Shelton, Washington
Not resolved
8 comments

Me:I placed an order and I got a cancellation email that said due to the product was out of stock, but the product is still listed, but at a highly inflated price. I feel like this is fraud ie. bait and switch.

Dheeraj:Hello, my name is Dheeraj. I'll be happy to help you.

Me:Thank you Dheeraj!

Is it standard for you to let a merchant advertise an item for one price and then change the price and cancel the orders that were taken at the lower price?

Dheeraj:Can you hold for a minute or two while I research this for you?

Me:Certainly. Let me know if I can provide any information to help.

Dheeraj:I've checked the order details for order #**************, and I can confirm that it's canceled. Once an order is canceled, it no longer appears in your order history.

Your order was canceled because there was no inventory from this seller.

This item was listed with other sellers at a different price.

Me:That is false... Check the link in the email you sent me. It's the same item from the same seller.

Dheeraj:You have placed the order for this item from the seller 'Hopscotch Toys & Games'. However, it is currently listed with the seller 'ToysToDiscover'.

I'm sorry if this information was unclear in the e-mail.

Me:Then why does the link to the product I ordered go to that page?

Do you have a supervisor? If I can avoid it I'd like to not have to file a complaint with the better business bureau.

Dheeraj:When you place the order with the Hopscotch Toys & Games, the item is available with them.

The seller has canceled your order later, as they are unable to ship the item.

Me:Then why does the link to the product I ordered go to that page?

Do you have a supervisor? If I can avoid it I'd like to not have to file a complaint with the better business bureau.

Dheeraj:The sellers offering items on our site work hard to maintain their inventories, but sometimes an item is unexpectedly out of stock when it comes time for the seller to ship your order. This is bound to happen occasionally, but if we find a seller's out-of-stock sales are excessive, we'll take action.

Me:You are talking in circles darlin', but you don't seem to grasp that this is a situation of fraud.

I would like your supervisor and he/she can fix my issue or I can file a complaint with the BBB.

Dheeraj:Let me check with my supervisor.

Please wait.

Me:You clearly can't help me, so I need someone who can or has the authority to tell me you'd rather I take outside action.

Dheeraj:I'm sorry for any disappointment have caused for the cancellation of your order.

Me:It's not disappointment, it's outrage. I can't believe such a well respected company would condone such blatant fraud.

Dheeraj:When you add the item to your cart, it is available with the ToysToDiscover.

I understand. The seller, ToysToDiscover has canceled your order.

Me:This is directly from the email your company sent me.

Greetings from Amazon.com,

We're writing to inform you that your order ********************** from Hopscotch Toys & Games has been canceled because the item(s) you purchased were out of stock. Please return and place your order again at a later time.

Our sellers strive to minimize canceled orders. We're sorry for the inconvenience this has caused. Your credit card was not charged for this order. If you have any questions regarding the cancelation of this order, please contact Hopscotch Toys & Games.

If you're still interested in this item, please search for it again on Amazon.com.

We've included your order details below for reference. We've also included the URL for the item you purchased if you'd like to try ordering from another seller.

We value you as a customer and hope you will continue shopping on Amazon.com.

==================================================

ORDER DETAILS

==================================================

2 of Tot Tutors Toy Organizer, 12 COMPARTMENTS Primary Colors

(http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B004TSC976)

Go to that link and check it out.

It's still for sale, but now for $59.99.

They realized they messed the price up and then cancelled my order.

Kicker is though... You can't do that.

If you sell something for $3.99 (or in my case two items) you have to provide the product.

It's false advertising and it's illegal.

Dheeraj:Yes. It is from Amazon.com. Whenever you place an order with the seller or Amazon.com, all of your transactions has oversight by Amazon.com.

The e-mail you have received was sent by the seller through Amazon.com.

Me:So, you agree that the seller did commit fraud?

Did you go to the link included in the email. The link that says it's for the product I listed?

Dheeraj:I'm sorry we are unable to determine that. The seller has canceled the order as they don't have any more stock of the item.

