Lane Bryant Website Error Deprives Reader Of Entire Grad School Wardrobe

It’s hard not to take it just a little bit personally when a store doesn’t want to sell you something. That’s what happened to Hel when she got a great coupon code from Lane Bryant that gave her 50% off a large purchase. She tells Consumerist that she assembled a $1,400 order ($700 with the coupon) — an entire wardrobe for the next few years, really.

I’ve been buying my clothes at Lane Bryant for almost a decade, at
this point a good 85% of my wardrobe is clothes from them. So,
recently when Lane Bryant had a coupon code that, if you spent $250 or
more, would give you 50% off your entire purchase, I was thrilled.
I’ve been needing to upgrade my wardrobe from pre-college and
undergrad style jeans and t-shirts to nicer slacks and blouses
appropriate for grad school.

I carefully checked when the coupon code was good through (midnight
eastern on 10/18), and spent several days browsing the Lane Bryant
website, choosing just the right items while staying within my budget.
When I was done, I had $1400 worth of clothes in my basket, which the
coupon code brought down to $700. A lot, sure, but a great variety of
classic, versatile stuff, and I’ve continually found Lane Bryant
clothes to be well made and durable, so I was looking at this as an
investment in my wardrobe to keep me until I’ve gotten my Ph.D.

Just before I clicked buy late in the evening on the 18th, I decided
to recheck my budget one last time, just to reassure myself that yes,
I really could afford to spend so much all at once. Reassured, I
flipped back to the Lane Bryant website at 11:40pm, and clicked the
submit order button.

Only to have it pop up saying that my credit card could not be
processed! I frantically pulled up my credit card website, confirmed I
had almost 3 times as much available credit as what I was trying to
charge. Checked the address and other personal info on my credit card
account against what I’d entered at Lane Bryant (I moved about 6 weeks
ago, and thought perhaps I’d not updated things.) No, that was all
fine. Back to Lane Bryant, where I tried again twice more to put my
order in, once at the absolute last minute, 11:59. No luck.

I promptly emailed Lane Bryant via their online contact form,
explaining my problem, and pointing out that their website or credit
card processing problem prevented me from utilizing the coupon code.
I’ve yet to hear back.

And to make things just that much more annoying, my credit card
company called me the next morning, to ask why there were three
identical authorizations against my card. The credit card CSR
confirmed that each of the three attempts I made to purchase the
clothes from Lane Bryant were valid according to their credit card
system, and that if the order hadn’t gone through, it wasn’t due to
anything on the credit card company’s end. And as a final bit of
insult, on the 20th I received an email from Lane Bryant advertising
50% off if you spent $250 or more, only to find, upon reading the fine
print that it was the same coupon expiring on the 18th, which they’d
apparently re-sent on the 20th!

So, I guess Lane Bryant won’t be getting my grad school wardrobe
dollars, and instead of being able to get everything I need all at
once and not having to worry about it thereafter, I’ll be spending
months keeping an eye out for good deals and comparison shopping, or
just getting less for my money.

Way to make things even worse for a customer who’s already disappointed that her order didn’t go through back when the coupon was still valid. For Hel’s sake, we hope that an equally great coupon comes around again soon.

Comments

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  1. agent 47 says:

    “Hey, Storm, it’s those chicks from Lame Bryant.”

  2. jesirose says:

    In before everyone blames the OP for being “fat”.

    It’s only been a few days. Give them a week to respond, and if they haven’t gotten back, send an angrier email. Or try calling them. They need to honor your coupon and I hope they’ll remember it’s easier to keep a customer, especially such a loyal one.

    • nextyearsgirl says:

      I know Consumerist commenters are Olympic-quality contortionists when it comes to finding new ways to blame the OP, but I hope no one will sink so low as to blame this situation on the OP’s body type.

      • Gandalf the Grey says:

        You haven’t read the comments in some of the airline threads have you?

        • nextyearsgirl says:

          Oh trust me, I have, but I’ll still be impressed if someone finds a way to blame the OPs body shape for a credit card error.

          “Well, maybe if you got off the couch and stopped intravenously shoving donuts in your arteries, the website would have communicated properly with Mastercard’s servers!”

          • Gandalf the Grey says:

            Let us all hope you’re correct. I’m a bit jaded after being told that it’s my fault my knees hurt when the people in front of me lean back, I just shouldn’t have grown so tall. (I’m not even that tall!)

