What are unforgivable customer service issues?

The only one that’s unforgivable is taking a customer’s money and not delivering the product paid for, whether that’s not replacing a broken/defective product or never shipping it. If bad customer service becomes part and parcel of the brand, then that–in totality–can become unforgivable, too!

— Christine
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I’m in Canada and have had ‘cases’ with Well.ca, Shoppers Drug Mart, MAC and Pat McGrath that were all solved within a few days. Beauty Bay just took 3 weeks to refund my card for an unfulfilled order, which I had to bring to their attention, pursue, escalate on social media, and only ‘just’ got my money back. They have brands like Nabla and Zoeva that I wanted to try, and some good promotions, but I will not put myself through that again!

You just gave me a ray of hope…I’ve been chasing Beauty Bay for the past three weeks over an order I never received. It’s like they seriously just ripped me off for $90 ughhhhh! I’m glad to hear your issue got sorted. I definitely won’t be ordering from them again anytime soon. I’m Canadian too, and their brand accessibility/shipping cost was so reasonable compared to so many. What a bummer!

Mac is guilty of that poor customer service many times for me. I never buy anything from them.
I didn’t know that Colourpop had no return policy and now I realize why, I’ve got a lot of duds from them but your stuck with them.

I agree with you Christine!

The other issue for me would be a lack of communication. I think response to email inquiries within a 24-48 hour period is extremely important. Particularly when it comes to replacing damaged items or other issues.

I agree here.

Strangely the only website with whom I have this particular issue is the Natasha Denona website.

I emailed (twice!) about a product concern…..last Thanksgiving.

Not a word.

I don’t know if it’s unforgivable, but I get annoyed when customer service hesitates to do the right thing, if you will. One time I got a broken lipstick from Chanel (the bullet of product itself was snapped off) and I called them right away. It’s Chanel so I fully expected them to just send another one. She said “Oh, well you can return that one and order another one.” Lol ok. I returned it and did not order another. So, they could have kept my money but I guess chose the risk.

Of course if they had refused to refund it that would have been totally unforgivable.

That’s why I quit MUG. I changed computers during an order. The order I sent in was one each. I had a screenshot. The order I submitted had one x a few blushes and eyeshadows. They duplicated half the order, charged for them (mind you, nothing said ‘2’). No reply from any form of CS, even when directed at a specific tech employee. On the third try, I sent back the unopened duplicates. No response to three contacts, even when they got the products back in the original sleeves and packaging. I get there are no returns, but this was their mistake and I could prove it. I had been pretty voracious on the MUG site, even did a few customer rave reviews way BITD. No response at all is unacceptable. Gave the MUG stash away, and of course used Temptalia’s dupes to replace. Gone, girl. Never looked back. And won’t at Target, either, if I ever dare go back there!

This is quite long ago, in terms of m/u, so hopefully they improved. Their new strategies, like Target, seem to indicate trouble. CP was an instant hit, but we should remember that MUG did an online m/u business long before CP. Before widespread videos, we read/looked at Christine, Isabella/Muse, and Marlena. The holy trinity of m/u info. Marlena even blogged before she did her line. I had to REMIND myself of that!

Yeah, but I’m glad she posted it, because sometimes (more and more often it seems) you have such experiences and the person on the other end of the e-mail or phone makes you feel like you’re the ONLY one with this issue or they are surprised, when in fact, it happens (sometimes too much with the same company) a lot. So I’m glad to read about others experiences and usually that causes me to avoid the companies in question (or at least the online experience).

If I pay for something and don’t receive it or it’s defective and they don’t replace it, offer a store credit, even a damn apology if I’m dissatisfied, etc… and/or are very aggressive or dramatic about it. We’re done.

I ordered from Aromaleigh Cosmetics maybe 16 years ago. One of the products had a disgusting vomit smell – which I shrugged off as just gross until another person asked me if I was “ok”, they believed I’d just thrown up – and after contacting customer service they told me it was my problem and nothing was wrong with the product and they won’t replace a product that isn’t faulty. It was just my “sense of smell” interpreting as vomit (weird how two of us thought that independently of each other) the fragrance oil in the product. No offer of store credit. Not even so much as an apology for my dissatisfaction.

