Furious Kmart shoppers slam 'useless' Black Friday sale fail

Penny Burfitt
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·4-min read

Kmart shoppers are seething today after the retailer’s Black Friday Sale, or ‘Bright’ Friday Sale, saw many miss out.

The retailer had fans on the edge of their seats with their advertised sale today, however unfortunately it seems the store’s anticipated hot buys were almost impossible for shoppers to get their hands on, as the limited stock sold out at lightning speed and the website crashed.

Image of Kmart sign
Kmart's 'Bright' Friday Sale has been slammed by shoppers. Photo: Getty Images Supplied

This morning, shoppers trying to access the site were redirected to a virtual ‘waiting room’ in an attempt to stem the flow of visitors, but with sales items in hot demand, it meant many missed out – even if they got there with plenty of time to spare.

Still others reported they found their orders cancelled after having placed them.

Threats of ACCC complaint over alleged ‘bait advertising’

Image of sold out SodaKING Kmart sale product
One man argued the lack of stock on hot ticket items like the SodaKING was 'unethical'. Photo: Supplied

The retailer’s social media has been flooded with furious complaints from dozens of shoppers, with one even threatening to make a complaint to the ACCC – the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The man claimed each store was only allocated five SodaKINGS, one of the most hotly anticipated sales items, claiming that the extremely limited stock amounted to ‘bait advertising’.

A Kmart spokesperson says this is incorrect and that stores are allocated stock based on a variety of indicators including previous performance.

They said they do not have a blanket stock allocation.

According to the ACCC website: “Bait advertising is the practice of offering items for sale at low prices to attract consumers to a business. Bait advertising can be a legitimate form of advertising.

“However, it is illegal to engage in this conduct where goods or services are advertised for sale at a discounted price, and they are not available in reasonable quantities and for a reasonable period at that price.”

“You must state clearly if the good is in short supply or on sale for a limited time.”

A Kmart spokesperson says the sale was clearly advertised as exclusive and limited, and took all the steps necessary to make the shopping experience as soon as possible.

“We have been very careful to advertise our Black Friday range as an exclusive and limited edition offer, which is available for 4-days only (or until stock runs out),” they said. “ We know Black Friday is an extremely popular shopping day in retail and we knew our deals would be popular, which is why we encouraged our Kmart communities to get in early – as once products are gone, they’re gone.”

An ACCC spokesperson tells Yahoo Lifestyle they cannot comment on ‘potential investigations or complaints’, but clarified: “Under Australian Consumer Law, businesses must clearly state if a good is in short supply or on sale for a limited time.”

Dozens of shoppers ‘furious’

Image of Kmart Bright Friday Sale waiting room
At 7 am this morning shoppers were placed in an online waiting room. Photo: Supplied

Other furious complaints abounded as many products sold out in record time.

“Took me 40 [minutes] to finally be able to process and pay for my one item,” one shopper reported. “A lot of refreshing.”

“I wanted one thing, had it added to my bag [but one] minute passed and then couldn’t get into the checkout,” another reported. “What a total waste of my time.”

“Black Friday sale, what a joke...” another wrote.

“Make sure your website can handle the load. Took ages to complete a simple order. How frustrating.”

“It'd be great to process my order instead of your website going down with so many people on,” was a slightly sarcastic take on the situation.

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Another shopper reported their LEGO sets were ordered nice and early, only for the order to be cancelled with no notification.

“I have just checked the tracking number and been told my order was cancelled,” the irate shopper wrote. “No notification, nothing and now I cant even get the products from KMart, and to source elsewhere (if I can even get them) will cost me at least $100 extra. Well done KMart, how do you intend to fix this?”

Still another was left disappointed when she only realised items were out of stock once she proceeded to the checkout.

“I just wanted to say how disappointed I am about the designer books,” one lady wrote. “I was looking forward to buying these books and thinking they were all available until I got to my cart. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time this has happened to me. If something is out of stock, please just take it off the website as soon as it is out of stock.”

On the website, items will be added to the cart regardless of whether they are in stock, once at the cart the item will be listed as sold out.

Hot items predicted to be winners with shoppers in the sale were the SodaKING Windsor Soda Maker, $27 (RRP $69.95), Nintendo Switch Console Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Neon, $425 (RRP $469), Cocoon Chair, $189 and the LEGO Friends Party Boat, $69.

Most have sold out.

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