Best Buy Cancels Some Online Orders

ATLANTA (AP) — Best Buy has alerted some customers that it will not be able to fill their online orders, just days before Christmas.

The largest U.S. specialty electronics retailer said late Wednesday that “overwhelming demand for some products from has led to a problem redeeming online orders made in November and December.

The Minneapolis company declined Thursday to specify how many orders are affected or which products are out of stock.

The shortages are a black eye for Best Buy, which has beefed up its online campaign to fight off intense competition from online retailers and discount stores. And the holiday season is crucial for retailers like Best Buy because it can make up to 40 percent of annual sales.

Some glitches should not be a surprise with such a massive surge in online shopping this year, analysts said, but there is a risk of a backlash.

“It is a hiccup for the company,” said Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy. “They were kind of behind the curve building out their online channel. They’ve done a good job investing in it, but if you make a lot of rapid changes, inevitably there are going to be growing pains.”

The canceled orders probably won’t make a big difference for Best Buy’s holiday sales this year, but it may lead to more customers looking elsewhere in the future, he said.

“The risk is any consumers affected by canceled orders will be willing to explore other alternatives for online shopping in years to come,” Hottovy said.

Online sales are up 15 percent to $32 billion so far this holiday season, while total sales are up just 2.5 percent.

Even though online sales are a huge boon for retailer, the shift has already created some problems. Discount retailer Target Corp’s site crashed in September because of overwhelming demand for Missoni for Target, a limited designer line of clothing, home goods and accessories.

Best Buy benefitted when its now-defunct rival Circuit City went out of business more than a year ago, but its suffering as Americans hold off on big ticket items and search for deals online and at discounters.

In order to compete, Best Buy has expanded its online offerings, cut back on square footage in the U.S. by closing stores and sought to expand internationally. In its most recent third quarter ending Nov. 26, Best Buy said its net income fell 29 percent as it cut prices in popular categories such as tablets and TVs to drive sales and traffic during the holiday season.

Best Buy shares rose 8 cents to $22.96 in midday trading.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • not new, happens a lot

    this happens a lot, happened to me on an Old Navy Order. They need better inventory control so that you can only add to cart and buy if it’s actually in a warehouse somewhere waiting to be packed up.

    • ROBBOB

      It has nothing to do with inventory control unless you are placing an online order for sam day store pick-up. As the article says, the orders getting canceled were placed in November and December. This indicates: one, customer orders are generating purchase orders from suppliers and two, customers can request a specific delivery date. If Best Buy can not deliver an order when requested they will cancel no mater what time of year.

  • Ben Horn

    Same problem has happened to me at Amazon more than once. It’s not uncommon.

    • Mike

      I have placed over 500 orders on Amazon and never experienced an order cancellation on their part. one order not being delivered on time. I

      • charles

        I too have had nothing but positive experiences at amazon.

        • Todd

          Nothing but great things from amazon! Got my bestbuy order tonight and they shipped me two death metal cd’s instead of the family dvd’s i ordered. 2 hour on hold and still not solved!

        • John

          Except of course for the slave labor at their warehouse.

          • kishke

            You mean the people who applied for jobs at their warehouse and were glad to get them? Dumb occupest.

          • The Clintidote

            So they’re enslaved against their will?

            Guess the mouthbreathers should have gone to class and learned some skills, then. That’s where you end up when you’re a dummy, and we’re surrounded by them in Obamaland.

          • frank

            I don’t care about the lackeys at the warehouse. I want my package on time. Let them eat cake.

        • CorkyF

          same here.

      • John

        I have had an order cancelled at Amazon once. I dont know the reason why the cancellation other then a possibility that the order could not be fullfilled by the manufacturer. I was disappointed but that has not stopped me from buying online where I see something I like and that still includes amazon. You can run out in the shelves at a store that stocks..or buy online and find something that is getting attention and out of stock. Bound to happen in either event.

      • Bill Schumacher

        I agree with you about Amazon. However, I don’t think Ben Horn was trying to make a negative comment about Amazon. I think he was just saying that Best Buy isn’t the only company where this happens. And in reference to the comment from “not new, happens a lot” I would say that retailers can’t afford to have everything in a warehouse somewhere waiting to sell. They often work with manufacturers to quickly ship to fill orders if they get overloaded. And sometimes the manufacturers can’t meet the demand, especially when so much of this stuff is shipped in from overseas.

