This is going to be a little bit unusual for this blog, I don’t like targeting one specific brand and go full on killer-mode at it, but if this post will spare you the frustration that I went through, it’s all worth it.
Have you seen this floating around?
Maybe 2 years or so ago, I haven’t really heard about Fabletics and when I saw this ‘deal’ I was really excited. I had just came back to the sport-fever mood and new clothes is always what I seek for that little bit of extra motivation. So who can say no to a cute complete outfit for only £20? I couldn’t. I can now, but clearly a while back I wasn’t as bright *shakes her head in a disapproving manner*.
First, let’s make it clear. I am not saying that Fabletics is a scam or fraud, because I am sure legally they are not. However the ethics of how they convey their business is just very questionable.
So let’s start at the beginning.
I had jumped and ordered my first massively discounted outfit that had nothing but a huge amount of great reviews on. There was Kate Hudson’s face smiling at me from every corner and I was greeted with a little personalization test to start with, which always gives me so much joy! It was all peachy. Now I don’t think I was completely unaware that I was signing up to a monthly subscription of sorts; however is it truly a subscription if you’re paying in advanced for something you haven’t actually purchased yet is still the main part of the controversy here. For legal purposes I am sure the info is there somewhere in that legendary small print people use to inform about your diarrhea-like side effect, but you do only read that for your medication, not for your sports bra order. That was my first mistake. To be fair, I cannot say that it’s still the same but back when I was signing up it was pretty much a trick-entry sort of thing because I was never one of those people that sign up to anything too lightly! Anyhow. There I was. Happy with my first order from the brand that looks like they have the most fun prints on earth (at that point, now it’s everywhere) only to receive an email 10 minutes later after I check out informing me that I had just signed up for a monthly £44 charge *my then-student heart plummets* but I can always skip the month *okay, I can breathe again* and can cancel at any time for free *okay that’s fine* and can enjoy the VIP prices! Sounds partially fair? I was not impressed by the trickery of all this but it’s only my own fault for not paying enough attention and getting overwhelmed by the discount (though if your clothes are out of this world amazing you don’t need to trick people to sign up)I and found this pre-payment part a bit dodgy but I thought there is no harm in trying this out since I can cancel at any time. Right?
My first outfit arrives! I receive my pretty trousers and a top. I read that the sizes are a bit downsized so I opt for a size bigger. These first trousers were the best that I got from them and that’s saying something. Whilst they are very pretty to look at they had the weirdest texture, I felt as if I am boiling inside them if I actually exercise in them and the weird patch of colour on your waste was made from a different piece of fabric what so ever and just was so much thicker it looked very unflattering. The top, again pretty to look at, but the body was way too lose and baggy yet the arm strips cut into my flesh like knifes.
I am not unreasonable and I never just judge the whole line/service based on one experience.
If you’re a VIP member with Fabletics you receive an email every month that your ‘personalised’ picks are ready and that you can skip the month during the first 5 days of the month if you like to. I am lucky that whenever I did skip I wasn’t charged but some people reported that pressing on the ‘skip this month’ button made it look like you did but actually it would just navigate you to their page from your email and do nothing of the sort.
AGAIN, I was charged even if I chose to skip and not order this month. This is the third time. The customer service person did not want to reverse the incorrect payment, until I showed her proof from my browser history stating that I SKIPPED A PURCHASED EXACTLY ON JUNE 1. (I even went out of my way and downloaded an internet history browser plug in for this purpose.) I cannot take it any longer. I redeemed my Fabletics rewards (1 free sweater) and promptly discontinued my laughable “VIP Membership”. VIP Members are not supposed to be treated this way. I wish other customers would be more aware of what sort of trickery they are getting into.
I had been skipping for a while until I had enough money to spare and felt I would like to try this again. This time I ordered a gorgeous blue set of 3/4 trousers and a matching sports bra. The sports bra was okay even if a bit tight, yet the trousers were horrible. The weirdest thing: they were too tight on my thighs (wtf??) and too wide on my hips – what is this nonsense? I had never had that problem, ever. I have quite wide hips and small ankles, I can’t imagine this fitting anyone if it didn’t fit me. The quality was rubbish and the ‘gorgeous’ print stretched and showed the white undertones of the material, and was anything but cute or flattering. And all of these are priced at like £80-90 if you’re not a VIP member which is most likely just made up to make the VIP price (which is still too much) more reasonable in comparison.
At this point I was really sceptical and quite disappointed and after a few skipped months I just decided to cancel. I emailed them asking to do so. Another month passed, another month skipped. I received an email back informing me that they cannot cancel over the email and I have to contact them by phone. Okay then (not okay though if you’re not in UK). I put money on my phone as I was expected to be put on hold for like an hour and didn’t want to get cut off. It did not take an hour, which was nice, and after they tried to offer me some credit in order for me to stay I was told that they will cancel my membership but keep my log in so I can still have an account as a regular client. I thanked the lady and went on to mind my own business for the next 7 months.
