Buy.com Doesn't Care If You Want To Cancel An Order

Mr. Grover:

I have spent the better part of today going through the horribly difficult process of trying to cancel an order with Buy.com and receive confirmation that the money paid, and already taken from my bank account, be returned in as timely a fashion as it was charged to me. I have never had such a difficult time dealing with a company.

First, when I ordered my item, your website listed it as being in stock, and the price was in fact much lower. But, three days after placing the order, I received an email noting that the item was not in stock. Fearing that I would not have the item for Christmas, I began the process of canceling my order.

I first tried to cancel through Buy.com, but received a message that I was unable to. My next step was to place a call to your customer service, and as I am sure you know, there is no customer service phone number on your website – which disgusts me, as it sends the message that you don’t want your customers to have easy access to good service.

I sent an email through your site, and still have received nothing back. After doing some internet research, I found a customer service number. I called the number, and after waiting on hold for more than 40 minutes, spoke to an Indian woman who could not help me and transferred me to the “Credit” department. I waited another 40 minutes, and received no answer from the credit department. I called back, got another Indian woman who couldn’t help me, and upon telling her I wanted to speak with a supervisor, was hung up on.

I did more research and found the office number for Doug Pearce. I called Mr. Pearce’s office and was not allowed to be transferred through. I spoke to another man who said that he could not take care of the issue, and it would have to be passed along to another person in the company – but, that I would receive email confirmation of the cancellation and refund within five minutes.

It has now been several hours, and I am very upset. Like I said before, it has never been so difficult to deal with a retailer.

You are my last hope, as I feel that I am being given the runaround to the point where I want to quit because my time is almost not worth the $50. I refuse to quit until this matter is swiftly resolved.

You may recognize that besides copying Mr. Pearce and Roger Andelin on this email, I have also copied the editors of Consumerist.com so they may know of the difficulties I’ve experienced in trying to receive a simple refund.

I hope you are able to quickly resolve the situation. My order number is: [redacted].

Thank you for your time,

KC M.

Buy.com, why do you hate your customers so much? Why is your “customer service” an impenetrable fortress? Oh, right, because it’s more profitable that way. Some companies like to do that by out-sourcing their customer service to countries where labor is cheaper and speaks less English. It appears you’ve gone a step further and have invented a new cost-cutting measure: non-sourcing. Kudos.

That said, KC, and everyone else, probably a better thing to do then send this complaint letter off to us and other consumer reporters is to first tell Buy.com that you will send a complaint letter, unless they talk to you. There’s nothing more useless than a threat you’ve already used. Now the only incentive they have to help you is shame. Perhaps they will help you out of shame. Or maybe you could see if Neel Grover will friend you on his LinkedIn network. Barring that, you could always try a chargeback.

Comments

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  1. cmdr.sass says:

    Don’t waste any more time trying to deal with them. If you exhaust reasonable means working directly with the retailer, go to your credit card company. You can have the issue resolved in 5 minutes.

  2. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    Buy.com always lists great prices and claims their items are in stock. At least twice that I remember, I placed an order for an item that was ‘in stock’ and a great price, only to get an email the next day saying they were out of stock. I never had problems cancelling these orders, though…

  3. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    CHARGEBACK. Nothing says “screw you” like yanking your $$ away from them!

  4. warf0x0r says:

    Buy.com… what is that. Who uses buy.com anymore?

    Between newegg.com, overstock.com and amazon.com I can complete shopping for practically any occation… though I’d never buy certain things online, like jewelry, a car, or a mail-order bride.

  5. num1skeptic says:

    i hate buy.com. the only purchase i made from them was sketchy at best. the item was said to be “in stock”. my account charged, then my order was processed and status said “sent to warehouse” for about 7 days. feeling like that more than enough time and my item should be mailed by now, i emailed them wanted to see what was going on. they emailed me back and said that it was not in stock, and as soon as they got more in, they would mail it out. i asked about how long we were talking here, they didn’t know. i told them that was unsatisfactory, and i wanted to cancel my order. the very next day the emailed me back saying they could not do so because they have mailed my order out that morning. its about 2 more weeks before i recieved the item and i live in the friggin mid west. i commented on the morning deals about it, and everyone treated me as if i’m the only one who has ever had a problem with buy.com.

  6. Zelle999 says:

    Hmmm. “I spoke to an Indian woman who couldn’t help me”, and, “I called back, got another Indian woman who couldn’t help me”. So what does her being Indian have to do with her inability to help? Not quite understanding how that matters. Yes, it sucks that some call centers have been outsourced to foreign countries, but bad service is bad service and good service is good service.

