Target Refuses To Send Me The Item I Ordered, Instead Suggests I Just Keep The Wrong One

Melissa is funny in that when she does her shopping online and picks something out, she expects that item to be delivered in a timely manner. Weird, right? That doesn’t mean that if she receives the wrong item, she’ll want to keep it instead of getting what she ordered, but Target doesn’t seem to understand that.

She says she ordered some Neutrogena foundation on sale from Target, and instead received the brand’s oil blotting sheets. For those unfamiliar with female cosmetics, those are two very different things, even if they are both used on the face. So Melissa took action.

I called, and after a 20 minute phone call while the associate fumbled over my options, was told that a new item would be shipped to me and I should use a return label, which would be emailed to me, to return the incorrect item to target. I got the confirmation information for the replacement item, and it listed a delivery date of March 5 – fully one month after my original February 4th order. I called back and said that was an unacceptable delay, and after 30 minutes on the phone with two associates have been told to keep the original item, expect a refund for the correct item, and accept a $5 payment as compensation for my time.

I do not want Target’s $5 and I do not want to keep the incorrect item – but apparently Target DOES NOT ship replacement items when they send you wrong product. In fact, the supervisor I spoke with this evening told me that I should not have been offered a replacement product.

How can a replacement product not be offered when it really isn’t replacing anything — it’s just actually fulfilling the order correctly?

Silly Melissa, perhaps it’s time to just order wrong item at first and hope the right one shows up instead. Because that would make as much sense as Target’s policy of not replacing incorrect items.


Edit Your Comment

  1. MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

    Target obviously thinks Melissa’s pregnant, and knows that she will soon need blotting sheets.

  2. unpolloloco says:

    So…..she’s complaining that she got a free product, $5, and a refund? Target offered to ship her what she ordered, but they’re out of stock for a couple more weeks….

    • DrLumen says:

      I was thinking pretty much the same thing. Good thing she didn’t go to a B&M store and find they were out! We probably would have never heard the end of it.

    • StarKillerX says:

      Yeah, seems that the OP is just looking to be offended.

      • Dallas_shopper says:


      • PeanutButter says:

        I don’t know how she will ever live! This is a horrible travesty, I’m sure she’ll need therapy.


      • Cosmo_Kramer says:

        Pretty much. And in typical Mary Beth Quirk fashion, the article title and article content are blatantly inaccurate. I don’t know how she keeps her job. Do consumerist readers not care when someone lies to them?

        • StarKillerX says:

          I submitted a story last week about the head of Apple’s “Fair Labor” investigators already saying that working condition are above par and that it possibly boredom played a roll in the suicides and the response I got from one of the writes was a snarky “how would you like to put attach the same wire to the same circuit twelve hours a day.

          So yeah, they are all so caught up in their personal biases, which the stores show, that it’s sad.

    • vivalakellye says:

      The foundation may not be available in Target stores (Or OP doesn’t have a Target nearby.)

      • jiubreyn says:

        That’s not relevant. The company sent her the wrong product, misinformed her about policy and is now telling her that it’s better for her to keep the wrong product rather than making the effort to send out the foundation in a timely manner. There was no mention from Target that the product was out of stock.

  3. smo0 says:

    Melissa…. DRUGSTORE.COM


  4. foodfeed says:

    Does she want them to apply the foundation? I don’t get it, when my local store is out of something I find another store. They apologized for the goof, what else does she want?

    • pythonspam says:

      Tell her that it is out of stock when the replacement is “ordered” (that is when the customer serviceperson puts in the shipment request), tell her exactly when it is going to get there, offer a refund if that is unacceptable on the spot. Offer upgraded shipping so that, when the distribution center gets more stock, she gets the product ASAP.

      Is the company required to do this? No, but it builds customer loyalty, and doesn’t cause the dissatisfied customer to shoot off a negative email to the Consumerist.
      Look at Amazon or Zappos or Newegg or Southwest which can provide the exact same products as their competitors, but because they emphasize service (and therefore overall customer experience), they keep customers coming back.

      • NOS says:

        You don’t see the final offer as being going above and beyond?

