Remember when Sears.com temporarily listed an iPad for $69? It was obviously a mistake made by one of Sears’ third-party vendors, but a good deal of people attempted to buy the tablet on the off-chance Sears would do the right thing and actually ship the product for the listed price. That didn’t happen. Sears of course exercised their rights detailed in their terms of service and cancelled the orders apologetically, but most buyers were left irritated including one very persistent man named Kristopher.
Kristopher reached out [his rage-filled email is after the jump] this morning to TechCrunch, Gizmodo, Engadget, Gawker, and several other sites in a last-ditch effort to finally get an iPad out of this experience. You see, Kristopher, kept what seems like a very detailed log of his dealings with Sears — a good practice by the way — and is willing to “trade my 180 page email trail (compiled into a single PDF doc for your convenience)” for a 64GB iPad. Tempting, but no dice, sir. We’re not buying you an iPad but I’ll tell your dumb story anyway.
Original email with names omitted to protect those just doing their jobs
To: XXX XXX, Executive Customer Relations – Sears Holding Corporation
XXX, I regret that we could not come to an amicable resolve regarding my July 15 purchase of an Apple iPad2 32GB that Sears.com agreed to sell to me for $179. I also regret that you found it necessary to threaten legal action if I attempted to email Sears employees, other than yourself, regarding this matter. I suspect that your CEO, Bruce Johnson and his executive staff did not appreciate the 180 pages of email correspondence (compiled in the PDF document titled Sears Retail Incompetence) that I shared with them.
Please send my apology to Mr. Johnson since you have threatened me from doing so personally.
To those BCCed in this email: Editorial staff of Mashable, TechCrunch, Gizmodo, Engadget, Gawker, BoingBoing, Huffingtonpost, Retail Marketing Blog, RetailEcommerce, Future Lab, and Rick Segel a retail consultant and thought leader.
As you may recall, on July 15, 2011 Sears.com offered iPad2s for a price of $179 on their website.
I jumped on the deal, received my order confirmation (#249287791) — only to be emailed that they were “no longer available.” My order had been canceled.
For 40+ days I contested the cancellation with Sears retail – beginning with their first-tier customer service team (XXX, XXX, XXX, XXX,and XXX… and more – who could never reference my order correctly). I was transferred to Sears’ Social Media Support (XXX. from somewhere in US, who stood me up for a phone conference that she scheduled on August 2). On August 5, XXX, a Blue Ribbon Service Case Manager in Illinois contacted me to resolve the issue amicably. When he gave me Brown Ribbon Service and failed to resolve the issue, I shared all 180 pages of my Sears email correspondence with Sears CEO Bruce Johnson. This was met with a legal threat by someone named XXX, Executive Customer Service (included in this email correspondence).
The 180 pages of emails are riddled with confusion, disconnectedness, unaccountability, arrogance, spam and Sears incompetence as a retail organization… basically a comedy (or tragedy) of errors.
Since Sears has failed to make good on my order – I’m reaching out to you the retail and tech media, and to you Elis, I’ll include you, if you want to take me up on the following trade:
I will trade my 180 page email trail (compiled into a single PDF doc for your convenience), which will make for an interesting story of e-retail bumbleship and face palming incompetence, to the first person in this email distribution who offers in return:
1 (One) iPad2 32GB (my original order)
w/AT&T wifi (for PDF compilation, and handling)
I look forward to your responses.
Working retail sucks. Like the popular saying states, the job would be great without the people. I feel for the guy, but come on, retailers make pricing mistakes, and as long as it’s not part of a bait and switch scheme, they’re within their rights to change the price or cancel the order. That’s the risk involved when jumping on a crazy-low deal — there’s only a tiny chance you’re going to get it. You ordered a 64GB iPad for $520 under list and you expect the retailer to ship it to you? Have you heard the one about the wooden iPad in a box?
Sears’ Terms of Service under the Disclaimer heading
In the event of a pricing error on the Sears Site, Sears reserves the right to cancel any orders resulting from such pricing errors.
I’m clearly not a lawyer but quick Google search confirms that retailers are within their rights to include that clause in their terms of service. Several so-called legal experts state that it’s slightly shady if the cancellation is done after the order is fully processed, though. But, if it’s not, the fine print of the terms of service gives the retailer an out. We’re not talking about your grocer mispricing a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese here.
TechCrunch isn’t going to buy you an iPad, Kristopher; good luck with that. Fighting the man is important, but so is knowing when to walk away, which it sounds like was 35 days or so ago in this case. You can always cut your loses and see if you can snag one a TouchPad in the next shipment. That’s a better tab anyway. Owning a TouchPad is a free ride to hipster stardom.
I reached out to Sears’ legal counsel, who was conveniently included on the mass email, but have yet to hear anything back.