Ordering "out of stock" at Amazon: your experience

So rather than obsessively checking the product page for this laptop to see when it gets back in stock, I just pulled the trigger while hoping that they’ll get another bunch soon.

My concern is that they’ll only ask for such a good price when it’s out of stock but might try to charge me $50 or $100 more once they actually have some. Has this happened to anyone?

And are there any other headaches I ought to expect from placing an order for something when it’s out of stock?

I ordered a toaster when it said “only a couple left in stock, order soon!”


Apparently “a couple left in stock” isn’t updated enough or a few people ordered the toaster RIGHT before me and took them all. When I placed my order though it was still sad to be in stock and they charged my credit card and shipped me…something.

Instead of the best-rated $60 toaster I ordered for my parents for Christmas I got a “bathrooom” space heater. Wtf? No “sorry our inventory was wrong you don’t get your toaster and the order is being cancelled.” I just got some random order. I had to call Amazon via India or whatever and be a bit stern to ensure I wasn’t gonna get fucked over for something that wasn’t my fault - I wanted free return shipping labels and the money back on my card, ASAP, kthxbye. I was more pissed I could not get the toaster since he said they didn’t have it anymore now that it was sold out - the one I ended up buying them at Kohls’ was still $40 and sucks ass.

Good luck. I am sure someone else will come in here and relay an awesome experience.

They will not charge you the higher price, and if they do, you can complain via e-mail.

myskeptic – I’m sorry you had such a bad experience, but perhaps the phone call is not the best way to go. I use e-mail, which is surprisingly fast, and it goes like this:

  1. <email and explain situation>
  2. <get generic reply that doesn’t apply to my situation – I assume this is an automated system, or the lowest tier foreign workers>
  3. <reply to the e-mail, and explain situation again, and insist on a remedy>

At this point, a person with an understanding of English will reply. Amazon.com usually will go above and beyond the remedial actions I have stipulated.

For example, I returned multiple items in a single package using their prepaid shipping label. Their automated system charges me (say) $4.99 per item, so they charged me $14.97 to ship 3 small items back. I followed and asked that $9.98 of the shipping charges be revoked. They removed all of the shipping charges and gave me a $5 gift certificate to boot.

Another time, I complained that an item wasn’t going to arrive in time (much like your situation). They shipped a replacement item, overnight, for free. My suspicion is that if you had persisted your line of questioning via email, they might have offered a better replacement and shipped it overnight.

I ordered a set of bamboo cutting boards for my parents that were out of stock. It was a steal - 3 different sizes, decent-looking, for $10. Apparently Amazon thought it was a steal as well, since they shipped me mine when it was back in stock (and charged the $10) and immediately doubled the selling price to $20 when I looked on the product page again.

So no, they definitely won’t charge you more. I’d say that’s unheard of, since they don’t have your authorization to pay more. The only catch is that they often ask you - if a certain amount of time has passed - to verify that you still want the item. So I had to click on a link and sign into my account to verify I still wanted the item. A decent amount of time had passed, so I found it reasonable.

Amazon never increases the price on you after you order it. They will inform you that the price has increased if it is in your cart or wish list (but not bought yet). When I preordered recently, they issued a credit for $5 when the price reduced in the meantime. I did the same thing a few years ago, and they did not automatically credit me, but promptly did when I emailed them.

What I always do if the items I want to buy are out of stock on Amazon are to add them to watchmyitems.com and be alerted when they restock. That way I’ll only be pulling the trigger when I’m sure there’s stock and also using the tool it can tell me the exact number of stock Amazon has left, so if its almost out of stock and there is only a single digit number of them left, maybe I’ll look elsewhere if I cannot afford for it to be delayed.