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Cyber Week fail: hundreds of canceled orders

Retailers unable to fulfill volume of orders
Posted at 12:25 PM, Nov 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-29 18:25:07-05

A growing number of shoppers are complaining about placing Black Friday and Cyber Week orders online, only to learn a day or two later their order was canceled.

In many cases, it appears retailers were unable to handle the crush of online orders this year, and their computer systems did not realize the items were sold out until a day or two later.

Great gaming system deal canceled

The coffee was good and hot at Cavu Coffee on Tylersville road in West Chester, Ohio on this December day. 

Unfortunately, one customer in the shop, Nikki Wissel, was hot, too, after Kohl's canceled her Black Friday purchase of a Nintendo Switch gaming system.

Wissel and her husband stayed up late on Thanksgiving to place the order for their son's dream Christmas present. They purchased the hot-selling Nintendo game system at a great Black Friday price.

"But come Saturday morning," Wissel said, "I get an email from Kohl's saying 'sorry your order's been canceled, we don't have them in stock.'"

The problem: it was now too late to get the Black Friday price elsewhere.

"I didn't have the item, and everybody else was already selling out, and all other deals were over," Wissel said.

Money refunded, but not a help

Sure, having a Black Friday or Cyber Week order canceled is not the end of the world if they give you a refund. And Wissel's credit card was refunded the full amount.

But the problem is that if it was limited release, a or a really great deal, you can really end up out of luck.

Rotunda Kershaw of North College hill had a similar Black Friday bummer: the Timberland boots she bought for her nieces from the Finish Line's website ended up canceled too.

"My order was confirmed, they sent me an email," Kershaw said. "And the next day they sent me anther email and said my order was canceled."

Hundreds of similar complaints about holiday orders canceled are popping up on social media and sites like

Kohl's now says it had "intermittent technology issues" on Black Friday, a spokeswoman telling us the retailer is "apologizing to customers and working with them one-on-one." Other retailers are saying their computers did not realize the items were all gone until shipping time.

What you can do

If your order is canceled, be sure to complain up the company ladder. You may be able to get more than just a refund, because a refund is no good if you don't have the item you wanted. After all, a Christmas gift is more than an everyday order.

"I showed my nieces the boots," Kershaw said, "and told them they would be getting them, and now they're not getting them."

The good news: Both women will receive refunds. A Finish Line spokesman told us it will contact Kershaw about the boot order.  

And Kohl's is now giving Wissel extra Kohl's Cash as a bonus for her frustration. 

So be sure to complain, so you don't waste your money.


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