TigerDirect Screws Up Order, Then Screws Up Customer Service Response

Matt bought a camera from TigerDirect. He monitored the status of the order online, and saw that it was marked “shipped” a few days after he placed the order, so he returned the other, more expensive, camera he’d bought at Best Buy. Unfortunately, the TigerDirect camera never arrived. Matt logged in again to see what the problem was and saw that it was now marked both “shipped” and “canceled.” That’s when the problems with TigerDirect’s customer service started.

So the first thing I did was call in to Tiger Direct and ask what was up with my order – since I had not received it and it showed both SHIPPED and CANCELLED.

I was told that they ran out of stock and the best thing they could do was give me free shipping on a comparable model (40-50$ more expensive). I explained my entire scenario and asked why it stated shipped and then later cancelled and he admitted it made no sense. I also asked him why I was never notified if my order was cancelled and after stuttering he said, “It shows up here that you were notified – by mail.” I explained that I checked my email regularly and never received anything and he said it was by REGULAR MAIL. Are you kidding me? They send out order cancellations by REGULAR MAIL when someone orders online? I’m calling lies on that one. By the way, I never received an order cancellation in the mail either to this day. He said I’d have to speak to a manager to escalate the issue – told me to call back at 9:30am.

I called back at 9:30am and waited on hold for 3 minutes and no PERSON even picked up (never mind a manager) so I resorted to email to follow up.

I asked for a comparable model at the same price in email and explained the inconvenience that was caused because I spent time returning a different model at Best Buy once the order was shown as shipped.

The response I received 6 days later:

“We apologize for any inconvenience. The reason this order was canceled was because we longer had this item in stock. Unfortunately we can not go below our cost for the replacement camera that you want.

TigerDirect.com and TigerDirect.ca are part of the same parent corporation but they operate individually and as separate companies. TigerDirect.com is U.S. based with U.S. offices, employees and warehouse facilities. TigerDirect.ca is a Canadian company with Canadian offices, Canadian employees and a warehouse which accepts returns from customers in Canada. As separate companies each has its own unique and specific costs of doing business. In many cases similar or even identical products are procured from different distributors, suppliers or vendors under different terms and costs. Delivery costs, duties, taxes, returns costs and provisions for warranty coverage all play a part in determining sales price as do operational costs ranging from employees salaries to facilities leases and overhead. Each of these costs varies by market and these variances may result in different sales prices for similar or even identical products. Sales prices may differ but Tigerdirect.com and TigerDirect.ca both exist to bring value to all our customers in each of the markets in which we operate.”

Nowhere did they acknowledge the fact that they messed up with the shipped/cancelled and explain why that happened. Nor did the tell me why I was never notified that my order had been cancelled – had they done this, I would have kept the camera from best buy.

We’re surprised to read that TigerDirect sends cancellation notices by snail mail. Oh, wait, not “surprised”—we mean “in disbelief.” Has anyone else ever received a letter in the mail notifying you of an out-of-stock item? Or was a TigerDirect CSR improvising in panic?

Matt wrote back and explained again how he felt they should honor the original price, since they told him it was in stock when he placed the order, then told him it had shipped, and without those two pieces of information he would have never returned the other camera (which was no longer on sale) to Best Buy.

The is the brief reply I received from them where they quote me:

“I spent my time and money returning another camera to bestbuy which is no longer available on sale.”

thisd was a choice issued by you as we have no involvement in the transaction between you and Best Buy

Maybe TigerDirect’s slogan should be, “It’s not our problem you never received our imaginary snail mail letters and thought that ‘shipped’ meant your item had been packaged and sent to you.” Nah, that’s too long for the website. Maybe “TigerDirect: Customer satisfaction? [shrug]”


Edit Your Comment

  1. SpdRacer says:

    They have been infected with the same virus that brought down CompUSA. See this is what happens when you lie down with the dogs of your industry.

