Okay, I'm outraged and have to ask you if this is normal vendor behavior. There is a distributor of books and videos located on Long Island. Lots of libraries use them and apparently they give decent discounts for books. For about 6 months the sales rep was pursuing an account with us for videos. So when our new budget year began Sept. 1, I got an account set up with them and we started ordering things.
They have this website that lists prices. However, and the sales rep never told me this (I think because she did not know), the price on their website is the list price. This is where it gets complicated. When they are able to get a discount on a video, they pass some of that discount along to us. However, when they are NOT able to get a discount, not only do they charge us list price, they ADD A SERVICE CHARGE THAT IS A PERCENTAGE OF THE LIST PRICE. And they won't tell you what that charge is going to be unless you contact them PRIOR TO ORDERING to find out. So, you get an invoice for something that was listed at, for example, $200, and the actual price on the invoice turns out to be $230.95.
Am I right to be outraged? Obviously I won't be placing any more orders with this vendor if I can possibly get the title from somewhere else, but I think this mark-up "service charge" is bizarre. They did try to negotiate with me by dropping their fuel surcharge, and by limiting the mark-up to a flat $20 for titles over $100, but I'm still not interested. No other vendors that we use engage in this practice.
What do you think??? Am I just naive???
Sarah E. McCleskey
Head of Access Services
Acting Director, Film and Media Library
112 Axinn Library
123 Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549
VIDEOLIB is intended to encourage the broad and lively discussion of issues relating to the selection, evaluation, acquisition,bibliographic control, preservation, and use of current and evolving video formats in libraries and related institutions. It is hoped that the list will serve as an effective working tool for video librarians, as well as a channel of communication between libraries,educational institutions, and video producers and distributors.