Two months is too long to wait for my Yeti refund

Jessica Buczkowski saw a really good price online for a popular insulated Yeti cup that she wanted. She didn’t ask herself why the price was so much lower than everyone else’s. If she had, perhaps this story would not have been necessary.

Her Yeti refund case is a reminder that when you see an especially low price online, it might be worthwhile to get some information about the merchant before you buy.

A Yeti sighting for less

Buczkowski wanted a Yeti 30-ounce insulated cup, which most places sell for $40 plus tax and shipping. However, she found it for less, only $25.50, with free shipping, at an online merchant called Camping & Fishing Outlet. She grabbed the bargain, and her credit card was charged $31.

The second red flag, after the unusually low price, should have been the itemized charges on her confirmation. The merchant added a $3.99 “standard shipping” charge as the fourth line below the words “free shipping” in capital letters.

But that isn’t what Buczkowski complained about. She contacted us because she still had not received the cup two and a half months after placing her order. She had been very patient with the company, much more patient than I would have been. Buczkowski contacted them repeatedly by email but got little more than what appear to be automated responses.

Numerous complaints

If she had done an online search on the name Camping & Fishing Outlet, she would have found many complaints about the company on various review sites, as well as with the Better Business Bureau. The majority of the complaints I saw were similar to hers. The customers had been charged for a Yeti cup that was never delivered.

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She also would have found that the company recently changed its name. It now calls itself Outdoors Online. A search on that new name is showing similar complaints.

This isn’t one of those times when we can say she could have written to one of the company’s executive contacts. While we have an extensive company contacts list on our site, we don’t have them for this outfit. Given the number of complaints against the company, it may be that the owners or managers prefer to remain unreachable.

How to get a Yeti refund anyway

Buczkowski should have contacted her credit card company and asked to have the charge reversed since the merchant had not delivered the product. Instead, she contacted us.

With the company’s track record, our advocate was not hopeful about being able to help. But to her surprise, she got an immediate reply from the company, agreeing to give Buczkowski a refund. However, as of this writing, Buczkowski has not received that refund, so this could be just another stall tactic by the company. We want to call this a “Problem Solved” case, but we have to wait and see.

The real takeaway from this Yeti refund problem for the rest of us is a cliché that actually has value. It’s the one that begins with, “If the price seems too good to be true.”

Shopping aggressively to find the best price and shopping defensively to protect yourself are not mutually exclusive. You can use the internet not only to find a low price, but also to help determine whether that supposed bargain is legit.

Abe Wischnia

Abe started his working career as a television news reporter and newscaster before moving to corporate communications and investor relations. Now retired and having learned useful tips from Elliott.org, one of his volunteer activities is writing for us. Read more of Abe's stories here.

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