Gosh, aren’t there some retailers that are a pleasure to shop at, while some just annoy you? For instance, my two favorite stores are Nordstrom and Costco. Both are super customer service oriented and it truly makes it a pleasure to shop at each store.

Now, let me tell you about my troubles with West Elm. Hopefully someone out there at the company reads this and takes some positive action because I’m really annoyed at some of their policies.

We made a big purchase at West Elm in October and they promised me 10% of my purchase back in West Elm Design Dollars if I opened a West Elm card (as well as 10% off the purchase price).

Well I ended up waiting weeks and weeks for the Design Dollars to arrive. They finally arrived in late December and they have a printed expiration date of March 15, 2014.  Three months isn’t an unreasonable time frame to use my dollars, but why print an expiration date at all?  In contrast, Nordstrom prints a 1 year expiration date on Nordstrom Notes, but you can purchase a gift card with your note and gift cards carry no expiration dates.

Second, the Design Dollars were denominated as a single $75 voucher and printed on the back, it said that they had to be used in 1 transaction and were not valid towards a few things like tax, shipping or gift cards.  Furthermore, it stated that any customer returns from that transaction would forfeit the value of the discount.  So basically this thing is more like a coupon and not a gift card.  Except that usually with a coupon, you’re not paying tax on the value of the discounted item.  With the way the Design Dollars work, you are paying tax on the full value and you can’t use it on your shipping costs the way a gift card would be allowed.  Kind of the worst of both worlds.

So I finally had a chance to pick out something to use my Design Dollars on tonight.  I picked up some throw pillows for the couch.  The order confirmation screen states that you actually have to pay for the entire value of your order and the value of the Design Dollars gets rebated to you on your West Elm Statement.  Why doesn’t it just take off the value immediately!?

To add insult to injury, as I was inputting my West Elm card #, the site crashed my browser.  No big deal right?  I would just have to input my information again.  Well when I went to input the Design Dollar information, it now stated that my voucher was already used… Wow the technical incompetence astounds me.  I work in software and I don’t understand how their site could mark my voucher being used when I had just put the information on the screen but not actually submitted an order.

This is in addition to all the other customer unfriendly practices I have already observed about shopping with West Elm like a 30 day return policy (most stores provide much longer return policies because they want to make sure their customers are completely satisfied), no returns on clearance items (do they not stand behind their product?) and no waived shipping costs.

All of this has really soured me on shopping at West Elm.  Their customer service line was able to fix my order for me and reinstate my Design Dollars but I never should have had to deal with that.  Pottery Barn and West Elm (PB is the parent company), please consider making your policies more customer friendly! Rant over! 🙂

2 Comments on I’ve got the West Elm Blues

  1. Totally agree with you. I’m just learning all of this on my own this evening as I’m trying to use promised design dollars, and I’m officially over shopping at West Elm. I hope someone from the company reads your post. There are too many great stores out there to deal with stores like this.

  2. Agree completely. I had pretty much the same experience, and in addition, the bedding I purchased states “dry clean only”. Are you kidding me? I wish I would have noticed this before I bought it. Every interaction I have with them makes me frustrated and annoyed. NEVER will shop with them ever again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *