J.Crew's New Website Does Everything Except Fulfill Orders Properly

Kimberly, a frequent J.Crew online customer, placed an order on June 30th for five items from their newly revamped website. In the past, writes Kim, “it usually takes 2 days at the latest for me to receive any shipment that is not backordered.” This time it’s been 2 weeks, and not only has nothing arrived, but the UPS tracking number they’ve assigned her order is invalid (it doesn’t even follow the UPS numbering style). The unhelpful J.Crew customer service rep told Kim that they had her correct address and to wait 10 days before calling back. In the meantime, one of the items has already been returned and refunded to Kim’s credit card—although about $200 worth of merchandise has still been shipped to some as yet undiscovered location.

We know shipping accidents happen, but what’s unacceptable about J.Crew’s response is how they keep putting Kimberly off instead of working with her to resolve the problem.

My credit card was charged on the day of purchase for the full amount of my order. When I first called on the 8th the rep had suggested for me to wait the full 7 days, I did not have a problem then with the wait. On the 11th I checked their website and noticed the aforementioned status change that led to another call immediately.

I was refunded $49.99 on the same day on the item that was supposedly returned but I never received, but their rep did not even want to look up my address to see whether or not it was sent to the wrong address. When I insisted that he check, he told me that they had the correct shipping address but I should wait 10 days to call back anyways.

It’s not like Kim’s a novice shopper who doesn’t know how shipping works. Now the question is: is there anyone at J.Crew who knows how shipping works? You two should talk.

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  1. ne1butu says:

    Sounds like this customer got a lame customer service rep. JCrew is typically pretty good. They have systems that can easily tell them what’s going on with a shipment. And if there’s some reason that they can’t use the tracking number, the customer shouldn’t have to wait endlessly for things to surface. That’s just not how they do business.

  2. Turanga_Leela says:

    Wow, I am really glad I saw this. I ordered several things from J.Crew a week ago and I still have yet to hear whether it’s been shipped or not (which is really unusual – in the past I’d hear within 48 hours). I just checked my J.Crew card’s balance online and it looks like I haven’t even been charged yet!

  3. as1984 says:

    ne1butu, this might be correct of the pre-website upgrade, but post-upgrade the situation is completely out of control. I have heard of NUMEROUS instances where the customer has been provided with an inaccurate tracking number, and even several where a tracking number was unable to be provided, and CSRs are advising that “the item may or may not arrive” and that they have no way of tracking it. Sad, but true.

    Check out this blog [jcrewaficionada.blogspot.com] and you’ll see stories from people of the instances I am referring to.

  4. JaguarChick says:

    I’ve been having the same problem. Ordered something a week ago…got an email saying that it shipped on 7/10, but the tracking number through UPS only says “billing information received” I’m hoping I get what I ordered, but after reading this, I’m starting to get worried.

    I’m hoping this is just a temporary blip in their service, they used to be super fast with shipping and response and had excellent customer service. A new website should not mean absolute chaos!!!

  5. jakesprincess says:

    They had problems before the new website. I have had many things sent to me, both in-stock and back-oredred at the time of purchase, that were the item I ordered, but the wrong size or color. Even more frustrating is when yu call to have the item resent and it is backordered or no longer available. Now I have to go to the store and return the wrong item (which defeats the purpose of online shopping and costs me time and money) and go through the whole customer service rigamarole, with asking that the shipping fee I paid on the wrong item be refunded (why should I have to pay for a mistake?).

    J.Crew needs to get it together. For as much as they charge for clothes (even the sale prices are high) you would think they could ensure some quality control in the warehouse. I know they can’t blame free shipping as the cuplrit, because they rarely offer that and to boot, their shipping prices are very high.

    All of the above is why I no longer patronize them.

  6. nutrigm says:

    Unfortunately when it comes to shipping, especially with USPS, that information is just never updated by the post office. So it all depends on the seller’s track record as well. But the basic rule of thumb would be to be patient for 2 weeks after receiving a shipping notification. But don’t let it get over 4 weeks without contacting the vendor ofcourse!

  7. rixatrix says:

    Is this really a story? She’s called twice and not had a satisfactory resolution – I’m not sure this is Consumerist worthy as of yet. If they do have problems with their new site, it wouldn’t be unheard of, and J.Crew generally has excellent customer service. I would tell Kimberly to give them the benefit of the doubt, and keep calling until she gets someone who can help her.

