Thursday, February 17, 2011

Email to Crown Brush (Update #2)

I was contacted by the owner of Crown Brush yesterday and decided to sit down to write an email in response to what he said to me yesterday. I won't go into too much detail -- I lay it all out in the email... but essentially, he offered me a full refund and for UPS to come pick up the items at the company's expense.

This is very long and quite wordy, so congrats to you if you get through the entire thing!

Regarding Wendy ______'s refund

Thursday, February 17, 2011 9:54 AM
From: 
To:dan@crownbrush.com

Dan,

This is Wendy ______. We spoke yesterday regarding my order #7798. I would like to have a full refund. If we can arrange UPS to pick up the items from my work, that would be easiest. I just need to know when they will pick up so that I can have them with me.

As that is worked out, I figured it was appropriate for me to explain my position of dislike for your company instead of just requesting the refund and moving on. When you contacted me yesterday, it seemed as though you were unsure as to my reasons for wanting to refund the product. As you are the owner, I think it's fair for you to know what is going on within your company.

10 years ago, and maybe even 5 years ago, one had to learn about a company through word of mouth or the occasional newspaper/magazine article. Now, with the internet being the source of most stored information, companies have to realize that word travels fast. It works in a positive and negative way; you can build your business' clientele by using advertising and other tools on the internet, but you can also greatly damage your reputation by one bad review on the internet that thousands of people could potentially see.

That being said, I contacted your company on January 7, approximately 12 days after ordering my items, and stated that there were some issues with my order. I was unsure as to whether discussing the issues over the phone was appropriate or via email. I got no response and on January 12, I contacted again stating that I hadn't heard back from your company. I was given a phone number to call in relatively short order. I emailed again on January 24 as at that point, I had called twice and left messages with multiple phone numbers to reach me on, and I never received a return call. On January 26, I still had not received a reply email or a phone call. I emailed once again on January 26 and said that I would file a dispute with my credit card company if I did not hear back by close of business that day.

I got a phone call within 2 hours, was unable to answer my phone, but called back the customer service number in about an hour after they left me a message. No one picked up. I again left my information. On January 28, I emailed again stating that I would be following through with the dispute (remember that I gave your company an additional 48 hours to respond).

Later that day, I received a phone call from a young lady who asked me if I was "Allie Cosmetics". I said no. She fumbled, and then finally got my name correct. She asked me what the problem with my order was. I went into great detail; I explained that 2 of the brushes were very poor quality and the rest were improperly described on the website. They were not useful for the purposes that I purchased them for in my kit. She replied with a mere "okay", and we sat in silence on the phone for a while. I finally asked what was going to be done about it. She offered to let me return both of the defective brushes at my own expense and offered no other help on the other items. I said that was unacceptable. She put me on hold for nearly 10 minutes, came back on the line and told me that I could mail ALL of the items back at my own expense and my refund would be processed within 14 days of receipt of the items. I was uncomfortable with that option, but I asked her for the mailing address anyway. She gave me 3 different addresses before finally settling on the last one as being correct (this is while speaking to another person quite loudly in the background). I said I would consider it and got off of the phone with her.

My initial issue with your company may have been the quality and usefulness of the products being sold, but after my first emails, it became an issue with your customer service. Frankly, you should never not respond to a customer. It makes your company appear as though it doesn't care about its customers, which are essentially why you have a business in the first place. Your response when I told you this yesterday was that you received over 7,000 orders in the month of December.

While I understand your plight, this is simply no excuse. Unfortunately for you, companies like Qtica/Zoya, Sephora, and even non-cosmetic companies such as clothing stores, etc., received a high volume of orders in the month of December. It is the holiday season; that is quite normal for that time of the year. I ordered from all of those companies and had no issue with contacting customer service and working out any possible issues with my order. Specifically, Qtica/Zoya is a small company such as yours, and received 10x the order volume you had in the span of 4 days. Myself and others had no issue contacting their customer service. This is how it should be. It's the holiday season, you have to prepare accordingly and cannot fall back on the excuse of being understaffed. Maybe you should not have run the sale if you did not have the appropriate amount of team members?

The point of all of this is the following: I have a blog. On said blog, I have over 400 regular followers and 28,000 page hits. I am also on the front page of Google on many of my blog posts. I blogged about the customer service issue with your company, got a high response, and also had other people relating their own issues with your company and it's service. Bad customer service spreads like wildfire on the internet. People WILL hear about it. No one wants to order from a company that doesn't care about it's customers. In today's world of fast paced technology and communication, you have to keep your company to a certain standard of customer service and a customer should never be allowed to be treated how I was treated.

