them.

Desired Settlement: I just want what I paid for so that I can be done dealing with these people.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to respond to Ms. ********’s concerns.

On September 19, 2015, Ms. ******** purchased the Starter Black & White Publishing Package from AuthorHouse for $1299.00. She signed the Self-Publishing Services Agreement on September 21, 2015 and her book became published on December 30, 2015.

Her complimentary author copy was ordered on January 5, 2016 and on January 12, 2016, Ms. ******** spoke to her Marketing Services Representative (MSR) via e-mail and requested information on getting her five (5) free copies. The MSR provided the contact information for Ms. ********’s Book Consultant, Heather ******, as she would be the one to place the order. Heather ****** attempted to contact Ms. ******** via phone on January 8, 13 and 15; however there was no voicemail set up, so there was no way to leave a message.

On January 27, 2016, Ms. ********’s Post Publication Associate provided information on the resubmission process, indicating that there may be changes to be made to the book. It is customary to wait to order any free books until a resubmission is finished, so the free books were not ordered at this time. On January 29, 2016, Ms. ******** responded via e-mail stating that she would just like her five free books and would not be doing a resubmission. The Post Publication Associate then sent contact information for Heather ****** (book consultant) again and also copied her on the e-mail response. On March 2 and 11, 2016, Ms. ******** e-mailed her Book Consultant requesting the five (5) free copies and they were ordered on March 14, 2016.

Regarding her services, we would be happy to investigate if Ms. ******** could provide us with more specific information about what has not been completed.  We are also unsure about the extra charges to which Ms. ******** refers and again, would be happy to look into this matter once more specifics are provided.

In closing, we apologize that the five free copies due with Ms. ********’s publishing package were not ordered in a timely manner. As a gesture of good will, they were ordered with free shipping on March 14, 2016 and shipped March 17, 2016, via UPS (tracking number: ******************).

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction


Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and find that this resolution would be satisfactory to me. Thank you for your help, I very much appreciate it.

Regards,

******* ********

3/19/2016 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: SENT DVD OF BOOK TO BE PUBLISHED. APPARENTLY RECIPIENT LOST DD. RECIPIENT FIRST SAID THEY COULD NOT OPEN DVD. LATER CHANGED STORY TO INFORMATION ON DVD WAS "CORRUPTED". WE ASKED FOR DVD TO BE RETURNED SO WE COULD SEE FOR OURSELVES. THEY SENT BACK A DVD THAT WAS NOT THE ONE WE SENT. IT WAS AN FACT A BLANK DISK. CONTACT PERSON JEFF ******* (EXTENSION ****) FAILED TO RETURN PHONE CALLS LEFT ON HIS ANSWERING MACHINE AND GIVEN TO HIM BY ACCOUNTANT WHO CONTACTED US FOR MORE PAYMENT.

Desired Settlement: REFUND OF $388

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to respond to Mr. ******’s concerns regarding the refund of his publishing package.

On January 4, 2016, Mr. ****** purchased the Premier Pro Publishing Package from iUniverse for $1074.50. He elected to pay in installments adding a non refundable payment plan fee of $30.00.

On January 11, 2016 we received two items from Mr. ******—a three page letter with questions and text designated as the Preface to Index and Index to Book; and a DVD. The DVD was said to contain all of the materials for his book; however, the only files that appeared on the DVD were the preface and a JPEG file that we were unable to open. We are unsure if the JPEG file is the manuscript or if it’s just an image to be included because that file is corrupted and cannot be opened.

Mr. ****** was notified about this on February 5, 2016 when his Check –In Coordinator called him to let him know. Over the following week, the Check-In Coordinator spoke to Mr. ****** several times after having the DVD rechecked with the same result. Per Mr. ******’s request, his DVD was sent back to him on February 18, 2016. We did not alter or delete anything from the DVD.

In lieu of sending in a new file of his manuscript, Mr. ****** chose to cancel his publishing package. He made an initial payment of $388.16 on January 4, 2016 leaving an open balance on his account of $716.34. His second payment, attempted on February 4, 2016, declined. Per Section 6 of the Installment Payment Plan Agreement (copy attached) that Mr. ****** signed on January 5, 2016, there will be a non refundable decline fee of $30.00. There will also be a non refundable setup fee of $150.00 per Section 8.2 of the Self-Publishing Services Agreement (copy attached) that Mr. ****** signed on November 16, 2015. After the fees were deducted, Mr. ****** was due a refund of $894.50. $716.34 was applied to the open balance on his account, and $178.16 was refunded to the original credit card used for the initial payment via transaction ID ********************************, on Marcy 7, 2016.

In closing, in accordance with the cancellation and refund policy in the Self-Publishing Services agreement and the Payment Plan Agreement, a refund has been issued to the credit card used for his initial payment.  Should Mr. ****** decide he would like to continue with his book project, he is welcome to do so, but he would need to submit a new manuscript file that is usable and reinstate his publishing package.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

3/19/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Complaint Details Unavailable
3/11/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I requested a refund of my purchase of two publishing contracts (#****** and #******) from Westbow Press/Author Solutions when one of my manuscripts did not meet their publishing guidelines. I was told on February 19 that my refund would be taken care of within 10 days. After a week, I emailed my representative (Christopher *******) that no response had yet been received, and he reassured me that it would be forthcoming. When nothing was received, I asked him for the name of the person responsible and was given Marcus ********s phone number. Calls to Mr. ******* were unreturned until I got a message at the end of the day on Feb. 9 saying the matter would be taken care of and he would call me the next day. When he did not call, I emailed *******, who forwarded my message, again, to his superiors. Several phone calls to ******* during the week now just past have been ignored. After a final email to *******, in which I described a BBB complaint would be my only recourse if the matter remained unresolved at close of business on Friday, Feb. 12, I have received further communication from Westbow Press/Author Solutions. This matter is particularly distressing to me as I have respected them as a Christian company, dealt with them with respectful courtesy and patience, and hoped not to bring a matter between Christians into the public eye.

Desired Settlement: It seems that they owe me an apology, but a refund will suffice. It also seems they owe me for all the time this has taken from my work to resolve, but I will not press for other compensation unless I have to incur legal fees. The contracts were purchased in 2010, with their assurance I could take as long as needed to use them. Our tax records for that year have been destroyed and I cannot provide the exact amount I paid. I must trust that Westbow/Author Solutions will at least be honest about the amount they owe me. I bought two contracts because they had a sale on. I believe the purchase price for both was around $1500.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to address Ms. *********** concerns regarding the refund of her publishing packages.

On August 30, 2010, Ms. ********* purchased two (2) Bookstore Advantage Publishing Packages from WestBow Press to publish two manuscripts originally published through a different company. She took advantage of a special discount offering securing the packages at $1679.40 each.

In November 2012 she advised that one of her books had been picked up by a traditional publisher and the other was under consideration.  As a result, she would be using one package for a work of poetry and the other would be suspended until further notice. In January 2016, we received one new manuscript from her.

On January 13, 2016, the new manuscript began our content evaluation process. On January 18, Ms. ********* was notified that her manuscript failed to meet our content guidelines. After reviewing the issues we cited in her manuscript that needed modification, Ms. ********* decided the following day, that she would prefer a refund for both of her publishing packages.

On January 19, her check-In Coordinator forwarded her request for the refunds to his supervisor and she was advised that someone would be in contact with her within ten (10) business days. On February 5, after Ms. ********* was not contacted within the given time frame, her Check-In Coordinator gave her the contact information of the representative that was responsible for handling her refunds. On February 9, the refund representative got both refunds approved and attempted to reach Ms. ********* to confirm the method of payment and verify her mailing address, but was only able to leave a message. Over the following week, Ms. ********* attempted several times to reach the refund representative, but was unable to do so until February 15. At that time she was informed that we had approved both of her refunds and that she would be receiving them via check since the transactions were over a year old.

In closing, we apologize that Ms. ********* was not contacted sooner with the information regarding her refunds. Both refunds have been approved (each in the amount of $1679.40 for a total of $3358.80) and will be paid via check which she should receive within 3-4 weeks. We thank Ms. ********* for her patience.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

3/9/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Complaint Details Unavailable
3/2/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Since my book ***** ** *** ****** ***** was published by Xlibris in 2012, I have received one royalty payment through JP Morgan bank for the sum of A$9.99 which my ANZ bank are going to charge me a service fee of NZ$15 to exchange. Needless to say that, that cheque remains uncashed. I do know that there have been more ***** ** *** ****** ***** books sold than Xlibris say. Now I am reading on the Internet that Xlibris are a scam. I have been given the run around by a number of Xlibris representatives some of them being Rebekka Royalty Specialist, Jean ****** Royalty helpdesk, j*******@authorsolutions.com , Gerry ****** Senior book consultant-book orders Department, Don ******** Don.********@Xlibris.com publishing Consultants Australia-New Zealand and Asia Sales & Marketing Department, and many others. I am often pestered with telephone calls from Xlibris representatives asking for more investment to promote my book. In 2012 I paid NZ$3230.00 to have the book publish that I have no problem with. Then a month later after some pestering from one of the many “consultants” paid NZ$1895.00 to promote the book. How stupid do they think I am? I have run out of stupid! Xlibris allege that they have sent me two other cheques that were un-cashed which I dispute as they know my address as I have confirmed with them on a number of occasions. When I ask them to direct credit the royalties to my bank account they allege that this cannot be done from the USA. They say “We are unable to accept your bank information unless it’s a US bank account. We can only pay you through check”. They did not have any trouble taking my payments for publishing and promotion from my bank account so why not the deposit? I feel frustrated with Xlibris and feel that I am going around in circles. As Xlibris say that a cheque was issued February 2014, also February 2015. The alleged Q4 2014 check # ****** dated 2/24/15 for A$51.90-A$2.60=A$49.30 would have arrived now even it had gone via the North Pole 50 times. The fact is that it was never delivered belies belief. It would be a simple matter to cancel that cheque then reissue and remit it. It was already an unusual coincidence that the mail went astray on two occasions, how unlikely would it be for it to go astray for a third time. Unbelievable! You expect this kind of event from the likes of Nigeria, not the USA. I have a document to prove that I have paid US federal tax to the tiny sum of US$1.05. For what? Why would I have paid this if I have received nothing. Thank you Sincerely **** *******

Desired Settlement: At the least I would like them to pay the royalties for the true amount books sold via internet banking, or if not to refund the full amount of NZ$1895.00 promotion costs.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to address Mr. ********* royalty concerns regarding his book, **** ** *** ****** ****.

Mr. ******* states that there have been more sales of **** ** *** ****** **** than XLibris has reported and compensated him for. To verify the accuracy of the sales and royalty information we requested an audit of our distribution partners for each of Mr. ********* ISBNs since the initial publication in October 2012.

Sales Audit

Print-on-demand technology is used to fulfill orders for Xlibris titles. A sale is made only when an order is received which either triggers copies to be printed and or an e-book released in order to fulfill the order. The sales data is collected from each print and eBook partner, collated by ISBN and validated for royalty earnings, resulting in royalty payments. Statements showing the sales and royalty data for each author’s account are posted.  Partial sales data may still appear on the author’s online account at any time within the quarter; however, the final and official sales data is calculated at the end of each quarter.

The attached Sales Informer Report is a compilation of the data received from our distribution retail partners and identifies each invoice number, order date, order quantity, the net amount, the royalty earned and how it was calculated. This report presents the sales figures in US Dollars, which is how all invoices are entered into our payment system. The US Dollar amount is then converted to Australian Dollars based on the exchange rate at the time of payment. The US Dollar amounts on the Sales Informer Report match all invoices in our payment system.

Royalty Payments

Royalties are calculated for each calendar quarter and payments made 60 days after the end of the quarter following a required threshold of NZD$90.  If the royalty fails to meet the threshold it carries forward and is added to the earnings of the following quarter until the cumulative royalty exceeds the threshold.  However, the cumulative amount is paid in the 4th quarter payment even if the threshold is not reached.

The payment schedule is as follows:

  • first quarter (for sales January through March) payment by May 31,

  • second quarter (for sales April through June) payment by August 31,

  • third quarter (for sales July through September) payment by November 30,

  • fourth quarter (for sales October through December) payment by February 28 of the subsequent year.

The timing of actual receipt of the payment by the author may occur after these issuance dates, due to a variety of factors including, but not limited to, transit time in the mail.

Attached you will also find a Payment History Report which lists the three (3) check payments issued to Mr. ******* since his book entered into the distribution channel in October of 2012. He states that he has only received one payment for royalties amounting to NZD$9.99, which he declined to cash due to the banking fees involved. Unfortunately, the assessments of these banking fees are out of XLibris’ control.

Mr. ******* says he has not received the other checks issued to him. A review of the address confirms that they were sent to the same address. Once a check is mailed XLibris is unable to monitor its delivery since our quarterly royalty checks are sent in bulk without tracking information.

Our royalty payment system does not currently support the direct deposit of royalties into a New Zealand bank account.  Subsequently, we recommend that Mr. ******* request a royalty Hold be placed on his account. This would allow his royalties to accrue each quarter until they reach an amount desirable to him and surpassing the banking fees associated with depositing or cashing a check. Also, he can request that these royalties be issued to him outside of the quarterly payment schedule, allowing us to send the check with tracking information which would be provided to him to monitor the delivery. This option of a royalty Hold would help with both the banking fee and lost check issues.

Because checks issued to New Zealand clients are negotiable for one (1) year, he has the following options:

  1. Place his royalties on Hold and designate a threshold for payout.

    1. Return the check for NZD$9.99 to be voided and added to the accruing royalty balance.

    2. Request the NZD$51.87 amount of the stale check from 2/24/2015 be added to the Hold

  2. Return the check for NZD$9.99 and have it re-issued and mailed with tracking information.

  3. Request that the NZD$51.87 check of 2015 be reissued and mailed with tracking.

We await his decision regarding both checks and the Hold status option.

Tax Withholding

Mr. ******* asks why taxes were withheld from his royalties. As indicated on our website and in the Self-Publishing Agreement, author royalties may be subject to tax requirements and international treaties. In order to determine the appropriate taxable amount, the author must provide the necessary information and documentation to comply with these tax requirements. For non-US citizens a taxpayer identification number (“TIN”) and a W-8BEN are required. Without this information we are required to withhold taxes in compliance with the tax code or other governing laws and regulations and will remit the amount to the appropriate government agency.

Customer Service

Mr. ******* says he was “given the run around by a number of XLibris representatives” however a specific complaint is not specified. We do not find that any communication from Mr. ******* went unanswered by a representative, nor do we find that any inaccurate information was relayed in response to his royalty inquiries.

After Mr. ******* purchased his publishing package from XLibris he says he was contacted by Xlibris’ Marketing representatives to encourage him to purchase marketing services. These promotional and marketing opportunities are offered to assist authors in gaining exposure for their work in the marketplace.  The purchase of any of these marketing tools are optional and entirely at the discretion of the author. Should Mr. ******* desire to no longer be made aware of new services and special events, he may request to be placed on a do-not-contact list.

In Summary

In summary, sales data has been reported accurately and royalties paid in accordance with the quarterly payment schedule, the tax withholding requirements and the address information provided by him. Queries he made regarding how royalties are calculated and paid have been accurately and courteously answered and reflect the information posted on our website and in the Self-Publishing Services agreement. We have no control over fees charged by banks in other countries to accept checks drawn on a US bank.

We await Mr. ********* decision regarding how he desires to proceed with the disposition of his royalties and if he wishes to be placed on a do-not-contact status for marketing services.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and find that this resolution would be satisfactory to me. 

Regards,

**** *******

3/1/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Xlibris falsified information during sales presentation on phone , and once contract was received , and attorney reviewed the contract, I chose not to sign contract and requested my payment be returned in full. Xlibris agreed to refund in full, yet after extensive conversations and emails to them , have have not returned the funds in a timely manner. Credit card disput was started with my credit card department. And as of this date , there has been no refund, now in excess of 30 days. Sales reps demanded payments prior to sending a contract for review, and once received, contract review reveled inconsistencies in what was presented during the sale , and what was actually in the contract. Despite attempting to get the contract modified to match sales conversations , Xlibris declined to modify contracts, and agreed to refund total amount. Upon calling last Friday , February 5, I was advised that according to their contract I will not receive funds until after 35 day once submitted, however , since there is no signed contract , the original agreement was to have funds refunded within 7-10 business days. They have been less that cooperative in returning all funds. Please assist , or at least post so others do not encounter the same issues with Xlibris. Ty.**** ******

Desired Settlement: Return all funds as agreed

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to verify that Mr. ******* refund followed the timeline of the refund policy stated in our publishing agreement.

Mr. **** ****** verbally and financially committed to publish a book with Xlibris on December 28, 2015, purchasing a Picture Book-Children’s Ballad publishing package at a promotional rate and five (5) add-on publishing and promotional services for a total commitment of $5222. A breakdown of the services purchased is attached for your reference.

In his filing Mr. ****** states that information presented to him during discussions with his publishing consultant was inconsistent with the self-publishing services agreement he received for his review and signature. As it is important to us that our representatives provide accurate information, an audit of the conversations between Mr. ****** and his consultant was conducted.  Their conversations began in late November 2015 and continued through early February of 2016. The audit failed to find any misrepresentation by our consultant regarding any part of our self-publishing services agreement. Their dialogue also showed that the author was comparison shopping Xlibris with several other publishers and asked many questions.

The Self- Publishing Services Agreement contains the provisions that the services purchased by an author are subject to.  With the agreement an author is hiring us to perform certain creative, publishing, marketing, distribution and promotional services for the specific services they have chosen to purchase. Each of these specific services is set forth in one or more separate Service Orders with full descriptions available on our website.   A copy of the full agreement is readily available to all to review thru our website at the following link: http://www.xlibris.com/uploadedFiles/Agreements/AuthorAgreement_100_XlibrisUS_091015_English.pdf.

Also in the complaint Mr. ****** states that he proposed amending the language of the publishing agreement yet he omits the specifics of what language he desired to change. The audit found that on January 11, 2016 Mr. ****** posed a request to amend the agreement regarding the payment of taxes on royalties earned and his retention of the rights to his book. The request was declined.

We have reiterated to Mr. ****** that our publishing agreement is open ended and non-exclusive. This means that there is no set term for the contract, but that it can be canceled at any time at his discretion. Because it is non-exclusive, it means that he may pursue publishing contracts with other publishers and actually have another contract with another publisher or agent regarding the same work without violating the terms of the agreement with Xlibris. We have assured him that he will continue to own the rights to his book during and after the publication of his book with us.

On January 13, 2016, he requested cancellation of his project and a refund. All requests to terminate services and refund requests are processed according to our Refund Policy found in our Self-Publishing Services Agreement, Section 8, copy attached, and also published on our online website. Each refund request is reviewed to ensure accuracy of the payout and this process may take at most thirty-five (35) days from the date of the termination of the service.

A full refund of the payments made by Mr. ****** to Xlibris was processed to the credit card used to make the purchase on February 11, 2016, within the published refund timeline. The refund

Mr. ****** indicates that he initiated a credit card dispute with his credit card company; however, we have received no documentation from his credit card company regarding any dispute.

In closing, Mr. ****** request to amend our Self-Publishing Services Agreement was declined. A refund was processed within our published timeline for refund requests and returned to the credit card he used to make the purchase.

We hope the information provided with this letter illustrates the steps we have taken to address Mr. ******* concerns.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

2/23/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I was trying to publish a book with Archway/ Author solutions. My rep quit and I didn't know. Then on 2 occasions my new rep was unresponsive for more than a week, even after I had multiple staff contact him. Then I was lied to that he never got the message. Then I was lied to that he didn't receive my full name. I made dozens of contacts including asking: how do I send you the manuscript. I am not being responded to when requesting status of a refund other then "checking on it".

Desired Settlement: I just would like a complete refund because I wasted a lot of time contacting all different staff and attempting to move forward with my manuscript.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to respond to Mr. ******** regarding the refund of his publishing package with Archway Publishing.

On March 26, 2015, Mr. ******** purchased the Storyteller Publishing Package from Archway Publishing for a total cost of $1439.00. He returned his signed Services Agreement on April 1, 2015 and was contacted by his first Check-in Coordinator (CIC) the next day via phone and e-mail. She provided instructions via e-mail explaining how to set up an author account on the Archway website and how to submit the manuscript and other book related materials. Mr. ******** spoke to his first CIC throughout the month of April. On May 6, 2015 Mr. ******** spoke to his Author Assistant on the phone and was informed that his CIC was no longer with the company and that he would be assigned a new CIC. She also followed up with an e-mail which included a summary of the phone conversation as well as manuscript submission instructions. On May 11, 2015 Mr. ********** new CIC e-mailed him to introduce himself.

It wasn’t until the end of December 2015, that Mr. ******** was ready to submit his manuscript and attempted multiple times to reach his new CIC. He was able to speak with operators and the salesperson that sold him his publishing package, but did not receive a call back from his CIC until January 12, 2016. At this point, Mr. ******** stated that he wanted to cancel his publishing package and would like a full refund.  Section five, Schedule A of the Services Agreement (attached) that Mr. ******** signed in April 2015 states that no refunds shall be given after six months of the signing of it; however, taking into account the lack of contact from the CIC and the fact that Mr. ******** hasn’t yet submitted his manuscript, upon Executive Review his request for refund of the full amount of his publishing package has been approved and the refund has been processed to the credit card of record.

In closing, we apologize that Mr. ******** had a difficult experience with his Check-In Coordinator, and are saddened that he has decided not to pursue publishing his book with Archway Publishing. As a gesture of good will, we have refunded the full amount of $1439.00 to Mr. ********** credit card, transaction number   ********************************.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

2/16/2016 Problems with Product/Service
2/9/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I self published a book called * * **** ** ****" with Xlibris Publishing on March 3, 2010. The last time I was paid any royalties was in 2014 which amounted to $3.55 ? in USD. I have called and asked about this situation many times over the years. I have researched on line in all 50 US states and Canada and all over the world. My book has been carried in brick and mortor stores since it came out. Plus, it has been available on line on about 5,000 sites. I want the royalties I am intitled to and owed by Xlibris Publishing. They will not return my calls in this matter. I need your help to resolve it.

Desired Settlement: I want all royalties owed to me since March 3, 2010 paid up to now and all future royalties paid to me on time.

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID********, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below

I do not have any way of receiving customer receipts for sales of my paperback or e-book editions. How am I to have access to those records from all on line and brick and mortar stores all over the world ? Xlibris is responsible for ensuring I receive my royalties from all sales. They are distributing my book in paperback and e-book editions and should have all the records available to be examined. I dispute that no one has bought my book since 2014. Why is it available in book stores if I am not getting any royalties ?? I feel they owe me more than royalties than they want to pay. I will not settle until they show me that my book has not been selling.

Regards,

***** ****


2/2/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I self published a book with AuthorHouse. At this time I have spent close to $5000. What I have received for my money is a hardback copy of my book, a soft back copy of my book and my book listed on Amazon.com. I have over 150 phone calls from AuthorHouse agents asking me to do this and that and I have always followed through. I feel their service is one of sales of their service and not my product. I have tried to order more books myself and do not have any idea if any of my books have sold. I realize not everyones book is a great one but don't let me spend that much money before discovering that. I have approached several companies such as Target and Walmart and they tell me Authorhouse has to approach them. Why haven't they? Someone needs a lesson in marketing.

Desired Settlement: I would like to see more evidence that my book is being marketed by response from some outside source from the press release or something. I want others to know what they getting into by using AuthorHouse.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to address Ms. ****** concerns regarding the marketing of her book.

On June 19, 2015, Ms. **** purchased the Fundamental BW publishing package from AuthorHouse for $1399.50 to publish her title, “******* *** *** **** ****** ***.” She elected to pay in installments which added a $30 Payment Plan Agreement fee for a total cost of $1429.50. On June 23, Ms. **** returned to us the signed Self-Publishing Services Agreement at which point we began work on her title which went live (was published) with her approval on August 26, 2015.

