Radio Shack Smack
January 26, 2006 11:07 PM   Subscribe

Is it possible for Radio Shack to "not guarantee" an "allocated" online order can be cancelled?

Sorry, long description. I ordered an item from Radio Shack online a month ago. They said it was in stock, and lo, 24 hours later, it was not. After waiting 2 weeks, I cancelled it. They weren't very nice about it. This was about 2 1/2 weeks ago.

I get an email tonight telling me the item was shipped—this even after a cancellation, me collecting the name of the person I spoke with, etc. When I called back tonight, I got an explanation about how the item was "allocated" when I ordered it, and that the customer service agent I spoke with the first time put in a request for cancellation, but that cancellation cannot be guaranteed once an item is “allocated”. This is the first I have heard of this from Radio Shack or anyone else, and sounds like complete horseshit.

A few other factors-- in the time between my cancellation and today, my credit card company lowered my APR, to issuing a new card. Radio Shack has the old card number (and that number, while attached to the new card for about a week, is no longer). I don't know if I can get caught in a situation where Radio Shack comes back with a "you gave us a bad credit card number", and have that be a fiasco. Also, I do not want to have to spend any of my own money to return this item. The agent I spoke with tonight said the likelihood of getting a prepaid return box from Radio Shack is close to nil. Can I simply refuse delivery through UPS? Is this a wise thing to do?

What are some things I need to be prepared to say to the supervisor should he or she attempt to make this hard? As far as I was concerned, and was led to believe by the first call I made, this thing was cancelled weeks ago. I want no part of seeing the object, having it touch my credit, nothing. Any suggestions?
posted by oflinkey to Shopping (10 answers total)
I'd walk into a store once you get the package, tell them your story...

I used to work for RatShack, as we called it (also, the slightly racist Mexi-Shack, but to balance it, we also had the Cracka-shack across town)... anyways, We all knew that RS scored huge margins, so we always looked for ways to "please" the customer, whilst making sure RS didn't get more than was necessary... we never gave shit away, but we also made sure they didn't profit if the customer was in any way unsatisfied.

ESPECIALLY for the couple months after christmas.. our wages were screwed anyways (working on commission is tough right after xmas)
posted by hatsix at 11:25 PM on January 26, 2006

Response by poster: I was told this item could not be returned to a store (It is a Creative Zen MicroPhoto, by the way). Is this true as well?
posted by oflinkey at 11:30 PM on January 26, 2006

Assuming you have documentation (emails or screengrabs or phone conversations) to prove:

- item did not ship when you ordered it
- item was out of stock when you cancelled it
- item was shipped after you cancelled it

I can't imagine you credit card company giving you trouble with a chargeback. I would call them and ask them before the item arrives, if I were you.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 11:34 PM on January 26, 2006

Also, and this may be risky: you may want to call RS and tell them you have the above proof and will do a chargeback anyway so why don't they just cancel the item?
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 11:35 PM on January 26, 2006

My understanding is that a chargeback is not likely to be at issue, here.

RadioShack received approval to charge his earlier card. His number has since changed, and his old card number, which they didn't charge when they couldn't ship the item, is now invalid.

My understanding is that cards remain linked to their older accounts for ~30 days, which seems to be the standard, at least with debit cards. I'm not sure how it works with strict credit cards.

If you're sure that your card is no longer able to be charged, then it appears as if you've scored yourself a free whatever-you-bought. If RS gets whiny enougb, they could contact you for more accurate billing information, but the truth is that you cancelled the order and that you shouldn't have had it shipped in the first place, "allocated" or not.

You expressed your desire to have the order cancelled before your card was charged and before it was shipped—they're out of excuses.

I'd say keep the damn thing, if you still need it. If they absolutely require you to pay somehow, which I HIGHLY doubt is likely, you might need to, but they messed up here, not you.

PS—why are you shopping at Radio Shack?
posted by disillusioned at 12:57 AM on January 27, 2006

While they screwed up, I wouldn't hold it past them screwing up more and creating a credit card hassle if you keep the item.

Talk to your credit card company, get the charge back or tell them to refuse charges from RS (they should have your old number anyways), then let RS know that you are not paying for an item you did not order. The appearance of a prepaid shipping box will likely be in your future.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:31 AM on January 27, 2006

Refuse delivery from UPS. The item will be returned to RS. Tell RS that what they do is now being followed online. Post an update here, at least google will find it. claims a 30 day money back guarantee. Worst case RS will not refund shipping. You should be able to get that with help from your credit card company when you dispute the charge.
posted by gearspring at 7:14 AM on January 27, 2006

I just dealt with this with another online retailer (not the allocation part, but the cancelling-then-shipping part).

After UPS dropped the package at my door when I wasn't home (no signature), I called them and they couldn't pick it up again without payment for shipping it back. The company I was dealing with said they never ever pay return shipping, even though they were in error.

UPS said that I should have phoned them to tell them I was refusing delivery and that they would have shipped the package back immediately.

1. Keep all documentation of your problem
2. Phone UPS and cancel the delivery
3. Tell radio shack that the item is coming back and you want a refund
3a. If radio shack won't refund you, chargeback through your credit card

My credit card company had no problem with me doing a chargeback like this. It takes 45 days or so for the money to come back into your CC account.
posted by some chick at 7:20 AM on January 27, 2006

If RS has given you a tracking number and it's still winding its way through the system you can call UPS and tell them to redirect the package. I've done this before for misaddressed packages and signature required things when I wasn't going to be home to sign. You can also tell UPS that your location is not secure and safe to leave things without signature.

As far as RS giving you crap over an invalid cc number, blah blah blah, you need not worry. It's their responsibility to get an authorization for a charge and without one they do not have a commitment from your cc company. If they do have one, you can be sure your cc company isn't going to have any trouble syncing this up with your new account.
posted by phearlez at 8:25 AM on January 27, 2006

It takes 45 days or so for the money to come back into your CC account.

I realize this is a bit of a derail, but dude, your credit card company sucks. When I issue chargebacks on my card, they appear as a credit to me within 24 hours, and the card company then investigates the chargeback. If the charge turns out to be legitimate, they will apparently notify me and reprocess it, but I've never had that happen. Just the instant credit while they resolve the dispute, presumably by smacking the merchant around and stuff.

This is has been the practice on both the Mastercard I have now and the Visa I had before.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:30 AM on January 27, 2006

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