Complaints grow Lauder as global cosmetics brand lets down ...

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Complaints grow Lauder as global cosmetics brand lets down customers

Consumers, some of whom ordered products nearly two months ago, say they are being given the runaround

Consumer journalist
In the face of outrage, the brand has apologised, saying due to a 'very high volume of orders', it has 'not always been able to deliver the high standards of service' consumers expect from it.
PRETTY 'UNETHICAL' In the face of outrage, the brand has apologised, saying due to a 'very high volume of orders', it has 'not always been able to deliver the high standards of service' consumers expect from it.
Image: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

International cosmetics brand Estée Lauder has come under fire from scores of consumers who bought products online and have yet to receive them — or a refund.

Many ordered discounted goods during Black Friday week, but the company’s delivery failures began in significant numbers from about May 2020.

Megan Pollock of Bryanston, Johannesburg, ordered three items on November 26, totalling R1,683. 

“To date I have had no communication from Estée Lauder regarding my order being cancelled, as indicated online, or a refund,” she said.

“I was eventually able to speak to a call centre consultant on December 10, who would not allow me to speak to a manager and was unable to provide a resolution to my problem, other than to say they had a system issue on Black Friday and that their managers were contacting each impacted customer.

“I e-mailed the company and got no response. I did get responses to my Facebook private messages, all saying ‘the team’ would get back to me, but they never do.”

Serini Rabikoosen of Durban spent just more than R1,000 on her Black Friday purchases and did receive a package, but it was missing a R540 face powder.

“I e-mailed them immediately, but got no reply,” she said. “I also called numerous times — also no answer.”

Many others have complained on the company’s Facebook page about not receiving what they ordered at all, the wrong goods or none at all.

Consumer complaints website HelloPeter is also home to many Estée Lauder complaints, most of them detailing the company’s delivery and communication failures.

On New Year’s Eve, Nereshnie C wrote: “I ordered on the official Estée Lauder South Africa website during Black Friday week and only received one of the four items.

“Upon inquiry I was told that I would receive a refund because the products were out of stock and my money would reflect within seven to 10 working days. When I asked for a reference number, the woman insisted I didn’t need one and that an e-mail would be sent within 10 minutes, confirming my refund. 

“To date, no e-mail and no reimbursement! I have called the customer care line about five times, but have cut the call after being on hold for more than 50 minutes.

“I am out of pocket by over R1,000; money that I saved to purchase these products that I can only afford once a year, and now I have nothing to show for it.”

Contacted for comment, Marianna Sidor said she had been retrenched as GM of Estée Lauder Companies in South Africa on December 15.

Three weeks ago, the company advertised for an “e-commerce Manager”.

A woman who asked to be identified only as a company spokesperson told Sunday Times Daily this week: “We are deeply sorry to our consumers for any order delays experienced or if our consumer care teams have been difficult to contact recently. 

If Estée Lauder had sent an email out to customers after the Black Friday incident, explaining the situation, I think that would have gone a long way to appeasing consumers.
Megan Pollock

“Due to the very high volume of orders and contacts this holiday season, we have not always been able to deliver the high standards of service that consumers expect from us.  

“We are working hard to respond to all consumer enquiries as quickly as possible and have added additional resources to our customer care team to assist with doing so.”

Pollock was unimpressed.

“I find their response unsatisfactory,” she said. “If Estée Lauder had sent an e-mail out to customers after the Black Friday incident, explaining the situation, I think that would have gone a long way to appeasing consumers. But they are not taking responsibility and there is no evidence to indicate that they are dealing with the situation. 

“All I want is a refund of the money which they have been happy to keep, without delivering any goods. If my order was cancelled, a refund should immediately have been processed. Times are tough financially for a lot of people at the moment during Covid and I find it unacceptable that they are not refunding their consumers — it is simply unethical.”

GET IN TOUCH: Wendy Knowler specialises in consumer journalism. You can reach her via e-mail: consumer@knowler.co.za or on Twitter: @wendyknowler

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