Wal-Mart VS KMart-and Target Wins! ***UPDATED***

***I just wanted to let you all know what kind of a response I have had from Kmart. Anyone want to guess? If you guessed, “No response at all,” you would be absolutely correct. Not even the typical “We are so sorry, let’s get our ‘specialized team working on it!” So please share, comment, tweet, whatever, because now I am fighting on the principle alone. Maybe Kmart doesn’t care if they lose ME as a customer; after all, I don’t have a lot of money and therefore am not going to really put a dent in their business. But maybe they will take note if an entire GROUP of people stands up and says something? I don’t know-but it might be interesting to find out.***

Those of you who have been here for any length of time have heard my various diatribes about Wal-Mart, I am sure. I hate Wal-Mart; I *try* really hard to not ever shop there, although admittedly there are occasions where I am left with little choice. After all, I live in a rural area where Wal-Mart is the only store of its type nearby, and it isn’t exactly convenient or cost-effective for me to drive 45 miles to, say, Target.  That said, whenever I have to spend money there, it makes me feel slimy and ashamed and I try to avoid it if at all possible.

I have now, however, found a store that I hate even more than Wal-Mart, albeit for different reasons. Let’s talk a little bit about Kmart, shall we? I know nothing about Kmart’s business practices, don’t know what their employees make or how they are treated, none of that. No, my hatred is purely personal. See, I was watching The Television and saw that Kmart offered layaway, so I happily got online and read about it and thought, a-ha, this is a GREAT idea for Christmas. Initially, too, the process was pretty easy; I went through the items I wanted, chose the little “Layaway” Icon, and happily did the majority of my shopping.  The first snag came when I started the checkout process. First, you enter in your payment information, and it tells you how much your layaway downpayment is. No problem. However, as soon I hit the submit button, I found out that over half of the items in my cart were NOT, in fact, eligible for layaway (and yes, I DID check more than once to make sure I was shopping in the layaway section; I am not entirely stupid), and my card was debited for them immediately, PLUS the downpayment for my layaway order. Like, within minutes. Ok, I thought, I am not thrilled about THAT, but I can make it work somehow (reminding you all that it was debited out of my checking account).  $164.90 later…still, they were Christmas presents, right?

Then, three days later, I got an email from Kmart Customer Service telling me that part of my order had been canceled-not from my items on layaway, but the items for which I had paid. I called the customer service number and even though I was on hold for 20 minutes, I got to talk to someone who was very helpful. “Oh, we are sure sorry about that, but you will get the amount of the canceled items credited back to your account within four business days.” I gave them a week to credit my account back, giving them the benefit of a couple of business days, before contacting them again.

Now, it is December 8th (remember the initial order was placed AND PAID FOR on Novmeber 1st), and two phone calls (one where I was put on hold for so long that I ended up hanging up) and ELEVEN EMAILS LATER (it might actually be more-I think I inadvertently deleted a couple of them before realizing I might need them), I still have not been credited for the items canceled by Kmart and paid for by me. I have repeatedly asked for the contact information for the Customer Service Supervisor, as well as the corporate office, and that request has been ignored every single time. I have been told at least five times that this is NOT a typical Kmart shopping experience and they are so sorry AND that their “Specialized Team” will be contacting me, and that has not yet happened (Oh, I also asked them to cancel my layaway order, since clearly there were too many problems for me to trust that my payments would be applied to the order or that I would get them. They told me that I would have to go TO the store to cancel it. So I said I just wouldn’t make the payment, no biggie. Turns out it is a good thing I didn’t, as I got another email saying that some of the items on my layaway order were no longer available).

The thing about this that pisses me off so much is that I am being placated (unsuccessfully) and now ignored. I have invested a considerable amount of time and energy attempting, quite simply, to get back that which I am owed. No more, no less. Why is this so difficult? I feel, to put it bluntly, screwed. I can see that during the holiday season, maybe they are a little behind and can be forgiven a day or two delay, but this to me is unnacceptable-and no matter how many times I TELL Kmart this, I am still not being given my money back.  Maybe to them it isn’t that big a deal, but to me, it certainly is. I don’t care if this is not a typical Kmart shopping experience, this is MY Kmart shopping experience, and frankly, it is THE worst experience with online shopping I have ever had, hands down.

Now, why I am I telling you all this, you might ask? Because I need a favor. I know I have a lot of readers who never comment, and I generally would not ever ask them to comment-doesn’t matter to me either way. But all of you who read and don’t comment, could you make a comment today, wherever you are, just so you can be counted? I am going to send Kmart Customer Service a link to my blog letting them know how many people are aware of this particular experience and who might then think twice about patronizing their store. Maybe they don’t care about one little person in poduck Idaho, but bad publicity has a way of getting around, right?

So make a comment, please. Share this with your friends and ask THEM to make a comment. If any of you are so inclined, you can also email Kmart customer service on my behalf; their email address is help@customerservice.kmart.com, and my order number is 175285915.  I am not sure what I hope to accomplish; at this point, I think I should be given all of the items originally ordered for FREE, or be given a gift card or something, but really, if I am lucky I am going to get my money back. Still, I just want them to know that we little people kind of need our money back if we don’t get the item(s) for which we paid. That’s it.

