Reader Patricia is angry and somewhat baffled by Target’s insistence that Target and Target.com are not the same company and its not a Target store’s problem if the website is messed up and tells you to drive 25 miles to buy something that isn’t in stock.
Here’s a portion of the letter Patricia wrote to Target’s executives:
My son’s birthday was Saturday, March 13th. One of the things that he wanted was a Nerf Longstrike Rifle. We went to Wal-Mart to see if they had it, and they didn’t, so we searched Target.com, and found that when you searched for “Longstrike” the rifle came up. We chose to see if it was available in the store, and found that it was, so I called to make sure. Sure enough, the item number 087-11-0002, was available, it was the Nerf rifle. So I drove 25 miles to the Target in our area with my son to purchase it.
When I got to the store, we couldn’t find the gun so I went to customer service to see if it was simply misplaced or if it was out of stock. The girl at the customer service desk was very pleasant, and showed us how to look up the item and get her the item number. She then called back to the toy department and they brought up the gun. Unfortunately, it was the wrong one. Eric, the toy department manager [redacted] store told me that the item number I had was for the wrong gun, and also said that Target Stores and Target.com have nothing to do with each other, even though they share the name. I told him that we had looked the item up online, had checked availability, and Eric told us that checking if it is available in store doesn’t matter, because Target.com and Target are two different entities and that they don’t talk to each other, it’s just the way it is and that there is nothing Target is going to do about it if their customers are unhappy. If I had a complaint, address it to the customer service number.
So I called the customer service 1-800 number (1-800-440-0680) which was given to me by theTarget store. The first and second times I called, I got through the IVR and was hung up on. The third time I called, Kathy answered the line. I explained the whole thing to Kathy, and was told that it was too bad that I had the experience I had, but that Target and Target.com were two separate entities and that they really couldn’t help me.
I asked if Target and Target.com were owned by the same company, and she said yes. I asked if both were connected, and she said yes, and when I asked if that didn’t make them the same company in the eyes of the public, she said no, they were two separate companies. Again, I explained that in the eyes of the public they were one and the same, but she said it didn’t matter; they were two different companies and that whatever Target.com had, EVEN if it said it was available in store, to not believe it unless you called the store. I explained that I had called the store, and that the item number was available according to the store. She then said that since Target.com had the item number on two separate items, to call them and order it.
I explained I didn’t want to since I couldn’t tell which item would be shipped, and she said that this was her point, Target.com had it wrong, not the store, and so it was their fault. I asked if there were an executive customer service team, and she said no. I asked if Target had a CEO that was in charge of both areas, and she said yes, but that the call center took the calls for the CEO because the CEO was to busy to deal with this trivia. I then asked for her supervisor, and after several minutes wait Kelly came on the phone.
Kelly (female) told me the same thing, that Target and Target.com are two separate entities (which, by the way, I was getting tired of hearing) and that Target.com had a disclaimer stating that items may not be available in store. I explained that I had checked with the store, and was told it was available, and she agreed that it should be, but since the website had screwed up the item number, all they had was the other rifle. She also explained that Target.com was run by Amazon.com, and that they were going to be changing this because of “customer feedback”.
I explained that I wanted to know what Target was going to do for a longtime customer who had been misled, and she explained again that there was a disclaimer on the website stating that Target was not responsible for information on Target.com, and that it was unfortunate, but there was nothing she could or would do, but please do check the website for weekly online ads. I told Kelly, as I am telling you: I will no longer be a Target customer, since the service is poor, and since the website and the store are two separate things. I will be blogging this online on Facebook, Twitter, and any other website I can find that takes complaints, and I will make sure that people know that Target does not care about its customers. This is unacceptable. Target and Target.com are, to the eyes of the public, the same company, I followed all instructions and drove 50 miles round trip for nothing, and I felt that Target should make sure that the information that they gave BOTH on the website and over the phone were correct.
So, since the customer service line answers all of your phone calls, I wanted to make sure you were aware of the type of service YOUR answering service gives. In this day and age, with the economy being poor and most people being mindful of their money, it is important to know which companies stand behind both their stores and their websites. Since Target does not stand behind it’s website AND the store states that, Target is no longer a store that I will do business with, and I have blogged this story as I promised Kelly I would, so that other potential Target Customers will know in advance not to shop there.
Judging by the percentage of Target complaints we read that are about this issue, maybe Target really should rethink their website. Or at least not dismiss people who are mislead by it.
What do you think?