Online sales site BrandAlley has sent 20,000 customers a £25 gift card each after an IT glitch caused huge delays in processing orders.
Thousands of intended gifts will now fail to arrive in time for Christmas after a botched website revamp resulted in over 3,000 unfulfilled orders. (See our Consumer Rights guide for help if you've a problem with a retailer.)
The e-tailer, which runs flash sales of up to 70% off designer brands, was attempting to launch country-specific websites to enable faster delivery when it encountered technical difficulties in October.
It says anyone who shopped on the site while the problems took place should have received a gift card.
'They have let a lot of people down'
The company says the problem has been resolved but it is still working through a backlog of delayed orders.
Unhappy shoppers have been venting their frustrations on our forum (please add to the discussion if you’ve had problems), accusing it of late or non-delivery, delayed refunds, and poor customer service. BrandAlley's Facebook page has been particularly lively, with dozens of customer complaints every day throughout December.
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Here is a selection of the comments:
- Doris1971 says: "This is a Christmas present, so I'm not at all confident I will receive it in time, even though I ordered it on 15 November.”
- Cherylsurrey says: “I placed an order with them on 14 November and still have not got my goods. They have missed the delivery date by miles."
- Jma78b says: "BrandAlley are having trouble with their new website. They have let a lot of people down."
- Claire Gurd says: "Awful service - no communication and unacceptable at Christmas. I guess I will not receive the gift in time to give to my family member."
- Elaine Spalding says: "Ordered on 15 November as a Xmas pressie and heard nothing. Would anyone like to explain to my niece where her pressie is?"
- David Baker says: "I have been waiting since 9 November."
- Yvonne Patchett says: "My delivery was supposed to be received in 3-5 days but took 5 weeks."
What can you do?
If you have a complaint, BrandAlley says you can contact it at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01206 226410.
However, many users have reported being on hold for long periods or not getting replies to emails.
If you can’t get a response and your item does not arrive on time, or at all, or is damaged on delivery, you may have a right to get your money back, or to get compensation if you still want to keep it.
What BrandAlley says
BrandAlley told us: "Aside from the customers affected by the IT glitch, all other orders are now being fulfilled for Christmas delivery and orders placed by 15 December are with the courier companies for delivery.
"BrandAlley shares their customers' frustrations and sincerely apologise for these issues but want to reassure them that the problem is fixed and it’s now business as usual."