Guaranteed Christmas Delivery At Zales Leads To Panicked Boyfriend

Maybe Derek shouldn’t have waited until last week to order a bracelet for his girlfriend as a Christmas gift, or maybe he should have gone to a brick-and-mortar Zales store to buy it. But he didn’t, and their site guaranteed delivery by Christmas if he ordered at that point. It turns out that “guaranteed Christmas delivery” actually means “we might get around to shipping it by the 22nd.”

I want to share a recent (and ongoing) problem I have had with Zales, in the hopes that others are warned about the kind of business they run. I ordered a bracelet for my girlfriend for Christmas last week (December 16th). The particular bracelet I ordered was a special order item, but the page guaranteed delivery by Christmas if ordered before the 17th. I placed my order for the item at that time. I realize that ordering so late before Christmas is a gamble, but have never had an issue (especially with Amazon, who seems the be amazing about meeting their Christmas shipping deadlines)

For the next few days, I checked on the order, which remained at “item located in stock”. Thinking that the item was located “in their warehouse”, I figured my item would be shipping out any day. Come Wendsday this week, I started to get a bit nervous and gave them a call. Only then did I find out the about customer service at Zales. The customer service like is absolutely horrendous. After getting hung up on by the automated system, and an endless list of options, I finally figured out one option that allowed me to talk to a customer service representative. This is when I learned that my item was being processed by a “custom jeweler” and would be delivered by Friday. Asking what that meant, it was evident the customer service person had no idea where my item was or if my order would actually ship on time. It was quite clear that their online order status was a complete lie.

As I started getting a bit more nervous, I started looking online and read tons of horror stories about Zales terrible shipping/customer service. One look at their Facebook page and you can see that there are numerous other complaints just like mine, where people were promised delivery and their items are still not shipped. In fact, many people also had the same complaints about being hung up on by their automated customer service line, as well as getting no email responses back. Their Facebook page seems to be the only place to get a meaningful response from their customer service team, and even then it is a your item should ship soon response. As for mine, my item still is listed as not shipped, and it is just about the day I am supposed to receive it. It is quite clear that Zales does not care but their customers, and I will never do business with them again.

I realize this may be somewhat my fault for procrastinating, but when a company guarantees something for a certain date, they should deliver by that date and only have exceptions in very rare circumstances. Otherwise, what is the point of having a “guarantee.” I would like for others to see this so they don’t make the same mistake.


Edit Your Comment

  1. cbutler says:

    IMO, tough shot OP. You should never wait untill the last minute. But that sucks dude and I hope it works out for you.

    • pdj79 says:

      What I want to know is, what happens if it doesn’t make it by Christmas? It says “Guaranteed delivery”, so what is the guarantee? That if it doesn’t ship they’ll knock off $X.XX off your purchase? It’s yours free? They’ll cancel your order and refund your money without a restock fee? Seriously, what slap on the wrist do they get when they fail to meet the guaranteed service claim? You can’t slap that word on something without backing it up, otherwise that’s false advertising.

    • jesusofcool says:

      I don’t think it’s fair to blame the OP here. Zales, like many other stores, are getting away with truly false advertising – they’re saying “Guaranteed Christmas Delivery” to get people through their online door without the intention to actually make good on that (or provide a fair compensation if their guarantee goes awry). Honestly, I’m surprised that there’s been no regulatory body or splashy journalism to call retailers out on this. IMHO, the only one who actually sticks to it is Amazon and that’s because they actually spend the money on the customer service staff, shipping costs, and refunding necessary to keep everyone happy. On the other hand there are retailers like Zales that want the benefit of telling people they’ll ship by Christmas but don’t want to spend the cost of doing business to make that happen.
      My hope is that next year this will receive a bit more publicity and people will be more aware of the retailers that actually make good on their guarantee and those with poor customer service will suffer.

    • Conformist138 says:

      I ordered Christmas gifts from amazon last week (some of us don’t have a lot of money and buying gifts must wait until money is available). Despite being last-minute, everything showed up by Friday, no problem. If a company “guarantees” a delivery date and then routinely screws it up, that’s not the fault of the people who took them at their word.