So; thanks in advance! And hey, long live Target!

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31 thoughts on “Wal-Mart VS KMart-and Target Wins! ***UPDATED***

  1. KMart, you should be ashamed of yourselves! You market yourself as a store for the “working class,” but really, you just want our money! I hope this helps, Kori.

  2. The problem with large superstores like K-Mart is that their systems and processes, or rather the departments required to deal with them, have become so decentralized that there is no possible way to efficiently correct a problem like the one you are having. Furthermore, this decentralization provides a very convenient excuse for providing shoddy, lackluster customer service, i.e.- Oh, I can’t make that change, my screen won’t let me do it.”

    This is just one more reason that I hope this economic downturn continues to spur people on in the renewed support of small businesses, and a return to core values when it comes to customer service. K-Mart simply does not, CAN not, care as much about its individual patrons as a smaller business carrying the same items would. Their infrastructure is too massive.

    I will tell you this though. I had a large 50″ LCD TV picked out for my father-in-law this Christmas and bookmarked on K-Marts site. After reading your post, however, I have decided that it is completely worth my time to pay a few more dollars for more personalized customer support from a smaller site with the same item. K-Mart? You just lost ALL my holiday shopping business. Take care of you customers. It doesn’t take time, it doesn’t take a supervisor. In reality, it takes five minutes. Fix Kori’s issue.

  3. Target is hands down the better of the 3. It seems as though KMart is trying their best to show you ALL the reasons why they filed chapter 11 not too many years ago. I guess some companies never do learn from their mistakes!

  4. All I can say is that is slimy and underhanded and they are counting on the fact that you will “forget” and not force the issue, because so many people will feel defeated and stop pressing them for their own money back and then they win. The other thing is that K-Mart is now owned by Sears and calling their corporate office maybe a lead on getting your money back.

  5. The Kmart in my town closed a couple of years ago, and no one misses it. The building was knocked down, and on its site was built – a new Target! There’s win-win.

    I hope your issues with Kmart get resolved to your satisfaction, and soon – so you don’t have to deal with them again!

  6. Shame on you K-mart! That is absolutely unacceptable! Give the lady back what is rightfully hers! That is just sad that their customer service is so poor.

  7. Besides the whole screwing you out of a timely refund and there being a whole group of items not eligible for layaway (doesn’t make sense to me), what I can’t believe is that they have had to cancel items on your order. Are they that disorganized that their system can’t recognize that maybe they should have ordered more of those items in the first place. I do a lot of online shopping and I have had items that are backorded but know about that upfront. I don’t think I have ever ordered something and then had it cancelled because the merchant is out of stock or whatever. Sounds like their inventory system sucks too.

  8. I also shopped Kmart layaway (online) for the first time this year and was disappointed, although my experience was not nearly as bad as yours. The problem is that layaway items have to be in stock in your store to be eligible for layaway. In my case, because I have so many Kmarts in my area, I had lots of choices and was able to pick the Kmart in my father’s neighborhood as “my store” so that all of the items in my cart were available. Had I only one choice, the Kmart in my neighborhood, then only 1 of my 3 items would have been available for layaway. Needless to say, I will not be shopping Kmart layaway next year.

  9. This is why I don’t ever shop at KMart!! They are awful!! The customer service is terrible. As if it is not a big deal to refund your money after a month! I hope you get this all sorted out. You can rest assured KMart will not be getting any business from me!!

  10. Yep KMart and Wal-Mart can suck it. Customer service is horrible and what they did to you is not cool at all. I am sorry about that and hopefully all of these comments can help out. Also I forgot to tell you that Tankster did his obedience training at Petsmart. It was fine and he just did the beginner sessions. We might sign up for the intermediate because he still needs some work.

  11. That totally sucks! I have disliked KMart for a long time. I’ve never had a good customer service experience there. I hope you can get this worked out. Have you contacted your credit card company to let them know what happened? If you have emails saying they are the problem, you might be able to recover you money that way. Then the credit card company will go after them for repayment.

  12. I was looking online to order some items from Kmart. Once reading your blog, I turned away and purchased it from Walmart. I hear a lot of people grumble about Walmart but I’ve never had an issue. I love ours here. I do love Target more though. When shopping, I just newly “rediscovered” Kmart…now I have now newly “re forgotten” about them. I’m not going to do business with a company that is being so unhelpful and crappy right before Christmas. You NEED your money back and they are putting you in a hard place.

    Please keep us updated if anything changes. If they make it up to you…I mean REAAAAALLY make it up to you, my family MAY start to spend money there again.

  13. NOW THAT IS RIDICULOUS! I hate Kmart, too, personally. NO THANK YOU. Meijer or Costco are my “big store” places (if I must go).

    I hope this gets resolved for you hon.

    KMART, YOU SUCK. SERIOUSLY.

  14. Ideally online layaway should be a godsend. Payments made over time conveniently through the internet without ever setting foot inside the store until time to pick up the items. No dealing with holiday shoppers, hassle free. Right?

