HUFFINGTON POST
11/27/2012 12:47 pm ET | Updated Dec 06, 2012

Sam's Club Canceled Online Holiday-Deal Orders Because Of Computer System Malfunction

On Monday, Sam's Club admitted it messed up its online Black Friday sales.

The discount retailer, which is owned by Walmart, said that its online ordering system was not able to handle the deluge of web traffic it encountered last week when the store opened its virtual doors Wednesday night.

"We had an unforeseen error," spokeswoman Carrie Foster told The Huffington Post.

The system was not able to sync the inventory supply with the order demand, which she called unprecedented. Foster added that the company was contacting affected customers.

Have your holiday shopping plans been ruined by a store or some other glitch? Let us know: money@huffingtonpost.com

The problem led to abruptly canceled orders for some shoppers Thursday morning, blog Consumerist reported.

"I went to check the order in my account this morning and find out that Sam's Club has left us a nice Turkey Day present by cancelling the order," a Consumerist reader wrote. "I follow up with Sam's via their 1-800 number to see what happened and they claim they oversold the TV."

The online mess-up was not only a bummer for an untold number of consumers who lost out on special deals, it could also severely undermine the store's goal to become a major competitor for other discounter retailers like Costco and Amazon.com.

Less than a month ago, CEO Rosalind Brewer said online sales were a big opportunity for the discount store. Currently, online sales represent less than 1 percent of the store's total sales.

Brewer said she wants to turn the warehouse chain into a $100 billion business. "It's always good to have a strong competitor; they make you better," she said about Amazon.com in an interview last month with The Wall Street Journal.

UPDATE: December 6, 6:00 p.m. -- Carrie Foster, Sam's Club spokeswoman, told The Huffington Post that canceled Black Friday orders had been reversed for customers who ordered the Vizio 65" HDTV on sale for $998. Nearly 3,000 members had their original orders canceled, Foster said.

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