Couple fights store when Black Friday bargain denied

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert

HOUSTON - Millions of Americans woke up early and lined up or logged on for Black Friday savings, but the deep discounts advertised turned into disappointment for a Katy couple when a retailer reneged on their deal.

They sent an email straight to consumer expert Amy Davis for help.

Kalpana Nautiyal and her husband set their alarm to log into to at 2 a.m. Black Friday. They needed a new gas range, washer and dryer.

"If you look at the sale price, we were going to save almost $2,000 on three appliances," said Nautiyal, explaining why it was worth waking up so early.

It seemed the couple was successful. Sears sent an email with a confirmation number, thanking them for the order. They went to sleep and woke up to a second email. The second one read, "Your order has been canceled ... because an error occurred while processing."

Nautiyal called the number on the email and was reassured she'd get the sale price.

"The first salesperson was very accommodating," she said "'No problem ma'am, sorry this happened.'"

But then came the run around and charges to her credit card. First, Sears charged her more than $2,400 -- the full price of the gas range. Two days later, she was charged another $3,600. When she called Sears again, customer service agents told her she was out of luck.

"They said, 'No, there is no way. I don't know why the rep would say so. There is no way we can honor the Black Friday price,'" recalled Nautiyal.

When Local 2 called Sears, a representative said Sears' online system confirmed the orders as they came in, not giving the system time to check inventory and realize they were out of the appliances. He said Sears would honor Nautiyal's original order.

"We are so glad that at least now you are on our side," Nautiyal told Davis.

We checked with a local consumer attorney. He said the confirmation email is an actual contract between the store and the customer. If customer service representatives won't listen to reason, you should send that confirmation, along with a certified letter, to the corporate office. If that fails, you may have to file in small claims court. You would be seeking the difference between the sales price and the full price you had to pay.

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