      • Momtot

        My son place several orders at Amazon a couple of weeks ago. All said they would be shipped and received before Christmas. A few days later he was sent notices that ALL purchases would be delayed and would not arrive in time for Christmas. He cancelled the orders.

      • HH

        It does happen with Amazon. Indeed it does not happen with best buy any more than Amazon. If you go to consumerist you can see there are many cancellations by Amazon. The good news is with BOTH Amazon and Bestbuy this happens rarely, and with both they tend to give customers some compensation

        • Chelle

          It has not happened to me with Amazon but I’m sure it does happen and I’m sure it’s rare. The key is how they handle the issue. Two years ago late on Christmas Eve, my sister called to say she didn’t get the gift I had sent to her through Amazon. I emailed their customer service to tell them and within 10 minutes I got an email from them telling me they would ship out a replacement immediately. I had to email them an hour later when my sister said a neighbor had moved them to behind her garage so they would not be stolen from her door step. They told me they were glad they were found and to have a Merry Christmas. Now that’s customer service. They were willing to replace the missing package no questions asked! I wonder if Best Buy would have done the same.

          • Jame Gum

            Impossible to answer such a hypothetical question – so why bother to ask?

            • Pixelduster

              Because it is worth considering?

      • Dave Mowers

        Amazing how easy business in America is when your banker brother approves a 100 million dollar loan for you to get started in a new internet business!

        Thank God for corruption and fraud in banking, without that we wouldn’t have an Amazon.

      • Mike

        I have had great success with Amazon. However when you go outside of Amazon and buy from one their partners it can be a problem. This year I had one packaged damaged; one order was canceled but I had to email the supplier to see what was up.

    • The Truth

      I’m with the other two posters. This rarely happens with Amazon.

    • Aaron

      It truly depends with Amazon. Personally, I only purchase and item that is fulfilled by Amazon directly. Amazon allows numerous 3rd party vendors to sell their items on their site. Those 3rd party vendors have given me issues in the past, but not anything fulfilled by directly.

    • Michelles Big-Booty

      I’ve had dozens of orders from amazon over several years. This has never happened. I doubt it ever happens.

      • Mike

        Amazon has cancelled or not been able to fulfill promised orders tens of thousands of cases. Just check any retail or internet retail trade press site. Your anecdote about your 20 or 50 purchases isn’t data. If you want anecdotes Google “amazon cancels” or” amazon delays” you will see hundreds and hundreds of hits

    • Big Rick

      Reiterate all the other comments – I have never had an issue with Amazon. I am amazed at how well they deliver their orders.

    • Tom E.

      Wow, I have never had a bad experience from Amazon. Again, with over a couple hundred amazon purchases and they have ALWAYS “said what they do” and “do what they say”

      As far as best buy, it is either inventory control problems or resource problems of some sort (shipping supplies or man power).

      Either way, Best buy made a promise they could not keep to several customers.

  • Amazon anyway

    I always prefer Amazon. This really IS a black eye for BB.

  • Steve M

    Two years ago in early November I ordered on line a TV from BB. They sent me a confirmation e-mail that the product was on hold and would be delivered the date I requested on DEC 18th. December 10th I received an e-mail saying the order was being canceled because they were out of that TV. I went to the store and they said they would sell me another larger TV for 300 dollars more. I showed them the e-mail and they said they were out of that TV. However I saw the same model in and ad from them the week before. I filed a BBB report against BB and they ended up paying me 300 dollars off another TV I will not purchase another on-line product from them.

  • paulc

    So if you go into a store and look for a TV (or something) and it isn’t there you look for something else. If the store runs out do you throw a fit in the aisle? Does no one understand lead times and forecast estimates? If you want to maintain low prices you must keep inventories under control.

    Tempest in a teapot!

    • The Truth

      No, you turn around and leave, and in some cases you never shop there again. What you are describing sounds a lot like “Bait and Switch”. Advertise something that you only have a few of in order to get people in the door, and then sell them something more expensive. If they only have limited stock, that should be advertised up front to save people the hassle.