  8. jenl1625 says:

    @rixatrix: I don’t mind giving someone the benefit of the doubt, if they seem to understand (and care) that there’s a problem. But when an item that I never received is showing up as “returned” on their system, and they don’t seem to perceive a problem? I’m not inclined to give them much rope.

  9. ElizabethD says:

    You shoppers need to locate the nearest J Crew *Outlet* Store (the one I take my teen daughter to is in Wrentham, MA). I would never pay even the sale prices of the online regular store. The clothes are cute but puh-leez: way hyped and overpriced.

  10. patrickhowell says:

    I used to work in the J Crew distribution center, and I know they essentially upgraded every computer in the building, switched to a new software system, and had to retrain every employee. On top of that, they’re finding bugs in the software (even though they had been testing it for about nine months prior to the switch), so they’ve been having a lot of issues like this.

  11. karmaghost says:

    My fiance was on their website a few weeks ago when it was being redone. It was really slow and basically non-functioning. They were offering free shipping for everyone while they tried to sort things out. She finally got her purchase on Saturday, about 2 1/2 weeks after she bought it.

  12. pearl_girl says:

    Kimberly,
    I work for JCrew. This is extremely unusual for us and patrickhowell is right, not only did we switch to a new software system, we have been upgrading our website recently so we may be having some unexpected issues at the moment. Please take a moment to write to me at virginia.wong@jcrew.com with your contact info and I can forward you to the right person here to help you resolve this quickly!

  13. Hadouken says:

    I work in the Virginia DC for J Crew, and Pat’s right. All the employees have to get used to the new system, and the glitches and bugs are just now starting to get ironed out. The system was crashing at some points, completely preventing entire departments from working.

    This shipping issue is just more backlash from the new system bugs. Things will be back to normal eventually.

  14. Maurs says:

    I had a similar experience with my last order, which I placed just before their website upgrade disaster. Wrong UPS tracking codes, CSR had no idea what was going on, items shipped independently for some reason, took more than two weeks. Everything made it eventually, though.

  15. clotheswhorse says:

    I’ve tried to buy on the site half a dozen times since they have revamped it, & something always goes wrong.
    I managed to order one pair of pants, but with everything else it either won’t go into the shopping cart, or the site freezes or goes down.
    When I try to get someone on the phone, I give up after being on hold for aaaaages.
    I’m a longtime J.Crew customer, & gave them a few days to sort this out, but it’s a mess, & still happening.
    Truly annoying.

    Terrible implementation- with their prices, this shouldn’t be happening.

  16. as1984 says:

    This really isn’t acceptable in this day and age. Couldn’t Jcrew have upgraded one thing at a time, i.e. either the website, or the new software system? And while we all know that bugs can’t always be worked out pre-implementation, this is simply ridiculous. I was talking to JC customer service today and apparently there is no longer any communication b/w the distribution centre and teh call centre, so CSR essentially do not have any information on when a package was shipped or a tracking number to provide. For the amount that Jcrew charges for shipping (which, as a business analyst, I know is higher than most of its counterparts) consumers should be provided with a reliable tracking number and able to track their packages progress.

    While speaking to CS today, I was advised that we should now be waiting 10 business days for standard shipping before Jcrew will even look into an order to see whether/not it was shipped. 10 business days??!!! According to the website, it clearly states standard shipping is 4-7 business days. And JC normally ships via UPS which does provide accurate tracking information.

    On the whole, Jcrew’s customer service is very strong, and I would encourage anyone experiancing difficulties with their orders to act with the CSR in a respectful manner. It’s not their fault so please don’t take it out on them and you can always catch more flies with honey vs. vinegar :) They will help you to the extent possible, as always.

    However, from a corporate perspective I am very disappointed in Jcrew. Free shipping with no min, which was offered during the initial upgrade was WORTHLESS considering the webpage itself wouldn’t load and completing a transaction from initiation to checkout was almost hopeless. Now, they are still having problems with orders (I ordered from them last Thursday and my order number doesn’t work on the website, and the CSR couldn’t find my order when I called in to check on it) and are no longer offering free shipping (except with high minimums such as $100 or $150). This really angers me b/c it shows that they only offered free shipping when they knew it was almost impossible to complete an order.

