When Online Shopping Goes South

*Since writing this, I opted to go ahead and share full details about the retailer and the interaction here if you are curious!.*

Today readers, I’ve got a question for you.

On January 1st, I placed a fairly large order with a popular equestrian small-business retailer. On March 23rd I finally received four of the five items I purchased. This was after I sent numerous emails and Instragram DMs when I wasn’t getting a response. When I received the package in March, there was a note that the final item–a pair of Ghodho breeches–would be arriving within a few days since the shop owner was currently out of stock. After sending a few emails with no response, I finally sent an email on Sunday requesting that I receive the breeches or a refund by the end of this week.

I turned around and ordered directly from Ghodho on Monday or Tuesday, who processed the order and included 2-day shipping so that I’ve already got my breeches as of last night.

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Now that they’re finally here, I’m super in love. They might be my new favorites.

My question to you guys is:

In a situation like this, what do you do? Do you simply stop being a patron, or do you take further steps to let other people know about the bad experience you’ve had? I’m well aware that my blog is not large compared to many others, but there is also little written in the way of reviews online for the business, so I’m sure a blog post wouldn’t be difficult to find if someone was looking for a review.

My first experience with the retailer was great, and I was really happy with the customer experience, but in my mind 6 months is far too long (especially because I had been planning to use them for both a show and a clinic, since I was down to one pair of tan breeches), and there’s really no excuse for not having sent me my items by now, or at least being proactive about reaching out to keep me in the loop. The fact that the last time I heard anything was when I received my package in March just seems like unacceptable customer service, but I also don’t want to burn any bridges or hurt her business terribly by being one of the only bits of feedback on the store online. As happy as I am to provide a good or meh review of a product, this is a bit different.

I would like to note however, that Ghodho has been fabulous, and I would recommend ordering directly through them if you’re ever looking to buy their breeches.

So what to do? Put them on blast? Send a nasty email? Am I thinking too highly of my blog to think a negative post would really cause much impact to the business anyway? Should I just drop it altogether and be glad I’ve finally got my breeches? Or maybe there’s something in between.

23 thoughts on “When Online Shopping Goes South

  1. Niamh

    One of my friends has had great luck calling various businesses out on facebook. When she wasn’t getting the response she needed though the usual channels, a quick shout out got them answering and apologizing almost immediately. And in your case being that you like the product so much, I think a “buyer beware” notice is warranted. I would certainly want to know if I was buying from a retailer that took ages to ship and had poor customer service.

        1. That’s a good thought. I was planning to send a follow up email to them since they’ve been so nice helping me get in touch, so I’ll make sure they know the whole situation.

  2. B

    I feel like there’s a difference in putting any business on blast for things that are out of their control (poor/slow shipping due to weather conditions, or being out of stock/backordered and having to get more in) and putting them on blast for 1) not just crappy customer, but NO customer service and 2) not attempting to make it right until you went over their head to their supplier.
    You waited 3 months for your first shipment. That’s excessive for ANY retailer. Period. You then waited another 3 months for the last item. That’s just ludicrous. I would have been getting my money back way before that first shipment arrived. There’s really no excuse for the poor customer service you received. They had 6 months to try to make it right, and not only did they not, but they flat out ignored you.

  3. Joanne

    I would want to know who the retailer is. I work hard for my money, and I also have immediate gratification grabby hands. If you aren’t going to post about it, would you mind E-mailing me the info?

  4. Look, customer service is really important and as long as you present facts (just like you’ve done with this post) I think you SHOULD post about it. I personally rely on those who are honest about reviews and don’t just post gushing reviews all the time.

  5. Yeah though frankly it might not change how people feel about the company. I’m probably one of the few people who had The WORST experience with Ogilvy and an Excellent one with La Mundial, so you can write your review, and mainly do it because it’ll make you feel better and know it might not actually make a difference.

  6. Yikes! That’s pretty terrible customer service. There are many, many better ways for a retailer to handle a situation like this. (Ask me how I know, haha!)

    I would certainly let the shop owner know how you feel; sometimes this kind of feedback is really helpful, especially if the retailer is new or has suddenly increased the volume of business they do. If she doesn’t have a lot of experience dealing with the vendor/retailer/customer relationship aspect of running a business, she might not understand what sort of ‘best practices’ work for this type of situation. (e.g. confirming with vendor that they drop ship, looping customer in on delays/backorders, etc.)