    • Bill

      paulc, you’re analogy isn’t at all applicable.

      A better analogy would have been, “If you go to a store and look for something, and are told it is available at a sale price, so you purchase it and arrange for it to be delivered–and then well after the delivery date has passed, you receive a message indicating that the order has been cancelled, but that they do have an identical model available for you if you’re willing to pay a price that is 50% higher, do you complain?” And the answer would clearly be, YES, you do. Especially when you passed on other opportunities to purchase the same item elsewhere for a similarly low price because you knew you had this order already placed and accepted by Best Buy, and those other opportunities are now gone.

      We do understand lead times and forecasts. We also understand that items on Black Friday discounts will be in high demand, with the demand far exceeding the supply available. The stores understand this too–and they also know exactly how many of these Black Friday discount items they will have available for any particular sale. There is therefore no reason that they should ever process sales for items they know (or at least have the ability to know) that they do not and will not ever have available to fulfill the orders. When the order quantity hits the quantity available, change the site to say “Sold out”, so we can have time to take appropriate actions for our own Christmas plans.

    • Aaron

      paulc. I use to work for Best Buy and yes, people do throw fits in the aisle. The worst of it happens around black Friday and Christmas. I had one customer come in 10 minutes before closing on black Friday, and she freaked out that were sold out of a very cheap laptop. She yelled, stomped, and demanded a free laptop that was worth 3 times the one that was in the ad with “limited quantities available” under the picture.

      That’s just one story! I know that really wasn’t your point, but thought I’d share that anyways.

      • Aaron

        Also, when I use to work for Best Buy, their inventory tracking system was horrible. Inventory would say there were 5 of an item, but that item was sold out 2 hours ago. When you place an order online for “in-store pickup”, the website uses that same inventory tracking system used in-store. So guess what, the store’s inventory says it has 5 of that item so the website charges you for it. The site tells you to wait 1 hour before going to pick it up because It takes warehouse 1 hour to find it and take it to customer service. But when you arrive, you’re told “we’re out of stock” all the while the inventory software still says “5” in stock.

        You have the customer service rep call another nearby store which shows they have 3, but uh-oh, they’re out of stock too.

        Madness I tell you!

  • alan

    I had the same problem at They sent me an email receipt saying everything was in stock, then I checked the status a week later and it said everything was “processing”. An email revealed that everything I had ordered was in fact backordered to the moon, and I would get nothing for Christmas.

    Never again. Avoid like the plague.

    Never have had a problem with nor

  • Common Cents

    Sound like BB is taking advice from Tom Petters… You can’t tell me that BB does not know how many tv’s they have in inventory, thats ludicirous, and to sell inventory that doesn’t exists…. well… ask Mr. Petters how well that goes… BB just lost alot of customers with this foobar.

    • Aaron

      It happens ALL the time with Best Buy. I commented above from my experience working there. Inventory did not update in real time for the stores. When you bought something with the In-Store pickup, it used the same tracking software as in store. So even though I knew for a fact we were sold out of a product, the inventory software would tell me I had 3, 4, or 5 of that item.

      So no, I’m not surprised by this one bit! lol

  • Ron Gaskin

    I use Amazon routinely and have not had a problem. I think BB has incompetant middle managers and will find this hard to recover from. My last visit and last was a nightmare. Who needs BB with so many other options? This along with high MN business taxes could cause major trouble for this MN based business.

  • Sandy

    Had this happend at Kohls and then it took them a month to put my money back into my checking account they had already taken, without sending product.

  • Lori

    I just bought a Washer from Best Buy. They said they would deliver it on Wed. I arranged to have the day off and waited for their call to tell me the delivery time. They didnt call. So I called them. Turned out they didnt mean this week, they ment next week and there was no appoligy. They were actually upset with me and they didnt care that I had taken vacation time for no reason.
    I’ll shop elsewhere next time.

  • Tc Kelly

    They aren’t known as worst buy for nothing!

