Be Aware That You Have Threatened, Tried To Blackmail And Accused Our Company Of SCAM With Your E-mail!

Law, WTF?

We get letters.

This week we heard from a reader who, to protect her privacy, I'll refer to as Rapunzel. Rapunzel had a bad experience with a piece of jewelry she'd ordered from an online merchant. It seems that Rapunzel had ordered a necklace, which she expected to look like this:

Television Whopper

What actually arrived looked like this:

Actual Whopper

But by the time this reached me, the necklace was not Rapunzel's problem. This is not a post about cheap cosmetic jewelry.

This is a post about baseless threats of suit to suppress a dissatisfied customer's speech, spurious allegations of crime, stalking, and  the most bone-headedly aggressive  customer service department on the entire world wide web.

"A bunch of mindless jerks who'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes." — Douglas Adams.

This is a post about alwaysinfashion.com, the "Online Store of Polish & Russian Amber and Murano Glass Jewelry," whatever that is.

Now ordinarily I would not lift a finger to assist someone who had purchased a trinket online and found its appearance … something less than what was advertised. I would politely commiserate, then point out that I charge more to make one telephone call than the trinket is worth.

To her credit, Rapunzel did not seek my assistance in getting a refund. She had dealt with that herself. After sending an inquiry, she found that the company's return terms (a refund only if the offending merchandise is shipped first-class mail to Italy, at the buyer's expense) were unsatisfactory, and advised the company that she would write a negative review of the product, and her experience with the company.

That's when things got weird. That's when Rapunzel received this email, from "sales" at alwaysinfashion.com:

Mrs. Rapunzel,

We are a reliable and well known company and people on the internet talk about Us very positively.

You have received the items that You have ordered and paid for, that is it.

Thousands of customers are happy for the quality of our products and for our professionalism and We must suppose that You agreed with them since You have decided to place on order from our company.

Be aware that You have threatened, tried to blackmail and accused our company of Scam with your e-mail. This something really serious and inacceptable therefore We will send a copy of your e-mail and all your data to our lawyers.

If You keep on with your defamations and write anything on blogs, forums or social networks, We will immediately start a lawsuit against You.

Sales Department
Alwaysinfashion.com (Emphasis in original)

This email brings several thoughts to mind.

First, it's good to know that Ignatius J. Reilly is alive and well, and working in customer service.

Second, the circular logic that leads alwaysinfashion.com to suppose that Rapunzel, a first time customer, "must have agreed" with the thousands of customers happy for the quality of its products and professionalism, before she ever received a product, is breathtaking.

Third, my co-blogger Ken has said, rightly, that vagueness is one of the hallmarks of a poor legal demand. When the threatening party cannot identify a specific defamatory statement, that's a sign of bullying and bluster. In this case, alwaysinfashion.com goes one better: The company threatened Rapunzel with litigation before she wrote a single word about its product.

Fourth, well, you'll see…

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." — Hunter S. Thompson.

After receiving alwaysinfashion's thug-missive, Rapunzel replied, stating she would communicate with the company no more, but asserting her right to express her honest opinion of the product, as well as the fact that alwaysinfashion had threatened to sue her, to others. I believe she has done so at this point.

Later this week, unsolicited, this popped into Rapunzel's in-box.

Mrs. Rapunzel,

These are the facts:

1)You placed an order of two Amber necklaces ATN002 (realized with irregular beads softly rounded in matte and cognac color) promptly shipped and delivered to You.

2)You liked so much Our Amber necklaces that You have tried to get another couple for free adducing unfounded reasons.

3)After Our denial, your opinion about Our products and Our company suddenly changed:  Our necklaces became “sub par” items and We became scammers.

Objectively if You feel yourself victim of a scam, the only logical thing to do is to ask for product return instructions and surely not to ask for other two pieces of the same item. You also asked for an expedited shipping since you:” really wanted to have this amber for the trip”.

Moreover your scam allegations are based on your personal idea that beads color is  an evidence of Amber quality. Please show Us your credentials as jewelry expert or send Us a copy of the  documentation that certify your statements.

Mrs. Rapunzel You can be sure that We will leave reviews and post on social networks about your blackmail and threatens and We surely inform about this matter all the companies You work for in Oklahoma [REDACTED BY PATRICK]

This is our last warning to You Mrs. Rapunzel: If You keep on with your defamations and write false reviews or lies on blogs, forums or social networks, We will immediately start a lawsuit against You.

This is our last e-mail and We assure You, Mrs. Rapunzel that the next communication will be sent from Our lawyers along to a claim for damages.

Sales Department

Alwaysinfashion.com

Believe it or not, there is a charitable interpretation of this email.

I will assume, charitably, that the mastermind behind alwaysinfashion.com's sales team learned English as a second language.

And one could assume, charitably, that alwaysinfashion's threat to "leave reviews and post on social networks about your blackmail and threatens" is a poorly phrased way of stating, "We will post detailed rebuttals of your online criticisms of our products."

If one were charitable.

I'm not charitable, because the following threat, to contact Rapunzel's employer concerning her "blackmail and threatens," showing that alwaysinfashion had gone so far as to google Rapunzel and name an employer, is extortion in the moral sense of the word if not the legal: a threat to accuse Rapunzel falsely of a crime, and to jeopardize her livelihood, all in order to suppress her speech.

"This aggression will not stand, Dude." — Walter Sobchak.

By this time Rapunzel had contacted Popehat. Where initially she had considered alwaysinfashion's threats to be bluster, that the company had taken the trouble to search her employment history, in a dispute over a cheap piece of jewelry, was so off-the-rails scary that she felt she needed help.

Yesterday I sent the following email to "sales" at alwaysinfashion.com:

Dear Sir or Ma'am.

I am writing to inquire whether a series of threatening emails sent to your customer Ms. Rapunzel concerning Ms. Rapunzel's request to return an amber necklace represent your company's typical customer service.

As I believe you are aware, Ms. Rapunzel recently purchased an amber necklace from your website. She was dissatisfied with the quality of the product. She asked to return the necklace for a full refund. When you informed that she would have to pay shipping costs to return the product at her own expense, Ms. Rapunzel advised she would mention that fact, and her overall dissatisfaction with the quality of your merchandise, in a review of the product.

In response, you sent Ms. Rapunzel an email which contained the following threat:

Be aware that You have threatened, tried to blackmail and accused our company of Scam with your e-mail. This something really serious and inacceptable therefore We will send a copy of your e-mail and all your data to our lawyers.If You keep on with your defamations and write anything on blogs, forums or social networks, We will immediately start a lawsuit against You.

Later this week, although Ms. Rapunzel had not contacted you in the meantime, you wrote her again, threatening to contact a former employer about this situation, and to "leave reviews and post on social networks about your blackmail and threatens."

I write for a weblog known as Popehat, which can be read at www.popehat.com. We write occasionally on legal issues, as well as free speech and threats to free speech. I am an attorney, as are several of my fellow writers. Although I do not represent Ms. Rapunzel as her attorney, I do find it troubling that you would threaten a lawsuit against Ms. Rapunzel simply for exercising her right to express her honest opinion.

I plan to write about this situation. Before I do so, I would like to offer you the opportunity to comment on the situation. If my understanding of the facts is incorrect, please let me know. I would also appreciate it if you could answer the following questions:

1) How has Ms. Rapunzel "blackmailed" your company? Has Ms. Rapunzel threatened or attempted any criminal action against you, as opposed to expressing her honest opinion of the product and what appears, to me as well, to be atrociously poor customer service?

2) Is it usual for alwaysinfashion.com to contact employers of customers who complain about the quality of its merchandise?

3) Is it usual for alwaysinfashion.com to threaten to accuse customers who complain about the quality of its merchandise of crimes on "social networks"?

4) Do you understand that, in the United States as in most free nations, Ms. Rapunzel has an absolute right to express honest opinions, and to write honest reviews, of products and of merchants such as alwaysinfashion.com?  If you do understand this, on what basis do you threaten to sue Ms. Rapunzel?

5) Are you familiar with the term "Streisand Effect"?

For your reference, here are some posts we've written in the past at Popehat about people and companies who baselessly threaten litigation against others who, like Ms. Rapunzel, are simply expressing the truth or honest opinion:

[snipped]

Finally, while I do not represent Ms. Rapunzel at this time, I am an attorney. Naturally I know many attorneys, in California (where your company appears to base its American operations) as well as in Ms. Rapunzel's state of Oklahoma, and around the nation. I do want you to know that in the event alwaysinfashion, or any of its affiliates, files a baseless lawsuit against Ms. Rapunzel for exercising her constitutional right to free speech, we will do everything in our power to see that Ms. Rapunzel is afforded counsel who will vigorously protect her rights, including, if necessary, filing motions for sanctions under appropriate state law to recover her attorney's fees and costs.

I look forward to your response.

Patrick at Popehat

I've sent that email multiple times, with and without links. As of today my emails have been returned as undeliverable or have not generated a response.

I can't say whether alwaysinfashion will follow through on its threats to sue Rapunzel, but that isn't the point. By promising a suit, and by promising to contact her employers, alwaysinfashion has already shown it's willing to use the chilling effect of threatened litigation (and worse) to silence her.

All that I can do at this point is to speak for her, and to encourage her to continue to speak. I'll be the first to admit that I know nothing about jewelry, but even if I did, and I knew enough to say that alwaysinfashion sells the finest Baltic amber jewelry on the planet, I wouldn't use one of their necklaces to wring a chicken's neck.

Stupid defamation threats like those issued by alwaysinfashion, issued before an aggrieved customer even writes a review, threats of extrajudicial terror such as contacting employers, can and should be publicized far and wide. Alwaysinfashion's customers, and its potential customers, deserve to know that if they have a poor experience with the company and complain about it, they may receive the Rapunzel treatment: threatened litigation and threats to employment.

