Shopping Discussion

Is Customer Service Dead (Staples)?

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  • May 25th, 2021 8:34 am
[OP]
Sr. Member
Nov 28, 2019
603 posts
279 upvotes

Is Customer Service Dead (Staples)?

Hey

So today I ordered an iPad Air 3 from staples. I did this before the store was even open and it showed 1 in stock. 4 hours after the store opens I get a cancellation email saying they have no stock.

I contact chat and it went something like this.

I go to their chat and ask what is going on and they tell me they have no stock left and have to cancel my order and they apologize.

Me: how are you going to rectify situation.
Support: I again apologize, but we ran out of stock.

Me: can I get a rain check?
Support : No we do not do that.

Me: Can I get a discount of some sort so I can get the next model up to a bit closer to what I paid? I am thinking like maybe $50 off (difference between the 2 models)
Support: No we can not do that but if you we get new stock in 14 days you can get it at that price.

Me: is anything coming in 14 days?
Support: I am not sure, we usually get in new shipments every 10 business days.

Me: I ask well this model might be discontinued now as it is last generation. How do you know we will get a new shipment?
Support: The staples website does not say it is discontinued we will get a new shipment in.


Me: the same website that accepted my order and still still tells there is stock at the store I placed me order at?
Support: Is there anything else I can help you with?

I can't believe from the very start it was like "oh well, too bad. We apologize but won't do anything about it". I am sure Amazon would have at very least have given a $5 credit right off the bat and probably with a bit of pressing would have gotten something more.

But to offer nothing when their system took the order when it should not have.

I am not expecting to get something free but at least try to do something.

I remember at Home depo, I wanted to buy a washer and dryer and they screwed up twice in the same order for but made it right both times.

The first time I can't 100% remember how it happened but it was something like I wanted 1 model and they thought they had it in stock and then they found out they did not actually have it.

So what did the person do, they looked at the next model and then went to google and found a "similar model on sale at a competitor" and went "oh, this is close enough...price match plus 10% different". So I ended up getting a bit better model for like $200 cheaper.

I then needed to stack these washers and they did not tell me I needed an adapter kit so when they came to install it they could not. I went to the store to see what happened, they saw on my invoice I did say it was to be stacked so they just gave me the $50-$75 kit for free. I did not even ask.

Same thing when I went to buy a mattress, I wanted a certain mattress and they did not have it so the sales guy was like I will give you a better deal on any other mattress you want.

These were all in 2015-2017. I noticed in the last 2 years though any mistakes that happens the companies don't want to do anything about it anymore.

Now it is like screw you get lost. I don't know if because we have less completion now and they think they can do what they want and you have to suck it up and take it?

Same thing happened 3 weeks ago at shaw. I went get a new router as I thought it was not working great, they gave me a new one with no hassle what was great. They somehow screwed up and later on I found they activated the box on account in another province.

Long story short, I had to go back to the store to get a new one. They were like "I don't think we have any more stock for that router". I was like well then can give me a different router model.

Well then we have to charge you $10 more a month.....thankfully they found 1 more unit as they were prepared to let me wait for a new box to be shipped from shaw, meaning I would have not had no internet for a week. That was acceptable solution to the staff at the store.
25 replies
Deal Addict
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Jan 3, 2014
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Vancouver(ish)
Seems like the responses you got from Staples were polite and helpful.

Yay for Staples.

OOS happens. Stock doesn't always update immediately.
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Deal Addict
Jul 16, 2019
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The one unit showing was likely 1) demo or 2) open box or 3) stolen/missing.
Deal Addict
Sep 16, 2013
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If someone talked to you they are not dead.
Deal Addict
Nov 9, 2011
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I don't see anything wrong with Staples customer service in this case.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Nov 28, 2019
603 posts
279 upvotes
ALLCAPS wrote: Seems like the responses you got from Staples were polite and helpful.

Yay for Staples.

OOS happens. Stock doesn't always update immediately.
I never said they were not polite, but just being polite does not solve the problem. I ordered something there system messed up and they did not even attempt to try to fix it and bring a solution.
vernonco wrote: The one unit showing was likely 1) demo or 2) open box or 3) stolen/missing.
Could be many things, could be someone walked in right the morning and grabbed it. In the end of the day there system allowed me to place an order and they should try to do something to rectify the situation.

tonershop wrote: I don't see anything wrong with Staples customer service in this case.
They did nothing, that is the problem. They could not even figure out if this item is going to be ever in stock again or not. There whole logic is well the public facing website here says it is not discontinued so it must mean it is going to one day be in stock again.

