Did Amazon bait-and-switch me on this toy car I ordered online?
When Robert Preuss tries to buy a Fisher Price Power Wheels Dune Racer from Amazon, he can’t complete the purchase. Amazon offers to fix the problem but then reneges, leaving him with a $304 bill.
Q: I recently tried to order a Fisher Price Power Wheels Dune Racer from Amazon. The advertised price was $89. I spent three hours trying to purchase it without success, but I was eventually able to buy the same battery-powered car, also on Amazon, for $393. An Amazon representative told me by phone that the company would honor the original price by refunding the difference.
Amazon didn’t refund the price because it said it didn’t price match. But this wasn’t a price match – it was a pricing error. I can’t return the car because Amazon says it’s a “hazard.” I even got Fisher Price to send me a letter stating it is not hazardous and can be returned. Amazon just tells me they can’t accept it. Can you help me? – Robert Preuss, Pefferlaw, Canada
A: You should have been able to buy the Fisher Price Power Wheels Dune Racer from Amazon at the advertised price. It’s not a price error – I see several other Dune Racers on sale at the same price. If anything, $393 was too much.
You made your initial agreement with Amazon in a phone call. If a company ever promises you something again, I would get it in writing.
After that, you handled this case by the book. You kept everything in writing. That’s an essential part of self-advocacy and I’m glad you saved everything. Otherwise, it might have been impossible to clear up this misunderstanding.
Amazon has a great reputation for helping customers. It has a four out of five in our new customer responsiveness rating (and may be on track to a perfect score). Great service is part of its DNA. I remember when Jeff Bezos would answer customer emails personally. Here are Amazon’s customer service contacts from my consumer advocacy site Elliott.org.
I don’t understand why Amazon would not accept your return even after you showed it proof that the merchandise wasn’t hazardous. Amazon’s return policy doesn’t mention anything about potentially dangerous battery-operated toys. I can understand why you might think the online retailer is just inventing reasons to stick you with a $393 purchase.
I like the way you patiently tried to resolve this problem in writing. You appealed to the customer service managers I list on my consumer advocacy site, but ultimately they wouldn’t help you either.
I reached out to Amazon on your behalf. The company apologized and offered you an Amazon gift card for $304, which you accepted.
Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy (https://elliottadvocacy.org), a nonprofit organization that helps consumers solve their problems. Email him at email@example.com or get help by contacting him at https://elliottadvocacy.org/help/.
© 2023 Christopher Elliott