Let me begin by saying that USUALLY Priceline has given me excellent service over the years. The people who work there are always super polite and accommodating and I’ve usually loved going in there. My experience during their recent 40% off cosmetics has, however, completely altered my view of their company.
Again, let me emphasise that my issue is not with the employees in any way, shape or form. Everyone I dealt with throughout this complete fiasco was lovely and polite – it’s the company’s processes, especially with regards to online ordering, which I have been utterly disgusted with. So grab yourself a tea and let me tell you a really long-winded story!
I placed an online order with Priceline on March 22nd during the 40% off cosmetics sale. I made a pretty substantial order totalling over $100. I wasn’t sure I’d have time to get in store so I wanted to grab the items I most wanted online just in case I ended up working too long to stop by during the sale.
On March 24th, a day after the sale had finished, I got a notification that my order had shipped… missing two items for which I was refunded. I was baffled. Why had the online store showed them as having sufficient stock when clearly they didn’t? I was also pretty annoyed that I was being told this AFTER the sale had finished. I did end up getting time to go in store, so if I had known I could have picked up those missing items. I was a bit miffed but I shrugged it off. It happens, what can you do? No big deal.
On March 27th, a package from Priceline got delivered. Hooray! My excitement knew no bounds. I was super keen to blog my haul for you guys. I picked the box up and I was instantly puzzled. It felt far too heavy. I’d ordered a fair bit sure, but this seemed a bit over the top. I opened the box and my heart sank – sure enough, my pretty array of cosmetics was not present. Instead, I received four bottles of hand sanitiser. Wonderful. Appropriate given that at the time I was sick with the flu, but in my disappointment I failed to appreciate the humour and irony of the situation. I called customer service and they arrange a replacement order to be sent out.
March 31st, I got a notification that my replacement order had shipped. I was already frustrated that it had taken them FOUR DAYS to ship my replacement. I’m a beauty blogger – I needed that order to come in good time so I could update my followers in a timely fashion while there was a lot of hype around the Priceline hauls. I had now already well and truly missed the boat so I was pretty miffed. But then I looked closer at the order and, surprise surprise, it had shipped missing yet another item. I’d now missed out on three items I wanted to try. Wonderful.
I decided to call customer service and see what, if anything, they could do. I called, explained and the lady I spoke to was lovely. She told me that the items I missed out on were in stock according to her computer, so she would honour the sale price and refund the shipping cost if I placed a new order. I was thrilled. She told me that to do this, I would have to place an order for the three items and pay full price plus shipping and THEN they’d refund me the difference. I was less thrilled, but I decided to do as she suggested.
Now frankly at this stage warning bells should have been sounding. They told me that they wouldn’t refund me straight away but once the order shipped. I wasn’t happy about this, but again I was trying to be polite and understanding so I went with it. I placed the order, cringing at the full price cost plus shipping (which totalled over $60 just for the three items I missed – remember that my original order in the sale was only around the $100 mark). It occurred to me that this process was ridiculous. I could not, and still cannot, think of any other company I’ve dealt with (and bear in mind I deal with a LOT of different companies who deal with selling cosmetics) who operated in this way. Usually they’re aware that they’re the ones at fault, so usually they’d either just issue a discount code to use to honour the sale price, or they’d refund the difference straight away, or by this point they’d be recognising how much they’d already screwed me over and just offer to send the missing items at no cost.
But wait. It wasn’t over yet.
A notification came through on April 3rd that the order (now my third might I add) had shipped… missing two of the three items I ordered. I screamed internally but I was too busy with work to call during their customer service hours to chase it up.
April 4th I got a voicemail from customer service telling me that they’d launched an inquiry into what was going on with their stock and database and they’d let me know what was happening as soon as they could. I was annoyed as hell by this point but I was still too swamped with work to call them back and sort it out.
April 7th I finally had time to call them. Customer service immediately started telling me that they were waiting to hear back from the higher ups about what was going on with the stock. I, still polite despite the fact that I wanted to scream with frustration, told them not to worry about it as honestly it was just too hard and not worth my time over these last two items, but could they please refund the shipping cost and the difference to honour the sale price for the one item that did ship? They assured me they’d put it through to finance that day and get my refund issued. I thanked them, and hung up.
Fast-forward to today, April 13th. I have been working pretty much flat out (their customer service number is not open on weekends) and haven’t had time to call during their open hours. No refund has been issued despite it having almost been a week. Now officially fed up with the whole thing, I sent them an email pretty much outlining this whole process, much as I have for you guys here but in a much more concise and irate fashion. I asked them to refund the difference in price to honour the sale cost, as well as my shipping costs, for the one item that did ship so I can be done with this whole fiasco.
Naturally, being Easter long weekend, I won’t hear back from them until Tuesday at earliest. At this stage, I have not only missed out on two items, but I have also essentially paid $39.90 ($29.95 for the full priced cost of the item that shipped, plus $9.95 shipping) for an item which SHOULD have cost me $17.97 by the sale price.
Just to add insult to injury, I didn’t even like the bloody product when it did get here.
I understand that mistakes happen. I’m usually pretty forgiving of companies and businesses when they stuff up. Assuming that Priceline do actually get their shit together and refund me on Tuesday, it will have taken a total of 27 days from start to finish, plus two emails and seven phone calls for this whole process to be over. That’s the best-case scenario. 27 days, two emails, seven phone calls and two missing products.
In a world rife with retail competition, not good enough Priceline. Not even close to good enough.
What about you guys? What has been your worst shopping experience?
Update 18/4: Received an email from customer service today saying they had issued my refund. Hallelujah! Fingers crossed it processes soon.