Thursday, March 31, 2016

Fashion Valet Shopping Disaster: I was cheated off RM233 to receive a RM2 credit refund

**Update** (read below)

Few days ago I bought a dress from Fashion Valet in Bangsar Village II, it looked really unique and having tried on briefly, I went to the counter to ask for a smaller size (it was L size). As my luck would have it, it was the last piece and while at the counter I read this note written clearly that they have a return policy if you bring back within 7 days. I was rushing for a lunch appointment, so I made the payment and decided that if I really didn't like the dress, I could always come back and return it.

fashion valet

The next morning before heading to work, I took it out of its paper bag and tried it on, and realised that underneath the natural sunlight, it looked really baggy on me and does nothing for my figure nor height (and I'm a tall person). So fast forward a few days to today, I brought the dress back to Bangsar hoping for a return and refund. Tags all on, unwashed and still in its original paper bag.

Little did I know that Fashion Valet has a no money refund policy despite their return policy. And though they stated on their online website, it was never stated in the store nor on the notice at the counter at all (I checked again just to be sure). This was not helpful to a customer who doesn't shop via their web portal at all.

But what went down in the shop on my attempt at returning the dress was a disaster.

This was an actual conversation that happened this afternoon.

N (me): Hi! I would like to return this.

S (sales girl): Sure! (good tone, immediate affirmative answer, definitely positive vibe)

N: Great. So you will refund the money?

S: Oh sorry. We don't refund the money. We can only let you exchange for another piece of clothing
of equal value or higher value.

N: Oh (taken aback), but what if I don't find anything I like in this shop now?

S: Well we can credit you the points into your online account. Do you have an online account with Fashion Valet.

N: No I don't. But I guess I can create one. When do the points expire?

S: Oh. You can use it anytime. Anytime at all. (indicating there's no expiry)

N: Oh okay. So I will get points? Credits?

S: Okay. When you create an account, you will have 1000 points. And then the system will multiply the points by 0.01, so you will have RM10 off your purchase.

N: How many points do I get if I return this item? (the dress was RM233)

S: We take 233 and multiply by 0.01, so you get RM2 credit in your account?

N: What?! (stunned for a while)  I think you have it reversed. It should be 233 divide by 0.01...

S: No no. (Very assured and immediate answer, cutting my sentence off) we multiply, so it is 233 multiply by 0.01. That's 2 ringgit credit.

N: SOooo you're telling me that if I return this RM233 dress, all I get is RM2 of online credit back?!

S: Yes. (Confident and immediate answer, with direct eye contact) 

N: Are you sure?

S: Yes.

N: Do you want to ask someone?

S: No. I'm sure.

N: Wait, wait. So you're saying that I give you RM233 and you give me RM2 back (with no product). Basically I'm giving you money for nothing! Free money!

S: Yes. (Again, very affirmative answer, with strong eye contact)

At this point I was staring at her so hard in the eye I thought my vision could pierce through her brain, while her colleague was indefinitely confused at the side, and seeing S replying to a customer (me) so confidently, she was doubting her own judgement, and went in to ask a superior for confirmation. She then come out to correct S, in a very unsurely tone.

I was so annoyed at this point I just want to get it over with. So ignoring the online credit option altogether (as I didn't have faith that S will issue me the correct credits and I honestly didn't want to come back to the shop to deal with her again), I decided to just exchange it for something in the shop even though I was in a rush.
However there was nothing in the shop that I like for this season. I was a Chinese surrounded by mostly muslimah clothing, on what occasions could I wear that?! The other pieces weren't so nice, despite my trying to like them. In the end I tried on two pieces that were RM159 and RM680 separately; THE ONLY TWO PIECES IN THE ENTIRE SHOP I CAN SEE MYSELF WEARING and sort of liked. First piece was at half the price, if I exchange for this piece, I couldn't get the rest refunded and the money will just burn.

SO I did the MOST RELUCTANT thing I ever DID in a fashion store, I top up another RM447 to get the RM680 dress, not because I love the dress (I liked it, but it wasn't love) or thought it was worth it, but because I felt that I was being undercut if otherwise. And I rather contribute to the designer of the dress than to let Fashion Valet earn most of the profits.

If I have to attribute anything at all, I would say this entire shopping experience was a complete nightmare and disaster, and I was forced to spend a whopping RM680 for something I didn't think was worth the price.

Will I ever return to Fashion Valet?


**Update** So the founder found this article and had his customer service team reached out to me (as you can read in the first comment). I liked the fact the actions were taken to redeem themselves. After a week of back and forth communication, I was given two choices: to return the dress (they offered to have it picked up instead of me returning it directly to the shop) and have full refund of RM680 OR they will refund the initial RM233 and let me keep the dress I bought.

Initially I really wanted to return the dress but then amidst being busy, I decided to keep the dress (it's kinda like having a 30% discount on the dress) because I did like the dress and I didn't want to bother them having to pick the dress up personally from me. I run a business myself so I know how troublesome it is at times to accommodate to just one customer. I'm happy something was done despite my feeling helpless during the incidence before writing this post. Their online customer service was definitely more helpful than their offline ones (storefronts). Perhaps Fashion Valet should practise their online customer service throughout their physical stores. So if you're ever in a pickle with them, I guess the best bet is to approach them online (sometimes I would have done if I knew). 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Friend Unfriended Me Because of A Comment I Left On Her Facebook

A friend recently decided to end a friendship based on a comment I left on her photo. 