    There have also been numerous instances of orders where the order was charged twice, charged at the wrong price, items purchased at full price marked as final sale on invoice/package, and the worst – orders simply lost – where the order numbers don’t work to pull up orders and the order is basically lost in transit. It’s also made me very wary of the security of my personal information stored in “My account” on the website…considering all the problems jcrew has run into in this upgrade…

  17. primo.avanti says:

    i personally really like j.crew and frequently shop there, especially online since the closest store is about an hour+ from home…theyve always been really helpful and the few times something happened:
    -one time i saw ups pull up to my house and then go to the back of his truck and then just drive away…ups listed the delivery as ‘unable to deliver/wrong address’ when in reality they didnt put it on the truck, next day it said ‘undeliverabl’ so i had to drive to the UPS hub to pick up my package…on my next order i mentioned that to the jcrew rep and upgraded me to next day air via fedex…it wasnt even their fault and they helped me out….
    -another time my jcrew card was incorrectly charged…the charge didnt go through for whatever reason so i called them and they verified there must have been a problem on their end and offered me 20% off my order…some of the best customer service ive ever experienced….with all that said, i completely hate their new site, especially the ‘sale’ portion of the site as its all over the place. ive usually have very quick service when ive ordered and very helpful reps so im pretty disappointed to hear anyone else is having problems….give their customer service line another call (24 hrs/day) at 800.562.0258 and im sure someone will be more than happy to help this situation along

  18. pollyannacowgirl says:

    Not really on topic, but I went looking for a swimsuit in the store and they only stocked bikinis. If you want a one-piece, you have to order it online. Apparently, you can use their in-store phone to order from the catalog and they will ship it to you for free. If you don’t like it you can return it for free as well. (If you order from home, you pay for the shipping).

    Now, if you’re a woman, you KNOW that you have to try on several swmsuits before you find one you’re happy with. I can’t understand why they would waste anyone’s money to ship a swimsuit just so a customer could try it on. Not to mention the charges going back and forth on your credit card. I just want to try it on and hand it to the dressing room attendant if it doesn’t fit right. Sheesh!

    That policy makes ZERO SENSE.

    Naturally, I did not purchase my two swimsuits from J. Crew.

  19. femmesavante says:

    Personally, I detest the new website. Too slow!

  20. AJCrew says:

    Unfortunately Kim is not the only one. There is a blog (jcrewaficionada at blogspot) that has lots of people with the same problems: orders never received for weeks, random charges on the credit cards, credits not being issued in a timely manner. JCrew is a great store (with great CS) but its losing a lot of valuable customers because of this. They are just taking their money elsewhere.

  21. jenl1625 says:

    @pollyannacowgirl: Seriously, they expect you to buy swimsuits online? Not gonna happen. Even a woman with a perfect bod is going to try on different cuts, colors, etc. to figure out which one to wear to the waterpark and which one to wear by the apartment pool . . . .

  22. tiredsigh says:

    No one has mentioned the fact that J Crew is charging sales tax on shipping. In my state (and many others) that is illegal. Try to ask someone about that and it is a stammering response from a clueless soul.

    Many people are also being charged for orders that will never ship. I was charged for an entire order. However, they knew 3 of 5 items would never come. They just wait for you to call to ask for a refund.

    Some people who ask for refunds are not getting them for weeks.

    This is a large company. They should have thought this through. Instead, they are alienating their customers. I do not feel comfortable ordering online anymore. With such a haphazard treatment of orders, where is the guarantee that our credit card information is secure during this total web meltdown?

  23. funnyface says:

    J.Crew’s entire shipping strategy actually discourages me from buying more. They charge more for shipping the more you spend. I can’t even tell you how often I’ve removed one or more items from my cart in order to get bumped down to a lower shipping rate. Seems to be a really stupid model as far as sales goes.

    @jenl1625: I order all my suits from J.Crew online. I have heard of people who order multiple sizes/colors and just return all the ones that don’t work. But this means that you get screwed over on J.Crew shipping, as it costs more the more you spend.

  24. patrickhowell says:

    @ElizabethD:

    “The clothes are cute but puh-leez: way hyped and overpriced.”

    As an employee, I was able to see the markups they had on merchandise, and considering the cost of the material, plus the amount of overhead involved I didn’t feel that the pricing was unreasonable. The clothes are simply made from more expensive, higher quality materials. The prices that you pay for something in outlet stores are often lower than the actual cost J Crew pays for it.

    @as1984:

    “This really isn’t acceptable in this day and age. Couldn’t Jcrew have upgraded one thing at a time, i.e. either the website, or the new software system?”