          • heldc says:

            OP here. You just made me laugh so loud it startled my cat. :) Thanks.

      • Snarkster says:

        I think it began with the article author, or am I the only one to smirk after reading Lane Bryant and “large purchase?”

        Anyway, maybe Lane Bryant was aware of the problem and that is why they resent the coupon (but forgot to advance the expiration date).

    • Griking says:

      I’m still trying to figure out why you’d even think that the OPs body type would be brought up. Was it even mentioned anywhere in the article and I missed it?

      • jesirose says:

        Lane Bryant is plus sized clothes, so …

        • 99 1/2 Days says:

          Congratulations. You are the first person to mention the word “fat”. Does that make you feel better?

          • jesirose says:

            May have been the first to type “fat”, but I wasn’t the one who made the jokes about it. My comment was mostly a joke about fellow commenters, not about the OP. And it wasn’t unfounded.

            • MMD says:

              Might I add that I had the same thought as soon as I saw the article…someone was going to make a size joke. And guess, what: they did!

              So, to jesirose’s critics: Reading comprehension is a highly useful skill.

      • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

        You’re new here, aren’t you? :)

    • craptastico says:

      you do realize yours is the only post about her size, right?

      • jesirose says:

        No, it’s really not. Unless the “jokes” about the “large” purchase got deleted.

        You do realize I was joking at the commenters, and there was more to my post, right? :-P

    • heldc says:

      I’m really pleasantly surprised at how little mention of my weight/body type there’s been. I expected much more of it, as you clearly did too, since this is the internet after all. Consumerist commenters win!-OP

  3. FatLynn says:

    She says she hasn’t heard back from Lane Bryant yet. It’s been fewer than 5 business days. Don’t we give companies a chance to fix something before sending the issues off to the consumerist?

    • Dover says:

      Even better, call them! The sooner this is handled the better and it’ll be easier to escalate.

    • MMD says:

      Maybe…but this is the internet age. If a large company can’t answer an email within 24-48 hours, that’s a customer service problem.

  4. UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

    Stupid error on Lane Bryant’s part, and will easily cost them a customer.

    However, I can’t help but make a comment about this: “I’ve been needing to upgrade my wardrobe from pre-college and undergrad style jeans and t-shirts to nicer slacks and blouses appropriate for grad school.”

    I went to grad school. Finished, even. Jeans and t-shirts will be just fine. :-)

    • FatLynn says:

      This was my thought, too. If you have $700 sitting around as a PhD student…

      • JulesNoctambule says:

        Maybe she knows how to save money?

      • jesirose says:

        Is it really money sitting around if you’re using a credit card? Maybe she had no balance and planned to pay it off over a year.

        Or, she’s good at saving money. I had tons of cash as a teen since I had little expenses and a good job.

    • jesirose says:

      It might depend on what you’re studying. Some people prefer to start dressing for the job they want. Especially if they’re not hippies :-P

      • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

        That’s what you get one nice outfit for, and spend the rest on beer pong.

        This is grad school, not an executive MBA for goodness’ sake. One is a bunch of people studying and learning, and the other… is not.

      • alaron says:

        Been a software engineer for 8 years… still wear jeans and a t-shirt :)

        • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

          I used to have a stuffy job that required nice clothes. Now I work in technology. Yay for “business casual” meaning “jeans.”

        • jesirose says:

          right, but is that what the OP is doing? I’m also in IT and I wear jeans every day. But I didn’t go to grad school…

    • pastthemission says:

      It depends on her program. For Clinical Psyc you have to dress in business casual most days because you’ll be dealing with clients.

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      Jeez people, it was a joke. It was for the lulz.

      I know programs differ, for goodness’ sake. Sheesh.

  5. SkyRattlers says:

    Sounds like a crappy situation, but as a young person the OP should learn a valuable lesson here, don’t leave things until the last minute. If you had attempted to order earlier then you would have had time to call Lane Bryant to get some help.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      My thought, too.

      The closer you get to a deadline, the more likely things will screw up. It’s a scientific property of something.

    • Spaceman Bill Leah says:

      Fair enough but if you are planning to drop $700 in one shot, you do want to take some time and care to ensure that the purchases you are making are well worth it.

    • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

      I’m NOT blaming the OP here, but at 11:40pm, if you’re not on the east coast, what if the e-commerce server was, and so was in a later time zone? In fact, I wonder if that’s what happened, and the server balked at the coupon code because the server said it was after midnight, but the GET statement from the browser was stamped before midnight?

