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A Little Lesson In Deal Websites I Learnt The Hard Way

I learnt a lesson this week when dealing with deal type websites. You know the ones I mean, the likes of Catch of the Day and deals.com etc.

So this particular website had what they call a “flash” sale. It’s a sale where for an hour on the hour a different piece of merchandise is put up for sale, or until it’s sold out, 1st in best dressed kind of stuff.

Now, I’ve used this site before and they have been great, but never for a flash sale. But I thought “what the heck, right?” how could it go wrong? Alright, I had to be Johnny on the spot to get the deal, and they had some beauties. Two in particular interested me, a 1gb hard drive and the famous apple tv. But I thought can’t be too hard, so I set myself up and waited for the items.

Hard drive was first, early in the afternoon, saw it was the deal, start jumping on and trying to get one. No luck! Sold out within about 3-4 minutes, I reckon. Oh well, doesn’t matter, I tried! Right? Wrong!

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

Next I waited for the apple tv. This was the one I really wanted as it was an absolute bargain at $39.00. That’s right, $39.00!! Who wouldn’t want one, just to have! It would go awesome with my iPad and all the other iDevices we have in this household!

So in the evening I see that here it comes. I ready myself and have a couple of machines and my iPhone with the “special” app for the website ready to go……(I was going to link to them, but why should I promote rubbish!)

It starts and WHACK, I get one on the phone in the special app! You little ripper, I think! I’ve secured an apple tv for $39.00 in my cart. YES, all my prayers are answered, I whoop out in delight!

So, I then go to pay for it. All good. I put in my address details, credit card etc. press work out shipping and wait…… Only to get a message that says something along the lines of “you have nothing to pay for!” WHAT?!?! I just got one in my cart, surely my phone has missed something? I try again, nothing to pay for!

I get on the site on a computer and check my cart….DEAD EMPTY! WTF? I try again, same, nothing to pay for! But, hang on, I had one in my cart not 2 minutes ago, where’s it gone?

I try again and again, nothing. So I set down to write an email to them to explain what happened and ask where my prized apple tv went, or more to the point, where it is.

I get a reply back the next day that says “We appreciate you trying to place an order with us however on this occasion we were unable to fulfil your request as this catch sold out fast!

Due to limited stock and items selling out fast, after you click Checkout, an item in your cart may be out of stock. This happens because placing an item in your cart does not reserve the item, and if other shoppers place their orders before you, the item could sell out.”

Ok, so what does that mean? Heres the fun bit. I’ll tell you what that means…..

It means that even though you have an item in your shopping cart, unless you pay for it before someone else it is NOT yours! It is their’s to take out of your cart and sell to someone who is quicker on the typing, or better equipped at getting their credit card details in! Even though I was logged in using my login on my iPhone, these maggots can take it out of my cart and give it to someone else!

I think this is disgraceful! This is like going to the supermarket and getting the last tub of chocolate ice cream, and just because you are too slow getting your card out to pay, the supermarket can take that tub of ice cream out of your cart and sell it to someone else! Right in front of your eyes!

So I email them again explaining I understand all their terms etc. but how can it be possible they can take it out of my cart before I pay? What do I get back? This….

While I understand your concerns, in order to enter the site we have clearly listed the terms and conditions of the sale.

These terms and conditions have been checked and comply with the requirement by Australian law.

As stated in the terms and conditions of entering the site:

– you are competing against thousands of other customers

– there is a very limited number of products available

– there will be a very slim chance of successfully purchasing a product

By entering the site, you are agreeing to these terms and conditions.

What a load of crap! Nowhere in there does it say, when you reserve something and get it in your cart you will not be guaranteed anything because we will take it out of your cart if you don’t pay for it quick enough! However, that is the case.

So be warned, if you want to buy things through these websites make sure you are ready to pay before you even reserve the item in your cart! Maybe they could set up a system whereby you can pay for nothing in the hope you may get one in your cart. Either way, I won’t be caught out again, and I will be continuing to find out whether this is right or wrong via Consumer Affairs. I might even get onto A Current Affair or Today Tonight.

I wonder how many others have had this happen to them. If you read this, spread it around, leave a comment, let me know. I’m keen to find out what others think of this scam that these online deal sites (possibly not all of them, I’ll admit, but at least some of them) play.

Stay tuned I think there’ll be more to this one!

 

11th June 2012

A note to this blog.

I contacted Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) with my grievance and received a reply the other day.

 

Basically, what these maggots at CatchoftheDay did was totally and utterly legal! Even though the CAV lawyer agreed with me and even though they receive the same complaints hundreds of times, there is nothing they can do! There is legislation in Victoria that deals specifically with this, and there is no contract of sale entered into until you pay for the item. So, YES, they can take it out of your cart, and YES, they can give it to someone else who pays before you do! He agreed it was wrong and that CAV were looking at it more closely, unfortunately in this instance, there is nothing he can do.

 

So, take this as a warning. Even though it is in your Cart DO NOT expect it to be yours until a contract of sale has happened. ie. until you have confirmation you have padi for it.

 

Less learnt. CatchoftheDay = Scumbags! Dont get conned peoples!

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “A Little Lesson In Deal Websites I Learnt The Hard Way

  1. Geez!!!! I had no idea that could happen! I’m interested in hearing how you go with checking with Consumer Affairs.

    Posted by Brooke | May 25, 2012, 8:45 pm
  2. Well that most certainly isn’t in their terms and conditions that the cart has no function of reserving an item until payment… I would push this further Tone with them and consumer affairs. We are not animals running around a supermarket jumping over each others carts taking what you can before someone else pays for it. Stand strong!

    Posted by Blair | May 25, 2012, 10:45 pm
  3. WOW wow wow! Ok so the whole time I’m reading this all I could think of was the analogy of the physical shopping cart also, but in my mind it was another shopper just taking it out of your cart… I mean seriously, who would do that?!?!?!
    From a business perspective I assume they are trying to minimize their losses by ensuring no one reserves an item and then suddenly decides not to take it whereby leaving them in a situation where their ‘flash sale’ has ended and they now have some stock left -BUT let me say, I don’t believe that is good enough reason for them to have this set up. Work it out people! I think you are totally right that no where in their terms and conditions would it be logically understood by a consumer that they could have their item ‘stolen’ out of their cart, so as far as I’m concerned, unless they alter that then they don’t have a leg to stand on and you have a million!!
    Goodluck! Dying to hear the outcome!

    Posted by AussieBinky | May 26, 2012, 5:42 am

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