Ann Taylor Scrambles My Data With My Friend’s, Shrugs

Patty set out to make a purchase from Ann Taylor Loft. Her friend who lives in a different state did not. And yet, their data is somehow tangled. Patty’s friend’s credit card info is part of Patty’s Ann Taylor account record, and no one has any idea why.

It’s all very reminiscent of our classic “Who’s Margaret?” saga from 2011, where Proflowers urged a customer to send flowers to someone in a different state who he had never met. Only it involves a credit card: Patty’s order was put through on her friend’s credit card, even though there is no logical reason why it would have been.

Last night, I was shopping online at Ann Taylor Loft. I added two items to my shopping bag, and proceeded to checkout. In order to do so, I entered my email address and clicked on the “forgot password” link (because I had no record of the password I had selected previously). I received several messages indicating that any stored credit card information would be deleted by resetting my password. I proceeded, as I had not done any online shopping with Loft in over a year and I supposed that the billing information on file may be outdated anyway. Once my password was reset, I logged in to my account and clicked the link to continue with the checkout process. I expected to be able to review my billing and shipping address information, but much to my chagrin, the next screen indicated that my order had been placed. The shipping address was fine, but I was horrified to find that the billing address information was not my credit card information, but that of my friend who resides in a different state.

I immediately contacted the customer service line. However, after spending an hour on hold and speaking with supervisors at two progressively higher levels of the organization, I was informed that the expedited online shopping system would not permit any changes to be made to my order. Thus, my only option was to notify my friend that a charge would appear on her account and then return my items by mail to get the refund back to her credit card. No one seemed to care that this WASN’T MY CREDIT CARD, nor that my friend’s address was incorrect, nor that she might wind up having to pay a bill to avoid an interest charge, then getting a credit back to her card that she may or may not be able to use. Two supervisors (one last night and another today) advised me that I could take the issue up with the credit card company. This would be difficult, considering, again, that THIS WASN’T MY CREDIT CARD. It was even more galling because the friend’s credit card is an Ann Taylor Loft store card. ARRRGGGHHHH!

I find it extremely difficult to believe that there was no way for someone at some level of the organization to override the system, credit my friend’s credit card account for the purchase, and charge my credit card. And clearly the Loft online ordering system was having problems, since the multiple warnings that resetting the password on my account would delete all stored credit card information were apparently invalid.

In subsequent discussions with my friend, we cannot figure out how her credit card information would have been stored on my online account anyway. Which, of course, begs the question of whether or not someone else’s credit card information may have populated my account or whether this incident may be repeating with other individuals’ information. One would think Ann Taylor Loft would be somewhat concerned about this possibility and moving to investigate and correct the situation. But no one has informed me of any such activity. No one with whom I have spoken at multiple levels of Customer Service management has provided any assistance. And apparently the “Online Fraud Unit” is either nonexistent or completely ineffective.

I would gratefully receive any suggestions you might have about resolving this situation. Please tell others about my plight, as I do not want other people to experience the frustration of dealing with a company that cares so little about its customers. Once this is resolved, I will be deleting my online account and will never again make a purchase from Ann Taylor Loft online. My friend plans to cancel her store credit card as well.