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College textbooks are very expensive, a point on which we may all agree. That is why it is cost-effective to buy used or even rent a student’s books for a semester’s classes.

This is the plan that one Delaware college student had set into motion when she began her studies. But all didn’t quite turn out as she had planned, and she learned a lesson about life -and late fees.

Amelia SanFilippo is majoring speech-language pathology. One of her textbooks was listed at the hefty price of $400 to purchase, so Amelia went shopping for a better price. She learned that she could rent the textbook from Amazon for less than $50.

Amazon has a late return policy that states you will be charged for a 15-day extension if the book is not returned on time. After that, if you still haven’t returned the book, they will charge you the full price, and it is then yours to keep.

Needless to say, Amelia did not return the book on time. Not the first time, nor apparently the second. Amazon charged her for the book, and told her it was now hers to keep. That might have been alright, had Amazon not charged her $3800.

Thank goodness, Amelia’s father, Anthony, was paying attention. He immediately called Amazon, and although he says it took him all day, he finally got a refund on his account after five days of haggling with Amazon customer service.

Of course, Amazon says it has apologized, and that this was a one-off error. Mr. SanFilippo thinks differently.

“I think Amazon is taking advantage of college students, I do”, Anthony says. “I don’t think they’re alone. I think there are other companies that are probably doing the same thing.”

Something you may want to bring to your college students as a new school year is coming up.

If you have legal questions, please consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.

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