Wednesday, 10 January 2018
Why I won't online order from an Estée Lauder company again.
And why I'll avoid anything shipped with UPS, also, but at least they came through in the end, whilst M.A.C has been disappointing AF.
This is what happened.
On January 2nd I decided to profit from the free shipping on the M.A.C website to place an order for their Pure White pigment. I had a discount code, which didn't work, but I figured that shipping was already free. And because a lot of pigments (and other products) were sold out, and it'd be more expensive to have the discount but no free shipping, I decided to let that slide instead of contacting customer service.
The only reason I'm mentioning the disfunct code is because the site is full of bugs, and this is just bug nr 1.
Bug nr 2 appeared when I tried to log into my account. I had to refresh each page to do with my account three times, because it kept giving me a “no access error”.
But hey, I finally logged in, chose a free sample, and paid for my order via PayPal. I figured all would be well.
On Friday, January 5, I received an email from M.A.C stating my order had shipped. Normally, this means that the order will arrive that day, so I checked the tracker.
And noticed that there was an issue with my address, apparently UPS didn't have my house number.
Queue confusion on my part, because this was not the first time I have ordered from M.A.C. Sure, I don't buy from them a ton, but I place a handful of orders a year. That and UPS is here at least once a month, so my address is definitely on file with them.
BUT apparently UPS is not like other delivery companies, such as DHL, PostNL or B-post, who will in a case like this just feed what info they do have into the computer and correct the address themselves.
No, UPS just sits on it's arse and does nothing, but alert people via the tracker.
So I contacted UPS Help in twitter DM (because no way am I putting address details online). And emailed M.A.C to let them know and ask them to contact UPS.
They asked for my phone number, I provided this to them.
Basically what happened was that they refused to change the address because I'm not the sender.
I did double check the “your order is shipped” email from M.A.C and noticed that there was indeed no house number. Which was bizar, because I make it a habit to triple check all my address data before I place an order. Even with a company from whom I've ordered before.
So I go to the M.A.C site, try to log in, which took forever thanks to bug nr 2 and discovered that (and this brings us to bug nr 3) my house number was gone.
I asked 4 friends to check their accounts and same thing with them. No more house number.
So if you have an online account with M.A.C Belgium, go and check and edit your address to add your house number if needed! (Let me know in the comments if you had to fix yours!).
In the mean time I had gotten zero response from M.A.C, but knowing they can be a bit slow to respond, I decided to call them (because twitter was not giving me any response either).
The lady I spoke to on the phone was very friendly, and very perplexed because apparently she couldn't look up an order via an order number (bug nr 4!). She asked for my UPS tracking, was equally baffled by the entire affair, wrote down my email and promised to call UPS as soon as we hung up and mail me asap. Which she did. She also asked me for my order number again to pass it to the correct department, as she wanted to talk to them about the site bugs. I provided it to her, and for a moment everything seemed ok.
I tried to get UPS to confirm my address to me, to make sure that they indeed had everything sorted. Which they not only point blank refused to do. No, the UPS Help staff proceeded to troll me. Every time I asked something, they would troll me and refuse to give a clear answer other than “your package will be delivered on Monday the 8th”.
Note how they didn't actually update my house number in my file 'till past 8pm, even though they received the information before 2pm.
On Monday the 8th the tracker was set to “sceduled delivery today” but it never listed the package as actually being loaded unto the a delivery vehicle.
I got an email from someone else from M.A.C, “thanking me for my cooperation”. Basically, I felt like I was being massively talked down to in that email because at that point, M.A.C hadn't even apologised for the inconvinience.
At this point it is worth noting that my friend Marie is in the EXACT same situation as I am, but she's still waiting for her order, which she placed in December...
And not right at the tail end of December either, I think it's been 3 weeks for her now. No proper response from M.A.C, and when she FINALLY got someone on the phone, she got told it's all her fault. Classy M.A.C, NOT. Completely unacceptable. Of course, M.A.C is closing ranks and claiming her case is being handled appropriately. I would dread to think what they think is handling a case inappropriately!
Anyway, when I got that email, I was pretty hackled. So I wrote a polite email back, saying what exactly annoyed me about the entire situation. I expected nothing to come from it. BUT the girl that had emailed me rang me, and was very friendly. She did apologise for the entire situation, and said that if my package didn't arrive this day, she'd call UPS the next morning and if needed be, send me a form to fill in and sign so I could get a refund asap. She also took my tracking number (which I had already given to her colleague, so it should have been on file, but ok, I didn't mind).
Unsurprisingly, my package did not arrive.
