First came this e-mail, giving Tom the bad news that his order “did not generate.”
My name is Amanda and I am with the Best Buy Home Theatre Back Office Team. I would like to apologize to you because the order that was placed on 11/22/2012, BBY****** did not generate in the system and a new order will need to be replaced. Any authorizations or holds on your credit card will be released within 3-5 business days from the order date. I am sorry for any inconvenience that this may have caused. If you would like assistance with placing a new order please feel free to call us at 888-237-8289. Have a great day and thank you for being a Best Buy customer!
So Tom called the number, only to find out that his order had been completely erased from the system.
“It’s not in my account and no representative will help me because they can’t find the order,” he replied to Amanda. “I ordered the television and used my Best Buy card because it was an online deal and it’s no longer at that price. I printed the confirmation page so I have proof of the purchase. What can I do in order to get what I ordered at the price I ordered it at?”
Tom told her that he actually made two calls to Best Buy. The first time he was told that Citibank could help him out, whatever that means; the second call resulted in him being hung up on after waiting on hold for 15 minutes.
He received a reply, this time from someone named Kristel, who was apparently looking into her Kristel ball and seeing spirits of dead orders:
I believe that this is a ghost order. A “ghost” order is an order that we cannot find in our systems regardless of the search method. There is no certain reason for why ghost orders occur.
Did the representative confirm the credit card number used when you place the order? If she did and try to locate your order and did not find anything. It could be a ghost order.
When a credit card is used, we are unable to have the authorization removed because we do not have the information the banks require. We inform the customer the authorization will automatically fall off within 8 days.
Tom replied, asking for clarification about what all this “ghost order” stuff means. Would he get his item at the price his card had been charged?
That’s when the very enthusiastic Irene joined the discussion, with an e-mail that makes little to no sense:
Thank you for contacting Best Buy about your query. I understand that this is about ghost order, however,it would be best if you call us at 1-888 Best Buy so that we could place an order for you. You don’t have to worry because the credit will be back to your account.
I hope this information would help. Thank you for choosing Best Buy and have a great day!
Tom once again, rather politely, points out that he has repeatedly tried to place the order but can’t because the sku for that item doesn’t even exist anymore.
This resulted in reply from Irene that Tom found so “entertaining,” he forwarded the entire string of e-mails to Consumerist:
I apologize we did not meet your expectations with regard to what happened to the order number BBY******. Best Buy strives to make each experience you have with us positive and as fun as possible, and we are disappointed if we don?t live up to that expectation. Best Buy relies on feedback, both positive and negative, to help us find areas for improvement.
However, it would be best if you visit our website more often so that you will have an update regarding the availability of the product. If it happens to be with in 30 days from the time you placed the order, then we can do a price match for you.
I know I am not able to help you as of now but I hope this information would help.Thank you for choosing Best Buy and have a great day!
So Best Buy loses Tom’s order, but charges his card anyway. Then it says not to worry because the ghost charge will eventually vanish. Then he’s told that, rather than simply allowing him to order the item at the price he’d paid, he has to keep checking BestBuy.com to see if the item is available and hope he can get someone to price match?
I say good day!
UPDATE: After seeing Tom’s story on Consumerist, a rep for Best Buy got in touch with him and was able to sort out his order and get him his TV in time for the holidays.