Athleta -- They Could Be So Much Better If They Tried
A review by attickah written on Dec 28, 2011Full review
What brought you to Athleta?
A physical Athleta store just opened up near my house. For Christmas, my mother-in-law decided to purchase a jacket for me at this new store, knowing that I appreciate well-made women's active wear. She went there on the recommendation of my sister-in-law who has made several Athleta purchases & been well-pleased with the quality & selection of items available.
I don't know about the jacket-shopping experience that other women have, but for me purchasing a jacket is a Herculean task akin to getting a new swimsuit--at best. The problems I generally have with jackets is that they either won't zip around my (generally average-size) chest, or a jacket will bind across my shoulders refusing to allow me to lift my arms, or the belt which is supposed to land at my waist ends up below my hips because I apparently have no torso or the sleeves are 2 inches too short because I apparently inherited arms from the orangutan side of the family.....and those are just the "usual" complaints. They get more entertaining when I try to get a fitted or stylish coat. Most of the time, I give up on getting a jacket from the women's department & raid the men's sale rack for something approximately the right sleeve length & shoulder width, knowing it will be big, bulky & ill-fitting in the body, but I can layer under it easily enough to stay warm that way.
When I received the stylishly cute women's jacket from my mother-in-law that had long enough sleeves & a torso which wasn't ridiculously longer than mine, I went to Athleta to exchange it for another (larger) size in the hopes of being able to zip it over my chest while also wearing a shirt--or maybe even over a sweatshirt, if they had it a couple sizes bigger. The physical Athleta store was out of the size I was looking for--if they'd ever stocked it in the first place--so while I was at their location the sales clerk had me put in my order at Athleta's online site after she'd processed my return onto an Athleta gift card.
How was the online ordering experience?
The website experience wasn't unpleasant; the site easily allowed the sales clerk & I to search for (and find) the jacket I wanted and because I was in the midst of their post-Holiday sale-season, the order for the larger size cost slightly less than the original purchase price of the gift jacket which gave me a positive balance on the gift card from my return; that positive balance could then be used for another item / at another time. Once the online ordering process was finished, I received an email just a few minutes later stating that my order was processing and went on my merry way.
I knew other sizes were available for this gift jacket prior to going to the store because I had done a similar search at home the day before & had found a listing of several colors & sizes for that particular item which all showed as available at that time.
So then what happened?
The day following my store trip & online order, I received an email that even though the jacket was listed as available in several sizes & colors when I ordered it, it turned out that they were entirely sold out of the jacket in both colors of any size remotely close to I wanted. The stock email stated Athleta would be processing a refund to me (though they did not specify in the email as to HOW that worked using a gift card to pay for the purchase) and gave me a "we're so sorry" 10% off code to use on my next order.
How did the gift card credit work?
Well, it turns out that rather than putting money back on the gift card I'd used to make the purchase & which I kept because it still has a positive balance, Athleta chooses to credit gift cards by snail-mailing a new gift card out via USPS. This new gift card is supposed to arrive 5-7 business days after they decide to "credit" me for the amount of the out-of-stock item(s). The 5-7 business day window in which I am currently sitting will be well after their post-Holiday sale has finished up, effectively rendering the gift card useless to me for the purpose of using it on sale items (which is what the jacket was in the first place).
Overall, how do you feel about their business practices & customer service?
-confused (and a little angry) about how they can over-sell something that they claim to have in stock. That (as with oversold airline flights) just seems like terrible business practice to me, but maybe that's because I assume businesses exist to actually provide things to their customers.
-frustrated by their chosen refund policy for gift cards, specifically the speed at which the refund will arrive
-annoyed that the stock email they sent out saying the item was out of stock doesn't actually TELL the customer exactly how the refund policy for gift cards works, though it does tell how things work for credit cards. I'm a new-to-your-brand customer. I like hand-holding & plenty of specific communication at this stage. The only way I found out what was going on with my gift card was to phone customer service number, navigate their automated system, get put on hold, & finally ask the human representative to which my call was directed.
But the service itself isn't 100% bad; the customer service rep on the phone was helpful & able to easily answer all my questions, and the sales clerk in the store was also helpful, though it was slightly annoying that she couldn't simply order the item to the store for me the way a lot of other companies can do for customers. If I wanted the thrill of processing my own online order, I would/could have done that from my house without having to go to an overcrowded physical location....
While I'm still waiting for my gift card credit to arrive, I'm watching their website sell out of the alternate replacement items (since the jacket sold out) I'd hoped to purchase with my "store credit". Athleta seems to be doing a fairly brisk business, but I think once I have used my gift card credit with this company, I won't willingly be taking my business to them ever again.
About the Author
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Reviews Written: 27
Location: The land of the ice and snow
Location: The land of the ice and snow