A Lifestyle blog based in Sonoma County, in the heart of Wine Country. Amber is an outspoken voice for local activism, local wine tourism, and more.

The Online Shopping Experience from Hell

bustown modern online store review, customer service,

Laying on my bed I started to get that feeling. That short of breath, omg I might die soon sort of feeling. But - in a good way. Online shopping. It’s the strange combination of instant and delayed gratification all combined in one.
The object of my affection was this dress (above). The silliness of the Lorax-like feathers along the hem, and the sexiness of the halter top made for one mind boggling combo for me. I had to have it.I got off the bed. Walked away from the computer, and tried to distract myself. I got back on the bed.
How much money did I have in my Paypal account? Huge pang of guilt - that money was for France.
An hour later, the dress was on order. It was to be shipped to me priority mail, and the store was in Ohio. I did the calculations, and by the very latest I should have it by next Thursday. By Friday I would be throwing impossibly chic soirees in it, and eating cheese and crackers. It was going to be downright fabulous.
Next Thursday came and went. And so did the one after that. As a matter a fact, twelve days had gone by, and I had heard absolutely nothing from the seller. Not even so much as “thanks for your money!” e-mail. So I sent one of my own.
“Oh your dress had a stain on it” came the response. “And I had to remove the feathers to have it cleaned. Don’t worry - I’ll refund your shipping, and my assistant will sew the feathers back on.”
I sent an e-mail back. I kept it perfectly polite and even toned: I thanked her for the refund on shipping ($8), but asked for a 10% discount on the dress as well. It was after all, $165. I had paid $165 for a stained dress that was now having it’s feathers removed and sewn back on by some assistant, and the inquiry to my dress had been initiated by me, not her. After 12 days. I thought it was fair. I said that if she didn’t want to give me 10% back on the dress, I would also be happy with 10% towards another purchase.

The response that I got was in CAPITAL LETTERS. “WE’RE NOT SOME CONGLOMERATE LIKE AMAZON” She said. “I could have just sent you the dress with a stain on it and let you deal with it yourself ….” and in reference to the feather being removed and my being uncomfortable with it: “That being said, I'm not sure why removing the feathers and putting them back on would make you nervous...We have done this MANY times throughout our 8 year career and are confident that had we not been honest and told you the truth, you never would have noticed in the first place.
Truth be told, at this point, I didn’t even want the dress any more. But I hoped that when the dress arrived, all my doubts would be removed, and everything would be fine. My dress arrived two days later.
In a trash bag.
Trying to look past was later to be revealed as an omen, I took the dress out of the bag, and slipped it on. But, something wasn’t right. It was the feathers. I stood on my tippy toes. I glanced at my sister. “What’s going on here?” I asked. “The feathers are longer in the front than in the back.” She said. They were - the feathers were a good 2 inches shorter in the back than in the front. I looked at the hem: it has been sewn in an open loose stitch with fishing line. I could see see the original stitching that had been done with orange thread. Then I saw it: something that I couldn’t have seen in the photos from the online shop because of the huge necklace the model was wearing. A stain. Right in the middle of the dress.
bustown modern store review, shopping, online shopping

No. Hell to the no. I was done. Instead of contacting the seller directly, I went to Paypal. I wasn’t going to play nice any more. I wanted my money back, and I wanted this dress out of my house. I placed in back in it’s trash bag, and out of my sight. After contacting Paypal, I sent her an e-mail:
"Hello again,

______ I have found a stain on the front of the dress - I found it Friday morning when it arrived. I noticed in the photos of the dress itself the model was wearing a large necklace that would have covered the stain. It is in the front, right/middle of the bust of the dress. I understand your return policy - however I have no desire to wear a dress that has a brown stain right over my right boob...
Do you have  a solution to offer?

Thank you
Polite enough, right? This is the response that I got:

“Hi Amber -

Unfortunately I don't - you already filed a complaint with Paypal instead of coming to me directly with photos so my hands are tied. Honestly,  I'd just prefer you return the dress + be done with the situation entirely. “

I sell through Paypal enough to know that her hands weren’t tied: my money was. I knew that Paypal would put a hold on my money and that she could release it back to me whenever she wanted. I also knew that if I had settled for sending her photos I never would have gotten to return the dress, or received refund. I sent the dress back right away, in it’s original “packaging”. It cost me $12. Two days after the dress had been received, I contacted her again and asked for my full refund. I had it within the hour.

Hell, right?
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