Caveat emptor.

sirenUPDATE: ALERT! ALERT! ALERT!

A representative of Always In Fashion has favored us with a reply.

But the reply raises more questions than it answers and, if possible, makes the company look worse.

 

Last 5 posts by Patrick Non-White

153 Comments

152 Comments

  1. Ken White  •  Apr 26, 2013 @7:22 am

    That's gonna leave a mark.

    And, as Patrick said: if they are so foolish as to sue, we'll put up the Popehat Signal in a heartbeat and find the victim competent pro bono counsel. California has a very nice anti-SLAPP statute with which we are acquainted.

  2. mike  •  Apr 26, 2013 @7:32 am

    I just left this message via their contact form. Will update if I get a response.

    Hi,

    I'm thinking of making a purchase, but given that you have threatened to sue another customer who was not satisfied with their product, I have some concerns.

    What is your policy regarding customer satisfaction?

    If I buy something and don't like it, will you sue me if I complain?

  3. adam  •  Apr 26, 2013 @7:42 am

    …actually i believe ken's favourite line includes the phrase "meritless thuggery." it's just not the same without it.

  4. Dan Weber  •  Apr 26, 2013 @7:43 am

    Whoa, I thought this was a Ken post until halfway through.

    I don't see any difference between the two necklaces, but that's probably my problem.

  5. JWH  •  Apr 26, 2013 @7:49 am

    The necklaces look virtually the same to me; it looks like the first photo was taken under a different kind of light.

    But that's not the issue at hand here.

  6. Zac Morris  •  Apr 26, 2013 @7:51 am

    As you outlined in other posts, it's getting harder and harder to define who the bully is…

    I myself have a situation where a personal "conversation" on Twitter (started by a 3rd party), resulted in name calling on my part (not proud of it), which could be considered by some as bullying, even if I didn't "start it". This person did a quick internet search and discovered my employer, and proceeded to CC my employer's twitter account into the "conversation". This was over a Friday/Saturday; Monday I received a "strongly worded email" from a corporate PR person from my employer, highlighting the various "corporate guidelines" that I had broken with the exchange.

    I [hopefully] made my case that my "conversation" had absolutely nothing to do with my employer, nor more importantly was even related to my profession. Hopefully nothing will come of it, but I'm left with a very bitter taste in my mouth, regarding my own actions, this 3rd party's actions, and especially my employer's reaction who did not even try to play the "conversation" into any kind of context.

    Was what I did childish? Absolutely. Was what I did [name calling] bullying? Possibly, though I felt this person was being unreasonable and saw the name calling as a way to help them realize that fact.

    Was what the 3rd party did bullying? I believe so, absolutely.

    What what my employer did bullying? I believe so.

    So, since we all had some bullying going on, where do you draw the line? Is the line "legal action"? If I end up losing my job, do I have a legal (and more importantly, moral) right to "sue" the 3rd party for their actions?

  7. eigenperson  •  Apr 26, 2013 @7:52 am

    So Popehat, LLP apparently has two partners with expertise in the field of online handmade item defamation law. It is a shame that Mrs. Rapnuzel chose to hire the less decorated partner, but perhaps if Dr. Non-White is able to bring this case to a successful conclusion he too can receive an award for badassery.

  8. Erica  •  Apr 26, 2013 @7:55 am

    All that weird capitalization is really grating…

  9. Niall  •  Apr 26, 2013 @7:59 am

    Aside from lighting differences, there is also the very interesting assertion by the company that the customer tried to get more product for free, was (appropriately) denied, and then wanted a refund. I have dealt with international small companies, and never expected the return shipping to be other than at my expense.

    Which is all completely beside the point of the baseless threat, unwarranted intrusion into personal and professional life, and – well, they just tried to blackmail her into staying silent, didn't they? Had their second letter started with the facts and just told her "sorry, our policy stands to not pay for returns from overseas", they'd have probably been fine. And from the lack of responses, I think they may have gotten the message.

  10. Duke  •  Apr 26, 2013 @7:59 am

    Thuggery? Anyone here familiar with eyeglasses web merchant DecoyMyEyes? Business owner Vitaly Borker would contact people who wrote negative things about his merchandise and threaten to torture and kill them. IIRC, he once went to the home of an unsatisfied customer and took photos of the building, then emailed them as a not-so-subtle "I know where you live."

    The ultimate goal was to actually get mentions of his company on various rip-off and complaint web sites because Google's page rankings would bump up the placement of his company based on the links from these consumer sites.

    It all seemed to go in his favor until the Feds caught up with him. They confiscated counterfeit merchandise, guns and, oh, they found CP on his home computer. He's currently a guest of the federal prison system.

    There is a Wikipedia page for DecorMyEyes but check the NY Times site for much more lurid details.

  11. SarahW  •  Apr 26, 2013 @8:02 am

    There is reason to find some fault with the shopper Mrs. Rapunzel's expectations, with regard to irregularities in color and shape of natural materials prone to variance from example pieces, and her apparent taking-for-granted of a return policy typical of a major department stores.

    However the company has just made sure that no one will think the difference in the beads is anything but a scam, a scam they keep going by yelling at people and promising revenge in emails.

  12. Andy  •  Apr 26, 2013 @8:09 am

    I'd say, and I'm not big on jewelry or anything, that the biggest difference, and it seems big to me, is that the example picture the necklace is made of nice, evenly sized and shaped pieces, while the delivered one seems to be slapped together with every oddly sized and shaped chunk left in the bottom of the barrel… it just looks sloppy and poorly done.

  13. J Tyra  •  Apr 26, 2013 @8:09 am

    The top photo is of round beads that are soft on he skin bathe bottom photo on what she got are jagged beads. Not at all the same. Thank you for your effort!

    (There's a slight typo towards the end of your blog. "Event" should read "even" I believe)

  14. jackn  •  Apr 26, 2013 @8:11 am

    I once had an online retail operation that depended on photos to convey colors and shades. If someone complained about a shade not being what they expected, we would would refund.

    although we couldn't control the customer's monitor, we would use color calibrated systems to ensure the products matched reality as best as possible.

    The first photo has such a bad color cast (an overall tone that does not represent reality), it looks like maybe they actually 'enhanced' the color; which could be construed as false advertisting (imo and im not anal).

    Anyway, if the first photo is from the company, I personally wouldn't be motivated to purchace because the color cast is so obvious. This would raise red flags about the company and their competence in my mind.

  15. jackn  •  Apr 26, 2013 @8:17 am

    The disclaimer on the bottom of the site says

    The content of this Website may not be copied or utilized.

    I wonder how she placed on order without utilizing the site?

  16. Bear  •  Apr 26, 2013 @8:19 am

    "You liked so much Our Amber necklaces that You have tried to get another couple for free adducing unfounded reasons."

    That part puzzled me; I wondered if maybe Rapunzel hadn't forwarded you all her emails. Then it hit me. There ar three necklace samples in the "offered" pic. Did she think she was getting three for the price of one? Frankly, allowing for lighting differences, what she got seems to be a good example of what they offered. (I'd probably have satisfied, myself; but I'm easy.)

    Nonetheless, the company apparently did immediately escalate to Creepy, Level 3 thuggishness.

  17. Patrick Non-White  •  Apr 26, 2013 @8:23 am

    I believe I have reviewed all emails between "Rapunzel" and alwaysinfashion. Most of them concern such trivia as alwaysinfashion's return policy, and the color, feel, and grain of amber beads.

    The details of the transaction, the company's return policy, and quality of the beads, these things concern me not in the slightest.

  18. Clark  •  Apr 26, 2013 @8:24 am

    @Bear:

    Frankly, allowing for lighting differences, what she got seems to be a good example of what they offered.

    My thought as well.

    @Jackn:

    If someone complained about a shade not being what they expected, we would would refund.

    The only reasonable way to run a business.

  19. cdru  •  Apr 26, 2013 @8:29 am

    @Jackn I thought the exact same thing when I saw that disclaimer. I think it's a good warning for everyone not to use their website.

  20. Ben  •  Apr 26, 2013 @8:33 am

    Hey, could you post the "undeliverable" message to your emails. Kinda interested in whether the address doesn't receive messages (weird for a SALES@anywhere.com address) or if for some other reason.

  21. Rob  •  Apr 26, 2013 @8:39 am

    So, I'm curious…say these people actually do contact her employer, and manage to get her fired through a false claim. Would they then be liable for her lost wages?

  22. Always in Fashion  •  Apr 26, 2013 @8:42 am

    We prefer not to reply to Popehat privately by e-mail but We prefer to publish Mrs. Rapunzel's e-mail that started all this matter.
    Mrs.Rapunzel has the right to post negative reviews only if based on true facts, as well as We have the right and the duty to protect our reputation and our business.
    Please read carefully Mrs.Rapunzel's e-mail sent to Us after our denial to send 2 more free necklaces by expedited mail:

    ”That is really too bad. I had hopes that you would do the right thing and replace the necklace at your expense. I am a 'surprise shopper' for a few different companies.

    You tried to sell a sub par necklace to the wrong person. I know for a fact that the beads you sent me were NOT the beads you picture on your website. The chip style beads are inferior beads in quality and cost than the rounder style beads pictured on your site. The color in the beads you sent me are also evidence of an inferior quality than what is pictured on your website.

    You can expect a report to various authorities and negative reviews on multiple sites on the internet dealing with amber teething necklaces and amber in general.”

  23. Ben  •  Apr 26, 2013 @8:46 am

    Mrs. Rapunzel has the right to post whatever opinion she likes. It can be based on fact or not. So long as it's opinion, it is fully and completely protected speech.

  24. totstroc  •  Apr 26, 2013 @8:47 am

    I will assume, charitably, that the mastermind behind alwaysinfashion.com's sales team learned English as a second language.