        Refund for payment of the original item + $5 + keep the other item

  5. TinaBringMeTheAx says:

    …struggling to not call the OP an entitled b word….

    There…I did it.

    • MMD says:

      Your misogyny is showing.

      • Darury says:

        Not every instance of stating a woman is acting like a b* is misogny. Sometimes the word fits. If the man had been making the same complaints, I’d have regarded him as a d* or an a*h*, neither of which are flattering terms for men.

      • Dyscord says:

        It’s not misogyny if it’s true. Sorry…truth hurts. She’s acting spoiled.

  6. NOS says:

    WW… Pss nd mn mch? Th P s whnng spld lttl brt!!! Th frst ffrd t snd hr th rplcmnt fr th mstkn shppd prdct nd t gv hr fr lbl t rtrn th wrng tm. Ys t ws mnth ftr yr rgnl rdr… bt th trd t mk gd. THN ftr yr cmplnt th ffr y fll rfnd PLS $ ND kp th wrng tm nd stll y cmpln? Gt vr yrslf… Th dd vrythng th shld hv ND MR nd y stll cntn t btch nd mn bt t.

  7. daynight says:

    If I am reading this right, she was offered a refund for the product not shipped, $5 payment, plus to keep the wrong item? And she refused? If nothing else, she could accept with real appreciation, use the wrong item for the time being, then at her leisure get one of the correct item, later than she wanted perhaps, but with $5 in her pocket to do it to make up for the delay. Target was really nice. And if Target really doesn’t have one to ship her today, then they went well above the call to do as well by her as they could.

    • aloria says:

      Well, to be fair, oil blotting sheets aren’t really something that can be used in lieu of foundation. I use the latter but have absolutely no use for the former as I have dry skin. However, it’s Neutrogena foundation– practically every drug store in the US carries it. While it sucks she couldn’t get it on sale, it’s unlikely she can’t find it at a nearby store or another website.

    • Dyscord says:

      Seriously? I know it’ll suck to wait a month, but they’re offering a refund AND 5 bucks. You mean she couldn’t find this stuff at another store?

  8. Doubting thomas says:

    Seems pretty Clear that Target made a goof tried to fix it and doesn’t have the stock. She got a free product, $5 and her money refunded. What else does she want?

    Yes the goof shouldn’t have happened but a company the size of target, doing that many transactions a day is going to have a certain percentage of orders goofed up.

    • Dr. Shrinker says:

      Nowhere in the article does it say that Target is out of stock.

      • Doubting thomas says:

        no but it is a fair, logical assumption. It makes no sense that they would delay shipping and upset a customer when they didn’t have to.

  9. notserpmh says:

    I’m not sure what she wants here. If the ship date for what she wants is several weeks to a month, it is likely back-ordered. Target isn’t Neutrogena and can’t magically produce something they don’t have. I think their offer (keep incorrect item, refund for order + $5 bonus is overly generous). I would expect more just a “sorry” and a refund for the order with a return label.

    If you can’t wait that long, get in the car and drive to Target or somewhere else that has what you want. If you can’t drive or get out of the house, get Amazon prime have it in two days. If Amazon is a few bucks more, use Target’s $5 to cover the difference. Problem solved.

    • thrillcook says:

      Thank you for living in my world too.
      I enjoyed working at a family run shop. Where about twice a year we would have a customer that would be overly demanding, and the owner would have to put it nicely and suggest that he or she should shop somewhere else because we could not satisfy the level of service/price this person was looking for.

      • CubeRat says:

        Heck, I would have been happy with an apology and a refund for the product I originally ordered. Silly me…

      • JennQPublic says:

        The best response to a difficult customer I’ve ever heard was from a coffee shop owner. When she had enough of a regular customer’s bad attitude, she refused to take his money for his drink one day, telling him “We really appreciate your business- but we won’t be needing it anymore.”

  10. maxamus2 says:

    I love how people sit back on their computer, order stuff, then non stop complain if it isn’t perfect or within THEIR timeframe. Mistakes happen, suck it up, world didn’t end.

  11. aloria says:

    She got a $5 credit and a refund. I would be nice if they gave her a raincheck on the sale price for when it came back in stock, but other than that I’m not really sure what else she’d like them to do.

