, Undone by Lazy Customer Service

UPDATE: We’ve reconsidered. We messed up. We came across like stupid whiny bitches. We tried to abuse the power of blogs to get what we wanted. There was a good way to go about this, and an asshat way, we chose the latter. We’re sorry, Threadless, Shondi, Consumerist readers and all witnesses of this online travesty. Egg on the face while eating crow, scooped in with our own foot, really. You can keep reading further if you’re the type who enjoys slow-moving car accidents.

So this weekend we ordered three t-shirts from but found an otherwise fine experience unraveled by flippant customer service

After finally paying off our long-standing credit card debts, student loans and personal loans, and saving up a decent chunk in the emergency fund, we decided to treat ourselves by getting some new items of superficial pleasure, i.e. funky fresh t-shirts.

We were excited to be shedding our burlap sacks held together with twine. We were going to write a ballad about it. Instead, we found ourselves intoning “The Sweater Song” by Weezer…

We love the idea of threadless, that designers submit their creations, the site visitors vote and the most bestest ones get printed and sold. While some of the site’s social interactivity options, blogs, profiles, comments, come across as a bit too faux myspacey for our taste, its emo heart is in the right place.

After scavenging through the designs, we picked up three shirts, “Everyone is a Designer,” “Piece of Meat” and “Flowers in the Attic.”

However, we actually placed two orders (by mistake, didn’t see the “continue shopping button” the first time) which will ship 3 t-shirts in two packages. Pretty dumb. We’ll lose a couple bucks on shipping. We realized this moments after placing the final order and quickly sent an note via their online contact form, which they say is the fastest way to contact them, asking Threadless to combine the two orders and refund the difference in shipping.

This all was Saturday. This morning, we got this email:

    “Mon, 1 May 2006 09:19:37 -0500 (CDT)
    To: [redacted]
    Subject: (#063[redacted]) Order Inquiry
    From: “Customer Service”

    Hello Ben!

    Sorry! We are unable to combine orders since they have already been sent to fulfillment. Each

    order will be sent separately.

    Have a wonderful day!


    Threadless Customer Service

    Thank you for shopping at!”

We think this is very lame, espcially as the request was filed, seriously, like five minutes after we put in the order. The shipping for one shirt is $5.50 and for two, it’s $6.00. Now we’re out five bucks and they seem to have absolutely no interest in resolving the problem. We’ve sent a strongly worded followup inquiry. We hope they find it in their heart to fix this. As we’re writing this post, we received two more messages to inform us our t-shirts have shipped, which will invariably complicate matters.

While overall Threadless seems great, we’ll think twice about shopping there again. Shipping being out of shipshape aside, many of the designs are a little to “la la la” for us, if you know what we mean.

What’s your fav online t-shirt shop?

UPDATE: Here’s the notice we sent:

    “I’m new to the site and after I punched in my first t-shirt, I wanted to continue shopping, my
    eyeballs missed the continue shopping link and instead placed the order.

    Moments after I entered orders 317705 and 317707 this Saturday, I wrote in your contact form for

    the orders to be combined and the difference in shipping costs to be refunded.

    This morning, customer service wrote back to say that was impossible as the orders “had already

    been sent to fulfillment.”

    May I suggest you talk to “fulfillment” and resolve the issue the way I’ve asked?

    What is the use of a contact form that you tout as being the fastest way to contact you if I can’t

    use it to fix an order I just placed?”

Here’s Shondi’s reply:

We don’t work weekends, so sending an email is the fastest way (as opposed to leaving a message in
our phone system). I answered your email very promptly this morning, but your orders had already
been printed and may have been packaged – sorry we are so fast. Actually, both your orders have
already been picked up by UPS. As the site says, we cannot change orders once they are sent to
fulfillment. Sorry.

Have a wonderful day!


Threadless Customer Service

Thank you for shopping at!

And here’s our retort:

    “(Follow-ups to order inquires #064106 and #063977)


    The critical issue is that I placed an order and then, very shortly afterward, asked to make a change. If your system doesn’t allow for this, that’s a failure in your system that I should not be responsible for.

    Saying “sorry” doesn’t solve my complaint and saying “sorry we’re so fast” strikes me as inconsiderate.

    I understand the order has shipped. I am pleased that you are fast. Overall, I think threadless is really great, has some cool designs and very cool governing principles.

    Now I just want five dollars refunded.

    I’ve posted this story on my consumer affairs blog visited by 10,000-15,000 people per day.

    You guys can decide whether you want to make this a customer service story gone right or whether bad press is worth five bucks.

    If you’re not authorized to make this decision, pass this matter up to someone who is.”

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