Loses My Order, Tells Me I Can Go Pick It Up In Store For An Additional $60

As we reported last week, a recent survey showed that the website for Toys R Us came in dead last among top online retailers for its average delivery time. Unfortunately, this news came too late for Consumerist reader Victor who had already been waiting 11 days for his order from the site.

See, Victor had found at good deal on something called a Silly Hair Lalaloopsy doll (these kids today, I tell ya), which was selling for $29.97. So he placed an order for three and received a notice on Dec. 5 that they were being shipped by UPS.

But every time Victor checked the tracking on his shipment, it never updated beyond the “UPS shipping label has been created” stage. So after almost two weeks of waiting, he contacted the company to see what was going on.

Writes Victor:

They told me that there was a shipping error and they would just refund my order. I had a problem with this because these dolls are very hard to find now, so I asked that they replace the missing shipment instead.

They said that no, they wouldn’t be doing that, but I should just go to a Toys R Us Brick and Mortar store and get them.

The problem with that was twofold — one, they’re hard to find in stores, even The World’s Biggest Toy Store, and two, Toys R Us is now charging $49.99 for the dolls I ordered and paid for 3 weeks ago for $29.97 each.

That’s a difference of over $60 across the three dolls.

I told them if they wanted to give me a $60 Toys R Us credit to account for this difference, I
could try to find them in store and buy them.

However, the wind-up customer service robots that operate out of the Toys R Us HQ on the North Pole seemed to take Victor’s suggestion as a price-matching request, which they quickly shot down.

“While and try to stay competitive with pricing as much as possible, we do not price match against any online or land-based store,” wrote TRU. “Also, it is not our policy to honor promotions, price reductions, or sale prices outside of the time period they are offered. I am sorry for any disappointment or inconvenience this may cause you. Therefore we cannot credit you for the difference of the price listed.”

The canned apology did not sit that well with Victor.

“Toys R Us lost my shipment of dolls, refused to replace it, suggested I buy it in-store at $20 more per doll myself, punishing me with a tab more than $60 extra because they made an error,” he writes. “I told them they failed at Customer Service school. That was about as nicely as I could put the summary of this situation.”

We here at Consumerist understand that mistakes happen, especially around the holidays. But it’s one thing to allow someone to place an order and not have the inventory to fulfill it. It’s another to take that order, charge the customer, send them shipping info and then refuse to be amenable to a reasonable suggestion.

Thank heavens Toys R Us stores are staying open for some unholy amount of hours leading up to Christmas, so that you won’t have to deal with the company’s website for last-minute gifts.


Edit Your Comment

  1. FreeMarketFan says:

    Tell your kid Santa couldn’t fit it in the sleigh but left the money to get one a month after Christmas. When a month goes bye and the kid(s) forget you’ll be richer and be teaching your child(ren) the difference between wants and needs

    • AstroPig7 says:

      You sound like the kind of Santa who just gives socks and underwear.

      • Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:

        Ha, I know right?

        “Listen up, sweetheart, it’s called fiscal responsibility. Put it in your piggy bank and pray that Uncle Sugar doesn’t want to take his fucking cut. Now get daddy some more egg nog and everclear. THIS CUP WONT FILL ITSELF. BELCH.”

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

        Sweet baby nibblets…I was just thinking the same thing exactly when I expanded the comments and saw yours. I admire your swiney-ness.

  2. daynight says:

    I have been getting a huge amount of email from ToysRUs. I am not clear why they need to flood me so heavily, as the more I get, the less I actually read! They easily went from a service provider to a spammer.

    This is consistent with the dain bread approach to customer disservice described above..

    • fatediesel says:

      Yeah, I bought some baby registry gifts on ToysRUs a couple months ago and had to register and immediately after registering started getting at least 3 emails a day from them. After a couple days I unsubscribed from their emails due to the volume they were sending them.

      On a side note, they pissed me off by stating on the website that everything was in stock and then after I placed the order they informed me that half the stuff was out of stock. Fortunately I ordered the things about a month before the baby was born and after a couple weeks they shipped the out of stock items but it still annoyed me that they listed the items as in stock on the site and didn’t inform me they were out of stock until after the purchase had been made.