      If the guarantee wasn’t there, the OP may have opted to use a different company or go to a b&m store. As it is, they lured people in with the shipping promise and then didn’t follow through. Zales shouldn’t make offers that they can’t keep up with.

  2. Hi_Hello says:

    amazon has a higher standard than everyone. People don’t know how good Amazon is until they are screwed by another site.

    good luck.

    depending on your g/f…and if you want to ‘fix’ this problem. Go to a Brick and Motor and get matching earring or something. If the bracelet comes in late, use the earring and save the bracelet for valentine day. If the bracelet comes in on time, save the earring for V-day.

    • Agent Hooter Enjoys Enhanced Patdowns says:

      Alternately, if your GF is the kind of girl to throw a tantrum about such a little thing, you may want to cut your losses now.

      • taaurrus says:

        I totally agree with your comment. But I think he should just cancel the order before xmas and go to a different store and pick something else out – Zales does not deserve to have his money. If not, then he should print out a picture of her gift, wrap it and then explain to her what happened when she opens it. If she gets upset that her real gift will be late – dump her cuz she’s not the kind of materialistic person you want to marry. If she doesn’t get upset – cancel the order anyway and order an engagement ring instead – from any brick and mortar store (not online) that is NOT Zales. Either way – the OP should still cancel his order and never shop at Zales again. Then after he goes to a brick and motar, non-Zales, store and replaces her gift before xmas, or if he goes with her to get an engagement ring or replacement gift after xmas – he should then go to their Facebook page and post a comment about his experience – then he should go to his blog (or start a blog if he doesn’t have one) and blog about his experience – making sure that “Zales” is in the tags – then go to Zales’ website and leave a comment there about his experience. Maybe if enough people do all of the above – then maybe Zales would do something about it’s “customer service”.

        • noramine says:

          Why are you suggesting that he basically dump his girlfriend or get engaged to her? His relationship (which hasn’t been discussed in the OP aside from the present) is really none of your concern.

          • K1LLC0R3 says:

            I totally agree. The topic is about OP and zales, not OP and his g/f. The thing about online retailers that I hate is the fact that its real what if. What I mean by that is the fact that you have to be careful cause something may say in stock but in reality it isn’t. This really ins’t a case of whether it was in stock or not. Its a case of Zales needing to keep their promise that they will ship cause this whole wolf in sheep’s clothing act that they are putting on isn’t going to last long.

            OP, just explain to your g/f what happened and she will understand. The main problem you are going to face is what to do to Zales when they decide to actually do something. It isn’t a matter of, can I get a refund or some money back, its a case of, I’m gonna get a refund or some money back cause I paid X amount for this promise and it wasn’t delivered.

      • MMD says:

        Right, because the all women throw tantrums.
        Irrelevant response. How about commenting on, oh I don’t know, the *actual story*?

  3. dolemite says:

    You’d think a company that is getting hammered by awesome pricing and customer service from companies like Blue Nile and Adiamor would have their act together a little better than that. “Well no…we can’t match their prices, not even close. We can’t match their online systems either. But when you pay a ton of extra money at Zales for a name brand…you know you are getting excellent service and an iron clad guarantee!” Someone whispers to him: “I’m now being told you do not get those last 2 things I mentioned. But…you do get a name brand backed by lots of commercials!”

  4. Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:

    If it doesn’t make it by Christmas print out a picture of what you got her, put it in a jewelery box and let her open it up. When she realizes what you’ve done you won’t have to worry about Zales poor customer service any more because you’ll be dead.

    • Pug says:

      When he’s dead, he won’t need to worry about buying Christmas gifts anymore. Sounds like a win-win.

      • Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:

        Clearly this is the biggest and best thing to ever happen to the OP.

  5. maxhobbs says:

    Don’t sweat it. So what if it comes late? If your girlfriend has a problem with it, trust me, you do not want to make her your wife.

  6. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    The OP should just cancel the order if it isn’t in his hands by Saturday.

    Then he should just admit to his GF that, while the guarantee said by Christmas, he still shouldn’t have waited till last minute.

    Then he should offer to still get the item for her, take her to pick something else out, or whatever.

    Regardless, Zales shouldn’t get ANY money from the OP if the item isn’t there for Christmas.

