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November 17, 2014

Holy Ship, Toys-R-Us Changed the Delivery Address of my Order

Filed under: Electronics,Internet,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:11 am

  As we all begin our holiday shopping online, this word of caution: scrutinize everything on the screen, fine print or not, before finalizing your order. If not, you may be in store for an unexpected surprise.

Last week, MrConsumer decided to send a toy to a friend, Jami, in Colorado for her kids. Toys-R-Us had a crazy low price for an electronic version of Scrabble, so he proceeded to order it at their website. Here’s the shopping cart showing the item:

Cart

Since this order qualified for free two-day shipping through Shoprunner (hint: AMEX cardholders should sign up for a free account good at many retailers), MrConsumer clicked the Shoprunner button and entered the Colorado address that the toy should be shipped to.

shoprunner screen

Not wanting this purchase to go on his American Express card, MrConsumer dismissed that screen and clicked the regular checkout button knowing that free shipping would still apply even entering a different credit card number.

The final checkout screen all seemed to be in order with the gift going to Jami, so he clicked the submit order button.

A few days later, FEDEX sent a notification that the gift had been delivered. Checking with Jami, she said she never received it. Did someone steal it from her doorstep?

Checking back at the FEDEX site, there was a notation that the package was left on a porch in LINCOLN, NEBRASKA! What??? Lincoln is where Jami used to live. Could MrConsumer have been so absent-minded as to erroneously list her old address on the ToysRUs.com order?

Going back to retrace his steps on the Toys-R-Us website, MrConsumer created a test order for the same toy. And just as depicted above, when clicking the Shoprunner button, the Colorado address automatically appeared. However, when clicking the regular checkout button, it appears that Toys-R-Us changed the address to Lincoln, Nebraska because that is the address it had stored from previous orders.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Toys R Us

MrConsumer called Toys-R-Us and walked the agent through all the steps above so she could see the glitch in the system. They generously provided a merchandise credit, and said they would forward this issue to their tech people.

The lesson here is that you have to scrutinize every Internet order, big print and small print alike, before hitting the submit button. Is it the right item? Is the order for only one item and not two by mistake? Did all coupon codes get accepted and deducted? And surprisingly, is it going to the right place?

• • •

November 10, 2014

We’ll Beat Anyone’s Price by 15% or It’s Free*

Filed under: Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:15 am

 Some claims in advertising seem very enticing until you begin to think about them. A classic example is the price guarantee promoted by National Floors Direct:

National Floors Direct
Click picture above to watch commercial

The claim “we’ll beat anyone’s price by 15%, or it’s free” is ludicrous on its face because what merchant would rather take a 100% reduction in price over just a 15% one?

But National Floors Direct goes one step further.

*MOUSE PRINT:

National Floors Direct

If admitting that they never have given away any merchandise free isn’t proof that this is a disingenuous offer, then we don’t know what is.

• • •

November 3, 2014

At Sears, “All” Does Not Always Mean “All”

Filed under: Internet,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:06 am

  Last week, Sears advertised “lowest prices of the season” in certain product categories and offered some of the biggest discounts ever offered on Kenmore ovens and ranges.

sears

In addition to offering wall ovens for 50% off and Kenmore ranges for 35% off, the deal was particularly sweet because you could get an “extra 15% off ALL [emphasis added] appliances with Sears card.”

MrConsumer encouraged a friend to go to Sears to get a Kenmore stove he had been admiring since the 35% off sale coupled with the extra 15% off would likely beat the prices that would be offered during the upcoming Friends & Family sale. When he approached a salesperson about getting the extra 15% off, the first thing he was told was that they needed to check the exclusions. Exclusions? What exclusions? Nothing could be simpler than the straight forward promise that ALL appliances were an extra 15% with the Sears card.

*MOUSE PRINT:

sears exclusion

What, no extra 15% on Kenmore ranges or ovens? Mouse Print* wrote to Sears’ PR folks about this last Monday and by the next morning the advertisement had been corrected after admitting it was an “inadvertent error”:

Sears

Great. Hats off to Sears for the quick corrective action.

