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Port Washington woman gets answers after online Christmas orders never arrive

Posted: 9:29 PM, Dec 12, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-12 22:29:54-05
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With less than two weeks until Christmas, the pressure is on to get holiday shopping done. But, what if you’re still waiting on purchases you made online, that are past their guaranteed delivery date?

“I waited until midnight on Thanksgiving and went on the Eddie Bauer website and purchased three items for my mother,” said Rachel Taylor of Port Washington.

She was supposed to get her items within 5-7 business days. But weeks passed and she still hadn’t received anything. She started calling and emailing Eddie Bauer’s customer service number.

“I called in the morning, afternoon and evening, and it was always the same thing,” Taylor said. “I couldn’t get anyone on the phone. Sometimes I would wait for 50 minutes, then the call would just disconnect.”

TODAY'S TMJ4 tried calling the same number, and got the same response. We were on the phone for 57 minutes before a customer service agent answered. Then, as media, we were instructed to call a different number.
Minutes later, Taylor got an email from Eddie Bauer’s Office of the President saying they’re, “experiencing a larger than normal volume of customer inquiries both via phone and email.”

The company offered her a full refund, or said they would send two of the three items she ordered that are still available, at no cost.

“I really feel that since I emailed to inform them that I contacted my local television station, that’s when I got an email right away,” Taylor said.

Taylor had already filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, which says Eddie Bauer has an excellent rating and good reputation for responding and resolving issues. The company only receiving 49 complaints in three years, through the Better Business Bureau.

“The 50 minute calls are very frustrating for consumers, but they’re becoming more frequent,” said Jim Temmer with Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin. “Part of the reason people do online shopping on both the producer and consumer side, is unfortunately, to eliminate service people. You can often find a better price online, because you take out that cost of a service person. But that obviously has consequences, when it comes to customer service.”

Temmer also points to a federal regulation that dictates a consumer must get a refund, if an order hasn’t arrived 30 days after the guaranteed delivery date. The only challenge is that many companies give “estimated” rather than “guaranteed” arrival dates.

“If you were promised delivery on a certain date, and it’s 30 days after that, you can get a refund,” Temmer said. “But right now, people aren’t looking for refunds, they’re for a present to give someone at Christmas.”

Eddie Bauer sent us this statement:

"Eddie Bauer has been experiencing technical issues with our website, impacting our ability to quickly answer all customer order inquiries. All customers that have contacted us will be communicated with as quickly as possible. We fully understand how stressful this is for our customers during what can be an already stressful season. We sincerely apologize to our customers for the inconvenience this has caused and are working as quickly as we can to respond to customers personally and directly. Although our communication may be a bit delayed, all customers have and will continue to receive their orders on time. Customers will receive their order in the timeframe they specified, at our expense, if necessary. Again, we apologize to our customers for this inconvenience and fully appreciate their patience during this busy season."

Tips from the Better Business Bureau, when ordering something online:

  • Get a tracking number.
  • Always make sure there is a valid telephone number and physical address on any website you order from.
  • Review all handling, shipping, return and/or restocking policies and fees, before you buy.
  • Use your credit card when ordering, not a debit or gift card.
  • Pay extra for shipping if you need to guarantee it arrives by a certain day.