    Unfortunately as pointed out in an earlier comment, items eligible for layaway must first be in-stock at your local Kmart store. The problem with this concept, at the time of your order, all items that “make it through checkout” are currently in stock. Now comes the waiting game; Conformation that you get the items. An online layaway most likely is processed by the store manager. There are several new layaways likely due for processing a day. A store manager takes the list you send in (at their earliest convenience, remembering they have other responsibilities) and essentially does YOUR SHOPPING.

    The items are then rung up on the Layaway POS system. If something is sold out that item is recorded as of course being out of stock. Items are then boxed up to await confirmation (See Next Paragraph).

    I do believe the customer then receives an email if whether to confirm or deny the layaway when all items are not in stock. Correct me if I’m wrong. If not then they should because this would solve a lot of headaches.

    After confirmation of the layaway the boxes are tagged with a location and are placed in the stockrooms. You pay online every two week and hopefully pick up everything you order without a hitch (ideally).

    Sooo, from personal knowledge online layaway is a great concept. But there are A LOT of bugs to be worked out. Remember it is in its first year so there are going to be some problems, a company can not foresee everything based on trial runs in a small cluster of stores. Be glad Kmart offers layaway. Walmart is continuously bashed for getting rid of their layaway program. I say the easiest thing to do is go to your bank and open a Christmas club account and just save throughout the year, so much easier than dealing with the hassle of last minute spending 🙂

    Great post I enjoy reading your blog. I hope to hear Kmart making good on the situation at hand, because quite frankly it’s a terrible situation that does need addressing at multiple levels. Good Luck !!! 🙂

  15. Kori, I avoid the Kmart in my neck of woods like the plague. Not only is the store dirty, they never have anything that I need in stock. I don’t like Kmart like you don’t like Wal-Mart. I think they should be ashamed of themselves for treating you this way. That is ridiculous!

  16. Oh God, just mentioning the word K-mart is enough to break me out in hives. No amount of rebranding with that ridiculous blue light bulb is going to erase their cluttered stores and rude, inconsiderate, and poorly trained employees. Target all the way.

    I’m not surprised they took your money and won’t give it back.

  17. If you haven’t already done so, dispute the charge. The odds are very much in your favor, especially since it was an online transaction. I very rarely advise anybody to dispute, as I deal with *chargeback’s* at my job and most people dispute for the wrong reasons; but a month and a half is entirely too long to make good on this.

  18. Kori! Not cool, sounds like the rig-a-ma-rol I have been going through with Ballard designs. Don’t order internationally with them!
    We don’t have Kmart or Target here but I hear you on the Walmart dislike!
    It has been way too long since I made it here to get in a good read and caught up with you, I have missed you! And congrats Grandma!!! What a beautiful little bundle Hannah delivered! Such a blessing.

  19. Kori, if they canceled your order and haven’t refunded your money, that is a problem. I’d seriously consider filing a complaint with the BBB and notifying them that you have done so. That bites.

    I’m not a huge fan of layaway, but I know it works for a lot of people. But due to logistical issues – like having stock on hand when the items are paid for – was a huge issue back when this was a common thing to have, which is why few retailers do it now. KMart is the only one I know of, and they only brought it back a couple years ago.

  20. K-Mart, you are a vile and disgusting parasite on the community and a cancerous tumor on free enterprise. As if it’s not bad enough you outsourced every possible thing to save a buck, you can’t be content until you charge us for imaginary items too. You are so pathetic.

    Sorry I missed this before, Kori. I can’t tweet from my mom’s computer for sevurity reasons; but I am so rooting for you.

  21. Total bullshit. I’m proud to say that I’ve probably shopped at KMart only once or twice in my life and that was when I was in other states and didn’t know the area well enough to find another place.

    I don’t know if it will help, but have you contacted your bank?

    This type of thing happened to me – with Banana Republic. I tried to pay credit card balance, which was something like $70. They ended up charging my bank account $770. I was obviously livid and got the same run-around about having to wait 7 business days to get my money back. I couldn’t have that because my rent check was about to get cashed. I called my bank and they put the money back into my account within a few hours, and they took on Banana.

    You should definitely write to the Better Business Bureau and the Consumer Protection branch of the FTC. http://www.ftc.gov/consumer

    That oughta light a fire under their asses.

  22. And the other thing – shitty business practice to charge your card immediately upon order (besides the obvious shittiness of ALL their customer “service” practices). Every other online shopping I’ve done doesn’t charge you until the item ships.

  23. Pingback: Tweets that mention Wal-Mart VS KMart-and Target Wins! ***UPDATED*** | See Kori Rant -- Topsy.com

  24. Oooh, I hope I’m not too late to have my comment counted on your behalf. The whole idea around internet shopping is to make the experience EASIER for the shopper. If it isn’t easier, and — heaven forbid — it actually adds stress to one’s life, why would anyone EVER choose to shop on K-Mart’s site?

    Thanks for the warning. I want to think this will end well for you. Please keep us posted. In the meantime, I won’t be shopping the Big K any time soon…

  25. Come on K-mart, it takes so little from a customer service standpoint to actually fix something like this- why can’t your reps or supervisors take ownership and get this done?

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