Textbook dealer opens near U

By By Ana Breton

By Ana Breton

Bucks4Books opened this week with a sign that promised students a “refreshing” new experience in textbook buying.

However, because the bookstore opened in the 1330 E. 200 South spot where a branch of Beat the Bookstore Inc. used to be, the new business might have to work to clear the negative baggage that comes with its location.

Beat the Bookstore has been in turmoil since the franchise near the U closed without warning in October. The owner of that independent store closed its doors without telling its corporate headquarters or customers, leaving many U students who purchased books there without the credit they were owed.

The store’s owner, Zachary Neipp, hasn’t been in contact with Beat the Bookstore’s headquarters since he closed the store six months ago, and his attorney, Steve Chambers, hasn’t heard from him since December. David Monk, the co-founder and president of Beat the Bookstore, resigned in February to the surprise of his staff members, and Beat the Bookstore’s corporate headquarters in Utah has since sold its assets to Next Stage Partners, a venture capital fund based in Delaware, said Jeffrey Thompson, the business’ attorney.

Phone numbers of the company have been disconnected, and records of students’ store credits have yet to be obtained, as they might have been left with Neipp, said Martin Venturini, the former corporate in marketing of Beat the Bookstore, in an earlier interview.

Most recently, the Utah Division of Consumer Protection is taking Neipp to court to enforce a $10,000 fine against him. The division originally filed an administrative citation in December against The Atherton Group, the company that owned the franchise, but it was never paid.

The citation alleged that “Beat the Bookstore committed a deceptive act or practice…by falsely indicating that consumer transactions involved warranties, disclaimer of warranties…(and) failed to honor particular warranty terms,” according to court documents.

Because Beat the Bookstore did not request a hearing to review the citation, the citation became a final order of the division. The order, filed through the 3rd District Court, was finalized April 4 and enforced a $10,000 citation, plus court and attorney fees.

“We don’t know how much consumers have lost,” said Kevin Olsen, director of the Utah Division of Consumer Protection. Olsen said the division has about 100 complaints from bookstore customers, although he could not provide the exact number of students involved.

Jacob Hansen, an electrical engineering major, sold his books to Beat the Bookstore in October and earned $174 worth of credit. The store gave Hansen a check that day, but it was later returned.

According to court documents, Hansen “discovered that (the business) had been closed and the telephone number was disconnected. There was no response for a refund.”

Checks might have been the reason the store closed in the first place. Although the reason as to why Neipp abruptly closed the store’s doors remains unknown, Thompson said Neipp told him there were problems with checks within the store around the time he closed the franchise.

“He said someone in his company had taken money, or checks, that had made it difficult to keep the store open,” Thompson said. “We just told him to get those doors open, and he said they were, but when we went there, he wasn’t there.”

Neipp’s phone has been disconnected since December.

However, the new store is confident it will gain back student customers of the old store, which had been there since 2004.

“We heard about the location association of the situation, but we’re a refreshing new approach,” said Gareth Leonard, spokesman for Bucks4Books. “We deal only in cash. We’re a new company, and we don’t have any affiliation with Beat the Bookstore.”

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Aaron Schwendiman

Employees Ronda Lynn and Mike Mason help Cindy Montgomary, a business student, sell back her books to the new Bucks 4 Books bookstore located at 1330 E. 200 South. Bucks 4 Books took over the location were the old Beat the Bookstore used to be.