Kmart customers surprised by unexpected layaway cancellation email

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Dec. 17, 2014)-- A week before Christmas, some shoppers were notified items they put on layaway with a well-known company may not be available after all.

Ashley Hazel of Bloomington received an email from Kmart on Sunday, Dec. 14. She purchased six items Nov. 9, using Kmart’s online layaway program. She made her final payment on Friday, Dec. 12. She was surprised when she read an email from the company, which notified her all of the items were not in stock and that her layaway would be cancelled.

The gifts she purchased were for her 5-year-old son. She spent more than $120. Hazel said she noticed online she was not the only customer this happened to and said she was upset about it.

“…It made it worse to know it wasn’t just me that was affected. It was all these other families,” Hazel said.

A Kmart spokesperson would not disclose how many people this impacted, but she stated there were customers across the United States. The company spokesperson released the following statement:

“We deeply apologize to our customers affected by this online layaway issue. Some of our online layaway customers received inadvertent cancellation notices on their contracts and have not received certain items they ordered through online layaway. This issue is specific to layaway contracts online for ship to home and does not impact in store layaways. We are in the process of contacting those customers who have been affected and are working with them to resolve the issue."

"Not all of their contracts were cancelled and many of them have already received some of the items that they ordered through online layaway. For the undelivered items, we've been able to find many of the items through our supply channels and are leveraging alternative sources to try and locate the remaining items. We are sensitive that this is a special time of year and are working hard to find and deliver these items to customers before the holidays, including expedited and free shipping to those affected.”

Hazel said she contacted the company several times. She received a follow-up email yesterday.

“I got an email that all my items have been shipped and it was just one item that was cancelled,” Hazel said.

Hazel expressed she did not feel confident she would receive the items she ordered for her son before Christmas.

“I think next year I’m going to save my money and do it myself,” Hazel said.

A spokesman for the Indiana Attorney General said the department has not received any complaints.

FOX59 checked with the Better Business Bureau of Central Indiana. President and CEO Tim Maniscalo said they had not received any complaints either. Maniscalo said Hoosiers should contact the AG or the BBB if they have issues with any company.

“We do have a business review on Kmart and we will obviously try and remedy those situations and we absolutely want to hear about all those situations,” Maniscalo said.

Maniscalo said people need to remember to read the fine print in their contracts and he encouraged people to ask questions.

“Just ask a lot of questions so you’re informed and that you know exactly what you’re getting and what you may not be getting,” Maniscalo said.

Maniscalo said if people have any issues with any company, they need to contact them immediately.

“You just don’t want bad reviews. You don’t want complaints on your business review because we have (more than) a million people in central Indiana annually that go to our website and check our businesses,” Maniscalo said.