With self publishing, the primary responsibility of promotion of the book falls to the author; however, AuthorHouse offers a wide variety of marketing services for purchase that aid authors in the promotion of their titles. Section 6.1 of the Self-Publishing Services Agreement (attached) signed by Ms. **** in June states:

6.1 General. Upon Final Approval of Your Work, We will make the Work available through the distribution channels with which We contract, including, but not limited to, physical, online and electronic distribution channels, such as wholesalers, bookstores, traditional retailers, and e-retailers ("Distribution Channels"), in a manner consistent with the Services purchased by You. We do not warrant that any particular Distribution Channel will offer Your Work for sale, as this is up to the sole discretion of the Distribution Channels.”

During the last few months, Ms. **** has purchased several of these marketing services from AuthorHouse including the following:

  1. Press Release –Essential Edition: (Purchased August 18, 2015) a professionally written press release distributed to at least 500 media outlets, plus one month of news tracking. Attached are the approved final version of the press release from September 2015 and the post fulfillment report sent to Ms. **** December 1, 2015. 

  2. Standard Website Setup: (Purchased August 18, 2015): set-up of a personalized Web site to increase visibility for a Ms. ****** specific title.  Her website may be viewed at: http://www.luci****.com/

  3. Advertising and Giveaway on Goodreads: (Purchased September 9, 2015): the set-up and administration of a 30-day Ad campaign and Giveaway Program on Goodreads, the world’s largest online community for book lovers.  This service encourages Goodreads members to enter to win a giveaway for one (1) of ten (10) free copies of Ms. ****** book (books are included with the service) within a defined timeline.  Ms. ****** campaign spanned from November 13th to December 12th and can be found at: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/161802-romance-the-real-estate-spy 

  4. Online Book Ads via Google (30 day package): (Purchased November 12, 2015): creation and placement of web image ads, text ads and mobile ads in various formats via Google. 

All of these services have been fulfilled except for the Online Book Ads via Google which will be fulfilled once Ms. **** completes her payment plan and we receive full payment for the service (please reference Section 2. The Services; Subsection 2.1 Payment Precedes Fulfillment of the Self-Publishing Services Agreement).

The services agreement also states that AuthorHouse maintains no control over the subjective purchasing decisions of wholesalers, booksellers, or consumers.

Ms. **** queries why we have not contacted Target and Walmart to carry her book.  The solicitation of stores such as these and other large chain and big box stores to buy our titles is not an inclusion of the self-publishing agreement. The buying decisions for these entities are regulated by corporate buying offices and self-published authors are responsible for submitting their title(s) to the store’s headquarters to be considered for approval as an orderable title.  Once on the list the individual stores may place orders thru their distributor or our Channel division.  It is important to note that for consideration, a title must have returnability (a service secured by the author allowing booksellers to return unsold copies for the book for refund).

Ms. **** questions how many books she has sold. Sales and royalty information is always available to her by logging onto her AuthorCenter on the AuthorHouse website at the following link: http://www.authorhouse.com/AuthorCenter/SalesRoyaltiesOverview.aspx.  There she will also find a FAQ section with helpful information regarding royalty payments, personal book orders and tax information.

In closing, three (3) of Ms. ****** add-on marketing services have been fulfilled.  The remaining service is scheduled for fulfillment on February 2, 2016 once the payment plan is completed.

Marketing services provide exposure of a work to the marketplace. AuthorHouse makes no guarantees that the service will result in either the media printing a press release or reviewing the book or the consumer purchasing the title.  These decisions are at the discretion of the media outlet and the consumer.

Sales and royalty information is readily available on her password protected AuthorCenter account on the AuthorHouse website.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

[Provide details of why you are not satisfied with this resolution.]

Regards,

**** ****

 

 


1/29/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: My complaint is actually in regards to both contractual and service issues.Service Issues: They used lies deceit and fraud to get me to purchase publishing and advertising packages. They deliberately withheld information I inquired about regarding sales statistic by saying they had no such numbers, yet after I spent $11,800 the truth comes out that they had these statistics and they had deliberately withheld them from me because the figures are so bad that no one in their right mind would spent a nickel on any of this stuff. I was told that I would easily get my money back within the first year, yet I only made $1.09 in royalties. They initially lied and said my book was so great to get me to spend money, yet later they tell me that they did not even read my book. How can they tell someone they have a great book if they either did not read it or just read a few bits and pieces? They lied to sell me a $6,249 advertisement by saying I will sell 58,000 copies. I sold 3 copies. Before I purchased the ad they said they did not have sales stats from previous authors yet after I spent my money I found out they did and they deliberately withheld these numbers because they knew I would not purchase anything if they revealed them to me. I had numerous harassing calls from sales people trying to get me to spend even more money, they kept calling despite telling them repeatedly not to. The little sales that I have had are being withheld from me. For example, I knew in the first quarter that I had sold a certain number of my book to my friends and local libraries, yet I found that they are only claiming 1 sale for $1.09. Plus I am not getting the full royalty rate of 71% FROM Xlibris. I myself called and purchased my book from Xlibris for about $30 and at 71% royalty rate that's supposed to be about $22 for me, yet I called and found that my royalty was only $12. There are other issues too, but don't wish to discus them now pending the outcome of this complaint

Desired Settlement: I want a full refund of the $11,000 I have spent with them

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to explain the steps taken to ensure accurate sales data and royalty payments and to review Mr. ********’s purchase of marketing services.

Mr. ***** ******** signed up with Xlibris on August 18, 2014 to publish his book entitled “*** *********”. He took advantage of a very special offer where he received the Black & White Executive publishing package (valued at $7349) for the cost of the package one level below, the Black & White Premium Package (valued at $3549), a savings of $3800.  In addition his purchase included the Trifecta Review Service (valued at $3249) at a 40% discount or $1950. He opted to use an installment payment plan which added a $30 non-refundable surcharge, bringing his total purchase to $5,529.00.  The book completed its publication process and was made available for sale with Mr. ********’s approval on October 8, 2014.

To foster interest and awareness of a book, Xlibris offers a range of marketing services to help authors reach out to their target audience. These services include Press Release and Newswire campaigns, Internet-based Marketing, Book Reviews, Single Piece Accessory items, Marketing Kits and Publication Announcement campaigns. Some of these are included in almost every publishing package, and in many cases, like that of Mr. ********, the author will choose to expand their book’s sales potential by utilizing additional marketing services.

On August 27, 2014, Mr. ******** added another marketing service, the Reader’s Digest Select View – Single promotional service.  In addition to receiving a discount on the purchase price, he opted to again use an installment payment plan which added a $30 non-refundable surcharge, making his purchase $6249.

We understand Mr. ********’s desire to see an increase in the sales performance of his published title as a result of the release of the Reader’s Digest campaign for his book. While the goal of our marketing services is to create awareness in the marketplace of the book’s availability and ultimately translate this awareness into sales, none of our marketing services guarantee that this will be the result of any campaign. A review of the conversations between Mr. ******** and his consultant confirmed that while probable outcome of the campaign was discussed, no specific guarantees in the form of sales or royalty as a direct result of the ad was provided to the author. Mr. ********’s consultant explained to him that marketing and advertising may help but book sales are a result of many other factors and actual purchase of books will still be within the discretion of the consumers. 

Sales Data and Royalty Payment Schedule

Mr. ******** questions the sales data reporting and payment of royalties.

Royalties are paid quarterly. Sales data is collected from our print and eBook partners, collated by ISBN and validated for royalty earnings resulting in the quarterly royalty payment.  Statements showing the sales and royalty data for each author’s account are posted each quarter after the reconciliation process is complete.  Partial sales data may still appear on the author’s online account at any time within the quarter; however, the final and official sales data is calculated at the end of each quarter.

Royalty earnings accrued throughout a sales quarter are paid within sixty (60) days of the quarter’s end based on the following schedule

  • First Quarter: January 1 – March 31 (Payments are made end of May)

  • Second Quarter: April 1 – June 30 (Payments are made end of August)

  • Third Quarter: July 1 – September 30 (Payments are made end of November)

  • Fourth Quarter: October 1 – December 31 (Payments are made end of February)

Authors will receive payment via a physical check unless they choose to use an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).  Should Mr. ******** desire to receive royalty payment thru EFT he may do so by enrolling through his Author Center on the Xlibris website.  EFT payments are not subject to the minimum threshold requirement described below.

As stipulated in the publishing agreement, royalties paid by check are subject to a seventy-five ($75) dollar threshold requirement.  This means that royalties earned for the first, second and third quarters must amount to at least seventy-five ($75) dollars to be qualified for its quarter’s payout. Royalty earnings that fall below the threshold are forwarded to the next quarter until the amount qualifies for payout. If the accumulated royalty earnings fail to reach the threshold throughout the three quarters, the royalty earning is paid out on the fourth quarter regardless of the amount.

Royalty income is also subject to IRS regulation.  Xlibris is required to withhold federal taxes of 28% and remit it to the IRS unless a valid W-9 form signed by the royalty recipient is on file.  Mr. ******** has yet to provide this document which may be accomplished thru his Author Center on the Xlibris website.

Mr. ********’s book entered into retail distribution in October of 2014, the fourth quarter of 2014. Attached is the Sales Informer Report, a compilation of the raw data reported to us by the various retailers in the distribution channel, for the ISBNs for his title. The report shows that:

  • Royalty was earned during Q4 2014 with payment made thru and taxes withheld from check #******, dated February 27, 2015.  As of last week the check had yet to be cashed.

  • Sales of Mr. ********’s title were made in the first quarter of 2015.

  • Please note that an order reflects as a sale only when the book is shipped or the eBook downloaded.

The verification of sales data for the quarter is ongoing, making the sales and royalties listed on the report preliminary. The Q1 2015 royalty earnings payment will be made the end of May and the full and final Q1 2015 royalty report will be posted to Mr. ********’s Author Center account once payment is disbursed.

Should Mr. ******** possess evidence to contradict the sales data that our print and distribution partners have provided us, we will gladly open an investigation with them.  Such evidence can be in the form of a sales receipt or the printer’s code on the last inside page of the book.

Royalty Rate

Mr. ******** states that he is not receiving his full royalty rate of seventy-one (71%) percent; however he purchased and is currently enrolled in Xlibris’ Retail Royalty Program. This program allows an author to have more flexibility in the retail pricing of their book. Mr. ******** agreed to the following royalty structure for his print books:

Format

Pages

Retail Price

Direct Royalty

Indirect Royalty

Paperback

390

$15.99

$10.31

$1.52

Hardcover

390

$22.99

$12.26

$4.22

A Direct Royalty is earned when a book is purchased directly from the Xlibris bookstore, where an Indirect Royalty is earned when a book is purchased through a retailer such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble. On the attached Sales Informer Report under the column header Category you will see that Direct orders are tagged as Consumer and Indirect orders are tagged as Wholesale.

In summary, as the consumer makes their own purchasing decisions, Xlibris cannot and does not guarantee the number of sales that will result from any marketing campaign.

Royalties for Q4 2014 have been paid according to the sales reported by our distribution partners and the royalty payment schedule. Royalties for Q12015 are still being audited and will be paid the end of May 2015 following the payment schedule and minimum threshold requirement.  As Mr. ******** has yet to provide a completed W-9 tax form, federal tax will be withheld from his royalty payment.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.



Regards,

***** ********


The business Xlibris has done just what I expected them to do and that is to  Deny everything.  They have failed to address the complaint that I have made.  My complaint actually ran out of space to fit every thing in,  and Xlibris did not even address those issues I could list.  They are refusing to admit that they sold me all of this based on misleading information and flat out lies.  Second the contractual obligations were never even done in satisfaction.  Third,  the  royalties were not being reported or paid to me and evidence indicates that royalties are both not being reported to me and indications also show that those royalties that are being reported are insufficiently being dispersed.

The book was never even properly edited or completed to contractual and sellable form.  It is loaded with technical mechanical and spelling errors and was not in sellable form.  Not to mention that they are glossing over a few little bits of irrelavent information such as claiming a few phone calls were looked at or submitting a sales chart.  Non of this is proof of anything to defend themselves.  My complaint is clear and to the point.  They lied to me with false and misleading information to sell me things.  They either mislead me or intentionally withheld information in regards to specific sales quotes and expectations in order to sell me these things.  For example they lied to me about things like  how great my book was and that it was a masterpiece and that I was going to get rich from it.  They said things like it's the best book they've seen and this is the big book we've been waiting for...  These were all lies and ploys to get me to publish it and purchase expensive packages in both publishing and marketing.  They also lied to me because they initially told me how great my book was to sell me this stuff and they told me that I would have no problem not only recouping my investment but making lots of money too.  Plus,  they initially told me how great the book was to sell me all this stuff,  yet later after I spent all this money they eventually admitted to me that they only read a few bits and pieces of my book.  That is clearly a lie because how can you tell someone that a book is so great when you have not even read the whole thing,  just a small fraction of it?

They also did not address the issue of having told me about the lies about sales quotes to get met to buy $6,250 dollars worth of advertising.  They clearly lied by sweet talking me with numbers.  She quoted me with numbers of a minimum of 58,000 copies sold with RD advertising,  and that was only 1/2 of her projected numbers.  Yet she clearly lied to me about these quotes because I asked her initially what sales figures  other authors had with reader digest advertisement and she said she had no such figures but after the sales were made and I asked her about some figures she tells me about how their best author sold 23  or 24 thousand copies.  Before I brought this package she said no such info is available.  Yet,  now it is revealed to me that their absolute best author has only sold 23 or 24 thousand copies.  Why would she be quoting me such inflated sales figures of a minimum of 58,000 copies sold when their best author only sold 24,000.  She would have no business telling me these inflated figures or telling me beforehand that she has no info on other authors when she knew this type of information but obviously intentionally withheld it from me to make the sale(and grossly over inflated sales expectations)

Plus they are not addressing the constant and harassing phone calls I was getting from them people trying to sell me more stuff.  I told one of them in particular at least 8 or 9 different times not to call me,  and I would call them I was interested in in what they had to sell.  These calls were bothersome harassing and they attempted to intimidate me into buying more advertisements and stuff from them.

It is clear that I was lied to deceived and deliberately given misleading information to purchase these things.  Plus I was withheld information on facts and figures that they actually had available to give me,(such as sales figure from other authors ect!) to sell me these publishing contracts.  Finally,  these contracts are not valid not only for the aforementioned,  but also for the mere reason  that I was intoxicated when they were made with me,  and the law is very clear about making contracts with intoxicated people,  they are void and nullified.  So, since I was intoxicated during all phases of the contracts being discussed and signed,  they are void and nullified.  In short,  due to these vast array of issues I respectfully request a full refund of my $11,800 from Xlibris. 



Business Response:

Thank you for your continued assistance in our efforts to address Mr. ********’s concerns.

In this response, we have revisited the reiterated issues of misleading information and royalties from the original complaint and have addressed the additional concerns he has introduced.

Misleading information

Mr. ******** makes reference to being told by Xlibris staff how great his book was although they did not read it.  Due to the number of books we provide services for, an allotment of time for staff members to read each book would be prohibitive. In reviewing his account and the services he received, we found that three (3) independent book review services were assigned to read and review his book.  Mr. ******** was presented with their written reviews. The reviews are very complementary of the plot (engaging and gripping) and insight into the lives of everyday citizens during the Revolutionary War period.  Each also makes positive suggestions regarding enhancements for the additional volumes in his series. 

In a second review of the conversations between Mr. ******** and his publishing consultant, although some hypothetical scenarios were mentioned, we found no guarantee made of book sales as a result of the marketing service purchased.

Royalties

Our original response explained the sales data collection, royalty rates and payment schedule. Information regarding royalties and sales is readily available for Mr. ******** to browse anytime through our website with the link below. http://www.xlibris.com/faq/bookselling_royalties.aspx#RoyaltiesandSales

Mr. ******** introduced the following concerns through his rebuttal response. 

1) his book was poorly edited,

2) his book is unsellable due to technical, mechanical and spelling errors,

3) his requests to no longer be contacted with marketing opportunities were unheeded, 

4) the services he purchased and the agreements he signed are null and void because he was intoxicated during all phases of the contract discussions and signing.

Editing

Xlibris offers various types of editing services which are described in detail on the Xlibris website. http://www.xlibris.com/ServiceStore/ServiceList.aspx?Service=CAST-567. As copyediting is included in the publishing package purchased by Mr. ********, the copyeditor assigned to his project performed a review of the manuscript, correcting errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and syntax. Once edited, Mr. ******** was given the opportunity to review the results, ask questions, accept or reject the editorial changes or introduce his own changes. A copy of his signed approval of the edit dated September 19, 2014, is attached for your reference.

Sellable format

Mr. ******** mentions technical, mechanical and format errors, but fails to elaborate.  He approved both the interior and cover galley proofs of his book on October 6, 2014, authorizing them to be endorsed to print and made available for sale. Copies of the approvals are attached for your reference.

Request to Not Contact

An audit of our company call records confirm that attempts to contact Mr. ******** to provide information about marketing and volume book discount opportunities were made.  We apologize to Mr. ******** for any inconvenience these attempts may have caused him.  His account has subsequently been removed from the contact list for marketing opportunities.

Contract Nullification

We have no knowledge of this circumstance.

Based upon the comments of the independent reviewers, we would like to suggest that Mr. ******** consider additional editorial assistance with his book.  The execution of a period piece such as his requires specialized editorial recommendations beyond standard copyediting. As a gesture of goodwill, we are prepared to provide, at our expense, an editorial assessment of the manuscript which will diagnose more precisely the type and level of editing that will benefit the work. Although Mr. ******** would be under no obligation to contract for additional editorial services with Xlibris, we are willing to apply a portion of the cost of the Reader’s Digest marketing service toward additional editing services. 

In summary, Xlibris is a supported self-publishing services provider, assisting authors to self-publish, promote, and bring their books to market. The decision to purchase publishing services from Xlibris is optional and solely at the author’s discretion. The offer to purchase publishing and/or marketing services from Xlibris does not include any guarantee of the number of sales that will result from the release of a book or marketing campaigns.

Mr. ******** approved the copyediting of his manuscript and his book was released to print with the approval of the cover and interior galleys. His account has been placed on Do-Not-Contact status for Marketing Consultants.

As a good will gesture we are willing perform an editorial evaluation at our expense and, if he chooses to use Xlibris for additional editorial services, apply a portion of cost of the Reader’s Digest Marketing services to its cost.

We trust this information illustrates the steps we have taken to address Mr. ********’s concerns.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

I do not except the business response.  They have made no attempt to offer a financial settlement in the form of a refund.  Plus,  they have continued to elude and evade the issues I have presented in this complaint.  I want them to address all of my complaint issues.  They have not addressed all of my issues and the ones they did address are evaded by them in terms of not  addressing the issues in a meaningful, unbiased and comprehensive manor.
Regards,

***** ********

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for your continued assistance in our efforts to address Mr. ********’s concerns.

M. ******** alleges that some of his issues have not been addressed; however, he fails to specify which one(s) he is referring to so that we may respond accordingly.

In response to his complaint and rebuttals, we have addressed the concerns introduced by Mr. ******** related to the publication of his book.  A synopsis follows with more details in our initial and rebuttal responses:

  • All necessary approvals were secured and received from him in each step of the production and marketing of his book. Each approval authorized his work to move to the next step.

  • A review of the conversation between Mr. ******** and his marketing consultant, confirms that they discussed the need for exposing consumers to his book and the number of readers and subscribers the Reader’s Digest magazine states they enjoy.

  • Hypothetical scenarios regarding potential viewers of the ad in question were posed yet no promises were made of return on investment.

  • The consultant did not guarantee sales as a result of participation in any marketing campaign and explained that book sales are a result of many factors and the actual purchase is at the discretion of the consumer.

  • An explanation was provided of how sales are collected and reported along with the quarterly payment schedule for royalties. 

  • A chart showing the Retail Royalty Program rates was provided.

  • Per his request his account was been placed on do-not-contact status for marketing opportunities.

  • In consideration of the suggestions made by the professional independent reviewers of the Trifecta Review service he purchased, we offered to assist him in the further development of his work with a free editorial review and assistance with additional editing services that may be recommended as a result.

  • In his rebuttal response, he alleged that he was intoxicated when he formalized agreements and made decisions with Xlibris thus making them null and void. Our response was vague on this issue.

To address his claim that he was intoxicated throughout the publication of his book, we again reviewed our interactions with him.  We would like to reiterate that he purchased a publishing package on August 8, 2014. Twelve days after the purchase, Xlibris received a copy of the signed agreement from him on August 20, 2014. The services included in his package were fulfilled one by one, each with his approval and finally completed on October 8, 2014. Throughout the two month period of his work’s production phases and seven months after the completion of his work, Xlibris worked with Mr. ******** without any knowledge of his alleged intoxication. Xlibris did not provide him alcohol to persuade him into purchasing our services or approving the work completed for his book.

Moreover, the terms of our agreement allowed Mr. ******** a refund based on the services rendered by Xlibris and within a given period of time. Again, we would like to reiterate that Mr. ******** was a willing participant in the fulfillment process and months elapsed from the allowed refund period before a refund request was received from him.

Refund eligibility is stated in the Self-Publishing Services Agreement (copy attached), Section 10. Refunds, as follows:

You may be entitled to a refund of all or a portion of the amount You paid for a Publishing Package. The refund opportunity is exclusive to the amount paid for the Publishing Package as referenced in the Service Order. All other Services are non-refundable after purchase. You shall be entitled to a refund of the amount paid for the Publishing Package as follows:

a. Prior to submission of the manuscript: 100% [less a $150 (USD) setup fee]

b. After (a) above and prior start of interior design work: 50%

c. After (b) but prior to final sign-off 25%

Irrespective of (a-c) above, after six (6) months from the Effective Date no refund is due to You.

In conclusion, Xlibris stands by its initial position that he is ineligible for refund based on fulfillment of the services according to the contract terms. As a good will gesture we are extending to him the same offer of performing an editorial evaluation at our expense and, if he chooses to use Xlibris for additional editorial services, applying a portion of the cost of the Reader’s Digest Marketing services to its cost.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.
Attention BBB,

I do not except the response of the  business for the following reasons:

Once again this company has not addressed the complaint and the pertinent issues at hand.  Once again they are making an attempt to disclaim my allegations,  yet although be it this time they have made more of an effort to disprove the credibility of my allegations,  they have once again failed to provide any evidence what so ever support their claims.  There is much involved in my claim and it is not just the intoxication issue.  This claim involves also deceptive business practices on their behalf and gross misrepresentations of fact that were used to mislead and entice me into purchasing their services and or products.  Not to mention the numerous harassing phone calls that I received fro their sales people who kept calling and bugging me for even more money despite numerous attempts by me to tell them not to keep calling me.  And,  they also had intentionally withheld valuable information from me that they actually had,  and subsequently if I were given such information I would have never purchased anything from this company.  (for example withholding info on prior sales success from previous authors etc.!)  This information they had all along and it was intentionally withheld from me in what was an obvious maneuver to keep me uninformed and in the dark in such matters.  As I stated earlier I was told no such sales figures were available prior to my sale,  yet later (after the sale)I ask the same salesperson a question and she disclosed the exact type of info I was previously denied.  Not to mention filling my head with grossly unrealistic sales expectations that were no way even remotely close to anything they knew they would ever realistically expect anyone to ever get.  So why give those grossly over inflated quotes?  Just one reason and one reason only.  To make a sale!  And I'm sorry but to deliberately misquote and mislead someone like that is not only down right unethical,  but perhaps illegal too?  Common,  quoting me between 58,000 and 116,000 copies (I sold about 15 copies, far less then 116,000 I would say!) when in reality they well knew that at best the most their authors who previously used reader's digest ads sold was probably only several dozen to perhaps several hundred for their most successful authors.  The point is that they had no business denying me stat's on their prior sales figures when indeed they actually had such figures available. 

And,  it is not just the RD sale that such tactics were used.  Look at my previous (initial) complaint there are numerous issue that are involved in this complaint and any one of these issues would be grounds for a complete and full refund to me due to the highly questionable tactics that were used.  And as to the legality of such tactics,  that too is highly questionable,  and I leave it to you kind folks at the BBB to determine such merits. 

