Kmart Loses Two Customers’ Layaway Orders, Shrugs

You might remember Kmart’s layaway fiasco of last year, when the company canceled layaway contracts out from under customers the week before Christmas, giving an outrageously long timeline for when those customers could expect refunds. A repeat of that disaster would be disastrous for Kmart’s layaway business, but it looks like something similar only happened on a micro-scale this year, affecting a few customers in North Carolina.

Two customers described how they did their Christmas shopping early, putting everything on layaway so they could pay the balance over time and keep the gifts hidden from their kids. “Here it is the week of Christmas and I basically have to start all over,” one of the customers told TV station WNCN.

She stopped by Kmart before leaving town and learned that the company had somehow lost most of her layaway order. How do you lose things that are specifically put aside for one customer? Eight of the twelve gifts she had purchased for her daughter were missing.

Another customer paid off her layaway account, then received an e-mail from Kmart saying that the whole transaction had been canceled. One item wasn’t in stock, she said, which led to the cancellation of the entire layaway order. Her local store couldn’t find the rest of her order, but the “missing” item wasn’t even out of stock in that store.

“Bath Time Elmo was out of stock so they canceled the entire layaway,” she told WNCN. “I go to the store, and find six Elmos on the shelf.” They gave her a refund, and a $15 gift card as an apology.

Kmart said in a statement that they offered both customers small gift cards to make up for the inconvenience, and refunded both of their orders. After the TV station became involved, the retailer offered the first customer a $60 gift card for the inconvenience.

We haven’t heard of this happening in any other stores this year, but if it happens to you or you hear about it on your local news, let us know.

2 Raleigh moms left scrambling after KMart cancels their layaway [WNCN]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.