Joshua caught New World Video Direct trying to pull a bait and switch on him with a recent order, so he canceled it and gave them a bad review on resellerratings.com. They contacted him to ask if he’d remove the rating. Joshua wrote back to decline, but he reminded them that it’s actually pretty simple to develop a decent reputation as retailer: “If you want to have anyone trust you as a business you have to only list items you plan to sell for the price you plan to sell them at.”
The problem started when he bought a $28 charger from New World Video’s online store. They list the item as usually shipping in 1 to 2 days, but the next day they called him to tell him the charger was on back-order, and instead they could sell him a $99 off-brand charger. After he hesitated, they cut the price to $45 to sweeten the deal—but it was still $17 over what he originally intended to spend, and for a different product altogether.
Joshua set up a blog to publicize the subsequent email exchange he had with New World Video, and on it he clearly explains why the company is engaging in bait and switch tactics:
The website said (and STILL says) in stock at the low (lower than any other website) price of $28. The rep said it was on backorder and gave me NO option to wait. She immediately tried to sell me another product for $90 saying that I must really need the item fast since I had ordered with expedited shipping!
In his emails to Joshua, an NWV rep named Scott argues that the company never promised the item was in stock, only that it “usually ships in 1 to 2 days.”
Curiously, neither item says “in stock” on the site, but both say they usually ship in 1 or 1-2 days. These are screen caps from 13 October 2008:
We think Scott’s trying to hide behind a technicality, but okay, let’s assume he and the company he represents are legit (despite the fact that Joshua’s bait and switch accusation isn’t the only one on resellerratings.com). Assuming you’re honest, there’s an easy solution to this problem with future customers, Scott. Simply keep your website updated so that the stock situation accurately reflects your store’s true inventory as closely as possible. Oh, and if you do have inventory issues, don’t call customers to try to upsell them a product that’s three times more expensive.
Until then, we’ll agree with Joshua—you’re pulling a bait-and-switch on customers, despite what you say on your home page.
NWV Direct retailer website