The Xlibris company has once again failed to provide and real or substantial proof on their behalf to disprove my allegations.  They have only continued to provide a list of policies/procedures and the like,  and they have still have not made any attempt to provide any type of real evidence to contrary.  Why?  Because they know that to provide you with a complete copy of ALL my phone correspondence and other correspondences would result in the revelation of my claim as being valid. 

In light of the issues aforementioned,  I respectfully request that the BBB allow for a 100% refund to me by Xlibris in the amount specified in my complaint on the basis that Xlibris has failed to provide you any contrary evidence nor did they provide the BBB with a complete copy of all my correspondences with Xlibris (including all phone calls)   For certainly the merits of this claim lies in the evidence and in the BBB having all of the evidence in hand.  And I am confident that if the BBB were given such evidence in its entirety to evaluate that a ruling might well be made in my favor.



Respectfully submitted:

***** ********

1/26/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Complaint Details Unavailable
1/11/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: In 2012 I started to write a book and as it progressed I started looking for help in the editing of my poor writing skills, I am not a professional author and this is my first book, which made I Universe at Author solution look so appealing, but after purchasing more than three thousand dollars and the expanse of two years’ time to finish my book I have had nothing but an appalling lack of services from I Universe. Over the course of countless calls I universe assured me there was no time limit to finish my book and buying the package now would save me money later. Now that it is finished I universe will not provide the services I paid for and even suggested that I didn’t purchase a full editing package? It’s confounding but the central issue is that they will not provide services that I paid for until I sign their agreement that includes sampling and distribution rights. If my book were to be that successful wouldn’t that be great for both of us. I however for personal reasons don’t want to publish my book at this time. All I am asking is that they provide the full editing services and print me the twenty hard back copies for my family that were a promise of the publishing package. My expectations are they edit and print my personal copies of the book without sampling or distribution rights at this time or refund my money less a small service charge if necessary. Total purchase price $3329.00 with nothing to show for it. **** * ****** ***** ******* *** ******* ** *****

Desired Settlement: Provide the services purchased or provide a total refund

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to address Mr. *******s concerns regarding his publishing package and our Self-Publishing Services Agreement.

On December 12, 2013, Mr. ****** purchased the Book Launch Premier Pro package from iUniverse taking advantage of a $1000 discount and a free Author Website Standard Setup (valued at $379), for a cost of $3299. He elected to use a payment plan which added a non refundable payment plan fee of $30, making his total $3329.

Services Agreement and Fulfillment of Services

On the same day, a Self-Publishing Services Agreement (revised 11/08/2013) was sent to Mr. ****** via e-mail for him to sign and return to us. Per policy, work on a book project can only begin after this document is signed and returned to us by the author.   On January 21, 2014, Mr. ****** indicated that he was nearly finished with the book and would return the agreement with his completed manuscript.  Mr. ****** states in his filing that he was advised there was no time limit to finish his book which is correct.  However, a fully executed agreement is required before iUniverse staff may begin preparation of the work for publication.  

Although an agreement was made available to him in December 2013, he requested and was sent another copy of the services agreement in January 2015.  To date, Mr. ****** has not signed this agreement; therefore, we are unable to move forward with any of the services included in his package.

Editing Services

In his filing, Mr. ****** claims that iUniverse is refusing to provide the full editing services that he purchased. A list of the services in his Book Launch Premier Pro package are attached for your reference and may also be found on the iUniverse website at: http://www.iuniverse.com/Packages/BookLaunchPremierPro.aspx

The package includes one (1) editing related service, the Editorial Evaluation service, which is not a full editing service as he suggests. The service is comprised of a review of the manuscript and recommendations for improving the work.  In addition to assessing the author’s work to ensure it has fulfilled the basic requirements of a published book, an editorial evaluator will provide a general overview of the manuscript with constructive comments.  A detailed report of the evaluator’s observations will include both the strengths and weaknesses of the work and a recommendation of the editorial service level appropriate for improving the manuscript further.  The author may choose to arrange for the implementation of those recommendations by hiring an independent editor, purchasing an iUniverse editorial service, implementing them himself or ignoring them altogether.   

The fulfillment of the Editorial Evaluation is incumbent upon the receipt of a signed Self-Publishing Services Agreement from Mr. ******.

Services Agreement Objections

In his filing he indicates that he objects to the “sampling” and distribution rights elements of the agreement.  These elements are basic to the print-on-demand, self-publishing industry and make it possible for a title to reach into the global marketplace and for the consumer to conveniently discover and purchase a title. The package he selected, the Book Launch Premier Pro package, contains services that utilize these elements to further target the consumer thru on-line retailers, storefront bookstores and media outlets both traditional and social.  

Mr. ****** states that he no longer wishes to publish his book, yet he asks for some services to be performed---editing and twenty (20) copies of his book.  In order to provide copies of his book, it must complete the publishing procedures. Without a signed agreement, no work will be performed on his manuscript.  

Refund

On December 23 a refund was issued to Mr. ****** in the amount of $3299 to his AMEX ending in ….300. Mr. ****** should see the refund reflected in the next 3-5 business days depending on his card company.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

1/6/2016 Delivery Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: The manuscript AH used in production is based on an outdated version. Author Solutions applied the last round of corrections to an older version and not the last resubmitted manuscript, (P8 2015 REVISION.docx) as required. I now have 130 books that Author Solutions say is the latest up-date 09/14/2015, but is still based on an older manuscript, not the one I had re-submitted and not the one they returned to me for approval. My reputation is ruined, I don’t have a marketable product to sell and I have spent 4.466.49 thousand dollars for this plus many hours on mobile and internet calls. I have made an offer to Author Solutions to retrieve the situation . “If AH want to sort this mess out amicably, the only way I can see is if "*** ******" is withdrawn. All existing project ****** files are deleted, cover design, author profiles, everything. And then we re-launch the book under a new title and pen name etc!” Thankfully, AS appears to have accepted the fact there had been an error by Author Solutions, and offered to update the manuscript and she enquired about the physical number of books in my possession. Nov 8 at 3:20 AM To *** ****** Hello Mr. ******, I’ll be working on the corrections. Please provide me the corrected manuscript you want used. This must already reflect the punctuation corrections. Please also provide cover instructions. I’ll work on this as soon as I get these back. Thank you, Nov 8 at 3:03 AM To *** ****** Hello Mr. ******, Please allow a few days for validation. It appears that the cover corrections were not endorsed to my department. For the meantime, please let me know how many books did you receive with errors still? Thank you, ————————————————————————————————————— This is the reply received 14 November 2015 from AS Nov 14 at 4:23 AM To *** ****** Hello Mr. ******, I hope all is well. I just got the feedback form our supervisor regarding the request to replace the printed books. The revised manuscript will be worked on at no charge to you. For the books that you have received, I don’t believe they will be replaced because the orders were placed after you got the first author copy received. Approvals forms and confirmation emails were also provided. With this, we are under the impression that you have checked everything prior to placing orders for the book. Please see attached. Please let me know how else I can help. Post Publication Associate AuthorHouse Today 16 November. I replied to message asking for the full package of books. My point being; the manuscript corrected by AS (P8 2015 Revision.docx); then emailed back to me for approval in PDF format was the document for printing and not the product they printed. Ten to fifteen days later, I received two paperback copies. I took out my sheet of the last round of corrections AS was to apply, and went through the book looking to see if they were indeed present, I was not expecting to find Author Solutions had substituted the last manuscript for an older one and then applied my latest list of corrections! The difference in the two manuscripts, old and new are subtle so I didn’t pick-up the error rightaway. Project ****** Today at 5:31 AM (16 Nov 2015) To AS The books production was put on hold when I struck a deal with Able ****** back in JUNE 2015 as I was unhappy with the manuscript as it was. I purchased the additional books on the understanding production was stopped until the next manuscript was submitted. When you got the “P8 2015 Revision.docx” you converted it to PDF format and I read through the file and then gave you the message "Thanks for all the hard work. The manuscript is good, I'll try hard with the next book"! 4 Sept 2015 Someone screwed up and applied the changes to an older copy of the manuscript, so when I scanned the two books I received from AH later, I'm looking to see you've made the list of corrections and not read the whole book, nobody noticed you added the corrections to the wrong manuscript. If this was a deliberate "slight-of -hand" by AH I would be disgusted. The pre-production checks are made when I got the PDF file back from you, and not after you have gone to print with a botched manuscript. I want a complete replacement of the shipping order. 24 November 2015. Got a reply after prompting AS with the following; *** ****** Nov 23 at 5:57 AM To AS Hi do you know what's happening? If the projects out of your hands, could I have a name/ point of contact. I need to get this project either concluded satisfactorily with AH or by another outside agency. To *** ****** Nov 23 at 12:40 AM Hello Mr. ******, I already sent in a follow through with my supervisor. I’ll hope to provide you feedback by tomorrow. Thank you for your patience. e To AS Nov 25 at 5:16 PM Your supervisor has not replied to repeated requests for an up-date. Tomorrow I will be making my grievances official. *** ****** To *** ****** Nov 26 at 1:01 AM Hello Mr. ******, I really apologize if the feedback is not available yet. I am thinking that my supervisor sent it to upper management for approval. I’ll let you know as soon as I hear from them. Again, I apologize for the inconvenience. Thanks, To AS Nov 26 at 6:48 AM Hello Thanks for the message; I'm sure you understand I worried sick back here, it's not been easy getting this far with my first novel. I will await for AH's official response. *** ******. HI Amy, I'm still waiting for a decision from senior management, I can't let this situation roll over beyond Christmas, so I need an official reply by tomorrow evening, after that I have got to make an official complaint. Sorry you got caught up in all of this, season's greetings! *** ****** Another two weeks have passed with no further communication, Christmas holidays are fast approaching and I don’t want to wait until 2016 before I get an answer from Author Solutions. Can you please help get a resolution from them please.

Desired Settlement: I would like them to either finish the job properly and replace the book delivery or give a refund with compensation.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to explain the production and post production phase of Mr. ******’s book.

Mr. ****** purchased the Optimum Black and White publishing package on March 12, 2014 for £2499.50.  He chose to pay for that on a three installment payment plan which added a £30 non-refundable payment plan fee, making the total £2529.50.  A full accounting of the services Mr. ****** purchase and paid for is attached.

Manuscript Production and Release

Mr. ******’s materials were received in May 2014 and were advanced into the editorial phase and content evaluation review before entering the production phase in December 2014.  After reviewing several galleys and covers, he approved the galley and cover for printing on May 7, 2015. On May 28, 2015, the book completed its installation in the print system and was made available for printing and purchase.   On June 6, 2015, the complimentary author copy of both the softcover and hardcover versions of his work included in his package were shipped to him.

On August 21, 2015, Mr. ****** chose to make changes to the live book and emailed a new manuscript to Amy *****, his publication associate, to be used in place of the already approved manuscript in distribution.  On September 2, 2015, Mr. ****** emailed text corrections to be made.  However,   clarification on whether the text corrections were to be made to the manuscript emailed on August 21st or to the final galley he had previously approved and currently in print, were not included nor did Ms. ***** initiate an inquiry to confirm his intent. The text corrections were applied to the final galley and not the revised manuscript. 

Mr. ****** reviewed and approved the new galley on September 11, 2015.  Attached is Mr. ******’s approval.  The new file was then sent into distribution. 

Book Order

Mr. ****** was sent two complimentary copies (one of each format) in late September.  On October 8, 2015, he sent an email to Athena ********* stating “I’m going to need the remainder of my order very soon, can you let me know If and When they are dispatched?”  The 135 copies were printed and shipped to Mr. ****** on October 12, 2015. 

On November 2, 2015, Mr. ****** emailed his marketing services representative, stating that the 135 books he received were an old version of the manuscript, not the newer one he sent.  As stated above, Mr. ****** approved the galley for printing on September 11, 2015.  After reviewing and approving the galley, he reviewed the complimentary copies and then ordered 135 copies. 

However, due to the error on Ms. *****’s part of applying the corrections to the final galley instead of the revised manuscript, AuthorHouse will replace the 135 copies once the current resubmission is complete. 

Resubmission

On December 15, 2015, Mr. ****** emailed Ms. ***** the correct version of the manuscript to use, as well as one cover text correction.  Out of goodwill, the resubmission, retech, and cover text correction fees were waived. 

The correct manuscript was used to create a galley and the one cover text correction was made. The revised proofs were emailed to Mr. ****** on December 17, 2015 by Ms. *****.  Mr. ****** will need to review the files closely and follow up with Ms. ***** with either corrections or his approvals. 

Refundability

Per Schedule A, Section 5 of the Terms and Conditions of the Services Agreement Mr. ******’s signed, copy attached, refund eligibility expires six (6) months from the purchase date of the publishing package.  Mr. ******’s publishing package was purchased over a year ago in March 2014.  Refund eligibility ended in September 2014. 

In closing, due the error on the part of Ms. ***** to clarify the file to which the corrections should be made, AuthorHouse will replace the 135 copies at no cost once the current resubmission is complete.

Mr. ****** is currently working with Ms. ***** to correct his book.  He has the most recent proofs and should follow up with Ms. ***** with any corrections or approvals. 

Because Mr. ****** purchased his publishing package over one year ago and the production was completed when the book went live in May 2015, no refund will be granted, per the Terms and Conditions.  No additional compensation will be awarded either. 

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID********, and find that this resolution would be satisfactory to me. 

Regards,

*** ******

1/4/2016 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I gave this company over fifteen hundred dollars to publish my book.The company made promise to me that they would help me sale my book and with sales. I have not yet received any money or help from them as of this date since my book put up for sale. My book was written in 05/20/2013. I would all my money back that was given to them. I took a lot of time out to write my book and received about no more than four calls from them asking me for more money to set me up for maybe a movie deal.I had zero support from them. I do no that at least ten family members had bought my book. I do understand that I am suppose help sale my books however I did have to buy my books frist from them for me to dale after that you had to pay two hundred dollars for 20 books to sale from them.Thats very expense for me to buy after giving them so much money in the frist place. I would like to receive all my money refunded back to me or half owed. I was unaware that so many many complaints has been file against the company.

Desired Settlement: Make full or half of my money refunded back to me.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to review the purchases, sales data and royalty earnings of Ms. ******* title and its refund eligibility.

Purchases

Ms. ***** states she has spent fifteen hundred ($1500) to publish her book.  Our records show a different amount.

  • On August 11, 2011, she purchased a Basic Black and White Publishing Package taking advantage of a special offer which reduced the $649 package price to $325.  She opted to use an installment payment plan which added a non-refundable $30 service charge, making her total $355.

  • On June 6, 2013 she purchased a Value Marketing Package for $698 and again elected to use the installment payment plan program adding $30, making her total cost $728.

  • In August 2013, she paid $11.74 for the shipping costs for her package books.

Our records indicate that her expenditures total $1094.74, comprised of $1083 for publishing and marketing services and $11.74 for shipping costs.

Xlibris and the Sale of her book

Ms. ***** questions Xlibris’ help in the sale of her book. 

On December 6, 2012 Ms. ***** submitted her manuscript and signed Author Agreement, copy attached.  On June 5, 2013, with her written approval, *** ******** ****** was made available for sale.

In accordance with her author agreement, when she approved her book for sale in June 2013, it became part of our distribution network.  This means that since Xlibris uses print-on-demand technology to fulfill orders, books are not printed until an order has been received. In order to make it possible for consumers to find out about and purchase a POD title, the book must be visible to them with an easy way to order it. This scenario is most notably accomplished thru online booksellers and retailers.

Her book is listed in the publishing industry’s Books in Print database and the robust catalogs of our network distributors, Ingram (the largest book distributor in the US) and Baker & Taylor. From these resources online retailers such as Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com have listed her title for sale. In addition, other resellers and libraries who utilize these distributors to fulfill orders also list her book for sale and, of course, her book may be purchased directly through Xlibris either by phone or thru our website. 

Marketing tools—business cards, postcards, bookmarks and posters—were included in her Basic Publishing package and, with her approval of the copy and design, were printed and shipped to her in June 2013.

Also in June 2013 Ms. ***** purchased the Value Marketing Package which consists of four (4) separate services combined to touch different segments of the marketplace. The elements of this marketing package are; a press release campaign, a co-op email marketing campaign, a book review campaign and a website design starter program. During 2013 Xlibris fulfilled each of these services with Ms. ******* approval to proceed and provided fulfillment reports upon their completion.

Marketing services are opportunities to bring awareness and information about of a title and its subject matter to consumers and the media. Media outlets are responsible for the content of their publications and make the decision on what is printed, reviewed, or put on air.  Likewise the decision to make a purchase lies with the consumer or retailer. Subsequently, Xlibris makes no guarantees of sales as a result of the implementation of marketing services.

Sales and Royalty Data

Ms. ***** states that she has yet to receive any royalties. As we take the payment of royalties very seriously, we opened an investigation of her sales and royalties.

To verify sales, we receive a report from each of our print partners and eBook distributors. The reports are collated, verified for royalty eligibility and royalties disbursed quarterly.  Statements are posted quarterly to the author’s My Author Center account on the Xlibris website once the reconciliation process is completed. 

We requested an audit of her sales and royalty earnings.  The results are shown in the attached Sales and Royalty report.  Ms. ******* book entered into retail distribution in June of 2013, the last month of the second quarter.

The report contains two (2) tabs. The first tab is the Sales Informer Report which shows the raw sales data from our retail partners and all orders of her title dating back to its initial publication in Q2 2013 along with the royalty amount earned for each transaction. The second tab shows the royalty payment details.

The audit found that five (5) package purchase copies were printed in Q3 2013 and two (2) consumer orders transacted in Q4 2013 with no sales reported in 2014 or 2015.

Ms. ***** states in her filing that she knows of at least 10 family members who had purchased her book. However, we have no evidence to contradict the sales data that our print and distribution partners have provided us. If Ms. ***** possesses such evidence, we will gladly evaluate it and re-open the audit with our print and e-book vendors.  Such evidence can be in the form of a sales receipt or the printer’s code on the last inside page of the book.

Royalty Payments

Xlibris pays royalties based on the quarterly royalty schedule below. Royalty earnings accrued throughout a sales quarter are compiled and paid within forty-five (45) days of the quarter’s end.

  • First Quarter: January 1 – March 31 (Payments are made mid-May)

  • Second Quarter: April 1 – June 30 (Payments are made mid-August)

  • Third Quarter: July 1 – September 30 (Payments are made mid-November)

  • Fourth Quarter: October 1 – December 31 (Payments are made mid-February)

When an author earns royalties from sales of their book via a retailer or Xlibris direct bookstore sale, the author either receives payment via physical check or may enroll in the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) program. Royalties paid by check are subject to a $25 threshold requirement.  This means that royalty earned for the fourth, first, and second quarters must amount to at least $25 to be qualified for its quarter’s payout. Royalty earnings that fall below the threshold are forwarded to the next quarter until the amount qualifies for payout. If the accumulated royalty earnings fail to reach the threshold throughout the three quarters, the royalty earning is paid out on the third quarter regardless of the amount. For authors enrolled in the EFT royalty payment program the threshold is waived and royalties are paid every quarter regardless of the amount.

On November 4, 2013 we processed a completed EFT application submitted by Ms. Hosea. Beginning with Quarter 4 2013, she s been set up to be paid quarterly via Direct Deposit into her bank account rather than by check.

Author purchases and package copies are ineligible for royalty. The royalty earnings for the consumer orders were paid by EFT (direct deposit) in accordance with the payment schedule posted on the website, her MyAuthorCenter account and provided above, for 4th quarter 2013 earnings.  This payment was not rejected by her bank and therefore, the net payment amount of $8.00 was successfully transferred to Ms. ******* bank account on February 14, 2014. Ms. ******* direct deposit is transferred from Content Distributors Inc and this name will appear in her bank account as the payment source.

Author Book Purchases

Ms. ***** associates her role is helping to sell her book with the purchase of copies of her book which she indicates is outside her budget.  Offers for author book purchases at discounted prices are made periodically. However, the decision to purchase is solely at the discretion of the author. 

Some authors will purchase copies of their work for resale at book-signings, speaking engagements, trade shows, craft fairs and other special events or they may give them away or present as gifts.  The difference between the purchase price and what they sell them for becomes their profit.

Others will choose to forego inventorying a few copies for spontaneous sales and instead use business cards, fliers or other printed matter or social media to direct potential buyers to the Xlibris website or another website of their choice where their title is listed.

If Ms. ***** desires to no long be contacted regarding book purchase offers or marketing opportunities, she may request being placed on a do-not-contact status for either or both service.

In summary, Mr. ******* Basic Publishing Package and Value Marketing Package have been fulfilled in 2013 with her knowledge and approval, making them ineligible for refund in accordance with her author agreement. Ms. ***** has been accurately paid for all royalties earned on sales of her book.  If Ms. ***** has evidence of unreported sales she may submit such evidence for review. 

We trust the information contained in this letter illustrates the steps we have taken to address Ms. ******* concerns.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction


Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

[Provide details of why you are not satisfied with this resolution.]

Regards,

***** *****

1/1/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I published my book, ******* ***** with Author Solutions back in January of 2015. Not long after publishing the book, I received a phone call from a sales person urging me to purchase the book store pitch campaign. She assured me that the only way I would be able to make money is if I purchased this plan, because they would market my book and guarantee that they would get my book into bookstores. Furthermore, the sales person made it sound very easy, and kept saying that we only need to get your book in 200 stores to break even, because bookstores purchase 10-20 books at a time. She knew that I was a new time author and failed to provide adequate advice. I signed up for the plan and spent several thousand dollars on this plan. My book has still not ended up in any bookstores, even though they have told me that two bookstores said they would purchase the book. Well saying they will and actually purchasing the book is two different stories. So, they have breached contract because my book has not ended up in bookstores, and they misled me information that isn't correct. Leading me to believe that it would be easy and that I would break even or make a profit on my investment is terrible business. I have tried to reach out to the company and have failed to have anyone listen to my complaints.

Desired Settlement: I need a full refund from this service, as they did not comply with their agreement.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to review the sale and fulfillment of the Bookstore Pitch Campaign for Mr. ***** ********* book project and his request for refund.

Mr. ******** signed up with Xlibris on November 12, 2014 to publish his book entitled “******* *****”. The title was released to print with his approval on January 9, 2015.  Prior to and after the release of his book, Mr. ******** purchased two (2) marketing and promotional services-- the Trifecta Review on December 2, 2014 and the Bookstores Pitch Campaign on January 31, 2015.

Bookstore Pitch Campaign

The Bookstores Pitch Campaign was developed to make it easier for published authors to reach out to independent bookstores across the country. A full description of the service is attached for your reference and can be found on our website at the following address:

http://www.xlibris.com/Servicestore/ServiceDetail.aspx?ServiceId=PKG-6024

The campaign includes a three (3) month pitch of the author’s title via a customized sales kit featuring the author’s book to a total of twenty-five (25) independent bookstores nationwide with a focus on the author’s local area or state.  Attached are the reports sent to Mr. ******** as the pitch progressed.

The results list the designated cities and number of bookstore his title was presented to.  From those presentations two (2) bookstores, one in New York City and one in Chicago, IL agreed to order and stock copies of his title. 

The fulfillment details of the other inclusions of Mr. ********’ Bookstore Pitch Campaign were reported to him through email following their completion. His ad appeared in the ForeWord Magazine’s Fall issue and in the Forecast catalog of Baker & Taylor in the September 2015 issue.

The Bookstore Pitch Campaign was fulfilled as it is described on the website.

Marketing Consultant

In his filing Mr. ******** indicates that his conversation with his Marketing Consultant failed to provide adequate information regarding the service. Our marketing consultants offer opportunities to authors to take advantage of services with consideration to the book’s genre, budget, and market. The promotional services offered to Mr. ******** were all done in good faith and based on what his marketing consultant felt would be most beneficial to his book. 

A review of the conversation between Mr. ******** and his marketing consultant confirms that some service and fulfillment points were not discussed in detail prior to the purchase. Although the details were available online through our website, Xlibris understands that these details may have helped in setting proper expectations for Mr. ******** regarding the fulfillment of the services.  We thank Mr. ******** for alerting us to his concern and have taken appropriate actions to provide additional training regarding the presentation of the specifics of the Bookstores Pitch Campaign service.