I still would get newsletters from Fabletics (with no option to skip a month so I figured that all is well) which I just never gotten to unsubscribing from. I have recently received an email thanking me for being a loyal member and offering a £15 or £20 pound reward (can’t remember exactly which one). Yay!I was never going to spend any more money on their clothing because I had more luck with items from Primark than them, but when life throws you a tenner or two you damn sure grab it. I found a really nice print for trousers that were already on sale from £75 and when I applied my code I only had to pay £5, which I was willing to. These actually did fit okay *score* , however they completely ripped on my first wear during a Zumba class! It’s ridiculous. I will sow them back together and I thanked myself for cancelling the membership that I wasn’t even aware of joining in the first place.
This is where it would end, with me just having a somewhat ‘this brand is overpriced, you just pay for the name and it’s a bit unethical’ opinion of Fabletics. But life is just not that simple, is it.
4 days ago I have gotten an email saying that my new store credit is now available – You wut ?. I checked my bank and didn’t see any charges except from that £5 for these pants that casually ripped in public exposing my sweaty Zumba underwear to every walking by dude. I made a mental note to check this later. So I did that today and I noticed I was indeed charged £44 pounds. Absolutely confused I contacted the online support. Silly of me, they just asked me to call them again. Cool cool, so I pull my best ‘I need to go to this segregated office meeting room to make a totally-work related call’ face and get to it. A woman answers with that most annoying overly sweet already passive-aggressive voice. You know the one, no body actually talks like that in real world, do they? I always sympathized with call centre workers and definitely always try and be nice to them on the phone as it’s not their fault the service they work for sucks and there’s no need to take anything out on them. I politely explained that I have already cancelled my membership a long time ago and that I would like them to refund me and to please make sure it doesn’t charge me again. Now this lady was something else. She wouldn’t let me finish my sentences and would interrupt with stuff like ‘you should have skipped a month, you should know already how it works’ and when I pointed out that I didn’t have to skip the month for the last half a year because I opted out she kept saying that I should know by now how it works and that no refund is going the be given to me because it’s my own fault that I didn’t skip it, however I now have a credit and I can spend it on new clothes. So after I gathered myself and took a few deep breaths I suggested that maybe she misunderstood me and explained the situation again. She interrupted me mid-sentence once more and said ‘Maam, there is no record of you ever calling us. If you did cancel it you would have gotten an email, do you have that email?’ I started to assure her that I did call and was about to ask for how long do they keep their records and that maybe it was too long ago when she interrupted me again saying ‘So do you have that email with you, because you never actually called us before, did you?’This was all in her overly sweet voice too, which made this even worse than the fact she kept calling me Maam. She was now clearly implying that I was lying, and being incredibly rude and unprofessional. My blood was starting to boil and I did start to argue my case. I was, for the first time in my life, about to ask to speak to her manager when she cut me off mid sentence for the gazzilionth time and said she will go to speak with her team leader. I couldn’t squeeze in a word and was put on hold. 10 or so minutes later she returned and even dropped her soft/helpful tone act and said they will return the money and if there is anything else I need. I don’t know what happened there, maybe the leader pointed out the fact I was not a member for a long time now or maybe they just realised that I will not budge, because I know from what I have read they do not refund often at all. I had never had such bad customer service in my life though and was very disappointed and shocked by this whole phone call.
I will keep an eye on my bank account and make sure that the refund does come in in those 8-10 days and that I am not charged anything from them again. If I am, my next course of action is to go to my bank and just block them because I don’t trust them enough anymore to call again.
I am sure there are some costumers that are happy with the service, but that was just clearly not me. And if you do want to try it out just once they make it very difficult to do that without committing yourself to something long-term.
So the message from me is: just stay away from Fabletics. It’s not worth the money, time or even a single thought.
Here are some snippets of what other people pointed out
I will not be making additional purchases from this website again and now I want to fully cancel my membership. I spoke with a manager at that point. The manager then told me the problem was not with the company, it was with ME because….I don’ know why.
Trying to cancel a membership is a revolving door you will surely regret you ever entered! They have no ethics at all!
Called in April and clearly spoke to them explaining how I wanted to cancel the VIP membership, clothes are poorly made and don’t fit exactly well. I was put on hold, she returned, all my business with them seemed wrapped up & done. Luckily I checked my VISA in May and BAM! another charge. Just called them AGAIN and went through the… same rigmarole! SO frustrating.