  2. shadowkahn says:

    I have been consistently underwhelmed by Tiger Direct. Got a GPS from them. 3 days later they lowered the price. I wrote in to get the price guarantee. They said they’d give me store credit (uh. What? No, gimme the cash), and then never bothered. I didn’t kick up a fuss. I’ll just go back to shopping at Newegg.

  3. serreca says:

    Similar thing happened to me with theknot.com (I know, totally unrelated items, but similar experience). I ordered guest favors for my wedding and was never notified that they were out of stock. We had to scramble to find something comparable at the last minute. I was a mad bride-to-be.

  4. chiieddy says:

    They just bought CompUSA. This should be interesting.

  5. valarmorghulis says:

    This really is some bad customer service. I will say though i really don’t see how the best buy return/sale hastle thing was anything more than unfortunate. unless tigerdirect.com’s deal was the “don’t buy that camera from best buy while it’s on sale when you could buy it from us for cheaper” deal. no company should be reasonably held responsible for decisions made by the customer that do not directly involve the company.

  6. chemmy says:

    I would have stuck with Best Buy. I have plenty to say about TigerDirect…. but most of it couldn’t be printed here anyway.

  7. DeltaPurser says:

    Yeah, sorry kiddo’… You returning an item to a different store does, in my book, NOT qualify as an inconvenience.

  8. NotATool says:

    Kmart-Sears Merger:Retail::Tiger Direct+CompUSA:Electronics

  9. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    TigerDirect is awful. I don’t care how good the deal is, but I’ve read too many horror stories that keeps me away from this place. If you’re a business/government/educational customer, you might get better service. But for everyone else, buy from Newegg or Amazon.

  10. Zaphâ„¢ says:

    That is terrible service, and I am surprised (although I should not be as I read this blog daily) as I have never had anything but good service and prices from them.

  11. DeliBoy says:

    Added TigerDirect to the list of companies that I don’t patronize 6 years ago after they refused to honor a rebate. Newegg all the way.

  12. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @chiieddy: They’re perfect for each other, obviously.

  13. wamrage says:

    @DeltaPurser: @DeltaPurser:

    Sure it qualifies an inconvenience, when you consider that after returning the camera I could not get it at the same price I originally purchased it at. Basically I was S.O.L. because TigerDirect made an error and then lied to me.

  14. FLConsumer says:

    TigerDirect’s known to have piss poor service. They’ve had bad service for well over 10 years, even back in the pre-internet catalog mail-order days.

    Hopefully Matt learned a lesson here — ask around and see which vendors people recommend. Plenty of love around for NewEgg (‘cept the shitty way they package hard drives), and there’s always the tried & true B&H / J&R out of NYC. The three vendors I mentioned may not have the most absolute rock-bottom price…but how much is your time worth?

  15. wamrage says:

    ^FL, I will definitely not shop TD again

  16. soulman901 says:

    Shop Newegg.
    Nuff Said.

  17. chrisfromnl says:

    “I called back at 9:30am and waited on hold for 3 minutes and no PERSON even picked up (never mind a manager) so I resorted to email to follow up.”

    He only waited on hold for 3 minutes before resorting to email?

  18. wamrage says:

    @chrisfromnl: I was at work, not all of us can afford to waste an hour on the phone to resolve an issue when an email can be quickly sent to get the same point across.

  19. FLConsumer says:

    @chrisfromnl: Yeah, he’s obviously never dealt with Verizon (30+ mins avg) or when AT&T and Cingular merged (90 mins avg)

  20. cparker says:

    Don’t Shop Newegg.

    They sent me the wrong product, then acted like it was my fault. I ordered it next day delivery. I had to return the wrong product before they would ship me a new one. WTF? And they weren’t even willing to pay shipping back. I paid next day because I wanted it NOW, but I got it in two weeks because of their screwup.

    Never again newegg.

  21. Sudonum says:

    Sounds like something Buy.com would do.

  22. sleze69 says:

    Sounds like the perfect company to take over CompUSA. It appears they already have incorporated CompUSA’s renowned customer service.