I would have been happy at the onset of the issue to exchange the brushes for others, thinking that maybe I read your descriptions wrong and selected the wrong brushes. After being ignored numerous times, I no longer wanted any of your company's products. You essentially have lost me as a customer, and therefore my money, and quite possibly anyone else's who comes across my page or one of the other people that have had problems with your company. Just the other day, I read a story where someone ordered around the same time I did, and as of yesterday's date had not received their items... nor a shipping confirmation. Are you aware that in the United States, regulations force a company to ensure that a customer receives their items within 30 days from the date of purchase, or the customer is allowed a full refund? I made sure they knew that.

All of this is adding up to me trying to tell you that you need to have a look into your company's practices and who you hire. The woman that called me on the phone on January 28 was one of the most unprofessional people I have ever spoken to from a company. You never call someone not knowing who you're calling (she referred to me as "Allie Cosmetics") and you certainly don't read up on the issue at hand before calling them... that would have saved her repeatedly putting me on hold to check with who I am assuming is a supervisor. If she was looking to a supervisor for help, maybe the supervisor should have been the one to call me? Having untrained and unprepared customer service reps also makes your company look bad. All employees need to be knowledgeable about the products; and further, need to have read up on a customer's issue before calling them completely clueless.

I apologize for this being lengthy -- but I feel like as the owner of Crown Brush, you are owed a full explanation of what your company is doing wrong. I hope that you can take in some of the words I've written to you and reconsider how you are running your business. I also urge you to research on the internet some of these customers that have been left in the dark by your lack of customer service. You'd be surprised how many of them there are.

Good luck,
Wendy
UPDATE: 10:30 AM on 2/17/2011:
I received a response email already from the owner. He completely misunderstands my angle and probably barely read the email. His justification is that no matter what, you will have unsatisfied customers. Sounds very familiar... I'm sensing some "Sleek" attitude in this. What a joke. He's issuing me a refund and letting me keep the products, but I'm gonna stick them in a cheap envelope and send them back anyway!


Wendy,
I appreciate your email, but I just want to resolve your order. We have been in business for over 30 years and trust me orders and emails get lost and delayed form time to time. Honestly the surge of orders we had during the month of December was like nothing we have ever seen. We did our best to complete each order and answer each questions as quickly and best as we could. I realize that there were some mistakes made during this process and some unhappy customers. One thing that I realized in this business is that you can be giving out free gold and your still going to have a few unhappy customers. We just do our best and if there is a problem, try to solve it in a manner that is satisfying to the everyone.
I will be more than happy to refund you and even take it a step further to complete this transaction as quickly as possible. Please keep the product you purchased and do with it as you wish. I will make a full refund on your order and we will consider this matter closed. The refund will take place today and will take up to 2 business days to post on your account.
Thank you
Dan Barajas
Crown Brush

31 comments:

  1. great letter!! I can not wait to hear their response to that!

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  2. woo! you tell them! great job Cydonian :)
    i wonder if he'll give you a reply to this rather lengthy email... yes i read the whole thing and i think you're layed it out very well. bad customer service is a big no no to me

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  3. I updated the post with their response, ladies :)

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  4. Geez. Sure makes me want to buy from Crown. <>

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  5. what an a*s :D what a rubbish customer service. why did he have to tell you again about the high volume of orders he had? is that your problem? thank god for internet. this way you can easily spread the word about shi&&y companies.

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  6. You can't lose emails, the internet simply doesn't work that way. You can send an email to the wrong address (though with a business they should have their system set up so any email sent to the domain, even if said email address doesn't actually exist, it's redirected to a catch-all account), you can have a full inbox (though, in this case you should get a kick back email that tells you your email couldn't be delivered, and usually tells you why), and many people seem to have legitimate emails end up in spam boxes (which shouldn't be the case for a business like this). But you can't just lose an email.

    I was one of those people who emailed Crown during December. Kandi had that promo for a brush set, and it was suppose to be open internationally but you had to email them. I never received a reply, and I did email them a few times.

    Excellent post, thanks for sharing your experience, and your emails.

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  7. @Cosmetics: I know, doesn't it? That's my intention now, to get the word out.