      • Rena says:

        I should hope it’s a POST. You don’t use GET to submit an order unless you want all sorts of trouble with spoofed orders and search engines.

    • Marshmelly says:

      Exactly. Why in the eff is she waiting until not only the day the coupon expires, but less than an hour before it expires?? The fact that it was such an expensive purchase would, in my mind, be reason to do it much earlier than the expiration date to avoid problems. Not blaming the OP for what happened with the credit card (which is not her fault), but I can’t get over the fact that she waited until 20 minutes before it expired.

      • MMD says:

        So we should *expect* websites not to work?
        She was within the advertised allotted time to use the coupon. Whether she ordered 2 days or 2 minutes before the deadline is irrelevant. If a technical problem on the seller’s end prevents the sale from going through, it’s on them to make it right.

        • misterkisses says:

          Yes, you should expect websites not to work sometimes.

          In reality, sometimes things don’t work, no matter how entitled you feel to have them work for you.

        • RvLeshrac says:

          You shouldn’t necessarily expect them to not work, but you should expect them to periodically, especially late night at the beginning of the week, go down for maintenance.

          I generally expect *everything* to not work, though. That way, I’m less disappointed when they fail and happy when they work.

          • Rena says:

            As a computer programmer, I’ve learned not to trust computers and to expect them to fail frequently at even the simplest of tasks. (Case in point: I find myself habitually copying each post before submitting it just in case it gets eaten.)

  6. misterkisses says:

    So the moral of the story is don’t wait until ten minutes before your coupon expires to use it. Sometimes websites don’t work correctly, this is life. Plan accordingly.

    • skylar.sutton says:

      Seriously! This isn’t even worthy of the time it took Consumerist to post. Let me adjust the summary for them:

      “Reader waits until 11th hour to place order – is surprised when a glitch happens. Crisis could have been avoided by placing order days ago.”

    • cheezfri says:

      Probably smart to buy earlier, but if their email said the 18th, then they need to honor it. It’s not like they physically closed a store because everyone had cleared out early! (Best Buy)

  7. Thyme for an edit button says:

    Lane Bryant may yet resolve the matter.

    If it doesn’t work out, try Dress Barn (not sure if they have online purchasing though). I have consistently received good service and quality products from them while my experience with Lane Bryant has been much spottier.

    • TheBigWhiteWolf says:

      I think of this video each time I hear about the Dress Barn.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmweqmWFBOI#t=6m2s

      (Dress Barn part starts at 6:02)

    • Julia789 says:

      Dress Barn has been hit or miss for me. Some of their clothes are too matronly and they carry a lot of tapered leg, pleated pants that are pretty dated. But if I go through all their racks I will sometimes find a gem.

      Their skirt suits are sometimes nice, although I often have to hem the skirt because they are often just below-the-knee which is not flattering. I find mid-knee to be more flattering.

  8. Larkspur says:

    LB does pretty good coupons regularly, but I hope that someone there will see this and honor the discount even though the original order didn’t go through. LB made an offer, Hel accepted the offer, LB’s system failed to allow completion of the order, that’s LB’s fault, not hers.

    But it probably wouldn’t make me never shop there again, because if they’re a good fit for you, they’re awesome, even if you’re on the low end of the sizes they offer. (They cut for hips!) I have one pair of LB jeans that’s a bit worn out, but I’ve had them for like seven years now and they’re still my favorites.

    • nextyearsgirl says:

      They also make great bras for big-boobed ladies like myself, which is great. Even the largest size at Victoria’s Secret comes nowhere near big enough for my chest.

      I shop there occasionally for clothes as well, though I’m on the low end of their size scale. I find their tops to be more flattering for larger busts and usually more modest, which I appreciate. Even things that are meant to be conservative in more “normal sized” stores can be too low-cut on me, which I feel extremely uncomfortable wearing to work.

    • heldc says:

      Oh, I’m certainly going to shop there again, (They always have such great purple stuff!) but purely for financial reasons, I won’t be able to do my whole wardrobe upgrade there.

  9. The_IT_Crone says:

    My first thought was that she probably didn’t check the time zone. 11:40pm could be 12:40am quite easily. I’m sure that’s not the case since the cc company said the charges were attempted, but I doubt she considered it.

    Also, give them time to respond. If you can procrastinate, so can they.