  23. goodkitty says:

    The term for this TD behavior is, from many complaints on many forums, “the bite of the tiger.”

  24. wamrage says:

    @FLConsumer: I’ve been on hold for 1 hour with Dell/Rogers before…not doing it again with TD. – I am the person who made this complaint.

  25. rolla says:

    dont like tigerdirect…they dont offer free shipping so it kinda defeats the purpose of their “lower” prices IMHO

  26. Kendra says:

    Live and learn, read on [www.resellerratings.com] their so called “customer service.”

    I once bought a computer kit from them, except NONE OF THE PARTS FIT TOGETHER or even were rated as compatable.

    I had to wait 3 weeks to get my money back to buy an “out of the box” solution from BB.

    Never ever ever shop Tiger Direct. Ever.

  27. Jaysyn was banned for: https://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    I’m probably the only person on this blog that *likes* TigerDirect.

    I’ve been buying PC parts from them for 8 years. I’ve heard horror stories, but never had an issue. They honored all rebates, have good prices & if something was DOA they didn’t give me any crap about returning it.

    Other than the rebates, I’ve had the exact opposite experience with NewEgg. And CDW is so expensive it’s silly.

  28. Jaysyn was banned for: https://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:


    Did you even look at their rating?

    7.67 / 10 doesn’t exactly sound bad.

  29. Jaysyn was banned for: https://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:


    Hell, did you read the reviews? Most of those people who had negative reviews sound like they couldn’t pour water out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel.

  30. wamrage says:

    The best part about this is the people bashing me for returning my other camera. Never would’ve happened if I was notified that my order was cancelled.

  31. ShortBus says:

    @Jaysyn: CDW is more expensive because they primarily serve businesses, not consumers. I’m the IT manager for my company and my CDW rep is on my instant messenger list. I can IM him anytime and say “Hey, we need an X that does Y and Z. Please research what will work best for us.” Then I can get back to fixing stuff around here. In the end, the company saves money because I don’t have to spend hours wading through product reviews or vendor websites. (And their prices aren’t all that bad anyhow)

  32. azntg says:

    @chrisfromnl: Indeed. Hell, it takes 30+ minutes to reach somebody for non-emergency city services!

    Tigerdirect was always in a downward spiral. They were okay when they were a mail-order business. Perhaps slightly cheaper than my neighborhood computer store and one or two times I had to call CS was satisfactory.

    Nowadays, they’re either outside expensive or cheap with a ridiculously high shipping price (must’ve borrowed that idea from unscrupulous eBay sellers). Again, another call or two CS has abysmal at best with no satisfactory resolution coming out of it. Any surprise that after several years of ordering with them, my account shows nothing within the past few years?

  33. viqas says:

    best buy > tiger direct
    at least you dont have to worry about mailing rebates that you would never get from tiger direct.

  34. midwestkel says:

    No wonder they bought CompUSA.

  35. Woofer00 says:

    @Jaysyn: Funny, I didn’t know advanced knowledge of electronics was a requirement in expecting proper customer service.

  36. Joedragon says:

    The tiger store in Naperville, IL lets you get stuff from there web site same day and if it is out of stock they will tell you before you pay.

  37. dachuckyb says:

    I purchased a projector from Tigerdirect last year. They wanted to make sure that I actually purchased the projector since my billing address was different than my billing address. I called customer service 10 times and they kept re-verifying my information. I was told the projector would be shipping soon. After placing a hold on my credit card and then removing it, I finally gave up. When I finally cancelled the order, the representative said I was lucky because the projector would be shipping soon.

    There is an outlet store in Orland Park, IL and I had to purchase the projector from the store. The reason I didn’t go to the outlet store in the first place was sales tax. For all future purchases, I’m going to use newegg instead. I’m not really that impressed with Tigerdirect at all.

  38. STrRedWolf says:

    I’d check that credit card statement if I were you, if the order is truly canceled.

  39. Kay Bee says:

    yeah tiger’s quite worthless. i’ve had trouble with them. why cant people just be good people!

