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Toys-R-Us online: what the heck?

For Christmas, we bought one of my nieces a few things through Toys-R-Us online, including an Aquadoodle. We’ve bought lots of stuff through TRU online before, and never had a problem with it. This time — problems.

And yes, you’ll notice that it’s now mid-February, and I’m posting about a Christmas issue. I’ll get to “Why the long delay?” shortly.

I actually placed the order through Google Checkout, and everything went smoothly. A few days later, I got an e-mail from TRU saying that they were out of stock of the Aquadoodle and that it was automatically cancelled from the order. Well, ok, that’s a bummer, but I know how these things go — sometimes the actual demand is larger than the anticipated demand. Oh well. The other items shipped and they were Good Enough.

But when clearing credit card transactions through Quicken right around Christmas, I notice that TRU had charged me the full amount (including for the Aquadoodle that was canceled) and never credited anything back. Hrm. Surely there must be some mistake; perhaps ordering it through Google Checkout created some kind of problem in their system and my refund got overlooked. So a few calls to customer service later, I was assurred that it should be refunded shortly (which seemed odd to me — why couldn’t they refund it on the spot? But… whatever; I had other things to worry about).

January comes around — still no refund. So I call again, “Yes, we still haven’t processed all the Christmas refunds yet. We will soon — I’ll mark yours as expedited and it should be done by the end of the week.” Well — ok, whatever. $20 isn’t really all that much to create a stink about, but it is getting a little annoying. It’s the principle of the matter, not the money.

I then totally forgot about the issue — until today. I just got an e-mail from Google Checkout that TRU has finally refunded me for the Aquadoodle. It’s Feb 19, 2007 — well over 2 months since TRU charged me for the item. WOW!!

But wait — it gets better. The refund was less than I was initially charged! The Aquadoodle cost $19.99 (before tax), and I was refunded $17.66. There was no explanation provided.

What the heck? I really don’t have the time/energy/inclination to call and fight about $2.33+tax, but the principle of the matter is just galling. In effect, I was charged $2.33+tax for something that I never received. Plus, TRU got to use my $20+tax for 2 months. Granted, ~$20 for 2 months is a pittance, but consider the total dollar value of all the Christmas refunds that TRU is apparently just now refunding. That must be quite a tidy sum.

What the heck is going on over at TRU online?


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