Now I am sitting here and don't know will it come in stock? It is a 3rd generation iPad Air and I think they are clearing there stock out.

Good customer service would try to at the very least figure this out, contact someone else if they need to see if an order been place and get one reserved for me.

If it does happen to come back in stock, I can guarantee you that when I do try to get my price I paid I going to have to spend hours on the phone talking about it and pretty sure no one will know about this policy as to me the whole policy sounds strange that if your order get cancelled you can get the price but only if you can reorder it in 14 days?
Sr. Member
Jul 18, 2019
567 posts
1209 upvotes
North York ON
Maybe open another chat box and another rep may do things differently. I've had Staples cancel multiple orders and offer $30 off no minimum coupons. Another time, they had a price error and did not honor it. They offered a $200 off $500 coupon. So it seems like what you get depends on who you chatted to.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Nov 28, 2019
603 posts
279 upvotes
Keith1411 wrote: Maybe open another chat box and another rep may do things differently. I've had Staples cancel multiple orders and offer $30 off no minimum coupons. Another time, they had a price error and did not honor it. They offered a $200 off $500 coupon. So it seems like what you get depends on who you chatted to.
This is not a price error, I understand if a price error is too bad they can't honor it but he at least they gave you a good coupon to try to make up for the solution. Even the $30 off coupon is a good thing. At least they tried to do something to make up for what happened.

Did you do both through chat? I will try again and see if I can get anything? Did you ask for something or did they do it on the own?
Deal Guru
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Mar 12, 2004
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I think you are expecting way too much for a cancelled order. Its not like you got an email saying it got processed and you went to the store and found out it was cancelled. Just move on.
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[OP]
Sr. Member
Nov 28, 2019
603 posts
279 upvotes
Keith1411 wrote: Maybe open another chat box and another rep may do things differently. I've had Staples cancel multiple orders and offer $30 off no minimum coupons. Another time, they had a price error and did not honor it. They offered a $200 off $500 coupon. So it seems like what you get depends on who you chatted to.
The new one in chat is telling me that new stock will be coming in the next 7 to 10 business days but if it does not come in the next 5 days (the end of the sale) I will have to pay whatever the price is at that time. She also told me I should phone ahead to see if it is in stock before I order......why bother if I got to phone to verify if their system is right nor not.

Then went on how stores have limited stock and quantity and basically that not everyone who sees the promotion will get it. The big difference here is their system promised that I got one of them and then they found out it over promised and her solution is hope more stock comes in the next 5 days even though she just told me it take 7 business day to come in stock.

Also what a shock the first guy made up some policy about having 14 days to get it at the same price.

Hey at least both have been nice and apologized, who cares if it is correct or not as long as they say it nicely.
Member
Oct 8, 2020
291 posts
425 upvotes
Ottawa
I've had this same issue with other retailers. Essentially you have to hope that they fulfill your order before a customer coming off the street gets the item. I believe that if you place an order online, it should be honoured or you should be offered a credit or something. Placing an order online shouldn't be a gamble, "Will I get it or will I not?" This is eventually going to begin to bite retailers in the butt.
Sr. Member
Nov 4, 2011
701 posts
467 upvotes
YYZ
Home Depot customer service is in a breed of their own - they will go above and beyond to try to resolve customer service issues.

Staples, well they use overseas agents... They're fine IMO, but I don't expect too much from them. Sometimes their laid back attitudes do work out, namely when price matching and using coupons.

One experience was that I wanted to exchange a SSD - Staples couldn't do it (I think because it came direct from their supplier). They wanted me to return the original and place a new order - at the non-sale price. The agent was willing to offer a $40 credit, but it didn't cover the price difference... So yea, that's Staples in a nutshell. The item ended up going on sale a week later so I was able to stack the newer lower sale price, a coupon and the goodwill credit so it worked out to be cheaper in the end.
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[OP]
Sr. Member
Nov 28, 2019
603 posts
279 upvotes
SenatorsFan wrote: I've had this same issue with other retailers. Essentially you have to hope that they fulfill your order before a customer coming off the street gets the item. I believe that if you place an order online, it should be honoured or you should be offered a credit or something. Placing an order online shouldn't be a gamble, "Will I get it or will I not?" This is eventually going to begin to bite retailers in the butt.
Exactly, that is why the second chat woman annoyed me. I was essentially promised it. I paid for it already.

