Two retailers run out of stock after confirming orders

December 28 2012 by Ellen Roseman

First, Staples Canada did it. Then, Newegg.ca did it. Many customers were disappointed and frustrated to see how their holiday gift orders were mishandled.

Both retailers advertised a special price and accepted credit card payments. Then, they waited several days before notifying customers that the stock was low and they wouldn’t get what they wanted.

I wrote about the Staples saga last week. That attracted a few responses from readers.

In tomorrow’s paper, I talk about Newegg’s nastiness, waiting until Dec. 27 (after Boxing Day) to notify customers that inventory had run out.

I’ve heard from a dozen unhappy Newegg buyers, hoping to get a 3D television set that never arrived. One man sold his old TV in anticipation. Now his wife and kids are yelling at him.

Both retailers offered a discount coupon to those hurt by their errors. But is this enough? Shouldn’t they be sure they have enough inventory before taking people’s money?

I think the Competition Bureau should look into these cases. If enough people complain about misleading advertising, the bureau will launch an investigation.

22 comments

  1. MM

    Dec 28 2012

    Thanks Ellen! I am one of the hundreds of customers who bought the TV from newegg.com as a Christmas gift for my parents.

    Once my credit card was charged, and the company notified me that my TV was “being prepared for shipment”, I went ahead and gave my parents a Christmas card which gave them the surprise that they would be receiving a TV as a Christmas present.

    Newegg turned that Christmas gift into a bitter experience when I had to call my parents yesterday to tell them that the company had cancelled the order for the TV almost a week after they charged my credit card!!!

    I missed out on the opportunity to buy a boxing day TV as a replacement. Boo newegg! They need to offer us a suitable replacement for this purchase. They can’t just charge us for merchandise that they have no intention of selling/shipping to us.

  2. BW

    Dec 28 2012

    I ordered the 42″ LG Tv and was charged like everyone else. Before I went out boxing day shopping for items that would complement the tv (that I thought I was getting), the status of my order was in the packing stage.

    Since it had been 4 days since I’d ordered the tv, I went out and purchased a number of items for the tv. The next day I log in onto the newegg site and it showed I had no order.

    I then contacted newegg’s customer service and they told me it was back ordered and that my order was cancelled and I would be receiving a refund 1-2 business days (I have just received another email stating that it would take 3-5 business day before I get a refund).

    They offered me $200 promo code that I used on the TV for the same one when it came back in stock. However, they had already raised the price of the tv $200 more from the sale price.

    After finding out what they did, I contacted a supervisor and he told me that they would probably not get any more of those tvs in and that they would honor the $200 promo code for the tv (that isn’t going to come back in stock) and a $25 gift card.

    It’s ridiculous that they would offer me something that I could not use. They refused to allow me to use the promo code on any other tv.

    Every customer service rep I’d talked to said the same thing, that upper management would only offer $25 and to be happy that they made the exception for me to use the $200 promo code on the TV that they will never get in again.

  3. ET

    Dec 28 2012

    Just wanted to say thanks for looking into this Ellen!

    Quite a few Canadians were affected by the Newegg Christmas Disaster. Passed on quite a few deals on Boxing Day because they already charged my credit card.

    It’s been over a week and they’ve just notified us that they will eventually be making a refund to us. Let’s all work together to get to the bottom of this!

  4. HS

    Dec 28 2012

    I bought a surround sound system, a tv mount bracket and a media box for this damn 42″ TV that never came!

    Many anticipated shipment and delivery of the TV, and many were disappointed and frustrated when they received this “backordered” email notification. Such a waste of time and money, and during this festive holiday week, no less!

    This was very poorly handled by newegg, before and after the TV sold out. And I know they have an accurate and up to date inventory system (considering the constant live deals and promos of the computer parts they sell).

    Newegg can’t just ignore what they did and pray people will forget, they need to be held accountable for such ugly and unlawful business practice. United we stand, voices be heard, justice be served! Or something…

  5. ZS

    Dec 28 2012

    Hi Ellen, and thanks for fighting the good fight – this time against Newegg.ca – the GRINCH that stole Christmas in 2012.

    I learned about your upcoming article through Redflagdeals and am amongst the chosen few that got caught in the intersection of both the Staples and Newegg.ca Venn diagrams.

    I had placed a Staples order for an Apple TV (never fulfilled) and also placed an order with Newegg.ca for the LG 42″ television only to have Newegg.ca charge my credit card, hold on to it for 5 days and then cancel all the orders – conveniently after Boxing Day all but ensuring I couldn’t hunt or queue up for similar promotions that other retailers were offering!

    I called up their customer “service” line to complain but clearly wasn’t loud enough as NO COMPENSATION was offered.

    Instead the representative argued that the order was never in “packaging” state, as stated on my account page that said the order was passed the verification stage and items were being collected for shipment.

    (Juicy sidenote- they conveniently deleted any trace of my order from my order summary page on their website as if the last few days never even existed!)

    The representative didn’t even ATTEMPT to “make it right” for those they had clearly wronged, especially at this time of the year.