  3. Mouse Tester says:

    that’s pure bait & switch from them, file a complaint with bbb and the ftc

    • OSAM says:

      No, it isn’t.

      • Mouse Tester says:

        Sec. 238.4 Switch after sale.
        No practice should be pursued by an advertiser, in the event of sale of the advertised product, of “unselling” with the intent and purpose of selling other merchandise in its stead. Among acts or practices which will be considered in determining if the initial sale was in good faith, and not a stratagem to sell other merchandise, are:
        (b) Failure to make delivery of the advertised product within a reasonable time or to make a refund,

        how do you propose that TRU would refund him the time lost waiting for them to ship the product (3 weeks), which they never did (i.e. “reasonable time” is not applicable here) once they received the order and didn’t have the item in stock they should have refunded immediately, not sit on the money for 3 weeks, interest-free.

        What they did instead during this time: they raised the price of the product that he had already paid for when the normal price was 29.97 (x 3 = 89,91) to 49.99 each (x3 = 149,97).

        Since the price difference is this large, the refund should have happened with the “current” price at the time that the refund took place. They technically bought them back from him by force.

        Please note that the FTC guide is just that, an explanatory rough guide, and that there are other factors to be considered too, such as the fact that this type of abuse seems to be common with TRU, they list products on the site as being “in stock”, accept money for orders placed but they do not deliver and just return people’s money after a very long delay.

        On the scale that they seem to be doing it looks like quite a lucrative scheme for obtaining funds with zero interest rate.

  4. Murph1908 says:

    Something similar happened to me with Reebok (Submitted to Consumerist – Ignored)

    Ordered shoes, wrong size shipped. Order needed to be cancelled, placed again. Reebok wasn’t going to honor the sale price on the new order. Only offered 10% off next order, which wasn’t as good as the original sale.

    After complaints and reiteration of my logic, that I just want the shoes I ordered at the price I ordered them at, it seemed I was getting nowhere. I told them their customer service paled in comparison to Zappos, where I’d be ordering my shoes this time and in the future.

    Out of the blue, I was contacted by the customer service manager I had dealt with, and she said they were going to send me a free pair of shoes. Reebok win, though they needed overtime to do so.

  5. Rachacha says:

    While it will not help with the short supply of the toy, We went to a B&M Toys R Us store to purchase a baby gift for someone. They had the product in stock, but it was $45, while online at, it was $28. We asked the cashier if they would do a price match, and without hesitation, simply looking at the iprice on our phone they matched the price. Not sure if I was lucky or if this is policy for TRU B&M stores.

  6. Rachacha says:

    While it will not help with the short supply of the toy, We went to a B&M Toys R Us store to purchase a baby gift for someone. They had the product in stock, but it was $45, while online at, it was $28. We asked the cashier if they would do a price match, and without hesitation, simply looking at the iprice on our phone they matched the price. Not sure if I was lucky or if this is policy for TRU B&M stores.

  7. kurtmac says:

    My dad shared a similar story this season, though he ordered his items for in-store pickup. The items showed as ‘in stock’ and after placing the order, received info that he should wait “2-hours for confirmation via email.” That email never came until the next morning, only it was a notice that his order had been canceled. I guess he called customer service, and they said they show the item as in-stock and he can order it online. Back on the website the item was indeed in-stock, but at a new non-sale full price, which, like the OP’s story, they wouldn’t honor his original order price! It seems when Toys R Us recognizes people taking advantage of a good deal they find very convenient ways of losing the order, only to suddenly find it again when the sale is over.

  8. Slowchange says:

    Same thing happened to my aunt, different product. Then then had it for a higher price in store.

  9. Joedel263 says:

    TRU will match their online price if it doesn’t say “Online Only” or “Hot Online Price” (or it’s an online only item obviously..) needs to be current though, so even if he did actually find one in a store, they are no longer on sale online.

  10. H3ion says:

    If you have a confirmed order at a price, and have to pay a higher price even at the same store, I would think that small claims is a good place to recover the difference.

  11. dush says:

    put the $60 in a college fund and buy the toys in a couple months when they are super discounted cause they’re not all the rage anymore.