  40. IvyIngrate says:

    This guy is CLEARLY a TigerDirect employee in Naperville, IL. Check his other posts. He’s only commented 3 times, each time about the same service at the same Tiger Direct store.

    Who wants to bet it’s Joe Dunne, who has served as Tiger Direct’s EVP and CFO.

  41. Xkeeper says:

    I called back at 9:30am and waited on hold for 3 minutes and no PERSON even picked up (never mind a manager) so I resorted to email to follow up.

    Isn’t the average hold time around, uh… 10-30? Three minutes is a bit short.

  42. FLConsumer says:

    @ShortBus: CDW’s useful for volume discounts and the higher-end or esoteric parts, but they’re still quite pricey compared to everyone else. Yes, the account reps are excellent, but still too pricey if I’m only buying some RAM or a few hard drives. Now, outfitting a whole office? Definitely CDW time.

  43. wamrage says:

    @Xkeeper: I’m not talking about speaking to a manager, I’m saying I dialed the # and it rang for 3 minutes without my call being answered.

  44. Chigaimasmaro says:

    Well, even if he only waited 3 minutes, the fact that Tiger-Direct decided to blame him for THEIR error is just plain ridiculous. I guess its pretty appropriate that they are taking over CompUSA, which WAS one of the worst computer retail chains to date.

  45. redhelix says:

    This happened to me when I board a motherboard from them a few years ago. They displayed it as ‘shipped’ and the next day my order was set to ‘On Backorder’ with a 3-week waiting period. I canceled the order and just bought the stupid thing from newegg. TD is a terrible retailer.

  46. Tiger_Direct says:

    To Matt:

    At Tiger Direct, customer satisfaction is our top priority. We apologize for the inconvenience you have experienced, and would be glad to find a solution that you will find satisfactory. Please email me at customersatisfaction@help.tigerdirect.com with “consumerist.com” in the subject line, and I will gladly work to resolve the issue for you, as well as provide you with more information.


    Tiger Direct Customer Service/Web Response

  47. comp_wiz101 says:

    TD has been known to cause a lot of issues with their refurbished computers. Back when I used to do tech support we would have customers call in with units that TD had stripped the internals out, replaced it with parts from who-knows-where, and told the customers that the OEM (HP) would cover the warranty… So we’d have a computer that is only ours based of the badge on the front, the hardware was all different, running a different version of Windows. Thanks TD, good to know we can count on ya! Almost as bad were the cases where the unit was mostly original, but had things missing like RAM or HDs…
    I try to stick to the brick-and-mortar shops for this very reason.

  48. Canoehead says:

    For HDDs, ZipZoomFLy all the way – the price is usually the same as NewEgg (also a good store generally) but ZZF usually has free shipping and the pack your HDD properly – my one big beef with Newegg.

  49. howie_in_az says:

    Can we say ‘bait and switch’ ?

  50. Master Wolfe says:

    I used them once, several years ago, and never will again. I don’t recall the details, but suffice it to say, it scarred me for life (figuratively speaking, of course) :(

  51. wamrage says:

    This is Matt – I’ve contacted the company and I’ll see if I end up receiving the camera I wanted as an alternative.

  52. confluence says:

    I agree with you that TigerDirect is awful. I ordered something from them and accidently typed my shipping and billing address wrong. Stupid on my part to not check it but immediately after I submitted for purchase I noticed the error. I called TigerDirect right away and they said I had to call back in one hour. I called back in one hour and they shipped it already! And they shipped to a bogus address (one that does not exist). I also wondered how my credit card was approved if the address and the phone number was wrong (I entered my old phone number, too). No amount of emails or calls was able to correct the address. Basically, I was told by customer service that I would have to wait for the receiver at the address that does not exist to ship it back to TigerDirect and then I would have to wait for the shipment to get back to them so that they could then ship it to the correct address. Why the “F” could they not correct it before shipping it!!!!!!!! Why because they are a dirty, dirty website who caters to criminals with stolen credit cards!