Chegg has established itself as a student resource, intended to be a place where all students could go to find textbooks and to get help getting through the courses for those books. Through Chegg, you can rent, buy, and even sell back textbooks. According to Chegg, about five million students use their services every year. The company was created in 2005 and is based out of Santa Clara, California. Primarily, they handle all things textbook, but they have the occasional other type of book in their library as well, so as a potential customer, you can search through their inventory to see if they carry the book you need.

The Good

With about a decade of experience in the online bookstore industry, Chegg has several features that are sure to please. Not only have they set themselves apart by specializing in the textbook industry; they have gone above and beyond some of its competitors by providing additional resources for students to help them succeed. In other words, rather than just providing textbooks, they stand by as a source for help understanding the material.

Customers will most appreciate the following features about Chegg:

  • Quality books. Chegg is pretty discerning about the books they buy back from customers. They only accept books that are in very good condition. So in other words, they can’t have severely damaged spines, torn pages, water damage, or excessive highlights. This bodes well for all future customers, as they can be assured that the books they buy from Chegg will be in good condition.
  • Shipping. Shipping costs through Chegg are very reasonable as well, which likely comes as a relief with online shopping. For orders of physical textbooks that meet or exceed $55, they will pay for the shipping costs. They also promise free shipping for returned books and books that you sell to them. For these, you just have to print a prepaid label to bring the packaged book(s) to UPS. Furthermore, if you are returning a book, you can do so for any reason within 21 days; you don’t have to have a certain reason for getting a refund.
  • Customer support. The customer support at Chegg is pretty exceptional as well. They provide live chatting and phone numbers to call for questions and comments. But they go beyond that and provide a “Homework Help” section on their website. This is where students can turn to for technical questions for eTextbooks, questions about the practice problems in the textbooks they purchased, definitions found in the books, and much more. This resource is incredibly helpful.Chegg provides a lot of valuable resources for students. Because they provide the option to buy a membership, students can also have more convenient access to these resources. In several ways, the company strives to set up its student customers for success.

The Bad

Admittedly, there are weaknesses to Chegg as well. This company might have several years of experience and convenient features, but there is one thing they lack for their customers: a loyalty program. Chegg isn’t the only online bookstore to not offer rewards for regular customers. But regardless of what the competition offers, it would be nice if loyal customers (particularly the ones who have paid for memberships) could be rewarded just a bit for their purchases. This might not be a red flag for many customers, but it is still a customer-friendly feature that Chegg lacks. In addition, the following limitations could deter some potential customers:

  • No audiobooks. Chegg offers plenty of printed textbooks and ebooks, but what they don’t offer is audiobooks. Some students prefer to use audiobooks or may even be required to have access to one for a course, so it would be nice if Chegg added this format to their inventory. Without them, their customer base is that much more limited.
  • Return policy. Despite how great it is that you can return your textbooks for any reason and still get a full refund, the fact remains that you get only 21 days to make the return. And that’s just for physical textbooks; ebooks have to be returned within 14 days. Two or three weeks should be enough time to make your decision and take care of the logistics to return a textbook. But some companies allow a full month or even two months to make your returns. With that in mind, Chegg comes out as a little bit stingy on the time frame for returns.
  • No editorial reviews. Finally, there are no editorial reviews available on the Chegg website. They do provide customer reviews and book summaries, which can be extremely helpful in deciding whether you a textbook is the right one to purchase. But editorial reviews can be valuable in other ways. They offer more of a professional opinion on the books. It would be nice if these were available to read just in case students needed more information about a book.By and large, the limitations for this company will affect a limited amount of customers—particular those who need audiobooks or those who would rather have rewards programs and flexible return terms. There are much worse limitations to have, but these still threaten to deter some students.   

The Bottom Line

A wide variety of students would enjoy the textbook services that Chegg offers. Not only does the company have several appealing features; it is geared totally toward students and helping them succeed in school. Furthermore, the company has a very positive reputation backing it. The Better Business Bureau gave them an A- rating, which says a lot about the way Chegg interacts with customers.

Those who won’t find Chegg to be useful are customers who need other types of books (not textbooks) and audiobooks of course. Their stricter time frame for returns pales a bit compared to some online bookstores, but on the whole, the other limitations that Chegg has won’t necessarily lead to a bad customer experience.

All in all, Chegg has a great reputation and great goals for all its customers. Should you decide to enlist their services, you will likely enjoy their customer support and quality products.

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    February 10th, 2016 Duluth, MN

    DO NOT GO THROUGH CHEGG. I decided to sell my books through this site and I put 2 books in the same box. First off, it took me almost 2 months to get paid, and only reason I did was because I emailed them so many times about my books. Second off, they said they couldn’t find my second book so I only got paid for one. This was their error because I sent them in the same box and their order numbers were the same.

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