Target Customer Orders Sheet Set, Left Holding Bag

Despite having bad experiences with Target’s online store in the past, Paul ventured to purchase a Cotton/Modal Sheet Set. It’s supposed to have a fitted sheet, a flat sheet, and 2 pillowcases.

At the end of his transaction, he was surprised to see on the final screen a confirmation for his order of a pillow case. He had paid the full price for the sheet set, now he was left just holding a bag.

When he called to see what was up, Target said it was a computer error and it would take a week or two to resolve. But in the meantime, “he’d be happy to send me a different but comparable sheet set for twice the price.”

You can read the rest and see the screen shots inside, but we gotta ask, why doesn’t Target’s vaunted industrial design doesn’t extend to their web design? Maybe they should spend less time sponsoring socially responsible PR coups and more time serving their online customers. Get Izak Mizrahi on that shit.


Paul writes:

    “Yesterday, tired of my threadbare old bedsheets, I ordered a new sheet set from Target.com. The item description said “Cotton/Modal Sheet Set: Includes a fitted sheet, flat sheet, and 2 pillowcases.” I was slightly wary, because the previous time I tried to order from Target.com, a couple of years ago, it took three weeks before they finally told me that, well, actually the item was out of stock. But Target offered a great price on this sheet set, so I went ahead.

    Because I was wary, after the order went through, I happened to read over the order confirmation page extra carefully, and I noticed that it said I was the proud, confirmed purchaser, not of “Cotton/Modal Sheet Set,” but of “Brown Pillowcase.”

    I called Target Guest Services to find out what had happened. The Team Leader I spoke to said it was a “problem with fulfillment” and a “internet error” and that it would take a week or two to resolve, but he’d be happy to send me a different but comparable sheet set for twice the price. And, because it was *their* error, they’d be happy to upgrade me to free shipping! The same sheets, for only twice the price I already agreed to pay? What a deal!

    I told the rep that this was called “bait and switch” advertising, and considered fraud. I mentioned that I’d be emailing Consumerist. Deeply shaken by my powerful threat, he said that if I would hold please, he’d see if he could offer me an additional $5 discount coupon. I asked for the order to be cancelled and ended the phone call.

    I have attached a couple of possibly huge screenshots.

    love ya,
    Paul”

(click to enlarge)

http://consumermediallc.files.wordpress.com/2006/10/targetsheets1-thumb.jpg?w=522&h=742

http://consumermediallc.files.wordpress.com/2006/10/targetsheets2-thumb.jpg?w=522&h=731

Comments

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  1. PsychicPsycho3 says:

    Yeah, their website sucks pretty hard. I’ve tried several times to look for a cheap vacuum and it just keeps trying to put you in categories. The price ranges on everything is annoying too.

  2. rit says:

    Target’s online store is run by Amazon.com; you can also order target stuff directly through amazon.com without using Target’s site.

    Oh, and for the tech savvy among you:

    ~/ nslookup http://www.target.com
    Name: http://www.target.com
    Address: 72.21.210.12

    ~/ nslookup 72.21.210.12
    12.210.21.72.in-addr.arpa name = 210-12.amazon.com.

    (This shows that target.com’s web address is an alias to amazon.com)

  3. Nick says:

    I’ve had problems with their site in the past also, but the fact that the product listing showed only pillows and not a sheet set should have been a warning. ($25 is suspiciously cheap for a king size sheet set, anyway.) Whenever I see something like that, I usually avoid purchasing it.

  4. acambras says:

    What exactly is “modal”?

  5. Treved says:

    I’m calling bullshit, or at least stupidity. In his own screenshots it shows that a single SHEET is more than the price of the “sheet set.” Sure, it says the “sheet set” is $24.99, but the pictures only show pillow cases and the price is ridiculously low.

    Fault Target for poor website design, but this is just a labelling error. He should have known better.

  6. cooper says:

    Poor website design, for sure. It’s completely misleading and the only hints that the item he chose is a pillowcase and not a sheet set are the pillowcase-only graphic and what’s added to the cart… I would have noticed something was up with the cart and not paid, though.

    Also, they do have the actual *set* on the website with the same description. Fyi the king set is $59.99. And, yes, that graphic includes the fitted/top sheets on top of the pillows. Thanks Target, for making that so clear.

    I wouldn’t call it “bait & switch,” just another example of their sucky website.

  7. Metschick says:

    I guess they’ve fixed this, because I went to the site (those sheets looked nice!). And the “Cotton-Modal Sheet Set – Dark Brown” now has a pic of two pillows and two sheets, and King is listed at $59.99. Huh.

  8. cooper says:

    Nope, not fixed. There are two “Cotton-Modal Sheet Set” items: one with sheets in the pic and one without. It’s just a stupid mistake; the other colors have the pillowcase items marked properly.

  9. James says:

    I love consumerist,but sometimes I think people stir up shit just to get it posted on here.

    If you’re too stupid to realize that a picture of two pillows does not a king size sheet set make, there are other websites you should be writing to.

  10. tspack says:

    Several commenters have mentioned it was stupid for the person to not notice that the picture was just of pillowcases. However, why would people go by what is in the picture instead of the text? In my online shopping experience (not with Target, I’ve never shopped there, but everywhere else), pictures are much more likely to be inaccurate than text, and in this case, the text clearly says, “Includes a fitted sheet, flat sheet and 2 pillowcases.” When I’ve shopped for sheets, I’ve often seen pictures of the entire bedding set when that particular page only is for one piece, which is clearly stated in the text. The text is more likely to accurate, when a website will often use the same picture for all options of a set just to illustrate color options.