    @birminghamlady: I know! I can't say it enough times. I feel like my breath was wasted in that email...

    @Lolli: I totally agree with you. Emails don't just disappear. It's like Sleek saying they weren't receiving them... no, they were just lazy and let things back up to where they couldn't tell which they had answered. 7,000 orders is NO excuse. As I said, why run the sale if you can't handle it? Cry some more to me, why don't you?

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  8. You email was not a waste because it's here (posted)now and forever, for all the world to see if they want. Good letter, crappy answer from the company.

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  9. This is lengthy but well written. Your email and your responses can education someone that you shouldn't be taken for granted. Thank you for letting us know whats going on.

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  10. Unbelievable... You make a series of mistakes and instead of accepting them and apologizing to the customer, you say things like that? :/

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  11. @Mrs. D: No no no, crappy company :)

    @Saroun: Thank you for reading all of it! I can get so wordy... this just seems like common sense to me. How can you treat a customer that way and then have the gall to tell me that I just fell through the cracks? Well, guess you're company is "falling through the cracks" for me because I'll never order again. I will also tell every single person I can not to as well.

    @Stavroula: I know! And the whole lost email thing? WHAT BS! They sure as hell got the one when I threatened to file a dispute... how magical. They responded anytime I threatened with that! Their lack of apology sounds like Sleek...

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  12. I wonder why they thought you were allie cosmetics, you know who that is right? a youtube guru.

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  13. similar story I had with coastal scents, I bought their brushes years back and many of them were terrible, and when I wrote negative reviews on their website the reviews were removed. Makes you wonder how they conduct their business. Since then I am very skeptical of companies that youtube guru's talk on and on about, you gotta research stuff yourself and take everything with a grain of salt. And as you said, negative press travels fast.

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  14. awesome letter from you! wow, they are so unprofessional, didn't even TRY. these jokes must be stuck in the 1950s

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  15. I'll ask you to write my letter if I have any problems with an order. lol
    Good job!

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  16. ...Wow.
    Ok firstly I bought some crown brushes before and really liked them, and was considering buying more. Even after you had your crap experience I was still debating, because I figured maybe UK would have different Customer Service and things.
    Your email to him was really perfect. You explained your problems with the company, actually offered very sensible advice and were still really polite considering how awful this company have been.
    And Before I read his response I was thinking 'well at least they sorted it out and Wendy got her refund!'
    But his letter to you is just... awful!
    Not only is it excuse after excuse but it actually sort of insinuates you're just making a fuss 'you can be giving out free gold and your still going to have a few unhappy customers'. He completely ignores the problems you had with customer service, the unprofessionalism you encountered on the phone cannot be excused by lost emails and numerous orders! But most of all I HATE the first line:
    'I appreciate your email, but I just want to resolve your order'. In other words 'I don't care what you have to say, I just want you to shut up and go away'. I mean how unprofessional can you get to ACTUALLY say something like that? You took the time to write a pretty lengthy email completely explaining your problems and advising the company, and he just couldn't give a toss could he? Ugh god I am so so mad!

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  17. They've been in business for over 30 years?? I highly doubt that, especially with products and customer service like they have...Psh, at least it'll be done now!

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  18. @Justine: Is it? How weird... I guess she must have ordered through them and the person had the wrong order window up? Thing is, I hadn't heard much about the company, I just knew they existed and had cheap brushes in all honesty. I didn't know it would blow up into THIS.

    @socialitedreams: Yep! But you know, whatever, he can burn his own company's ship right down and sink it for all I care. That's basically what they are doing anyway.

    @Ida Pie: LOL thanks! Anytime! I like to put my temper to good use!

    @Lillian: You pretty much NAILED exactly what I was thinking but unwilling/too lazy to actually post. His email said exactly that to me as well. "I just want to resolve your order" = I don't care. I am really disgusted by this company. Not only do they pay people to review their products positively (found a review earlier where the brushes shed on the girl and she was like "BUT IT'S OKAY, I LOVE THEM")... their just a shady company. I didn't have a problem with the brushes except the scratchy blush brush and the stippler (which was fantastic except for the shedding), but once they started treating me like that... I said eff this and didn't want my stuff anymore.

    @Kimmie: Yeah, I call shenanigans on that. If they were in business for 30 years, why can't they handle 7,000 orders? Yeah, right.

