Seriously -- no.
Last summer I bought a $25.00 Gr*upon for $75.00 worth of wine from Wi.ne In*side*rs, which sounded like an excellent deal.
[This should have been my first indication that things might not go splendidly.]
Before I bought the Gr*upon, though, I did some trawling around the web to see what interwebpeople thought of WI, and it seemed like a reasonable company. I checked their website and found more or less what I had expected — no-name vineyards and prices that are good when the company is having a sale or a promotion. I figured that if I could get 3 or 4 bottles for $25.00, at least one would be pretty good and the others had to be better than the Barefoot or Yellowtail wines.
My first problem was that the Gr*upon number that I was assigned wasn’t recognized by the vendor, which the Gr*upon people helpfully pointed out was my problem, not theirs. So I waited several months to use the Gr*upon because I was too annoyed with the whole thing to bother right then.
Of course, I forgot to use it, and got increasingly frantic emails from Gr*upon, reminding me in a somewhat manically cheerful tone to “go use your Gr*upon!”
So, less than a month from the coupon’s expiration, I used it. I found what seemed to be some reasonable zinfandels and cabernets and ordered 2 of the 2010 zinfandels and 2 of the 2009 cabs. The 2009 got fairly decent internet reviews, while the jury was very dubious about anything newer.
Blah blah blah, thank you for shopping Wi.ne In*side.rs, your shipment should arrive on February 3. Etcetera.
The package arrived yesterday, of course, when I wasn’t home. They retried today — just 10 minutes ago, in fact, when I was home. Am home. So I have 4 bottles of wine.
All of my bottles are incorrect. All of my bottles are the 2010 vintage. 2 bottles of the 2010 zin, and 2 bottles of the 2010 cab. Why, no, thank you…the shipping form showed 2 bottles of the 2009 were sent to me, and that is what I ordered — which raises (not begs!) the question why did I not receive the 2009? The shipping form, alas, says that they shipped 2 bottles of the 2010 zin when I ordered the 2007. When I called the customer service rep, she informed me that they were probably out of the 2009 (you can’t check?) and that they have the right to substitute something of equal or greater value (as determined by them, never mind the fact that some of their wines are crap and I ordered what I ordered because I researched it first). Besides, she said, there’s no difference between the 2009 and the 2010.
Yes, there is, I told her. I looked up the interwebs reviews, and there is a significant difference. She, however, was unfazed and so I hung up.
Now I have written a letter, explaining my dissatisfaction, explaining that my order should match the shipping form which in turn should match the shipment, and that when someone orders something online, and when it goes into their shopping cart, the inventory should be reduced online immediately so that I know that my purchase will be sent to me.
I expect to receive, if anything, a blah-blah form letter.
I plan to avoid Gr*pon and Wi.ne In*side.rs like the plague, in future. I’d rather spend my $25.00 on fewer bottles from familiar vineyards and get what I paid for.
ETA: I decided to check the WI webpage to see what they had substituted for the 2009 cab….and I found that, in fact, they were still advertising the very wine they claimed to have run out of. Because the woman didn’t bother to check.
I called again and explained to a different rep that I had been told that the wine was out of stock when in fact it was still being advertised. The rather snippy woman informed me that apparently, they are allowed to substitute vintages even if they have the one you ordered in stock. So if I pay for a 2009, which (we are assuming here) is better than a 2010, they are allowed to substitute a poorer product at will because they feel like it? I raised that very point in a snippy voice of my own, and she hurriedly put me on hold and came back to tell me that oh! they do have some in the warehouse and they’ll be shipping it out to me.
Mmmm-hmmmm. Still not giving these people any more of my business, particularly when their first line of customer-service defense is ‘we can send you whatever we want, despite what you thought you were paying for.’
E(again)TA: I checked my receipt to see which vintage of the zin I had ordered, and whoops! it was a 2007. Which, you may be unsurprised to hear, is still being sold on the internet. In fact, the 2010 vintage is not even for sale for either wine. So I called again, and politely ripped them a new one. Upon hearing that they save the good vintages for club members, I told them that their practices were deceitful, since they are selling something that they have no intention of sending the customer and they are advertising something that they DON’T have and substituting something that they aren’t advertising at all!. She had no answer to my point that if they are out of it, they need to change the vintage that IS for sale. I am going to make an official complaint about this to both the company and the BBB. Tools.
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