    Additionally, while I understand product loyalty and all that, I’m not sure drugstore foundation is something really worth getting upset about.

    • Dr. Shrinker says:

      Nowhere in that story does it say that Target is out of stock on the item.

      • bonzombiekitty says:

        No, it doesn’t, but it’s a pretty good assumption. Why take so long to ship the replacement? I’d assume it was on back order.

  12. Coffee says:

    I’m piling on…this really seems like a piss and moan story. Also, I don’t think the story’s headline is well-written either, as it dramatizes a very small part of the story and inconvenient details.

    • NOS says:

      I agree 110%!!! The title of the post makes it sound like Target told her that they weren’t giving her any options and telling her to live with the item she didn’t order.

      • Dyscord says:

        Not the first time there’s been a misleading article title on this site.

        But yeah, I’m not getting the problem here. She came out ahead. Go buy what you need elsewhere.

    • Don't Bother says:

      I understand the frustration of the OP–she just wants the things she ordered. But I agree. You came out ahead in the end, even if it wasn’t in the way you wanted. Take that five dollars and go to a drug store.

  13. Firevine says:

    Deja vu…

  14. sadie kate says:

    I usually don’t like to blame the OP, but yeesh. Chill out. They’re clearly out of stock of the item you want, but they certainly offered more than adequate compensation for the inconvenience. Pass along the product you don’t need, and move on with your life.

  15. 2 Replies says:

    Um, so let me get this strait….
    Melissa wouldn’t wait for the replacement that THEY WERE SENDING,
    so she complained to Target that they couldn’t bend time & space to instantaneously make the correction, and in return she got a full refund PLUS $5 and also gets to keep the mistake product.

    No, Melissa isn’t funny because when she does her shopping online and picks something out, she expects that item to be delivered in a timely manner….
    She’s bat-shit crazy in that she not only is up $5 AND another product, but that she could easily just reorder the correct item there, or elsewhere,
    but instead (since her time is so valuable) she wastes her time sending her NON-ISSUE to Consumerist.

    She LOOKED A GIFT HORSE IN THE MOUTH, and fucked it up for herself.
    Target isn’t to blame, Melissa is an idiot.

  16. MMD says:

    Everyone’s so eager to blame the OP (again) that they missed the most important part of the article:

    “…but apparently Target DOES NOT ship replacement items when they send you wrong product. In fact, the supervisor I spoke with this evening told me that I should not have been offered a replacement product.”

    If that is, in fact, Target’s general policy, is anyone here seriously defending it? Really?

    • NOS says:

      Maybe everyone is blaming the OP cuz that is where the blame belongs…

      Yours is the 1st and only post that, for some reason, is supporting the rantings of a person that was obviously raised to think she was entitled.

      • MMD says:

        Nowhere did I condone her overall behavior. That assumption’s on you.

        Leave your bias aside and actually read the part that I quoted. If Target’s policy is *not to replace” incorrect items, that’s simply bizarre.

        • NOS says:

          It is extremely bazzar… almost unheard of. I really don’t want to waste the time reading through all of the policies and proceedures for Target, but I can only assume that either the person she spoke to was full of it, or she is.

          One thing I did bother to read was the return policies from target. 90 days with a receipt and in original packaging. So that would suggest that the information that was given in the OP was innacurate. If I can return something for 90 days, that means I could then place an order for the correct item… which is, in essence, a long winded exchange.

          • MMD says:

            Oh, so we’re just going by your assumptions again? The ones that worked out so well when you both ignored and mischaracterized what I said?

            People who have bothered to read up on Target’s policy are reporting back that it’s vague. That is the issue here. Can you finally look past your own biases and concede that point, or are your assumptions going to lead you to smear me and the OP again?

            • NOS says:

              Did you bother to read my second paragraph? I mentioned the return policy at Target… if they will accept a return up to 90 days… then return it and buy it again.


              • MMD says:

                Did you read your own first paragraph? The one where you said you weren’t going to bother?

                Which is it?

                Did you read the part where you say she was given the wrong info, after saying that she was full of it? Which is it?

