Beware the Online Shopping Accidental Double Click

PHOTO: Here are some tips to avoid Black Friday gimmicks.Getty Images
Here are some tips to avoid Black Friday gimmicks.

Dear ABC News Fixer: I ordered nine Christmas gifts and a pair of boots for myself from in early December. Unfortunately, the order was placed twice. I immediately emailed the company to advise them of this and to request that the duplicate order be canceled (this was done the same day; well within their "cancellation period" of prior to 9 a.m. the following day). Well, both orders shipped, despite my numerous attempts to contact the company.

Over the course of the next week, 19 packages arrived at my house. It would have been 20, but one duplicate pair of boots never arrived. We discovered that the products ship from individual merchants, not from NoMoreRack, which complicated things.

We continued our attempts to contact the company and even filed a dispute through PayPal. We spent two hours on the phone with various customer "service" reps, who initially said no refunds could be given, then said they could refund us for the duplicate items only if we ship them back to the individual merchants.

- Amy Schmidlin, Elgin, Ill.

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Dear Amy: Your first indication that something was very wrong came the same day you placed the order, when you noticed two confirmations from NoMoreRack for separate purchases. Weirdly, the items were not listed in the same chronological order on both confirmations, but they were the same items. Alarmed at the prospect of getting billed twice for $253 and possibly overdrafting your bank account, you emailed NoMoreRack to try to stop the second order.

No one responded, so you called PayPal and they gave you a phone number for NoMoreRack. But you said that a recording said they wouldn’t be answering the phone due to high call volume.

By the time they got back to you, two days later, you were out of luck because the items had already shipped. That didn’t seem fair, though, because their cancellation policy said orders could be canceled by 9 a.m. the next day without consequences, and you had tried to do that.

At any rate, the boxes began arriving. After lots more complaining, you and your mom got NoMoreRack to agree to a refund for the unwanted duplicate items, but only if you’d handle all the shipping to the various merchants, most of it on your own dime, you said. You told the ABC News Fixer you were worried that you might go through the hassle and expense of doing that, only to still face a fight over the duplicate billing.

To say nothing of the missing duplicate pair of boots, which you didn’t want anyway.

Someone get the ABC News Fixer an aspirin!

Luckily, we found a guy who could straighten this out – Cliff Schneider, an attorney and executive vice president of NoMoreRack. He promised to take a look, and five days later, you received an apology from a customer service manager. Two weeks later, you got the refund for the duplicate order. They also offered to let you keep all the extra items if you wanted to (which you did).

As for the cause of your problems, Schneider said the company’s IT people think you may have clicked the “order” button a second time while the first click was processing. You have no memory of clicking twice, but whatever the case, it’s over.

Interestingly, your complaint about NoMoreRack’s customer service wasn’t the only one we found – not by a long shot. The Better Business Bureau has received 2,575 consumer complaints about the company, dealing with such things as product quality, customer service, delivery, sales and billing, and gives the company at “D-minus” rating. There are lots of consumers complaining on other online complaint boards, too.

Schneider acknowledged the rash of complaints and blamed the company’s fast growth and a busy holiday season, in which he said sales grew five-fold. The company last week announced that it was beefing up its customer service department, including adding 35 agents to monitor social media interactions with consumers. Schneider said the company is also working to make sure that the manufacturers it works with are filling orders in a timely manner. (Merchandise doesn’t come from NoMoreRack, which does not keep inventory on hand.)

Meanwhile, here are some tips for the rest of us who shop online:

Do your research: How long has the company been in business? What is its physical address? Where do they source what they sell? What do customer reviews say?

Understand the cancellation policy: Under what conditions can you get a refund? Will it be cash or store credit? Who pays to send back the item? Do you need a return authorization number before you make a return?

Use credit, not debit: If you have a billing dispute that you can’t resolve with the merchant, contact your credit card issuer ASAP and be ready to give specific details about what happened. Credit cards offer greater protection in cases of fraud or identity theft – another reason to always use credit when shopping online.

- The ABC News Fixer

Got a consumer problem? The ABC News Fixer may be able to help. Click here to submit your problem online. Letters are edited for length and clarity.