Refund

The completion of a service renders it ineligible for refund.  However, in light of our research findings, we have made an exception. As of this writing, a refund of the $3579 payment for the Bookstores Pitch Campaign service has been processed back to Mr. ********’ credit card.  The monies have been returned in three (3) installments: $1266.67 via ********************************; $1266.67 via

********************************; and $1266.66 via ********************************

A refund of the $30 installment surcharge is currently being processed and should be completed within 5-7 business days.

In conclusion, we apologize to Mr. ******** for any inconvenience he has experienced due to the incomplete information provided him regarding the Bookstores Pitch Campaign marketing service.  Although we have completed the service as it is advertised, he has been refunded in full.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID********, and find that this resolution would be satisfactory to me. 

Regards,

***** ********

12/29/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Xlibris has been told they cannot sell any of my books. They stated they would not longer sell them. They are selling the books.

Desired Settlement: Completely stop selling my books. No more book sales by xlibris.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to investigate the status of Ms. ************* titles published thru Xlibris and then cancelled. 

Ms. ******** *********** published five (5) titles with Xlibris. Below is a breakdown of her Book titles by Project IDs, purchase and publication dates and ISBNs for each format for your reference.

******* ** **** ******

  • Project ID ******,  Purchased 12/20/2007, Publication Date 8/8/2008

  • ISBN: ************* (softcover), ************* (hardcover), ************* (eBook)

    ****** ** ******* ******,

  • Project ID ******, Purchased 3/22/2010, Publication Date 6/10/2010

  • ISBN: ************* (softcover), ************* (hardcover), ************* (e-Book)

    ******* ******** * ***** ******** ***** ** *** ******* ***** *** *******

  • Project ID ******, Purchase Date 3/22/2010, Publication Date 6/16/2010

  • ISBN: ************* (softcover), ************* (hardcover), ************* (e-Book)

    ******* ******** * ***** ******** ***** ** *** ******* ***** * ****** ***

  • Project ID ******, Purchase Date 8/12/2011, Publication Date 10/17/2011

  • ISBN:  ************* softcover;  ************* e-Book

    ****** ** ******* ****** *** *** *******,

  • Project ID ******, Purchased Date 11/9/2011, Publication Date 2/29/2012

  • ISBN: ************* (softcover), ************* (hardcover), ************* (e-Book)

     

    On February 12, 2013, following the receipt of a request to disable the availability of her books through online channels, the delisting of all five (5) of her titles was requested from our print and eBook vendors. 

     

    In April 2013, Ms. *********** contacted Xlibris informing us of the availability of her titles through Amazon and Barnes and Noble’s sales programs. We explained to her that titles which are considered “out of print” such as hers, may remain in these systems to allow customers to track hard-to-find books. We further explained that no new copies would be printed even if there is a demand for her titles as the print network lists her title as no longer available for print. In addition, consumers and/or retailers may sell used copies of books thru numerous on-line and storefront vehicles such as Amazon Marketplace, eBay, Craig’s List, garage and estate sales, stores that accept donations, newspaper ads, etc. In these environments, the book was sold once and is being sold again. Xlibris has no role in the reselling of previously sold copies or in the business practices of the individuals and resellers who do. 

     

    December 2015 inquiry regarding title availability 

    Upon receipt of this complaint, we opened a new inquiry into the availability status of all her titles. In addition to discovering that she had re-published the same titles using two (2) other publishers, we were surprised to find that royalties had been earned and paid on sales of ******* ******** * ***** ******** ***** ** *** ******* ***** *** ****** for both the softcover and eBook formats despite their cancellation in 2013. Royalties were paid for eBooks sold thru Amazon Kindle and Google Edition, and an order of fifty (50) softcover books purchased thru our Retail Channel Sales Department along with several other titles not associated with Ms. ***********.

     

     

    eBooks: The eBook cancellation notifications had been made in February 2013 (see attached listing of vendors and dates notified).  It is incumbent on each vendor to remove the listing from their site thus eliminating availability for purchase. We immediately re-notified both vendors who sold the eBook of the cancellation.

     

    At Amazon.com a current search for the title in question shows the eBook is unavailable for purchase.  The search results state “Your search “*************” did not match any products.”

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=****************************************************************************************

     

    The Google Editions site directs searchers to a listing of on-line retailer resources for the ISBN they are seeking.  Here Google lists Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, Books-a-Million.com and Indiebound.org as resources. Below are the links to the search for the eBooks’ ISBN at Google and the resources it lists. The results found no opportunities for purchase.

     

    https://www.google.com*******************************

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/search***********************************************

    http://www.******************************************

    http://www.booksamillion.com**********************

    http://www.indiebound.org/******************

     

    softcover book: Our research found that ******* ******** * ***** ******** ***** ** *** ******* ***** *** ******, ISBN *************, had been cancelled.  However, a coding glitch failed to fully deactivate the title at our Channel Sales Department.  The Channel Sales Department processes orders only from retailers and libraries with approved accounts. The coding issue has been remediated and the title fully deactivated from our print system.

     

    In summary, we extend our deepest apology for this situation and any frustration or inconvenience it may have caused Ms. ***********.  We wish to thank her for giving us the opportunity to discover and remedy a coding glitch in our Channel Sales Department’s ordering system. Although some vendors appear to have failed to act upon the 2013 notification of cancellation of the eBook format of her books, the vendors have been re-notified. Confirmation the eBook sold has been delisted at the vendors who generated its sale is provided.

     

    Royalties have been paid on the sales made.

     

    We trust this information illustrates the steps taken to address Ms. ************* concern.

     

    Sincerely,

     

    Elaine **************

    Manager of Author Satisfaction

12/29/2015 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I ended my dealings with Authorhouse, company who owns or does business with ASI and told them I wasn't wasting any money on their company. I did inform them I did not want to use anything related to company. now ASI removed $149. FROM MY account without any notice and refuse to return it.

Desired Settlement: I ended business with company a year ago and requested end to services. I want my money back

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to Ms. ******* request for refund of the renewal of her Author Learning Center subscription.

Ms. ****** purchased the Classic BW publishing package from AuthorHouse on November 24, 2014. This package includes a complimentary year subscription to the Author Learning Center, a website dedicated to assisting and supporting all writers, sponsored by Author Solutions Inc. This website service is offered for both Author Solution clients and those writers who are seeking other publishing venues, or have not committed to a publishing package yet.

On December 4, 2014, Ms. ****** registered to take advantage of this complimentary membership. During registration, the website will request credit card details, although these will not be utilized until the complimentary membership time period has expired.  Once the trial membership period ends the subscription membership becomes due. Please reference the following link:  https://www.authorlearningcenter.com/authors/sign_up

As stated on the website, the subscription will automatically renew at the end of the trial period unless the member advises of their cancellation desire within the trial period by phone at 866-697-5312 or email authorsupport@authorlearningcenter.com . 

On December 4, 2015, Ms. ******’s chosen credit card was charged the applicable $149 renewal fee, in accordance with the Terms and Conditions of this service. This fee was deducted from Ms. ******’s card exactly one year after her registration date. The details of this transaction have been attached for your convenience. Please note that her penname was used in registering for the service.

On December 10, 2015, the $149 was returned to her chosen credit card, transaction number ************. 

To date, all funds relating to the renewal of the Author Learning Center service have been returned to Ms. ****** and her subscription has been cancelled. Should she have any additional questions or concerns she may contact our Author Support staff at 1-888-795-4274.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

12/18/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Complaint Details Unavailable
12/18/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I was given a 12 month free subscription to author learning center, which I have not used, subscription automatically renewed at $149.00, I attempted to cancel subscription in the manner that I was informed, by e-mail: unsubscribe author solutions. com( msg rejected by server for the recipient domain) failed permanently. I then repeatedly made phone calls to Hazel C*** author consultant with no response. on November 30th 2015 I received a phone call from Charlie M******, a representative of author learning center, stating I could not receive a refund, because I didn't cancel stated that I was sending the e-mail to the wrong people, but that was the information that they gave me. When I asked to speak with a supervisor, I was told that he was on vacation and they had no knowledge as to when he would return, however, his name was Lester D***. The representative was very condescending and unhelpful. These people are very dishonest and for all practical purposes should not be in business,I would honestly like a refund of my $149.00.

Desired Settlement: Refund

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to review the renewal and refund of Ms. ******’s Author Learning Center subscription and her request for refund.

Ms. ****** purchased the Essential BW publishing package from AuthorHouse on October 31, 2014. This package includes a complimentary year subscription to the Author Learning Center, a website dedicated to assisting and supporting all writers, sponsored by Author Solutions Inc. This website service is offered for both Author Solution clients and those writers who are seeking other publishing venues, or have not committed to a publishing package yet.

On November 21, 2014, Ms. ****** registered to take advantage of this complimentary membership. During registration, the website will request credit card details, although these will not be utilized until the complimentary membership time period has expired.  Once the trial membership period ends the $149 yearly subscription membership becomes due. Please reference the following link:  https://www.authorlearningcenter.com/authors/sign_up

As stated on the website, the subscription will automatically renew at the end of the trial period unless the member advises of their cancellation desire within the trial period by phone at 866-697-5312 or email authorsupport@authorlearningcenter.com . 

On November 21, 2015 Ms. ******’s chosen credit card was charged the applicable $149 renewal fee, in accordance with the Terms and Conditions of this service. This fee was deducted from Ms. ******’s card exactly one year after her sign up date. The details of this transaction have been attached for your convenience.

Upon the renewal of her subscription, a welcome email (copy attached) was sent to her by Hazel C***.  In it is an unsubscribe direction located in the post script and refers to being removed from Ms. Cain’s email list.  Thru this list, Author Learning Center subscribers are sent regular updates and alerts about new materials and posts to the site. The email address, unsubscribe@authorsolutions.com, is similar to the one Ms. ****** references in her filing and may have caused some confusion.

Ms. ****** states that she was unsuccessful in cancelling her subscription using the method she was given in an email from us. The email address she references (unsubscribe author solutions .com) is missing some key email address requirements and would reject because it is incomplete.

On December 2, 2015, the $149 was returned to her chosen credit card, transaction number BS0EDBAC68AF. 

To date, all funds relating to the renewal of the Author Learning Center service have been returned to Ms. ******. Should she have any additional questions or concerns she may contact our Author Support staff at 1-888-795-4274.

Sincerely,

Elaine H*************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

12/15/2015 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Authorhouse phoned me and offered me a Hollywood coverage on my book that I wrote. They said it would be done in 6 months and that one of their representatives would be in contact with me. It has now been over one year. I have contacted them to refund me my money and that doesn't happen either.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to explain the Hollywood Coverage marketing service and the status of the refund for that service for Ms. ******.

On June 6, 2007, Ms. ****** purchased two (2) Essential Paperback publishing packages. On October 3, 2007, her title “*********** ** *****” was released to print with her approval.  Materials for the second package have yet to be submitted.

On November 11, 2013, Ms. ****** purchased the Hollywood Coverage marketing service for $859 for her book “********** ** *******” although she had yet to submit a manuscript or materials. Thru this marketing service an entertainment industry professional develops a synopsis and analysis of the book with consideration for the elements that Hollywood looks for when considering adaptation for their medium. A full description of the service can be found on the AuthorHouse website at:  http://www.authorhouse.com/Servicestore/ServiceDetail.aspx?ServiceId=BS-1286. 

On October 20, 2014, Ms. ****** called and stated that she wanted to hear from Hollywood regarding the Hollywood Coverage for her book “********** ** *******” before proceeding with publication of the book.   Ms. ****** was advised that the book must be available for purchase before the fulfillment of the Hollywood Coverage could begin. 

On January 23, 2015, Ms. ****** emailed the book orders department asking for a refund on the Hollywood Coverage marketing service, as it had not been fulfilled.  Leslie *** from the marketing fulfillment department phoned Ms. ****** and again explained that the book must be complete in order to fulfill the service so that a physical book could be submitted to the screenwriter.  Ms. ****** told Ms. *** that she would like a refund on the service.  Ms. *** created the refund request for the marketing service.

On February 2, 2015, the refund was denied by the customer satisfaction team because the service order date exceeded one year.  The service was purchased in November 2013 and a refund requested in January 2015.

On May 4, 2015, Ms. ****** emailed the book orders department again requesting a refund.  Because the book order department does not handle refunds for marketing services, the email was forwarded to the customer satisfaction department.  The request was again denied.

As a courtesy to Ms. ******, an appeal of her refund request denial was prepared and presented in August 2015 for Executive Review.  After their review, the status of her refund request remained the same. Ms. ****** will not be granted a refund as the request was made over one year after the service was purchased.

If Ms. ****** would like to continue with Hollywood Coverage service, she may do so by:

  1. completing the production of her book “********** ** *******” and proceeding with the service, or

  2. transferring the Hollywood Cover service to her completed project “*********** ** *****.”  As this book is already in print, the fulfillment of the service would not be delayed while waiting for the book to complete publication.

Should she desire to make this change, she may do so by advising us of her decision.

In closing, Ms. ****** will not be granted a refund of the Hollywood Coverage marketing service.  If Ms. ****** would like to continue with the service for her book “********** ** *******,” she must first complete the publication of the book and then the Hollywood Coverage can be initiated and completed.  As an alternative, the marketing service could be moved to her completed project “*********** ** *****.”   We await Ms. ******’s decision on how she would like to proceed.

Sincerely,


Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

November 11, 2013 I did purchase the Hollywood Coverage.  I told the marketing agent that I was waiting for a response from some Hollywood Producers that had requested my manuscript from the Pitchfest I had attended in New York City.  His name was Joe.  He said that the book did not have to be published and that the Hollywood Coverage still could be done.  I submitted my manuscript to Authorhouse prior to this so they could submit my book to the Hollywood Producer that requested it.  Now I'm wondering if even that was done. 

I am already out the $859.00 to publish my book and now I'm out the Hollywood coverage advertising that they didn't do.  They never told me that it would not be refundable if they didn't complete my Hollywood Coverage. 

And still after the fact I received many phone calls trying to sell me more Hollywood Coverage.  I believe there is a huge discrepancy between their sales department and their executive office. 

Regards,

****** ******

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to clarify how her recent submission of the manuscript for her remaining publishing package affects the fulfillment of the Hollywood Coverage marketing service.

Ms. ****** purchased two publishing packages in June 2007 for $718 each.  One title, “*********** ** ******* completed publication and with her approval was released for purchase in October of 2007. We found no evidence of manuscript materials for the second title, “********** ** *******” in our possession prior to September 2015.  We are pleased that after this extended waiting period, we have received the necessary materials and are able to proceed with preparing Ms. ******’s 2nd title for publication. On November 25, 2015, galleys were submitted for Ms. ******’s review, modification and approval. 

Hollywood Coverage Marketing Service

As stated in our original response, before the fulfillment of the Hollywood Coverage can begin, the book must we completed and available for purchase. To fulfill the Hollywood Coverage service an industry professional script reader must have a copy of the book in hand so they develop the synopsis and critical analysis of the book.   A copy of the description of the service is attached for your reference and the following link which connects to the description as listed on the AuthorHouse website and includes an example of the end product. http://www.authorhouse.com/Servicestore/ServiceDetail.aspx?ServiceId=BS-1286

In November 2013, over five (5) years after the purchase of her publishing packages, she added the Hollywood Coverage service for her title “********** ** *******.” However, the manuscript and submission instructions were not in our possession until the fall of 2015, making us unable to provide the necessary documents to the script reader to fulfill the service.

Her $859 refund request for the Hollywood Coverage service was presented for consideration to the Executive Review committee and was denied as the request was outside the refund timeline of one year from purchase date as prescribed in her original agreement. 

Ms. ****** was provided two options in our previous response: 

  1. completing the production of her book “********** ** *******” and proceeding with the Hollywood Coverage service, or

  2. transferring the Hollywood Cover service to her completed project “*********** ** *****.”

As she has recently submitted the manuscript, “********** ** *******,” her action indicates that she has chosen option (a). Once she has approved the title and it is available for sale, we will be able to proceed with the Hollywood Coverage service fulfillment. 

Pitchfest 2012

In her rebuttal Ms. ****** introduces a new comment relating to a 2012 event. She queries if her manuscript had been given to the representative who had expressed interest in her “pitch” at the 2012 New York City Pitchfest.  Pitchfests are held several times during any given year in various urban cities across the US.  In reviewing our 2012 Pitchfest records, we are able to confirm her attendance at the New York event and that a request was made.  However, because no manuscript was in our possession, we were unable to forward any manuscript.

Marketing Call Frequency

Ms. ****** states that “after the fact I received many phone calls trying to sell me more Hollywood Coverage.” In order to assist our authors, both our Marketing and Book Consultants will periodically contact them with information about new services and opportunities designed to aid in capturing attention for their work.  Because our intent is to be of assistance to authors, when a client expresses dissatisfaction with the frequency of marketing opportunities or volume book offer calls we take notice and investigate the claim.

An outbound call report for both of her phone numbers of record was requested from 2013 (the year the service was purchased) thru December 1, 2015. Please note that the results reflect the calls made regarding both of her publishing packages, copy attached.  For the period we found:

  1. A total of fifth-nine (59) calls made in the 35 months.

  2. Fifteen (15) calls were made by Marketing Consultants (highlighted in yellow); four (4) in 2013 prior to her marketing service purchase; ten (10) in 2014 and one (1) in 2015.

  3. Eight (8) Book Consultant calls (highlighted in orange); three (3) in 2013 and five (5) in 2014.  

From the call notes we are unable to confirm Ms. ******’s claim that an additional Hollywood Coverage service was offered by our consultants.  Also, we failed to find any objection raised by Ms. ****** about being contacted by marketing and/or book consultants until this filing. Should Ms. ****** desire to no longer receive calls from Marketing and/or Book Consultants, she may request to be placed on Do-Not-Contact status and they will stop.

In closing, Ms. ****** is ineligible for a refund of the Hollywood Coverage marketing service.  As Ms. ****** has recently presented her manuscript for “********** ** *******” for publication, once it has been approved and made available for sale the Hollywood Coverage service can be fulfilled.   We await Ms. ******’s direction on whether she wishes to be placed on Do-Not-Contact Status.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

12/9/2015 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: On Nov 20 I received an invoice from Author Learning Center in the amount of $149.00. Questioning what it was for, I looked into it and realized it was a free one year account given to me by Author House, that automatically renewed at a cost in one year. As most companies supply a courtesy message to alert of renewals, and prepare customers of the financial cost Author Learning Center gave none. I immediately sent an email to the provided representative stating I do not want the service and to refund my money. With no reply in two days I then logged into the unwanted account and canceled it, thinking there would be a grace period such as many other account providing companies provide. Of course my cancellation said that my account will still be active for the year of 2016, and no money was refunded. Another email was sent to the representative stating my displeasure, and requesting my money back. Of course no reply was sent. The next business day I called the representative to resolve my issue and request my refund, but I was told no refund would be given, and of course I still get to have the account for the remainder of the year. Even after I made it perfectly clear I already canceled the account within two days of the automatic renewal and I was not satisfied with the service, they insisted nothing could be done.

Desired Settlement: I would like a refund of my account fees. It is obvious they give a free subscription only to renew it without notifying customers after its forgotten for a year, and provide no grace period. Despite the dirty tactic, I am not satisfied with what is provided in the service and believe they should refund me the full amount, or at least pro rate it to when I canceled the worthless service with 363 days remaining.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to Mr. *******’ request for refund of the renewal of his Author Learning Center subscription.

Mr. ******* purchased the Children’s Magic publishing package from AuthorHouse UK on August 14, 2014. This package includes a complimentary year subscription to the Author Learning Center, a website dedicated to assisting and supporting all writers, sponsored by Author Solutions Inc. This website service is offered for both Author Solution clients and those writers who are seeking other publishing venues, or have not committed to a publishing package yet.

On November 20, 2014, Mr. ******* registered to take advantage of this complimentary membership. During registration, the website will request credit card details, although these will not be utilized until the complimentary membership time period has expired.  Once the trial membership period ends the subscription membership becomes due. Please reference the following link:  https://www.authorlearningcenter.com/authors/sign_up

As stated on the website, the subscription will automatically renew at the end of the trial period unless the member advises of their cancellation desire within the trial period by phone at 866-697-5312 or email authorsupport@authorlearningcenter.com . 

On November 20, 2015, Mr. *******’ chosen credit card was charged the applicable $149 renewal fee, in accordance with the Terms and Conditions of this service. This fee was deducted from Mr. *******’ card exactly one year after his sign up date. The details of this transaction have been attached for your convenience.

On November 23, 2015, the $149 was returned to his chosen credit card, transaction number ************. 

To date, all funds relating to the renewal of the Author Learning Center service have been returned to Mr. *******. Should he have any additional questions or concerns he may contact our Author Support staff at 1-888-795-4274.

Sincerely,

Elaine H*************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and find that this resolution would be satisfactory to me. 

Regards,

****** *******

11/19/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: May 10, 2005 a contract was signed with Trafford Publishing services. The company was located in Victoria, BC Canada. Several payments of $3749.00 were paid in 2005-2006 for additional services. March 14, 2007 a proof copy of the book was sent to my home address for approval for print. I would not approve the print. All original formatting and layout of the book's design done by me had been removed, it was not fit for marketing, and its ISBN was not in any of the Canadian or US databases. Trafford had did none of the editing, layout, or alteration services I purchased. Therefore, I informed them I would need time to edit the proof and redo its formatting and layout on my own. A Trafford representative okayed my request. Efforts to redo the book’s proof were interrupted by college enrollment. Trafford's representatives understood, and insisted I take as much time as needed. Unannounced, Author Services later in the year brought Trafford. And, when in 2011 of the next year I understood my book would not be completed in Canada I asked Author Services for refund, they refused. A complaint was filed with BBB in August of 2011. Mediation with BBB lead to Author Solutions misleading them about the services that it had rendered. Inevitably Indiana's State Attorney General's Office intervened, and Author Solutions would only agree to continue publishing of the book to its completion. I agreed with it. Month after month Trafford Marketing Consultants would contact me to determine if I would like to purchase any of the unapproved proofs, or other marketing services; I declined. It went on for two years. Once I completed all editing, formatting, alterations, layout work in May 2015, Trafford asked that I resubmit it. A consultant who received the material for completion of the book, sent an email informing all of the alterations and layout I had done were removed once again in the publishing process. The company’s Marketing Consultant notified me all editing, alterations, and layout design I purchased in 2005-2006 would be redone free of charge. I was then told the book's proof would be forwarded to my home address in a week, however, it was not. Weeks following calls were made to Trafford, and they constantly informed personnel working on the book were in meetings and not available. They continued to place calls insisting purchase of additional marketing services I previously purchased in 2005-2006 for the unapproved proof. Googling the Web, I discovered this company had been reported by others of fraud. I contacted BBB.

Desired Settlement: Trafford is to refund $3,050.00 ($3749.00 minus $699 for Core Legal and Administrative and Print on demand services). Or, complete all purchased and agreed upon services.

Business Response: Thank you for the opportunity to describe the
steps we are taking to complete Mr. ************ resubmission of his book.

 

Mr. ********** seeks either the completion of
the revision of his book project, “*** ******* ********* *** ***** ** ********” or a refund for the publishing services he purchased in 2005 and
2006 from Trafford Publishing, a Canadian company located in British Columbia.  In 2009, Trafford Publishing was acquired by
Author Solutions, a US company.

 

Refund Eligibility

We acknowledge that in August of 2010 Mr. **********
contacted your office and a year later in August of 2011 the Attorney General’s
office.  Both of these filings requested the
refund of monies paid to Trafford Publishing of British Columbia prior to the
acquisition by Author Solutions. Copies of both our responses are attached for
your reference.  Both your office and the
Attorney General closed the files offering no recommendations.  

 

In June 2010, his book project was cancelled at
his request and he requested a refund then.  According to the terms of the acquisition Author
Solutions can honor cancellation requests; however, any refund requests for purchases
paid to Trafford prior to the acquisition are to be addressed by the British
Columbia Trafford.