    I am utterly disgusted by their shady and misleading business practices and am delighted to hear that you will be shining the light on this so they can publicly explain themselves. I, along with hundreds of other dissatified customers, will be eagerly awaiting their response.

  6. Magster

    Dec 28 2012

    Thanks for writing about this Ellen. I too am one of the people who ordered the not in stock TV.

    I can understand if an item sells out but to send an e-mail to say that it is “backordered” and then without warning just delete the order out of the account as if the order never existed to me means they didn’t have any intention of bringing in more stock.

    If that’s the case, then why not be upfront about it rather than using such suspect tactics? Not impressed at how Newegg has handled this.

    Only now that the complaints are escalating and you’re writing an article that they are offering vague promises of resolving this.

  7. AY

    Dec 28 2012

    Thanks for looking into this Ellen!

    I was hoping a new TV would be a nice xmas surprise for the family, but despite charging my credit card, and packaging claim by newegg my order was cancelled. I was also unable to take advantage of other deals.

    Newegg handled the situation very poorly and the email stating product was on “back order” is false as it was just a cancellation email. In addition they removed my order history, which makes it seem like I haven’t ordered it at all.

    Very shady business in my books, hopefully they will resolve it by sending out the TVs or giving an equivalent discount on a comparable model (66% off).

    As of right now i won’t be a repeat customer. Perhaps their solution will change my mind but I will still try to steer clear.

  8. Dave

    Dec 28 2012

    Thanks for taking the time Ellen to write about this situation at Newegg…. I was a buyer of this tv and went through the exact same as the people who wrote here before me… I think the most irritating part was the total lack of concern by customer service.

  9. Gary

    Dec 28 2012

    I haven’t given up on Newegg. I think they will redeem themselves.

  10. TL

    Dec 28 2012

    Thank you, Ellen.

    I bought the TV too from NewEgg and got cancelled after 5 days. They deleted my order in their system as well. I talked to the CS rep yesterday evening and was offered $25 store credit. I rejected the offer and complained the offer is not reasonable cosidering I lost the opportinity to shop for other deals. However I was told the offer is final.

    I think the sad thing is NewEgg only starts to show the attitude of solving the issue once media has been involved. If it were myself alone, I would not be able to even to get this far.From this point, they deserve it.

    Thanks again for your wonderful work!!!

  11. CJ

    Dec 28 2012

    I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s a little funny that the man says his family is yelling at him because they don’t have a tv. Imagine it, they might have to talk to each other or something! It’s the end of the world!

    Bad business practice, yes, but that family might want to re-evaluate their priorities.

  12. Michael

    Dec 28 2012

    Some customers received the following offer from Newegg via email this evening, however I did not receive such an email.. Hopefully NE will offer me the 3d TV option so I can watch the 3d blu-ray movies I bought.

    For those who got the email, options are:

    A) The Original: LG 42” LCD 3D TV – Final Product Sale Price $400
    You may complete the purchase of one of the original TVs we’ve been able to secure at the original discounted price.

    B) Comparable: at a reduced Cost: LG 42” LCD TV – Sale Price $349.99
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product…=89-005-303CVF EARN CASH BACK
    You may purchase a different model of an LG 42” LCD TV. This product does not have the 3D capability of the original product, but Newegg is offering it only to you at this deeply discounted price to offset the difference.

    C) No TV: $100 Newegg Gift Card
    In the event you do not prefer either option, as a gesture of apology and to express our sincerest gratitude for your understanding, Newegg would like to offer you a $100 Newegg Gift Card that may be used on any order in the future. There is no expiration date.

  13. RC

    Dec 28 2012

    thanks for writing about it. I too, this was suppose to be my first HDTV. And I was so excited that i even purchased the accessories (android key) for this “non-existing” tv.

    The most annoying part to me was that they didn’t announce cancellation after the boxing day weekend where i can still attempt to snag a HDTV from another supplier.

  14. osman

    Dec 28 2012

    Hi Ellen, thank you for standing up for the little guy and publishing these stories!

    I too am one of the customers affected by the New Egg LCD TV fiasco.

    as others have mentioned, SOME customers have been contacted with options, but there are still a lot of us who have not heard back from New Egg.

    Thank you for writing and helping to hold a company accountable!

  15. PT

    Dec 28 2012

    I would like to thank you for writing about this. This was my first encounter with an issue like this and looks like a resolution was made.

    I have made purchases from NewEgg in the past and would like to continue doing business with them. Never noticed they charged my credit cards prior to order fulfillment until now.

    I am not a fan of this, and I hope they improve their business practices.

  16. Cs

    Dec 30 2012

    I dit not receive my TV… Dit not receive an offer…. Now my money is on “temporary hold” by Paypal… Have an happy new year!

  17. Sandip

    Feb 26 2013

    I bought a laptop through Lenovo and got confirmation email. After 20 days, I got money back with no notification whatsoever.

    This is crazy! Last December, I bought from Dell.ca and exactly the same thing.

    This time, I fought back and they shipped wrong laptop. Again fought back and got partial credit. We as consumers need better control over these companies.