Black Friday Woes

[EDIT: A rep from Kohl’s did finally respond, as of Monday morning. Their response was a canned “Your credit will be available within 7 days, we’re sorry for any frustration.”]

Another Black Friday has come and gone, and with it ridiculous price cuts and psychotic shoppers. That’s not news. Nor do I particularly care. I did most of my Black Friday shopping online, and had no issues.

Well, except for one.

You see, I’ve been looking at the PlayStation VR for a bit. Not sure how much I’ll get out of it, having problems with depth perception and being mostly blind in one eye, but there’s piles of horror games I’d love to try that are only for that format. Plus there’s part of me that wants to see just how nasty Marguerite Baker from Resident Evil 7 looks when she’s literally in your face. Given my handicaps, I figured waiting for a sale was the best way to go. Pretty much everywhere had the units on sale for $100 off, so the time seemed ready to pounce.

There was much deliberation on what retailer to go with, and after that it was determined that Kohl’s was the way to go. The promise of $60 in Kohl’s Cash and having a coupon that would apply to the purchase tipped the scale. So the order was placed.

I’m going to be petty, now. I’m going to bitch and moan for no reason other than to vent in the vain hope that someone, somewhere, notices and cares. If anyone out there had issues with Kohl’s this holiday season, let loose your own rage and vent your frustrations in the comment box, so we can take solace in knowing it wasn’t just us.

Anyway, they gave an estimated delivery date of 11/30. 11/30 came and went. No headset. No word. “Not an issue; it was Black Friday after all, they’re probably just running a bit behind.” Checked on UPS, says there was a tracking ID created, and label printed, they just hadn’t gotten it from Kohl’s yet.

Another week passes. We’re on the 7th of December, now. Still no sign, no changes on the UPS site. Kohl’s site claims the order is “complete.” I give them a ring, just to see what’s up, and the friendly, heavily accented individual informs me “I’m sorry, we cannot answer any questions at this time, please call back in an hour,” before hanging up. This is before I’ve even been asked my name or what my issue might be. I tried calling back, and get a different individual who says the same and hangs up again.

I shrug, say “Okay” to myself, and prepare to wait out an hour. I call back. I am given the same spiel and a hangup yet again.

I wait another hour, call back. Same results, though this time there was 30 seconds of foreign language shrieking to someone in the background before the rep gave their speech.

One more hour, I call again. At this point I am told that the item is out of stock, will not be restocked, and that I’m out of luck. They’ll refund it, of course, but that will take up to 7 business days. Would I like to place another order?

Fuck no, I wouldn’t. They had no answers as to the initial hangups. Not even a canned response as to why they couldn’t be asked to e-mail me and tell me “Hey, we screwed up, you’re not getting your item.”

So, of course, I’m out a headset, since all the sales are long gone, and in my area at least, the units themselves seem to be pretty universally sold out. Whatever; I can live with that. I’ve gone this long without one, I won’t die. I’m a teensy bit irate about the games and accessories that were purchased to go with the unit, since they’re either digital or outside of the return period, but that’s secondary.

What’s got me riled is the goddamn psychosis of the way Kohl’s has handled this, without even giving a “Sorry.” I even Tweeted about it, at which point Kohl’s responded to me asking me to DM them the details. They did that tweet about 5 seconds after I posted mine, and I immediately DM’d them, but they didn’t see fit to answer for another 20 hours. At that point they asked for my order number, which I provided, and have said nothing since. That was two days ago; I’m not expecting results any time soon. Not a surprise. Given they couldn’t bother to tell me anything about the inability to fulfill the order, why would I expect any communication from them now that I am no longer of use to them?

Further investigation shows several thousand 1-star reviews and reports of others suffering the same problems, alongside several multiple charges, wrong items, Kohl’s cancelling orders because they were suspected of being fraudulent (and then charging full price to replace the order, as the sale had ended and Kohl’s doesn’t feel the need to adjust the pricing down or otherwise compensate those affected) and incredibly poor customer service on the rare occasions someone can get a response out of them at all.

The best part is their constant self-congratulatory articles, Tweets and posts, bragging about having had their most successful Black Friday ever. I bet; raking in cash from multiple charges and items you don’t intend to send, charging people and sitting on the money (some reports indicate that even now, approaching 3 weeks later, the charges for cancelled items and duplicate charges are still impacting customer’s balances), and forcing people to pay full price and pay for any Kohl’s cash they used during the sale will certainly inflate that accounting… and if/when it’s fixed, it’ll show on a different report, thus making them look even better to their shareholders and accountants. At least until the amended report with the refunds comes in. That’s assuming there aren’t folks out there still waiting to find out what happened to their items, or those who just forget or write it off. (You wouldn’t think that would happen, but I work in the financial sector and the number of times I’ve had to file claims against items not received a year or longer after the initial charge is far more than any credulous person would believe.)

I’m done complaining, now. At least here. As noted, if anyone else had similar experiences with Kohl’s – or other retailers – in the Black Friday frenzy, feel free to share your stories below. If you’ve any advice on what else can be done – or know a place where I can still find a PSVR for $200 that isn’t eBay – drop it down below.

Beyond that, Happy Holidays, everyone. Hopefully next year is better.

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