 

 In
August 2010 he decided to reinstate the project and proceed with revisions to
his book, stating that his changes would be provided with instructions by the
end of 2010.   Almost five (5) years later, in Mary 2015, Mr.
************ revised manuscript was received.  

 

Book Preparation Timeline Factors

Interior and cover design layout are normally
completed within 10 business days after the receipt of the manuscript. We have
explained to Mr. ********** that the length of time it takes to create the
proofs is also dependent on factors such as the usability of the manuscript
when it is received, clarity of the instructions, complexity of the layout and
design specifications, and use of images (graphics, photos, tables, charts, maps,
etc.), indexes, bibliographies, endnotes, and footnotes.   

 

The preparation of Mr. ************ book has
several special considerations:

·        
Mr. ************ published manuscript had
195,549 words.  The revised raw
manuscript he sent has 984,147 words, an increase of over five (5) times the
words.

·        
Mr. ********** also requested a two-column
text layout per page which is a non-standard layout requiring additional time
to prepare.  A sample of the submitted
layout is attached for reference.

·        
The distribution network does not support the
7x10 trim size of the original book.  He
agreed to change the trim size to a similar size, 6X9 that does accommodate
distribution.    

 

The
publication timeline is also dependent on how long it takes the author to
review the galley proofs and the number of corrections they make.  Considering the number of words involved the
author review will also be time consuming.

 

Galleys

 As of
this writing, our Production Team has yet to receive Mr. ************ feedback
on the cover galley which was initially sent for review on July 8th
and again on July 10th and 14th. The most recent email
requesting feedback is attached for your reference.

 

 

 

Our production team is still creating the
interior proofs and his Publishing Services Assistant (PSA) is in touch with
him regularly regarding its status.  As
of Friday, July 24th, with 80% of the manuscript formatted and a 9.5
point font, the page count has reached 1,401, a number which exceeds the
printer page limit of 1200 pages. To accommodate the page count parameters, Mr.
********** will need to make a decision on whether to separate the work into
several volumes or eliminate text to meet the page limit. Although he may also
to choose to increase the trim size to 8.5X11, the page count will still exceed
the maximum.  

 

Marketing Offers

Through
phone calls and emails, Marketing Consultants bring information and extend marketing
and promotional service offers to authors to assist them in generating
awareness of their work.  The choice to
invest in any offer is solely at the author’s discretion which Mr. **********
states he exercised.  Should Mr.
********** desire to no longer be informed of these offers, he may request a
Do-No-Contact designation be affixed to his file.

 A
review of the conversations between Mr. ********** and his marketing consultant
found that in a discussion of the Gold Seal Program, the consultant offered an
incentive of up to $1000 off revision costs for his book with the purchase of
the Gold Seal Program.  We found no
record of acceptance or rejection of the offer.  A description of the Gold Seal Program may be
viewed on the Trafford website at http://www.trafford.com/Servicestore/ServiceDetail.aspx?ServiceId=PKG-834

 

 

In summary, in 2010 Mr.
************ refund request was denied. 
He chose to submit revisions and proceed with the project.   Trafford
has allotted the necessary resources to complete Mr. ************ resubmission.  The timeline exceeds the norm due to the shear
length of the manuscript and other special considerations.  Should Mr. ********** desire to no longer be
contacted with marketing offers, he may request the Do-Not-Contact status for
marketing opportunities be placed in his file.

 

Sincerely,

 

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID********, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.


Regards,

****** **********




Trafford has not disclosed facts regarding the complaint. The company has provided a pretextual response to the BBB. It has also submitted PDF formatting to the BBB which is not of the actual formatted manuscript submitted to them. The file it has sent has removed all original formatting from my manuscript. And, Trafford also has not explained the fact that they urged me with, "please" resubmit the manuscript; although a long amount of time was taken to complete it. They are giving the appearance that I am in someway harassing them. What it looks like is that Trafford wanted that I resubmit my work that its copyrighted material might be stolen unto themselves.

Their design team has repeatedly sent emails toying with me, pretending that they cannot print to book to any page size they have available. originally the formatted manuscript I submitted was 1102 pages on a 6.5 X 10.75 page size. Trafford's design team is said to have attempted to fit it to a 6 X 9 size for hardcover instead. When this failed I asked the book be completed in 8.5 X 11 in an paperback version. The design team wrote an email informing the file still would not fit. They cannot explain why they could print the original 1167 page manuscript on 7 X 10, but cannot print 1102 pages on a 8.5 X 11.     

As for being told of them to seek refund from the BC Trafford, that location as they know does not exist.  

11/14/2015 Delivery Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I contacted Didi ********* at Xlibris after receiving many emails regarding publishing a book.After signing a contract and making a down payment, the company requested that I do the layout work for them and stated they would not read the book. After six months they produced nothing but a stack of emails demanding I join their "Authors Club." I received absolutely nothing but nuisance calls and emails for my downpayment of $613.

Desired Settlement: I would like a refund of my downpayment, and if that is refused, I wish to continue with finishing the book with myself on the payroll of Xlibris at the rate of $70,000 annually for as long as it takes to get the job done.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to clarify for Mr. **** the importance of his input in the preparation of his illustrated book and the status of his refund request.

Mr. **** **** signed up to publish his book with Xlibris on April 23, 2015. He purchased a Full Color Children’s Ballad specialty publishing package, taking advantage of a promotional rate of $1550 and adding the Editorial Assessment service for $199. He opted to use an installment payment plan which added a $30 non-refundable surcharge, making his purchase total $1779. Mr. **** made the first payment of $613 that day with the remaining two payments of $583 each set up for auto-charge on the same day of the following two (2) months.

Our records show that the remaining two payments were submitted for payment and declined by his bank.

Book Preparation

The Self-Publishing Services Agreement Mr. **** agreed to stipulates certain principles and obligations the parties will abide by to complete the publication of the work of the author.

Mr. **** states that he has been asked to do his own layout work and no one will read his book. What has been asked of him is standard information that is requested for all Xlibris self-publishing packages in order to prepare and design the book project to the author’s liking.

Mr. ****’s publishing package includes 10 Designer’s Touch Illustrations to be created by our illustrators. In order for Xlibris to create an accurate representation of the book’s characters and manuscript, authors with illustration services are required to provide instructions such as:

  • How they envision each character to look,

  • How each scene/illustration is to be depicted (what’s happening, where it’s happening, which characters are in the picture, what’s the overall or individual tone/feel, etc.)

  • Reference materials, if any--such as a cartoon/drawing/illustration/book from which to draw inspiration or a picture of someone they’d like a character to resemble or look like.

  • Labels to indicate which part of the story/manuscript every illustration corresponds to.

    In order to convey this information to the illustrator, authors are asked for written instructions using a separate form for each illustration to be created.

    On May 18th Mr. **** was asked by his illustrations coordinator to fill out the illustrations form emailed to him and has yet to do so. Instead of supplying instructions he told the illustrations coordinator to read the manuscript he had submitted.  Although there are some crude, partially distinguishable “sketches” contained in the manuscript, they fail to convey the level of information (see above listing) needed to create professional illustrations for his book.

    He was reminded that in order for us to create the illustrations for his work as he envisions, we require a full description of the scenes from the book he wants illustrated. We reiterated the example below, also found in the illustration form sent him, to give him a clearer idea of what is being asked from him.

    “**** ***** ***** ***** ** *** ******** ***** *** ****** *** ******** *** *** ******* ****** ** ** * ****** ******* *** *** *** ** ******** *** ** ******* ** * ******* ** *** ****** **** *** * **** ***** *** ** ** *** *** **** ***** *** ******* ***** *** ** *** ******* **** ******* *** ****** ***** ** *** ******** ** ***** *** ****** ********* *** ****** * *****

    Despite several follow up calls and attempts to reach Mr. **** regarding the missing instructions, no further response was received from him until the receipt of this complaint.

    Refund Request

    Xlibris reassigned Mr. ****’s project to one of our senior representatives who contacted him after this complaint was received. Mr. **** responded insisting that Xlibris create a book out of what he had sent, otherwise, proceed with cancelling the service and giving him a refund.

    Aside from the illustration instructions, other requirements such as interior and cover design preferences, preferred book trim size, author biography, book summary, cover texts and other textual content (dedications, acknowledgements, table of contents, bibliographies, etc., if desired) were requested by his Submissions Representative and also await a response. Xlibris is unable to create an author’s book until these missing elements are received. As such, without the author’s cooperation Xlibris has no other choice but to process a refund of Mr. ****’s payment subject to our refund terms as stated in Section 10 of his Self-Publishing Services Agreement and Paragraph 6 of the Installment Payment Agreement, copies of each attached.

    As an act of goodwill, we have waived the $60 payment plan decline fees and the $150 set-up fee. On October 7, 2015 a refund of $583 (the original payment less the $30 non-refundable payment plan fee) was returned to his Visa card ending in ****, transaction ID: ********************************.

    Author Leaning Center

    Included in his publishing package is a free twelve (12) month subscription to the Author Learning Center where authors may collaborate with other authors and authorities in various phases of the publishing industry. To activate the subscription he must sign up online.  We believe that his reference to communications about joining an “Authors Club” is referring to this feature of his package and the reminders about activating the subscription he would have received.  Had he responded declining the free subscription, the reminders would have ceased.

    In summary, as Mr. **** has declined to provide the information and instructions needed to prepare his work for publication, his publishing package has been cancelled and a refund issued.

    Sincerely,

    Elaine **************

    Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.
The refund is proper as far as that goes, I would also like to receive my manuscript back, this would return both parties to the circumstances we were in before this happened.


Regards,

**** ****

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to address Mr. ****’s request for the return of his manuscript.

Manuscripts are required to be submitted in a digital format. Those that are sent in as a hard copy are either scanned or data entered into a digital format in order to proceed with their preparation for publication. Hard copy materials are typically held for a few months before space considerations demand that they be eliminated.

As stated in the Author Services Agreement (attached to our original response) that Mr. **** signed in Section 5. Publishing Obligations; Subsections 5.2.1 and 5.2.2, we are not obligated to preserve the submission materials: 

5.2.1. Submission Mechanisms. You shall retain a copy before submitting the Manuscript by mail or other mechanism.  The Manuscript shall be submitted in an acceptable format (as listed on Our Site at the time of submission). ……..We are not responsible in any manner for the loss of or damage to the Manuscript while in transit or in Our possession. If the Manuscript is not submitted in an acceptable format and You request Us to properly format the text, We may do so, but this will constitute Additional Services, and You may incur additional charges as a result. ….”

5.2.2. Possession of Submitted Materials. We may retain in Our possession the Manuscript submitted by You. We are not obligated to return to You any submitted materials or production files at any time or for any reason, nor are We obliged to preserve such submitted materials.”

To accommodate Mr. **** further, we conducted a search for the hard copy materials he sent in without success.  However, we have sent him a CD of the scanned materials via UPS Overnight- tracking number ** *** *** ** **** ****.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

11/13/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Complaint Details Unavailable
11/8/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I paid $800.00 to publish two books through Xlibris. The first book had poor color quality when the book was actually printed. The computer version they sent me had good coloring which is why I accepted the work. When I saw the art work after it was published on book paper, I complained about it to Xlibris, which their comment was pay more money for better quality. I refused, told them I wanted my money back from second book, they kept contacting me asking when my second book would be done,I kept telling them they wouldn't be publishing it, I wanted my money back. Never received it. I emailed them 5 days ago and their response was ' after 6 months it is non refundable if not published'. I also paid an extra $800.00 to have in a coast to coast book fair, which I was told was a success but not one book has sold since. Makes me wonder if it was even put in a book fair. I feel like they have cheated me on the quality of my story and art work. But they don't want to take responsibility for it unless I pay even more money! would not recommend this company to anyone.

Desired Settlement: I would like my money back for the second book that they wanted me to publish through them. $400.00 US currency

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to describe the steps taken to address Mr. ********** concern with the color quality in a book order he received, the fulfillment  of his Coast to Coast Book Fair marketing service and the status of his refund request.

Mr. ****** ******** made arrangements to publish two (2) books with Xlibris on March 10, 2014, selecting the Full Color Basic publishing package at the promotional rate of $419.40 each (40% off the regular $699 price) for a total of $838.80.  He opted to use an installment payment plan, adding a non-refundable processing fee of $30 to his total.  He submitted the signed Publishing Services and Payment Plan agreements on March 26, 2014. With his approval (copy attached for your reference), his book, “* *** ** * ***” (Project ******) completed its publication process and was made available for sale on May 15, 2014.

On June 25, 2014, Mr. ******** purchased a Coast to Coast Gallery Book Exhibit marketing service for $798 for “* *** ** * ***”. Again, he chose to use an installment payment plan which added a non-refundable service charge of $30 making his total $828.

In his complaint, Mr. ******** requests the return of the payment for his second publishing package with Xlibris. In this letter, we will be addressing Mr. ********** concerns in the order that they were raised in the complaint.

Color Quality in Printed Book

Each published book with Xlibris goes through an author approval process. As mentioned by Mr. ******** in his complaint, he approved the digital proofs of his work that was created using the artwork he supplied.  By so doing his book was authorized for release into the print and distribution system on May 15, 2014.  A complimentary print and bound copy was ordered and delivered by UPS to Mr. ********** address of record on May 28, 2014, providing him the opportunity to verify the actual and final print of the book.  Per policy, before Xlibris will accept a volume book order from the author, the author must have either received the printer’s copy or provided an indemnification waiver.  

On September 2, 2014, Xlibris received an order from Mr. ******** for 105 paperback copies of his title. The copies were shipped and delivered to him on September 23, 2014.

On October 9, 2014, Mr. ******** contacted Xlibris stating that the copies he received were different from his initial copy. His concern was noted and referred to the book order customer support staff for investigation.  A review of the order confirmed that the initial copy and the paid order came from the same print facility and the paper weight and type (80# glossy) were consistent for both printings.  He was advised that with print-on-demand technology, an industry accepted standard print variance may appear.  On October 20, 2014 the book order customer support representative spoke with him by phone and confirmed by email our need for him to provide the batch number found on the last page bottom left of the book and a photo of the copies in question so we might better assess what occurred and discuss with the printer. Although we followed up on our request, we received no response from Mr. ******** to date and without this additional data we were unable to further the investigation into his concerns.

Additional Costs

In his filing, Mr. ******** claims that when he advised of the color variance he was met with a comment regarding additional costs.  In our research of his concern we were unable to substantiate his statement about cost being introduced. Until the investigation is completed the steps needed to address his color issue concern remain undetermined.  As stated above, the book order customer support representative investigating his concern has yet to receive specific data from him in order to offer a resolution.

It is important to note that there are two (2) times during a publication’s preparation that an author will automatically receive information regarding the possibility of additional costs and a fee schedule.  The first is when the manuscript submission packet is sent to the author upon their commitment to a publishing package.  The packet contains details and technical information concerning submission requirements and a list of specialty services and their cost should the author desire the performance of services beyond those included in the publishing package. The second is when the galley proofs are sent to the author for review.  Included in the email containing the electronic proofs  is both a reminder of the need to review the work before approving it for release to print and the costs that may be incurred if revisions are requested after the title has been approved and is in the marketplace. Since Mr. ********** book was approved and is in print, modifications at this time may incur costs.  Also, since the evaluation of his color concern remains unresolved pending more information, the subject of incurring additional costs is also unresolved.

Refund Request

In both 2014 and 2015 when asked about the status of his second manuscript, Mr* ******** indicated that it was still in progress and would be forthcoming soon.  On September 25, 2015, Mr. ******** requested in writing the cancellation of his in-print title, “* *** ** * ***” and a refund of the publishing package for his second book. His request was forwarded to the Refunds Team for processing and review.

The terms of the Term and Exclusivity paragraphs in his Xlibris Services Agreement read as follows:

This Agreement is nonexclusive. (The Author can enter into other publishing agreements.) Either party has the option to terminate the Agreement at any time, with or without cause.

If the Agreement is terminated by the Author for any reason other than a breach of contract by Xlibris before the Author officially completes their submission, publishing fees will be refunded in full (or applied against any outstanding amounts in Author’s account) less $ 150 administrative fee to defray set up costs .

If Agreement is terminated after submission of manuscript but prior to start of interior design, Xlibris will refund 50% of purchase price.

If termination occurs after the start of interior design but prior to Galley Approval Form, 25% of purchase price will be refunded to author.

If the author fails to submit his or her materials for publishing before six months has elapsed from date of service order, he or she will forfeit any right to claim a refund for monies paid.

As both packages were purchased on March 10, 2014 and signed agreements received on March 26, 2014, their refund eligibility was valid thru September 26, 2014. His request for refund was made in September of 2015, a year after the eligibility had expired.

Marketing Service Fulfillment

Mr. ******** questions if the Coast to Coast Gallery Book Exhibit marketing service was fulfilled for his title citing the absence of sales. As purchasing decisions are at the discretion of the consumer and based upon varying factors, sales as a result of the fulfillment of marketing services are not guaranteed. 

The marketing service includes participation in two (2) gallery exhibit events—the AARP Life @ 50+ Fall Conference from September 4-6, 2014, and the Miami Book Fair International from November 21-23, 2014. As part of the service his title appeared in the Book Catalog for each event and a physical copy was showcased in the gallery of books at both venues.

Emails were sent to him after each event with links to the catalog containing his book’s cover image and marketing copy that he had approved—page 106 for the AARP Life + 50 Conference (emailed 9/9/14) and Page 133 for the Miami Book Fai (emailed 12/2/14).  For your reference the links below were also included in the attached email notifications:

http://amsfiles.com/events/****************

http://amsfiles.com/events/*****************

Pictures of the gallery shelf where Mr. ********** book was on display at both of the shows were also provided and are attached for your reference.

In summary, Mr. ******** expressed dissatisfaction with the interior color of a book order he received over a year ago.  We requested his assistance in pinpointing the cause of his concern asking for print run data and photographic example of his concern which he has yet to provide.

In accordance with Section 10 of his Services Agreement, the refund eligibility on his package has expired. Subsequently, his refund request has been denied.

We hope the information provided with this letter illustrates the steps we have taken to address Mr. ********** concerns.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

10/17/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I chose Author House Publishing to get my book published, but all I have received is bad communication and bad services. Once I got the copy of my book there were misspelled words, some words were not included they even added things that were not in my manuscript. Once I contacted them about it they told me that I had to pay for their mistakes and I told them if made mistakes when I sent the manuscript why wasn't I contacted then James ***** proceeded to tell me oh we are a self publishing company we do not read the manuscript for mistakes we read it to see if there I plagiarized then I told him I wrote everything myself and all I wanted was my money back. To be told you can't get your money back because you submitted changes that were not changed because it to be 300 errors which I had to pay which would cost me $300 on top of the $630 I sent them. They are steady wanting me to send more and more money. I'm not trying to sue anyone I just want my $630 back so I can move on and need I tell you that was all my savings I just want it back with no issues.

Desired Settlement: I just want this resolved and money back so I can choose another publishing company that will give me a quality service.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to respond to Mr. ****** regarding his concerns about errors in his published book.

On May 26, 2015 Mr. ****** purchased the Discovery Black & White publishing package from AuthorHouse for the discounted price of $600 and elected to use an installment payment plan which added a non-refundable $30 payment plan fee, making his total cost $630.

Mr. ****** questions in his filing why he was not informed of errors in his book. The items included in the Discover Black & White package can be found at the following link on the AuthorHouse website: http://www.authorhouse.com/packages/discoverypackage_bw.aspx . Please note that none of the publishing features listed for the package is an editorial service. However, a full range of editing services is available to the author for purchase as an add-on option. Per Subsection 4.4 of his Self-Publishing Services Agreement, AuthorHouse will only perform editing services if they are part of a purchased service.

On May 28th, Mr. ****** was contacted by his Check-In Coordinator both by phone and email with manuscript submission information and instructions which included image selection and submission, content guidelines, and additional fees for specialty design services and potential services prior to and after publication. As no editorial services were purchased Mr. ******’s manuscript was formatted using the manuscript text and instructions he provided.

On September 1, 2015 Mr. ****** was sent the electronic proof copies of both the interior and cover of his book for his approval prior to the book files being sent to our printer and made available for purchase. The forms were sent via e-mail along with the following text:

“Proofing is one of the most important steps in the publishing process, so please take the time to thoroughly go over the design and text on both the cover and interior files…Once you approve both your interior and your cover, we will submit your book to the printer. If any changes are needed at that point, corrections fees plus an initial charge of $200--$250 to change the files at the printer will apply.”

The same day, Mr. ****** returned the signed final approval forms for both the interior and cover of his book, copies attached. Subsequently, on September 2, 2015 the files were sent to the printer for installation into the print system and availability in the marketplace.

The approval and signoff steps are stipulated in the Self-Publishing Services Agreement that Mr. ****** signed on May 27, 2015, in section 4, titled Your Publishing Obligations:

“4.5 Approval and Signoff. We will provide You with a copy of Your completed Work for Your complete and thorough review prior to publication. If, upon review, You are satisfied that each aspect of Your Work is accurate, complete and otherwise complies with Your objectives, and accepted the Suggested Retail Price, You will sign the following forms indicating Your approval and return them to Us in a timely manner: (a) the Galley Signoff Form; and (b) the Cover Signoff Form. You are deemed to have given final approval of Your Work and the Suggested Retail Price as of the date on which We have receive the last of the forms above signed by You ("Final Approval"). After Final Approval, You waive any and all claims against Us or Our Affiliates, or Our Contractors arising from or related to any alleged errors, omissions or other content or pricing issues discovered in Your Work after Final Approval. You are responsible for the Fees for any subsequent changes, corrections or other Services, including Additional Services, requested by You after Final Approval.”

Request for Modifications

On September 21, Mr. ****** e-mailed requesting a return call and expressing his displeasure that he found errors in the printed book he had received and declaring that we should have notified him of these errors. As requested, his publishing services associate (PSA), James ***** tried unsuccessfully to contact him by phone.  He was unable to reach him or to leave a voice mail at any of the four (4) contact phone numbers provided.  As a result, the PSA sent an email requesting that Mr. ****** send us the changes he desires so that we could assess what costs might be involved.

On September 28th, Mr. ****** emailed the interior modification form. In order to prepare a cost assessment, the PSA inquired if there were also exterior revisions and confirmed the receipt of Mr. ******’s modification form.  The PSA compared the changes requested on the modification form with the original manuscript and the galley Mr. ****** had approved.  The errors appear in both the original manuscript and the galley.  Although Mr. ****** had the opportunity to review the galley and identify any changes he wished to have made prior to giving his approval, he made no such request.

On September 29th, the PSA advised that in order to make the revisions requested the cost would be $300 ($200 for the printer removal and reinstallation fee and $100 for a block of 25 interior corrections).

The same day Mr. ****** e-mailed stating that no one ever told him that he had to find 300 errors to make corrections. The PSA clarified for Mr. ****** that the 300 was the dollar amount and not the number of corrections to be made. Since this exchange, the PSA has explained on several different occasions that the errors in the book were in the manuscript sent to us and approved by Mr. ****** via the signed approval forms.

In closing, because Mr. ****** has provided his final approval releasing his title to print, in accordance with Section 8, Subsection 8.2 of his signed Self-Publishing Services Agreement, he is ineligible for refund. Mr. ****** was given the opportunity before his book went live to review it and make all corrections that he deemed necessary. By signing and returning the final approval forms for both the interior and cover of the book, he authorized that the book was ready to be published.  He is welcome to make corrections to the book now, however fees associated with the resubmission will apply.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and find that this resolution would be satisfactory to me. 

Regards,

********** ******

10/13/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: WestBow Publishing a Division of Thomas Nelson I paid $999.00 over a year ago to have a small book published. I have done everything possible to get my information to them. I sent it to them from my computer over 20 times, from *******, a Computer Store, hired3 different professionals, even bought a new computer and they say they didn't get the information. I also sent my manuscript by WETRANSFER They couldn't use that one either. It has been over a year and I am no closer to publication than I was on day one. I have had other books published with no problems. I want my money back so I can go to another publisher. I can Not work with them another day. I finally realized they are just putting me off.

