We were recently in the market for a new dresser for our daughter. After a great deal of research, we settled upon a particular Carolina Cottage dresser. Since we knew exactly which dresser we wanted, we decide to buy it on-line, which wouldn’t cost any more than a brick-and-mortar store, since we’d have to have it delivered in any case, and might cost even less.
After researching online prices for this dresser, we found one site, PriceFalls.com, with a price significantly lower than all of the others. It turns out that PriceFalls storefronts other merchants as well as selling its own stuff, and this particular deal was actually being offered by Unbeatable Sale, a.k.a. UnbeatableSales.com, Bon’Cui, PlayingKitchen.com, ComfortMarket, TechnoOutlet.com, FunToyMall.com, ToolsChest, GreaterMedical, TravelBagsMall.com, HalloweenMall, PetShopUSA.com, WeddingPartyMall, and lord only knows what else.
I’ll let the letter I sent earlier today to the Cyber Fraud Unit of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs pick up the story from here…
To whom it may concern:
On September 1, I ordered a dresser from Unbeatable Sale, 195 Lehigh Avenue, Lakewood, NJ 08701 (tel: 732-363-0606; email: email@example.com). The order was placed through pricefalls.com. A copy of the order is attached. Both pricefalls.com and unbeatablesale.com indicated then, and continue to indicate today, that the item is in stock; printouts from both web sites are attached.
Today, I received email from notifying me that my order had been canceled: “Due to high demand for the Carolina Furniture 415600 Cottage Double Dresser Furniture In White, it has become unavailable for the foreseeable future, so as a result we had to cancel your order.” A copy of this email is attached.
I called Unbeatable Sale and spoke to a woman who identified herself as Ashley. She put me on hold for about ten minutes and then came back and said she didn’t know why the order had been canceled but if I wanted she could give me the extension of a sales manager who would call me back later.
I told her that was not acceptable. Offering a product for sale, claiming that it is in stock, taking a customer’s money for it, and then refusing to deliver the product is an illegal bait-and-switch, and I did not have the time or inclination to play phone tag with a sales manager who would no doubt not, in fact, return my calls. I told her I expected her to solve the problem now and find out how to deliver to me the product that I ordered at the price for which they offered it.
She put me on hold for about another ten minutes and then came back with another story. According to her this time, my order was canceled because UPS refused to deliver the item because it was too large or heavy or something (I forget exactly what she said), and that the cost of shipping the item by freight instead would be $230, much higher than the $91.99 shipping charge I had been quoted when I placed the order. She offered at that time to reopen my order if I was willing to pay the higher shipping charge.
I told her that, too, was not acceptable. Unbeatable Sale was aware of the size and weight of the item when offering it for sale; if they calculated the shipping wrong, that was their problem, not mine. They were legally obligated to deliver the product for the price they offered, and if they refused to do so, I would file a complaint with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. I told her I wasn’t going to sit on hold for yet another ten minutes, and she had five minutes to come back onto the phone and tell me that Unbeatable Sale was, in fact, going to deliver my order as promised.
She put me on hold for another few minutes and then came back and told me there was no way they were going to reinstate my order unless I agreed to pay $230 for shipping, and if I didn’t like it I could go ahead and file a complaint with the government. Hence this letter.
When I search for “unbeatablesale.com” and “unbeatablesales.com” on the internet, which I should have done before I ordered something from them, I see that they have been scamming people like this for years.
This company is clearly engaging in unfair and deceptive business practices which are clearly illegal, and I hope that you will investigate their activities and bring the full power of your office to bear on stopping them.
If you wish to discuss this with me further, you can reach me at (___) ___-____ or by email (preferred) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE [September 12, 2011]: Today, I received an email message from Unbeatable Sale saying they “would like to make this situation right” and offering to sell me the dresser at the originally quoted price. I responded as follows:
I have already placed a new order for the dresser from Linens N Things. Your offer is too little, too late.
Furthermore, since I am now convinced that your company knowingly engages in dishonest business practices, I would not willingly do business with you even if I hadn’t already ordered the dresser from someone else.
In addition, Unbeatable Sale is now showing a shipping cost for this item of $237.99 when purchased either directly from them or via PriceFalls.com, making them far and away the most expensive option for this item on froogle.com. This looks to me an awful lot like an ex post facto attempt to cover their asses should the AG decide to investigate my complaint.