                I realize it’s much more fun to spew bile anonymously on the internet, but you should try learning how to construct a logical argument sometime.

                • NOS says:

                  Once again… read what I typed… I said I was not going to read throug hall of the info at the Target website…. then began my next paragraph stating that I DID READ one part.

            • NOS says:

              smear… heheh that’s a funneh word.

          • RandomHookup says:

            I think the word you are looking for is “bizarre”, though a “bazaar” makes for an interesting mental image.

      • Jules Noctambule says:

        That’s a very interesting take on the situation.

    • Doubting thomas says:

      possibly she should not have been offered a replacement because they were out of stock and couldn’t ship something they didn’t have

      • MMD says:

        But that’s unclear in the article, isn’t it? The way it’s written seems to indicate that Target doesn’t ship replacements as a general rule. That’s the question I have, and the question everyone else is ignoring because they’d rather call the OP a bitch.

        Consumerist…where misogynists tee off on female OPs.

        • Dyscord says:

          I read it as “They don’t ship replacement items but instead issue refunds”. That’s exactly what they did.

          They made things right and she’s still complaining. All the people blaming the OP are justified. It would be different if they didn’t offer a refund and just said “keep the product we sent” or something……(Like the article title suggests, but I digress).

    • DemosCat says:

      “[…]apparently Target DOES NOT ship replacement items when they send you wrong product.”

      So far I’m not seeing a contradiction, but rather a misinterpretation.

      I have to think that policy applies to orders under a certain dollar value. I can see it not being worth their time/money to pay for an item to be shipped back and restocked if it’s something less than, say, $8.

      I would HOPE their policy is to refund the money (as they did) let you keep the inexpensive, incorrect product (as they did) and either reorder for you (as they did), or leave it up to you to either reorder or purchase elsewhere if they are currently out of stock.

      • DemosCat says:

        Addendum. I tried looking up’s return policy. It’s pretty vague. Just that most items can be returned within 90 days, other specific items within 45 days, and certain opened items can only be exchanged.

        What the OP says the manager said (hearsay) does not exclude a refund for the mis-order.

    • FastFingers says:

      They don’t have to ship a replacement if they issue a refund. Once you have your money back, place a new order for the item you want. They don’t call it a replacement item, but you still get what you want. Refunds are obviously easier to process than returns and replacements. The customer still gets what s/he wants.

      • MMD says:

        Not if the customer would prefer to get what he/she ordered.

        What if this weren’t a cosmetic item? What if this were a gift item? A specific thing off of, say, a wedding registry? In that case, I’d much rather get the specific thing I ordered if the wrong item was shipped to me.

        • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

          What’s stopping her from reordering? Oh, that’s right, she’s too busy complaining. Now I get it.

  17. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    They are obviously out of stock. They gave the OP something for free, refunded her money, and gave her a free $5 gift card. Sounds like they made it right. what’s the problem here other than whining and being difficult?

    • Dr. Shrinker says:

      There is nothing in the article to indicate that Target is out of stock of this item.

      • msbask says:

        I think that’s the logical conclusion to come to based on the fact that (a) the OP didn’t get what she originally ordered; and (b) her re-order is going to take a month to get there.

  18. psikic says:

    First world problems

  19. sirwired says:

    I don’t get it; what is she complaining about? They told her to keep the wrong item, they’re giving her a refund, plus $5. Why doesn’t she just order again?

  20. badgertale says:

    Can someone tell me what OP means? Other People, Old People, Offended Person,…???

  21. Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

    Dear Queen Melissa:

    Sorry to break the news to you, but the world doesn’t revolve around you. Did Target make a mistake with your order? Yes. Did Target offer you more than adequate compenstion by letting you keep the wrongly-shipped product, refund the purchase price and give you an extra fin to boot? In my opinion, yes. Most of the comments I’ve read here agree. Is it so unsatifactory for you to wait an extra couple of weeks for something that surely isn’t life or death? After all, this isn’t heart pills we’re talking about here (or something equally critical.) Get over it. As someone else suggested–if you’re that desperate for the correct item, I’m sure you can get it from Amazon or someplace else. Assuming, of course, this is a high demand item which they’re also having a hard time keeping in stock. You wanna know something? I too am in a similar situation involving (certain chain store with yellow pricetag as logo) getting a Wifi dongle they’ve promised me for a Samsung TV I bought, which is out of stock. Irritating? Yes. But I also am not expecting them to wave a magic wand to make it appear for me. After all, they’re not Samsung.

