MT KISCO, NEW YORK -- We have been long-time customers of the Wine Enthusiast ("WE") catalog/website, however our recent purchase of a $3,499 N'FINITY 340 Wine Cellar was a Shipping and Customer Service disaster: Ordered 11/28/11; WE-contracted delivery company arrived at my home 12/6/11 with one 18-bottle fridge (not the two 170-bottle fridges which comprise the 340-bottle total capacity unit we ordered) because barcoded address labels were switched in shipping process. WE Customer Care did not follow-up on either of my calls regarding the error. After numerous follow-up calls to 2 shipping companies my two 170-bottle units were located and delivered.
12/16/11, BOTH units arrived damaged (door locks engaged on both which required WE Customer Care instruction to resolve; lock on 1 completely broken; door on other visibly damaged inside and out; grills did not fit properly on either). WE Customer Care representative Sal said WE's failure to return calls on my previous shipping inquiries was due to high holiday call volume, but assured quick resolution to problem and a replacement door for the unit with the most severe damage.
So we loaded up the fridges with wine only to be informed 10 days later (12/26/11) that WE would be replacing the entire unit with the damaged door… so we had to unload the severely damaged 170-bottle unit. The replacement unit was finally delivered 1/9/12 but the delivery company did not have an order to take the damaged fridge (an issue which I pointed out to WE representative Sal on 1/5/12 allowing plenty of time to have this corrected, but it was not). Today is 1/23/12 and supposedly the same company which delivered the replacement unit on 1/9/12 will finally be picking up the damaged fridge.
Our compensation from WE was a $200 cash refund… clearly inadequate for 2 months of dealing with this order, 16 hours of missed work due to the “delivery/pick-up windows” assigned by the home delivery services, and in numerous follow-up phone calls and emails I had to make to move everything toward resolution when WE dropped the ball over and over again. An additional $200 of compensation has recently been requested in a filing with the BBB of New York.
I purchased this shooter set as a gift. It took 3 weeks for the product to arrive and when it was received, we did not like the quality of the product, so we shipped it back, incurring the cost to ship it back in addition to incurring the cost to have it shipped to us.
When we contacted customer service to inquire about the credit that we should have on the return of the product, customer service at Wine Enthusiast claimed that they had not received it, although, the shipment confirmation confirmed that it was delivered and received by Wine Enthusiast. After a lot of frustration and going back and forth with customer service, they were finally able to confirm that they did receive the returned product. However, at this time, they were being completely rude and unprofessional with me over the phone. So, instead of using the credit to purchase something else, I asked for a full refund.
They refunded the amount of the product itself, $29.95, but refused to refund the cost of shipping it to me, even though I had to incur the cost of shipping it back to them. The entire cost of shipping it both ways, amounted to nearly the cost of the product itself. I have no problem with paying for shipping both ways for a product that I purchased. However, Wine Enthusiast obviously has a mark-up in their shipping costs and that's where I have a problem.
In my job, I ship things all the time, so I have a very good idea of shipping fees and the time it takes for a product to ship based on the amount paid and the weight of the piece. So, the time it took for this product to ship to me (3 weeks) at the cost they charged me does not jive. At the price they charged to ship it to me, I should have received it within 1 week or 1-1/2 weeks, but not 3 weeks.
Secondly, because of the poor customer service experience that I received, they should have refunded me the entire amount to keep me satisfied. I was going to use the credit to purchase another product, but after receiving the rude experience, I wanted nothing more than a full refund. After this horrendous experience that I received, it is doubtful that I will ever purchase a product from their company again, yes, over a $29.95 product. If this is how they treat their customers over a very inexpensive product, how do they treat their customers who purchase a more expensive product such as a wine decanter or wine refrigerator. I certainly don't want to find out!
Original Review: I am extremely disappointed with The Wine Enthusiast. Although their magazine is OK, their products are overpriced, and their customer service is horrendous. Recently, I was on hold for 50 minutes before I hung up; I never actually got through to anyone. Below is a paragraph from a letter I sent them regarding their latest debacle with me:
"On December 10 I ordered a special gift for my husband, expecting it to take some extra time to be delivered since I chose to ship it by UPS ground. When December 18 rolled around and I had not yet received an email notifying me of the status of my order, I checked it online. It still had not been shipped. I immediately emailed customer service stating my concern. I received the automated response email assuring me that I would receive a reply to my email within 24 hours.
Well, two days later I had still had not heard anything. So, I checked my account again to see what was going on. Apparently, my package had been shipped on December 18. I followed the tracking number to see the shipping status, and, apparently, UPS had not received any account information until December 18. Coincidence? I think not."
I am not going to renew my subscription or deal with this company and its associates anymore. If you have any respect for the consumer, you'll do the same. They have obviously compromised customer service for money.
Update: The Senior Director of Operations called me and apologized profusely for my maltreatment. They are handling the incompetence of their Customer Service reps, and have reordered my product free of charge (and are sending it by FedEx, since I am boycotting UPS). So, I'll give them one more point.