A day or two later, however, Sears sent an email with a link exclusively for Sears card holders promising an extra 15% off “select” appliances. Were those Kenmore ovens for 50% off and other Kenmore ranges advertised for 35% off excluded. Nope.

Sears extra 15%

*MOUSE PRINT:

Extra percentage off cannot be combined with other Sears card discounts. Excludes Jenn-Air, Dacor, floor care, sewing machines, countertop microwaves, water heaters, water softeners, water filtration, air conditioners, air cleaners, fans, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, accessories, closeouts and everyday great price items. Excludes Sears Commercial One® accounts and Outlet Stores.

Of course, when trying to make a test purchase of one of the 35% off Kenmore ranges, there was zero extra discount when using the Sears card.

We wrote to Sears again asking what steps the company will take going forward to assure shoppers that advertised offers are accurate and will be honored as stated, and how they planned to compensate customers who sought to take advantage of the sale price AND the card discount but were denied.

Sears did not respond by our publishing deadline. Any update will be provided here.

• • •

October 27, 2014

$99* to Europe Including Taxes?

Filed under: Travel — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:52 am

wowair A new low-cost airline from Iceland called WOW air has just started advertising fares as low as $99 one way to Europe, including all taxes. (Earlier last week, one could book a trip from Boston to Copenhagen for $99. Now, all fares are higher.)

What’s the catch? This airline has a similar philosophy to Spirit Airlines, the despised US carrier that charges extra for everything.

So before you get your hopes up that you can really fly to Europe for just $99, you have to read the fine print about additional charges.

*MOUSE PRINT:

wow air chart

Here is the full, long list of possible extra charges. Most notable: Your included carry-on bag can weigh no more than 11 pounds. It will cost you $57 for a larger carry-on bag, and $86 for a checked bag, EACH WAY, when going to Europe with a connection in Iceland if paying at the airport. And if you try to sneak in a carry-on bag over 11 pounds without paying, it will cost you up to $105 extra at the gate.

There are also charges for reserving seats: $14 for the front of the plane per leg, $10 for the middle, and $3 for the rear. These prices can double if making “advance” seat reservations at the airport on your way to Europe.

Don’t expect to be able to get seats at the advertised prices until late in 2015 in some cases. And the flight back to the US is not as cheap as going outbound.

• • •

October 20, 2014

What’s Really in That Pet Food?

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:59 am

 A professor at Chapman University in Calfornia just completed a study of the actual contents of dog and cat food with some shocking results.

Of the 52 products tested, only 31 were labeled correctly. Of the about 20 that were potentially mislabeled, seven were cat food and 13 were dog food. What kind of discrepancies did the researchers find?

*MOUSE PRINT:

Sixteen contained a certain kind of meat that was not specified on the label. In three cases, one or two meats were substituted for the meats listed in the ingredients. Pork was the usual addition. On the bright side, no horse meat was found.

The study did not specify the brand names of the affected products (and our request of the author to provide specifics was denied): “It was not our intention to single out pet food brands, but rather to investigate the issue as a whole. Therefore, we will not be releasing the names of the brands or specific products that were tested in this study.”

A pet advocate who has written extensively on this subject at TruthAboutPetFood.com paid for a copy of the study and posted examples of some of its findings:

Sample number P017 – Cat Food (wet). Meat ingredients listed on the cat food label: “Liver (turkey), Turkey, Meat by-product, Chicken”. Testing found: “Chicken and Goat”. This pet food was a ‘turkey’ cat food – but testing found no turkey.

Sample number P019 – Dog Food (dry). Meat ingredients listed on the dog food label: “Chicken, Chicken meal, Beef fat”. Testing found: “Beef, Lamb, Chicken, Turkey, and Pork”. This chicken and beef fat dog food included 3 other animal species that were not listed on the label (lamb, turkey and pork).

We unfortunately have to conclude that in too many cases, the ingredients listing on pet foods is merely a suggested list of what might be in the bag or can.

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