    That said, it is pretty difficult to cancel a buy.com order. I used to work in their customer service department and once the info went off to the warehouse, regardless of its availability, it was almost impossible to cancel.

  7. KIRZEN2007 says:

    Only once did I have to call Buy.com to try and get them to take care of something for me. I was equally displeased with the fact that there was no customer service number readilly available for me to call them. So I sniffed around, called their corporate switchboard (the number is on the site if you do a little bit of exploring) and stated my case.

    I was immeadiately transferred to an english speaking american lady (she had a slight south-western accent) who was rather polite and sent things off to the ‘head office’…

    Of course, things at that point tumbled back down the rabbit hole, I never heard back from them again. The kicker (and disclaimer) is that I was calling from a company to them to discuss purchase date and warranty terms for one of ‘their’ customers (I work for the warranty company that was handling the repair and needed some details about the purchase for our paperwork, so the situation is a little different than a random customer asking for XXX in regards to their YYY order.)

  8. HRHKingFriday says:

    This is why I get so weary of online-only businesses. Sometimes there is no substitute for going down to the actual store and giving them a piece of your mind. Not to mention instant satisfaction when you can actually see the person making changes to your account/purchases.

  9. scoopy says:

    This same thing happened to me. I just had to refuse the order when it arrived. BIG PIA

  10. Saboth says:

    Yeah…ordered a TV from them that was a *great* price last winter. Charge went through, but the tv didn’t ship, didn’t ship….etc. After about a week I was notified it wasn’t in stock now apparently (I placed the order within minutes of the sale happening). So cancelled my order….took another week for that to go through, but the whole process was confusing and really a let-down. Haven’t bought anything with them since.

  11. Aeroracere says:

    @Zelle999: By the same token, what does the fact that there was a woman have anything to do with it? He’s just relaying information. Indian people live in the US, too.

  12. kbarrett says:

    Canceling buy.com orders is easy.

    Just call your credit provider and claim fraud when buy.com tells you “in stock” items really aren’t.

    End of problem.

  13. FLConsumer says:

    @Aeroracere: yes, but they don’t work at call centers in the US

  14. azntg says:

    @aaron8301: Looks like KC paid with a debit card, since there’s a mention of “…already taken from my bank account…”

    Yes, some people fear credit cards or can’t get them, but they are damn handy in cases like these. Most creditors tend to side with the customer anyhow. No fuss and no mess!

  15. Sudonum says:

    Yeah, I had a similar problem with something I ordered on Buy.com. It was “in stock” when I placed the order, with overnight shipping no less. The next day when I go to find the status, it’s in “fulfillment” at the warehouse. I waited a day to see what would happen. The next day the status had not changed. I canceled the order. No problem there.

  16. Dibbler says:

    I’m dealing with the same kind of issue with woot.com right now. I found out recently that woot is owned by buy.com so the customer service problem adds up. Woot is selling stuff they don’t have and then pretending to ship those “out of stock” items and then blaming the shipper who in turn says woot never had the stuff to begin with so they can’t ship “pretend” merchandise. I’m done with both companies.

  17. SaveMeJeebus says:

    “I want to talk to a ‘Merkan right now!”

  18. J_Sensei says:

    I went through a similar process with an order I placed on Buy.com in April. They said the item was in stock, and I later got an email that said it was backordered. I waited the two weeks that the email said it would take, and it still wasn’t there. By doing some internet searching, I found a few customer service numbers, several of which were disconnected.

    I finally got one person, and I said that if I didn’t get my refund, I was going to file a complaint with my credit card. I eventually did file a dispute with my credit card, and shortly thereafter, the money came back to me.

    The moral of the story is to never. ever. ever use Buy.com. I will gladly pay more for something than go through that again.

  19. JustAGuy2 says:

    @azntg:

    Exactly – this is one of those times that paying with a credit card would have made life much much easier.

  20. cef21 says:

    @Zelle999: The fact that they were Indian implies that buy.com is outsourcing its customer service organization to India. In general, outsourced customer service functions have very little authority and (when they’re overseas) can be difficult to understand.

  21. BillyShears says:

    I’m consistently shocked that buy.com is still around. It only took two terrible experiences for me to realize that if they’re not out-right defrauding people, they’re as close as they can get to it while still remaining legal.

  22. Indecision says:

    @Zelle999: “So what does her being Indian have to do with her inability to help?”

    You have a valid point, of course, and this statement should never have been included in the complaint.