    I vote for Target’s stupidity, not the guy who ordered from them.

  11. aka Cat says:

    The page clearly says it’s a sheet set, and that it includes two sheets and two pillow cases.

    Someone screwed up coding this page and/or the database. I think Target needs to honor Paul’s order.

  12. Paul says:

    Original complainer here. Maybe it was stupid, but I felt confident expecting that an item labelled “Sheet Set” which the description claims “includes a fitted sheet and flat sheet” might actually include sheets. Poorly designed web sites are fine — I have one myself — as long as the consumer isn’t punished for trying to use them.

    I didn’t examine the teeny image other than to approve the color. $25 seemed like a deal, but presumably the quality was half that of the $59 set. I noticed they sell 400-thread-count sheets for $20, 600TC for $30, 800TC for $40, etc., and figured this was a similar situation.

    Modal is a new textile made from spun beech cellulose, smooth, soft, and durable.

  13. Paul says:

    Here is the misleading page. In hindsight, it’s clear that there are no sheets folded on top of the pillows, but I guess last night, on my 800×600 laptop screen, I wasn’t that careful. Anyway, if I were to go by the pictures’ veracity, I’d expect all the pillowcases to come stuffed with pillows, as illustrated.

    Note also that I got there by clicking Sheets, then Brown, to view a listing of brown sheets.

  14. GlassBottleLoveAffair says:

    Hmm,I wonder if people would be less forgiving in the comments section if it was Wal-Mart, Sears, etc. that did the same sorta thing. if I listed a sheet set for sale on e-bay and then told the winning bidder that it was only the pillow cases but they could buy the whole set for twice as much with free shipping, Id be reported for running a scam, and rightfully so. If someone puts a price sign on a shelf that says 9.99 and the customer takes it up to the counter and it rings up for 99.99, the customer has every right to be pissed off. Just b/c its on the internet or through Target(Mother Theresa, whatever) dosn’t change the fact that the page is wrong and most people would think that they were getting the item described for the price listed. Target/Amazon should have taken down this page immediatly when learning of the mistake instead of misleading customers.

  15. timmus says:

    I think Paul’s complaint is fair… I don’t know much about linens and might buy such an item myself without a second thought. I don’t think he should be blamed for what is clearly the fault of the website.

  16. I could never buy sheets online. You have to feel the ‘hand’ of the fabric.

    Also, sheet buying tip, thread count is not always the benchmark for quality.

    You need to look at the textiles used, and the percentage of each, if it is a blended fabric, and the weave [warp and weft].

    I had a textiles class where we had to learn all the characteristics of textiles and fabrics.

    For those who care, there’s major advantages/differences in each.

  17. Triteon says:

    Nope, under “Features” the line clearly does read as multiple items. The site was wrong…not the first time Target.com has been targeted (ha!) by Consumerist.

  18. moejuda says:

    Why on earth do some of you think it is ok to run a commerce website with errors like this? If you walked into a store, bought a product where the box said “full set of sheets” but you found only pillow cases, are you to blame? I think too many people are eager to give companies a pass for techical glitches like this. This is their website, and they are every bit as responsible for its upkeep as they are for a brick-and-mortar store.

    Going back to a point made by the Consumerist yesterday, I have to wonder if Walmart.com would have been given such an easy ride in these comments.

  19. Paula says:

    Paul, do not listen to people who say you are stupid. As you said it yourself, you thought something labeled “sheet set” with information stating “includes sheets and pillowcases” would actually be those things, which sounds reasonable to me, no matter what picture was attached.
    The store was wrong to have misinformation on their website and wrong not to honor your original purchase, because it was their error.

  20. any such name says:

    no no no… here’s what happens with a good company:
    THEY made the error, therefore this guy gets the sheet set for the price THEY had listed.
    price is immediately changed/wording fixed so no other customers get this deal.

    i know because this happened to me last year with a pair of Campers on zappos. i saw these boots for $137 when i KNEW for a fact the boots retailed at about $235. i bought them immediatley and received them in two days, no questions asked. when i got them i checked zappos again and the price had been corrected to $235.

    besides, am i the only one here who ever reads slickdeals? this kind of shit happens all the time. company makes mistake, company pays the price to retain customers. big fat hairy duh.

  21. Treved says:

    I didn’t mean to say that Target shouldn’t suffer any consequences. Far from it. They should at the very least refund his money, which I believe they did. If they feel like it they can honor his original order, but by no means do I think they are obligated to.

    Either way, it’s bullshit (but not unsurprising) that the webpage isn’t fixed.

  22. VentMan says:

    Sometimes I wonder what these people at major corporations are thinking when they design and deploy such crappy websites. It’s as if there’s someone at the company trying to make customers pissed off.

  23. SexCpotatoes says:

    Probably the only way I’d ever buy brown sheets for my bed would be if I regularly pooped in it.

    Color choices aside, sheet sets can be cheap, and it sounds like he knew what he wanted. The customer deserves exactly what the website led him to believe he was purchasing, post-haste. This is well within reason, and exactly what consumerist.com is here for.