    The less charitable / more likely assumption being that English was a fourth or fifth language (or perhaps learned more as a form aural martial art than as an actual language?

  25. Ben  •  Apr 26, 2013 @8:47 am

    Furthermore, this issue has very little to do with anyone's necklace at this point. You could have sent her the greatest beaded necklace in the history of humanity, and it wouldn't have mattered at this point. What is NEVER ok is threatening someone the way you have.

  26. Matthew  •  Apr 26, 2013 @8:48 am

    It takes a special kind of stupid to threaten to sue a customer because they say they'll blog about your return policy.

  27. Evan  •  Apr 26, 2013 @8:53 am

    I think the key difference is that the example necklace had beautiful clear amber beads, while the amber on the one that was received is milky/dull to the point of being very nearly opaque.

    @bear – on eBay it's very common for sellers of cheap items to just send a replacement if the original product is damaged or incorrect, without requiring the original to be sent back. As a result, a "this product isn't what was advertised" message is effectively the same as demanding another one for free. It seems likely that Alwaysinfashion took Mrs. Rapunzel's decision not to pay exhorbitant postage charges to return the original as an indication that she was actually very happy with the product, and assumed that she was just trying to get them to send another to keep her quiet.

    Of course, no matter how they interpreted the situation, there is zero justification for their response.

  28. Patrick Non-White  •  Apr 26, 2013 @8:53 am

    Always In Fashion, thank you for your reply.

    Would you like to answer my questions now?

    1) How has Ms. Rapunzel "blackmailed" your company? Has Ms. Rapunzel threatened or attempted any criminal action against you, as opposed to expressing her honest opinion of the product and what appears, to me as well, to be atrociously poor customer service?

    2) Is it usual for alwaysinfashion.com to contact employers of customers who complain about the quality of its merchandise?

    3) Is it usual for alwaysinfashion.com to threaten to accuse customers who complain about the quality of its merchandise of crimes on "social networks"?

    4) Do you understand that, in the United States as in most free nations, Ms. Rapunzel has an absolute right to express honest opinions, and to write honest reviews, of products and of merchants such as alwaysinfashion.com? If you do understand this, on what basis do you threaten to sue Ms. Rapunzel?

    5) Are you familiar with the term "Streisand Effect"?

  29. cb  •  Apr 26, 2013 @8:55 am

    Mrs.Rapunzel has the right to post negative reviews only if based on true facts

    She also has the right to post her opinion. But I note that in your email you threaten her if she "write[s] anything on blogs, forums or social networks,"(emphasis mine)

    as well as We have the right and the duty to protect our reputation and our business.

    Sure. But that doesn't include vague threats of lawsuit or harrasment. This, by the way, is where the Streisand Effect that Patrick mentioned comes in. You may be doing harm to your reputation

    Please read carefully Mrs.Rapunzel's e-mail sent to Us after our denial to send 2 more free necklaces by expedited mail

    okay…and?

    Where is her supposed demand for 2 free necklaces?

  30. RavingRambler  •  Apr 26, 2013 @8:58 am

    Yep, popcorn time again.

  31. Caudex  •  Apr 26, 2013 @9:01 am

    Well, time to dig the bag of Skittles out of my backpack. To speak in the parlance of the internet, "U gon' get pwned." (Was that good internet-talk? Am I special now?)
    I long for a day when the very mention of Popehat causes censorious thugs to shudder in their fancy shoes. Twill be a glorious day.

  32. Chris R.  •  Apr 26, 2013 @9:06 am

    The beads are actually different. The rounder ones look much more comfortable that the arrowhead-esque death talons they sent her. Either way there are a lot of people who need to hire someone who knows customer service or learn some themselves. Stop taking reviews as a personal affront. Then the person shows up on this blog to copy an email that only further sinks their ship. After reading her email and looking at the pictures, I get it now.

  33. Thad  •  Apr 26, 2013 @9:08 am

    That can't be 'Always in Fashion' commenting. Where are the silly random caps?

    Anyway, just in case it is, thanks for confirming the suspicion that part of the problem is chippy, sharp, beads, rather than nice rounded ones. Honestly, I don't know what else you think your comment does.

    One thing that is clear is that your legal threats are sub-standard. Really, is it too much to hope for nice, rounded ones, rather than badly worded ones with silly caps? But, at least you gave us the word "threatenings." Blackmail and threatenings. That's nice. That is really something to remember you by.

  34. MattS  •  Apr 26, 2013 @9:09 am

    Even,

    "I think the key difference is that the example necklace had beautiful clear amber beads, while the amber on the one that was received is milky/dull to the point of being very nearly opaque."

    I am a skilled amateur photographer. The difference you note is largely a matter of the difference in the back ground and the fact the the web site photo was taken with much stronger lighting.
    jackn

    "The first photo has such a bad color cast (an overall tone that does not represent reality), it looks like maybe they actually 'enhanced' the color; which could be construed as false advertisting (imo and im not anal)."

    The difference you note is unlikely to be from 'enhancement' of the photo. The color cast comes from photographing translucent material on a colored background with strong lighting. Very doable in camera.

  35. Charles  •  Apr 26, 2013 @9:09 am

    "Please send a replacement of appropriate quality" is not the same as "send me two free necklaces."

  36. JW  •  Apr 26, 2013 @9:10 am

    This can't be real. I mean no company in the business of making money could be this phenomenally and frighteningly stupid, could they? Right? RIGHT?

  37. Patrick Non-White  •  Apr 26, 2013 @9:11 am

    I can assure that the "Always In Fashion" commenting IS a representative of the company.

  38. MattS  •  Apr 26, 2013 @9:14 am

    Always in Fashion,

    Even if everything you said was true, your legal case still seems very weak and the emails posted in the main article are very ill considered.

  39. JR  •  Apr 26, 2013 @9:18 am

    Trying real hard to get the image of Patrick wearing a catholicized(?) version of a Robin outfit out of my head now.

  40. Dave Ruddell  •  Apr 26, 2013 @9:19 am

    It looks like she also posted a review at Rip Off Report. The picture included is the same as the one posted here. I think that Rip Off Report can be a useful website, but the fact that they also offer reputation repair service makes them seem somewhat dodgy in my eyes.

  41. jackn  •  Apr 26, 2013 @9:21 am

    Matts – I am a skilled amateur photographer. The difference you note is largely a matter of the difference in the back ground and the fact the the web site photo was taken with much stronger lighting.

    I guess I am more skilled and understand color better.

    There could be many reasons for the color. Besides photometrics, they could have even used a colored light.

  42. Michael  •  Apr 26, 2013 @9:24 am

    I really needed a pick-me-up this morning and Patrick's post was it. Awesome writing sir. ;-)))

  43. Orville  •  Apr 26, 2013 @9:25 am

    @Always In Fashion

    I tend to look at negative reviews with a jaundiced eye. Having worked in a retail setting I am well aware of how unreasonable some customers can be.

    However, your response to this matter has shown that you are not a merchant that I want to do business with. Legal threats over a manner this minor make me believe that I can not trust you to do the right thing. Nor do I have any desire to financially support an operation that appears to have the deficiencies yours does.

    I will be sharing this opinion through my social networks. I am confident that my friends and family will come to a similar conclusion.

  44. z!  •  Apr 26, 2013 @9:27 am

    Two things strike me- First, the emails almost look like they were machine translated, so perhaps they were written in Italian and piped through google translate. Second, while the comment above purports to be from AlwaysInFashion, the difference in language style suggests that either they're from a different office (and should have been handling the US correspondence anyway) or it's a complete fabrication.

    Oh, and the T&C on their web site are, ahem, amazing.

  45. Alan Burkitt-Gray  •  Apr 26, 2013 @9:28 am

    @erica "All that weird capitalization is really grating…"
    In some languages it's considered polite to capitalize personal pronouns. English does it with "I", but not "we", "you" and so on. The writer probably comes from a country where such capitalization is normal. The only other capitalization I can see is "Amber". Hmmm, well, I've seen lots of companies capitalize the name of their product. Not unusual.

  46. Michael  •  Apr 26, 2013 @9:28 am

    The alwaysinfashion photograph imo is excellent. It's the horrid customer service and threats that would keep me far, far away.

    There are whole books on how to photograph/present jewelry like their photo, it's no more false advertising than any other typical product photo used for marketing.

  47. RogerX  •  Apr 26, 2013 @9:29 am

    I've got nothing useful to contribute on free expression or meritless lawsuits (as Patrick and Ken have these covered better than most any blog in the nation) but I caught the term "Amber teething necklaces" in the original complaint and had a small facepalm.

    http://skeptoid.com/blog/2012/11/12/the-prettiest-strangulation-device-for-your-baby/

  48. Jim Clay  •  Apr 26, 2013 @9:31 am

    I guess I am more skilled and understand color better.
    Kind of an asshole response, don't you think?

    Yes, alwaysinfashion are litigious jerks. But I can't help but feel some sympathy given that the necklace she got seems pretty reasonable given the advertisement. They said that they would replace the necklace if she sent hers back. That seems reasonable to me. If I were the business owner I would not want to eat a loss every time a customer was a ditz.

  49. Patrick Non-White  •  Apr 26, 2013 @9:35 am

    Jim Clay:

    I can't help but feel some sympathy

  50. Feb  •  Apr 26, 2013 @9:37 am

    @DaveRuddell: RipOffReport also offers reputation repair? Oh my, that sounds like a less-toxic, less-offensive version of what AreYouDown does.

