When the deal goes awry


A bit over a week ago, the Southwest Airlines shopping portal (Rapid Rewards Shopping) offered 15 points per dollar when shopping at Sears.com.  In the post “Sears 15X: Leveraging the deal” I showed a number of ways one could capitalize on the opportunity.  And, in the post “Sears 15X: Shopping for 110,000 points” I showed how one could earn 110,000 Southwest points by double-dipping: buy gift cards for 15X and then use them to buy merchandise for another 15X.  It wasn’t easy, but it was possible to find merchandise that could be resold at an acceptable loss.

I went all in with this idea and I now have over 110,000 points pending.  I won’t yet tell you what I bought because I don’t want the unfair advantage of essentially advertising my items here for resale.  Once my items have all sold, though, I’ll write-up my results.

While things are going well so far for me, they’re not going well for everyone.  Here is a cautionary tale from a reader named Phil:

I ordered 3 Nikon D5100s. At the time they were selling for $675 when Amazon had them for $700 and they were selling on ebay for $675 too. So in theory flip them on ebay, pay ebay costs, and I am out at a good price. So as soon as I get the notice the order has shipped I list the 3 on ebay. One of the three sells for $675. Happy days.

Then the delivery arrives. Box looks kind of small for 3 cameras. Open it up, only one camera delivered. But of course the packing slip says THREE. I can feel my heart sinking at this point. Sears customer service is the only one that is on a par with Cartera. After calling their stereo-typical-couldn’t-care-less-but-have-a-nice-day-i-hope-i-served-your-needs call center India and being bounced around I am eventually told they will open a research item to see what happened. I am now being told that it will be next week (some two weeks after ordering) that they will get back to me. The one smoking gun I have is the UPS tracking showed the shipping weight as 5lbs, which is the shipping weight of one camera. But I expect it to be a while before I get the other 2 cameras

Meanwhile, Amazon dropped their price to $650 and then Sears go and match, plus a 10% one day special, putting it to $582. I put in for price protection – but get this in the meantime the camera sells out!!! Customer service say they can’t verify price because it is no longer available. WTF! Surely they can check their own pricing history? Fortunately I took a screen print but I am not sure it’s going to work.

So now I *know* they don’t have any more of the camera in stock, and they still owe me 2 of them, and the price is dropping faster than a proverbial whores drawers! I cannot see a happy ending to this

I know these deals are not without risk, but this one has been another abject frustration and I am counting myself out of future Sears buy and sell deals because of the difficulties when things go wrong with either Sears or Cartera. Caveat Emptor!!!

Phil, thanks for sharing this.  Many of the schemes I write about have real risks and so it helps to illuminate them.  I hope this somehow works out for you in the end.

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