Well people, it’s embarrassing to admit this but – I’ve been the victim of a very shoddy Chinese company. I’ve decided to blog on my experience because I am sooooooooooooooo annoyed. Here’s what happened.
A friend of mine has always wanted the Tiffany solid pentagram-shaped silver keyring. And I’ve always fancied the Elsa Peretti silver mesh earrings. Being stuck in rural New Zealand, I can’t exactly wander down to my local Tiffany & Co. Over the years, I’ve been given some Tiffany items and bought things myself, so I’m very aware of what Tiffany jewellery should look and feel like.
I don’t usually order stuff off the internet because I’m paranoid about being ripped off. If I do order, it’s from reputable sites like Amazon or Strawberrynet. However, I thought I’d search for what Tiffany & Co might sell online and came across a site that I genuinely believed was a Tiffany outlet – rather like designer brands have outlet stores.
Here’s the site. Same distinctive Tiffany blue colour and use of the name Tiffany & Co. I spent time looking at the items and they seemed genuine. No sign of it being a non-American site – it even refers to the US Postal Service. I located the pentagram keyring and mesh earrings and I read the customer feedback. All glowing – but that’s because (as I now know) the people behind the site moderate comments and don’t seem to allow negative feedback to be posted.
So I ordered – here are the screenshots of the two items.
The site very clearly stated that I qualified for free shipping and that my order came to a total of $US65.20. The two photos below show what I received:
Notice anything? The keyring is NOT what I ordered and the earrings don’t have the solid silver ball at the top. The items arrived in what looked like the distinctive blue box Tiffany & Co use as well as the soft blue pouches Tiffany use.
But…and this is when I became alarmed….the invoice had Chinese characters on it and the items were frankly shoddy CRAP encased in equally shoddy cheap, clear plastic pockets.
To add salt to the wound, my credit card had been charged the shipping fee!!
I immediately sent an email (using the Contact Us tab) but…and here’s the interesting thing…on trying to send the email, the system asks you for a validation code but I could not see or find any validation code. One therefore assumes they don’t want you to contact them?
I then found an email address and emailed directly from my business email. A series of emails flew back and forth and have ultimately led to this post.
This is what transpired:
- they ended up admitting that they did not have the solid pentagram keyring in stock and took it upon themselves to send the star-shaped one instead. I reminded them that it says on their website that the pentagram keyring is IN STOCK and, if it’s not, they should therefore take it down from their site or say “Not in Stock”;
- they refused to comment on why the earrings that I received were not the same as the ones I ordered from the site ie the silver ball at the top of the earring was missing;
- their excuse about charging me for shipping? They said it only applied to Christmas 2010 orders. I pointed out that this was six months ago and their excuse was “oh website problems, sorry”. They did offer to refund $US15.00 but what’s the point of this?
- I then requested a full refund. The keyring is useless as it’s not the pentagram shape and the earrings are not as described on the site. And frankly, the two items are very clearly CHEAP CRAP. They have remained silent since this request.
- I have sent them two further emails requesting a refund and courtesy of response – nothing. I told them I would be blogging and using social media to expose their lack of customer service and shoddy goods. No response.
How is it that the real Tiffany & Co doesn’t sue these dudes assess off? The site is pretty clever at giving you some degree of comfort when it says: “We are officially licensed by Tiffany outlet sales distributor”. But it’s vague information, obviously designed to lure in the unsuspecting.
Sad to say dear reader that I have been duped. You’ve been warned – DON’T USE TIFFANY OUTLET. They will simply take your money and run, whilst you end up with cheap and nasty goods made in China.
UPDATE: quite a few readers have privately emailed me saying good on me for telling you about this shonky lot. They didn’t want to give away to Tiffany Outlet how you can spot them as being shonky from the website.
FURTHER UPDATE: Yeehah! Tiffany Outlet is having their asses sued by the real Tiffany. Read my latest post.