"Many of the codes were not used under the terms we had set for the promotional codes," said Macys.com spokeswoman Diane Pucko. The coupons were intended for customers shopping with a Macy's credit card.
"Too bad," say many of the would-be buyers, who maintain that Macys.com should honor the orders because it was the company that made the mistake, not the customers.
"It's always easy to blame other people, isn't it?" a Macys.com customer told CNET News.com. "This is a company that will not take responsibility for its own mistakes."
A glitch in Macys.com's computer system on Saturday allowed users to combine online discount coupons for up to 50 percent off. After someone posted the coupons on Web message board Fatwallet.com Saturday, bargain hunters sprang.
Pucko would not say how many orders were made with the coupons, but some customers were claiming on the message boards that they had saved hundreds of dollars on large purchases.
Other online retailers, such as Staples.com and Amazon.com, have run into the same problem after glitches involving online coupons sparked buying free-for-alls. And while customers consistently expect companies to honor the orders, most simply cancel the orders and send an e-mail to the customers.
Last summer, Buy.com, Staples.com and eZiba.com suffered through their own coupon capers. Staples and Buy.com declined to honor the purchases.
To prevent the glitches from happening again, Staples.com, the Net arm of office-supply chain Staples, adopted a serialization coding system last August. The system sends customers an individual code number that prevents a coupon from being used more than once.