ORLANDO, Fla. - When Michael Tracy discovered a desktop computer selling for just $179 on the website for BJ's Wholesale Club, he assumed the low cost was a special deal offered around the holidays.
"It was everything my daughter wanted, and I liked the price," said Tracy, who intended the Acer Aspire computer to be a Christmas gift.
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Shortly after Tracy paid for the online order with a credit card, BJ's sent him an email with a package tracking number.
Using UPS's website, Tracy was able to trace the computer's weeklong journey from BJ's headquarters in Massachusetts through Jacksonville and on to Central Florida.
But as soon as the package arrived in Longwood, just miles from Tracy's home, he noticed an unusual message on the UPS tracking website.
"The sender requested that we return this package," it stated.
"They took it back," Tracy said. "They snatched it off the truck just like if they had reached into my mailbox and took it out."
As the computer was headed back to BJ's warehouse, Tracy contacted the retailer.
"They said the reason they returned the package was because it was damaged," Tracy said.
When he logged back on to BJ's website to reorder his daughter's gift, he discovered the $179 computer was sold out.
Days later, a new ad for the Acer Aspire was posted on the wholesale club's website.
This time, the computer was priced at $1,200.
"I assume they made a mistake," said Tracy, who now believes the original $179 price was posted on BJ's website in error. "I'm upset because I don't have the computer to give (my daughter) that I want to give her."
Tracy is not alone in his frustration over the mix-up.
His roommate also purchased the same $179 computer from BJ's, only to have the retailer ask UPS to intercept the package hours before it was delivered to their home.
"BJ's didn't even get in touch with me. I found out through UPS," said Jorge Martinez. "I think BJ's should own up to their (original) price."
The retailer's policy, posted on its website, addresses pricing errors.
"In the event, a product is listed at an incorrect price as a result of a display or typographical error or an error in pricing information provided by our product suppliers, BJs.com shall have the right to refuse or cancel any orders placed for products listed at the incorrect price," the policy states.
"We apologize for any inconvenience from this issue with pricing," BJ's public relations director Kristy Houston wrote in an email to News 6.
"All members impacted have been notified, refunded and offered a discount on their next online order."
Tracy understands BJ's pricing policy, but feels it was poor customer service for the retailer to take the computer away after notifying him the Christmas gift was en route.
"If it had been delivered, it would have been sitting in my daughter's house right now," Tracy said. "They make so much profit off of me every year, this is a drop in the bucket to them. To honor (the original price) to a little girl that was expecting the computer for Christmas is nothing to them."
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