Me:The link still lists the same product, but now for a highly inflated price.

Dheeraj:Yes. It is the same product but it is available with the other seller.

Me:Then why is it listed in the email as the product I ordered?

Dheeraj:I can confirm that you are not charge for this order.

Me:Clearly, I didn't order it for $59.99?

Can you do anything to make this illegal activity right or should I take further action (BBB and/or attorney)?

Dheeraj:You have ordered it for $14.95.

Me:Charged or not it is illegal under bait and switch?

Dheeraj:You haven't charged for the canceled order.

Me:Yes, $14.95 for two including shipping etc.

I understand but being charged is not the issue.

Dheeraj:It's just an authorization, the charge will be removed within 7-10 business days.

Me:This is false advertising and it is illegal.

Dheeraj:I understand that.

Me:So you are going to hold my money for 7-10 business days.

Great!

What can your company do to make this right?

You just confirmed that both Amazon.com and the seller have participated in illegal activity.

Dheeraj:I've forwarded your inquiry to our investigations team. Each report they receive is investigated and the appropriate action is taken.

Me:So, now what?

What is appropriate action?

Dheeraj:If you'd like to send more details to this team, please use the form below and choose the "Report a violation of our rules" option:

www.amazon.com/gp/help/reports

Me:That's great. What will be the result of doing so.

Dheeraj:Please go to the URL above and select "Report a violation of our rules" as the subject line.

Me:Should I contact a lawyer?

Should I contact the BBB?

Or will your company make this right?

Dheeraj:We do take the feedback and performance records of sellers very seriously. We monitor seller performance and take administrative measures on an account when warranted.

Me:And what do you do when they take part in illegal activity that has a $100+ impact on your customers.

Should I contact a lawyer?

Should I contact the BBB?

Or will your company make this right?

Dheeraj:Our company will make this right.

Me:How?

Is the ASIN the listing ID?

Dheeraj:Similar Honey-Can-Do Kids Toy Organizer and Storage Bins is available from Amazon.com. If you're interested in placing a new order with us, follow the link below:

www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00302KB5O

Me:Yes, and it's $51.99 more for each. Is amazon.com going to pay the extra $103.98?

Oh, I'm sorry. The primary color one is a little less. Is amazon going to pay the extra $92?

Dheeraj:I'm sorry we are unable to honor the price.If you place an order to us, you'll receive it with Free shipping.

Me:That isn't a solution.

Obviously I can buy a similar product.

That's not the point.

That's not your company doing anything to make this right

That is insulting.

Are you kidding me?

By the way, you didn't introduce yourself when you took over the chat from Dheeraj.

What is your name so I can include it in any complaint.

Dheeraj:I'm Dheeraj.

Me:Then may I please speak to your supervisor, like I asked originally.

I already told you that I found you clearly incompetent to assist with this issue.

I don't appreciate you representing yourself as a supervisor.

Clearly you don't have the authority to handle this issue.

Hello?

Dheeraj:I'm sorry we are unable to issue a refund or issue a promotional credit for the seller order.

Me:Are you the supervisor?

Dheeraj:No.

Me:hen may I please speak to your supervisor, like I asked originally.

I already told you that I found you clearly incompetent to assist with this issue.

Then*

Dheeraj:Let me check with my supervisor once again.

Me:No, do not check with a supervisor. I don't wish to speak to you, I wish to speak to your supervisor.

I don't understand what is so difficult to understand about that request.

Dheeraj:I'll ask my supervisor to chat with you.

Me:Thank you.

Dheeraj:Hi Taren. I'm Aishwaryah.

Me:Thank you. I'll give you a few moments to review my chat with Dheeraj as I hate repeating myself.

Dheeraj:I checked the Tot Tutors Toy Organizer on our website and see that it is available only with the third party sellers.

When Amazon.com is out of stock on an item, Amazon Merchants and Marketplace sellers may list the item at any price they'd like.

Me:It was not out of stock when I ordered it and it was not out of stock when the email was sent.

The seller or amazon or whomever sent me the email linked (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B004TSC976) as the product I ordered.