This is not like I went to the store and asked if they have any left and was told no.

They should honor it when the item comes back in and if they cannot like you said they should offer you a discount code.

For me I will think twice about buying something at staples anymore. This is why stores like Costco get like 80% of my spending money as they know how to do things right.

Amazon is not bad at this too, they would have offered right away some sort of credit.
zappy312 wrote: Home Depot customer service is in a breed of their own - they will go above and beyond to try to resolve customer service issues.

Staples, well they use overseas agents... They're fine IMO, but I don't expect too much from them. Sometimes their laid back attitudes do work out, namely when price matching and using coupons.

One experience was that I wanted to exchange a SSD - Staples couldn't do it (I think because it came direct from their supplier). They wanted me to return the original and place a new order - at the non-sale price. The agent was willing to offer a $40 credit, but it didn't cover the price difference... So yea, that's Staples in a nutshell. The item ended up going on sale a week later so I was able to stack the newer lower sale price, a coupon and the goodwill credit so it worked out to be cheaper in the end.
Yeah seems like really rolling the dice with Staples but I tried twice now and failed so I doubt I will try a 3rd time.

I will wait till next week and see if it comes in stock again and order it and if they don't give me the price I want then I will start righting some emails to the BBB and to head office as I have saved the chat how they promised I would get that price if it came back in stock in 14 days.

Otherwise will just buy it at Costco and Coscto can enjoy 81% of all my spending money and staples can keep heading towards bankruptcy.
Sr. Member
Nov 4, 2011
701 posts
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YYZ
jimbob12341 wrote: For me I will think twice about buying something at staples anymore. This is why stores like Costco get like 80% of my spending money as they know how to do things right.
You've dug up a bad memory with Costco, they pissed me off with a sale before. Natrel butter was supposed to be on sale for 2 weeks and I was planning to pickup some more next time I was in (didn't need it yet, I knew I was gonna be back and I think they were sold out on the day I was there). Specifically checked the date and knew I could buy it the next week. Went back, no sale sign. Ask the cashier if the butter sale ended early, she said "Yes, people like you were buying too much". WTF, thought they were a wholesale club (and in any case, only was going to buy 3lbs since we were out). Emailed them, turns out they can end sales early (which kinda defeats the purpose of having an end date on the sale tag, but whatever).

The store management did confirm they ended it early upon supplier request (which mostly vindicated the fact I didn't misread the tag) and offered to comp me the 3 I was planning on buying. They made it right in the end, but left a sour spot in my memory.
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Jan 4, 2014
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Paris
A bad taste? lol Put yourself in their shoes. You are luckly someone in the store took some initiative and gave you three free bricks of butter. I'm sure that's not their policy.
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Dec 3, 2009
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If I'm ordering something online that says 1 in stock, I'm not holding my breath, especially if it's suspect to be discontinued.

I don't necessarily think customer service is dead, however, I think if it is, it's the consumer that killed it. Too many instances like in OP where the consumer is looking for compensation and actively pushing the retailer to offer deals on other things based on their experience.

Unfortunately the way many retailers do costing these days, they can't do these types of substitutions unless they go right back to their suppliers. Therefore if CS is "dead", it's based on tighter inventory and costing, tieing their hands to offer something that is very discretionary.
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[OP]
Sr. Member
Nov 28, 2019
603 posts
279 upvotes
No Frills wrote: If I'm ordering something online that says 1 in stock, I'm not holding my breath, especially if it's suspect to be discontinued.

I don't necessarily think customer service is dead, however, I think if it is, it's the consumer that killed it. Too many instances like in OP where the consumer is looking for compensation and actively pushing the retailer to offer deals on other things based on their experience.