    The website, ordering software, and warehouse software are all integrated, so in order to upgrade one, they had to upgrade them all. For example, when you place an order on the website the system automatically prints a packing slip, prints a shipping label, designates the order to a specific employee’s workload, and takes the items out of inventory. It’s much more complicated than you would expect, but this kind of seamless integration is indispensable to a corporation moving this much merchandise. Once the kinks are worked out, I’m sure things will be better than ever.

  25. tiredsigh says:

    patrickhowell, you mention great fabric and expensive materials….Can J Crew make jackets, coats, etc. that have buttons that are properly sewn on? I know when I buy a suit or a coat from J Crew that I need to have matching thread in the pocket at all times because the buttons are poorly sewn on.

    Also, J Crew cashmere used to be nice. Now, they have cut the quality and raised the price through the roof. I want to wear a sweater once and not have it pill.

    I buy J Crew on sale because the regular prices aren’t worth the lower quality produced as of late.

  26. “Many people are also being charged for orders that will never ship. I was charged for an entire order. However, they knew 3 of 5 items would never come. They just wait for you to call to ask for a refund.”

    Actually this is not true whatsoever. There is no “knowing that 3 of your items won’t ever come”. According to information a CSR has or the website is pulling from, an item could very well appear to be available and then end up being not available. As soon as the distribution center is aware of this, customer service or another department is notified and the credit is processed. Yes, this process was much faster before the system upgrade, and it will be back up to speed. The delays being experienced right now are due to status’s taking a while to change over in the system. Some types of credits/etc may have to process after this status changes, which is why some are delayed.

    There is not a situation where one has to call to get a refund for merchandise that ended up not being available, it may take a while for the credit to process right now but it will be processed without you having to call about it.

  27. tiredsigh says:

    fall_farewell: hmmm…that goes against my experience and the experience of many others. When you get a packing slip that shows X’s on the items not included in the shipment, then the company knows. I waited 4 days and called. The CS had no idea that the entire order did not ship.

    You do understand that it is illegal to charge a credit card for items that are not shipped? To do it repeatedly across numerous states is delving into some serious infractions.

    Please also explain dear J Crew employee how it is taking weeks of hounding to get items already paid for that haven’t shipped yet or weeks to get refunds for items never shipped? J Crew is also looking at violations with their agreements with banks. But that is not true whatsoever, eh?

    And as far as not a situation available: please look online and see numerous cases INCLUDING mine. Spin it all you want but don’t provide such a statement with proof of otherwise out there.

  28. fash10nair says:

    Working with many similar customer situations in the call center over the last couple weeks, I would suggest that if you feel you have had this happen, you should carefully check your bank statement. Initially, an order is authorized for the full amount because all items show available or waitlisted. Items are then charged as they ship – separate from the authorization. It is more likely that due to status changes in the system, items may have shipped without an immediate charge and will be charged later, than that items will have not shipped and have been charged (i.e. funds actually withdrawn from an account, or charged to a credit card). Due to the volume created by the bug, and the fact that research is taking place to resolve such orders, there is a delay in information on the item being made available to the rep which is why you may encounter someone who does not know an immediate answer or have information on your missing item. Developers are working literally round the clock to make corrections to these short-comings. We so appreciate customers that are patient and understanding as we work with them, even with every right to be upset and frustrated.

  29. misst says:

    I have always loved J Crew and their excellent customer service, but I’ve had it! After 3 phone calls to customer service, 2 emails, constantly being put on hold and then being helped by someone different every time….and I still haven’t been refunded for the order that never shipped. It’s been 3 1/2 weeks. They have lost my business.

  30. Brent says:

    Thank you so much again, Consumerist! J. Crew’s much touted ‘upgrade’ has been a nightmare for customers. My tracking numbers have also been invalid. When I called customer service, they told me they had no idea where those tracking numbers came from and they had no idea where my shipment was.

    For another order placed around the same time, my credit card was charged two weeks *after* an order was shipped. It was for a small amount, but imagine if it had been for more and it had compromised my bank balance.

    When I called the Customer Service phone number about other problems recently, I got a recording saying that number wasn’t a working J. Crew number. You can say that again.

    I’ve recently been getting a flood of J Crew emails telling me about sales and free shipping, but I’m steering clear of the once beloved J Crew. The clothes are nice, but the headaches aren’t.