  51. MosesZD  •  Apr 26, 2013 @9:40 am

    Their return policy:

    30 Days Money Back

    We offer a 30 days guarantee on all our products. If the order is incorrect, we will reimburse you the return shipping cost. If the merchandise is being returned for any other reason, we ask that you bear the costs of the initial ($5.00 for orders shipped by priority mail, shipping fee + $15 for orders shipped by Fedex) & return shipping plus a 5$ restocking fee. The merchandise must be in the same condition as when shipped to you in order to receive credit. The merchandise may be returned by Priority Mail, only in this case we will refund the cost of the shipping. If you chose to return the merchandise by express courier, the shipping cost we will not be refunded. All merchandise is visually inspected upon receipt for signs of wear prior to the issuance of any refunds, exchanges or credits. "New and unused condition" means that there are no scratches, marks, or blemishes and the item must not have been sized or altered in any way. We cannot accept a return of any item with any indication that it has been used.

    I don't see anything that indicates she has to ship this merchandise to Italy. I don't see that anyone in their right mind would think they'd need to do anything but put the damn thing in a shipping envelope and ship it back. And I'm not sure why she should have to pay $5 restocking when the product they sold her did not match the photo.

  52. Rob  •  Apr 26, 2013 @9:45 am

    jackn • Apr 26, 2013 @9:21 am
    I guess I am more skilled and understand color better.

    There could be many reasons for the color. Besides photometrics, they could have even used a colored light.

    I went to the website and looked at the original image. It's not nearly as saturated as the one on this page; I'm guessing whatever image compression that got applied when Patrick uploaded it to this blog is responsible for that.

    Regardless, the metadata reveals it was edited with Photoshop CS3. That color could quite easily have been achieved using various tools that Photoshop has to offer.

    I also took note of the item description:

    Baltic Amber Teething Necklace realized with Certified High Polished Baltic Amber Beads individually knotted, softly rounded and an Amber safe screw-on clasp.

    That certainly doesn't seem to match the description of what she received, particularly the "softly rounded" part.

  53. Turk  •  Apr 26, 2013 @9:47 am

    @Always in Fashion

    OK, I read her email to you. It basically says you sold her crap compared to what she was expecting. I'm no jewelry expert, but based on the photos I agree with her. You advertised one thing and delivered something different in quality.

    So what's the problem? She isn't entitled to her opinion?

    If you think she has done something criminal, or made inappropriate demands, then you should share that email.

    It would be an understatement to say people seem unimpressed with your response. Although you have provided a textbook case of lousy customer service.

  54. MattS  •  Apr 26, 2013 @9:50 am

    jackn,

    "There could be many reasons for the color. Besides photometrics, they could have even used a colored light."

    They could have used a colored light, but based on the overall appearance of the image I don't think so. The point is the effect is very achievable in camera and therefor by itself is not evidence of manipulation.

  55. MattS  •  Apr 26, 2013 @9:53 am

    Rob,

    "Regardless, the metadata reveals it was edited with Photoshop CS3."

    I doubt the metadata indicates what was done to the image in CS3.

    The look of that photo is entirely achievable in camera.

  56. Dan Weber  •  Apr 26, 2013 @10:00 am

    The customer is not always right.

    But just because they are wrong doesn't mean the vendor is correct.

  57. Rob  •  Apr 26, 2013 @10:01 am

    I doubt the metadata indicates what was done to the image in CS3.

    True, it does not, but you can't necessarily take it as an accurate representation, either. While it's certainly possible they could have carefully composed the image to give its overall "warm" color cast while still accurately representing the colors, I think it's somewhat more likely that they simply used post processing to get the result they wanted, especially given the professionalism, or lack thereof, of their sales department.

  58. Dorothy  •  Apr 26, 2013 @10:02 am

    The link to the write-up on the false science of teething necklaces was great. After reading the summary at the top of this page, it sounds like they are making medical claims.
    Quote:"Wearing an Amber Teething Necklace close to the skin is a traditional European remedy for teething in fact it works like a natural analgesic and its healing effects will help to calm your baby without resorting to drugs."
    Searching the FDA website, it appears that a previous importer had their shipment denied for misbranding. Perhaps a different direction should be taken with these necklaces? http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/importrefusals/ir_detail.cfm?EntryId=UPS-6321523-6&DocId=1&LineId=1&SfxId=

  59. joe pullen  •  Apr 26, 2013 @10:07 am

    @Zak Morris – IANAL so cannot address your question regarding your personal situation, but most employers today require employees sign paperwork upon hire that outlines if they post things in public that reflect poorly on the company they can be terminated.

    Although I don't post things I would be concerned with coming back to me, this is one of the reasons that when I post in public I do so under a pseudonym.

  60. Grifter  •  Apr 26, 2013 @10:13 am

    So, two things:

    One, I read "Patrick non-White" and immediately translated it in my head to "Sir Patrick the Black".

    Two: I once had an issue with security bolt drivers. I purchased one off Ebay that said it worked on "Sega, SNES, NES" systems. It listed a 4.5mm bit, but I didn't know the difference. After receiving it, it clearly didn't even fit in the hole for the cartridge, let alone on the screw itself. I emailed the company, and got a blustery Engrish response about how many satisfied customers they had. I emailed them again, offering to send them photos, because the thing didn't even fit into the hole and got more bluster.

    I did my own research, and discovered that NES used 3.8, not 4.5 like Sega. I sent them an email politely and explicitly explaining that seemed to be the problem, and that while their product would undoubtedly work on a Sega cartridge, it did not work on an NES cartridge, which was why I had purchased it. Again, more blustery Engrish about how wrong I was.

    I finally resorted to threatening them with bad reviews on Ebay and a formal complaint, and they sent me a new one without ever letting me know they were doing it. I figured I would wait until they asked for the old one back before sending it back, and they never did.

    Was my complaint a minor one about a $2 item? Yup. But if they'd threatened to sue me over it, I would have been enraged. Sure, it was a fine product that does, indeed, fit on a Sega catridge, and well worth $2 in its own right, it wasn't what I ordered.

    What's a petty complaint to one person, makes the purchase worthless to another. A company should not respond to a complaint with bluster unless they can also outline exactly how the item is described and pictured perfectly. Even then, threats of suit and of contacting employers should only be reserved for only actually egregious problems from a buyer.

  61. Hasdrubal  •  Apr 26, 2013 @10:16 am

    MattS:

    Yeah, that can be done in camera. But it takes an hour to set up the shot, get the lighting right, and get the effect exactly how the marketing dweeb wants it. Or, you can set up the shot and get the lighting good enough in 10-15 minutes, then the marketing nerd spends another 5-10 minutes making it look how they want in Photoshop.

    Photoshop killed a lot of traditional photography in marketing. My mother was a professional and did small items like this for advertising brochures. Getting one shot an hour was working at blazing speed. When she did large industrial equipment, getting 4-5 shots a day was blazingly fast. Then came digital and all the work dried up because one photographer could do the work of 4-5. Or the marketing dweeb just bought an expensive camera and did it herself, since most of the "real work" was done in Photoshop anyway.

    So, rule of thumb: If it's paid advertising, it's almost always photoshopped. Even if it can be done in camera, it's still photoshopped because that's just cheaper and faster.

    (I thought I might like to take pictures. Then I spend an afternoon trying to set up lights to make an engine block look like just presentable. Ain't nobody got time for that! :P )

  62. jackn  •  Apr 26, 2013 @10:20 am

    MattS-They could have used a colored light, but based on the overall appearance of the image I don't think so. The point is the effect is very achievable in camera and therefor by itself is not evidence of manipulation

    Im not really saying they manipulated the photo, they may have, or may not; in the end I am suggesting their business controls are not quite world class.

    My eye wants to make the background white or neutral, and based on that, the color looks like a bad mix of tungsten and fluorescent.

    sorry about my earlier comment

    sorry about my earlier comment

  63. SarahW  •  Apr 26, 2013 @10:21 am

    The shipped necklace has "softly rounded" beads – the edges are smoothed and polished. The beads have more elongation than the sample beads to be sure, but unless a specific dimension or grade of bead, as opposed to a reasonable compliance with the description and picture, were shipped, the picture is the usual product puffing of mass produced string beads. I can understand both why the customer objected and how the customer expected more than was promised. Lesson for the jewelry consumer – buy only gems represented as the exact item in the picture, or buy only in person, or take your chances. The return policy is screwy but related to the unfortunate fact that there are women in far too plentiful numbers who will buy jewelry for a single wearing, and return it. The shipping cost policy and restocking fee is to discourage this practice.

    Don't care for the policy? Shop elsewhere. Which probably anyone with sense will from now on.

  64. Clark  •  Apr 26, 2013 @10:23 am

    Sir Patrick the Black

    It was discussed in the Secret Author Forum that NO ONE gets to be Mr. Black.

  65. Chris R.  •  Apr 26, 2013 @10:30 am

    Grifter, I've had the same problem with things advertised for multiple platforms on eBay that turn out to be incorrectly labeled. It's taught me to research beforehand as you probably do now. Either way, these beads are listed for teething, and I am pretty sure I'd wan't the soft round ones, not the bear-trap version she was sent.

  66. RavingRambler  •  Apr 26, 2013 @10:30 am

    @SarahW The specifications on the site say the beads are 8mm x 6mm. The beads on the actual necklace appear to have a lot more variance than that.

    I'm just eyeballing that, I haven't done a detailed photographic analysis.

  67. azteclady  •  Apr 26, 2013 @10:51 am

    Beyond the difference in color, it would be the obvious difference in shape that would bother me, where I the buyer.

    I also work with the public every day, and some of their complaints are obviously meant to get something free–customers have told me plainly that I either make them happy or they'll go up the food chain to blame me, personally, for their dissatisfaction (with anything from quality of ingredients to pricing, all of it pretty clearly out of my control).

    The only thing to do in those cases is to give the satisfaction demanded (refund, replacement, coupons for future purchases) while gritting your teeth behind a polite smile.

    But when the product the customer receives is clearly inferior, the very least anyone in customer service can do is replace it. I would even argue that, in the more egregious cases, a refund on top of that wouldn't be amiss.