  12. Milehimama says:

    A similar problem just happened to me. I ordered 4 items, and split them into two separate orders in order to take advantage of free shipping (you get free shipping up to $20 worth if you order $49 or more. My $110 order was going to cost me $15 or so in shipping, or I could take two shipments for $0 shipping.)

    Anyway, I ordered two items- Night Vision goggles at $39.99, and Castle themed dollhouse furniture for $20.99. The furniture was to go with a wooden castle/dollhouse, is normally $29.99, and I’ve never seen it in stores- online only.

    I placed my order, but when I got my confirmation, the dollhouse furniture was dropped off and I was charged $7 for shipping on the goggles (because my order fell below $49.99) Even though it was minutes later, I could not cancel or change my order online and had to wait for customer service to open. They did refund my shipping charge, but wouldn’t add the furniture onto my order. They told me to order it again. However, if I ordered it again, I’d have to pay shipping (which should have been free). They couldn’t refund the additional shipping charge, it’s not available in stores, and I can’t ship-to-store for free, for some reason, either.

    Frustrating. And I’m still waiting for my night vision goggles, which were ordered 10 days ago.

    I am a big Toys R Us fan- I have 9 children and we’re in there about twice a month (once for birthday gifts, then a week later to spend birthday money, grin). But holy cow are they spamming the life out of me. I get 3-4 emails per DAY with super sales, 2 hour sales, Cyber Sales, Rewards member only sales…it’s pretty bad.

    • Joedel263 says:

      it isn’t “ship to store” Its “in store pickup”. You’re only able to do it if the store has it. They pull jt and put it aside for you to pick up.

  13. asphaltzeppo says:

    Williams-Sonoma just pulled something similar on me. I ordered 2 of an item that was on sale. I got a confirmation email. 2 weeks later they said it was out of stock and cancelled my order. I went on the site and found that they were still selling them, but for $5 more. Thanks for waiting 2 weeks guys. Now I am scrambling for a last minute gift.

  14. jeduardocafe says:

    Toys R Us is off my list of places I will shop. Ordered 2 items, got an order confirmation, then got a backorder notice. Tried to find out how to cancel order online – couldn’t be done. Called the 800 number – no option to cancel an order and the inquire about an order had no option to cancel or to speak to an operator. hit ‘0’ to get to a Customer Service Rep, who told me that my order could not be cancelled because it had been allocated. I asked, has it been shipped? ‘No’. I asked “when will it ship?”, she says “I can’t tell, not sure”. She says “I can put a note in the system and maybe when they’re packing it, they can cancel the order”. I ask “can I return the order or refuse it if it arrives?” She say “yes, but you’ll need to pay for the return shipping or bring it to a store for a return”. I say, “can a store do a paypal credit, since this is how I paid for it?” She says “I don’t know”. In the interim, she tells me that the system that she was attempting to leave the note about not shipping the order “has crashed” and politely asks if there is anything else she can help me with? No honey, I’m all set. Last order ever from Toys R Us. Awful.

  15. CurrentGeekSquadEmployee says:

    The sense of entitlement around here is amazing. They admitted that there was an error with shipping, which means either their fault or who they use for shipping.

    They offered to refund the money. It wasn’t available anymore online, so apparently they couldn’t place the order. They have a clear price match policy, and told the OP that he could try to buy them at the local stores.

    Yah, it sucks. But shit happens sometimes. Find something new for your kids to waste money on. His best bet is to talk to a local store manager and see if they can cut a deal with him or something.

  16. sopmodm14 says:

    many times, you’re competing with another person at home, so if someone buys a huge quantity, and your order is up to be processed, but the inventory is zero, the order is usually canceled from an online order

    you’re ordering from a toy store a month before christmas, so inventory will change day to day (ask anyone who’s ever worked retail)

    • sqlrob says:

      Except in a well implemented system, the stock would be updated real time. It doesn’t take two weeks.

      • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

        The biggest retailers don’t have decent stock tracking software. Sears is a great example of a bad example of stock tracking. It seems like you have a better chance not running into this type of issue with a small company.

  17. impatientgirl says:

    We had an order yesterday MORNING only to be cancelled via email at midnight last night.