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PSA: Why Your Gilt Groupe Purchases Might Never Arrive, a.k.a: We Learn the Lesson So You Don't Have To

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Update: Gilt responds! According to Jennifer Miller, Gilt's VP of Public Relations, payment for undeliverable purchases will be refunded in the manner by which they were paid. So you would indeed get your money refunded, if you put the whole purchase on your credit card. Gilt is also looking into adding this info, as they currently have no written policy on undeliverable items. Additionally, signatures are now no longer required for their UPS shipments, unless a shopper requests it. This means that UPS can now leave the package at your door. Too bad this change didn't come quickly enough for our order.

We just encountered a major problem with luxury online sample sale site Gilt Groupe. The problem? Our purchase arrived not to us, but to a person on the Wait List for it, and all because we trusted Gilt too much. It's disheartening to lose an item you so looked forward to, and thus you need to know all the facts before clicking "Buy Now."

If UPS can't successfully deliver an item, then it is sent back to Gilt, where they process it as a returned item and proceed to immediately sell it to the next person on the Wait List. That's good for those wait-listed, but bad for the original buyer of the item.

To fully understand this, imagine if you were the lucky buyer of one of the now-sold-out Fendi chain fringe spy bags, on sale at Gilt for $2,799 down from $6,260. You pay and trust that the item will arrive via UPS around the dates they estimate. Now say you go out of town for a long weekend or you simply can't be at home at 2pm when your UPS driver shows up or maybe your apartment building just isn't the best for package receiving. The final notice arrives, but UPS doesn't. So you call Gilt.

As it turns out, Gilt already received the items, returned and credited the amount to your account, as it happened with us recently. There's now a chunk of change sitting in your Gilt account and no cute new bag on your arm [Update: Gilt responds, see first paragraph of story]. Gilt's customer service states that they cannot send it back or to another address, because it has already been sold again. They will put you at the top of their list to receive it, should another one come available, but if the same bag is in a future sale, that won't count because it will have a different item number. Is it confusing? Yes, which is why this is an important PSA for Gilt shoppers.

Now you (or us, at it was last week) have no other choice but to hope that someone else who ordered the same bag either doesn't like it or also missed the UPS man.

Granted, Gilt is not like Target or Macy's with tons of stock on-hand and thousands of customer service agents. But then, there's also none of the private club-like treatment that Gilt evokes with their brand; when we'd expect them to say "Yes, I see that it has been sent back and we were just about to call and check if you had another address where you could receive it," we instead heard "I'm sorry but you've been credited already and it's gone."

Bye bye, rare luxury bag. Bye bye, all that money sitting in our Gilt account. It seems there are really only two solutions to this problem: beg them to refund the money, or just sit outside on the estimated delivery days, keeping our eyes peeled for UPS. What would you do?
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