  68. jackn  •  Apr 26, 2013 @11:02 am

    The only thing to do in those cases is to give the satisfaction demanded (refund, replacement, coupons for future purchases) while gritting your teeth behind a polite smile.

    Yes, and remove them from mailing lists, etc.. Minimize future contact.

  69. MattS  •  Apr 26, 2013 @11:04 am

    jackn,

    "Im not really saying they manipulated the photo, they may have, or may not; in the end I am suggesting their business controls are not quite world class."

    That's true. And as others have pointed out it's easier to achieve by manipulation. My point however, is that even if it has been manipulated for color saturation or other issues, I would have trouble calling it false advertising where the end effect is doable in-camera.

  70. MattS  •  Apr 26, 2013 @11:07 am

    Hasdrubal,

    "Yeah, that can be done in camera. But it takes an hour to set up the shot, get the lighting right, and get the effect exactly how the marketing dweeb wants it."

    True, but the photo in the article is hardly just right. The lighting is extremely harsh resulting in an over exposure with the background cloth and even the product washed out in places.

  71. jimmythefly  •  Apr 26, 2013 @11:09 am

    It's not just the shape of the beads, it's the size. In the advertisement, they are all very nearly the same size beads across the whole string. The jagged beads received by Rapunzel vary in size much more.

    And, it's tough to describe, but the irregular beads on the actual necklace are not irregular in the same way. Some are thin and long, some short and nearly square, some triangular.

    So there are really at least 3 ways the necklaces differ, not even getting into color.

    1. Shape of beads (rounded vs. more angular).
    2. Size variation of beads across the whole string.
    3. Consistency of bead shape across the whole string.

  72. princessartemis  •  Apr 26, 2013 @11:10 am

    That is supposed to be worn by a baby on their ankle to help with teething. All those jagged chips, while they do have rounded edges, aren't that comfortable against adult skin, never mind teething baby skin.

    Based on that, and the fact that the site advertises the size of the beads that should have been used, the customer clearly did not get what she ordered. Well, not that she ordered a heaping helping of legal threats, but you know.

  73. Zac Morris  •  Apr 26, 2013 @11:10 am

    Joe Pullen: Thanks for the response. I understand my legal action against my employer would be limited (because of said policy), but I was curious if I would have any case (legally or morally) against the 3rd party that copied my employer into the conversation to begin with? Would what they did be considered Extortion or Libel, if I lost my job over it?

    Why I posted on this particular "article" was to try to better understand "who is the bully" in these situations? Is it the person that threatens legal action (so if I sought a case of extortion against my 3rd party, would I be the bully?).

    In the case of this article, I think it's more clear, because the seller threatened legal action to silence/intimidate the customer [clearly bullying] , but then the customer threatened "bad review" which while factual, could it be considered bullying to get her way?

    Because the "she asked for two more" came up, it is my guess that the customer probably responded with something like:

    These are not the same quality and also the picture showed three. So since it's cost prohibitive to return the one I received, I think you should at least send me two more of these cheaper-quality-ones, because your picture showed a quantity of three.

    Still, I totally understand that the Streisand Effect needs to be better understood by people selling goods, and then work it into their equation of the "cost of doing business".

  74. LT  •  Apr 26, 2013 @11:18 am

    @SarahW- those aren't 'softly rounded'- those are flat-out chips. There's going to be variance in naturally-produced semiprecious gemstone beads like that, but they should all be ovoid to circular, not triangular or rectangular.

    I wouldn't have bought anything from them- they claim their amber is certified but don't note a certifying agency like the GIA or EGL. That would put me off, and the original sales pics look like lower-grade amber to me. Put that together with the huge fuss they're making over what looks like an $11 necklace, and this is a company that screams 'worst customer service ever'.

  75. Patrick Non-White  •  Apr 26, 2013 @11:19 am

    Zac Morris, I've read what I believe to be all of the emails. And no I'm not publishing them all, because that would make the post unreadable.

    But I have no reason to believe that "Rapunzel" asked for two more necklaces. She asked for a quality replacement or refund.

    Do bear in mind that one of the parties to this exchange (the same party that asserts Rapunzel asked for two necklaces) has a very limited grasp of English.

    It is entirely possible that this is an honest mistake on alwaysinfashion's part. The only honest mistake they made in this sorry transaction.

  76. Luke  •  Apr 26, 2013 @11:29 am

    @Zac -I'm not sure that simply threatening negative reviews over a product/service can be considered bullying when conducted via email. The customer would have to go pretty over the top in an email to be bullying. In person its a different story because their can be implied threats based on physical behavior.

    Feedback, both positive & negative, is almost a given part of any transaction

  77. TedS  •  Apr 26, 2013 @11:31 am

    Who's got the popcorn?? This is getting really good!

  78. Patrick Non-White  •  Apr 26, 2013 @11:32 am
  79. Zac Morris  •  Apr 26, 2013 @11:44 am

    Patrick Non-White: Perspective, was the original post that really started me thinking in these terms. :-)

    My take away from that post, is that everyone thinks "the other party" is always the bully. That was actually a pretty enlightening realization for me.

    I have been on both sides of this fence. I can look back on some of my "consumer" transactions where I felt slighted (as the customer) or wasn't getting my way, and in so doing realize that I was being a bully. I've also been on the customer side of things where I felt the customer was being unreasonable.

    After Patrick's clarification that the customer never asked for "two more", then I think this specific case is much more cut-n-dry.

  80. MattS  •  Apr 26, 2013 @11:49 am

    TedS,

    Sorry, Ken's Prenda Law stories have already completely destroyed the national popcorn supply. The government instituted popcorn rationing earlier this week and I have already run out my allotment. :P

  81. Zac Morris  •  Apr 26, 2013 @11:54 am

    Helium. Pop Corn. WHAT VITAL RESOURCE DO WE LOSE NEXT!?!?! ;-)

  82. mojo  •  Apr 26, 2013 @11:59 am

    Somebody set us up the bomb!

  83. David  •  Apr 26, 2013 @12:48 pm

    On the basis of what has been published here, I wrote to alwaysinfashion.com throught their "Contact Us" web page and told them I would never do business with them. If they didn't know about the Streisand Effect before this incident, they do now.

    I hope they threaten to sue me, too.

  84. Hulinut  •  Apr 26, 2013 @12:54 pm

    @David – No you have to purchase something from them first, threats are reserved for their valued customers!

  85. Donald  •  Apr 26, 2013 @1:13 pm

    Always In Fashion clearly you posted here so presumably you're reading here; I'm going to do you a favor.

    I'm not a lawyer.
    I'm not a 'surprise shopper' though my wife is, and she is paid by companies to review their customer service by doing things like making a perfectly legitimate purchase and then requesting a refund and then providing an account of the service she receives at the hands of their employees.
    I am however a longtime IT professional with a background in web development, internet marketing and thus, by necessity, public relations.

    Bearing all of these things in mind I'm going to cut to the chase and tell you how you should be handling this.

    Ultimately, when situations like this come up it doesn't matter who is right.

    Once it reaches the point of being common public knowledge that you are harassing a customer over what should be a simple return you are actually hurting your company by continuing the exchange.

    You are driving away customers who otherwise might be willing to spend money with your business.

    Own the issue.

    The cost is one rather cheap necklace.

    The shipping is probably worth more than the item itself, and it's most certainly worth more than the bad press you are getting.

    Let her keep it, refund the transaction and send her a gift voucher for $10 off of her next purchase, then send copies of those transactions to our friends at popehat.

    This will neatly derail any possible argument about how your company handled the issue, turn a bit of bad press into a bit of good press and quite possibly turn an angry customer into a happy customer who is reasonably likely to return.

    Done.

    No more drama, no more nasty letters from people who spent the better part of a decade learning to do unspeakable things to your good name – or send you to places where people do unspeakable things to your bodily orifices- and you can move on to the business of selling cheap jewelry online to make a healthy profit.

    You're welcome.

  86. MattS  •  Apr 26, 2013 @1:14 pm

    Zac Morris,

    "Helium. Pop Corn. WHAT VITAL RESOURCE DO WE LOSE NEXT!?!?!"

    Well lets see, Helium starts with H which is the 8th letter of the alphabet and Popcorn starts with P which is the 16th. There for the next vital resource to go will be Xylophones.

  87. mcinsand  •  Apr 26, 2013 @1:23 pm

    Wow! So there actually can be vendors with a worse customer attitude than the now-defunct Ocean State Electronics. Wow! Who woulda thunk it?

  88. Savrain  •  Apr 26, 2013 @1:25 pm

    Honestly, I don't think I have much empathy for either party. Purchased an amber necklace, received an amber necklace minus photoshop work. Cue hyperbolic rants by both sides.

  89. Scote  •  Apr 26, 2013 @1:32 pm

    "im Clay • Apr 26, 2013 @9:31 am

    I guess I am more skilled and understand color better.
    Kind of an asshole response, don't you think?

    Yes, alwaysinfashion are litigious jerks. But I can't help but feel some sympathy given that the necklace she got seems pretty reasonable given the advertisement. They said that they would replace the necklace if she sent hers back. That seems reasonable to me. If I were the business owner I would not want to eat a loss every time a customer was a ditz."

    No, the two necklaces are not the same quality. Its like saying that a Honda and a Yugo are the same if they both have 4 wheels and are the same color.

    The beads in the advertised necklace are thicker, rounder, includes more transparent beads and the beads are matched for size. The necklace that was sent has irregular shaped beads which have sharp edges, are thinner, that are not size matched and which include more opaque beads. I.e. "item not as described".

    Paying to send it back might seem reasonable except they demanded **first class** shipment to **Italy**, not merely shipping, and it seems that the necklace was drop shipped from California to the customer, not from Italy, though that is not clear.