  22. Extended-Warranty says:
  23. FastFingers says:

    Why doesn’t she accept the refund and the $5 and use it to order from Wal-Mart or Amazon? Target acted in good faith in refunding her money, and went so far as to give her extra cash for her trouble. If Target can’t get it to her fast enough for her taste, then she can apply the $5 towards overnight shipping from another retailer. What’s the big deal?

  24. Extended-Warranty says:
  25. CarlS says:

    So , , , most of the comments I’ve read defend Target for advertising a product they DON’T have, and which they said would take a whole month to get. In this day & age of “Ship On Demand” warehousing?

    And then they are defending the store for refusing to provide service, for telling the customer that they do NOT provide replacement for incorrect orders, and for not offering a full and complete refund?

    If I open a store, will all you folks shop at my site? So I can refuse to ship your purchase AND refuse to refund your money?

    Will you sign an agreement that you are not allowed to complain to police, charge me with fraud, or sue me for recompense?

    • angelmvm says:

      Did you read the article? She called and they offered an exchange/replacement. She ended the phone call. She got an email stating the item would be shipped in a months time. Not willing to wait (understandably), she calls back in.

      She’s offered a full refund with a $5 bonus. Also told she could just keep the wrong item. When she complains, the rep tells her they never should’ve offered a replacement.

      Likely, the Target employee meant “As we cannot ship it to you due to inventory shortages, we never should have offered a replacement as an option to resolve your complaint. We should have offered only a full refund, free product and $5”.

      While it isn’t the best of shopping experiences, this one is really not a big deal. Not worthy of Consumerist outrage anyhow.

    • humphrmi says:

      Reading is FUNdamental.

  26. Sunrisecarole says:

    I should be so lucky! Usually, somethng just says ‘out of stock’ and I move on. I certainly wouldn’t say Target REFUSES to send it to mei…..Geez! I am asuming she was NOT charged for her orignal item, so why the outrage?

  27. jumpo64 says:

    Much of Target’s online business and shipping was handled by Amazon, up until just before Christmas. My girlfriend works in management at one of their distribution centers. She told me that there has been some major problems with Target’s online ordering and shipping. In December much of their website was unusable/impossible to navigate/ showing wrong items. Apparently the higher-ups were told that everything was ready for the general public, but it wasn’t. Heads rolled before December was up.

    None the less it doesn’t seem that Target has cleaned up much of their service yet. It’s really too bad, they were doing well there for a while.

  28. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    Whiny princess is whiny. She should volunteer at a Shriners Hospital for a week. I guarantee her silly-assed problem would disappear like magic.

  29. sahovaman says:

    Really? Sounds like they tried to the best of their ability to correct the mistake letting her keep the wrong product, plus a refund PLUS 5 bucks, and you still complain about that. I think any normal person would just say ‘ok’ and leave the situation at that.

  30. Tenacity says:

    I think the distinction between “out of stock” and “our policy is we just don’t do that” needs to be made before we condemn Melissa, and it seems we do not have that information. I understand makeup brand loyalty. Perhaps Melissa also has fussy skin and limited access to a product that works for her.

    • NOS says:

      Actually I would have to disagree with you. Whether she was told it was not the norm to allow that really doesn’t matter…

      She was offered a refund + $5 + keep the incorrect item.

      So in her case, she was offered a solution that was above and beyond what most companies would do.

      The issue of the actual rules in the Target handbook about exchanges doesn’t apply to her because she was offered both an exchange (with a 30 day wait, most likely due to it being out of stock) or a refind and a couple bonuses.

  31. Dr. Shrinker says:

    Nowhere in that article does it say that Target is out of stock of the item.

    • NOS says:

      I think several of us are making a general assumption that it is out of stock because there isn’t any other reason that makes sense for there to be a delivery date 30 days away.

