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Holiday Pro Tip: Don't Screw Up Your Online Layaway Process

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

If you made a list (and checked it twice) of holiday gifts that you put on layaway in Kmart’s online system, some or all of those items might not get delivered -- even if they’ve been paid for in full.

After notifying customers that their online layaway items had to be paid off by Dec. 14 in order to be delivered by Christmas, Kmart began canceling orders because items were “out of stock,” reports Consumerist. Moreover, the refunds for those canceled items were reportedly expected to arrive too late to buy new holiday gifts.

Related: 5 Reputation Missteps to Avoid During the Holidays

Outraged customers took to Kmart’s Facebook page to voice complaints. 

In a statement, Kmart said it is working to remedy the situation by offering affected customers free shipping and no charge for the items in question, or a gift card in cases where the items are no longer available. 

“We are in the process of contacting our customers and members who have received inadvertent cancellation notices for their online layaway contracts. This issue is specific to online layaway contracts for ship to home and does not impact in store layaways. 

Here’s what we are doing.  First, we have processed refunds for cancelled items and our customers and members will receive these refunds soon, if they haven't already.  Second, we are working to find the items that were identified as out of stock – and if we can find them we will provide those items for free and ship at no cost.  If we don’t have those items, we will provide an e-gift card that can be used toward the purchase of items in the amount equal to the items cancelled in their order.

We have expressed to our members how deeply sorry we are that this has happened – and we know this is a special time of year for families.  We are working hard to make things right.”

Kmart has yet to explain why customers received “inadvertent cancellation notices” for their paid-for orders, but there’s certainly a lesson here for all businesses: you need to have a system of checks and balances in place to help with organization, especially during these hectic holiday times.

It looks like a few Kmart executives can expect coal in their stockings this year -- unless the sender put it on layaway online.

Related: Dr. Dre Inspires Amazing Hanukkah Gift: The Dr. Dreidel

Edition: October 2016

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