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As parents wait for books or their money back, Schoolbooks.ie stays silent

Parents continue to experience problems with the online school books retailer which could not be contacted yesterday.

The homepage of Schoolbooks.ie yesterday
The homepage of Schoolbooks.ie yesterday
Image: Screengrab

PARENTS ARE CONTINUING to report problems with orders for school books placed with the online retailer Schoolbooks.ie nearly a month after issues were first raised about company.

Last month, dozens of parents complained that their children were going back to school with no books after their orders failed to materialise weeks after they were placed.

While the company acknowledged a backlog of orders and apologised it claimed in a series of statements that the backlog would be cleared.

But as children completed their first full week back at school this week some were still waiting for books ordered by their parents as far back as the beginning of August.

Dozens of parents have contacted TheJournal.ie in the last fortnight to complain about delays in receiving their books or their money back after cancelling their orders. Nearly all of them have raised frustrations with a lack of communication from the company.

Schoolbooks.ie, which is no longer working with the public relations firm it hired after the problems began, did not respond to a number of requests for comment yesterday.

In trying to contact the company, TheJournal.ie was left on hold for over three hours. Repeated requests for an interview with the company’s managing director, John Cunningham, have not been responded to.

The company has repeatedly apologised for the delays in delivering orders as well for errors made in updates it has given about its backlog. It claimed a week ago to be manually reviewing all orders to ascertain the extent of its backlog but has made no public comment since.

Schoolbooks.ie states on its website that typical delivery times are 5 to 7 working days but one parent said that she has still not received a book order which cost her over €200 and which she placed on 20 August.

“Its a great service for people who haven’t a lot of time and are under pressure but I think they could have been more open and spoke to people on the phone and assured them that they will get their books,” she said.

No communication

Another parent said that her experience had been a “total disaster”. She ordered books on 13 August but cancelled the order on 28 August. Despite this she has still not been refunded the money she paid for the books and school supplies.

“It is impossible to get through on their contact number and they are not responding to any emails,” she said in an email.

Another parent said she placed an order on 26 July but having not received it by 1 September, she cancelled it. Many parents asked to remain anonymous when sharing their stories.

Peter Dineen, a school teacher from Cork, said his three children went back to school last week without some of the books and workbooks they needed until his order – which had been placed in July – finally arrived at the beginning of this week.

He told TheJournal.ie yesterday: “I was wondering had they gone belly up or what. I tried to ring them 20 or 30 times and there was no answer on the phone.

“They say they are fulfilling all orders and that was making me really mad. They weren’t manning the phones and I can’t see how that company will exist next year because nobody is going to go to them. I feel sorry for the workers. The trust has been broken”.

Another parent, Kate, said she ordered books on 4 August but only received them last Wednesday with no communication whatsoever from the company during that time.

She said: “We didn’t receive any contact – no e-mails, no phone calls, no apology. I e-mailed the company 18 times because I couldn’t get through on the phone the last week, and didn’t receive a single reply.”

Schoolbooks.ie claimed in three statements last month that they were working “24 hours a day, seven days a week to clear the backlog” but a number of parents who contacted TheJournal.ie claimed they were told by staff at the company’s call centre that this was not the case.

Repeated attempts to reach the company yesterday in an attempt to query the current status of its backlog and to ask if the company had any response to the problems parents have been experiencing were unsuccessful.

TheJournal.ie spent a total of three-and-a-half hours on hold to the company yesterday.

There was no response to an email sent to the communications department and the PR company, which stopped working with the retailer at the end of August, was also unable to contact the company.

Have you been affected by the problems at Schoolbooks.ie? Let us know  your story in the comments or email hugh@thejournal.ie

Last week: Schoolbooks.ie admits errors as it manually reviews order backlog

Read more: ‘We have cleared our backlog’: Schoolbooks.ie’s statements in full

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