    However, it sounds like you gave them plenty of opportunities to remedy this mess or at least let you know what was going on. I don’t think you’d be amiss in calling them out on your blog. Maybe they don’t have a FB page because they don’t want the reviews!

    1. Yeah, I guess you probably have pretty valid thoughts on how that should be handled! I definitely did tell her I was really disappointed and got an apology, but then the issue wasn’t fixed, so it’s hard to know whether it was sincere.

      1. If you spoke with her in a rational way (which I assume you did, because you seem like a rational person and this post seemed calmly written) and she didn’t fix the issue, then I absolutely think you have the right to call the business out on your blog or social media.

        As Niamh pointed out, it’s probably also worth informing GhoDho. Some vendors don’t really care, but others are extremely interested in how their retailers are presenting their brand and marketing to their consumers. My store doesn’t carry GhoDho products (if only they’d do a full seat!), so I can’t say how they’d react, but it’s worth letting them know.

  7. Mel

    Long time reader, first time commenter (hi!:) but wanted to let you know I’m almost 10000% positive based on your description that I’m thinking of (and have had problems with) the same retailer. I ordered from her twice and received no tracking number either time, and when the second order arrived (three weeks late, so not as long as yours) the shipping package had obviously been previously used (with someone’s else name and address visible under mine) and torn up.

    The jacket I ordered looked like it had been worn, or at least been tried on quite a bit (but it still had the tags & was advertised as new) and I did not think it would be worth it to try and return or exchange at that point. Both orders were obviously not shipped when she claimed they were, and when I questioned her on instagram she quickly answered and then deleted my comments. Granted, it was only two or three hundred dollars total and I know for most of these IG businesses it isn’t a large sum at all, but my experience left a bad taste in my mouth.

    TL:DR, I am not surprised at all if this is the company I am thinking of, and I am glad you got your money back eventually. I share your feelings on being frustrated and wanting to let others know, because you are probably not the only one this has happened to!

    1. Thanks for chiming in! It’s starting to look like a lot of people have run into similar issues, and saying something might at least prevent some people from having to go through the hassle.

  8. I want to know who the shop is- I have one in mind who I have seen other people on Twitter have issues with in the past.

    I had customer issues with one of my favorite brands; I would still buy their things, but through a second party only. I hate to put them on blast, and definitely don’t think my tiny blog would ruin them, but I understand walking the fine line between disgruntled customer and personal vendetta (NOT that I think you would ever do that).

    1. I really do like the stuff she stocks, and would be sad to never use her again, but at the same time, I’m not sure I ever would at this point anyway.

  9. Oh, boy… My husband and I are both small business owners, so this makes me want to curl up in a fetal position and rock myself to sleep… Bad reviews on a widely seen blog can be a death sentence, but it seems as though the shop has had it coming. You gave them so many chances to make it right. My guess is, you’re not the only one this has happened to! I read reviews intently and I think there’s a difference between writing an angry, spiteful review and an informative, level-headed review. Obviously, you would write the latter and it could potentially prepare many new clients. And I would call them and tell them you’re disappointed. Or DM them on insta. Or whatever. No phone number?! Hmmm… (insert eye roll)

  10. What an unfortunate situation. I think I can guess which retailer you are talking about, and if it is the same, I have not had any issues like yours, and have ordered more than once. Very strange that it seems so inconsistent. Certainly had I had your experience, I would not order from the retailer again. In your position, I would communicate directly with the retailer and share my experience in confidence with friends, but I am not the type of person to invite controversy on the Internet, unless I would be the only one shouldering it. I don’t think it would be wrong to do so, though. Just not what I would do.

    1. It probably is the retailer you’re thinking of, and from what I can tell, things either go really well, or really poorly. I definitely tend to lean more on the just sharing with friends I know personally side of things on a normal basis.

  11. Yeah, I’d put ’em on blast if I were you. No, it probably won’t take away from their business all that much; one bad review amongst a sea of positive ones holds little weight. Still, the business you ordered from was highly unprofessional in this case, and had you put the name in this post, I would not order from them.

  12. Frankly I would rather know who the retailer is so I can avoid them. Quick turnaround on orders is something I care a lot about when placing the order.

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