(WSVN) - Odds are you shop online. Now a question: What if you order something and the box arrives with items missing? Who is responsible? One South Florida woman has been going in circles trying to get a camera she ordered, and she called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
The world of shopping has changed. Today, Americans can buy almost anything they want and never leave their living room.
Jennica Arbelo, camera missing: “I get all my Christmas shopping done online. I do birthday shopping online. Anything I need, unless I need it absolutely right away, nine out of 10 times I do my shopping online.”
Recently Jennica decided she wanted a nice camera at Walmart.com. They showed one for $646.
Jennica Arbelo: “It was the camera and the lenses, a filter, a tripod, a push button for automatic pictures, a flash and a bunch of extra accessories.”
Under the camera it said, “Sold and shipped by Beach Camera,” what’s called a third party vendor. Jennica clicked and waited.
Jennica Arbelo: “I was so excited. The FedEx guy came, dropped it off. I signed for it.”
Then she ripped off the wrapping tape…
Jennica Arbelo: “And I opened it up and the camera is missing!”
She assumed her eyes were playing a trick on her, so she asked her niece to go through the box.
Jennica Arbelo: “And she’s like, ‘No, it’s not here. There is no camera here.’ I said, ‘OK, so I’m not going crazy.'”
Then she went to work. She first contacted Beach Camera who shipped the box.
Jennica Arbelo: “They told me that every time that it was weighed when it left New Jersey, it weighed 8.75 pounds, and it weighed 8.75 pounds at every stop that the FedEx distributions have a stop at.”
When Jennica put the box on a scale, it weighed just five and a half pounds.
She also noticed the tape sealing the box was different on the bottom than the top. “Didn’t matter,” the camera company said.
Jennica Arbelo: “And they said, ‘Sorry, they are denying your claim because you signed for the package.'”
Jennica then contacted Wal-Mart and FedEx. Both looked into her complaint. Both gave her the same answer.
Jennica Arbelo: “Everyone that I spoke to has denied my claim.”
Shopping online is usually painless, but for Jennica, it’s been painful.
Jennica Arbelo: “I’m stuck in a position where I have no camera, I have a box full of accessories, and I’m out $646.”
Well, Howard, is Jennica out of luck? And if not, of the three companies, how do you determine who is responsible for returning her money?
Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “No, Jennica is not out of luck and should get her money back, but from whom? Wal-Mart says, if you are doing business with a third party vendor on their website, you should contact that company, in this case, Beach Camera. Since they sold the camera and it was not delivered, they have to return the money to Jennica.”
We contacted Beach Camera. They did not respond.
We contacted FedEx. They wrote, “It was determined the camera did not go missing while in our care.”
We then contacted Wal-Mart. They looked into it. They told Jennica to keep the camera accessories, and Wal-Mart returned the entire $646 to her.
Howard Finkelstein: “Even though Wal-Mart did not have to pay, they did. That’s the sign of a great company, standing behind the customer. And now, legally, they can go after the camera store to get the money from them.”
Jennica Arbelo: “I can’t imagine what it would have turned out like if I hadn’t called you guys and you guys had helped me out.”
Jennica is happy with us, and just as happy with Wal-Mart.
Jennica Arbelo: “And truthfully speaking, they were at no fault, in my opinion, in any aspect. And they came back and took responsibility, and I definitely appreciate Wal-Mart. They definitely have a customer for life just because of that.”
Glad everything worked out for Jennica, and her problem is a reminder: When you buy online, check to see if the company is using a third party vendor. If so, see who’s responsible if something goes wrong.
Gone online and gotten boxed in? Shopping for some help? Click on us and picture this: a solution.
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