  • AJLind

    Hey Everyone: This isn’t regarding an electronic item but is regarding Miles Kimball which today told me and a friend that they “process orders and charge credit cards but may not send an entire complete order, only a partial order, and this is acceptable because in their magazine they warn people about it” and furthermore “this is routine practice with them.” I had to call and demand a refund because they sent only half of my order…and saw nothing wrong with it. They have a bait-and-switch going on where you order something online and they charge your credit card for it then do not send that item at all, or only part of an order” and then they remove the item from their website. Spoke to their management, Margie Harvey, and she didn’t seem to care about it either. DO NOT SHOP AT MILES KIMBALL AND IF YOU DO CAPTURE A SCREEN SHOT OF THE ITEM YOU SEE ONLINE BECAUSE THEY MAY CHARGE FOR IT, SEND ANOTHER ITEM OR NO ITEM AT ALL, THEN PRETEND LIKE IT WAS NEVER ON THEIR SITE AT ALL. Like someone else, “Avoid Miles Kimball like the plague.” They will take your money and care very little about actually getting you the item you ordered. TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE WITH MILES KIMBALL.

    • The Clintidote

      Who is Miles Kimball? Some guy selling out of the back door of his van?

  • mekongdelta69

    I would never buy from BestBuy anyway because of their anti-Christmas campaigns through the years. This year, they went a step further with their TV ads, depicting Santa as some kind of bad thing, to be ridiculed and kicked off the roof, etc.

    I’m not even Christian, but I’m sick of 46 years of PC.

    P.S. I’m a Prime Member at Amazon and have NEVER had a problem with one delivery.

  • Laxcoach25

    You all need to check-out Crutchfield, the leading mail order/ online retailer of consumer electronics, They experienced very few “hiccups” during the Holiday Season.

    • Sam Adams

      I agree. is the place to shop for televisions and stereo systems. It is a family-run business and not some large corporation run by faceless beings like Worst Buy.

  • RIII

    I stopped shopping at Best Buy after Richfield used eminent domain to evict the inhabitants of where their corporate office now is. Online ordering is not perfect, they have to hire human beings to run everything and the gene pool is getting shallow lately. If you don’t want to be disappointed go to a local brick and mortar store and purchase the item from a shelf.

  • Mike

    More crooked behavior by a crooked vendor. They did this to me on a microwave oven years ago, selling me something they KNEW they didn’t have. Took me TEN DAYS to get my money back. Now I only go to BB to waste their time and get another vendor’s price down.

  • John

    Why don’t we just shut them down.Don’t buy from them!!!!!See how long they cancel orders then.We have the power in this day & time,by just talking on this computer!!!!!!!

    • The Quill

      You need to just walk your lazy tail into a store and purchase whatever you want.

  • Kell Sebastian

    I’m not sure why you folks are defending this. Best Buy was a disaster this year. Target and Walmart had no such problems. I had to cancel two orders online and buy the same items from Target, simply because Best Buy’s service was so bad this year. Best Buy has become a real mess; and not only online. Why in the world would they post an ad for a $200 42′ HDTV knowing each store would have less than 100 of them? It is just bad business. They could have offered them for $300, made more money, and not made a hateful spectacle out of Black Friday.

  • David

    Best Buy is now the new Sears.

    • Dave Mowers

      …news flash Sears and K Mart are both on the verge of bankruptcy.

  • Mary Marchione

    With the huge increase in online sales< I wonder why the post office is doing so poorly. I order and use the mail for online sales way more then I ever used it for standard mail.

    • The Clintidote

      The PO is doing poorly because of their greedy and corrupt government unions, resulting in lazy, indifferent and even rude employees. There’s a reason I haven’t been inside a post office in years – I’m tired of mouth-breathing cows on the other side of the counter.

      Unions and democRats kill everything they touch.

  • the man

    Best Buy has very few items in it’s stores and cannot fulfill online orders. I don’t do business with them any more.

  • Fish

    I bought a TV online and was then told by BB that they wouldn’t honor the purchase. Really good deal for me due to price discount This took place two years ago…haven’t bought a single item at BB since.

  • greenbeens

    hmmmm. so maybe they should be apologizing to Santa for their awful commercials?

  • Double J

    Best Buy should have done what Tony Manero did in “Saturday Night Fever” – out of an item, buy it somewhere else for the customer and make like you had it all the time. You won’t lose thew customer in the future.

  • B Solo

    I remember when best buy really was the best-buy. Seems like you had to be a member back then.

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