That product is still for sale, but now for $59.99.

That is cut and dry false advertising.

That is a crime.

Dheeraj:Yes. The item was out of stock with Amazon.com. It is available only with the third party seller.

Me:I didn't order it from Amazon.com directly. I ordered through your companies third party seller.

Dheeraj:The specific seller listed the price for $3.99. But now it is out of stock with the specific seller.

Me:So, it was never "in stock" with amazon.com.

Then why does the link to the product I ordered go to the page where the item is on sale for $59.99.

Dheeraj:Yes. The other seller listing the item with the other price.

Me:Why would that be the link to the product I purchased?

I didn't purchase that item?

Dheeraj:It is the same item, but with the different seller.

Me:That makes no sense. You wouldn't link my order to a different item. (different price equals different item)

Do you know the definition of "Bait and Switch"?

Dheeraj:The seller's will have same product detail page but with the different prices.

Me:Do you know the definition of "Bait and Switch"?

Dheeraj:I'm so sorry, but we can't offer any additional insight or action on this matter.

Me:a dishonest sales practice in which a business advertises a bargain price for an item in order to draw customers in and then tells the prospective buyer that the advertised item is no longer available and attempts to switch the customer to a more expensive product.

So, I ordered an item for $3.99. A hold was placed on my debit card for the item. Then it was cancelled and I was offered the same item for $59.99.

Legally, that's bait and switch. Bait and switch is illegal.

Where is your company based for legal purposes?

Dheeraj:I understand the cancellation of your order is disappointing. The sellers who offer items on our site work very hard to maintain their inventories, but occasionally an item listed on our site won't be available when it comes time for the seller to ship your order.

Me:Yes, that is why legally a "rain check" or equal item must be offered in its stead at the same price.

This is covered by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

It is also covered by state laws.

Dheeraj:I'm sorry I wasn't able to be of more help.

Me:All I want is the item I ordered at the price promised.

Do you have a superior I can talk to?

Or do you recommend I contact a class action lawyer, the BBB and the FTC.

Since your employee, Dheeraj, already admitted you took place in these illegal practices.

And since I have written proof of this conversation. Proof that your company admitted to participating in illegal advertising practices.

Dheeraj:Sellers on our website are allowed to sell items at any price they feel is fair. However, we do have rules sellers must follow:

www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=1161272

If you'd like to report a particular seller or listing, please go to the URL below:

www.amazon.com/gp/help/reports/

Our investigations team will look into the situation and take appropriate action.

Me:I already filed a report and while that may assist other customers from having this seller commit fraud with amazon.com's consent, it does not fix the fraud that has already occurred. Do you recommend I contact a class action lawyer, the BBB and the FTC?

Or, can your company do something to make this right?

Dheeraj:You can also contact our corporate mailing address to file a complaint, Taren.

Here is the address:

Amazon.com

PO Box 81226

Seattle, WA 98108-1226

USA

Me:Again, that may assist other customers from having this seller commit fraud with amazon.com's consent, it does not fix the fraud that has already occurred. Do you recommend I contact a class action lawyer, the BBB and the FTC?

Or, can your company do something to make this right?

I'd appreciate if you could answer my question, rather than diverting.

By the way, this is a quote from your site...

By entering into this Participation Agreement and posting a listing for fixed price sale, you agree to complete the transaction as described by this Participation Agreement. You acknowledge that by not fulfilling these obligations, your action or inaction may be legally actionable.

In addition to my other questions, which I assume you will answer. Will your company be taking legal action against this seller?

This is also directly from your site.

For sales where a Seller lists goods at a fixed price ("fixed price sales"), the Seller is obligated to sell the goods at the listed price to Buyers who meet the Seller's terms. By listing an item in a fixed price sale, you represent and warrant to prospective Buyers that you have the right and ability to sell, and that the listing is accurate, current, and complete and is not misleading or otherwise deceptive.

This listing was clearly inaccurate and both misleading and deceptive.

Dheeraj:Taren, I'll ask my supervisor to send an e-mail about this to you.

