Harvey Norman Games Sale Goes Awry As Customers Bemoan Unfulfilled Orders

When Harvey Norman staged a 50 per cent off games sale last month, it attracted lots of buyers keen for a bargain. However, not everyone is happy with the outcome: some shoppers are reporting extended delays in receiving their games, along with poor and conflicting information from customer service.

Picture by Chris Hyde/Getty Images

One Lifehacker reader contacted us with a detailed account of what went wrong for him. He ordered Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 for the PlayStation Vita on March 28, and received an order confirmation the same day. On March 29, he was told there had been a delay in fulfilling the order, but told it would be ready within five days. On April 12, he lodged a query about the order's status, and was told in a brief one-line message "we are trying our bet [sic] to have your order completed next week". The reader queried why Harvey Norman thought this was an appropriate response or timeframe, and was told the retailer was still awaiting stock. A subsequent message on April 15 said the game would ship "this week". Then on Tuesday this week, he was told:

Hi sorry about the delay in order we are still waiting shipment of your game in from supplier

None of this suggests an organisation with a good handle on either stock control or answering customer queries.

There's a thread at Whirlpool where many shoppers recount similar experiences, though it's also worth noting that plenty of people have received their games. Regardless, a sale shouldn't be an excuse for shoddy customer treatment. It's an area where Harvey Norman needs to be particularly careful, given its often shaky reputation for in-store service and founder Gerry Harvey's wildly-oscillating view of online retailing.

Had your own experience (good or bad) with the games sale? Share it in the comments.

Republished from Lifehacker


    Well, we should've known Harvey Norman doing something to benefit customers was probably too good to be true - though in all fairness it probably is a supplier issue and their sale probably DID attract more business than they expected.

    All the same, I'll continue to source my cheap games from ozgameshop if I really don't feel like playing day-one JB Hi-Fi prices. Apparently I'll still get my game faster via ozgameshop too.

      I used to work for HN and it was for this reason that I tried to avoid making special orders for customers; I could never give them a reasonable time-frame because I could no longer expect staff with the ability to order or the suppliers they order from to do everything within the estimates customers wanted to hear.

        Reminds me how my mother tried to track down a video game for me.

        Of all games, it was The Legend of Dragoon (yes, that gem was acquired via them as a Christmas present).

        Almost didn't make it in time as they wrote the order down as The Legend of Dragon (one 'o' not two) and sat on that mistake for months before she found out.

      Well, when I ordered Driver and FIFA Street for 360, their system said both were in stock.

      Received an order confirmation for the order. Then got 2 'delayed item' emails for items I didn't even order. Then received a phonecall from the store I organised to pick up the games from that FIFA Street was unavailable Australia wide on 360, but I could organise a refund.

      So I rang for a refund, which 2 weeks with constant phone calls to finally receive.

      But in between, I got ANOTHER email telling me to come pick up both games! So I went to pick up both, and was told they couldn't release either because there was 'something wierd in their system' that told them I had already picked up one game, and received a refund for the other!

      Ridiculous all round.

    *Does a one man tactical facepalm.*

    I do not know what is worse: Norman still using outdated practices or people thinking it is still work shopping via Harvey Norman.

    I ordered online and received delivery within 24hrs, to my work. I have no complaints at all.

      Me too.

        Cant complain either. recd both games the next day. catherine anf Ff xiii-2

    I have only just received one of my games, by courier, why they couldn't of just used a much cheaper express post is beyond me, but when I was rung to confirm this whole thing they didn't even have the right order. The whole experience has been bloody awful.

    Thanks for the reminder Angus!
    I actually totally forgot that I had bought some games during the sale.
    And yeap still haven't received them. Order is pending. It will be one month this Sunday since I placed the order.
    Emailing HN now.
    And hey Gerry? This is why no one buys from you any more. Maybe you should look at your customer service before complaining about online shopping.

      This a million times.

      The one area where they could "combat online shopping" would be with customer service. If Gerry cant compete with the prices, they should have good customer service that makes me want to buy from them instead of some random import store from the US.

        People will pay extra for good customer service.
        If you can't compete on anything else compete on that.
        And if you can't even do that right then kiss you business goodbye.

          That said, I actually think ozgameshop has really good customer service. I found them by a Google search a long time ago and it was a helpful reply to a question I sent them that convinced me to actually order from them. I believe that was before they were anywhere near as big as they are now and I've been a loyal customer ever since.

            Good experiences so far with ozgameshop. Walking into HN and seeing computer hardware marked at greater than recommended retail turned me right off them. Will take a very very big improvement to make me reconsider.

