As part of my continued exploration into the world of online clothing shopping, I decided to try out another local site called 36boutiques.com.
The site offers a really nice selection of ladies clothing, shoes, bags and other accessories – all from local designers and with options to suit different budgets. Being someone who likes to support “local is lekker” when I can, I was excited to give them a bash. I also loved the idea of having all these different designers on your “virtual doorstep” as it exposes you to things you probably wouldn’t come across during your normal shopping routine.
I placed my order on Mon, 26 Mar – buying a pair of shoes, a dress & a scarf. I was lucky enough to make it for the last day of a 20% of everything promotion that they were running, so I got a pretty cool saving as well.
The site is very user friendly. They have clear images of each product, from every angle, to make sure you get a good feel for quality, etc. The search function is easy to use & very accurate. The checkout & payment process is very simple, and before you finalise your purchase your cart info includes selected sizes (something I was missing with my Zando experience), colour & quantitiy so you can double check before your final confirmation. Like Zando, they also offer free Delivery & Returns (within 7 days of delivery). And then you get a prety nice confirmation email just a few minutes later with all your order details. Great experience I thought.
My order then arrived the Friday morning, so that was safely within their 3-7 business day promise. This did come as a big surprise however as I did not receive an email update to say my order was being dispatched, neither did I get a call to ask whether I’ll be around for the delivery. Luckily I was and luckily the excitement around my package was great enough for me to forget about that oversight. You see my order came beautifully packaged, with scented paper and all! It felt like Christmas morning… but way better…
Every item was individually wrapped and as I opened them slowly, all the ladies in my office congregated around my desk. (I think the whiff of the scented paper was just too good to ignore ) Here are my 3 items all unwrapped:
I just have to show you a close up of the shoes. I love them soooo much!
I couldn’t wait to take it all home and try everything on. The shoes & scarf were absolute perfection, but sadly the dress just looked way too big on me. As it was already a size small (the smallest size on the website), I knew I would have to send that item back for a refund.
So the following Mon, 2 Apr – I tried to call them to arrange for a return order. I couldn’t get through on their call center number, so I decided to pop them an email on the support email address provided by them. Mon passed and I got no reply. My gut already told me at that point that things were going to take a dip…
The next day I decided to call them again. This time I got through to a lady who said she would process the return request and send me the return order form shortly. Tue passed and no form arrived. I then called in again the next day to follow up. I was given some story about them having lots of return orders to process and they were therefore running a bit behind schedule. She did however mention they had like “8 or 9 to process” and I still thought to myself, geeze… that doesn’t sound like a lot to get through. Wed passed – still no form. On Thu I called in again, this time they told me they were experiencing system issues. Thu passed – again no form.
Then we were onto the Easter weekend and I knew nothing would happen. But the Tue after I continued my attempt to get this sorted. Again I battled to get through on their call centre line, so I decided to give the email route another bash. This time round I was lucky enough that someone actually picked up my email. And she called me back within 10min and promised I would have my return form by COB that day. I thought wow, finally we’re getting somewhere! The form did in fact arrive as she had promised. Then the next day they sent someone out to come & collect the dress. The next problem was that it then took 2 days for them to “check the garment” before they would approve the refund. Another week had therefore passed… still with no conclusion… painful to say the least.
Yesterday I was finally asked to provide my credit card details so they could get the refund payment going. I was told that I’d get a confirmation once the refund payment had been made… I’m still waiting… but hey, I live in hope that this will be resolved before my next birthday… which is in December…
I asked them how long a refund process normally takes and they said 4 working days. Mine is now on 9 working days and counting and I am not impressed. My initial excitement about this site is now totally forgotten and I seriously doubt I will purchase something again. It might be safer to just stick to shoes & accessories as the risk of incorrect sizing is lower.
It’s sad really… because the experience was amazing up until they dropped the ball on the refund. I’m interested though, is there anybody else out there who’s also purchased from 36boutiques and had to do a return? What were your thoughts? Would love to know if this was an isolated case of bad luck.