Unfortunately the way many retailers do costing these days, they can't do these types of substitutions unless they go right back to their suppliers. Therefore if CS is "dead", it's based on tighter inventory and costing, tieing their hands to offer something that is very discretionary.
I think in this situation it is totally valid to get some sort of credit or at the very least a raincheck to guarantee to get it at the price when it comes in stock. I should not be the one who has to go "oh, there is 1 stock left, that probably is wrong".

If they don't want have to give out compensation they should do better to limit it from happening, if 1 stock is so unreliable why don't they program their systems to show out of stock for pick up option if the item goes below a certain number?

They also told me they only update stock every 8am, yet I ordered at 8:30am so what happened there why was it still showing 1?

I am looking at the website right now and it still shows "1 in stock" and this is now like 12 hours of my order being cancelled yet they still have not fixed it, how many people in the mean time since I ordered have tried to order and had their order cancelled?

Lets see if tomorrow morning when I wake up if the item is still show in stock or will the system have updated it?
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Jul 18, 2019
567 posts
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North York ON
squall458 wrote: I think you are expecting way too much for a cancelled order. Its not like you got an email saying it got processed and you went to the store and found out it was cancelled. Just move on.
OP's post and responses seem out of proportion to what happened. These things happen all the time. No one is entitled to free stuff. Buy from somewhere else. Ranting online and obsessing over it achieves absolutely nothing.
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Oct 27, 2004
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I will concur with the other reasonable people in this thread who think OP is... expecting too much (I just rewrote that sentence three times... my original thought was much less diplomatic).

As a consumer, our only expectation should be for a fair exchange of goods & payment. There are many reasons why a seller may be unable to fulfill their end of the exchange, and the only reasonable expectation there is that you get to keep your money. This is particularly relevant in cases where the online purchase is for a Clearance item, which appears to be the case here.

AFAIK, Staples (like most other retailers) does not charge a credit card for an order until that order ships. I suspect that was the case here.

OP: You thought you had a great deal on a Clearance item, but you reacted too slowly. Someone else beat you to that last remaining item. Sack up and move on. Staples owes you NOTHING.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Nov 28, 2019
603 posts
279 upvotes
Password wrote: I will concur with the other reasonable people in this thread who think OP is... expecting too much (I just rewrote that sentence three times... my original thought was much less diplomatic).

As a consumer, our only expectation should be for a fair exchange of goods & payment. There are many reasons why a seller may be unable to fulfill their end of the exchange, and the only reasonable expectation there is that you get to keep your money. This is particularly relevant in cases where the online purchase is for a Clearance item, which appears to be the case here.

AFAIK, Staples (like most other retailers) does not charge a credit card for an order until that order ships. I suspect that was the case here.

OP: You thought you had a great deal on a Clearance item, but you reacted too slowly. Someone else beat you to that last remaining item. Sack up and move on. Staples owes you NOTHING.
No I was charged the second I hit the order button (I got a notification that a purchase had been made on my CC) as they could not grab my money fast enough but it is too bad they don't feel the same way about updating their stock. I guess they like the Airline model of overbook the seats and if they overbook just cancel. Apparently most people feel like this is a great way of how they do things so I guess they should keep it up then, why bother improving systems to limit this from happening to a point where it happens so little if it does happen they would not hesitate to give some sort of credit.

Apparently not many people here find a problem that after my order was cancelled the order quantity became 1 again for the store (why have them program have something that if cancelled with a no stock reason would not replenish the qty, it's great how it is now), 24 hours after my order and after talking to them twice and being told that the system will update the inventory by tomorrow morning it still is show 1, but hey it really is my fault I should know that 1 qty means it is out of stock and should not expect anything from it.

Most people here also don't find a problem that I talked 2 different reps and got 2 different stories. Both reps are telling me it is not a clearance item and they will have eventually more stock in but can't really tell me when, one of them told me that if it does come back in stock 14 days I can get it at the price I ordered it at. (great to keep a person hanging like this for another 14 days) . The other one said I can only get the item on the sale price if it comes in stock again during the sales price but again that's all great. I should just know the answer anyways, can't hold staples to any sort of standard and if they screw up on anything I should not expect anything for wasting my time on it.

Anyways I am done with talking about it, I won't be shopping at staples anymore and will buy somewhere else but it was interesting to see what other people had to say and now I have a better idea why companies can get away with so much as people just accept it and even think they are doing a good job.

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