  90. mcinsand  •  Apr 26, 2013 @1:52 pm

    I had the opposite experience from Rapunzel earlier this year. An eBay supplier made a mistake and sent 10 LCD readouts to me, rather than 1. After some very nice exchanges back and forth, and I did say that I could use a couple of extra, and I would be willing to pay for a couple more, as well as send the others back, the vendor told me to just keep all 10 and enjoy.

  91. ChrisTS  •  Apr 26, 2013 @2:26 pm

    I'm with those who think she did not get what she ordered. They offered a picture of the item and the one she got is very different looking. They specified a size of the beads, and the one she got does not match the promised sizes (uniformly). I looked at their site and they picture some lovely things; seeing what she received, I would not order from them.

    I also think their return policy (a) stinks and (b) is rather difficult to figure out – the latter being a function of the English I would guess.

    But then on top of all that, they send her these astonishing emails that threaten her with various kinds of reprisal if she dares to comment negatively about them anywhere. Yikes.

    Three strikes and you're out. Welcome to the big leagues.

  92. MattS  •  Apr 26, 2013 @2:41 pm

    ChrisTS,

    I am not arguing that the necklace she got was the same as the one in the picture. There are differences not affected by the conditions under which the two photos were taken. However, where they taken under the same conditions, the translucency and color would be much closer than they are in the existing photos.

  93. Joe schmoe  •  Apr 26, 2013 @3:15 pm

    Patrick says there is an update in the form of a response, but if you click the link it just brings you to the original post. Where is the response?

  94. Scote  •  Apr 26, 2013 @3:19 pm

    " However, where they taken under the same conditions, the translucency and color would be much closer than they are in the existing photos."

    I call BS. There's no color chip chart in the company photo or even reference gray tones, so you have **no idea** if the colors would match more closely or less between the two necklaces.

    You are starting with the unwarranted **assumption** that they match and that proper lighting would show the similarity. For all you know the to necklaces would look even more different if photographed side by side under the same conditions.

  95. Kairho  •  Apr 26, 2013 @3:20 pm

    All this over a $11 (or so) piece of costume jewelry?

  96. Mike  •  Apr 26, 2013 @3:22 pm

    @Joe: Higher in the comments.

  97. MattS  •  Apr 26, 2013 @3:22 pm

    Joe schmoe,

    In the comments thread.

  98. MattS  •  Apr 26, 2013 @3:28 pm

    Scote,

    I am not starting with ANY **assumptions**.

    I have considerable experience with photography (around 35 years or so) and even a little photographing translucent objects, so I have direct personal knowledge about the affects that lighting and exposure can have on apparent colors in a photograph and how lighting affects translucency.

    I can't say with certainty that they would be the same under the same lighting conditions, but I am confident that they would be closer than what is apparent from the two photographs in the article.

  99. MattS  •  Apr 26, 2013 @3:33 pm

    Scote,

    For a specific example, the greenish cast in the stones from the first photo that appear to be a cloudy light comes from green light reflecting off of the background cloth. I have seen this kind of effect many times.

    Also, semi-translucent objects may appear fully opaque under low level soft lighting and will clearly show as translucent under much stronger lighting.

    I have direct personal experience with both of these effects.

  100. MattS  •  Apr 26, 2013 @3:33 pm

    post above: cloudy light should be cloudy white.

  101. Scote  •  Apr 26, 2013 @3:38 pm

    "
    MattS • Apr 26, 2013 @3:28 pm

    Scote,

    I am not starting with ANY **assumptions**.

    I have considerable experience with photography (around 35 years or so) and even a little photographing translucent objects, so I have direct personal knowledge about the affects that lighting and exposure can have on apparent colors in a photograph and how lighting affects translucency.

    I can't say with certainty that they would be the same under the same lighting conditions, but I am confident that they would be closer than what is apparent from the two photographs in the article."

    I have decades of photo and video lighting experience myself. And one of the things I know, that you must know, is that you can't say what color things are with out references–and you have none. So unless you start with the assumption that the two necklaces are the same color there is no reason to think they will look more similar if photographed under the same lighting. Instead, they could look more different–because you have no virtually idea what color the original is in the company photo. You have no calibration and no references to go by other than the beads themselves and those are the items who's color **we don't know**.

  102. George William Herbert  •  Apr 26, 2013 @3:41 pm

    I am asking my wife, who is a beads expert, to take a look at this.

    MattS – what you are criticizing about the photos (the particulars of photo taking conditions) are not the relevant factors in determining if the beads are the same or different. The size and shaping are.

  103. Bill  •  Apr 26, 2013 @3:45 pm

    So AlwaysInStyle claims she tried to extort two more necklaces by virtue of her email – Reading comprehension eludes me more than I'd like – but I'm not seeing it. What am i missing?

    As far as Rapunzel – if that's her actual email – I'm getting a strong Pox on both of their houses vibe. I'm not justifying the Company's behavior at all – absolutely cringeworthy and there's no excuse for it – but it seems like she got a taste of her own medicine and then went crying about it. Definitely a pox on both houses…

  104. Lucy  •  Apr 26, 2013 @3:46 pm

    The beads are lower quality but the knotting is also a mess. That is my opinion.

    Seeking out her employer was creepy as hell. Especially before she opined any review publicly. That's not a language barrier. I don't know what culture that wouldn't be creepy in. That would scare me of I were in her shoes. More so because of how unreasonable that move was, and people without reason scare me.

    Threats are a universal language, kind of like the opposite of love, another universal language.

    They might want to review their language barriers, customer service policies, product descriptions, and the Streisand Effect.

    Oh yes, and posting her email on a comment thread after being contacted by a lawyer, implies they are threatening legal action sans lawyer. What lawyer would recommend … ok, besides the two that just came to mind… It's just simply in such poor taste. Who are "Sales"? Teenagers?

  105. James Pollock  •  Apr 26, 2013 @3:47 pm

    "Would what they did be considered Extortion or Libel, if I lost my job over it?"
    Not libel because they reported your actual words… one of the elements of defamation (slander and libel) is falsity. Falseness. Um, to be slander it has to be not true.
    Not extortion because extortion cannot result from something one is legally permitted to do. Thus, telling someone to get off my property or I'll call the police is not extortion, because calling the police to report a trespasser is something I can do. Copying in a third party on twitter isn't illegal, and neither is silencing you by threatening to do it.
    Of course, a professional lawyer licensed for your jurisdiction might find a legal theory to hang a claim on, given the specifics of your situation.

  106. Scote  •  Apr 26, 2013 @3:49 pm

    "I have direct personal experience with both of these effects."

    And yet you have **zero** direct personal experience with either of the two actual necklaces, so you are merely speculating. You have no color references or color calibration chain for the original. Again, you don't know if similar lighting would make the necklaces look more or like or less. All you can testify to is that lighting can make a difference, not whether the lighting will make them look more alike since you don't know.

  107. Scote  •  Apr 26, 2013 @3:56 pm

    "Not extortion because extortion cannot result from something one is legally permitted to do. Thus, telling someone to get off my property or I'll call the police is not extortion, because calling the police to report a trespasser is something I can do"

    Is that an over simplification?

    Is it extortion to threaten some legal actions or to drop others? Such as "send me $10,000 or I'll press criminal charges"? Even if the charges might be legitimate? Or "send me $10,000 or I'll post nude photos of you on the internet?" Even if I own the photos and have talent releases (or newsworthiness value) for them? Could those be extortion even though the extortionist may have a legal right to to the threatened action?

  108. Patrick Non-White  •  Apr 26, 2013 @4:06 pm

    Patrick says there is an update in the form of a response, but if you click the link it just brings you to the original post. Where is the response?

    Patrick says that you're probably reading this through RSS, which doesn't bring you to the reply. For everyone who reads the site through a standard browser, it does.

    Patrick doesn't care. He doesn't read the site through RSS.

    Patrick suggests that you could have found it on your own in less time than it took you to write your comment.

  109. MattS  •  Apr 26, 2013 @4:17 pm

    George William Herbert,

    The color and translucency issue is relevant, it's just that there are other differences (size, shape) that are more dis-positive.

  110. MattS  •  Apr 26, 2013 @4:22 pm

    Scote,

    "So unless you start with the assumption that the two necklaces are the same color there is no reason to think they will look more similar if photographed under the same lighting."

    BS. I am starting with the second photograph and considering what I see in that image, what the effects of stronger lighting and a colored background would have on that necklace.

    No, I can't be certain, but I can make some reasonable conclusions about what the effects would be from experience based strictly on the image itself.

  111. joe pullen  •  Apr 26, 2013 @4:29 pm

    We may be off track on focusing on the merchandise itself. I’m with Patrick on an earlier comment, I’m not sure I even care if “Rapunzel” is right about what she received being what was represented. I’m far more concerned with the company’s response to her. There will always be wingnuts trying to extract free merchandise from a company by proposing to file bad reviews.

    A company who cares about customer service and who has integrity will allow that bad review to go up and then will respond to that bad review in a way that demonstrates they are a customer focused high integrity company and that the customer was wrong but not in a way that bashes the customer. The bottom line is if they are, they shouldn’t have to resort to threatening a customer, legally or otherwise, over a poor review.

    On a separate note, Hoovers does not have a D&B # on this company which means they are very small revenue wise given how long they have been in business. Also considering they are based in California, there is no reason for them to expect a customer to pay shipping for a product back to Italy. As a US based company, their COGS (including the mfg/supplier cost) should be included in their final sales price to the consumer. No where does it mention the buyer will be responsible for overseas shipping costs only that . . . “Subject to the following arbitration provision these terms and conditions shall be governed by, construed and interpreted according to the laws of Italy, and you and Alwaysinfashion.com (the 'Parties') agree to and consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the courts in Italy.”

  112. Scote  •  Apr 26, 2013 @4:34 pm

    "No, I can't be certain,"

    Thank you. The witness is excused.

