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Sunday, 29th November 2009

College textbook vendor business practices examined in newspaper investigation

Student books cost extra at SPC Clearwater campus

Bob Stubblefield started this war. For two years, the manager of St. Petersburg College's Clearwater bookstore beat his head against the wall and got nowhere.

He accused his bosses at Follett Higher Education Group, the largest textbook seller in North America, of systematically overcharging SPC students.

"The students and other customers have never been compensated for this scam," he wrote to company managers. "Follett senior management involved in these overpricing procedures should be ashamed of themselves and severely punished. "

His bosses never told him he was wrong; they just ordered him to stop complaining. When he kept on, they fired him for insubordination.

Next, he met with top SPC administrators and lawyers. He walked them through internal Follett documents, and he invited them to call with questions.

"It was a lot of numbers, and I can understand being baffled," he said. "But in 10 months, not one question?"

Source: St. Petersburg Times

Note: RS Senior Editor Shirl Kennedy is a news researcher for the St. Petersburg Times.


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