Maybe 10 years ago Villainess (bath and body) had a sale and a few items on the site weren’t registering the new sale properly. I contacted them and was met with a very hostile reply about how I didn’t read the fine print on what was on sale (I did – it was 100% a site error). It took me aback at how bitchy the wording was, and totally removed any desire to make another purchase.

I never ordered from either of them again. I haven’t so much as gone to their websites to see if they’re still in business. It’s not that I can hold a grudge (that’s obvious, tho), it’s that I made a decision to use my hard-earned money to be my voice in a country that only speaks in dollars. In a flooded market you need to professional in how you handle customers. We are not friends. You want my money in exchange for products/services. Your company is a company, not an extension of your worth as a human. Behave like it.

I think in addition to not providing what was paid for, a big deal-breaker for me is when customer service is insulting to or dismissive of customers. Even if a customer’s complaint isn’t valid, as long as they’re not being abusive, you have to be polite in how you handle it.

I’m with you 110% when it comes to that extremely egregious CS behavior, Christine. Not only would I be washing my hands of that brand, but I’d be seeking legal recourse as well.
Another one is radio silence when I’ve reached out to a brand concerning a serious issue with their product(s). If I email/leave voicemail them on a Monday and I still haven’t received a reply by Wednesday, we have a problem. I will then be extremely wary of the said brand.

Surely the biggest offenders are not delivering the product, or delivering in bad conditions (some issues night happen during transit, but brands should use packaging or shipment materials that keep everything safe) or a product that it’s not as described.

I can understand incorrect or misplaced orders as long as the company is transparent and does it’s best to correct them. I can also pass on occasional bad customer service online or in store, because… we all have bad days and each company has at least one bad/untrained employee. But if it happens very often, it’s a sign that the issue is more systemic and that drives me away from the brand.

Oh man, I had an awful experience with ColourPop recently and I don’t know if I’ll forgive them. I ordered the full Animal Crossing collection on the initial launch day. Two weeks later, it still hadn’t shipped, so I emailed CS to ask if they had any idea when it might finally get sent. I got an instant response pretending to be a person saying something like, “Let me check on your order! Looks like it hasn’t shipped yet but you’ll get an email when it does!” 😐 Yeah, duh. I responded asking again about *when* it might ship and also tweeted about the situation. CP messaged me on Twitter telling me to use the CS email, which is what my tweet was about.
My order finally shipped the next day and thankfully nothing was missing or broken. I guess a lot of people had their SSS come shattered and couldn’t get a response about it. Oh, and *nine* days after my second email to CS, they responded. It said something like, “Good news! Your box has shipped! Here’s the tracking link!” even though it had been delivered already by that point. Ugh.

ColourPop’s customer service is absolutely useless. They either auto-reply to things and don’t address the issue or they take forever to actually respond properly.

I have had that same issue with CP. They usually take 2-3 weeks to ship… Maybe if they’d focus on getting existing orders out first and then worry about launching an entire collection every 3 days, they’d be better.

If this weren’t so pathetic, it would actually be funny. Total Catch-22. Left hand says see right hand; right hand says see left. I always get the ‘on its way’ email after it arrives, but CP is not alone in that. One of the key themes in this post is lack of responsibility and passing the buck. The other is attitudinal: demeaning, insulting, acting as if we are lucky that they deign to sell to us. We see that a bit with Pat. Their self-fashioned exclusivity not only allows them to have world class lousy CS, it also allows them to have deliberately competitive releases. You have to lose sleep and fight for the honour (yes, it requires the UK, Can, Aus spelling) of being able to purchase her stuff. Is the anxiety, agita, and time suck worth it ? Hell, no, because PMGL is deliberately dishonest about LE. If sufficiently popular, a palette WILL return. There’s s.t. wrong about that behavior. They are not only laughing all the way to the bank, but sniggering as they do so.