  10. eccsame says:

    “50% ff lrg prchs”?
    sn’t tht ll thy sll t Ln Brynt?

  11. damageinc says:

    Just because its 11:40pm your time doesn’t mean its 11:40pm on Lane Bryant’s server’s time. I know that shouldn’t affect the CC purchase going through, but the bottom line as others have stated is that the OP shouldn’t have waited until the last minute.

    Did the OP even try the code again after the 18th? If they sent an email out on the 20th, there’s a chance it might have still been working. At least it might have continued to work after 11:59 when she stopped trying, depending on the time zones.

    • heldc says:

      OP-I’m in the Eastern time zone, the coupon said Eastern as well. I did go back the next morning (I left out that LB’s website went down for maintenance at about 12:15) to try the coupon code, but it had been removed from my cart and labeled invalid.

  12. Extractor says:

    My Home Buyer warranty expires on the 29th. Earlier today I tried to renew online with no success. About to call them now. I’ve got a week to correct this.

  13. CMHan15 says:

    The way rules are written in the software, I doubt the promo code had actually expired. If it did, it wouldn’t have successfully been applied to the order.

    My guess is this is simply a software error by the Payment Processor (not LB). Online Retailers rely on 3rd party vendors (like Paypal’s Verisign) to handle the credit card processing. LB really has no control over that directly.

    That being said, not responding to her in 5 days is silly.

  14. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    That’s why I take screenshots (PrtScn button) at each stage of checkout and paste into an Excel spreadsheet.

    • heldc says:

      OP here-I did a print to pdf of the shopping cart, showing the prices, items, and final discount. Who knows, if LB ever gets back to me, maybe it’ll help.

  15. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    I’m surprised by the number of people who don’t think Lane Bryant’s site should work regardless of the time of day or how close it is to a coupon expiring.

  16. SugarMag says:

    Could the OP have called LB to do the order (and coupon) on the phone? I assume they have customer service. To save $700 I would have done that immediately.

    I couldn’t transfer funds on ING’s site yesterday. I immediately called and got it done that way, even though using a phone was very taxing and complicated. The internet has made me have zero patience for the “old fashioned” way of doing things :P.

  17. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Just because it’s 11:40pm where you are, doesn’t mean its 11:40pm where the web server is.

    Always best to not leave things to the last minute.

  18. ElizabethD says:

    H h. Y sd ” lrg prchs.”

  19. BStu78 says:

    I had a similar experience with Toys R Us recently. I spent nearly 2 hours trying to submit an order before I managed to get it through. It just would not take my credit card. I finally gave up and paid through my PayPal account which seemed absurd but by then it was already after midnight and the sale had lapsed. I only got it because they were still in my shopping cart.

    Buying things earlier is always a good idea, but its not always possible. The last minute is still a minute in which something can be done. Deals shouldn’t actually expire before they do since we can just scold people for not waiting. Certainly hope LB makes good on this.

  20. pot_roast says:

    Make an unusually large purchase mere minutes before the coupon expiration date? Fail.

    It probably triggered some fraud system at LB.. a $1400 clothing order late at night would seem a little strange….

  21. mystery79 says:

    Sounds like a bug she found – probably wasn’t though of or covered in testing – her order could have triggered a specific set of conditions to cause it.

    They should apologize, fix their site and then let the lady use the coupon. It wasn’t like they maliciously tried to make her have a bad shopping experience.

    In my experience , email is a crap shoot – if it’s a significant issue it’s better to call.

  22. sufreak says:

    Good luck with anything. The CEO of the company just ‘resigned’. (Yes, intentionally quotes). Their e-commerce and entire infrastructure has pretty much been outsourced, off shored and imported.

    You’ll be lucky to get something. Maybe this is why they’re tanking.

  23. Ickypoopy says:

    “The credit card CSR confirmed that each of the three attempts I made to purchase the
    clothes from Lane Bryant were valid according to their credit card system, and that if the order hadn’t gone through, it wasn’t due to anything on the credit card company’s end.”

    I’ve done customer service for an online store before, this was probably an AVS (Address Verification) problem. Most banks will almost always authorize a payment even if the address is incorrect, but return that the AVS failed. If the store requires the AVS to pass, it will consider the transaction failed, and the authorization will drop off in a few days. There are also a few other things that can fail, but still have the bank approve the transaction (like wrong expiration date or CVV2 failure).