It began innocently, I left a remark on one of her Facebook photos commenting that her eyes seem unusually big, and to quote (in case you think I’m exaggerating), I wrote: "nice hair but your eyes seem unusually big.”

Which was an honest comment; my thought initially was that it could be the photo looking skewered, or maybe it was one of those beauty app blown up mistake (which is common). Heck, I myself played with beauty apps all the time. They’re fun, makes you look amazing and imo intriguing to no ends with all those make-up features. But she completely took it the wrong way, deleted my comment and wrote me a personal message that we’re no longer friends and she didn’t need to justify herself, and implied that my comment could potentially ruin her Sunday. 

It left me dumbfounded. Here was a friend whom I have enjoyed time and conversations with when we first met, have known for more than 8 years, whom I have congratulated on her wedding and the births of her children, and who is a modern mother of two. They did say mothers “should" be incredibly loving, kind and patient beings. 

The first thought that hit me was: "Wow! How insecure do you have to be to act this way?"

Which made little sense. After all, her fb is filled with photos of her travels to countries across the world, numerous times a year, more often than not in extravagant and expensive hotels and resorts. Works in an amazing job with an amazing company, has a loving husband and two beautiful children. She must be so blissfully happy that nothing can tick her off, especially not a harmless comment on fb, right? 

Or maybe not?

Social media nowadays is filled with endless amount of beautiful alterated selfies, tons of gorgeous travel photos and successful career stories. It’s common knowledge that social media can easily portray the ideal life of a perfect bachelor, couple or marriage. Who doesn’t want to travel all year long, work in the best companies, dine in 3 michelin stars, get paid top money and surrounded by loving friends all at the same time? Truth is, real life can be pretty mundane, if not boring most of the time. 

For example, my everyday life can be summarised into these following routine: 6 am wake up, hiking (on weekdays), breakfast, shower, goes to work, finish work, browsing/reading, dinner (dine-in or out), chat, wash up. sleep. Repeat. 

I get the occasional vacations, maybe staycations somewhere near if I'm up for it. Otherwise, there isn’t anything interesting for me to share. And less prone to sharing when bad things happen. I definitely don’t share when I get cheated off money by big reputable companies who bully small business owners like myself; nor when my relatives pass away and the whole family go into mourning; nor the days when I feel lonely and emotional due to my menstrual cycle and I just want to hug myself and cry (ok fine, sometimes I do post an update or two ranting about it). However, generally I am happy with my life, despite hiccups here and there. 

So what goes on beyond the beautiful pictures and claims on social media is only known to each oneself. 99% of the time, the prettier the surface, the sadder the reality. 

Or maybe I'm just being judgemental. 
Then again I must have horrible taste in friends, after all, what kind of person consistently tells me that I can never afford the hotels and travel lifestyle she was/is used to whenever we brought up the topic of travelling (it was a common interest between us back in the days). Not once, not twice, but consistently, over a span of 8 years. 

Here was an actual conversation that carried out most recently (by recent I meant last year) when I asked about a specific hotel she has once stayed in during her travels to xx country. 

Me: Hey (let's called her Mrs X), how have you been? I saw you went to xXx. How was it? 
Mrs X: It was spectacular. I would stay in xXx but there is only one hotel there and it might be out of your budget. 

Wow. Where did that come from? Now call me sensitive, but this conversation was followed by many previous conversations that went similarly like this: 

Me: Let's go travel!

Mrs X: Yes let's! But I could never backpack, I cant do your style of travelling. At the very least I can flashback in boutique hotels. 
(I used to backpack, but that was well over 6 years ago! I had just got out of uni and was travelling for a few years. It's amazing how after so many years she still assume that I can never afford my own hotel room.)

Note that I have never once asked her to rough it out with me. I know who to choose my travel partner for those kind of trips. 

And nothing against backpacking, I think they're incredibly fun and the best way to meet amazing friends when you travel. But with age, it does get more difficult to sleep on buses and flat hard beds in a room full of people that's constantly noisy. My advice? Travel when you're young, when you're carefree and can afford to be; when you need not worry about life, work, kids, pets, business, etc and have the urgency to answer your calls or reply emails every 2 hours during your travels. 

Perhaps it is one of those unsolvable mysteries in life like the missing sock (what is it with socks and washing machine) and I may never get an answer to what exactly ticked this former friend off (instead of telling me nicely, you know, like a grown up);

and while I ponder and mourn for our non-existential friendship that prevailed only on Facebook, here's an unusually big-eyed photo of myself:

SK-II with Cate Blanchett _Nicolekiss

Monday, March 21, 2016

On My Off Day: Ragdoll Miruku

There's nothing more pleasing than spending the afternoon in oversized jumpers sitting in air-conditioned room doing unproductive things.

I was about to leave my desktop to read a book when I saw Miruku wandering around the standing mirror next to me. So I decided to grab my phone and sat on the floor with him for a few shots. Moments like this are to be cherished. 

Afternoon with miruku #ragdoll

Afternoon with miruku #ragdoll

Afternoon with miruku #ragdoll

Afternoon with miruku #ragdoll
He likes it when I stroke his lower back.