  113. Merissa  •  Apr 26, 2013 @4:35 pm

    As Andy said, compared to the merchant's photo, the necklace she actually received looks quite jagged and poorly thrown together. If it really looks like that, I'd want a refund, too. Not an exchange, because I see no reason to think the replacement would be any better.

    I'm aware that's not the issue here. Just an observation.

  114. Hal 10000  •  Apr 26, 2013 @4:51 pm

    I do think there is a but of cultural/language barrier going on here, at least in the initial stages. Reading their post, it seems like her message of: "This necklace isn't what I paid for. I think you should replace it at your cost. But if you insist on this policy, I'll post negative reviews about it." may have translated to them as "I want two more necklaces or I'll say bad things about you on the internet."

    So I was sort of open-minded about it … up to the point where they threatened immediate lawsuits and calls to her employer. The proper response to what they claim they think she said would be, "we don't give in to threats of bad reviews."

  115. AlphaCentauri  •  Apr 26, 2013 @4:52 pm

    While the website says they have a certificate that guarantees the authenticity of the amber, the certificate they link to mostly seems to say it's not radioactive and safe to have in contact with foodstuffs. It's not a statement of the quality of the amber.

  116. Ken  •  Apr 26, 2013 @5:33 pm

    As for the quality of the necklace, I'm with those who say the size, shape, consistency of the beads are far shabbier on the bought piece, as well as the quality of the knotwork. It's nowhere near as nice as the one in the picture. On the other hand, if my wife had bought it, and then bitched to me about ir, I seriously would have responded with "What the heck did you expect for 12 bucks?"

    And so another person discovers the pitfalls of buying cheap foreign crap awesome bargains on the internet – if you don't like it and decide to get a refund, the shipping costs (and restocking fees) will virtually guarantee you're out as much or more than you would be if you just kept the crappy thing.

    And we all see the customer service skills of the vendors who engage in that kind of selling, as well as their level of smarts when it comes to backing down.

    The only thing that surprises me about this entire situation is that anyone is the least bit surprised by any of it

  117. Doctor Railgun  •  Apr 26, 2013 @6:21 pm

    I think the point is being missed here by some. The issue here is that a company threatened to file a lawsuit over a poor review. Worse, they threatened to advise the woman's employer in an attempt to get her in trouble over a BAD REVIEW! Whatever she may or may not have done is completely irrelevant at this point.

  118. Bill  •  Apr 26, 2013 @6:41 pm

    @Doctor Railgun – I completely agree except I think 'completely irrelevant' needs qualified. It's definitely completely irrelevant with respect to the company's behavior – they're response is wrong period. As far as a discussion topic though – she was making a ridiculously big deal over a cheap piece of crap, posturing and then went whining about it. That doesn't make anything the company did any less wrong, but for those of us in the "pox on both houses camp" it's relevant – the company sucks, Rapunzel is a sad joke and while there's a clear bad guy in the story, there's no good guy/gal in it.

  119. Martin  •  Apr 26, 2013 @6:43 pm

    Did someone spike the water supply with a big dose of "make thuggish, bumptious legal threats against your customers" this month? What the heck is going on?

  120. Bill  •  Apr 26, 2013 @6:45 pm

    @Hal1000 – It does seem that the person at the company believes they were being extorted for 2 other necklaces whether or not it was Rapunzel's intent – as I said before though – maybe I'm having reading comprehension issues but I'm not seeing that implied in her email – is it b/c of the picture or something stated?

  121. Jack B.  •  Apr 26, 2013 @6:49 pm

    I think the point is being missed here by some. The issue here is that a company threatened to file a lawsuit over a poor review. Worse, they threatened to advise the woman's employer in an attempt to get her in trouble over a BAD REVIEW! Whatever she may or may not have done is completely irrelevant at this point

    I think you're overlooking the fact that the white balance in that first photograph is waaaaaaaay off.

  122. MattS  •  Apr 26, 2013 @7:10 pm

    AlphaCentauri

    "While the website says they have a certificate that guarantees the authenticity of the amber, the certificate they link to mostly seems to say it's not radioactive and safe to have in contact with foodstuffs."

    Where the hell did they get the amber from, Chernobyl?

  123. MattS  •  Apr 26, 2013 @7:12 pm

    Scote,

    The witness never claimed certainty, simply an opinion informed by year of experience in photography.

  124. MattS  •  Apr 26, 2013 @7:13 pm

    Doctor Railgun,

    I don't know the parties to the dispute or the law, but I do know photography, so I talk about the photos.

  125. MattS  •  Apr 26, 2013 @7:15 pm

    "I don't know the parties to the dispute or the law, but I do know photography, so I talk about the photos."

    Speaking of, that green fabric the necklaces are on for the catalog photo was a sickening choice please do not spend too much time looking at the first photo.

  126. David Schwartz  •  Apr 26, 2013 @7:55 pm

    The bottom necklace clearly has significantly more variation in size and shape than the necklaces pictured. If you're going to sell something online where the customer has only your picture to know what they're getting, you had better make damn sure the picture accurately represents the product they're going to get.

  127. ChrisTS  •  Apr 26, 2013 @8:29 pm

    @BILL:

    she was making a ridiculously big deal over a cheap piece of crap, posturing and then went whining about it.

    How is your opinion as to the [ultimate ?] value of the jewelry she purchased relevant? Person X pays $Q for an item and receives something she believes to be of lesser value – because of lesser quality – than she paid for.

    Even f a person buys something that you believe to be 'cheap,' that person deserves to receive what s/he reasonably believed s/he was purchasing. Beyond that, the customer should not be subjected to baseless threats should s/he dare to express her/his opinion of the product or the company's treatment of her/him.

    Jeebus.

  128. Resolute  •  Apr 26, 2013 @10:11 pm

    I disagree, Bill. Customer gets product that is not what was represented. Customer inquires about return/refund/replacement. Customer gets a truly asinine response about shipping first class to Italy on an item that was shipped to her from California (presumably not first class). I don't think there is anything in her response of "I have found this interaction to be poor, and I will let my social circles know about it" to be an overreaction.

    Also, I am far less charitable about language barrier than others here. I don't trust that the company is accurately representing her demands. I am not sure where Joe Pullen got that bit about the parties agreeing to be bound by Italian law from, but if that is their position, then this becomes even more absurd. It seems the only reason why an American company would thus insist on return shipping to Italy is to try and create an argument that Italian courts have jurisdiction. And in cases like this, that might be convenient given free speech is more of an illusion there than a right.

  129. Santuro  •  Apr 26, 2013 @10:44 pm

    Mang, if I complained at Burger King every time my Whopper didn't look as perfect and juicy as the photo on the window, I'd starve. Reality never lives up to the marketing photo, ITS LIFE MOVE ON.

  130. Bill  •  Apr 26, 2013 @11:14 pm

    @ChrisTS -I'm obviously missing something here. So just b/c I think she was being a bit petty I have to also think what the company did was ok? Since I agree with everything you said, everything, including the irrelevance of my personal opinions, I'm not really sure what the point of contention is.

    Person X pays $Q for an item and receives something she believes to be of lesser value – because of lesser quality – than she paid for.

    Absolutely, I couldn't agree more. I said It's definitely completely irrelevant (regarding what she did). I'm not sure what else I could say to make it clear that whether or not I find her response obnoxious, the company had no right to behave like they did. She had every right to demand what she did.

    Even f a person buys something that you believe to be 'cheap,' that person deserves to receive what s/he reasonably believed s/he was purchasing. Beyond that, the customer should not be subjected to baseless threats should s/he dare to express her/his opinion of the product or the company's treatment of her/him.

    I'm saying this lightheartedly but you might as well have said "…2+2 = 4" b/c it's just as true and just as irrelevant. Again though, I'm in complete agreement and not seeing what I said that would indicate anything to the contrary.

    I didn't say that she should be subjected to baseless threats. I didn't say that based on my opinion of the product any of this was deserved. Right before I qualified it, I said:

    they're response is wrong period.

    . What part of that leaves any doubt as to what I feel here? I'll admit I'm not the most articulate guy, so perhaps that's where the confusion stems from. The company is completely in the wrong… AND I think she's being obnoxious and petty about it. Maybe that makes me a judgmental jerk. You and I are in completely agreement to the inappropriateness of what the company did – we just disagree on what we think of her behavior.

  131. Bill  •  Apr 26, 2013 @11:26 pm

    @Resolute – I don't think anything in the sentence you quote is inappropriate or an overreaction either – the part I found obnoxious was…

    I am a 'surprise shopper' for a few different companies…

    You tried to sell a sub par necklace to the wrong person. …

    You can expect a report to various authorities and negative reviews on multiple sites on the internet dealing with amber teething necklaces and amber in general.”

    That and if the company is telling the truth about her request for another necklace and her desire to get it quickly…although I guess the company might be misrepresenting her position.

    Posturing and acting tough isn't my thing although it's certainly fair game if someone else wants to. I think such behavior is corny while many might think my behavior is cowardly or lame. I'd have asked for my refund and if I was asked to pay intl shipping – wouldn't be ok with it. The part where she seems to ask for another one (of inferior quality) and needs it in a hurry seems to me to contradict her assertion about how sucky it is. If it's sucky and a misrepresentation – I want made whole on what I spent, I don't want an extra piece of the stuff I think is junk. but none of this much matters in terms of the company's behavior. She could be the rudest sh*t talker on earth and that wouldn't make what the company did ok

  132. azteclady  •  Apr 27, 2013 @12:38 am

    Santuro: It's not the same, at all.

    It's not just that the picture in the website is all pretty and what not, is that the description of the item promises certain things–such as beads closely matched in size, such as those in the top image. No one is asking for perfection, but something reasonably close to that first image. Look at the second image and, disregarding color differences, tell me whether the beads are reasonably uniform or within an acceptable size variation, let alone shape.

    (Never mind the many times I've had to replace AND refund someone because what they were served didn't look like the picture on the menu)

  133. Mike  •  Apr 27, 2013 @2:49 am

    I agree, a pox on both their houses.