    • chocolate1234 says:

      She said she verified that the address was the same one she had listed with the credit card, so that’s not it. That was my first thought too.

      • jesirose says:

        I’m wondering if she only confirmed it verbally? Whenever my BF calls Capital One, they read his address out. But to get it to fit in their system, they’ve abbreviated 3 words, and not just by removing vowels. He can’t use that card on any site that does the address thing because he can’t get the exact letters right, and Capital One won’t change it.

        • heldc says:

          Nope, I checked it on the respective websites. That was also one of my first thoughts when my CC didn’t go through.-OP

  24. kjherron says:

    I tried to buy a bandolier of carrots during the woot-off yesterday. I clicked “I want one” as soon as the item came up, but their site was really slow for some reason and it took, like, ten minutes for the page to load. I confirmed my purchase as quick as I could, but I was told that the item was sold out.

    Woot really needs to make sure they have enough server capacity to meet peak demand.

  25. Hitchcock says:

    Since when does one have to upgrade their wardrobe to be in grad school? If my university was any indication, you were actually expected to dress as slovenly as possible if you were a grad student.

    • Azzizzi says:

      I’m sure she doesn’t “have to” upgrade her wardrobe. That part of the story is a moot point to me anyway. Maybe all that was thrown in there to give the story that kind of “now my life is ruined” slant.

      She wanted to get a good deal on a bunch of clothes because she had a coupon and through a few glitches, she wasn’t able to do what she wanted to do. That’s enough for me.

      • jesirose says:

        I think it was to defend WHY she wanted to buy $1400 worth of clothes at once. Most people don’t do that. So she gave a reason why she’s changing her wardrobe. It’s just details, not really relevant though.

        • Azzizzi says:

          I guess I just don’t see wanting to maximize a coupon as being unreasonable. If she does most of her shopping there anyway and she knows she wants those items, having an extra purpose doesn’t really matter to me.

          • heldc says:

            I think buying $1400 worth of clothes at once is kinda crazy, so I have been internally justifying it with “No, you really do need a new wardrobe for grad school”. (Psych programs expect you to dress well.) But you’re right, I don’t really need a justification for maximizing a coupon. Jesirose is right, it was fairly irrelevant details, but I mentioned it cos I figured it would forestall any ‘why were you spending so much at once’ comments.
            I wasn’t really going for “my life is ruined”, just “man, now this is gonna be a hassle when it coulda been so easy if everything had just worked!” My life is patently not ruined, this is very much a first world problem. :) -OP

  26. Amnesiac85 says:

    That does suck. I would suggest not waiting until 20 minutes before the coupon expires, though. If you had done it even a day sooner, you’d have a day to call LB’s customer support and get it sorted out.

    Hopefully they fix it and let the coupon deal stand, it would be the right thing for them to do.

  27. Splendid says:

    why cut it so close? who really know what time zone the web site server is located in.

  28. magickalrealism says:

    Lane Bryant has been going through some serious changes, especially on the technical end. They’re not about to let a loyal customer go if they can help it, and the problem described is actually a common bug in a lot of ecommerce software. LB, as a consumer of that software, needs to track down the problem they’re paying for as well.

  29. sopmodm14 says:

    i’d wait to here lane bryants response

    its highly doubtful that they’d decline a purchase

  30. sopmodm14 says:

    i’d wait to here lane bryants response

    its highly doubtful that they’d decline a purchase

  31. locakitty says:

    I used to do customer email support for charming shoppes (which services/owns LB along with Fashion Bug and Catherine’s, but this was years ago, I don’t know if they still do) and we had to answer emails within 24 hours. The problem was that there were THOUSANDS of LB emails in comparison to the other brands so sometimes it would take 48-72 hours to answer. And then, well, we had template answers for various issues.

    I wish I still had their number laying around for you so you could call. However, a store has the number to website customer service, so you might be able to get this handled through a store. I hope it works out for you and wish I had more info to give other than this long winded response that doesn’t do much to help :)

  32. lastingsmilledge says:

    I’ve been needing to upgrade my wardrobe from pre-college and undergrad style jeans and t-shirts to nicer hoodies and sweatpants appropriate for grad school.

    fixed. there are no magical wardrobe changes in grad school.

  33. Kibit says:

    The OP should look for consignment shops in her area and even thrift stores. I have found some great deals at them and a lot of the thrift stores will allow you to return items if they end up not working. The Salvation Army in my town offers free alterations on certain days.