On Black Friday, Carol Broaddus sees a fabulous online deal for a shiny black KitchenAid mixer. With visions of all the tasty Christmas cookies she can create with this new machine, she quickly orders it. But with just days left before the holiday, why aren’t there any confections being made?
Question: After I ordered the KitchenAid mixer, my credit card was charged and I received a confirmation that it was shipped by USPS. That confirmation gave me an estimated delivery date, which showed it would be delivered at the latest by Dec. 4. I’m still waiting.
I have communicated with customer service via phone and Twitter several times and have been told, in a nutshell, that a tracking number has not been assigned. One rep told me a week ago a tracking number had been requested, but no such number has been posted to my account. I was then told they could do nothing until Dec. 9, then on Dec. 9 I was told it will be delivered by Dec. 14. I tried calling the contact numbers on your list for JCPenney. I waited for a representative for 45 minutes although the recording said there was a 6-minute wait, then I called the customer service leader but had to leave a message on voicemail.
I understand you can’t get involved every time an order doesn’t arrive on time. Things happen. My issue is that I am being strung along with essentially “just wait a few more days” when they have no idea where my order is. I have absolutely no idea where it is and can’t have any way of knowing if or when it will be delivered.
The mixer is not a gift. I ordered it to use for Christmas baking, so being blown off until Dec. 25 is totally unacceptable. Every other company I have dealt with has assigned a tracking number to my order so I can know where it is. I understand delays during the busiest season. But being strung along with empty promises is just not right.
Can you help find out where my mixer is? I would love to be able to make these cookies! — Carol Broaddus, Midlothian, Va.
Answer: Oh, no! You should be busy baking — not contacting a consumer advocate.
When you purchased the mixer on Black Friday, you felt confident that you would soon be whipping up a variety of goodies for your family and friends.
JCPenney had promised you the KitchenAid mixer by Dec. 4. But that date had come and gone with no explanation from the company as to why.
And that left you in cookie-making limbo.
Typically when a consumer orders a product online, the company charges the customer’s credit card once shipping occurs. JCPenney charged your credit card on Nov. 28 and confirmed that the mixer was on its way.
In anticipation of the delivery of your new kitchen tool, you purchased all the ingredients that you would need for your baking extravaganza. Unfortunately, two weeks after the shipping date of your mixer, those ingredients were still sitting untouched on your counter.
Using our company contacts for JCPenney, you tried to resolve this problem on your own. You attempted to communicate the urgency of this delivery to the JCPenney representatives, but your pleas seemed to land on unsympathetic ears.
As I reviewed your paper trail, it was clear the various representatives that you spoke to had no specific knowledge of the location of this package and had no useful information to offer.
Over the course of two weeks, all of the JCPenney’s representatives that you spoke to offered the same solution to your problem: Wait. And hopefully, eventually, the mixer will arrive. If not — just wait. Your email trail went in circles with various representatives all offering this same “help.”
And although you were patient, your growing frustration was evident.
Unfortunately, it appears that JCPenney shipped your expensive item via USPS Retail Ground shipping which is advertised as an “economical” and “reliable” way of shipping “less than urgent deliveries.”
In other words — the slow way.
And so far you found this shipping method to be anything but reliable.
The USPS website indicates that it provides a tracking number for Retail Ground, but the JCPenney’s representatives told you that your order did not have one.
You are correct that typically our advocacy team would not contact a company to inquire about a delayed order. However, your case was different. That is to say that your (prepaid) order wasn’t just delayed. JCPenney was unable to locate it. And it was beginning to appear that it may have been lost somewhere along the way. With no way of tracking the item, its fate was murky.
I reached out to our executive contact at JCPenney and explained your holiday baking dilemma. She sympathized with your problem and soon confirmed good news. A new KitchenAid mixer would be delivered the next day along with a $75 JCPenney gift card to make up for the inconvenience.
And finally, all those ingredients are being transformed into yummy holiday treats. Merry Christmas!