So I took to UPS Help once again, who of course, decided that the right course of action was to troll me. To which I responded that I could just go to the cops and file a theft complaint. At that point they told me someone would ring me the next day.
Someone did ring me, to tell me that they had no clue what was going on and that someone else from the department where my package was would ring me later that day...
She was unlucky enough to have to listen to me complain about how people are treated by UPS Help on twitter, I'm pretty sure she'll do nothing with it, but hey, at least I pointed it out to someone on staff at UPS who deals with customers.
About 15 minutes later I was called by another UPS official. In French.
I'm a Dutch speaker. And I'm not confident enough in my knowledge of French to handle anything sembling a business call. Luckily his Dutch was better than my French. He also had no clue, but he'd chase people up, and then call me back.
And here's the tricky thing. I requested to be emailed, because our landline phone wouldn't properly charge and so I couldn't call long. And he said, and I quote “we don't handle this kind of thing over email”.
So I can't help but wonder: why not? What are you trying to make sure can't be proven because it's been written down? That aside, I wasn't called back again.
I did hear back from the girl at M.A.C, who indeed provided me with aforementioned form. And it was not the kind of “fill in your order number and sign it off” file I had expected. No, I was told I was to provide a copy of my ID.
That thing that contains personal information M.A.C has no business with.
Legally this is a tricky matter, because they are allowed to ask for it, BUT the privacy law very much is on the side of the customer here because a customer is legally permitted to REFUSE to give out this information.
(Btw the file read “ID or driver's licence”, something that was neglected a mention in the email, probably an ID is much more valuable in datamining purposes).
So I drew the line rather firmly there and pointed out I would open a PayPal dispute. To which I got another, much pushier email to try to talk me into signing the file and then just not provide the ID info.
I stuck to my guns, told them I would go with PayPal and requested the matter not be pushed further.
This morning, Wednesday the 10th, I noticed that UPS had found my package, loaded it on a truck and it would be delivered today. So I emailed the girl at M.A.C and told her that if this would indeed be the case, I would of course immediately cancel my PayPal dispute. Fair is fair.
I figured that'd be that. If the package arrived, the dispute would be cancelled. If it really was lost, the dispute would stay and PayPal would side with me because I could prove it had gotten lost.
You'd think that would be the end, but you'd be very, very wrong.
A few hours later, whilst I was quietly minding my own business, I received a phonecall. From the girl at M.A.C. Who even though the package would be delivered that day, still tried to get me to fork over that paperwork...
I can only describe this as corporate bullying.
When she noticed I was getting really upset, she didn't apologise, no she upped the enté. In the end I had to hang up and block her phone number to make sure I'd be left alone.
I think that M.A.C went way too far in this. Sure, legally they were allowed to ask, but when I said no, they should have left it at that. And they really should NOT have called me up on the day of delivery to still get information from me that they knew I wasn't comfortable with sharing. In a matter I had explictly requested to be dropped. This is bullying for the sake of datamining, plain and simple.
And this isn't the first time an Estée Lauder company has been very pushy in an attempt to receive personal information. Last year, in the Glamglow case, they tried to get me to give them access to my FULL medical records in a pushy and underhand way. Which is also very much NOT ok.
I have lost all my respect for Estée Lauder as a company at this point.
If I had the luxury of perfect skin that never reacted badly, I would use up the products I have that fall under the Lauder umbrella and then replace them with other brands. But sadly I can't risk another Glamglow style reaction.
So what I'll do is NEVER order online from any of their companies again, I will request M.A.C delete my account from their store data and I will never again register a product I buy from their stores.
I will NOT buy any new releases, only ever replace something I've finished, and where possible, I will find an alternative.
I can easily switch to another brand for products like eye shadows, so not even my beloved Amber Lights will be replaced again, I'll find a dupe somewhere else.
UPS I'm very much displeased with, but at least they came through for me in the end. M.A.C just disappointed over the whole line.
Mind you, I will still be extremely weary about ordering something that is shipped to me via UPS.
But at least in the end, they did their job.
EDIT: Estée Lauder left me a message on FB with the request to send a detailed email to an email address. And my contact information. Which they have. I told them I would indeed email them, and I pointed out they have my contact information.
I have sent that email, and linked to this post (because I'm pretty sure people can click a link) and pointed out they could reach me at the address I was mailing them with, as I have zero interest in another phone call (I really, honest to god don't).
We'll see what happens.
I'm pretty sure that some customer care person in the US is going to be very confused why they suddenly got a Belgian matter to deal with, but that's not my problem. I'll be curious to see what they say, if they reply at all.