Me:Can I talk to that supervisor?

Or, Do you recommend I contact a class action lawyer, the BBB and the FTC?

Or, can you do something to make this right?

Dheeraj:I'll ask my supervisor to contact you. Please provide me your phone number so that he'll call you.

Me:***-***-****

When will he be calling?

Dheeraj:Thanks for providing the phone number, Taren.

Me:When will he be calling?

Also, may I have his name and title.

Your title as well?

Dheeraj:He'll call you before 10am.

Me:10am in what time zone?

I work and 7am PST. It would be helpful if it could be before then.

at*

Dheeraj:Any one of the available supervisors will call you before 10 am PST.

Me:And the title of any one of these supervisors will be? I assume not just supervisor as that is who you are claiming to be.

Will this supervisor also be from a foreign call center?

I assume you will be forwarding this issue to a "corporate escalations team" or its equivalent. Is that assumption correct?

Dheeraj:Yes, one of the available supervisors at that time will call at your number.

I'll forward your information to our escalation team and will ask them to contact you.

Product or Service Mentioned: Amazon Website.

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Anonymous
#1673769

Here it is 8 years later and the same kind of thing STILL appears to be going on! Ordered a textbook at a great price, cheaper than most from among the 3rd party sellers.

The seller cancelled the order almost immediately, and Amazon's automated email said the cancellation was due to "a technical issue." I called Amazon to inquire and to check on the status of the refund. Long story short, I got conflicting information from two of Amazon's customer service reps on chat. The first asked me if I wanted a 'price match' for the item. I agreed.

Then the chat was transferred to someone in the 'concerns' department, who told me that they do not offer price matches! So why did the other guy suggest it? Then the second rep says that he would have to transfer the issue to the 'concerns' department. Say, what?

That was supposed to have been his department! He also went on to say that Amazon's prices change frequently and that's why they don't offer price guarantees. Huh, say what? Once a sale has been made, that's a contract!

How are they getting away with such disreputable tactics? Bait and switch on prime shipping rates (check out some local tv news posts from the CA bay area on youtube for illustrations) and permitting third party vendors to cancel sales just to extract higher prices. Atrocious.

Absolutely atrocious! Why isn't there a class action suit yet?

Anonymous
#636273

amazon and bezos are very deceptive.

would never buy from them.

i buy everything from thefind.com or ebay. I have saved thousands by avoiding amazon

yuppers
#453591

Well amazon was certainly covering for the seller breaking the law. If you read everything you would see that Amazon's policy is that the seller MUST complete the transaction, if not there would be legal implications. Obviously amazon isn't helping this buyer get justice.

"By entering into this Participation Agreement and posting a listing for fixed price sale, you agree to complete the transaction as described by this Participation Agreement. You acknowledge that by not fulfilling these obligations, your action or inaction may be legally actionable.

In addition to my other questions, which I assume you will answer. Will your company be taking legal action against this seller?

This is also directly from your site.

For sales where a Seller lists goods at a fixed price ("fixed price sales"), the Seller is obligated to sell the goods at the listed price to Buyers who meet the Seller's terms. By listing an item in a fixed price sale, you represent and warrant to prospective Buyers that you have the right and ability to sell, and that the listing is accurate, current, and complete and is not misleading or otherwise deceptive."

tony08
#314027

Running in circles with Amazon's customer service was my experience as well. If you haven't already, file a complaint with your state's consumer protection agency. They were helpful in my case.

Anonymous
#313850

Sounds like another crazy customer who thinks the world owns her baby souls.

Anonymous
#290599

This was not bait-and-switch at all. Nor is it fraudulent or unethical.

I'd say that Dheeraj was very helpful and patient in explaining this to you.

Anonymous
#1673778
@Anonymous

Not fraudulent? Not unethical?

That is unless you believe in teleological ethics...

that greedy ends justify dishonest means. My guess is that most caring and educated people take a deontological approach to business ethics.

Anonymous
#288341

It's only bait and switch if both items are being sold by the same company.