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News: TigerDirect - illegal selling tactics?

TigerDirect markets itself using the slogan "The Best Computer and Electronics Deals Anywhere", and I hoped they would live up to their slogan.

Sadly, I was horribly wrong - TigerDirect have one of the worst customer service teams I have ever dealt with - and in my opinion, they are also using illegal tactics to sell their products. Here is my story:

TigerDirect has an online store at, but they also sell products through On June 24th 2007, I came across a listing on for an Apple Mac Mini MA607LL/A (1.66 GHz Intel Core Duo, 512 MB RAM, 60 GB Hard Drive, Combo Drive). This item was being sold by TigerDirect via Amazon, for the price of $149.99 + tax/shipping. This is a good deal, bearing in mind that the retail price on the Apple store for this same item is $599.99 - so I purchased one. Many other customers also purchased these Mac Mini's at this price.

Within a day, TigerDirect realized that they had in fact made a listing "mistake". They claim that they meant to list the item has a iPod Nano, but actually listed it as a Mac Mini. So, you would think that TigerDirect would cancel the affected orders and call/email all of the affected customers to let them know about the mistake, right? NO - TigerDirect made no effort to inform customers of the mistake or to cancel the orders. What TigerDirect in fact did was ship iPod Nano's to the customers who had ordered the Mac Mini! Why???

Some customers called TigerDirect to enquire about their order - only to be told that the order had shipped and was on it's way. At no point was I told that I was in fact being sent a iPod, not a Mac Mini. I was only made aware of this fact when I received a shipping email from TigerDirect, to say that my "iPod Nano" had shipped. Many angry customers called TigerDirect to find what on earth was going on, and after many many hours of calls, customers were left angry, annoyed, and disappointed.

Here are some of the highlights:

  1. TigerDirect claims that it was a mistake and that the Mac Mini was mis-listed on

  2. TigerDirect fully blames Amazon for the mistake!

  3. Amazon fully blames TigerDirect, and says that Amazon does not create the item listings - so TigerDirect has to be at fault.

  4. TigerDirect refuses to honor the Mac Mini orders - they will NOT send customers the Mac Mini.

  5. Instead, TigerDirect sends affected customers iPod Nanos. A product which no-one ordered???

  6. TigerDirect's Terms of Sale seem to cover them legally against pricing mistakes and typo's on - but there does not appear to be anything that covers sales through other sites such as Can TigerDirect legally refuse to honor customers orders for the Mac Mini?

  7. TigerDirect refuses to refund customers, unless they return the iPod Nano (you know, the iPod Nano that no-one ordered in the first place).

  8. Amazon does next to nothing to help customers, and says that we need to speak to TigerDirect about the mistake.

  9. Some customers get awarded $30 and $50 gift certificates by Amazon to apologize for the situation - but Amazon refuses to give this to other customers who are also in the same situation. Why do some customers get gift certificates and not others?!?

  10. Some customers call TigerDirect and request that TigerDirect contacts UPS to intercept/cancel delivery of the iPod Nano which they didn't order. TigerDirect refuses to make UPS cancel the delivery, stating that "we can't because it would cost us $10 to intercept it". This just shows how much they value customers...

Many customers complained for days, and the end result is that TigerDirect still refuses to honor the original Mac Mini orders, and refuses to give any refunds unless people return the iPod Nano's that were sent out.

A little bit of research in google shows some information about an illegal fraud term called "Bait and Switch". Here is the description from wikipedia:

"In retail sales, a bait and switch is a form of fraud in which the fraudster lures in customers by advertising a product or service at an unprofitably low price, then reveals to potential customers that the advertised good is not available but that a substitute is. The goal of the bait-and-switch is to convince some buyers to purchase the substitute good as a means of avoiding disappointment over not getting the bait, or as a way to recover sunk costs expended to try to obtain the bait."

In my opinion, this could be what TigerDirect is doing to customers. Think about it - they advertised a Mac Mini for a very low price, and then when customers bought it...TigerDirect refused to send Mac Mini's and instead sent iPod Nanos (despite being aware of the mistake). They then refused to do anything to cancel the delivery of the iPod Nano's while they were en-route with UPS, and they refused to give refunds until the iPod Nano's were returned. Sadly, a percentage of customers are bound to not want to go to the trouble of sending an item back, and will end up keeping the Nano. In my opinion, this is what TigerDirect wants.

Many customers have filed Better Business Bureau complaints against TigerDirect for false advertising and Bait+Switch sales tactics, and I hope that the BBB will look into this matter seriously. I have heard rumours that this is not the first time that this kind of thing has happened with TigerDirect orders...

What about you? Why not post comments about your experiences with TigerDirect...
Comment by biotech - 03-07-2007

I had the same problem.I threatend to take legal action against them for breaking their policy, I soon got my money back and I got my money back for PP for returning the product aswell as a written appology.

I just stated that my pockets are deep and I can afford to take it alot further then they think. I called them bluff and I got lucky.

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