Currys PC World has broken the first rule of Black Friday online trading and has been forced to apologise to customers after its website went tits-up following a huge spike in demand that also saw gift cards wiped.
With Black Friday one of the most crucial days in the retail calendar, most firms would have spent months stress-testing their sites to ensure they could stand up to the increased traffic. But not, it seems, Currys PC World, whose site buckled as the orders increased to six per second at one point.
The issue, which meant the site was unavailable for a period of time on Friday evening, follows accusations that Currys PC World is also the worst company for trying to hoodwink customers over Black Friday deals.
Last week Which? reported that it was the most likely to have its Black Friday offers cheaper or the same price in the six months before, covering 47 out of 49 (96%) products last year.
According to customers who spoke to PA News, one man who had been hoping to purchase a laptop in the sales said he lost £450 after the money was taken from his gift card, but the order not fully processed.
Richard Langton told PA: “When I submitted the order a message came up saying ‘Couldn’t process the transaction, try again later’. So I kept trying and eventually, the site went down for maintenance.
“When it was finally up and running again I did the same procedure and when I entered my voucher code it said I only had £5 to use, meaning they took the money for the goods and now I have no order or any money. We can’t afford to lose over £450.
“The sale ends tonight so if by some miracle I do get the money back on the voucher I won’t be able to afford the original price and will be stuck with a voucher and no laptop.”
Another customer told PA that she had seen £850 disappear from her gift card balance.
The retailer said it had seen home delivery orders rise by 59% and click-and-collect soar by 233% on Friday. A spokesperson added: “Due to the unprecedented volume of customers shopping online with Currys PC World this Black Friday, our website experienced a temporary outage.
“Unfortunately, transactions being made by gift cards were affected. We will ensure that every customer affected by this issue has funds put back onto their gift cards in full, as soon as possible. We apologise for this issue and understand that customers will be disappointed they weren’t able to secure their products.”
The retailer has offered to reverse the funds, and said it would be looking to ensure customers who had been hoping to take advantage of the Black Friday sales were not disadvantaged by the website issues.
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