            Yeah I've heard good things about ozgameshop. And after this experience I think my video game purchasing will shift to them. At least I will give them a chance next time I want to buy something and see how we go. :)
            I still haven't heard back about my order from HN.

          Labrys a lot of people wont pay for good customer service any more they will come in and get all the information on what they need to buy then walk down to Big W for $10.

            Sure there will be people that will do that but if you get the customer service right from the get go then I think a lot of people will happily buy from you.
            I admit it's a difficult situation atm though. Retailers have to pay a lot for things such as rent and staff and therefore can struggle against online businesses. But there are still many people that would prefer to buy from a store then online and good customer service is about the only place you can differentiate.
            Although as has been mentioned many online stores do good customer service too.
            I got my replacement Kindle in 3 days after it broke in the first week. I am willing to bet that I would still have not heard back from HN about my order in 3 days.
            Also I could call Amazon even though they are in the US and only pay for a local call. I have yet to find a number to call HN on. Although I admit I haven't looked very long.

    Bought M3 and choose to pick it up from a HN store nearby as the site said they had copies in stock. Alas they didnt when I went in two hours later, no huge deal, I got any email from HN stating there was a delay for my order and it would be 14 days until they had it isn't stock.
    Three weeks pass and I emailed customer service, and got a reply two days later telling me my copy had just come into stock and was ready to pick up.
    They couldnt find it when I went into the store to pick it up, I left and an hour later got a phone call to tell me they found it. Sigh.
    I suppose you get what you pay for?

    I wonder if people know its the suppliers fault. and you all should be aware of who the supplier is right.....right guys?

    Sadly it is common practice for a lot of online entities to not actually hold stock. Working in a distribution business that for the most part is online, as are many of my clients, we see a large amount of this sort of stuff. Its sad, but its the way it goes.

    I had trouble with mine. I ordered 3 games (Assassin's Creed Revelations, Batman Arkham City and Bulletstorm for PS3) through the website, selected the option to pick them up in store since I figured it'd be quicker that way. Ordered Wednesday morning, card was charged, got the email confirmation telling me somebody from the store would be in touch when they were ready to collect.

    Heard nothing so dropped in there in person after work. Still not ready. Went back on Friday after work. Still not ready. Went in there the following week... I think it was Tuesday... STILL not ready. The girl looked into it in more detail - turns out the website had never actually sent the order through to the store, so they had no idea I'd ordered anything.

    Apparently there was a limit of 2 games per person (or per order or whatever), but I didn't notice that mentioned on the site. And really it doesn't matter - if my order was invalid then the site should have rejected it. They accepted my order and charged my card and then basically just threw my order in the bin.

    I sent an angry message through the HN website demanding a refund, which they then passed on to the local store where I'd requested to pick up from (which is nice in itself - the website people screw up, then handball it to the store to clean up the mess).

    I actually received a nice email from the franchisee apolgizing for the issue and offering to get me all 3 games at the sale price, although I'd have to wait a week or two because they were out of stock of 2 of them by then. So yeah, I took him up on that and got them last week. The people at the store (City Cross arcade in Adelaide) were actually very good to deal with, especially considering they were dealing with somebody else's mistake. But the way the website side of things handled it was shambolic to say the least.

    But then, I doubt any of us are very surprised that Gerry Harvey doesn't understand how to make online shopping work, are we?

      I also had no idea there was a 2 game limit until I started reading some of the posts in the Whirpool forum just now.
      And I agree if it was an invalid order then that should have been noted before the purchase. The purchase was made, accepted and I got a confirmation email. At no point did I see anything about a 2 per order maximum.
      Emailed HN just now through their website. Will be interested to see what response I get.


    But (more) seriously though, sale-unrelated, I pre-ordered the Special Edition of Uncharted 3 with them, and when the day came... they had no stock. I discovered this after being on hold for about 18 minutes.
    Just saying that their organisational skills aren't great, sale or otherwise.
    That said, the man who assisted me in my inquiry was a mighty helpful and pleasant chap to talk to, and extremely apologetic. Credit to that.

    I had a massive problem with this too.

    I ordered 4 games. I never saw anything about a 2 minimum until I got an email from one of the heads of the online store. I had to wait 40 minutes at my local store while they tried to sort it out. They had no idea what to do with the online sales thing.

    So anyway I'm told I will be getting a refund of $60 for my other two games. I waited and waited and waited. After a few yelling matches over the phone and countless ignored emails they refund me about a month later. Only thing is THEY REFUNDED ME THE WRONG GAMES.

