On a recent trip to BJ's Wholesale Club, Kyla Brantley saw an ad for a Holiday Barbie doll. When she looked it up online, she says she didn't like what she found — the blonde version of the doll was on sale for $31.99, with free shipping, but the African-American doll was priced at $34.99, plus shipping. Adding insult to injury, Brantley says she wasn't happy with the doll's description.
"It said 'Holiday Barbie Assorted,' which was kind of puzzling," said Brantley. "Like, what is 'assorted?'"
The Latina doll was also labeled "assorted." Brantley emailed the company about the discrepancy. A customer service representative responded with an apology for the inconvenience and offered her a $5 gift card. Brantley felt BJ's was missing the point. She replied to the email and tweeted her disappointment to the company. She also contacted NBC Responds. A couple of days after NBC reached out to BJ's, Brantley heard from another company representative, who thanked her for bringing the issue to their attention.
"They also said they are re-doing their whole website to check for verbiage," said Brantley. "Because apparently the verbiage of 'assorted' is found throughout the website and so they are re-doing the website and doing an overhaul to make sure that the verbiage is more culturally sensitive."
A BJ'S spokesperson contacted NBC Responds and issued this statement: "All three items are available in our clubs at the same sale price of $31.99. Due to an error, the items were mistakenly posted on our website and have been removed. We apologize for any confusion and take the feedback of our Members seriously."
BJ's ended up sending Brantley the doll for free, along with a $50 gift card. When this incident happened, NBC News went to that BJ's store and found all three dolls, selling for the same price. Then, two weeks later, they were listed on the website for the same price, but the blond Barbie had free shipping and the other Barbie dolls were still labeled "assorted." BJ's issued another statement saying: "The items were mistakenly re-posted on our website and were removed immediately when we became aware of the error."
If you have a consumer complaint, you can reach us at 1-888-521 News or at NBC Boston.com.