  7. longfeltwant says:

    To me, “Zales” is synonymous with “Wal Mart of Diamonds”.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      No kidding. They are really overpriced and have crappy quality. I have no clue why anyone would buy from there.

  8. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    I ordered gift cards from Cabela’s on Dec. 12th and they’re still not here. If they don’t arrive in the mail today, I’ll give a piece of paper in an envelope that says “You’re getting a gift card from Cabela’s”.

    Of course, I realize my situation is a little different because my dad and nephews aren’t going to become raging harpies if they don’t have their gift card in their hands on christmas day.

    • 5seconds says:

      A gift card is already the ‘I.O.U.” of christmas, so you will be giving an “I.O.U. an I.O.U.”???

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        Actually, it’s kind of a “here, go pick out your own damn gift, I couldn’t think of anything” card.

        • longfeltwant says:

          “But you have to do it only at one store, and it’s a crappy store. I don’t love you enough to give you cash.”

          • TheMansfieldMauler says:

            “Plus you’ll end up with either a small amount left over on a basically useless card or you’ll have to pay extra yourself because there’s no way you’re going to be able to find a combination of items you want that ends up at exactly $40 with tax.”

    • mobiuschic42 says:

      Uh my boyfriend has said, “sorry your gift didn’t get here on time, I’ll give it to you when it gets here” for both our first Christmas together and my birthday this past November, and neither time did I “become [a] raging harp[y]”. I just said, “ok! that means I’ll get to have the celebration last longer!” and I was happy with the gifts when they came.
      Why would you assume the OP’s girlfriend would act like a bitch??

      • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

        The question is, why didn’t he just order your gifts about 1 week sooner? Was that too far out to be confident that he’d still be with you for the holiday?

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        Why would you assume the OP’s girlfriend would act like a bitch??

        If she wouldn’t act like a bitch, then why all the panic? You’re not a bitch, so I bet your boyfriend didn’t panic, get nervous, etc. You sound like you took it in stride, nothing to worry about, and I bet your boyfriend didn’t panic over it.

        I know the guy received bad customer service, but you understand that and it sounds like his girlfriend won’t. If she was the understanding type, this would be a non-story.

        I prefer your type. Every guy does, actually.

        • little stripes says:

          Because he wanted to make his girlfriend’s Christmas special, and generally that means having the gift for her on Christmas day. Now it’s not going to be here and she WILL be disappointed (you are all liars if you say you wouldn’t be), though not necessarily a raging bitch about it. It still sucks and the boyfriend has every right to be upset.

  9. Scuba Steve says:

    I’m not going to blame the OP because even though most people should know there’s no such thing as a guarantee, doubly so when it comes to shipping by Christmas, I find that retailers who promise such things are just hoping to sucker in gullible shoppers who haven’t taken the above idiom to heart yet.

    They feel they can just throw a credit at anyone who didn’t get it in time and not make any precautions against it. So they inevitably fail at their guarantee, but no one calls them on it.

    If you truly wanted a “Christmas Shipping guarantee”, you better have a private jet and enough cash to bribe a whole lot of TSA agents. Or just order your stuff in July.

    • MMD says:

      So it’s ok for a comoany to post a bogus “guarantee” and suffer no consequences when they don’t follow through? Really?

  10. caradrake says:

    It’s not actually Christmas yet, they can still get it to OP in time. I ordered an item from a third-party Amazon vendor, they waited 3 weeks to ship it, but it was here in 2 days. If it’s not here tomorrow, cancel the order.

  11. Rachacha says:

    So the item was “Special Order” but the OP thought it would be just sitting in the warehouse?

    Print out a picture of the irem, wrap it up and place it under the tree. Before your GF opens the gift, tell her that there was an issue with the gift, and you will explain what happened once she opens the gift.

    If the GF gets upset, break up with her right then and there and cancel the order. If she does not get upset, then all is well in the Universe.

  12. El_Fez says:

    I don’t know where he looked, but it took about 2 seconds of googleing and searching to find the customer service number (1-800-311-JEWEL, if you’re reading this). Not that I’m blaming the consumer here, but you couldn’t have tried very hard to contact customer service if you missed THAT.

