Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Boooo! An e.l.f. customer service rant.

I'm pretty bummed to have to be writing this post, but since I'm in the midst of sharing a ton of e.l.f. product reviews, I felt obligated to share the snafu I ran into with their customer service.

First, some background on past experiences. When I ordered a liquid liner earlier this year and it arrived with a funky, stiff brush, I shot an email to their customer service and they immediately shipped out a new one. (That one actually arrived dried up, too, but I just kinda forgot about it instead of emailing them again.) In a similar situation with another order, they replaced a dried out eyeliner pen. All good stuff.

With this order, I noticed when I got my email confirmation that the wrong shade was listed for a lipstick I ordered. Again, I sent them a note through the site asking if that could be fixed before it shipped, and they responded quickly and did ship the right color. Thumbs up.

But now we come to the limited edition holiday eyeshadow palette . When my package arrived, I checked my bag-o-stuff against my order confirmation, this was missing. I was pretty sad since it was the item that I was most excited about. In the past, when items have been left out of my order, I've contacted e.l.f. and they've either shipped them out or refunded me. With that in mind, I pulled up their website the day after my order came to see if the palette had already been discontinued (since it's limited edition). It showed up as out of stock, but there was a note that it would be available again soon. Cool.

So, I used the site's contact form to sumbit a request: I asked if instead of refunding me, they could just ship it out when it became available, since I really wanted to review it on my blog but there was no way I could afford to pay $7 shipping again for a $3 item if I made a whole new order.  Pretty straight forward, right?

Here's the response I got:

We apologize for items missing from your order. We have issued a refund on your credit card and are very sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused. Please note that this may take 7-14 days to post to your account. We regret any inconvenience. Sincerely, the e.l.f. team

Wait... whaaa? That is the total opposite of what I just asked for.

(image originally from Hyperbole and a Half. It makes me sad that no one ever credits Allie for her amazing drawings.)

I assumed that since their reply had ZERO to do with what I asked, and they didn't even acknowledge my actual request, that it was probably answered by a program that screens their emails for certain words and sends out automatic responses. I responded along the lines of "Umm, I'm guessing this was answered by robot since it's the exact opposite of what I asked." I was hoping an actual human would see my response this time, apologize, and give me an answer that actually applied to my question. (Either "Yikes, sorry about that! We'll happily ship this out ASAP!" or "Unfortunately we're totally sold out of these and can't fulfill your request. Super sorry about that!".  I would be bummed out by the latter, but I'd totally understand.

Instead, I got this reply:

We apologize that we have not been able to ship all of the items you ordered. Since we have already refunded your credit card for the items, we will be unable to ship the items you did not receive automatically. If the items are back in stock, and you still wish to receive them, please place another order. Thank you for your patience and loyalty.

the e.l.f. team

You have to be kidding me.

A Comprehensive Glossary Of Gifs / gifs glossary

First, I already said in the original message that I had no desire to place a new order since shipping was more than twice the price of the item. Yes, I really want this eye shadow palette, but I'm not about to pay $10 to get it! (Especially since when I ordered it was on sale for $1.50).

Second, they are using the fact that they already sent a refund against me, even though they did so in response to my request NOT to be refunded. That is beyond ridiculous.

I replied again, calling them out on the whole "Since we already refunded your credit card after you explicitly asked us to NOT do so, we can't help you." thing, but I haven't heard back yet. (I'll update this post if I do.)

And here's the thing: Yes, this is all over a $3 eye shadow palette. Not getting it isn't a HUGE deal- it's not like I don't already own a ton of makeup, or like it lays golden eggs or something. (I *did* already put a good 30 min or so of work into setting up the review post, filling it with info about the product with space to add in my personal experience and photos when I got it. But again, half an hour is no huge loss in the grand scheme of things.) The actual item isn't a big issue, but the way they have handled it IS.

So yes, I'm making a big deal out of a $3 item. But here's the thing- on their end, they're causing all of this annoyance over a three dollar item. I don't know if it's because of my background working for Disney where guest service is something we take MAJOR pride in, but I find this type of "customer service" 100% unacceptable. I mean, let's be realistic here. That eye shadow palette probably costs them less than 50 cents to manufacture. (Probably way less than that.) Shipping a new one would most likely cost them less than a dollar. So for around $1.50, they could have solved the situation when I originally asked. Not only would that have made me happy, but it would lead to a) a review of their product out on the ol' internets, and b) a report of how efficiently they handled it, too. Given that companies frequently send me $50+ worth of products for exactly that kind of publicity, it seems like a no brainer.

Instead, because they're too cheap to spend a dollar on postage and drop a new one in the mail, they lose my respect, seriously decrease the likelihood that I'll order from them online again, and we all end up here in the midst of a big rant. (To be fair, I mentioned in two of my messages to them that the product was going to be reviewed on my blog, AND I tweeted yesterday that a rant was coming, including their Twitter handle in the tweet to give them a heads-up. I consider that pretty fair warning and plenty of chances to solve things before taking my opinion public.)

So, that's that. I'll continue my reviews of the products I got in this order, and I won't let my issues with their support team influence my opinions of the actual products. However, I thought it was only fair to share all of this with you guys so that you know that if you do end up buying any of the products I talk about, there is that small gamble that you'll end up in a frustrating situation, too.

Update: I heard back from my most recent message about 2 hours after I posted this. They sent me two $5 gift cards to use on my next order. That's a pretty decent resolution, but handing it the right way in the first place (or even second or third message) would have been a lot better.


Jerla Oh lalala said...

hahahhaha i can't help but laugh looking at that kid in the motion picture hehehhe. thanks for sharing


Kelly R said...

I understand completely. I'm happy you finally got somewhere though. Great post..

LaVonne Long said...

I am sorry that you didn't get what you wanted. Is this something you can buy in store?

Krystle Smith said...

I'm sorry you had a poor experience with them. I've heard of so many others who can! It's a shame they don't treat their custoemrs better!

JustADealJess said...

I think that was great they sent you 2 %5 gift cards. Did they do this to cover they eyeshadow and shipping? If so that is even better. Either way, i am glad they are trying to resolve it. It is so frustrations when robots take over. It kills customer service and like you I am HUGE on good customer service. Good Luck and I hope you are able to get the product you want

Carrie Rambles said...

Very frustrating! Especially since you've had such great customer service in the past

Bonnie Erika said...

Ahh sounds awful! I'm sorry you had such a bad experience.