Bait & switch on on-line orders

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  #1  
Old 07-29-07, 02:08 PM
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Bait & switch on on-line orders

I'm curious if anyone else has any bad experiences with ordering "sale" items from on-line vendors only to have them become "backordered".

This has just happened for the second time in a row with a major electronics retailer [Circuit City, Best Buy, Comp USA, etc type of store]. I ordered a LAN switch regular price $49.95 on sale at $19.95 on-line. Even got an order confirmation email with estimated delivery date. Three hours later I get a SECOND email saying the item is backordered and expected to leave the warehouse in 1-2 weeks [this is two weeks ago and, surprise, it's still backordered]. They then give the options to check stores for availability for store pickup [aren't any], opt for another item that fits my needs [at a higher price, I'm sure; not the sale price], or cancel the order. All meaning the $19.95 "sale" price doesn't appear to have been worth the paper it was printed on.

I sent a flaming email to customer service and got the standard party line in response. When I replied that the answers provided didn't placate me they quoted me the fine print from the website that "By using the __________ Web site, you expressly agree that use of the _____________ Web site is at your sole risk. The _________Web site is provided on an "as is" and "as available" basis. Neither ___________ nor its Associates warrant the accuracy, integrity or completeness of the content provided on the __________ Web site or the products or services offered for sale on the _________ Web site.

Prices and availability of products and services are subject to change without notice. Your receipt of an electronic or other form of order confirmation does not signify our acceptance of your order, nor does it constitute confirmation of our offer to sell. Please review the Shipping & Deliveries page in our Help section for additional information on shipping times, rates, and policies."

Needless to say, the chances of me ordering from them again on-line are pretty slim.
 
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Old 07-29-07, 04:29 PM
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My only experience with online is with e-bay and those deals have worked out well.
Seems merchants and individuals work hard to keep up their positive feedback.

I did have something close though.
In my home city and a major electronics store has online deals that they honor in-store.
Last two times I went looking for an item I saw online and they denied knowing anything about the sale.
Both times I pulled out a piece of paper I had printed that morning showing the sale price.
The manager honored the sale price wasn't too happy because it was lowered enough to allow me to buy a set of 5 replacement cartridges for the Canon printer I bought.
 
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Old 07-29-07, 06:53 PM
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Sweet. Sometimes the local guys get the shaft from nationally advertised specials they have no control over.

Can't wait to see how mine turns out. Fortunately the lan switch I ordered is for daughter's dorm room at college and we don't move her in until Labor Day weekend, so I can wait them out (provided they don't unilaterally cancel the order after 30 days).
 
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Old 07-30-07, 07:17 AM
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I don't think your problem qualifies as bait and switch which is a deliberate effort to mislead. If there is no hard sell attempt to get you to buy a more expensive product bait and switch probably isn't the case. It could be that the company simply sold out because of the great price.

I do a lot of on line purchases and learned a while back that a phone call to a company's customer service department usually gets a better response than an e-mail.
 
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Old 07-30-07, 07:54 AM
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I don't see it as bait and switch

you've got plenty of time now to pick up a switch on eBay

http://search.ebay.com/search/search.dll?from=R40&_trksid=m37&satitle=5+port+switch

heres one , 9.95 and free shipping for linksys

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=190133869630&fromMakeTrack=true&ssPageName=VIP:watchlink:top:us
 
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Old 07-30-07, 08:59 AM
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Some companies shopping carts have access to their inventory numbers, some do not. Some update those numbers as the product is sold, some do not.

It's generally easy to spot the ones that do, as they list the actual quantity of an item they have on hand, or else list it as 'in stock' or 'backordered' right in the product listing.
 
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Old 07-30-07, 09:38 AM
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That's probably my biggest rub, 'dragon. You would think a billion dollar business like the one I'm dealing with could find the tehcnology to link inventory and shopping cart.
 
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Old 07-30-07, 09:49 AM
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I order online all the time and I can't say I've ever encountered this. Maybe because the sale was so good they had more orders than stock and are trying to get out of ordering more and selling it at that low price. I will say tho, if a store's customer service ticks me off, I rarely buy from them again.
 
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Old 07-30-07, 10:18 AM
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That was the angle I was considering when I said bait & switch. Going to be interesting how it plays out. Fortunately we don't actually need it until Labor Day weekend when we move her into the dorm, which will be beyond the magical 30 day window for the backorder. And as Mango Man points out, I can get a like item pretty cheap. Well, not exactly; the one I ordered is a D-Link 10/100/1000 and I'm probably not going to find anything like that for $19.95. In a recent email, customer service threw in that they had no control over inventory, etc, so I emailed back (after I blasted them generally) and suggested maybe they could provide me with a point of contact for inventory so I could inquire why their inventory/shopping cart system was so 20th century. Their answer was, "We appreciate your interest in helping us improve our services and systems. However, you have contacted the Customer Care department, which supports our customers. We have limited access to information so I am unable to provide you with the email address of the department that handles our inventory."

But they did give me the address and landline # for Corporate headquarters which I'll probably use if the backorder expires.

I'm impressed.
 
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Old 08-11-07, 07:49 AM
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Update

So anyway, in the end, I'll be getting the item. On Aug 08 I got an email informing me the backorder would expire in 5 days and I could either cancel or extend. Called the 800 number and extended [matter of principle by now]; received e-mail confirmation that it was extended. Two days later I get another email that the item is now in stock and being shipped [28 days after ordering & getting the backorder notification]. It's also back in stock for additional sales [at the full list price].
 
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Old 08-11-07, 02:58 PM
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.....All's well that ends well..........




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