Best Buy Overpromises on Online Delivery
Hit by overwhelming demand for hot product offerings over Black Friday weekend, Best Buy alerted some customers just before Christmas that it would not be able to fill their online orders. On Best Buy’s online forum, some customers said their Christmas had been ruined.
Best Buy later apologized for the problem, which it led to less than one percent of orders that were canceled, according to the company. Best Buy also said it was providing electronic gift cards to affected customers as a goodwill gesture.
"What was wrong is that there was an unacceptable delay between order confirmations and cancellations, and for that we are very sorry," said Susan Busch, senior director of Best Buy’s public relations. Best Buy Inc., in an e-mailed statement sent out late in the day on Dec. 20. "It’s important to note that this was a rare situation based on a high volume of orders over a short period of time."
But customers vented their frustrations online. They particularly cited the long delay in response from Best Buy’s online customer service team. Some heard their order was back-ordered only to be told later it was outright cancelled.
Wrote "cynlu20" on Dec. 21, "To recap — after 19 days waiting and three hours transferred to a total of five different people, I have no gift to give my children for Christmas. Thank you Best Buy, for rewarding a customer who in the past three – five years has bought a laptop, refrigerator, dryer and countless DVD’s/CD’s through you by ruining my children’s Christmas. My new year will require a new washing machine, and I will no longer be considering Best Buy for this purchase."
Some customers accused Best Buy of committing fraud. They believed promises of hot deals — and ultimately non-delivery — only kept them from buying the same item from another store.
But some forum customers had mixed feelings after the Best Buy’s apology and gift cards.
"To Best Buy — thank you for at least trying to make it right even though you royally screwed a lot of customers this Christmas. It is not the gift that I wanted to give but I guess it is better than nothing," wrote WilliamE, who had an order for a limited edition BioShock 2 game for the Xbox 360 cancelled.
Another customer who had spoke to several reps was also more forgiving.
"Since I posted this initial thread the folks from Best Buy did eventually get back to me and I believe that with some work that we will get a resolution that I can accept. I am going to mark this thread as resolved. Best of luck to the rest of you still waiting for answers and help," "Wavelandscott" wrote on Dec. 23.
- Best Buy Customer Service Forum – Best Buy
- Best Buy Alerts Some Customers It Can’t Fill Online Orders – The Associated Press/The Wall Street Journal
- Best Buy Cancels Some Online Orders – The New York Times
- Best Buy issues statement regarding online order cancellations – Chain Store Age
- Best Buy struggles out of Grinch suit – CNET
Discussion Questions: Generally, how forgiving do you think customers are of online cancellations? Was Best Buy’s response adequate? What lessons should be taken away from this experience?