    The communications give me the impression Mrs Rapunzel made the first threat (and, from appearances, an effort to extort) because her attempt to get another two necklaces failed. Her email is obnoxious and entitled sounding.

    The company's email response was immature and threatening. Not at all appropriate, and smacking of teenage basement internet revenge.

    A pox on both their houses.

  134. Conster  •  Apr 27, 2013 @5:01 am

    Bill, Patrick Non-White clearly stated 'But I have no reason to believe that "Rapunzel" asked for two more necklaces. She asked for a quality replacement or refund.'
    Also, it seems to me the "point of contention" between you and ChrisTS is that you accused Rapunzel of whining because she dared complain about something that wasn't super expensive and called her "a sad joke".

  135. Biffingston  •  Apr 27, 2013 @7:49 am

    @JW>> I'm sure it's a guy selling sub par merch out of his home, not a company.

  136. Zg  •  Apr 27, 2013 @8:08 am

    Hi Patrick, I was on the mobile version of the site, and I had trouble with the comment link also. I think the anchor-name tag may be absent on the mobile site.

  137. Patrick Non-White  •  Apr 27, 2013 @8:14 am

    I'm sure it is, Zg, but I lack the technology to fix that problem.

    You'll just have to take my word for it, or read the comments.

  138. ChrisTS  •  Apr 27, 2013 @8:49 am

    @Bill:

    Conster has pretty much said what I would in reply to you.

  139. Chris R.  •  Apr 27, 2013 @9:18 am

    Bill, she never asked for two necklaces. Read the company's post above, she asked for a replacement at the company's expense. Generally speaking to replace infers removal of one thing (think a light bulb) and addition of another. She specifically asked for a replacement that had the same bead quality pictured and described by dimension on the product page.

  140. Chris R.  •  Apr 27, 2013 @9:21 am

    Also check this product page, looks like she ordered the $15.95 item and received the $10.95 item: http://www.alwaysinfashion.com/amber_teething_necklaces

  141. Chris R.  •  Apr 27, 2013 @9:23 am

    Or not, working on my tablet so can't view side by side.

  142. AlphaCentauri  •  Apr 27, 2013 @9:40 am

    @Chris R., I think this is the item pictured above:
    http://www.alwaysinfashion.com/published/publicdata/ALWAYS/attachments/SC/products_pictures/baltic_amber_teething_necklace_ATN002.jpg

    ATN002 is the item number, and it was 10.95. It appears they have a different version of the photo that the one above, that has "A," "B" and "C" next to the strands, so people know they're ordering one of the three versions. (The sequence of bead colors is different.)

    A smart letter of complaint would have included all that information so people aren't arguing about different issues thinking they're talking about the same thing.

    If her version of "secret shopping" is to pretend to be a difficult customer to see how customer service handles the issue, they failed when they threatened to sue. Their representatives should be trained how to deal with customers who threaten to post negative reviews in order to get their way, because the world is full of such people. That's part of doing business on the internet. People purchasing over the internet need to be able to use their heads and decide if the negative review is credible and the merchant's response is satisfactory.

  143. AlphaCentauri  •  Apr 27, 2013 @9:42 am
  144. Bill  •  Apr 27, 2013 @11:17 am

    @Conster -I wasn't seeing the two necklace request so that's why I was asking but it all makes sense now. I'm slow sometimes. Thx on that one. And No, No No the point of contention between me and @Chris isn't that I think she's douchey for standing up for herself or exercising her rights. The point of contention is that Chris thinks b/c I think she's being a tool about it, that I somehow think what was done to her is ok. I fully admit I have reading comprehension issues. I fully admit I'm a terrible writer when it comes to anything non-technical. And I'll even throw in I see so many aholes getting rude with customer service people (always when I'm the next in line) that my sensitivity to it on the righthand side of the bell curve. I also have this thing about people being a pain in the a55, especially when I think I'm the one that's being the pain – so I'm going to politely bow out (and to be clear – I'm saying I'm the one being the pain here, not you or Chris). I really think what happened to Rapunzel is terrible and there's no excuse for it. She did absolutely nothing to deserve this behavior.

  145. Bill  •  Apr 27, 2013 @11:22 am

    @ChrisR – Thanks man. I couldn't understand why the company said that. As usual, reading comprehension issues on my end.

  146. manybellsdown  •  Apr 27, 2013 @11:34 am

    I had an online shopping experience like this a while back. I ordered what I thought was a solid-color sequined top (based on the photo). When I received the top, it was patterned with different colors. A more detailed examination of the photo showed the pattern was just barely visible under the lighting they used.

    The return policy was pretty much "no way all sales final", but I emailed her anyway and she took it back and refunded my original shipping as well. And that is how you handle a $15 sale that the customer is unsatisfied with.

  147. ChrisTS  •  Apr 27, 2013 @2:59 pm

    @Bill: No problem.

    "Chris thinks b/c I think she's being a tool about it, that I somehow think what was done to her is ok." I did not think that; I just thought your criticisms of her were off the mark.

  148. Christopher  •  Apr 28, 2013 @12:12 pm

    Well… as owner of an online retailer in Europe, this comes down to two things to me, affecting both sides equally (aside from the terribly poor communications, also from both sides) -

    1. Whether a product is as described, and whether this is the actual issue.
    2. Non EU users (and some EU users) knowledge of the EU distance selling regulations.

    Part 1 seems confusing from both sides – I can't quite tell what the customer thought they were getting (the beads look pretty similar to me in both pics), whether their complaint was about this or another issue (faulty item, differing quantity, quality, etc), and whether the retailer picked up on the exact problem that was being reported – they seem more concerned about the way the customer mentioned the issue more than what the issue actually was (tip: as a buyer, never demand anything, not in such direct terms anyway, especially when you're looking for help).

    And 2, well, it's fair to say Always In Fashion clearly need to brush up on their dsr's – see http://www.alwaysinfashion.com/index.php?ukey=auxpage_customer_services (fwiw, "Priority Mail" in europe is tracked / recorded mail, not "1st Class" whatever that entails in the USA) vs http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:31997L0007:EN:NOT – and the customer may or may not be aware of these.

    In short, legally, if they simply didn't like the item, but it did match the original description, they have 14 days from receipt of the item to contact the seller to request a refund, then return the item in a "reasonable" period of time for a refund which includes original purchase and shipping costs paid, no "restocking fees" to be charged, but so long as they've been informed of this in terms, returned postage should be paid by the customer. Due to the reason for return (unwanted items) afaik this is merely delt with by refunds – I don't know about cases of using the DSRs to return for replacements, sort of defeats the purpose, but anyway….

    Faulty / not as described items simply need to be made available for collection by the seller (such as collection by a courier), and/or receive a full refund for all costs including return postage (and/or a replacement), although faults / discrepencies may need to be proved by one or the other party which is why a seller may request a return of the item to them for inspection. In the case of items faulty on delivery, a refund can be demanded, though in other cases a replacement or repair can be supplied instead.

    So basically, without knowing exactly what the buyer thought they were returning for, and what the seller thought they were returning for, it's hard to see who was giving the wrong info out. I assume buyer was going for "not as described" though, and expecting a full refund or replacement, whilst the seller assumed it was as described and put them down the dsr route. Add in some 2nd language use and/or translation issues and it's a one way route to both sides annoying each other.

    Personally, I'd just accept it as a not-as-described item for refund (seems to be the customer's opinion, and there's not much point issuing a replacement if it's identicle to the one they're already unhappy with) and refund the minimal return postage costs so long as they're willing to ship it back (a nice compromise given, whilst the customer could request collection by the seller under this return reason, the reason itself is debateable, tbh it looks like a standard dsr return to me but i'm no necklace expert).

  149. AlphaCentauri  •  Apr 28, 2013 @1:50 pm

    Looking at pricing of other items on the website, they may be estimating the price of the beads based on the weight or volume of amber, rather than on the symmetry of the bead shape. In which case, since the beads she got were elongated, they may have felt they gave her something of greater, not lesser value.

  150. Tim  •  Apr 28, 2013 @10:42 pm

    Amazed at the people trying to cry 'SHOPPED' or 'IN CAMERA!' over those pics.

    Been using Photoshop since v2.0 professionally (ie I get paid for that shit) and cameras (sometime professionally, to C&G level 2 grade & part of my degree) since I was 8 (I'm 40 now) in the latest digital, and none of them are clever enough to make rounded beads on a string into flat 'flint shaped' ones.

    Love to have this clever 'filter' to do that! And eyes or glasses that can't actually see what's IN FRONT OF ME! So useful, I could put those 'reality-bending glasses' onto clients and PROFIT.

    /sarcasm.

    Some of you were in the Boston bombing reddit crying 'shopped over real pictures right? Please tell me you were, it would reduce my despair over the human race…

    Oh and just like Suburban Express another complete FAIL and Streisand effect, whatever the customer wanted or wasn't happy about threatening to approach her employer is a BAD MOVE and could never be confused as a miscommunication at all, Bad English And Punctuation Allowing.

  151. George William Herbert  •  Apr 29, 2013 @3:37 pm

    As I indicated earlier, my wife looked at the photos over the weekend. As an expert as it were on beads, she indicated to me this morning that the bead shapes, coloration, sharpness vs roundedness, and details of the clasp on the necklace were in her opinion all substantially different and lower quality in the version received by the original party here, versus the display photo. The photo quality made the comparison slightly harder, but there was plenty of information to go on for that conclusion.

  152. wgering  •  Apr 29, 2013 @10:43 pm

    Always in Fashion's consistent (and slightly disturbing) capitalization of "we" and "you" has led me to read all of their writing in the voice of the Borg (the actual Collective voice, not any of that Locutus bullshit).

    I believe this vastly improves the correspondence.

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