Bloomingdale’s loyalty program got really valuable for some people last week. A computer glitch sent out emails that issued thousands of dollars in store credit to a handful of customers. The mistake was that credit dollars replaced “loyalty points”.
Bloomingdale’s loyalty points have a value of half a cent. So one man that was supposed to receive a 25,000 “Loyallist” points, worth $125, received instead a $25,000 gift card.
The NYC man noticed the unexpected bonus and made some online purchases. But fearing the company would cancel the online orders he also stopped by the Midtown department store on Friday to make some additional purchases including a $10,000 pair of diamond earrings and a Louis Vuitton purse for his wife.
On Saturday, the store contacted the shopper and told him he “needed to” return the expensive items he bought with the gift card, Buzzfeed reported.
According to Bloomingdale’s website, the company reserves “the right to cancel or refuse to accept any order placed based on incorrect pricing or availability information”. But the in-store purchases aren’t orders that can be canceled and there’s nothing noting that customers are required to return items purchased in stores as part of the glitch. The loyalty program’s terms and conditions don’t cover this occurrence.
The store probably made matters even worse by just offering him a $100 gift card if he brought the items back. “I wish they’d offer me a real reward” he told Buzzfeed.
The store is far from the first company to suffer a technical glitch that led to unintended discounts for customers.
Last month, Best Buy’s website accidentally offered up $200 gift cards for only $15 apiece. The gift cards were canceled and customers received a refund.
United Airlines refused to honor cheap fares that were the result of a computer glitch in February after a few thousand people booked first class tickets from England to Newark for a low as $70 round-trip, blaming the mistake on a “third party software provider.”
In 2013, Delta honored “mistake fares” that led to some travelers grabbing cross-country flights for as little as $25.