    Another email later I'm finally getting my refund 1 month and 2 weeks later. Simply abysmal business .Imagine if I didn't ring up, I doubt I would've ever seen that refund. I will never buy Harvey again.

      really i ordered 4 and they eventually got them in. weird must like me better i guess =P

    Yeah i had similar experience ordered the games and ticked for them to come to my local store. Got confirmation of the order. 2 days later they stated that some of the games were not in stock and would have to be ordered in 10 day wait. I thought to myself "Ok fair enough at least they quickly told me they were out of stock" i patiently waited. 10 business days go by and nothing from them. No may take longer etc. Send off an email they go next week. 2 days later they called saying my order was ready for pick up. you just have to nag them. Cant complain got 4 newish games for $120.
    When i went in it was really stunning how poor there system was. I just went in and said i was here to pick up a games order. The guy just went and grabbed the games didnt mark it off didnt ask for proof of purchase. didnt check if there was an actual order. he came out with them individually and said "you want a bag for them so it doesnt look sus?"

    I ordered online, and selected in-store pickup, I went down and grabbed mine the following day.

    I'm still waiting for mine. Got a ten day wait email, ten days later got another one.

    I ordered online for in store pick up for Skyrim on PC. Was shown as in stock, order went to pending. 2 days later I was told it was out of stock and someone will contact me for a refund. I am still waiting for the refund, City X store in Adelaide has been somewhat helpful though.

    Didn't take to long to get the two ps3 games I ordered during that sale. however i didn't get two ps3 games when I opened the package, I got a ps3 game and a ps vita game i never ordered. Luckily I have a local Harvey Norman and I went and exchanged the PS vita game for the one I ordered but still wasn't happy about the service

    I emailed after 3 weeks asking where the hell is my order.
    A store guy rang me the next day saying they awaiting on Catherine on PS3 to arrive from the supplier (said should be here this week).
    I got an email stating similar a day later, saying that Catherine was one of the most ordered items and they are waiting on the supplier.
    I'm still waiting.

    They could have at least frakking sent an email to state this and the reason of the delay, especially after their confirmation email stated: orders will arrive within 5-10 days and someone will contact you soon...we aim to impress!

    Never again. Lesson learnt.

      Pretty much this. It is not the waiting so much as it is the lack of communication and generally poor customer service. I have received one email the day after the order saying it would be ready to ship in 5 days. No other communication has been received.
      This is totally unacceptable. Good customer service is all about communication and if you can't even get that right then I dread to think how you run the rest of your company.

    Had to wait about 3 weeks-ish to get mine (only after hassling them for a response) and when I did get to pick it up it has a UK rating on it.

    Thanks Gerry, but no thanks - I'm completely capable of ordering from the UK myself.

      Some people are also talking about getting unsealed games. I don't know about everyone else, but I hate buying a product someone else has already opened. There is also the fact there are codes inside which someone else could have used. I don't know if that happens often, but it might.

      Plus, the games people ordered might have been cheap 3 or 4 weeks ago. Now you can probably go on Ozgameshop or ebay and get them cheaper and faster. This is truly shitty service.

      Go Harvey Norman, Go!

        Friend of mines Batman: AC DLC code had been used, and my order of Mario Kart was opened, but thankfully the Nintendo Club code wasn't used!

    Funny, I just spent almost an hour on hold with Hardly Normal today trying to chase those up (gave up because I needed to go but my lunch), and then I see this story. Explains a lot really.

    Hit-and-miss orders & deliveries. Poor customer service. Wrong products being shipped. How can I get in on this action?

    I haven't received my games yet. Emailed them, told me they're trying to get stock from another state. I checked online 2 out of 3 games I've ordered are in random stores around sydney. Waiting for stock from another state...ugh that's gonna take months to store transfer. Dicks.

    I just picked up my copy of Skyrim from my local store arond work. They advised that the copies just came in on the 24th. Given that its been a whole month since the sale, its pretty piss poor inventory manangement

    I was sent the wrong games. Reminds me to follow that up now actually!

    I had pretty much the same experience documented in the article. I opted for in store pickup because there was a big "in stock" sign right there on my selection screen. So the next day I wait for my order receipt in my email but never get one. I call the store and they tell me I need the receipt to pick my game up and they'll call me back. I get an email saying it'll be a 5 day wait and I can pick my game up when I receive my tax invoice. So... I go into the store and it's right there on the shelf! Gosh darn it.

    Also had problems here: DKC Returns is apparently being shipped in from another *state*... I only knew this because I emailed via the website asking what happened to the game I bought nearly a month ago.
    Apparently when it comes in some guy at the martin place HN store will personally walk them over to me. Apparently.

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