Preorder Problems

In light of manufacturing delays, multiple tech products including new consoles and graphics cards have sold out rapidly at preorder. I’ve started to see people complaining that JB Hi-Fi and many smaller retailers are contacting customers telling them they wont receive the product they preordered on the launch day due to not enough stock.

Has anyone else experienced this? Many people were mislead into buying stock that didn’t exist and are now left with no chance of getting their console/product this year. Is it dodgy for a retailer to let you preorder stock they haven’t yet secured? And do you still have rights if you preordered but payment hasn’t been taken yet?


Tricky question Peter.

Perhaps (speculating) JB acted in good faith based on what suppliers advised and then supplies just didn’t eventuate, or a much smaller number could be delivered? Perhaps they over subscrived (same as with plane seats) because some buyers cancel, except not enought people cancelled?

Again speculating; I would expect that without paying you have far less rights than if you had paid. It would be very difficult to show that you had suffered any loss or consequential damage from the lack of delivery. So even if you had paid, your primary mission and only likely outcome in this situation would be to get a refund. Hence you would worse off having prepaid because you would be sorting out a refund.


Seconding @meltam’s comments plus

A preorder is as much a queue position as anything because it signifies there is no stock and one is actually placing an order on the contingency of stock becoming available.

Some companies orders may only be partly fulfilled when there is a global product shortage, resulting in pre-orders being over-sold for the initial and possibly subsequent shipments.

What rights would those be? If you have not been charged there probably are none. The key seems to be they have not accepted (taken) payment.


A question is how was the product as pre-order sold and what conditions we outlined at the point of purchase?

If one was to wait an unreasonable time for a pre-ordered product (unreasonable being significantly more than that outlined at the point of purchase, or if no time was given at purchase…what would be seen as reasonable to most people), then one can request a refund (if they have paid) and purchase the product elsewhere.

Just in relation to JB Hifi, conditions associated with pre-ordered products can be found here:

Depending when the order is placed, it may be a backorder rather than a pre-order. Backorder is when a product isn’t in stock, pre-order is ordering a product before its official release date.


Interesting feedback given. The reason I brought this up is mainly some stores seem to be cancelling more than others. I suspect those stores deliberately sold far beyond what they knew they could get just to get as many people committing money as possible (similar to the airline seats comparison)

I was just wondering if that in itself is a bit of an anti-consumer practice considering some stores seem to have only taken as many preorders as they had stock, resulting in far less disappointed shoppers and telling people shop elsewhere when stock was out


‘seems’ needs to be evidence based rather than anecdotal, compounded by whether the comparison products are like for like, similar, or different.

It could reasonably also be dependent on when any particular shop placed their original orders, how large the orders were, and other variables.


I recently bought a new access point that some shops were ‘pre-ordering’ with an expected availability date, while many others had the product in stock. Although once-upon a time I agree pre-ordering was prior to general availability, I believe today it is common practice to advertise that way prior to shop stock coming available. Not that I agree with that practice, it seems common.


It could be distributor rather than retailer issue. Distributors can easily promise stock when a product is announced, only to be left short when products are despatched from the manufacturer. They then have to decide how to split the delivery…could be

  • prorata which annoys every retailer or uses caps (say 100 units per retailer) which only annoys those with big pre-orders on their books and unable to shift stock from low pre-order stores to high pre-order booked stores…or
  • give each retailer group a certain amount (e.g. 100 units for JB Hifi/Good Guys, 100 to HV, 100 to Myer etc) which annoys those with big preorders on their books.

