Did You Have a Black Friday or Cyber Monday Order Cancelled?

By , dealnews contributor

Black Friday was never meant to be a dark and dour affair, but several merchants spoiled the festive mood over Thanksgiving weekend by canceling already-placed orders. Perhaps the biggest dose of bad news came to those who shopped Toys "R" Us, where patrons not only suffered cancelled orders, but also were subject to poor customer service, according to The Consumerist.

One shopper saw not one, not two, but three items in her online order nixed for in-store pickup. That shopper, identified as Kelly, then went on hold for 45 minutes in an attempt to reach Toys "R" Us by phone. But the worst of all, she says: "I honestly don't know how much they're going to charge my credit card." Consumerist also points to the Toys "R" Us Facebook page, which contains a slew of angry comments from disgruntled customers, including an outraged banishing of the company from Heather Nathanson Clements of Long Beach, California: "I will NEVER purchase items from Toys R Us again. YOU HAVE AWFUL CUSTOMER SERVICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

The scenario at Toys "R" Us brings back memories nightmares of holiday shopping 2011, when Best Buy couldn't make good on a number of orders placed in November and December, including some Black Friday deals. The items affected included a Sony PlayStation 3, the Fujifilm AX-350 camera, and assorted laptops, as reported by PC Magazine. And while we've heard some gripes about Best Buy, none compare to its holiday shopping mishap of 2011.

Despite their popularity (and great sales) or how much marketing muscle and nationwide reach some retailers have, some just can't handle Black Friday orders online as well as others. While Jos. A. Bank has a well-deserved reputation as a fine men's clothier, it fumbled its way through Black Friday orders. A sales clerk tells The Consumerist that Jos. A. Bank orders placed online on Thanksgiving were sent to multiple stores for fulfillment, resulting in each store billing the customer ... up to four times. The clerk goes on to say that come Sunday, when the volume of sales coming in had died down, he received a list of orders to be refunded, which amounted to "about half of what we had processed on Black Friday."

But are these Black Friday online shopping issues inevitable? Will technology always fail either the customer or the retailer in some way? Even behemoth Google had its Black Friday woes, as its Google Shopping tool crashed for several hours early morning on Thanksgiving. And now with Cyber Monday 2012 being the biggest online shopping day on record where sales jumped 30%, should consumers just expect issues with orders that contain products in high demand? Or will the risks of cancelled orders from Black Friday and Cyber Monday outweigh the savings? Will you shy away from online shopping on these busy days and pay a premium for guaranteed in-stock items? Or will you take the risk and enjoy the potential savings?

Photo credit: InstanteStore

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Lou Carlozo is a dealnews contributing writer. He covers personal finance for Reuters Wealth. Prior to that he was the managing editor of WalletPop.com, and a veteran columnist at the Chicago Tribune.

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DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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Office Depot put my order in backorder and they did not had a delivery date to confirm. So I canceled the order. I ordered a external hard disk on 11/22 and it showed delivery date as 11/28. But later I got email that it is in backorder. So I contacted them on 11/28 and they told it is a mistake and you will get on 11/30. That time they were sure that it is not going to happen because it was not even shipped. Still I waited for 30th and contacted them and they don't have any clue on delivery date so I had to cancel that order. I am wondering I was one of the first person to make that order on 11/22 and still they could not deliver it, then why they gave that deal, Otherwise I would have gone with other retailer and got a similar deal.
 Had a Toys-R-Us order for local pick up inexplicably canceled,  I called and got through in about 5 min.   The CSR was very helpful,   and he was able to recreate the same order shipped for just $0.75 more.  Cheaper than driving there.  
Lindsay Sakraida (DealNews)
Interesting, Best Buy issued credits last year as well. 
Sears cancelled a "pre-Black Friday" order the Sunday before BF (for "Shop Your Way" customers), for a 32" HDTV for $97.  I griped, wasting 30 minutes of my life with an operator who could only help me buy the same TV for $250, and after that failed I sent an email to the VP whose name was on the cancellation.  The next day, they issued a $100 credit to my SYW account for use on any product prior to Christmas Eve.  Not a bad fix, as these things go, but the cheapest 32" HDTV they had was still $250.  On the Sunday following BF, they had the original $97 TV for $199.99.  Close enough, but it took WAY too much effort.  I'm griped as much by the "we have them, just not at that price" as I am by the fact that they ran out of doorbusters.