The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Follett charged in suit

By Charity Montieth and Susan Tallant/reporters

Follett, TCC’s new bookstore and the largest operator of college bookstores in America, could be in trouble if they lose a battle brewing in Florida’s court system.

The class-action suit, filed by Daytona Beach Community College students Thomas Rebman and Danny Brandner, claims unfair pricing practices, accusing Follett of overcharging students on used-books and underpaying them when buying books back.

Rebman said the contract between Follett and DBCC states Follett will buy used textbooks back at 50 percent of the customer’s purchase price.

“ Nobody here is getting 50 percent,” he said in a Collegian interview.

Rebman was asked by the campus president to be a student representative on a task force set up to address concerns about customer service and other campus issues.

After months of interviewing students and faculty, Rebman found that one of the top concerns was the price of textbooks. When he went to the campus president with the results, he was told there was no fix for that problem.

So Rebman started a Web site, www.falconbooksdirect.com, for students at Daytona Beach to use as a book exchange. He continued interviewing students. Other Florida schools have signed up for similar Web sites through Redman’s non-profit organization.

The lawsuit was filed after Rebman attended a DBCC board meeting with 40 receipts he collected from students to prove the allegations that Follett was not giving 50 percent to students who sold books back.

“ As I was halfway through my speech, [the campus president] stands up and says in front of everybody, ‘I suggest Mr. Rebman take this matter up in court,’” he said. “So I went out and found a class-action attorney.”

The outcome, which could have an effect on TCC students, has three separate classes: students from DBCC, all Florida colleges and nationwide campuses using Follett.

Pam Goodman, a Follett spokeswoman for Follett Higher Education, said the lawsuit was not filed by Daytona Beach Community College or their representatives.

Reading from a prepared statement, Goodman said that both Daytona Beach Community College and Follett each conducted independent and extensive audits. Both parties agreed Follett was following by the terms of their contract with Daytona Beach Community College.

“ Follett believes the lawsuit is without legal basis,” she said. “Follett takes great care to abide by the terms of the contract.”

If courts uphold the class-action status, TCC students would fit in the nationwide class.

Some TCC students and faculty have expressed concerns and issues similar to those in Florida. Complaints include lack of supplies, slow process to obtain textbooks and an increase in prices over last semester.

“ Students and faculty called immediately at the start [of Follett’s takeover] with price concerns and lack of books,” Greta Harris-Hardland, math instructor and department chair on NE Campus, said. “I have been working with Follett, TCC and several textbook and license publishers to address the concerns.”

Clayton Anders, distance-learning student, went to the bookstore several times, and it did not have his book, so he chose to buy it online.

“ I bought my book direct from the manufacturer,” he said. “It was $40 cheaper than Follett. It came with extra CDs and arrived in two days.”

Some students go off campus to purchase books.

“ I never shop at the [campus] bookstore,” Zach Hopkins, NE student, said. “I buy all of my books from Sweeney’s because it is cheaper.”

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