Photo Credit: Robin Dayley/Dayley Photography
There is nothing I am more passionate about then protecting my clients from victimization. I see it everyday during the closet purge, women that were convinced by a sales associate that they just had to have some overpriced, wrong colored, ill fitting garment. Is making that few dollars commission worth a lie? Not to me. I worked retail for two weeks when I was 15-years-old. I quit because they wanted me to push and sell people things they don't need. They were so confused by my need to please the customer, not the corporation. I am not here to sell, I am here to help. I am not interested in deceit.
On that note, I recently checked out JewelMint.com made popular by Kate Bosworth. I did my usual pop over and evaluated the website. Fresh and clean layout, clear pictures of cute items, good prices (if the quality is there), and free shipping. With my tight schedule, I am zipping through clothing and websites. An online retailer has little time to make an impression and I never give a second glance to fashion websites that charge shipping (that's how Gilt lost me). Jewel Mint passed my speedy once over. I pick two items worth wearing. I received them timely in cute boxes. They are stylish enough and the rings I bought even make it into two of my photo shoots.
This week I return from London and look at my American Express account to check out how much damage the pound sterling has done to me. As I browse my purchases, I see Jewel Mint has charged me $29.99. I call in to correct the mistake. The purchase I made was in April. It turns out when I made that purchase in April I was enrolled into a monthly subscription, and this is the second month I have been charged. I felt stupid and the Jewel Mint's customer service made sure I felt stupid. They explain it is written everywhere. I believe her and assume the French wine I favor has taken it's toll on me. I explain how stupid I feel, and request a refund as I don't have any foreseeable plans to use Jewel Mint again. I am trying not to react to her already biting tone. When she informs me that the charges are non-refundable, I explain how quickly I shop and did not understand that I had signed up for a subscription. She gets snide and offers me a $9.99 credit which affords me nothing on the site. Just another ploy for me to spend more money with them. I decline the credit.
I tell her to inform Jewel Mint's PR team that a negative review will be written. She seemed pleased with this information and asked if there was anything else I would like. I said, no. We parted the proverbial ways. Although angered by her treating me like an absolute fool, I assume I was one. I did just yesterday leave my groceries in the back of my car for three hours. The goat cheese didn't make it.
I go back to jewelmint.com and start fresh. I type in the url and wait for "Jewelry Subscription" to blast across the homepage. Rude Jewel Mint Phone Woman did tell me it was written everywhere, yet absolutely nothing of the subscription is stated on the home page. I sign up and take the little fashion quiz - nothing is written about a subscription. I receive an e-mail about the great pieces they get monthly, but again, mention nothing of a subscription or that I will be charged monthly. Ok. So, I pick the first cute pair of earrings I see and head to checkout and look for what Rude Jewel Mint Phone Woman was talking about. Nothing of the subscription is noted. And then I scroll to the bottom of the page... in the finest light grey print it says that if I purchase this pair of earrings I will have signed up for a subscription and will be charged $29.99 every month. I no longer feel stupid. Well, the whole grocery fiasco makes me feel like a royal idiot, but Rude Jewel Mint Phone Woman is wrong. Even when deserved, I look down on rudeness, but when it is unwarranted, I become incensed. There is no need to make me feel like a fool when anyone could make this kind of mistake. I realize now she must get calls like this every minute. Hence the crankiness.
I am horrified by this incident for a few reasons. First, I expect and almost welcome a rip-off in a foreign country's street markets. They need the money more than I. I do not expect Kate Bosworth's jewelry company to deceive me. When you first sign up for Jewel Mint they send you e-mails to get you to buy. Once you buy and discreetly sign up for a monthly subscription, they no longer send you anything. Perhaps to let those monthly charges go by quietly. I have zero tolerance for such non-sense. It is not the money, it is the disrespect. Jewel Mint and its sister companies is what gives online shopping a bad name. This is why I stick to the same online stops over and over again. They have my trust. Trust is invaluable. Trust is why my business is successful. I believe in my services and I am more than open. I charge by the hour and often give free time. I wish more businesses would as honest and generous.
What companies do you trust? Please, share in a comment below.