It would be interesting to see if any members have inside information on how preorder and backorders work and who makes decisions in relation to available/received stock.


re ‘pre-order’:

At least one well known retailer has first, second, etc ‘waves’ of pre-order based on the stock they are allocated. The first wave pre-orders are designated to be available on the release date of the console - the second and subsequent pre-orders are designated to be available at a later specified dates accordingly. Customers don’t always correlate a subsequent wave pre-order with a later date, and I’d bet that is often not clearly communicated to the customer, and even if communicated it might not be heard or understood, especially if mentioned in the middle of the dialogue … the customer is excited, who wouldn’t be, easy not to hear things. Of course the responsibility of communication is on the deliverer, not the receiver, but that’s another thing … Ultimately, it is not uncommon for customers to come back and say they thought they would receive their console on the release date when their pre-order was wave two, or etc, and never promised on the release date.

re ‘stock allocation’ to retailers:

Lots of rumours … probably some truth - I don’t imagine it is much different to oversubscription in other areas, like bandwidth on networks … right or wrong, it happens, and favourites (retailers with manufacturers) come into play I’m sure. This is much harder to prove and explain, and of course this year along with all the other smoke and mirrors excuses is the dreaded 'rona :wink:


This is also very true. As a consumer I guess it’s something we’ll never know.

Personally I never buy into the buying frenzy with limited items. I prefer to just wait it out and avoid the pain. I just imagine how lame it must feel to get told weeks after your apparent purchase that you wont get your item anywhere near the expected date


Some new products are promoted with a fixed release date, something Apple and others are well known for with mobile phone products. There is typically also some stock for immediate sale, if only to garner the attention of media and queues at the doors days before?

Many other products seem to have a planned or estimated date for the release and or delivery. It may be important to read the fine print, follow the asterisks and check the expression of optimism in key phrases.

I’ve seen numerous product launches in the hobby and modelling world followed by apologetic announcements around the due date to advise of delays or revisions, due to …

With IT products, hardware or software does the once common wisdom to avoid purchase of the v1.0 still applicable?

FOMO vs fearlessly waiting for normal supply and discounted specials.


Don’t forget we are still in the midst of a pandemic. This means that it is more difficult to import goods reliably. Take a look at stores like Kmart who have had major problems with stock availability. JBHI and other vendors such as Officeworks have also had unprecidented demand for goods especially tech goods. I have yet to receive a webcam that was meant to be delivered by 10 September for example - almost a month late. Having wharfies taking industrial action hasn’t helped with stock arrival either with up to 40 ships waiting off shore or on their way or rerouted elsewhere.

I don’t think there is anything underhand going on but we all just need to be a bit more patient.


It clearly said on the JB HiFi pre order page that it did not guarantee you would receive the console on the launch date when you ordered. It was more like a place holder for queue position. If you were lucky enough to be one of the first to order you would get priority for what stock the had. If you miss out you would have priority for the next batch when it arrives. I believe you would get an SMS to confirm you could pick up your console. It’s just like the airline industry overbooking their seats.

That’s why I went to the Microsoft store. I talked to Microsoft store, they said they only take orders for the stock they had, batch 1. then there would be a batch 2. I asked when batch 2 would arrive and was told they had no ETA at the moment. I logged in to the Microsoft store at 7.50 am. I went to the order page for the Xbox Series X which had the configure button greyed out. Refreshed the page at 8.00 am. Clicked configure and by 8.02 am I had a confirmation page and email that my order was confirmed. 8.14 am they had sold out. I went to the Microsoft store today (9/10/20) and currently no eta for the next batch of Xbox Series X, but you can pre order the Xbox Series S and the store has a get by November 17th date. You could still pre order the Series S, 9 days after the launch on the Microsoft store.


Here’s an added complexity to this problem. Some Amazon customers in the UK are reporting other random items being sent instead of their PS5.

What do we think? Although a full refund would be provided in Australia, do we think companies should do more in a situation like this? (Given it’s unlikely customers would be able to source a replacement anytime soon)


Interesting, they seem to be think it was theft in transit (may be either by Amazon or courier staff). I wonder if it could also be a scam…a independent ‘supplier’ advertising on Amazon and sending boxes with anything. The sending of boxes allows the scammer a window to be operational until Amazon shuts them down. A couple of days window is enough to fleece a large number if customers with popular items.

If it was the former, Amazon should refund as the product is in their chain of custody until receipt by customer. For the later Amazon will possibly argue they aren’t responsible.