Today, I had a really unfortunate interaction with West Elm, and thought my readers should be alerted to some rather dishonest policies they’re hiding from customers.
This story all started a couple weeks ago. We decided that it was finally time to replace our old couch, and after looking at literally hundreds of different L-shaped sectionals, we finally landed on the Paidge 2-Piece Chaise Sectional, pictured above. The pricetag was hefty, but we really liked the look of it, we wanted a quality piece, and we liked that West Elm promised this piece was made & assembled in America.
So we pushed “order,” and looked forward to our couch arriving in a few weeks.
Things started out as expected, then something weird happened. The charge for the couch started out as pending on our credit card, but after a few days, disappeared completely. Going to my order status page just revealed somewhat cryptically this message:
So I called customer service. When should I expect the charge to hit my credit card, I asked?
And they couldn’t tell me.
As the reps explained, the problem lies in the fact that my piece was being custom-built by a third party vendor. (Um…what?) This was news to me, but looking into the fine print, there is, in fact, a link to this video, which explains this product is actually made by “Mississippi Made Upholstery” under the West Elm name. Other than this video, this company doesn’t come up on Google at all, and is not referenced on WestElm.com.
And this rando vendor, they told me, will bill me whenever they deliver the product to West Elm’s warehouse. Which could be anywhere between now and April 12th. I don’t even know if the charge will come from West Elm or Mississippi Made Upholstery.
So, to recap, my credit card will suddenly get hit with a $2k+ charge sometime between now and APRIL, and I’ll have no warning or clue when this is likely to happen.
I don’t know about you guys but I find that completely unacceptable. When you click “order” on an e-commerce website, you expect that you’ll be charged immediately, not at some unknown point in time in the next three months. How could anyone plan their budget if they never know when a charge is expected to appear?
Also, as I wrote about recently, I’m currently in the middle of a round of minimum spending to earn the bonuses for my two new Southwest credit cards. We specifically timed the couch purchase to help us earn our Companion Pass status for 2017-2018. Now that the charge is delayed, who knows when we’ll reach our status for this year.
I asked if they could go ahead and charge me immediately, and they refused. I pointed out that this bizarre billing policy is not disclosed ANYWHERE on their website, and they apologized, but nothing more. And of course, since this is considered a “custom order,” there’s no way to cancel and receive a refund.
For me, this is a deal breaker. This will be the first and last order I ever plan to make at West Elm. Just thought you guys might like to know.