      Unless you think the Target people are just sitting back at there desks laughin their a$$es off about how they got some buyer by delaying the shipment of her foundation.

    • elangomatt says:

      Wow we are so happy that you had to post that same message about 6 times. What other assumption are we to make when Target gives an estimated ship date at least 2 weeks out? If it isn’t out of stock, what other reason would they have for a ship date that far away? Oh maybe this face stuff is way up on a top shelf and the only monkey that can climb that high is on vacation for the next week or two? (and yes I do mean a real monkey, I’m not trying to imply that warehouse pickers are monkeys at all)

  32. madanthony says:

    Consumerist posts sensational headline, causing me to think Target is way worse than they actually are

  33. RJPA says:

    So it’s not that Target is refusing to send her the correct order. It’s just going to take a long time and she’s not happy with it or the alternative option presented to her. To me, that’s just being a whiny little you-know-what. She gets to keep the wrong item, get a full refund plus $5. Now she can go somewhere else to get the original item, so wait until it is available from Target. Yes, the root cause is Target not being able to fulfill the order, but come on.

    Also, perhaps’s writers should take a Basic Writing 101 class to make sure the title/headline is at least somewhat in alignment with the content.

  34. Swins says:

    Another whiner…. OK they shipped you the wrong thing, they are going to let you keep it, give you $5 and also ship the right thing when in stock. Another Consumerist Whiny Bitch

  35. Tenacity says:

    You, along with many others here, have decided Target’s solution was acceptable. Melissa disagrees. I myself would like more information, and I don’t think we, nor Target, get to decide for Melissa which item she gets. Do we know if a fresh order for the correct item would have resulted in faster delivery? No. And why is an unwanted item a good thing? Just because it’s free, doesn’t mean it’s good. It’s not a birthday party, and Melissa wasn’t expecting a gift from Target; she doesn’t have to smile and say “thank you.”

    Many are willing to judge Melissa because her makeup order was a small one and seemingly inconsequential. Would Target do this if we spent a lot more and/or needed something fast? That’s the issue: is Target going to do the same thing routinely and on orders of any size?

    If you were ordering, say, infant formula, would Target’s solution work? Insert any item where a specific need is being filled and a time constraint is at work.

    • Tenacity says:

      Sorry, that was in reply to NOS’s comment on my earlier post.

    • leastcmplicated says:

      Yea actually you can put any item in there. If I’m ordering formula from Target online and I get, say, pacifiers. I call up and they offer to ship me the formula AND I get a refund AND I can keep the pacifiers AND i get a $5 credit toward future purchases I would say, wow, thanks! Yea, they screwed up but they were more than willing to make up for it. If my item was going to be shipped in a month I would go to b&m or Amazon and order whatever i needed in the mean time. Its not like it will go to waste. Inconvenient, sure but I just got $5 and free pacifiers out of this, 2 things they didnt have to do. I hate to blame the OP but god consumers suck sometimes. Everyone is entitled and no one can screw up or send the story to the consumerist! no sympathy here.

  36. PLATTWORX says:

    YES, the OP was given the incorrect item as a gift. Was given a full credit for the item she should have received, was then given a $5 gift on top of that and STILL is throwing a fit.

    I do find it odd they won’t ship the right item, but they can’t possible have done more otherwise and she is still complaining…. and her story made it here. Why?

    I go have to wonder why Melissa couldn’t just GO to a Target and buy some Neutrogena foundation in person. No Target near you? No other store sells it? The sale was SO good you had to order it online.

    Melissa comes off here as an odd online shopper and one that can not be made happy to matter what she is given.

  37. Javin says:

    This woman is off her rocker, and a SCREAMING example of the “me” generation. Target offered a refund, $5 additional (on a $20 purchase) AND to let her keep the item she had not paid for. BUT THIS ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH! HOW DARE SHE BE MILDLY INCONVENIENCED! Personally, I think she should be blacklisted from all Targets worldwide. They don’t need customers like this.

  38. warlord170 says:

    Target’s new motto should be: We’re ticking off everyone as fast as we can, and in every way that we can.