Such a stressful afternoon!

Oh dear, I’ve just been trying to place an order on M&S website.

I had £34 of reward vouchers - mostly in £1s and £2s, which all had to be entered by hand.

Also they had a special promotion which meant that IF I spent the vouchers online today, I’d get 25% off the whole order.

As I needed at least one very expensive item - a coat at over £100 - it was obviously very well worthwhile to order online and get the 25% off. Then I needed a lot of other stuff as well (some of it small bits and pieces), so it came to over £200 - but with the 25% off would only be £150. And with the £34 of vouchers only £116! Great: £200 of stuff for £116! What’s not to like?

Well, doing it all was fiddly, to put it mildly. I finally got to the end and hit order, but when the order confirmation came through, it was somehow all wrong - the smaller items (but not the larger ones, luckily) were all in multiples of 2 or 3, when I’d only wanted one.

No idea how this could possibly happen - I’m not a novice at online shopping, so positive I didn’t sit there pressing the plus button.

Realised I’d somehow ordered lots more stuff than I wanted. It doesn’t let you amend the order once placed, so my only option was to cancel - which you only have a 15-minute window to do.

Cancelled just in the nick of time, and got an immediate refund confirmation.

BUT, because I’d part-paid by vouchers, they could only refund those by putting new ones in the post. It wouldn’t let me correct the order and use them again, because it treated them as already used.

And furthermore, I wouldn’t get the 25% off either, because it was conditional on spending the vouchers today.

So, I have spent nearly and hour on the phone to customer support, explaining what had happened. At first, they said I shouldn’t have cancelled the order, because that meant the 25% discount was written off.

I said: “Well how was I supposed to know that? It doesn’t say anywhere that if you cancel, you won’t be entitled to try again - besides, it is over £50 we’re talking about, not peanuts! It was my whole reason for trying to order online in the first place. If it was £2.50, I’d let it go, but I’m not writing off a £50 promotion you promised me.”

So, he has eventually applied the 25% manually, so it can be done, but I think they should have offered at once - not just said “Oh, you shouldn’t have cancelled - it’s lost now” and expected me to accept losing £50 - or paying £50 over the odds - whichever way you look at it.

I am still not completely back in the situation I would have been in, as other promotional points if you spent over a certain amount were not honoured.

I’m starting to think I was hasty in cancelling, because all the unwanted duplicated were things like bubble-bath or body moisturiser, that I would either have used eventually, or could have taken back to the shop.

But I had simply no idea they would still count the vouchers as “spent”, even though the order they applied to was cancelled.

I think the whole intention of this 25% discount was to woo people back to the rather unsuccessful website. But I’m afraid, for me, it’s had the opposite effect, and I’m thinking I will never ever do this again, as it’s far too much aggravation, even though they’ve finally put through my discount manually.

I was within a hair’s breadth of scrapping the whole thing, and carrying on wearing my old, torn coat, that I was hoping to replace.



I bet you didn’t play ‘the MS card’ Tina ? Can’t do smilies on my phone but you know I’m teasing xx

I love on line shopping, particularly marks and sparks but when you press that button and know you’ve made a mistake, boy! Does my heart rate increase.

That’s just the thing - I didn’t know I’d made a mistake! I remain convinced it was something odd about the website, because why on earth would I have gone round picking two and three of things?

LoL, I paid with the M&S card, but didn’t play the MS card. :wink: Although it did cross my mind to admit: “Look, I’m really not very well for all this - can’t you just sort it out?”

In the end, I didn’t have to resort to the: “Please help, I’m not well” tactic, but it wouldn’t have been a word of a lie if I had!



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hi tina

i have actually used the ms card when on the phone, not to M & S but to my energy company.

it seems to be women’s voices that i can’t make out especially if they gabble too quickly.

i explained to the woman but she got aggravated with me, so i asked to speak to a supervisor.

the (male) supervisor spoke clearly and slowly. i told him that i thought i’d upset his colleague but that i have multiple sclerosis and get very stressed on the phone. i asked him to apologise to the woman for me.

that was a bit of a sexist complaint from an old feminist like me.

the nice man sorted it all out for me.

carole x

I had one of them afternoons yesterday Tina. I ordered loads from New Look and pressed the final button only to realise that they had charged my out of date old card rather than my new one. Grrrr!!!

Shazzie x

I dunno what it is with M&S - I’ve had something similar before, and about this time of year, too. I tend to avoid the website now, for that very reason, but 25% discount just for buying online instead of in store was too big a carrot to ignore - especially when I knew I needed a major purchase like a coat. Just stupid to say no to 25% off because you’re shunning the website, isn’t it?