Desired Settlement: A refund of my money minus any expense I may owe them. They have done nothing.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

 Thank you for giving us the opportunity to review the steps taken to assist Ms. ****** with the submission of her manuscript and her request for refund.

On August 14, 2014 Ms. ****** purchased an Essential Access publishing package for the amount of $999.00. On September 4, 2014 we received her signed author agreement (copy attached).  On September 5, 2014 her Check-In Coordinator, Jennifer M*****, sent her a welcome e-mail with detailed instructions on how to submit her manuscript and materials.

Ms. ****** states that although she has tried various avenues to provide her manuscript and materials to us for publication, she has been unsuccessful.  It is unfortunate that Ms. ****** had difficulty with the procedures we have in place regarding the formatting and submission of her manuscript.  These procedures are in place to ensure that the books we produce are professional and comparable to those published by traditional publishers.

A review of the project communications between Ms. ****** and her Check-In Coordinator is attached for your reference.  The review confirms that it has been a year since we received her signed services agreement; however, it also shows that no materials were received by us from Ms. ****** until March 23, 2015, six (6) months later.  A week later she inquired about adding a poem and was advised that it was not too late.  To do so she just needed to add the poem to the full manuscript and send the amended version of the manuscript to us.   From that time forward, the communications review suggests that confusion and frustration arose.

The review indicates that the Check-In Coordinator spent considerable time on the phone and via e-mail working with Ms. ****** to provide her with technical support and to answer her questions.  It also shows that we acknowledged receiving her manuscript file on the several occasions she sent it to us.  However, discerning which transmittal contained the correct file at times became unclear and we sought assistance from Ms. ******.  In mid August, to ensure that the recent manuscript file received via WeTransfer was indeed the correct file, we asked Ms ****** for confirmation.  This request appears to have led to the involvement of both her daughter and the WestBow Press Production manager, Adalee C***** along with her request for cancellation and a refund.

Ms. C***** has spoken with Ms. ****** and awaits a response for her regarding the submission resolution she proposed on August 28th. 

REFUND

In their conversation of August 18th, Ms. C***** advised Ms. ******’s daughter of the refund policy according to the publishing agreement and offered to work with Ms. ****** to complete the publication of her book.

 

The WestBow Press Publishing Agreement (copy attached), Schedule A, Section 5. Refunds, states:

If AUTHOR terminates this agreement for any reason other than a breach of contract by PUBLISHER, AUTHOR agrees to pay PUBLISHER any amounts due on services purchased.  PUBLISHER will refund amounts paid by AUTHOR as follows:

Prior to submission of manuscript                            100% less a $150 setup fee

After submission, but prior to interior design                      50%

After interior design, but prior to final sign-off                   25%

After six months from contract date                                       0%

 

As Ms. ******’s agreement was signed on September 4, 2014, it falls into the after six months from contract date status and is ineligible for refund.

 

In closing, in accordance with the terms of the Publishing Agreement approved and signed by Ms. ******, she is ineligible for a refund.   Should she choose to cancel her project no refund will be issued.

 

Should she desire to continue with the project we have expressed our willingness to allocate the necessary resources to complete the publication of her book including the assignment of a different Check-In Coordinator for her project.  

Sincerely,

 

Elaine H*************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

[Provide details of why you are not satisfied with this resolution.]

Regards,

***** ******

  To BBB

There are false statements.
The dates are not correct and
The signature on page 5 is definitely not mine.


Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to further respond to Ms. ******** concerns.

In the interest of clarity, her concerns are listed below in bold.

There are false statements. The dates are not correct.

Unfortunately, we are unsure of exactly which statements and/or dates Ms. ****** finds incorrect.  If Ms. ****** would like to provide more specific information about which statements and dates she feels are incorrect, we would be happy to respond to those concerns accordingly.

The signature on page 5 is definitely not mine.

The signature to which Ms. ****** refers to is the one shown on her services agreement and was included in our original response. 

Services Agreements are sent out to every author via e-mail and must be signed and returned before any work can begin on their book. A copy of that email is attached for your reference.

Each author has the option of utilizing an electronic signature or printing out the form and returning a physical form with their handwritten signature.  Included in the email is a link that routes the author to the Docusign website where they are able to review the agreement and electronically sign it. There is a default signature style as well as a “change style” option for other styles of signatures from which to choose, subsequently what appears on the form is not the author’s actual handwritten signature but the style the author has chosen for completing the document.

 Please reference the August 25, 2014 e-mail below from Ms. ****** stating her intent to use the electronic signature.

From: ***** ****** ********************************* 
Sent: Monday, August 25, 2014 4:29 PM 
To: Westbow Press Customer Service 
Subject: Signing Contracts 

Hi, 

I am still having computor problems that I am sure can be worked out. 
I have signed documents on line before so I know I can do it. 

Just give me a few days. 

***** ******  ************************

Ms. ****** executed the electronic signature option over a year ago in early September of 2014.     

In closing, we were not provided with enough information on which specific dates and/or statements were incorrect, so we are unable to respond accordingly. Regarding the signature on Ms. ******’s author agreement form, as she chose to submit the agreement using the electronic signature option, the signature would appear in the style she chose and not in her personal handwriting.

 

Sincerely,

Elaine H*************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

10/13/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Mr. *** is the customer service person with LifeRich Publishing. I entered into a contract with Liferich and made financial arrangements to make three payments: the first one in June, the second payment was made in July. Both were automatic deductions out of my bank account for a total of $741.00 I had a serious family crisis and contacted Mr. *** on July 9, 2015, regarding being able to stop the next payment to be taken out of my account August 5th, 2015. Mr. *** assured me that we could work this out and move my last payment of $333.00 to another month. He forwarded me to the accounting office of which they told me I cannot change my monthly payments. My only recourse was to cancel my contract and request my money to be sent back to me; cancelling my book publishing contract #******. I sent an e-mail on July 9, 2015, to Mr. *** thanking him for his help but got no relief and I had to cancel the contract. I did not hear from Liferich so I sent them a letter on July 9 and August 22, 2015, requesting a refund and have not had any response at all.

Desired Settlement: I prefer a refund from Liferich Publishing. I am very disapointed that they would not work with me on this project.****** ******. I am a Social Security retired lady.************************@yahoo.com

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to clarify the steps taken to accommodate Ms. ******* payment request and the offer made to her.     

 

Ms. ****** purchased the Develop publishing package from her LifeRich Publishing Sales Representative Mr. Brian *** on May 7, 2015, for $999 and chose to use an installment payment plan option which added a non-refundable payment plan fee of $75, making her total expenditure $1074.  She made the first payment of $408 that day with the remaining two (2) payments of $333 each scheduled for charging the same day in the following two (2) months.  Her Self Publishing Services Agreement and Payment Plan Agreement were both electronically signed and returned on May 19, 2015. Copies of each are attached for your reference.

 

On June 7th the second payment was successfully made using the authorized credit card. 

 

Manuscript Preparation Status

Check-In Coordinator (CIC) Barbara ****** contacted Ms. ****** on May 20, 2015 by phone and thru a Welcome email providing guidelines for the preparation and submission of her manuscript and materials. Ms. ****** sent an acknowledgement of the manuscript’s receipt on May 22nd and, as part of the initial check-in, scheduled a content evaluation review.

 

Content evaluation reviews are performed to assist authors in avoiding legal and or other content related issues with their work such as libel, copyright infringement or plagiarism. Manuscripts must pass this initial phase before proceeding to the next phase. On June 9th the content review was completed and the results shared with Ms. ******.  She was advised of some issues that need her attention in order to proceed.  

 

At the same time the CIC conducted a separate review to ensure that the materials received met the technical guidelines as presented in the Welcome email and that the Submission Information Form (SIF) was completed. On June 15th the CIC sent Ms. ****** the results listing the outstanding information needed and adjustments necessary to meet the submission guidelines.

 

Request to Delay Payment

On July 1, 2015 Ms. ****** contacted Mr. *** asking to delay for several weeks her final payment scheduled for July 7th due to financial issues. She was transferred to LifeRich Payment Central where payment plans are administered.  When she indicated that she wanted the scheduled payment to be moved to August 7th, Payment Central pointed out that payments are automatic and referred her to the clause in the payment plan agreement she signed which addresses the delay or skipping of a payment. She was advised to coordinate the change with her bank.

 

Please refer to Section 4 of the attached Payment Plan Agreement which states:

4.…Recurring Monthly Payments are due and payable every month, starting on the due date set forth below for the first Recurring Monthly Payment, and continuing each month thereafter until the Total Amount Due is paid in full. You may not skip or change payment dates.”

 

Per section 6 of the Payment Plan Agreement:

“6. In the event that a charge is declined, delayed, incomplete, or missed for any reason other than Our exclusive fault, You will be assessed a non-refundable Service Fee in the amount of the greater of: (a) $30.00; or (b) the assessment imposed on Us as a result of the declined, delayed or incomplete charge.”

 

Ms. ****** responded with a request for cancellation and refund of the payments made to date.

 

Cancellation and Refund Request

As cancellation and refund paperwork must be initiated thru her Publishing Consultant, Mr. *** was immediately informed of her refund request.  With the approval of his supervisor and as a goodwill offering, Mr. *** called her with an offer to forgive the $30 decline fee stipulated in the payment plan agreement and accept her final payment as she had proposed for several weeks.  Ms. ****** informed Mr. *** that she would consider his offer and as she was going on a trip, would follow up with him upon her return. However despite attempts to follow-up with her, Mr. *** has yet to receive a decision from her and therefore her refund remains pending.

 

Communication

In her filing, Ms. ****** states:

“I sent an e-mail on July 9, 2015, to Mr. *** thanking him for his help but got no relief and I had to cancel the contract.  I did not hear from Liferich so I sent them a letter on July 9 and August 22, 2015, requesting a refund and have not had any response at all.”

Since timely responses to our authors are very important to us, we initiated an investigation surrounding the communications she lists.  We found that a letter from her addressed to LifeRich Publishing was received on July 15th.  The letter is dated July 11th and states that she has no recourse but to cancel her agreement and request a refund.  In the same mailing was a copy of an email addressed to Mr. *** also dated July 11, 2015 espousing the same scenario. However, we are unable to find that this email had been received by us electronically.

A search of our Media Data Center logs for July and August found only the correspondence described above.

Mr. *** followed up with a phone call to Ms. ****** on July 22, 2015 seeking her decision on his offer to accommodate her payment concerns and continue the publication of her book.  As she was unavailable, he left a voicemail.  To date, no return call or email has been received and the offer remains neither accepted nor declined. Therefore her refund is still pending.

 

Resolutions Options

Ms. ****** has the following options available to her to either move forward with the publication of her book or complete its cancellation and the eligible refund.

 

Option 1.

Should Ms. ****** desire to continue with her book project she may do so by accepting Mr. Fox’s offer of July 1st and make her final payment of $333 by October 16th whereupon the July decline fee of $30 will be waived.  With the continuation of her project, she will also be responsible for addressing the issues identified in the Content Evaluation and the issues requested by her Check-In coordinator.

 

Option 2.

Should Ms. ****** desire to continue with the cancelation and refund of her project, her refund will be subject to Section 10 Refunds of her signed Self-Publishing Services Agreement.   Subsection 10.1 indicates that refund eligibility expires six (6) months from the Effective Date of the agreement.  Due to the Content Guidelines issues with her manuscript, the refund request will be governed by Subsection 10.2 Refunds as a Result of Non-Compliance with Content Guidelines, which states:

If after review of Your Manuscript, We Terminate this Agreement due to Your non-compliance with the Content Guidelines, We shall refund to You the full amount paid for Your Publishing Package pursuant to the Service Order(s) less two hundred USD ($200) (which will be assessed as Our charge to review the Manuscript for compliance with Our Content Guidelines).

 

The eligible refund amount is $436.  This amount reflects the two (2) payments totaling $741 less the following: the $200 Content Review fee, the $75 payment plan fee, and the $30 payment plan decline fee. 

 

In summary, when Ms. ****** requested the first of July  to delay the final payment for her publishing package, she was reminded of the terms of her signed Payment Plan Agreement resulting in her request for cancellation and a refund.

 

A good will option was authorized and presented to her the same day which would waive the decline fee for missing her final payment and extend the date of last payment as she had requested. She agreed to consider the offer and advise us of her decision upon returning from a trip.  To date, she has yet to decline or accept this offer and her refund request remains pending.

 

We await her decision on how to proceed.

 

Sincerely,

 

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and find that this resolution would be satisfactory to me. 

Regards,

****** ******

10/7/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: In March of 2013,I purchased a publishing package from Westbow for about $1173. My original intention was to publish my book through their self-publishing service. In March, 2015, I realized that the book I had planned to write would not materialize. I then requested a refund and was originally told that I would hear back from tnem within 10 business days. My original contact wished me well and hoped I told im I may come back to them at a futire date.When I didn't hear from them in the time specified, I contacted them again and heard back from Mr. Matt ******, who informed me that I was not entitled to a refund after 6 months. This is in spite of the fact that the contract clearly states that a refund will be provided less $75 processing fee. There is no mention of a time constraint in the contract, which I will post at the end of this complaint.I wrote several e-mails, none of which received a response. I finally hired a lawyer who wrote a demand letter on my behalf, yet we received no credible response. I find that Westbow has breached the terms of their agreement with me and they have treated my requests with a casual and even callous indifference. Their attitude through this process has left a lot to be desired. My goal is to receive my refund from Westbow so I can move on.Text of contract."I have read and agree to the terms and conditions of the publishing agreement and the terms of the payment plan agreement." (***** ******)From: James W. ********** jw**********@westbowpress.comTo: ***************** Sent: Friday, March 8, 2013 8:31 AMSubject: westbow press/thomas nelson publishing PLEASE RESPOND BEFORE MAKING YOUR 1ST PAYMENT Please reply back to this email and type the words: "I have read and agree to the terms and conditions of the publishing agreement and the terms of the payment plan agreement." (Put name here) This Payment Plan Agreement (the Agreement) is made and entered into by and between the person identified below in the Payment Plan Agreement Sign-off Section (you) and WestBow Press (we or us). The parties acknowledge and agree that this Agreement becomes part of the Terms and Conditions with respect to the Work, whose title is referenced in the Sign-off Section of this Agreement, to which we have agreed to perform Services including distributing the Work and/or performance of other Services as instructed by you. Capitalized Terms not defined in this Agreement will have the meaning ascribed to such terms in the Terms and Conditions unless the context dictates otherwise. 1. The amount due for the services associated with this agreement plus a $75 non-refundable processing fee will be billed to you in four equal payments as outlined below. If a refund is requested the amount refunded to you will be reduced by the $75 non-refundable processing fee. 2. The first payment will be processed at the time of the order (Payment Date 1). The second payment will be processed one month from the date of Payment Date 1. The third payment will be processed two months from the date of Payment Date 1. The fourth payment will be processed three months from the date of Payment Date. If second, third, or fourth payment fall on a calendar date that is not in that month the payment will be processed on the first day of the subsequent month, i.e. Payment Date 1 is January 31, the second payment would be due March 1st. 3. Payment dates may not be changed or skipped. 4. THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE FORM OF PAYMENT IS CREDIT CARD OR DEBIT CARD (CREDIT CHARGE). PLEASE, DO NOT SEND CHECKS FOR PAYMENT. 5. In the event that the Credit Charge is declined for any reason you will be assessed a $30 non-refundable service fee. You will be notified by email and will have seven business days to contact ASI Payment Plans toll free at (888)519-5121 x**** or emailing paymentplans@authorsolutions.com to set up an alternative method of payment. If you do not respond within seven business days, services related to this Agreement will be suspended. To reactivate services you will be charged a non-refundable service fee of $30 and must pay any outstanding payments and fees at this time. 6. WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY FEES THAT YOU MAY INCUR DUE TO NON-SUFFICIENT FUNDS AT THE TIME THE CREDIT CHARGE OCCURS. 7. WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO DELAY PERFORMANCE OF SERVICES RELATED TO THIS AGREEMENT OR TO DELAY DELIVERY OF FINAL SERVICES RELATED TO THIS AGREEMENT UNTIL ALL AMOUNTS DUE ARE PAID Sincerely, James W. **********Publishing ConsultantWestBow PressA Division of Thomas Nelson Publishing866.928.1240, Ext: ****

Desired Settlement: I would like a full refund of the payment I made to Westbow.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to clarify the refund eligibility for Ms. ***** ******’s publishing package.

Ms. ****** purchased the Essential Access publishing package from Westbow Press on March 8, 2013 for $999. In addition she chose to add an e-book format for $99. For payment Ms. ****** selected the installment payment plan option which added a non-refundable payment plan fee of $75, making her total expenditure $1173.

Publishing Agreement and Payment Plan Agreement Terms

On March 8th as part of her purchase of the Essential Access package, her sales representative James ********** emailed her a copy of the payment plan agreement including the terms of her installment payment plan and a link to the Westbow Press Publishing Agreement and the Westbow Editorial Standards. Mr. ********** requested that she reply to the email he sent her acknowledging she had read and agreed to the payment plan and the publishing agreement documents he had provided her.

On the same date that she purchased the package, March 8th, 2013, Ms. ****** replied with the following statement:

“I have read and agree to the terms and conditions of the publishing agreement and the terms of the payment plan agreement.” (***** ******)

The payment plan explains the terms governing when and how the installments for the purchase price of the package are to be made. The publishing agreement contains the terms and conditions for publishing with Westbow Press, including the cancellation and refund policy.  A copy of both the publishing agreement and Mr. **********’s email to her is attached for your reference.

In the body of the complaint she includes verbiage from the installment payment plan agreement which confirms a $75 non-refundable processing fee for the setup of the plan. However, she has omitted any reference to the cancellation and refund policy of the WestBow Publishing Agreement despite her acknowledgement of having read and agreeing to it.  The publishing agreement’s refund policy is found in Schedule A, Section 5 and states:

If AUTHOR terminates this agreement for any reason other than a breach of contract by PUBLISHER, AUTHOR agrees to pay PUBLISHER any amounts due on services purchased. PUBLISHER will refund amounts paid by AUTHOR as follows:

Prior to submission of manuscript                                100% less a $150 setup fee

After submission, but prior to interior design              50%

After interior design, but prior to final sign-off            25%

After six months from contract date                            0%

Refund

Ms. ****** states that in March of 2015 she realized that the book she planned to write would not materialize, and she then requested a refund for her publishing package. As this date exceeds the six (6) month timeline outlined her publishing agreement’s refund policy she is no longer eligible for a refund.

Her package purchase occurred on March 8, 2013; the refund request was received on April 6, 2015, by her Check-In Coordinator in the Production department, Tyler ******. The refund request was assigned to sales representative Matt ****** on April 8, 2015. Nine (9) business days later, the refund request was denied due to the package purchase date exceeding the six (6) month cut off for refund eligibility. Mr. ****** notified Ms. ****** of this on April 21, 2015, a copy of the email is attached for your reference.

Ms. ****** states that there is no mention of a time constraint in the contract and quotes the Installment Payment Plan Agreement as her resource. The payment plan covers the collection of monies toward the purchase of her publishing package and, as quoted in her complaint, defers to “the Terms and Conditions with respect to the Work” (the WestBow Publishing Agreement)…. “to which we have agreed to perform Services including distributing the Work and/or performance of other Services as instructed by you.”

Legal Letter

Ms. ****** says in her BBB filing that she hired a lawyer to send Westbow Press a formal letter; however we received no letter from a legal representative or firm. On May 11th, 2015, we did receive an email titled “Formal Demand Letter” sent from Ms. ******’s email address, which contains no mention of having hired a lawyer, stating only that she planned on exploring her legal options. Westbow Press received no letters or emails after that date.

In summary, Ms. ****** agreed to the terms and conditions of her Westbow Press Publishing Agreement and the installment payment plan in March 2013. As her request for cancellation and refund occurred two (2) years later, in accordance with the refund policy of her publishing agreement, she is no longer eligible for refund.

If Ms. ****** desires to withdraw her cancellation request, she may still do so and the project will be placed on hold indefinitely awaiting the submission of a completed manuscript. 

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

[Provide details of why you are not satisfied with this resolution.]

Regards,

***** ******


CONTRACT

The Publishing Agreement Westbow refers to was never signed by me. In fact, today, September 9th 2015 is the first I have seen of that Agreement. In the e-mail James ********** sent me on March 8th, 2013, there was no reference to the fact that there was a separate agreement, which I needed to review and/sign. The e-mail contained details about the payment plan and I went ahead and signed it. I was never informed that there was a separate agreement/contract/terms and conditions. I consider this a misrepresentation of facts pertaining to our agreement. How can I be bound by a contract of which I was never informed? If indeed the signed Terms and Conditions defers to the Publishing Agreement, then our contract should be considered null and void as I never signed the Publishing Agreement, nor was I ever informed that I needed to.

In Section 26 of the Publishing Agreement, under General Provisions, the text states "By completing the following and submitting the required materials, AUTHOR agrees to all the terms and conditions in this Agreement."

Name: ______________________________________________________________
Street Address: _______________________________________________________
City, State, Zip Code: ____________________________________________________
Phone: ______________________________________________________________
Fax: ______________________________________________________________
Email: ______________________________________________________________
SSN: ______________________________________________________________
Terms and Conditions
_____________________________________________________________________________
Rev 1/31/2010 Page 6
Title of Work: _______________________________________________________
U.S. Copyright No. – if any _______________________________________________
Date: _________________________ Signature:_______________________________


I never completed this section, nor did I sign it. Westbow certainly doesn't have my Social Security number, nor do they have my book title as I did not have a title for the book, and have no manuscript for submission. I also did not submit any materials to Westbow. Going by the text in this section, I can not be held to this contract. I therefore renew my request for a refund. 

LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE

In June of 2015, I contracted a lawyer, ******** ********** of *** ***** Services, to prepare a demand letter which I wanted to send to Westbow. On June 17th, she informed me that the letter had been sent via certified mail. A few days later, she informed me that it had been signed for and received. A short time after that, I received a call on my phone from an Indiana number, which seemed vaguely familiar. My phone cut off just as I went to answer it. Several minutes passed and I received a call from my lawyer stating that Mr. Eugene ******* had just called her. In that call, Mr ******* stated that he had been advocating for me with the person in charge of sales (who I assumed to be Matt ******). Mr. ******* wanted me to receive my refund and told my lawyer that "We don't want to spend energy on this." He also stated that the company's legal counsel was currently away on holiday and would be back the following week, on a Tuesday. Based on that call, we were of the opinion that Mr. ******* would confer with the legal counsel and come back to us with a resolution.

Obviously, that never happened. 

I resent the fact that you are trying to paint me as a liar by saying that I never hired a lawyer and that you did not receive a letter. Just ask Mr. *******. And Matt ******.


CALLOUS AND CASUAL DISREGARD


My communication with Westbow has followed a pattern which exposes the company's true interest; the bottom line. I am under no illusions that Westbow has my interests at heart either as an author or as a person.

After the April 21 e-mail from Matt ******, I have sent at least 8 emails to various people at Westbow, each one unanswered. I have called at least a dozen times, and left messages asking for a call back. I never received a callback from anyone. Not even a peep. The only response I have received...the only acknowledgement of my existence is the response to my complaint. Halleluyah! So, someone at Westbow now acknowledges that I am a human being! I guess I should be thankful for small mercies. 

April 21st Email sent to Matt ****** No response (Also called him twice)
April 21st Another email sent to Matt ****** No response
April 24th Email to Matt ****** No response
April 28th Email to Eugene ******* No response
May 1st Email to Eugene ******* No response
May 1st Email to Eugene ******* and Matt ****** No response
May 11th Email demand letter to E*******, M****** and Tyler ******t No response
May 26th Email to Donovan ****** No response

In between these emails, there were numerous calls and requests for callback. Not one. Not an iota of effort to explain the situation and look for ways to work together. That tells me that Westbow is callous, soulless and only interested in me as a contributor to their bottomline. 

According to their response, they will hold onto my money indefinitely until I come up with a project to satisfy them? Well, that's how long I will spend fighting for my refund. 

