Robert’s Rant: Retailers Must Do The Right Thing!
First off, my apologies to all of you that have taken the time and effort to sign and comment on Shannon’s complaint petition: http://www.groubal.com/frys-electronics-canceled-tv-orders-offer-no-compensation/ – for not authoring a blog response sooner. Although I offer no excuse for the delay, the simple truth is that I have been overwhelmed trying to help get this matter addressed and publicized since early Monday morning. That said, Groubal will not stop advocating on your behalf until such time there is an acceptable remedy put in place. It is also very important to note that many of you have posted this very same complaint on countless other blog-sites and have even contacted the national media yourselves to help shine a proper light on this dilemma; and for all your untiring efforts, Groubal stands and applauds you!
First, the facts: I awoke on Monday, November 29th 2010 to the Fry’s petition and knew right away the seriousness and gravity of this appeal. By Tuesday the signature count was over 400 and as of this post, the count exceeds over 900+ pledges of support and personal experienced commentary. Holding true to our public pledge I immediately contacted the corporate offices of Fry’s Electronics in San Jose CA, to address this matter directly with an executive of their enterprise. In accordance with our policies, Groubal always takes a neutral position on these matters until such time that the corresponding party has the opportunity to digest the complaint and respond in kind. I have personally placed at least 20 telephone calls to Fry’s (877-688-7678 and 480-350-1484) and I have yet to get past the Gatekeepers in their Consumer Affairs department. Furthermore I left several messages (to a live person) with Fry’s representatives; describing who I was with my name, phone number and email address and have yet to receive one reply. And yes, I am very well aware that several of you have done the very same. Since I have yet to speak with anyone in authority, I cannot and will not render a public judgment against Fry’s; I will however offer up my Personal opinion by reciting the cliché’ “…if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a DUCK….” And in that spirit and on behalf of the valued Groubal Brand, I stand alongside all the petitioners and demand that these complaints are answered to by an authorized executive of Fry’s Electronics, immediately!
Second, the Right Thing to do: I have been asked to chime in several times this week about ‘how I would change fulfillment logistics’ to insure this problem doesn’t happen in the future’ and this has been my consistent reply. Most large retailers have at their disposal sophisticated digital systems that can be easily programmed in advance to minimize these (insufficient) inventory events. For example when a major sale is being planned (like a Black Friday) publicly forewarn consumers that there is a limited supply of units available at the discounted price. Secondly have the IT department program code that instantaneously removes (an item) from inventory the moment it is placed in a customer’s shopping cart; and display a pop-up window giving them a visual warning that they must checkout within 2 minutes to secure the purchase of this specially discounted item. Thirdly if (for any reason) the item is not available at the time of checkout, do not allow the online sales transaction to be completed. And in the worst case scenario, if the item is sold and paid for, and cannot be fulfilled due to unavailability, notify the customer Immediately and promptly credit their account; PERIOD. In my personal opinion I would also email those affected customers an electronic coupon for their inconvenience…just saying’!!
Thirdly, Groubal’s stance: We have read every complaint (and will continue to do so) that has been posted on this petition and all of us are extremely sympathetic to your plight. The fact is that many victims have saved for several months for the opportunity to purchase certain items at an affordable price. Moreover we understand that many of you lost out on all other ‘Black Friday’ sales opportunities, either because your funds were electronically held and/or you were not notified in a timely manner that your order could not be fulfilled. Again I say if these indictments prove true, many are owed a just financial remedy along with sincere apologies; PERIOD!
My Opinion: We are all living in very challenging times. Many individuals are struggling financially and are facing a very uncertain economic future. The holiday season should be one that is filled with hope and happiness of a brighter tomorrow. This needs to be a time of Giving and Understanding for those less fortunate and my position is simply this; Big Business needs to know that putting Profits before People is simply NOT GOOD BUSINESS!
On behalf of the small but passionate Team Groubal, we wish you all a safe and joyful Holiday Season.
Additional Update from Manu 12/02/2010:
Dear Valued Frys.com Customer, We have some good news to share with you concerning your previously canceled order for a 32” class LCD TV Black Friday promotion. As you may be aware, during its Black Friday sales event, Frys.com experienced an unexpected system error that allowed a few of the items that were of a limited quantity to be ordered on “back order” status when they should have been listed as “not available” because they had been sold out. After the error was discovered, all affected customers were contacted and informed of the error and the fact that Fry’s would be unable to fulfill that portion of the order. Customers were also informed that only an authorization was obtained from their credit/debit card, and that they had not been charged for the affected item. Since the time this error occurred, Fry’s has been working diligently with its vendor partners to obtain additional inventory of the affected item. Fry’s is pleased to inform you that it has been able to reserve additional inventory and will fulfill the orders of all customers who obtained this item on “back order” status at the same price in effect at the time of placing the order. Because it is extremely important to Fry’s to maintain the trust and loyalty of its customers, we have taken these steps to honor all acknowledged back orders placed during the sales event even though the prices were extremely aggressive and even though the orders far exceeded the limited special buy quantities from our vendors that we had planned to make available to our customers on Black Friday. Fry’s once again sincerely apologizes for any inconvenience or distress this may have caused. We are working hard every day to improve our systems and to provide the excellent customer service you deserve. If you would still like to complete your order for this product which was previously canceled, please contact the Frys.com Sales Department at 408-673-3109 or toll-free at 1-877-688-7678 (Press 1 for sales) within the next 48 HOURS to confirm that you wish to complete the order and to authorize the transaction.