I know the title isn't clever, but I wasn’t looking to be witty. I just wanted to get my point across. If you are one of the two people who read this blog you know that I am a broke graduate student who lives in a predominately white rural town. Any way buying black hair products has become an impossible feat, so you can imagine my enthusiasm when I came upon www.ebonyline.com, a beauty supply web outlet that sells everything from the latest wigs, weaves and extensions, to hair conditioners and treatments, fragrances, skin care products, and accessories and for very reasonable prices. Having compared this site to several of their competitors I decided to give them a try because they had the lowest prices and the most reasonable shipping. So I purchased a wig on September 6th, 2008 for $37.92 from them and waited excitedly for it to arrive.
The wig came just a few days later and I rushed to open the package. Surprise! The wig didn’t look like the one on the model. It looked a lot shorter and the hair color was not exactly what I expected. No problem, I thought, I’ll just try it on and if it doesn’t fit or doesn't look nice on me I’ll send it back. I checked to make sure ebonyline had a return/exchange policy before I forked over 40 bux of my hard earned money. I was careful when removing the wig from the packaging, taking special care to leave all of the original tags on it. I then placed a wig cap on (over my freshly washed hair) and tried the wig on. Just as I suspected, the wig did not look right on me. No big, deal. It’s not ebonyline’s fault that the wig doesn’t suit me. I’ll just send it back for an exchange.
As the site suggested I sent an email to their return services. A short while later I receive the following response.
You may return the item(s) as long as it is in its’ original sellable condition. Also, all exchanges or returns must be received within 10 days from the authorization date. We will give you 80% refund on your return due to restocking fee. Please note that wigs and other beauty accessories (e.g. irons, ponytails, half-wigs, etc.) can only be returned for an exchange or store credit. You will be responsible for any extra fees that might be required to process an exchange. Please notify as us soon as you sent the item back to us. Our return address is:
5639 W. Howard St.
Niles, IL 60714
Please make sure you check our return policy before taking any action:
Thank you for your cooperation.
An 80% refund or store credit didn’t seem that bad. Sides it was better than completely wasting my money on a product that didn’t suit me. So I followed the instructions, put the wig back in it’s original packaging with all of it’s tags and off I shipped it for $4.80. Then I sent an email back to the customer service rep stating that the wig was on it’s way. I receive this email back:
Thank you for your inquiry.
We will be able to process an exchange for your return if the return was properly processed by our return policy. We will calculate the difference and make charge to your credit card account you used to place an order with.
Thank you for choosing Ebonyline.com
So far so good. I’m still a happy camper at this point. Then two weeks later I receive this email.
Thank you for your return.
Unfortunately, we cannot accept your return for S-ALBA. The hair has very strong odor coming out of it. As the result, we concluded that the product is not in original condition. We can send the wig back to your address if you are willing to be responsible for the shipping cost. Otherwise, we have no choice but to dispose the item. Please reply back to us with your decision.
Thank you for your cooperation,
WHAT THE HECK!!!!! STRONG ODOR!!!!. So in other words yall aint given me my exchange or store credit and I STINK!!!!! And to top it all off yall are allegedly going to throw the wig away if I don’t pay yall more money to get the wig back!!!! At this point I’m pissed because I’ve already spent $42.72 and I still have no product and no exchange, and now I have to pay more money for a product I’m quite unhappy with. Now maybe $42.72 is no big deal to the rest of the world, but to a BROKE graduate student living off of a stipend that would make a McDonalds employee cry, it’s a BIG deal. So I sent the following unfriendly email back to customer service:
I am not satisfied with the service I have received from your company. I have spent approximately $40 dollars (including what I spent to ship the wig back) and now you are telling me that I am out of a product and I don't even get my money back. That's bad business. Is there someone I can speak with about this matter? Is there a customer service number I can call? I assure you that when I sent the wig back there was NO odor coming from it. All I did was take the wig out of it's original package examine it and determined that it DID NOT look like the wig on the model. So I sent it back in the same condition I got it in. Now you are telling me that unless I pay you MORE money I am out of the product and I don't get a credit or even an exchange. I'm sorry, but that just doesn't suffice. It seems very convenient and very suspicious that you all would get the returned wig and then accuse me of ruining it so that you all don't have to reimburse me or give me a product. Who can I take this matter up with?
I receive this response a little while later:
Thank you for your reply.
I have already spoke to my manager regarding your return and she also came up with conclusion that we cannot accept your return. As we state on our website, the return product must be returned in original sellable condition. You may contact us by calling:
Please be aware that the refusal on the return package is the final decision. You must decide if you wish to receive the item back by being responsible for the shipping cost or dispose the item from our side. Please reply back to us with your decision on the order.
Thank you for your cooperation,
So basically I’m screwed and I have to hurry up and make a decision about whether or not I want this wig and make it fast before I’m out of even more money! So I sent the following email back:
Thank you for your quick reply.
Because it seems I have no real choice in the matter, please ship the wig back to me. I will pay for the shipping. Please know and please tell your superiors that I am very dissatisfied with the treatment I have received. This is the first time I have ordered from your company and because of my experience it will be my last.
INHO they could have at least given me something—a discount on my next purchase, a coupon because I’m a first time customer, an offer to ship the wig back for free, but no they did not! Instead they charged $7.93 to my debit card to send the “STANK” wig back. That brings my total to $50.65. Swell.
So what’s the moral of the story? I’m just suggesting that there are many online retailers out there for those of us who must buy hair products from off the internet, but that Crystal Clear CANNOT recommend www.ebonyline.com. Shop there at your own risk, but remember you were warned by this blog. If you still insist on shopping there don’t expect to return any of the products you purchase. I spose if you purchase earrings from them they will send you a note back saying that there’s an odor coming from those too!!!!! You’ve been warned. And please send this to anyone you know who shops for beauty products online.
UPDATE: Today I got the wig back from ebonyline.com and guess what? It DOES NOT stink! The only odor coming from this wig is that of the box it was shipped in. Most things smell a little like cardboard if you ship them in, I don't know, CARDBOARD. But the wig smells just fine. That suggests to me that the whole "odor thing" was a BS story they made up so they would not have to give me my much deserved exchange. Congratulations Ebonyline, you just lost a very good customer, and potentially many more depending on how many people read this blog.