New York-based internet clothing company Elizabeth & Clarke tries to tout itself as a company that empowers women. However, its recent actions suggest otherwise. This is my own personal experience as a customer that disagreed with the company, backstory included, along with an honest Elizabeth & Clarke review for the quality of its merchandise.
Back in June, the founder of Elizabeth & Clarke, Melanie Moore, provided me with a $100 credit to keep me as a customer after shipping snafus meant that I wouldn’t get my June shipment until nearly July. I accepted the credit, even though this was the third time that I had experienced shipping delays, and despite the fact that two of my shirts were beginning to show quality issues after just two washings (the pocket was unraveling from my Blackwell tank, and my Browning flannel shirt had started to pill). Yet I really wanted to give Elizabeth & Clarke another chance.
|The email where Melanie Moore herself provides me a $100 credit, which the company has denied ever giving me.
Fast-forward to last week, when Elizabeth & Clarke released information on its Winter 2013 collection. The collection features only short-sleeved and a sleeveless option (well, one long-sleeved option out of five shirts, but it’s not a new style). But even worse, Elizabeth & Clarke named a shirt after a highly controversial U.S. Senator, Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). (And yes, on its website, Elizabeth & Clarke says, “Named after our favorite Senator…”, so there is no question that it named the blouse after Senator Warren.) Senator Warren is a polarizing figure. She lied about her heritage to get ahead and is not a woman to be admired.
I posted on Elizabeth & Clarke’s Facebook page about my displeasure regarding the naming; the company deleted the comment and banned me from posting without explanation. I emailed it about how it wasn’t appropriate to name a shirt after someone so controversial; Elizabeth & Clarke never responded. Finally, I logged into my account, and I noticed my $100 credit was missing. It had been reduced to $1. It was time to update any Elizabeth & Clarke review that I had written.
What? It revoked my credit?
So I called Elizabeth & Clarke’s customer service number. Sadly, I didn’t get the name of the customer disservice representative I spoke to, but that three-and-a-half minute call was a prime example of how not to treat paying customers, which I’ve recapped in this Elizabeth & Clarke review:
Me: I’m calling because my credit has vanished from my account.
Rep (who is most likely Melanie Moore) looks up account: Oh, your account has been closed.
Me: What? Why was it closed?
Rep: I don’t know. But it’s closed.
Me: Where’s my credit?
Rep: I don’t know. What do you want us to do?
Me: Well, I would have liked to have kept my credit, and I certainly would have liked a response to my Facebook post—
Rep: Oh, I remember you. We allow comments about the quality and style of our shirts, but we don’t allow hatred toward women—
Me: How is disliking the name of a shirt “hatred toward women?”
Rep: We don’t allow hate speech.
Me: I understand, but how is posting that Elizabeth Warren is a bad Senator and lied about her heritage—
Rep (getting angry): We don’t allow hatred toward women. That’s hate speech.
Me: How is that hate speech? You named a shirt after a controversial—
Rep: We’re a private company and we can do what we want.
Me (incredulous): Maybe you should think about that, and stop arguing with customers. We’re the ones who keep you in business. You may be a private company, but I’m a private citizen, and conservative women wear shirts too.
Yes, I hung up. But Elizabeth & Clarke canceled my account, revoked my credit spitefully, deleted my Facebook post, never responded to my email, and never responded to my Tweets. Apparently hatred toward conservative women, or women who disagree with the company or its ultra-liberal founder, Melanie Moore, is okay.
Now imagine if the tables were turned. Imagine if Elizabeth & Clarke named a shirt after Elizabeth Dole or Elisabeth Hasselbeck. And a liberal woman complained – Melanie Moore would do the exact same thing. She does not like being told that someone disagrees with her, apparently.
As of today, there’s a random $1 credit in my allegedly closed account. I have requested via email a written confirmation that the account is closed, but Elizabeth & Clarke refuses to respond. Hence, my Elizabeth & Clarke review focusing on its treatment of customers.
UPDATE, 3/18/14: Elizabeth & Clarke libeled me to the Better Business Bureau.
When I complained to the Better Business Bureau about Elizabeth & Clarke’s practices and demanded that the company purge all my personally identifying information from its database, Elizabeth & Clarke justified removing my credit and closing my account by providing the Better Business bureau with falsehoods, misinformation, and flat-out libel. The company spent a great deal of time mining my social media accounts and blogs to attempt to portray me in the worst possible light, ignoring the fact that I had written a pretty glowing review in December 2012 of its service and accusing me of “harassment” and “tortious interference with [its] business.”
Given the questionable quality of the merchandise and the reprehensible attitude toward customers that disagree with it, I would avoid Elizabeth & Clarke at all costs. Elizabeth & Clarke is a legally and ethically moribund company, and recent reviews of its merchandise suggest that the quality is lacking, as is the fit and design – and quite frankly, the customer service provided by Melanie Moore. For example, one customer found that it was difficult to cancel her subscription. Another found that the company wasn’t willing to help her when her shirts were delivered to the wrong address. One blogger discovered with her shipment that the shirts are definitely not made for well-endowed women; comments on the post noted that the shirts aren’t made for petite women and that the picture of the White shirt was misleading.
In other words, the caution in this Elizabeth & Clarke review is to steer clear.