Some online shoppers are up in arms about a fashion website that they say uses deceptive tactics to get their money.
The website JustFab promises “new clothing and new possibilities,” but what a little YouTube surfing turns up is outrage — and plenty of it — about the company’s sales tactics.
Over the past few years, online shoppers have submitted hundreds of complaints with the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission — not to mention JustFab’s own Facebook page.
They say the site lures you in with a VIP membership featuring an incredible bargain on your first purchase.
But, they claim there’s insufficient warning that if you don’t buy a new item within the first five days of each and every month that follows — and you don’t visit the website to notify the company that you plan to skip that month — your credit card is automatically hit with a nearly $40 fee.
“With the advance of the Internet, we’re seeing an increase in these types of companies,” says Steve McFarland of the Better Business Bureau. “It becomes extremely profitable for them when you use the product occasionally and especially when you don’t use it.”
Similar complaints have been filed about Shoedazzle and Fabletics, both of which are owned by JustFab.
Customers like Rachel Brecher tell the NBC4 I-Team that canceling a membership — or even an individual order — can be an ordeal.
“While I was shopping I was attempting to unclick that box that said VIP because I thought ‘I’ll just take the regular membership and pay a little bit more for the first outfit, but I’m not locked in,’ And I couldn’t. The site wouldn’t allow me to uncheck the box,” Brecher said of her experience with Fabletics.
The I-Team reached out to the company, which operates out of a building in El Segundo.
A spokeswoman pointed out that customers can “call and cancel anytime,” and that they can opt out of VIP membership and “simply pay the retail price.”
She also said the website “provides at least 15 separate notifications — including six before a customer checks out for the first time — about the subscription model.” She also noted that they can “skip … as many months as they want.”
An NBC4 intern signed up for the service, and while we did find a description of the subscription terms on the opening page — we had to scroll down to the very bottom to find it.
The VIP policy appeared again at checkout.
“I think the way that way they are conducting business is very inappropriate,” Brecher said.
Last year, a judge ordered JustFab to pay nearly $2 million to California shoppers to settle a class-action lawsuit for not “clearly and conspicuously” explaining its policies.
JustFab tells the I-Team it has since updated all its websites to make the VIP terms more visible — and that it continues to work to improve customer service.
“You must read the fine print,” said the BBB’s McFarland. “Talk to other consumers, research these companies before you sign the agreement to make sure you’re going to get what you paid for.”
Full statement from Fabletics:
Fabletics has had more than one million men and women join the VIP Membership program since it launched two years ago. VIP members derive tremendous benefits from our flexible subscription-based program by getting access to high-quality and stylish athleisure-wear at accessible prices.
We make it very clear during the Fabletics shopping experience, and in multiple places on our website, that if a customer takes advantage of these membership prices, she/he is joining our VIP service. In fact, Fabletics provides at least 15 separate notifications – including 6 before a customer checks out for the first time – about the subscription model. Also, for first time customers, there are two points at which a customer must proactively opt-in during the checkout process. The first is when they choose between checking out as a Retail customer or joining the VIP Membership, and the second is where they must indicate that they accept the terms of the Fabletics VIP Membership Program by affirmatively checking a box (i.e., opting-in) prior to any purchase and enrolling in the VIP Membership program. They cannot proceed until they affirm they understand the terms of the program.
Customer satisfaction is key for us as evidenced by:
• More than one million of JustFab Inc.’s VIP members have come as a referral from a friend.
• 80% – 85% of JustFab Inc.’s revenue comes from repeat buyers across all brands.
We also believe that our service levels are best in class for the size of our business. In September 2015 (our biggest month ever) alone:
• The average telephone wait time for Fabletics customer service was 59 seconds.
• 74% of calls were answered in under 30 seconds or less.
According to our records with the Better Business Bureau, Fabletics has less than 200 complaints in total, which is a very small fraction of a percent of the total customer base.
Regardless of whether the complaints are from the small minority of customers, these instances are not reflective of the standards we strive for and we will continue to improve. We take customer feedback very seriously and have ongoing initiatives to improve our online account management tools and continue to increase our staffing so that every call is answered in a timely fashion.
We are also continually refining our training to help ensure that each customer who calls in – for whatever reason – is satisfied. We are happy to hear the customer you spoke with had her matters resolved with our Member Service Team, and we will review her specific feedback to see how we can improve further. Here is a link to our Member Service/Frequently Asked Question Page for further information: http://www.fabletics.com/help