    So call them. Find out what’s going on, get them to upgrade you to overnight shipping (on their dime, since they messed up). Be more proactive than just surfing facebook.

    • wrjohnston91283 says:

      I read it as he has the number, seeing as he stated he called and got hung up on by the automated system. I think the problem is he kept getting stuck in an endless loop of menu tree options trying to get to a real person to discuss the situation..

    • Anathema777 says:

      “Come Wendsday this week, I started to get a bit nervous and gave them a call.” He called them; they just weren’t at all helpful.

    • GearheadGeek says:

      If you’d spent more time reading the article than you did googling, you’d see that he called them. The problem is that they suck, not that they don’t have a phone number.

  13. Lotofsnow says:

    I also made the mistake of ordering some earrings from Zales.

    I ordered on the 11th and heard nothing other than their website stating “Item located in stock.” After trying to navigate their customer service earlier this week (and being hung up on by the automated system each time), I gave up and submitted an email on their site. Within the hour, I received a reply stating my order had been cancelled because the item was out of stock.

    I’d anticipate a similar resolution in your case.

    Happily, I’d thought of a better idea after ordering the initial gift, so I was more than happy to take my business elsewhere. That said, I still will never deal with Zales again.

  14. jenolen2161 says:

    Ah Zales, when my then-fiance, now-husband and I were looking around at wedding bands, they were the only store to CONSTANTLY ask me if I wanted to “upgrade” my engagement ring to a larger stone (which my current one isn’t exactly tiny), even after I said no to the first pitch. After being asked no less than 5 times by the same pushy saleswoman, we walked into a different store where the saleswoman complimented my sparkly ring and never said the word “upgrade.”

  15. Lnk64 says:

    I went to a local Zales once when i was going for a gift for my now wife and it was the 1st and last time there. I got her a necklace, paid cash, and have it to her a few days later. That same day I gave it to her, the necklace broke apart. I wasn’t ripped off, it fell off of it’s own accord.

    Should’ve been the red flag, but I was naive at the time. I brought the necklace back, expecting to give me a new chain, but they had to send it out to get the chain replaced. A week later I got it back. When I got it back, i saw they didn’t give me a new chain like they said they would, they just soldered the chain back together. So now I have a chain that is no longer in new condition, but refurbished, and it’s been out for “repairs” for more then she was able to enjoy it.

    Calling Corperate didn’t care, they said it was up to the local store to right the wrong and corporate wouldn’t get involved.

    I figured I would help the store decide on how to handle the next step because their past decision was pretty poor be example, so I returned the necklace letting them know how ridiculous it was this all went down.

    I’m sorry but if my wife, as a manager of a restaurant will bend over backwards to make sure someone’s $15 steak is perfect, and apologize profusely if it’s a bit off, I don’t see why Zale’s can’t care more about making 1 potential repeat customer who just dropped $200 happy

  16. wildbill says:

    As with a lot of brick and mortar operations and few web operations, IT and online ordering is a train wreck.

    My wife worked for several years at Zales in their IT department, and they had the most dated and delicate systems. Unlike Amazon they just don’t have the coolness draw to get the best people. (Amazon is one of the absolute best places to work as a techie). Zales has to rely on a mix of permanent and contract IT professionals that can very greatly in their skills.

    As for upsells etc., that goes to the way Retail compensates employees and managers. They get commissions based on sales, extended warranties, and at least at the time my wife worked there HUGE commissions on signing people up for credit. So rather than being motivated by what is good for the customer and building a lasting relationship like a small local jeweler would, the employees there focus on extended warranties and credit.

  17. Kate says:

    I think I’d be more upset with a boyfriend ordering me something from Zales than it being late and he wouldn’t know about it either way, because I would just smile and hug him anyway.

  18. barbcole says:

    To be fair, it is not yet Christmas.

    I awoke this morning to an inbox full of emails from various retailers claiming it’s still not too late to order for guaranteed Christmas delivery — as long as I ordered before 3PM on the 23rd.

    Perhaps its unlikely, but it is possible they will ship such that it arrives on time.