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  19. Holy spelling errors Batman! Their = they're

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  20. Guess who's never gonna buy from Crown Brushes? Everyone who reads this! :P Honestly, if you're the president of the company and can't handle a customer service issue gracefully (or, in fact, even use proper grammar--way to use the wrong your/you're there, buddy!), you make your company look AWFUL.

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  21. Shit happens, true. You should NOT use it as an excuse. For example, at my restaurant, we were fully booked every open day in December for diners, cramming in at least twice as many people, reorganising the entire layout at least twice a day, working with a new menu, using new staff and dealing with utter dickheads in the process - and that's aside from walk-in customers and drinkers which was a lot of people, as you can imagine. And guess what - some shit got fucked up. On the whole we did awesomely, but still, a few things happened, some people complained. You listen. You NEVER justify - Oh, we were busy, oh, we were sick... yeah, customers don't give a shit. They want an assurance, an apology, and belief that you'll do what you can to get their business again. I.e., when one woman complained, even though it was her fault (she fucked up her pre-order), we replied 'I'm so sorry to hear X. We really appreciate your feedback. The offending item is taken off the bill and you have a free dinner for two on us next month.' Shitty.... shit people!

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  22. gosh... losing emails? how the heck? it's uber impossible!!!

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  23. Actually...it is possible to lose emails, just as it's possible for databases to become corrupt. It's not at all common, even if the mail server is poorly configured or maintained; but it becomes more likely when there's a flood of activity on a given network or server. Even with activity spikes, though, losing emails is fairly rare. Any time it happens, the users / owners of said server should be all over their IT team / network admins to get the matter resolved.

    And it should never be used to justify or mitigate craptacular customer service. It's on par with "the dog ate my homework". (Well, then, you fecking well re-do your homework, and then start feeding your dog properly / upgrade your infrastructure.)

    His dismissive attitude in that first sentence says quite a lot about him....and it isn't good.

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  24. @Kellee: YES. I'm going to make sure of that. I've already linked this post to a couple of people on other blogs that have had issues that haven't been resolved!

    @Robyn: Word. You're exactly right. I've worked retail (not a restaurant but still shit happens) and I've bent over backwards to accommodate customers before... whether it was calling every store in the area to see if they had something we were sold out of, etc. I've even paid for shipping costs MYSELF because a little old lady customer drove an hour to our store, and my manager told her we had something in stock that we definitely did not... I special ordered it for her and covered the shipping cost because I felt bad that she put herself out like that. You just do it. It's called good service. This asshole is just making excuses, and his attitude trickles down to his employees... you can tell.

    @angelamhiere: hahahaha... the age old excuse... but oh, they got the one about a credit card dispute!

    @LiAnn: Oh, I know how IT works... it happens. It's happened at my law firm a few times. Someone has sent something, the server was hungry and ate it. But I mean... both times that I re-threatened the dispute they suddenly called me. How weird. My husband said that a dispute costs them LOADS of money which is why they were jumping trying to help me...

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  25. Oh, yes - enough disputes from customers (indicating high risk), and their merchant account may be shut down. And if that happens, a business is going to have a HELL of a time trying to process payments. And if they do most of their business online, they have to be able to accept payments from more than just Paypal, or they start to lose their revenue stream.

    It's really really sad that people have to resort to credit card disputes to get companys' attentions. They should start paying attention LONG before that point.

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  26. Glad to find out the quality isn't that great as I've heard lots of raves about these brushes. And crappy customer service is never good! Good on you to take the time to pull them up on it!

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  27. Yup! They have the worst customer service ever. I ordered the limited edition Enkore Brush Set a few weeks ago & I was unhappy with a few of the brushes because they were shedding like cats & dogs. I emailed them & you can sense the attitude that they give off! I've been emailing back & forth & I feel like I just want to come out of their computer screen & punch straight in the nose! They also told me the office would contact me to receive the defective brushes & they NEVER did.

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  28. @LayFilio: Just file a dispute with your credit card company. That's what I did and it got their attention real quick. The cc company can dismiss it later, but it costs the company money. Maybe if enough people do it, they'll get the friggin' hint that their cs sucks!

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  29. I hate when a company clearly doesn't read your email. I had that issue with elf. They wrote me back asking for info that I'd given them in the original email. WTF?

    Plus, I found that line about 'giving out free gold' condescending in the worst way. They didn't offer you *great service* while you complained, though that's what that seems to imply. They offered you cruddy service and cruddy products... Crap on top of crap.

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