I think I may have realised what happened. When I filled my basket, I think I was logged in as a guest (although the greeting said: “Welcome back Tina”). When I was finished, and ready to check out, I of course had to log in fully as me. I think, what happened then, was I already had unpurchased items in my basket from a previous visit. Instead of asking what I would like to do about them, it simply merged the two shopping baskets (guest one, and private one), so any item that appeared on both was treated as I wanted two of them! As they were small items (bubble bath, a candle etc) in comparison with the price of the coat, it wasn’t that obvious what had happened. The total did seem a bit higher than I’d been expecting, but not so much higher that I thought there might have two or three of anything in the basket.

It only became obvious AFTER I got the order confirmation, and wondered: “Why the heck is there all that bubble bath?”

I’d obviously had my eye on it in the past, but left the site without purchasing. But it remembered it was in my basket, and added it to my new purchases. Now that could, in theory, be useful - but not if it doesn’t tell you it is merging the two - let alone ask if you want to.

It should have said: “You already have items in your basket: do you want to keep them, or discard them?” But it didn’t say anything. So I thought I was only checking out items I’d picked today, not six weeks ago!



hi tina

you have genuine reason for complaint.

why don’t you write them a letter pointing out how they could make online shopping with them easier and more enjoyable.

after all, their online shopping gives 5% to the ms trust.

carole x

Hi Carole,

Yes, once I have recovered from the experience, and am feeling a bit more constructive, rather than just angry, I think I will write to them.

I have just counted, and to place the order using the vouchers as part-payment, I had to manually key in ten 13-digit numbers! I also had to manually enter one unrelated 8-character promotional code made of letters and numbers, and copy-and-paste two others that were sent to me in emails. So 13 codes in all - 11 manually typed and two copied. That is quite daunting in itself, without MS, and without anything going wrong with the transaction, and then you find you can’t redo it!

Why can’t they have a system like Tesco Online, which seems to know what paper vouchers you hold, so you never have to type the codes in manually. At the end, it has a list of them, including which ones are valid for the order you’re just placing, and all you have to do is tick the ones you want to use.

Next time you order, the ones you’ve spent will have disappeared, but the rest will still be there, giving you another chance to apply them.

I must admit, I’ve no idea what Tesco do if you apply vouchers to an order which you then need to cancel. I don’t know if you just lose them, or they send out replacements, or if the system recognizes you never in fact used them, because the order was cancelled.

I had no idea M&S online shopping donate to the MS Trust. Is that something that only applies online, or does a tiny fraction of all purchases, in store or online, go to them?



That wasn’t any old mess… That was an M&S old mess!!! Hahaha. Never mind, you’ll soon feel happy again when your new coat comes… and don’t get disheartened about shopping online in future either, especially at this time of year. Keep smiling xx Julie xx

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One of the benefits of shopping online is the added protection of Distance Selling Regulations.

The consumer has the right to return any item(s) for any reason within 7 days for a full refund, including postage if paid. Major retailers, like M&S, are proactive and include a returns package for this reason, but some aren’t and will try to fob you off.

Its great that through “Give as you Live” a percentage will also go to your preferred charity, but even that can go wrong, just as I’m experiencing with a recent purchase with Apple but at least GASL are trying to resolve this.

Best of luck


Sorry you have had a frustrating time with your online shopping with M&S.

I ordered some items on the 4th Nov to be delivered to my local store on the following Friday. Drove to pick items up to be told the delivery date is the 14th Nov. I hadn’t looked at the delivery date I just assumed it would be the following Friday. I recieved an email on the 14th saying items have been delayed and one item is no longer available, they will email me when items arrive in store. I paid by credit card and the balance has been debited from my account, pretty soon I will have to pay my credit card bill or I will incur charges.

I’m not impressed but high street shopping is becoming too much for me. So unless I shop online I have to wait for friends to take time out of their busy lives to assist me with my wheelchair.

Jan x


the donation applies to online shopping only.


i can’t do fancy stuff because i don’t have windows on this laptop because its a chromebook.

​carole xxxx

Hi Tina. I spend the afternoon doing the same. I only has fifteen pounds in vouchers and was ordering pj’s at £19.50. Put in all the vouchers manually but when i code in at the end to get the 25% discount my voucher amount disappeared. Just left it and will use vouchers in store. Still at least I got discount on pj’s. My e-mail said that offer was on until midnight on saturday 16th but 16th is today. At least I am not the only one that gets confused.


Hi Mary,

Yes, I agree the wording was confusing too. I suppose, officially speaking, midnight begins a new day (just think of New Year’s Eve celebrations - midnight is already January 1st.)