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to further clarify Ms. ******’s refund eligibility and communication with Westbow Press.

Contract

Ms. ****** states in her letter that she had not previously seen the Publishing Services Agreement. This Agreement was sent to Ms. ****** on two (2) separate occasions. The first time was by Sales Manager Mr. Donavan ****** on April 20, 2012 before Ms. ****** committed to her publishing package. The second time was on March 3, 2013 by her Sales Representative James **********. Regarding the Agreement, Ms. ****** states “I never signed the Publishing Agreement,” however her signature on her reply email does state “I have read and agree to the terms and conditions of the publishing agreement…” Ms. ****** refers to the fact that the Publishing Agreement wasn’t filled out by hand, however the electronic signature she provided to Mr. ********** does serve as her agreement to the terms.

Legal Representative

Thanks to the clarification given by Ms. ****** regarding the circumstances in which her legal letter was sent to Westbow Press we were able to confirm that the letter was indeed received on June 15, 2015. After conferring with Mr. Eugene ******* we found that the letter was sent to him directly. Mr. ******* did call Ms. ****** regarding her refund; however since the refund request was denied per the terms of the Publishing Agreement no further discussions took place.

Communication

Attached with this letter you will find a call report generated for Ms. ******’s phone number for the entirety of 2015. This report shows all inbound and outbound call attempts between Westbow Press and Ms. ******. There are columns for the direction of the call (inbound or outbound), the name of the Westbow Press representative involved in the call, the date and duration of the call, the event log, and the subject as given to the company operator at the onset of inbound phone calls.

Ms. ****** states in her letter that she called Mr. Matt ****** twice on April 21, 2015 however as shown on the call report there was only one (1) incoming call directed to Mr. ****** in 2015. Mr. ****** did reply to Ms. ****** via email the same day as her voicemail explaining the status of her refund request so that she had the information in writing.

Ms. ******* mentions that she made numerous phone calls to Westbow Press, which is confirmed in the call report; however no voicemails were left for representatives requesting return calls aside from the voicemail left for Mr. ******.

In Summary

Ms. ****** provided her electronic signature stating that she agreed to the terms and conditions in the Publishing Agreement. This Agreement contained the terms to which Westbow Press refunds are determined eligible. In accordance with the terms of the Agreement and in recognition that her publishing package was purchased more than two (2) years ago, she is no longer eligible for a refund.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfation

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.


I will take the next step which is to file in small claims court. Westbow continues to misrepresent facts. First, they said I never sent a letter. Now, they say I did. James ********** never specified that there was a separate document which I needed to read. He never verbally specify any different refund terms apart from what was in the Payment Plan Agreement. 

I believe that Westbow used deceptive business practices and I will fight to get my refund. 



Regards,

***** ******

10/6/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I entered into contract with Balboa Press to publish my book. Among the services I paid for was a Book Video of my book, which was suppose to be produced between 4 to 6 weeks after the book was published, which was February 26, 2015. I sent the completed Book Video Questionnaire on March 6, 2015, which my publicist at the time acknowledge received via email. Three months later(6/8/15) I sent an email to the publicist inquiring about the whereabouts of my book video and she wrote back (6/10/15) saying I never sent it. On 6/11/15, I resubmitted the questionnaire and on 6/16,15 she said she filed the questionnaire on 6/13/15. In this email she said the Book Video takes 4-6 weeks to complete and that along the way, I would be able to approve the script and a rough cut of my video. On 7/9/15, the publicist another email with the video script for approval, but not the rough cut as she promised I would get along with the approval for the script. On this same date, I replied with some changes to the script. On 7/14/15, the publicist said she would send my revisions to their production team. This is the last I heard about the video. A few days ago I sent an inquiry to the publicist and he could not give me any information about the status of my video. It has been nearly 7 months since I turned in the questionnaire for the production of the video. It has been 3 months since I resubmitted the questionnaire. It has been 2-1/2 months since the approval of the script was submitted. The video should have been completed by mid April 2015, and here we are the end of September 2015 and I am still getting excuses from this people for non-production. Balboa Press is in breach of contract due to non-performance and I demanded they refund my money. They are trying to patch things up, but still no video has been produced.

Desired Settlement: I wish that Balboa Press refund me for services contracted, paid for, not rendered, and long overdue.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to respond to Ms. ******’s concern regarding her Premium Book Video service.

On July 7, 2014 Ms. ****** purchased a custom publishing package from Balboa Press which bundled together the services she desired for a color book. On March 11, 2014 she decided to switch her book from color to black and white because of issues with the retail print cost. To accommodate the change, she transferred to a Master package, keeping the services of the original custom package including the Premium Book Video service.

The description of the Premium Book Video service can be found at the following link: http://www.balboapress.com/Servicestore/ServiceDetail.aspx?ServiceId=PKG-924

Once her book became available for purchase on February 26, 2015, we were able to begin the fulfillment of her marketing services. On February 27, 2015 the assigned Marketing Services Representative (MSR) sent her the questionnaire for the video service and two (2) other questionnaires, via e-mail. These questionnaires ask for information pertinent to the book and the specific service to be fulfilled.  The questionnaires must be completed by the author and returned to us before work can begin on the service. The Press Release service questionnaire was returned to the MSR on March 2, 2015 and the one for the Publicity Campaign was returned to the MSR on March 4, 2015.

On June 10, 2015 Ms. ****** contacted her MSR to inquire about the status of the book video service, and was informed that the MSR was missing the required questionnaire. Ms. ****** complied sending the completed questionnaire on June 11 and the MSR acknowledged its receipt on June 13. The video script was prepared and sent to Ms. ****** for review on July 9.   On July 12 Ms. ****** returned the script denoting some corrections she desired. In mid August, Ms. ******’s project was re-assigned to a different MSR.

The video has since been corrected with approval of the final video given by Ms. ****** on September 29. As a gesture of goodwill, Ms. ****** was offered and agreed to accept the Hay House Radio Service free of charge as compensation for the delay in the completion of the Premium Book Video Service.

In closing, we again apologize for the length of time taken to fulfill Ms. ******’s Premium Book Video Service. The video has been completed and approved for release. As a goodwill offering, Ms. ****** was offered and has accepted a free Hay House Radio service.

We trust this information illustrates the steps taken to address the status of Ms. ******’s Premium Book Video Service.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID 10833245, and have determined that the response would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

Due to nonperformance, I had to resort to write BBB to get Balboa Press to fulfill its obligations under the contract. Once my book became available for purchase they sent me a  book video questionnaire (part of my publicity campaign) to be filled out on 3/6/15. This questionnaire was filled out and sent via email the same day. I requested their marketing representative (MR) to acknowledge having received it, which she did (see attached emails). On 6/8/15, I inquired about the whereabouts of my video (see email). On 6/10/15, the MR sent an email saying I never sent the video questionnaire back. This was clearly a lie as proven by the attached email dated 3/6/15.  On 6/11/15, I resubmitted the completed questionnaire (see email). On 6/16/15, the MR sent me an email stating she had filed the questionnaire on 6/13/15 (see email). On 7/9/15, MR sent me an email with a video script for approval (see email). On 7/14/15, MR said she would send revisions made to the script to their production  team (see email). On 9/24/15, I cancelled the book video for nonperformance (see email). At this time, as an enticement, MR offered to gift to me the Hay House Radio Interview if I went along with the video, which I did, but as it turned out, the MR is not acknowledging received my radio review questionnaire even though I submitted it 5 times. By not acknowledging he received it, there is no radio interview. MR tricked me into going along with the video and now after I accepted and the video is produced the gift was taken back. 

The attached emails tell the story. It is not as the respondent from Balboa Press stated at all. My documentation sheds light on Balboa Press' deceptive trade practices. 

To resolve this problem I want for Balboa Press to carry through with our contractual arrangement and in a timely manner. I also desire that they acknowledge received my Hay House radio interview questionnaire and that they carry through with this service as well. 

Please acknowledge you received this email and that it will be included in my rejection response of their response.

Best of health,

**** ******



Regards,

**** ******

10/3/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I requested a refund that should have coincided with Balboa Press' Terms and Conditions. This was filed more than three weeks ago. After many emails and two phone calls of asking if I will receive a refund, I was told I would by no less than two employees. Up until a day ago, apparently my refund was being wired to my account. A member from Author Solutions refund department (which is partnered with Balboa Press) emailed me to say that I would not receive a refund. See below. ----- Dear Ms. *********, I am writing in response to the follow up of the refund request for the cancelled project. There was no monetary refund for the cancelled project because the project was not paid in full and the total payment was not enough to cover the 50% hold back of the service order. Please refer to the calculation details. PID ****** (July 9, 2015) Service Order Item: Chapter Five A$ 3,479.40 Payment Plan Fee A$ 100.00 Total Order Amount: A$ 3,579.40 Paid Amount: A$ 1,491.77 Less: (Payment Plan Fee) (A$ 100.00) (50% hold back of the publishing package) (A$ 1,739.70) Post-Termination Balance: (A$ 347.93) Sincerely, Richard ******* AUTHOR satisfaction group Author Solutions, LLC A Penguin Random House Company ----- Naturally, I scanned over Balboa Press' Terms and Conditions and found that there was nothing stated about "Holdback fees" or anything about paying full in order to claim a refund. My response follows. ----- With due respect, I see nothing in the terms and conditions where the package had to be paid in full for a refund to occur. I have been informed by at least three people that happily told me that i would recieve some of my money back as the "Editorial Assessment" was really only used from the amount that I had already paid. "If AUTHOR terminates this agreement for any reason other than a breach of contract by the SERVICE PROVIDER, AUTHOR agrees to pay SERVICE PROVIDER any amounts due on services purchased. SERVICE PROVIDER will refund amounts PAID by author as follows." Please note how it does not say that all packages purchased must be paid in full in order to qualify for a refund. I was told that I would get most of my money back that I had PAID. Please refer to Angel *******, Mary ********, and Hannah who answered my calls a few days ago. I also recall making three monumental transactions with Balboa Press. Firstly, US 299.66, 06.28.2015 Secondly, US 735.88, 08.12.2015 Thirdly, US 492.22, 07.12.2015 I assume with the package I had chosen, that the Editorial Assessment would NOT consume all of that money that I had paid, and therefore I would greatly appreciate in your company sending it back to me. I look forward to your response with the handling of my money. ----- Needless to say I am not happy at all with how their refund department is handling this as I was only informed that only an Editorial Assessment was completed from the hefty $1,491.77 that I paid.

Desired Settlement: All I want is the remainder of my money back which should be around $1,000.00 (roughly) in Australian Currency. Please understand that I am tired and stressed to high extremes about this, a simple refund that should have been completed. Once again, I saw nothing in the Terms and Conditions that should have made me thought otherwise in not being able to obtain a refund.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to clarify further for Ms. ********* the refund policy of the Balboa Press Self-Publishing Services Agreement and how it applies to her cancellation request.

Please note that the dollar amounts listed below are in AUD (Australian dollars).

Package Purchases and Payments

On June 26, 2015 Ms. ********* purchased the e-book only E-Illuminate publishing package from Balboa Press for $599.00AUD to publish her work entitled “********”. She opted to use an auto-charge installment plan, adding a $100.00AUD non-refundable processing fee and making her total purchase $699.00AUD.  She made her first payment of $299.66AUD that day with the remaining two (2) payments of $199.68AUD each scheduled to be charged to her card on the same day in the following two months.

 

 On July 9th she upgraded her package to the Chapter Five publishing package taking advantage of a 40% discount offering reducing the purchase price to $3479.40AUD.  Again she elected to use an installment payment plan which added a non-refundable payment plan fee of $100.00AUD, bringing the total cost of the Chapter Five package to $3579.40AUD. 

At the time of this upgrade, Ms. ********* made the initial payment for the new package of $795.88AUD by applying the $299.66AUD payment from the canceled E-Illuminate package and authorizing a   $496.22AUD charge to her credit card.  The remaining installments of $695.88AUD each were scheduled for auto charge on the same day in the following four (4) months.  A copy of the payment plan agreement is attached for your reference.

Per the agreement, her credit card was charged for the second payment of $695.88AUD on August 9th bringing the total paid toward her package to $1491.77AUD.  

Manuscript Submission and Phases of Publication Completed

The online submission of her manuscript materials was completed on July 13th.

  

As performed on all manuscript materials submitted, a content review was scheduled with completion on July 26th.  This service is provided to help authors avoid legal and/or other content related issues with their book such as libel, copyright infringement or plagiarism. Manuscripts must pass the review in order to proceed to the next phase of publication.  Her manuscript passed the review and was endorsed to the next phase.

 

If illustrations or editorial services are included in the package or purchased as an add-on service, they are the next step in a manuscript’s preparation. As an Editorial Assessment was included in her package, the service was assigned to an editorial staff member and the results sent to her on August 13th.

 

With this assessment service, a portion of the work (typically the first chapter or about 1,700 words) is examined and a sample edit provided that illustrates the type of errors found and recommendations for the level of service that would most benefit the manuscript.  The author may choose to respond to the assessment by implementing the suggestions personally, using the services of a professional editor of their choosing, or ignoring the recommendations.   On August 21st, Ms. ********* declined further editorial services from Balboa Press editorial staff.

 

Cancellation and Refund Request

Although Ms. ********* names several individuals whom she states advised her that a refund would be forthcoming, it is the Refund Department that is responsible for reviewing refund requests and either granting or denying the request.  Providing accurate information is important to us and as neither Angel, nor Mary nor Hannah is a member of the Refund Department, we were concerned by Ms. *********’s statement.

 

Upon review of her account we found that on September 1st her Publishing Services Assistant (PSA), Mary ********, emailed confirmation of an email from the previous day asking for a refund and citing financial hardship.  In her email Ms. ******** advised that she had begun the refund and cancellation steps and to expect a call from her Publishing Consultant.

 

On September 8th, Ms. ********* spoke with her Publishing Consultant, Angel ******* about cancellation.  At that time she was offered the option to continue her publication by downgrading to a package that fit into her present budget.  She declined.  Subsequently, her cancellation and refund paperwork was endorsed to the Refund Department for their review and determination.

 

On September 18th, Ms. ********* called to follow up on her refund request.  She spoke with Customer Service Representative Hannah ******* who advised that the request had been processed and paid that day.  However, Ms. ******* was unfamiliar with the payment status terminology, “credit on account,” that appeared on the refund ruling and reached out to the Refund Department for clarification.  She called Ms. ********* back immediately leaving a message advising that she was obtaining more details from the Refund Department.  Later that day she followed up with an email telling Ms. ********* she would be contacted by a representative from the Refund Department with the specifics of her refund ruling.

 

On September 21st, Richard ******* contacted her by email with the details of the refund request which she included in her filing.

 

Refund Eligibility and Services Agreement

In her filing Ms. ********* states that she sees “nothing in the terms and conditions where the package had to be paid in full for a refund to occur.”  Please refer to the full Services Agreement (copy attached) Section 9, Termination; Subsection 9.1, Your Right to Terminate without Cause, which states:

 

You may terminate this Agreement without cause by providing at least thirty (30) days’ advance written notice to Us of Your intent to terminate and specifying the date of termination. You shall remain liable for payment of the balance of any payments due pursuant to any outstanding service order(s), additional services, or other fees.

In her filing Ms. ********* references the following portion of the Services Agreement known as Section 10, Refunds; Subsection 10.1 Refunds following Termination, which reads:

You may be entitled to a refund of all or a portion of the amount You paid for a Publishing Package. The refund opportunity is exclusive to the amount paid for the Publishing Package as referenced in the Service Order. All other Services are non-refundable after purchase. You shall be entitled to a refund of the amount paid for the Publishing Package as follows:

 a. Prior to submission of the manuscript: 100% [less a $165 (AUD) setup fee]

b. After (a) above and prior to start of interior design work:  50%

c. After (b) but prior to final sign-off:  25%

 Irrespective of (a-c) above, after six (6) months from the Effective Date no refund is due to You.

 

Per these terms, refund eligibility is dependent upon three (3) factors:  1) the total package price; 2) the monies received as payment for the package; and 3) the stage in which the manuscript is in at the time of the cancellation request.

 

When entering into the agreement Ms. ********* agreed to a specific purchase price. She chose to pay in installments. Because it has been less than six months since the package was purchased, she is correct in stating that she is eligible for refund consideration.  Her manuscript has reached the stage listed under b above, qualifying her for a 50% refund of the purchase price.  This means that in order to receive monies back she must have paid in at least fifty percent (50%) of the package cost.  Since she has only made two payments on her five payment installment plan she has yet to reach that fifty percent (50%) threshold.

 

In dollar and cents this means:

  • Her publishing package price is $3479.40AUD.

  • Fifty percent (50%) of the package price is $1739.70AUD.

  • She has made two (2) payments for a total of $1491.770AUD.

  • There is a $247.93AUD shortfall to reach the fifty percent (50%) threshold. 

  • A non-refundable payment plan fee of $100.00AUD is also due and payable.

  • Subsequently, an outstanding balance of $347.93AUD remains on her account.

 

As a goodwill gesture and in consideration of her circumstance, we have forgiven the outstanding balance of $347.93AUD remaining on her account.  Her account is now clear. 

 

In closing, Ms. ********* purchased a publishing package using a five (5) payment installment plan and requested a refund and cancellation after making two (2) payments.  She submitted her manuscript and pre-design services were completed prior to the cancellation and refund request. 

 

 

In accordance with the terms of her signed services agreement, she is eligible for a refund of fifty percent (50%) of the total package price and is libel for payment of fifty percent (50%) of the package price. Since she paid in less than fifty percent (50%) of the package price, she has yet to reach the threshold to receive a refund.  To meet her fifty percent (50%) payment liability, a balance of $247.93AUD for the package remains on her account plus the $100.00AUD non-refundable payment plan fee, for a total of $347.93AUD. As an act of goodwill we have forgiven the outstanding balance due. Her account is now clear and no monies are owed by either party.

She declined our offer to continue with her project by downgrading to more economical package.

We trust this information clarifies Ms. *********’s refund request and cancellation concerns.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and find that this resolution would be satisfactory to me. 

Regards,

******* *********

9/24/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: This publishing house have several failures in the process of the second book I published with them, I filled a complaint before regarding this company but the issues were not the same. Now I am having troubles because in the marketing material they sent to me were not included the posters. Also, the color of the material they sent me to select were gray in the up and acqua color down , when they sent the material to me they look like green olive color, pretty disgusting and totally different than what they send me to select from the beggining. I sent several emails to Jose ***** the person in charge of marketing materials and to James ******* and even if sometimes I tried to fix those issues by phone. They are not responding to either change materials colors and more about my posters that I did not receive. I need a solution to this ASAP it is long time fighting with this company to make things right and I still having troubles !

Desired Settlement: I need marketing materials fixed in the right color or even in a different color but one that I need to aprve and I need to receive my posters !

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to explain the printed marketing materials for Ms. ********* project.

On July 6, 2015, Ms. ********* electronic proofs for her printed marketing materials for her book “**** *** *******,” including posters, bookmarks, and business cards, were emailed to her by her Marketing Services Representative, Jose *****. 

Mr. ***** followed up with a voicemail on July 7, 2015, and again on July 14, 2015. 

Ms. ******* was escalated to Dana *****, Operation Manager, on July 24, 2015, when Ms. ******* stated that she didn’t want to work with different representatives from different departments.  She also refused to wait the normal timeline for the printing of the bookstubs and wanted Palibrio to go out of normal timeline when printing and shipping.  Ms. ***** agreed to have the printing and shipping of the bookstubs expedited, shipping out that very day.

Ms. ******* approved the proofs of the marketing materials and those files were sent to the printers.  On August 7, 2015, Mr. *****’s supervisor, James ******* agreed to expedite the shipping of those materials once they finished printing.  The bookmarks and business cards were sent UPS Next Day Air and were delivered to Ms. ******* on August 12, 2015.  The posters were shipped on August 6th, tracking number ******************. The UPS tracking detail indicates that due to confusion with the address on the shipping document, delivery was delayed and resulted in the return of the shipment to the sender (printer).  The printer accepted the return on August 20, 2015; however the printer failed to notify us that the order had been returned to them.

On August 31, 2015, Ms. ******* spoke with Mr. ***** and let him know that she had not received the posters.  She also indicated that there was a color issue with the printed marketing materials that she had received previously on August 12th.  Mr. ***** asked Ms. ******* to send pictures of the materials with color issues so that he could work with the printer to fix them.

On September 11, 2015, Ms. ******* called and spoke with Mr. *****, again stating that the color of the materials was not what she approved.  Mr. ***** again asked her to send pictures of them.  She refused, stating that she was too busy to do so.  She also wanted to know the status of the posters.  Mr. ***** said they were waiting to hear back from the printer.

 Mr. ******* also spoke with Ms. ******* the same day.  He asked Ms. ******* to send pictures of the color issue; this time she agreed.  Mr. ******* also advised that we had been seeking a status report from our printer since her inquiry of August 31st regarding her posters. However, due to their lack of response, he had requested an expedited re-order of her posters with UPS Next Day shipping.

On September 14, 2015, the posters were shipped, tracking number ** *** *** ** **** **** . They were delivered and signed for by Ms. ******* on September 15, 2015. She confirmed receipt the following day.  

Also on September 16, 2015, Mr. ******* sent Ms. ******* an email acknowledging receipt of a copy of the visual scanned proof.  With this information, we were able to review her concerns and move forward with a resolution to the color issue.   

In closing, because color is a visual medium in order to resolve the color issue with Ms. ********* printed materials, a visual assessment of the materials she indicated were unacceptable was needed.   Although she initially refused to provide a visual example of her concern, she later agreed making it possible for us to move forward with steps to resolve her concern.

 A second set of posters were printed, shipped and received. 

We trust this information illustrates the steps we have taken to address Ms. ********* concerns.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and find that this resolution would be satisfactory to me. 

Regards,

******** *******

9/22/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Approximately June 2014, I submitted my son's (******** ******) book to Westbow Publishing (EST 1st Class) to be published. I paid for the publishing using our Discover card, paying $1214. Westbow requested that my son complete revisions of his book, taking out all foul language. ******** did this and sent it back. At the end of the summer, Westbow requested some more revisions, ******** completed and sent back to Westbow by October of 2014. In March of 2015, I contacted by Balboa Publishing to find out why they were going to publish the book and not Westbow? I was told that due to content issues, (it is a sci fi that talks about space aliens) which isn't supported by the bible. 6 April 2015 I was by contacted Kate ***** of Westbow, requesting our bank information so that she could get us our refund. I sent an email to Kate on 17 April with all of our bank information. I was contacted again via email by Kate ***** to find out if we were going to commit to Balboa. I was contacted on 28 May 15 by Lucille **** of Balboa to find out what I wanted to do with my son's book. I stated that she wanted a refund from Westbow first before she would commit to Balboa. Lucille stated that she would walk across the hall and find out. Lucille told me that Westbow was waiting for our bank information in order to give her a refund. On 5 June 15 I sent Lucille the email that was sent to Kate ***** on the 17 April 15, showing that I had sent our bank information to Westbow. I asked my husband(MAJ (R) ***** ******) to tackle the refund from Westbow. He contacted Westbow via phone and talked to Kate *****. He asked what the status of the refund was. She stated that she didn't know. He asked her how long it would take to get the refund. She stated that requests take at least 3-5 days to get approved. He called back to Westbow on the 21st of July, and was given to a Mr. Eugene *******, Director for the company. Mr. ******* stated that it takes a while for a refund to occur, and the fact that it had been more than a year since we had paid made it more challenging. Mr. ******* stated that if we wanted to use Balboa to publish my son's book, that he could move the money from Westbow to Balboa. My husband told Mr. ******* that he didn't trust either company at this point, as he felt that both companies were under the same leadership. My husband asked when he should call again. Mr. ******* stated in a week. My husband called Westbow and spoke to Mr. ******* again on 29 July 15. Mr. ******* gave me the same answers as he did from the previous week. I told him that I felt that his company was sitting on our money. He brought up the problem of having paid for the publishing more than a year ago. Since I feel that we are getting stonewalled for our refund, and no one at Westbow can give me an accurate timeline for a refund, I decided to file a complaint with BBB. I can reproduce all emails between Westbow, Balboa and myself upon request

Desired Settlement: I want a refund from Westbow Publishing company If I can't get a timely refund from Westbow, then I would like to know an accurate timeline for the process to be complete, my wife gave our bank account email to Westbow on 17 April, it should take over 100 days to get a refund. If Westbow can't publish a book with Aliens in it (which I totally understand), then from the minute they received it they should have kicked it back and sent my family to another publisher......and though they sent my son's book to Balboa without our permission, we didn't find out until March of 2015.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

 

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to explain the Content Evaluation procedure and refund requested for the publishing package purchased by Ms. **** ****** for her son, Mr. ******** ******.