Lancôme Canada’s site has been a real disappointment when it comes to customer service. I ordered and received a Limited Edition lipstick which I did not like — the colour was not as pictured. I did not swatch it, and only took it out of the box to look at it, then return it to its box. I emailed customer service immediately to get their okay to return it. No response. After two weeks(!), I emailed again, and was a little more forceful this time. Again, nothing. I ended up putting the lipstick away in a box of unused makeup. (Yes, I probably could have phoned them, but emailing was more convenient. Plus, it would have given me something in writing.)

I also had another Lancôme issue, several months earlier than this. There was a discrepancy on their site, which showed a lipstick in one colour but listed as another. One of them had to be wrong! Again, I emailed them twice — no response, and no change was ever made to the listing. They could have made a sale there had they fixed the problem, but no.

I had several “member points” for free Lancôme products, or I would have dropped any interest in this line at all. I do really like their Monsieur Big mascara, so will likely order a couple of them at some point in order to cash out my points for freebies. After that, I’m done with Lancôme.

Misinformation, non-communication, not following up…. Last November, a rep at ZARA got a tongue lashing from me, and I’m not sure if I will ever shop there again. It took 6 phone calls, from me to them, over the course of a month and a half, to finally get a refund they rightfully owed me. I don’t really buy their clothing, but gosh darn it, I love some of their jacket and coat releases. I had ordered this lovely $200 long black coat in early Oct., it had just been released on their website as a “limited edition item”, and I really, really wanted it. The shipment was supposed to arrive in a few days, but never made it to my doorstep. The tracking showed as “damaged in transit”, so I began calling, and I was told as soon as it came back to the warehouse from LaserShip, they would process my refund. Meanwhile, I could reorder the same coat and they would provide guaranteed express shipping, for the trouble. I did not think much about it then. My re-ordered coat came in a couple days later, and I was happy, but still pending a refund. I called again a week later, same response, and was told to wait a little while longer. I called a few more times throughout that month, and they kept telling my refund would not be processed until LaserShip had returned the original damaged parcel. So I continued to wait. By mid-November, I was getting pretty agitated. I needed my money back, and the holidays were approaching. I demanded to speak with a manager, and I was told that they would have to call me back within 48hrs. Of course, no one called. I waited another week. Finally, exhausted, I called and just let the poor unwitting soul who got my call have it – “WHY AM I HAVING TO WAIT THIS LONG FOR A REFUND FOR SOMETHING THAT CLEARLY WASNT MY FAULT?!?!” A few more back and forth aggressive bits later, he promised me a manager would call me back in two hours. No one called. But an email suddenly popped up in my inbox from Paypal telling me ZARA had sent me a refund in the amount of $232.00. At last! Since then, I haven’t been able to even look at that website.

Omg that is so frustrating. If they knew the coat was never going to reach you they should have refunded as soon as you asked! My boss’ assistant is always on the phone with Zara because something his daughter returned hasn’t been refunded. They don’t seem to have a good return policy.

His ASSISTANT? How about teaching your daughter how to stick up for herself in an appropriate and reasoned manner (and not be loud and BS or cowed and intimidated, the way she probably feels.). And delegating a daughter’s personal matter to an assistant? Not in the job description. And while you’re out, get me a black coffee and pick up my dry cleaning. There’s a lot of power assertion, control, and maybe even sexism just below the surface in your Zara return anecdote.

Unforgivable customer errors, are as you have stated Christine, taking the money and not shipping the product. Other ones include not packaging the product properly so it breaks before you get it.
Rude or indifferent staff is another pet peeve. In some beauty shops, the moment you are an older person, it’s like you are invisible to them.

What I’m reading here are very valid customer expectations of service and true lack of customer service.
I personally feel the customer is not *always* right, but in these cases companies should be embarrassed and many times (rightly so) it will come back to bite them.
I’ve seen companies falter and fail due to poor customer service, that’s not always so, sadly.
While I’ve had poor service with cosmetics, there’s been nothing horrible I’ve experienced, thankfully.
I did have one poor customer situation about 17 years ago with a very well-known (born in Canada) company and I’ve never given them another dollar. For what I’ve spent elsewhere, that’s thousands of dollars they are out, yet they’ve still managed to succeed, so maybe I was a one-off?