BUT, I still think it’s common for people to treat midnight as belonging to the previous day, so yes, most people would think midnight on the 16th was tonight, so we had all day to do it. I did not get caught that way, but only because it somewhere also mentioned Saturday. I wasn’t sure exactly which midnight “midnight on the 16th” would be, but did feel they probably meant yesterday, so that was why I was in such a hurry to get it fixed yesterday, before they said te deadline had passed anyway.

I think you would also be within your rights to complain that it was less than clear. But do you mean they did still process the 25%, even though it was (probably) past the deadline? That makes even less sense! They gave you the 25% for spending the vouchers online, even though they did not accept the vouchers themselves?

I don’t think you’re “getting confused” at all - and I don’t think I did either. I think it’s an imbecilic website, and an imbecilic system for applying all the vouchers. It’s down to it not working sensibly, not to customers “getting confused”.

The guy at customer support spoke to me as if I’d never done online shopping before: “If you press the little plus sign, it puts another one in the basket!”

Duh! I know that! But I hadn’t been “pressing the little plus sign”, had I?

I’m pretty sure my theory afterwards is correct - that I made my picks whilst logged in as a guest. When I was ready to check out, and it asked me to log into my account, what I didn’t know was I still had unpurchased items in my basket from last visit, which could have been weeks ago.

Although I did review the order before placing it, I only looked to make sure the items themselves were right - it didn’t occur to me to check quantities, because I didn’t realise two baskets had got merged. So because some items I’d bought were already in the basket from ages ago, I’d ended up ordering two or three of them!

I do wish, now, I hadn’t panicked, and had just left the order alone. I would have used the spare items eventually, as I’m always buying bubble-bath and moisturiser - and would have got 25% off on them too. They don’t go off - or not for a long time, so it wouldn’t have hurt to have a bit of a stockpile, even if it was accidental. I wouldn’t have had to buy another bubble-bath for ages - and they are heavy, to buy in store and carry home!

But another silly thing about the website was that because they only give you 15 minutes to cancel (and it took me ten of those to find out how to do it) you do not have time to sit and think whether that’s really the sensible thing to do. As I was against the clock, I didn’t think about whether it really mattered that I’d ordered some extra stuff, that I’d probably still use anyway. I just panicked when I saw stuff on the order I didn’t mean to put there. It probably would have been OK to leave it as it was. It would have cost a bit more, but as it was only stuff I’d buy anyway, next month or the month after, would it really have mattered? So I was too quick to cancel, but that’s what happens when they say: “You can’t amend it, but you’ve got 15 minutes to cancel.” Poor system design, that puts you on the spot like that. Amazon lets you amend or cancel, right up to the time the goods are preparing to dispatch. It’s reasonable they have to put some limit on it, so you can’t wait 'til everything’s already been order-picked and packed.

But you can’t tell me Marks are so super-efficient it’s too late to change anything after just 15 minutes. I’m positive they would have done absolutely nothing about it as fast as that (except verify the credit card), so they wouldn’t have done “lost work” by me changing my mind an hour or two later.

Grrrr. Another niggly thing: when I cancelled the order, and tried to reorder just one of the things I accidentally bought three of, it told me they were out of stock!

I thought: “No they’re not, because you just told me I could buy three of them, and now I’ve cancelled and put them all back.”

As an experiment, I tried putting it in the basket anyway, and that worked fine. So how did I manage to put an out-of-stock item in the basket, then? Shouldn’t be possible. And when customer services eventually processed the order for me manually, it didn’t come up as out-of-stock either.

So I think their program is confused, not their shoppers.



what a palava i feel worn out just reading about it…the new M & S site is terrible,i used to shop online with them quite a lot,but since the sites changed i hardly bother,make no wonder their profits are down…they need to get their act together, they really do…

J x

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Completely agree!

I am a shareholder too, so my interest is not just as a customer. I am not a professional investor, but tend to make small investments in companies I personally have faith in as a customer. After the website fiasco, I can virtually see my investment trickling down the drain (though they did raise the dividend this year!)

Another stupid thing: wanted to order a 5-pack of quite ordinary, everyday knickers. White and a little bit of embroidery - a basic choice. Out of stock in every size under 16! Marks used to be THE nation’s supplier of ladies’ undies. Known for it! Now you can’t even order a simple pack of white panties if you happen to be smaller than 16.



I had a similar experience, but much less stressful and with a successful outcome. I only wanted a jumper, but forgot to put in the code and managed to miss the bit on the payment page where you input all the numbers, so I’d missed the discount and the price reduction by using vouchers. I paid in full on my M&S card.

i emailed customer services and they immediately refunded the 25% to my card, so I got the discount and I still haven’t spent my vouchers. So yes, it can be done!