Coop Overcharges For Constitutional Law Text

Sara Joe Wolansky

The textbook for “American Constitutional Law” was mistakenly sold to students at the Coop for over $50 above the actual price.

Students who bought the textbook for Government 1510: “American Constitutional Law” from the Coop will soon be $54.20 less poor.

According to an email sent to students enrolled in the course, the book’s publisher overcharged the Coop for “Constitutional Law: Cases and Comments and Questions,” causing the store to originally price the book at $270.85.

The actual price should have been $216.65.

The course’s professor, Law School Professor Richard H. Fallon, said he was told by the Coop that 42 students bought the book at the higher price. There are 193 students currently enrolled in Fallon’s course.

The Coop will refund students the full difference, the email to the class said.

Medha B. Gargeya ’14, who is enrolled in the course, said that although she looked at the Coop’s prices, more competitive pricing elsewhere motivated her to buy the textbook online.

Students interviewed for this article said that among those students they knew in the course, most had bought the textbook from an online vendor.

“I bought my book on Amazon,” Gargeya said. “I think most people ended up doing that.”

On Amazon, the newest edition of the book sells for $195 new and from $179.99 used.

Caroline G. Cox ’14 said that she originally purchased the book new from the Coop for “convenience’s sake.” She called the refund “reasonable” given the pricing error.

“Constitutional Law: Cases and Comments and Questions” is updated every five years with recent Supreme Court decisions. The most recent edition came out only three months ago, making it difficult to find a used copy of the book online. Fallon is one of three authors of the book.

Fallon said that although he “felt badly” about the cost of “Constitutional Law,” the book is an essential part of course.

“The discussion that I mean to have in the classroom is based very substantially on cases decided in the Supreme Court that are collected in the case book,” Fallon said.

Students can receive their refund by bringing their book and a copy of their receipt to the textbook department of the Coop.

—Staff writer Hana N. Rouse can be reached at hrouse@college.harvard.edu.

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