 

Ms. ****** purchased the Pro Format publishing package for her son from Westbow Press on October 30, 2013 at the discounted price of $1,139.40.  She chose to use the installment payment plan option which added a non-refundable payment plan fee of $75, making her total $1,214.40. She made the first payment that day of $404.80 with the remaining two (2) payments scheduled for the same day of the month in the following two months.

 

Content Evaluation

The following day, Ms. ****** was contacted by her Check-In-Coordinator (CIC) Ms. Mary *******. Ms. ******* explained the material submissions process and continued to follow-up with Ms. ****** and her son throughout the next eight (8) months until the final manuscript was submitted to Westbow Press on June 27, 2014.

 

Once all materials are submitted, each manuscript undergoes a content review to help authors avoid legal or other content related issues. Upon receipt, their manuscript was moved into the Content Evaluation phase where is was reviewed for potential libel, copyright, invasion of privacy, plagiarism or other issues noted in Section 19 of the Terms and Conditions agreement (a copy of which is attached here for your reference) and the WestBow Press editorial standards as posted on the WestBow Press website at: http://www.westbowpress.com/Whywestbowpress/editorialstandards.aspx.

 

Ms. ******’ son’s manuscript failed the Content Evaluation review on July 7, 2014. A copy of the Content Evaluation results is attached in its entirety for your reference. Action steps were presented to Ms. ****** and her son which identified some examples of the type of changes needed in order for the manuscript to pass the Content Evaluation stage and move forward. At this time Ms. ******* informed Ms. ****** that she was moving to a different position within Westbow Press. Subsequently the action steps were emailed to Ms. ****** by her new CIC, Ms. Gwen ***. Ms. *** checked in with Ms. ****** and her son several times until the revised manuscript was submitted on October 23, 2014.  She also informed them that she was still waiting on the completed Submission Information Form.

 

A Submission Information Form (SIF) is required from all Westbow Press authors in order for their manuscript to move forward with its publication. This document contains relevant information about the technical aspects of the book such as book trim size, paper color, genre, pen name, genre, cover text, and blurbs about the book and/or author. The Content Evaluation team requires this document to be on file when a manuscript is re-submitted for a second evaluation in order to ensure that the pen name, genre, and fiction/non-fiction designation assigned to the book adequately protect or hide identities if prescribed in the Content Evaluation recommendations.

 

Revised Manuscript Evaluation

Ms. *** reached out to Ms. ****** and her son multiple times throughout the next four (4) months to inquire about their progress with the SIF. They confirmed that they were indeed still working on the SIF and would be mailing it when it was finished. We received the final SIF on March 2, 2015, which prompted Ms. *** to send the manuscript and SIF directly back to the Content Evaluation team so they might review the changes made based on the instructions given the previous July.

 

That same day the Content Evaluation failed the manuscript a second time. The full second review can be found on the second page of the attached Content Evaluation Notes document.  This review identifies the absence of a Christian message in the manuscript which is required of all WestBow Press publications, the use of certain words in a manner not sanctioned by Thomas Nelson and the inclusion of violent content and witchcraft, magical or horror references which are inconsistent with the editorial standards of WestBow Press and Thomas Nelson. Action steps were once again provided to Ms. ****** regarding changes that needed to be made to the manuscript to meet the WestBow editorial standards.

 

The Content Evaluator also recommended that if the work were being evaluated for an imprint without the editorial restrictions of WestBow Press, it would pass the review.  

 

Opportunity to Place with a Different Imprint

WestBow Press was formed to help author self-publish their work and is a partnership between Thomas Nelson and Author Solutions LLC that specializes in works with Christian morals, inspirational themes and family values.

 

Based upon the Content Evaluator’s recommendation that the author consider placing the publication of the book with a self-publishing imprint that would be more receptive to the genre and content of his work, Balboa Press was suggested.  Balboa Press is the self-publishing imprint of Hay House, Inc in partnership with Author Solutions LLC.  The imprint publishes works covering a wide range of topics, concentrating on self-help and transformational themes including astrology, numerology, spirituality, meditation, social commentary, finance, nutrition, psychology, etc.  This imprint option was presented to Ms. ******, however it was never finalized.   

 

Refund

In March a refund and transfer request was written for the WestBow publishing package. Based upon the Content Evaluator’s recommendation, a Publishing Consultant was advised to discuss the possibility of an imprint change to Balboa Press with the author.  In April, Ms. ****** indicated to Publishing Supervisor Kate ***** that she preferred a check refund. 

 

The refund request was forwarded for approval and processing. As stated in Schedule A, Section 5 of the terms and conditions of the Westbow Publishing Agreement:

PUBLISHER will refund amounts paid by AUTHOR as follows:

Prior to submission of manuscript 100% less a $150 setup fee

After submission, but prior to interior design 50%

After interior design, but prior to final sign-off 25%

After six months from contract date 0%

 

The package purchase occurred in 2013 and the refund request in 2015.  Subsequently, the request was declined in because the refund eligibility time span had expired. A copy of the agreement is attached for your reference.

 

In deference to the circumstances surrounding the refund, a request for an exemption to the refund terms was prepared and submitted for Executive Review. 

 

We apologize to Ms. ******, her son and husband for the length of time it has taken for their refund to be approved.  The exemption approval was authorized on September 4th.  

 

In order to mail the check we must verify the validity of the address on record. We have tried to reach Ms. ****** several times to do so.  The address on record is: *** ******* ****, Wahiawa HI 96786.  The address provided with this filing is: *** ******* ****** *****, TN 37010. The phone number and email address are the same. We await Ms. ****** address verification.

 

In summary, according to their Content and Editorial guidelines Westbow Press is not able to publish Ms. ******’ son’s manuscript as it stands. Authorization to transfer the publishing package and imprint from Westbow Press to Balboa Press was suggested yet never confirmed. We apologize to the ****** family for any inconvenience this set of circumstances may have caused them.

 

The subsequent refund request exceeded the six (6) month threshold for eligibility and was submitted for refund policy exemption thru executive review.  The exemption was approved and a check will be mailed once we receive confirmation of the address to which it should be sent.

 

We await Ms. ****** address verification.

 

Sincerely,

 

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

9/22/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: they're refusing to give me a refund even though they didn't complete service are published any products of mine

Desired Settlement: Refund of my $563.00

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

 

Thank you for the opportunity to clarify the refund request made by Ms. ********.

 

Ms. ******** purchased a Tablet Black & White Publishing (New Gold) package from Trafford Publishing on September 27, 2014, taking advantage of a promotional rate of $1600 and opting to use an installment payment plan which added a $30 non-refundable service charge, making her total $1630.  In addition, she received a Publicity Plan-Pressroom Edition valued at $429 at no additional cost. 

 

Ms. ******** made the first payment of $563.34 that day with the remaining two payments each set up for auto-charge on the same day of the following two (2) months. Our records show that both the October and November scheduled payments were declined by the card enrolled for the said transaction. As per payment plan policy which was agreed to by Ms. ******** prior to the account setup, additional charges are incurred when payments are declined and a “hold” is placed on the account until payment arrangements are satisfied.

 

Ms. ******** states that she requested cancellation by email in December 2014.  A review of her account found no evidence to confirm or support her statement of requesting cancellation.    Between September 2014 and July 2015 we did find numerous emails and phone calls regarding the completion of paperwork for both her publishing package and the reassignment of rights of her work to her husband, **** ********.  Not until July 10, 2015 did we find any mention of cancellation.  She indicated that now is not a good time to do the project and provided a new address.  The refund request was prepared and forwarded for processing.

 

Ms. ******** states that she requested cancellation by email in December of 2014.  A review of her account found no evidence to confirm or support her statement of requesting cancellation of her project. Between September 2014 and July 2015 we did find numerous emails and phone calls regarding the completion of paperwork for both her publishing package and the reassignment of rights of her work to her husband, **** ********.  Not until July 10, 2015 did we find any mention of cancellation.  She indicated then that it was not a good time to do the project and provided a new address.  The refund request was prepared and submitted for review on July 14, 2015.

 

Per the terms of the Trafford Services Agreement, Section 8 Termination & Refunds, Subsection 8.2 Refunds, paragraph (a) (b) and (c), if termination occurs the following applies:

 

8.2 Refunds. Subject to the exception in Section 8.3 below, upon Termination of the Agreement, We will refund amounts paid by You for Publishing Packages or individual Services ("Refund") as follows:

 

(a) Publishing Packages. The potential Refund for a Publishing Package is exclusive to the amount paid for such Publishing Package as set forth in the Service Order(s), and will be calculated as follows:  i) Prior to submission of the Manuscript: 100%, less a non-refundable $150 (USD) Setup Fee; ii) After (i) above but prior to the start of interior design work: 50%; iii) After (ii) but prior to Final Approval 25%; iv) After Final Approval No Refund

 

(b) Services not Included in Publishing Packages. We will Refund to You the full amount paid for individual Services not included in a Publishing Package, or Additional Services, that We have not fulfilled or started to fulfill, or that We are unable to fulfill as of the effective date of the Termination. If We have fulfilled or started to fulfill a Service or Additional Service, no Refund for that Service or Additional Service will be due to You.

 

(c) if You terminate this Agreement more than six (6) months after the Effective Date, You will not be entitled to a Refund under 8.2(a) or 8.2(b).

 

The refund eligible period expired on March 27, 2015.  The request for refund was received from Ms. ******** on July 10, 2015 nearly ten (10) months after the date of the purchase, September 27, 2014.  The request was denied on July 20th. A request for a refund exemption was prepared and submitted for executive review and approval the same day.  No approval has been received; the refund denial stands.

 

In summary, Ms. ******** requested a refund after the refund eligibility period had expired.  She had ample opportunity to register her cancellation desire when speaking with our staff during the six (6) month period of refund eligibility.  The refund is denied.

 

Sincerely,

 

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

9/12/2015 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: In the beginning of August, I purchased the first payment for a service that Xlibris offered. I realized that I couldn't afford it and so I asked for a refund right away the same day! The lady that I was working with told me that it would be no problem and that she would put that in right away. Well I never heard back from who I was supposed to hear back from and then all of a sudden she was out on vacation and her boss could not help me. I continued to call and ask for my refund, but no one at the company could help me with my refund. I didn't understand so I continued to call every other day until August 31st, when I finally got in touch with the original agent. Finally she told me some sob story and NOW should would take care of it. Well not only has it been a week again, but now they are trying to charge me another 700 and something dollars even though I've never signed ANY paperwork for anything to continue being charged AND I asked for a refund for the last five weeks. Please help!

Desired Settlement: I want both payments back. I want the one that is scheduled to go through back which is $739.80 to either not go through or to be refunded and the original payment on August 6th, 2015 of $769.80 to also be refunded like the lady Joan **** said it would be.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

 

Thank you for the opportunity to describe the steps taken to provide Ms. ***** with her refund.

 

Ms. ********* ***** signed up to publish her book with Xlibris on August 5, 2015. She purchased a Black & White Executive publishing package, taking advantage of a promotional rate of $3699 from the regular $7449 price.  She opted to use an installment payment plan which added a $30 non-refundable surcharge, making her package total $3729. Ms. ***** made the first payment of $769.80 that day with the remaining four (4) payments each set up for auto-charge on the same day of the following four months.

 

Ms. ***** contacted Xlibris on August 5, 2015; the same day she purchased her publishing package requesting for its cancellation citing special circumstances arising that make it impossible for her to continue with the project. Ms. ***** was advised that the cancellation request and the corresponding refund will be forwarded to the appropriate department for processing according to our refund process and policy.

 

Under Section 8. Termination & Refunds of the publishing agreement published on our website, cancellation and refund requests shall be processed within a 35 day period.

 

8.6 Timing of Refund; Non-Refundable Fees. We will make reasonable efforts to process any Refund due within thirty-five (35) days after the date of the Termination, absent any extenuating circumstance or disagreement regarding the applicability or amount of the Refund. We may issue the Refund to You by the same payment mechanism that You paid Us with, or, if that payment mechanism (such as the original credit card) is no longer available, any other mechanism We choose, in Our discretion.

 

As of this writing, a full refund for the monies paid has been issued to Ms. *****’s credit card in accordance with the thirty-five (35) day refund timeline as published on our website. The payment plan agreement has been cancelled and the remaining balance vacated.

 

The refund was made in the following three (3) transactions. Depending upon the policies of the banks involved it may take from 3 to 5 business days before the monies appear on her account.    

$739.80 to MC ending 1035, transaction ID ********************************

$739.80 to MC ending 1035, transaction ID ********************************

$30 to MC ending 1035, transaction ID ********************************

 

We trust this information illustrates our attention to Ms. *****’s concerns.

 

Sincerely,

 

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and find that this resolution would be satisfactory to me.

However, please note that Joan ****, the woman I spoke to, told me 8-10 business days which is why I had frustration. If she had been upfront, I would have never filed this complaint.

Regards,

********* *****

9/11/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Complaint Details Unavailable
9/10/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Abbott Press promised me (contracted) several things and they did not perform these things. They charged me $6500 for a 'public relations' campaign that was a complete scam. I have complained to them numerous times and promised that a 'superior' will call me back. It has never happened. They say they sent out press releases, but not one result, even thought they own several publications that it could have run in. They also said that my book would be 'considered' by *** **********. Didn't happen and it's pretty much a scam.

Desired Settlement: I want my money returned for a job not done.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to explain the Online Newsmaker Publicity Campaign that Mr. ******** purchased as well as the *** ********** ****** and his eligibility for a refund. 

Mr. ******** questions the fulfillment of two marketing and promotional services. It is important to recognize that, as stated in the descriptions of each of these services, their purpose is to provide targeted information about his book to multiple media outlets and resources so they may in turn reach out to the consumer.  The decision to review, publicize or recommend a title lies with the media resource; the decision to purchase a copy of the book is at the discretion of the consumer.  

Mr. ******** writes that he believes Abbott Press owns several publications where his press release could have run.  For clarification on the make-up of Abbott Press and its mission, we refer Mr. ******** to the Abbott Press website and the January 22, 2010 press release announcing the partnership between Writer’s Digest and Author Solutions to launch a self-publishing division--Abbott Press.  This association is devoted to helping writers improve their work and realize their dreams of getting published.  http://www.abbottpress.com/AboutUs/News/PR012211.aspx

 

Online Newsmaker Publicity Campaign

On August 21, 2013, Mr. ******** purchased the Online Newsmaker Publicity Campaign for the discounted price of $6399.20.  He chose to pay for the service on a 4 installment payment plan, adding a non refundable $75 payment plan fee, making the total $6474.20.

 

A description of the service can be found on the Abbott Press website at:  http://www.abbottpress.com/Servicestore/ServiceDetail.aspx?ServiceId=PKG-1144.  There are two parts to the Online Newsmaker Publicity Campaign:  a six week campaign led by a personal publicist, which includes social media networking thru Facebook, Twitter and a blog; the second part is a more traditional campaign, which includes a press release being sent to media outlets. 

Mr. ******** returned the Online Newsmaker Publicity Campaign questionnaire in early September.  He completed the payment plan on November 21, 2013 (fulfillment of the service does not begin until the service is paid in full).  On December 12, 2013, Mr. ******** was emailed the names of his publicists and the plan document for the campaign.

The traditional campaign was launched on February 3, 2014 and ended on March 10, 2014; the social media campaign was launched on February 10, 2014 and ended on March 17, 2014.  The post fulfillment report emails were sent to Mr. ******** on March 17, 2014 and March 24, 2014, respectively.  Attached are the reports that were sent to him.  As these reports show, the campaigns were fulfilled as described in the product description. 

*** ********** ******

One of the services included in Mr. ********** publishing package is the *** ********** ******.  Attached for your reference is a description of the service.  This review is conducted by *** *****, the holding company of Writer’s Digest, and all decisions regarding acquisition are at their discretion.

 

On September 10, 2013, customer service sent Mr. ******** an email instructing him to fill out the *** ***** form.  Mr. ******** returned the form on September 21, 2013. Completed forms are then sent to the brand manager in batches once a month.  On September 30, 2013, Mr. ********** form was emailed to the brand manager for submittal to *** *****. On October 8, 2013, Mr. ********** galley, cover, and form were emailed by the brand manager to our contact at *** *****. 

As the service description states, it is up to *** ***** to decide if the title is of interest to them and if so, they will contact the author directly.  Abbott Press is not included in the decision or in any subsequent negotiations. 

Contact with Staff

Mr. ******** writes that he had registered his complaint and was told that a ‘supervisor’ would contact him.  A review of our communications was initiated.  Attached is a call report showing the inbound and outbound calls to the phone number of record for Mr. ******** from the time of his purchases in 2013 to date.  The report shows fifty-eight (58) calls were made from August 2013 thru August 2015. Of those calls, only eight (8) were inbound to us; the remaining fifty (50) were calls made by our staff to him. Several of those were from supervisors. 

 

An accommodation of the renewal of the booksellers return program for two (2) years, a $ 720 value, resulted from one of those calls.  His request for re

 

In closing, the decision to review, publicize or recommend a title is made by the media source; the decision to purchase a copy of the book lies with the consumer.  Both the Online Newsmaker Publicity Campaign and the *** ******* services were fulfilled as described.  Their fulfillment makes them ineligible for refund.   

We trust this information illustrates the steps we have taken to fulfill Mr. ********** marketing and promotional services.

Sincerely,

Elaine **************

Manager of Author Satisfaction

Consumer Response:

I do not have anything from the BBB that says I had to respond to Abbott Press. There is a statement saying it is closed and to await further word, but nothing about responding.

 

Abbott Press and their so called ‘PR’ firm, got $6500 from me and essentially wrote one press release, that I wasn’t thrilled with as well as the timing, but went along because they told me they were experts at what they do. All they did was send out one press release to a bunch of media that gets enormous amounts press releases like the one they sent. Not one article was generated. I’m in advertising and for $6400 I could have bribed a newspaper reporter to run the story. I could have got more publicity if I had thrown $6500 cash out in a big crowd.

 

The point is, the PR campaign that they offer is nothing but a scam. I’ve been in marketing and advertising for over 30 years and I can tell a phony when I see one.

 

I am going to continue to go to online sites for writers to warn them of this scam, despite the BBB bowing to a local company over an out of town sucker.

 

*** ********

9/8/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I ordered 10 books for a specific event. I understood that canceling book orders was against policy at that time. When I received the books and took them out of the box in my air conditioned apartment, the covers started curling. I tried placing heavy books on top of them overnight and the next day they became worse. I was unable to use them for intended event. I contacted an authorhouse rep (Norrie *****) who, when I explained the situation, just asked what the issue was. She asked me to send an email explaining the issue with pictures. I was not happy with the customer service experience at that point. I did send pictures of the covers to miss ***** which I did not hear back from. The next day (august 11th) I called back and spoke with Joseph *****. I explained the situation again to him. He asked me for numbers on the last page of the interior of the book which were not present (having to do with the press the book was run on). He seemed to not believe me when I stated these numbers were not there and asked that I send pictures of the page as well for proof. (I never heard anything more about the missing numbers. ) Which I did. His response was that the "curl is extreme" and that he would " keep me posted". I told him at that point I was not interested in the books being replaced but was expecting a refund as I could not use the books for the intended purpose and due to multiple bad experiences with AuthorHouse staff I was not planning on doing anything more with my current book. On the 18th (7 days later) after not being updated, I called and talked to Joseph. He stated the books were being replaced. I reminded him that I had no desire or use for replacement books. I asked to speak with his manager. I did speak with her that evening. I did not write her name down. She was very short and seemed annoyed raising her voice at times. I told her due to multiple bad experiences with AuthorHouse customer support I had no intention of continuing services through them, so I didn't have use for the books nor could I use them for the intended purpose. She said she called back right away and we (her department) responded immediately to the current complaint. When I pointed out that it had been a week she quoted a policy that states a week is an appropriate amount of time for responses. I said as a customer it isn't. I then asked to speak to her supervisor and she informed me I could but would get the same answer. I had been told by Joseph that "they" were in the office until 9 pm. When she stated that Sharon had left I stated "I was told that she was in until 9pm. she almost scolded me stating "she" was in until 9 and Sharon left at 6. Never acknowledging I was given incorrect information. Sharon did call the next day. I missed the call but talked to her on the 20th. She told me minor waving was expected with print on demand books and they do not typically replace book orders of any size due to this type of issue. They were generously replacing my books as a sign of good faith, even though I continously stated I didn't want more books. I was not very happy at this point and told her they should put waving covers in their brochure. (Not my finest moment ) I did ask for an email stating what she had told me over the phone about their policy. I got this email the next day. She referred to the issues I was having as "slight waves in the covers" I replied to this email sending her the same pictures I sent to Joseph who described it as "extreme curling" and just asked to clarify if she considered that as slight curling and if she herself would buy a book in that condition. I have received no response at this time.

Desired Settlement: I want to be refunded $91.24 that I spent on the books.

Business Response:

Dear BBB,

Thank you for the opportunity to describe the steps taken to resolve Ms. *******’s the book printing concerns.

On July 22, 2015, Ms. ******* purchased 10 copies of her book from her book consultant. 

Ms. ******* called customer service on August 9, 2015 to speak with her book consultant and explain that the covers of her books were curling.  The customer service rep said he would have the book orders customer service department contact her.

On August 11, 2015, Ms. ******* spoke with Joseph ***** in the book orders customer service department.  Mr. ***** requested that Ms. ******* email pictures of the curling issue to him.  At that time Ms. ******* requested a refund.  In order to proceed with either a refund or replacement copies, the book orders customer service department must receive the pictures to forward to the printer. 

A week later on August 18, 2015, Ms. ******* called again to speak with Mr. *****.  He let Ms. ******* know that the printer was going to send her 10 replacement copies.  She stated that she did not want replacement copies; she wanted a refund.  When Mr. ***** said that a refund would not be granted for this issue, Ms. ******* asked to speak with a supervisor.

That same day, Mr. *****’ supervisor, Rey ****** spoke with Ms. ******* about the issues with the book order.  Mr. ****** explained again that no refund would be granted but we would be replacing the books.  Ms. ******* stated that she did not want replacement books because the event for which she purchased the books had passed.  When Mr. ****** did not grant a refund, Ms. ******* requested Mr. ******’s supervisor.

Sharon *****, Mr. ******’s supervisor, spoke with Ms. ******* on August 20, 2015 and reiterated the same information provided by Mr. ******.  Ms. ***** also told Ms. ******* that the heat generated by the printing press or other factors such as humidity, can cause waviness in the pages. 

Unfortunately, what Mr. ****** or Ms. ***** failed to acknowledge is that, based on the images Ms. ******* emailed, the pages inside the book are not wavy.  The issue is with the cover; it is bent backward in a rainbow shape.  This is outside the normal printer variance allowed.

After receiving the pictures from Ms. ******* and speaking with the printer to verify that the curling is outside printer variance, Ms. ******* should have been granted a refund, as she requested, instead of replacement copies.  Regrettably, this did not occur. On August 24, 2015, a refund for the full amount paid by Ms. *******, $91.24, was approved and paid back to the credit card used to make the purchase, transaction number ********************************. We apologize for the delay in implementing her refund.

In closing, Ms. ******* received inferior books for a book event.  After she sent the required proof and requested a refund, replacement copies were ordered instead.  On August 24, 2015, a full refund on the book order was approved and paid to the credit card used to ma