It started simply enough… I had a bit of extra money and figured I’d go ahead and subscribe to Allure’s beauty box and add them to my growing list of subscriptions. The April box looked great, but by the time I made it to Allure’s site, it looked like May was going to be my first month. I shrugged it off and ordered anyway. That was on April 07.
Now, at the time folks were just starting to post unboxings of their April boxes. There would be no spoilers for the May box for more than a week. As far as I could tell, there had not been any purchasing frenzy for the May Allure beauty Box, and I called up customer service to confirm that my first box would be shipped out close to May 1, and I would not be charged. (At the time, my card had been charged, and the charge had gone through. I wanted to be sure I wouldn’t be double charged once they started billing for May if I wasn’t going to get a box before then.) Customer service confirmed… I’d be getting a box in May and would not be double charged. Spiffy. We were good to go.
I watched with everyone else as the spoilers were slowly revealed, and I was utterly psyched that my first box would include some amazing products. This is an amazing box– likely the best I’ve seen revealed for Allure!
Then I got home last night and checked Reddit.
My heart sank. It was far too late to call customer service since I’d been out all day. (My daughter’s dance recital is later today, and we were at rehearsal last night.) Still, I saw where one user had placed an order on April 08, and her account showed active and she was supposed to get the May box. I was feeling a little bit better since my order was placed the day before, but I wanted to be sure.
So I called today. Sure enough, the customer service rep told me I wouldn’t be getting the May box. I’d be getting the June box. There’d been no prior notification. They’d oversold the May box and had just found out yesterday.
What. The. Actual. Fark? (My apologies to Drew and Fark.com. You don’t deserve to get dragged into this.) How do you run a company like this? And this isn’t some overnight startup. This is Allure!
So let me get this straight… There was no actual knowledge of the number of boxes they’d have available so that they could cut off orders. They kept selling and charging money for nearly a full month for a product folks wouldn’t be getting before they realized they didn’t have any? And when they DID realize they were out, they left it up to customers to call in to find out whether or not they’d get the box without actually issuing any real other communications? That’s completely unacceptable. That’s NOT how you run a company.
I get that there was a rush on the boxes after the Foreo spoilers were announced– particularly on April 22nd. Folks were ordering two and three boxes at the time. I get that boxes might have sold out at that point and that it might have not been caught immediately. But again… My subscription was purchased on April 07– before the spoilers and before the April 22nd rush.
Now I’m wondering if I’m going to get a June box. What if they’ve already sold out of those, too? If I don’t get a June box, am I going to get a July box? What about an August box? Meanwhile, do I dispute the charge to my credit card? How do I know I’ll get a refund? I have 30 days to dispute a charge. That means that if I don’t have a product in my hands by May 07, then I don’t know that I’ll ever have one or get my money back. Why not just refund me the money and charge me when you have a box you know you can send me? According to customer service, that’s just not how billing works for the first box. So if you don’t get a first box, are you then screwed? I don’t have any prior experience with this company, and so far my ONLY experience is that I won’t get something I was promised and paid for. Again… That’s NOT how you run a company.
I was offered the February box or the January box or a “free gift” (whatever that is) to make up for me not getting the box I paid for, but I’m still at a loss, and this is honestly not the fault of that poor girl behind a customer service call center phone. I feel bad just asking her to fix it when Allure should have had their stuff together from the start. How would I know I’ll get any of it, promised or not? My trust as a customer is shot after just one experience because the ONLY experience I have is that I pay for things and don’t get them. How does a company regain that trust? A better response would be to refund all the boxes that were billed and then to instead bill those accounts once a box has been shipped. Why not do that? Why is it acceptable to say that’s just not how it’s done?
Better question… How do smaller, lesser known companies have this whole subscription box thing down and are able to handle these situations better than a company as established as Allure? Even Sephora with their waitlist craziness doesn’t bill new customers until they’re ready to ship.