    The phrase “an Indian woman” in this context contains overtones of racism, and should not be used. Likewise, saying “a woman” implies sexism, and should also be avoided. Furthermore, saying “a person” is discriminatory against IVR robots and therefore should also be avoided.

    We suggest avoiding pronouns altogether and simply using the passive voice for such statements. It should simply be said that “my call was answered.”

    Additionally, the phrase “…who was unable to help me” suggests that the negative outcome was a personal failing of whoever answered the call, and should also be avoided. We recommend the same tactic for avoiding this faux pas as well.

    Therefore, the final recommended phrase would be, “My call was answered, and I was unable to be helped.”

  23. Leohat says:

    @warf0x0r:

    {Sarcasm.Humor=on}

    If you are not getting your bride on-line, doesn’t that sort of defeat the “Mail Order” part of Mail-Order Bride?

    Also, just where do you go to shop for a mail-order bride in person?

  24. SuffolkHouse says:

    Forget about it. I shopped with Buy.com three years ago. They botched the entire order. Things came after Christmas. When they didn’t show up when promised, I cancelled the order. They wouldn’t refund the money either. So, I called my credit card company, and the charge was reversed. The great part? Buy.com never asked for any merchandise back (even though I got two of the items AFTER I cancelled the order!).

    Buy with a credit card! Don’t buy with a debit card – ever! It is like having your own team of lawyers.

  25. Dullspork says:

    I too was once lured by one of their “too good to be true deals” and had pretty much the same experience. I think that I eventually had to go through my credit-card company to get the charges reversed and have never attempted to do business with them again.

  26. chucklebuck says:

    @Dibbler:

    Wait, Woot is owned by buy.com? Where’d you find this out? I can’t find anything on either site that mentions the affiliation.

  27. iamme99 says:

    Yeah, buy.com is awful. Search the net, there are all kinds of negative postings.

    I had a run=in with them some time back where I brought something and the next day noticed that the price was $10 less. I contacted them, asked them to give me the new price or I would refuse the shipment. They refused. So I refused the shipment. They sent it back to me. I refused it again. Then I told them that they better not send it again and I would be filing a dispute with my CC company if I didn’t see a refund transaction with in 24 hours. The refund transaction was made and I refuse to do business ever more with them.

    They are like AOL in the years when they didn’t care about existing customers, they were just always trying to get new customers (to replace the ones they lost). Eventually, this tactic will stop working and buy.com will fade away.

  28. Dibbler says:

    @chucklebuck: This is making a pretty big assumption on my part. Last month I bought something off woot and it was DOA so I got on the forums and it sounds like half the items were defective so there was a ton of traffic with people complaining that woot was ignoring their e-mails. Some were also saying that their orders had buy.com on the box instead of woot.com and this started some investigations and one guy reported back that the warehouse address for woot is the same address used for buy.com and another company that I think is called gadzooks for something like that. From the discussion people made note that when something goes on sale at woot it always changes to “out of stock” on buy.com and that woot is more like a clearance center for buy.com stuff. I’m not saying any of this is real fact but from what everyone was coming up with we all pretty much figured out that woot.com and buy.com are kind of the same thing.

  29. Dibbler says:

    @chucklebuck: I’m betting woot was set up as a Limited Liability Corporation and is used to dispose of buy.com overstock and the BOC is a way to get rid of returns and old merchandise.

  30. marsneedsrabbits says:

    I have never heard anything good about Buy.com

    I had an issue with an order at Amazon.com last week. I looked around for about 5 minutes & found their phone number on their site, and the page gave you an option to have them call you. Huh?
    I clicked the button, wondering if it would work, and the phone rang. It was instantaneous. There was a message saying to have my account information ready (had it) and within 90 seconds or so, a customer service guy came on the line. He was able to fix my problem and I was off the phone in like 5 minutes.

    That is how customer service is supposed to work.

  31. EtherealStrife says:

    It serves OP right for using Buy.com. Did you miss all the “DO NOT BUY FROM THESE A-HOLES” memos?

    @chucklebuck: Who’s handling the memos here? Yes, woot is associated with buy.com. They even ship with buy.com return address labels. They’re the auctionhouse for all the crap buy.com can’t offload. But with better cs, and way better prices.

  32. EtherealStrife says:
  33. UpsetPanda says:

    I am soooo glad I’ve never bought anything from them.

