Longtime lurker, first time poster. Yeeks, this is a little scary. I'm not even sure i'm doing it right.
This topic is a little close to home for me right now since I am battling with Ulta.com.
I do a ton of online shopping and when Christmas rolled around I did a lot of mine with Ulta this year. It's easier for me to find what I want online and I stack my orders with gifts with purchase so I get a little shopping fun too. From Dec 1 through Jan 10 or so, I placed 11 orders with them. Three of them had multiple shipments, so a total of 14 shipments leapfrogging their way to me.
Ulta uses UPS SurePost where UPS gets them to your city and then gives them to the USPS to deliver. I had all my orders shipped to work (perfectly acceptable at my office) so that they would not be unattended at my house.
Three of the orders ended up going missing. The "tracking" showed delivered but they were nowhere to be found. I in no way suspected my mailroom because (1) I've never had an issue with them and (2) that department ultimately reports to my boss, so they make sure I'm taken care of.
When I initially notified Ulta that the first shipment was missing, their response was "take it up with your credit card company." I thought that was a little off. I've never dealt with an online merchant who just blew off their customer before. Also, the wording of their email (which turned out to be boilerplate) used the phrase "if, in fact, your order never arrived" which I found a little snotty, like they suspected me of lying straight off the bat.
Then ensued a couple of months of back and forth with various customer service reps who were the most unhelpful bunch of folks ever.* Every one of them tended to re-explain what I had already explained to them, like Captain Obvious was running their training sessions and I was out over $200 at this point. Normally, I get a little irate in situations like this, but for some reason I was calm, dogged and extremely assertive. It didn't help that I had additional issues as subsequent shipments went missing. But I just kept explaining my case, documenting the process and asking for a supervisor to contact me. I also contacted my credit card to dispute the charges and filed a report with the USPS because ultimately I think that they are to blame. However...
When a company chooses the method of delivery for the things their customers order, they also assume some amount of responsibiity when that method fails. They can't just foist it off like they didn't make the decision. I work for a company that makes and sells expensive things and ships them to our customers and I can tell you that if the customer doesn't get their order for whatever reason, we are the ones making sure they are taken care of. Not their credit card company or the carrier. Ever.
I was really loving Ulta and their selection of both high and low price point products and their customer rewards program. If you work it right, you can gets lots of little extras that are fun. After all this, I was loving not so much.
On a happier note, I was finally contact by a supervisor who verified they had received the chargebacks, reviewed all of my emails, acknowledged they really, really need some customer contact training, sent me a gift card in apology, and provided me with a way to contact her directly if I ever needed to again. Given the fact that one supervisor cannot change company policy overnight, I suppose that this is the best possible outcome. I will try them again, but with great caution. And my finger on the phone ready to take that supervisor up on her offer of personal assistance. She also patiently listened to my encourangement to train their CSRs better and maybe teach them the finer points of written communication.
Shop Ulta online with caution.
*My favorite email was the one that started "Dear Sue" (not my name), went on to say that the reason no one had ever contacted me was because this had never happened before (please. Stuff gets lost in the mail for everyone including you, Ulta), described my situation as "bazaar," and said they sure hoped the post office could help me (what??). They then ended with a paragraph exhorting how much they loved me as a valued customer! and they hoped to see me online or in store soon!!.
Soooo, you've taken my money, abandoned me, called me valued (lie!) and asked me come back for more. Yeah, not gonna happen.