I do low end retail a couple of nights a week, and know that ‘the public’ can be dreadful, entitled, downright assholic. The CS end sees a bunch of liars as well as legitimate inquiries/complaints. BITD at Bloomie’s, I saw a customer insist on returning a Chanel product that, by the packaging, had been purchased in France. (I knew the SA.) That customer has an award named after her at my business school. Which only leads to one of my sayings: The problem isn’t who they are; it’s who they think they are. Seems that’s the common thread for all my replies today. Kind of too bad.

If I understand correctly (and concur) customers can lie. However, those that don’t shouldn’t have to suffer because of those that do. A company with a well thought-out and implemented business model find ways to mitigate losses of product due to theft (to including lying and returned product). And of course they have return policies that should take as much of this into account. Not doing so will end up hurting their business, getting a bad reputation as a company that doesn’t have fair return policies goes a long way in today’s internet sharing (forums like this, trusted reviews, etc.).

I feel Colourpop has terrible customer service, it seems like they always have sales when products are out of stock. I purchased the so jaded palette that I was waiting months for, although I liked all the colors I felt like it creases and is not as opaque as it looks. It was such a letdown I will not repurchase any more items from them.

I had this issue with JD Glow. I was a huge fan of the brand – however, before the new year, a very large (and expensive) order I placed got lost. It was stuck in shipping a few blocks away from their HQ for nearly a month. I tried contacting customer service and would never hear anything back. Finally I had to open a case with PayPal and the shipping company they used. As soon as I opened the case, they emailed me accusing me of stealing from them!! I explained why I opened the case and they were extremely horrific in their responses.

It was a huge ordeal… And because of the treatment I received for an issue I had tried repeatedly for weeks to resolve, I will never place another order from them again.

Thanks for sharing this. I’ll leave them alone. I hope this doesn’t happen to me with another brand. I’m waiting for an order that’s stuck in the French postal system and they have already told me to check with the tracking of the postal services when I asked them to help by contacting the postal system themselves. Legally (int’l law) until the product arrives to you, it’s is still their property (at least that is what the French postal system told me, so they are the owners so the postal office expects them to contact them.)

If you value your customers treat them like you do, period. Word of mouth gets around, if someone tells me they have had a bad experience with a company I will try very hard not to deal with them. I don’t need a hassle to deal with, life is complicated enough. I work very hard for my money and I will spend it where it is appreciated. I also leave reviews for a reason, good or bad.

Lying to customers by saying items had shipped when they had not, ghosting customers and ignoring emails all while when customers are emailing 3+ times with no response regarding their late orders. Recently Lotus Noir Perfumery has done all of this and then posted an extremely off-putting passive-aggressive post on reddit dismissing and attempting to lecture a whole group of their customers. Customers who were *lucky* enough to get responses from Lotus Noir after requesting refunds through their bank or paypal also got the message Lotus Noir did not care to keep them as customers. I will never support a company with such poor customer service.

I also do not like when bigger companies have a zero returns policy with no exceptions.

I’m pretty forgiving so I’ll give anyone even a company a second even a third chance. There is one thing I won’t tolerate from a company. Blatant discrimination.

Not instantly refunding, demanding I spend MY money to return defective items, radio silence, not being able to talk with a human, snarky attitudes, lying, etc. ON THE OTHER HAND—I just had a great experience with Glamglot. (They sell used cosmetics). The Viseart palette I got was a fake. I emailed the owner who sent her card with the order instead of the website. They asked for a picture. I sent it. They refunded me the whole order which had another item on it. No hassle. No return asked for. I will definitely be ordering more. Hope this helps someone.

UD just stuck a stake in my heart. I ordered some singles, then changed my mind since my last two purchases had really old product, lip liner from 2015! Got several canned responses I could send it back but couldn’t cancel. Got my package yesterday and ran the dates. Only one item out of five was 2020 manufacturing date. Most were 2018. Even the free samples were old. It’s all going back.

US directly? Wow! That’s giving off the we’re going out of business or about to revamp our line vibes.

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