  19. TasteyCat says:

    I wanted to blame the OP, but I give him credit for lack of drama, such as saying his Christmas has been ruined.

  20. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    We’ve never had a problem with Swiss Colony before (been using them for years) but this year we ordered last week, they show it as shipped, but USPS has no record of picking it up – no info on the tracking number. This is not some silly diamond ring, this is serious, this is CHOCOLATE!

  21. Rob says:

    I think his girlfriend needs to find a smarter boyfriend.

  22. noramine says:

    Why are people jumping from “late gift combined with bad service” and turning this into “his girlfriend is likely going to be pissed/overly materialistic cause that’s what girls do” and telling him to marry or not marry her. Maybe they’ve been going out five minutes or ten years. If he decides to marry her it’s going to be on his own terms. I just find it strange that there are so many comments aimed at “don’t marry this girl if..” He never said he was, or wasn’t, planning on marrying this girl. He said he got her a present, late, and had bad customer service. Don’t infer things that aren’t there. Also it’s rather disrespectful to just assume she’s likely to be ungrateful.

  23. unchainedmuse says:

    Seems like nothing ever changes with Zales. In 1993, my then-fiance and I ordered our wedding bands from Zales. After leaving the store, we reconsidered these bands because they were so expensive and we were on a tight budget. I called the next day to cancel the order and they would not cancel it, saying that this was a “special order”. I think that phrase is applied to just about anything they can get away with in order to prevent people from canceling items.

  24. Tedsallis says:

    Totally OPs fault. This entire article is just one big troll.

  25. Patriot says:

    In the future don’t buy from a store like Zale’s. Only buy from jewelers who buy all of their own jewelry (and hence have it in stock). Most (all?) online sources of jewelry are on loan and hence they only sell the crappiest jewelry that they couldn’t get the stores to buy. (Note that most stores don’t own their own jewelry either. Research for ones that do).

  26. MMD says:

    The sexism thought the posts is disgusting. Where in the OP does he indicate a fear of a “tantrum” from his “harpy” of a girlfriend? Nowhere.

    The sexism in these posts has the effect of excusing a company’s terrible, lying service. Great job, Conumerists!

  27. Matt79 says:

    I had a similar issue with Zales this year. Ordered some earrings for my wife on December 9. Since home delivery requires a signature, and their website states the item will be returned after 3 failed delivery attempts, I decided not to take my chances and have it delivered to a local store.

    Now, December 9 was a Friday, and the site was clear shipments don’t go out over the weekend…but according to their timetable I could expect it to go out Monday the 12th. I did not get an e-mail that it had shipped until Thurday the 15th. I had been hoping to pick it up in store that weekend, the 17th/18th. Thankfully shipping was quick…I checked the morning of the 18th, it had been delivered 10am on the 17th.

    Problem now is that I was supposed to get an e-mail saying it was ready for pick up…but I didn’t. So I called the store and the saleslady said it was there, I shouldn’t expect an e-mail from them…I could come in after noon when a manager was in and pick it up. I went in around 2pm…of course it was busy so I waited 10-15 minutes to be helped. The manager then struggled to find my item and was confused why I would come in without an e-mail. I told her the woman I talked to earlier said it was in just that my box hadn’t been “opened” yet…whatever that meant. The manager then got somewhat annoyed and said it means she hadn’t processed it yet. She then told me I might as well go shop because it would take 15-20 minutes to “process” the order. It took 45 minutes. Then she was all annoyed because I didn’t have a print copy of the e-mail…the one I was told not to expect by another employee.

    So in the end, my shipment said around for a day and a half in the store and was only processed because I had inquired about it…who knows when the manager would’ve gotten around to it otherwise. Even then, I had to spend over an hour at the mall waiting for them to “process” the item that I had already paid for and was in their hands before I could actually take it home.

    So while perhaps the OP should’ve got his shopping done sooner…the bottom line is the Zales shipping to store process was no where near efficient as expected and advertised, and they deserve some blame for promising to meet delivery dates that they really cannot guarantee.

  28. soj4life says:

    Should have ordered from tiffany’s. I ordered something at the last minute from them, got it to me on christmas eve. Oh and the tiffany’s box is a crowd pleaser.