  34. Smee says:

    Man, this was my experience last year exactly. We ordered an item in November (Which was in stock when I ordered) and got it in January. Horrible getting hold of someone who could speek english too when I was trying to return the item. I gave up dealing with them. I did one better though. I tell everyone I get a chance too not to buy from them and relate my experience.

  35. tadowguy says:

    Can you chargeback with a debit card?

  36. ninjatales says:

    I tried buying a DVD once at Buy.com and when it took 2 weeks for them to have it “processed” or something, I tried to cancel it. Next thing I know, I have the DVD and they won’t give my money back. Good thing it was only 10 bucks.

  37. chucklebuck says:

    @EtherealStrife:

    Wow, I had no idea! I only ordered from Woot once and the item was fine, but I’m certainly not gonna play with fire again knowing that!

  38. guymandude says:

    Simple people…. call back the store and say the words “State Comptroller of Currency”. Fielding such a complaint with the SCOC is a TOTAL nightmare and most stores are willing to do ANYTHING to keep you from lodging such a complaint.

  39. SmoovyG says:

    Man, this is almost exactly what I went through back in ’04, except I used a credit card and they never actually charged it.

    [www.epinions.com]

  40. captnkurt says:

    Well, duh! Poor buy.com is simply trying to adhere to their marketing vision. If they planned on honoring returns they would have named their business return.com.

  41. Mobius says:

    Buy.com thankfully doesn’t own woot.com. Here’s a tidbit:

    “Another reason for Woot’s low prices is the founder’s relationship with manufacturers. Rutledge owns Synapse Micro, a 12-year old specialty distributor headquartered in Carrollton, Texas, supplying products to retailers like Buy.com, Fryes and Overstock.com.”

    from this article: [www.auctionbytes.com]

  42. AndrewJC says:

    @Indecision: But, but, but… I was taught that the passive voice is always to be avoided!

  43. retiredat44 says:

    Well, I added a comment about Buy.coma few days ago…

    Buy.com got me angry again..

    I ordered some software January 25, 2008. 1 week went buy and thought it odd the ‘In Stock Item had not shipped. I called on February, 2, 2008 and asked about the item. They told me it hadn’t shipped because it was out of stock. They apologized. The website said it was sent tot he warehouse. But they said it was on backorder. I then cancelled it. The website reflected my input and said I asked for it to be cancelled. I even spoke tot he lady by live messaging. In a couple hours they sent an email saying it was to late it is being shipped. I said cacel it! They refused to cancel it and told me to send it back when I get it. Another day passes and then it shows up as being shipped at about 4 pm in the afternoon the next business day Feb. 4, 2008. Now I have to catch the damned FedEx people. They picked the same freeking day I will be gone 1/2 that day to an important appointment! I origniannly timed the damned purchase and delivery as to not affect when I would not be home.

    I have had it with Buy.com! They refused to notify their website listed an item in stock that was on back-order, the refused to canacel the order and ship it 24 hours later!

    I stuck up for them only a couple days earlier saying they were still ok on some deals and I wasn’t about to drop them yet, but this was the last straw.
    If I could CUSS here I would!

  44. ChrisGriswold says:

    I bought a Kingston SD card from Buy.com, expecting to get the Google Checkout $10 discount, but when I needed to sign up for it, I was apparently shunted offsite to register for Google Checkout, making me ineligible for the discount. Buy.com refused to do anything about it but told me just to cancel the order, which I did, well within the time limit. Google was kind enough to offer me a $15 discount the next time I used Google Checkout, so I re-ordered the SD card.

    I got the second SD card within about a week, but a days later, I was surprised to find that despite my notifying them to cancel the order, I still received the first SD card.

    Buy.com refuses to do anything about it, and I can’t send it back in. I don’t understand why they couldn’t cancel my order and refund my money since I followed their directions.

    I have about $150 worth of items that I really want in my Buy.com shopping cart, but I won’t buy anything from them anymore because of this.

  45. mpython says:

    I have bought, off and on, from buy.com since its inception. A couple of years ago, buy.com didn’t seem to carry much that I was looking for at prices that were competitive with Amazon or other large online merchants. Recently I started receiving email newsletters containing special offers and found several very attractive so I started buying again from buy.com. Well, now I have had a problem with an order – I did not receive an item that was listed as shipped. After sending buy.com several emails from their web page (one of which was tagged as undeliverable), I tried speaking with buy.com – no help. Then I contacted the “marketplace” partner – ANTonline. They told me it was my problem – not theirs. Goodbye Buy.com and ANTonline.com . Your are living in the past if you don’t realize that even sellers on ebay are outperforming your customer service.