What would you do?

I recently bought two of the same loose weave, linen summer tops at Eileen Fisher, one in white and one in eggplant. I wore the eggplant top on a day I stayed at home, so it looked pretty good at day’s end.

I wore the white top to an appointment downtown and when I got home I noticed that the fabric had pilled and pulled  all along the bottom. I surmised that this was caused by my shoulder bag rubbing against the (obviously frail) fabric as I walked. I wasn’t wearing a coat because  it’s almost summer and I didn’t need one.

I couldn’t wait to return it and get my money back. This wasn’t one of those disposable pieces that cost $7.99. It was $198, overpriced to begin with, and now a raggedy mess.

The saleswomen looked at me skeptically when I showed her the damaged top. I explained what I thought happened with my shoulder bag and her immediate response was, “Well, then it’s not the fault of the fabric!”

The guilty top–Don’t buy anything made of this material at Eileen Fisher

I couldn’t believe my ears.

“Aren’t these clothes made for active women who actually go out into the street and move around?” I asked rhetorically. “This fabric clearly doesn’t hold up for an everyday top.”

She wasn’t interested in my interpretation. “I’ll have to show it to a manager and see if we can give you a store credit,” she said.

“But I don’t want a store credit.  I’d like my money back,” I countered.  “Besides, I was told yesterday that the manager would be in today and she isn’t here.  I’m not interested in coming back again. This shouldn’t require a decision from a manager. You can see I bought the top a week ago and you can see what happened after wearing it once.”  I was pretty irritated at this point and I told her I wasn’t leaving the store without my credit.

Finally, another saleswoman walked over and told saleswoman #1: “I’ll give her a credit, even if I get fired.”

“Thank you,” I said, “but I doubt you’ll get fired since you’re doing the right thing.  I assume the buyer would want to know about the poor quality of this fabric, anyway.”

I don’t believe the adage “the customer is always right,”  but this was downright ridiculous. If Eileen Fisher’s rule is to give customers a hard time when they want to return merchandise under circumstances like these, they should think hard about making new rules.

In the meantime, I am not buying anything from EF anytime soon.

 

 

 

102 Responses to “What would you do?”

  1. Teresa Howard says:

    I agree. I love Eileen, but something is not right.

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  2. Laura Barber says:

    her clothing is CRAP quality.

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  3. Disty says:

    I purchased two Eileen Fisher dresses, from their “Made in USA” (of imported fabric) line. They were both priced around $200.00. Basic black dresses for the summer. One was about 80 percent rayon. One was their shift dress, the other their cowl neck. I had assumed that for the cost, etc., these dresses would hold up. I wore one dress four times, and the other two times. Both times I wore the dresses, it was for no more than a few hours. Both of these dresses became extremely severely pilled after just these brief wearings. I called Eileen Fisher and asked the rep who replied “our fabric doesn’t pill” and something to the effect of “we never heard of this.” I said I thought that the company needed to know about this, to which she said “Sorry, but there is no voice for this at our company.” And so…. I brought the items in to the dept store where they were purchased, and showed them. The manager said “we don’t do returns on items laundered.” I told them they weren’t laundered. “We’ve never seen this before.” I said “Well, you have seen it now. Do you see it?” It was severe, and they looked like two rags. She started quizzing me– did I layer the items? Did I wear a coat over them? Did I wear a big handbag? etc. I said that I wore them without any excess…. which is all true. Finally, finally– I was given a refund. But I was told that if they tried to find an item like it again, it would be at full plus price. I was really turned off by this. I’ve bought many Fisher items in the past. As with everything, they’ve slowly gone down hill over the years, but this year they took a complete nosedive. I buy all sorts of clothes at different price levels, and this was worse than the lowest priced item at a Walmart type store. And their response? Shameful.

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  4. Maureen says:

    Most of what was in this rant was valid to a point. Was this fabric substandard or delicate? A poor chose for day wear on the designers part but honestly if you want fabric with drape and lightness it’s going need some special treatment. Pilling does not necessarily mean poor quality. Pilling happens to fine, soft short fibres such as merino wool, silk,cashmere and cotton. If the yarn or thread is not tightly spun (has little slubs) or the fabric is loosely knit or woven it’s not going to stand up to abrasion. Letting the customer know a garment is delicate would have been prudent on the part of the retailer. The customer however needs practice some common sense when purchasing items for everyday use. As a fibre artist I want to work in fine materials. Am I stuck using polyester?

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  5. D. Goldberg says:

    Clearly Eileen Fisher needs to train its sales staff better, but this is not the type of company reaction I have experienced. I bought a great braided belt from them last year. It was expensive and I loved it but the hook didn’t work right and it kept falling off. I called Customer Service and they gave me a full refund. Better yet, several years earlier I bought a jacket from them that closed with one big black button. One day I was holding my son’s puppy and before I even noticed, it had nibbled on the button, completely ruining it. I called customer service, was told the jacket was no longer in stock but they’d see what they could do. A couple of weeks later I received a small envelope from Eileen Fisher. In it was a replacement for my button. Clearly something that was not their fault, but they eagerly came to my rescue. As someone whose closet is filled with Eileen Fisher, I feel the need to come to their defense. Always better to deal with company customer service (at this and other companies) rather than be subject to the whim of a single salesperson.

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  6. Jeanne-Marie says:

    same here- I got two paris of nice shoes at Banana republic… one pair, one heel CRUMBLED to chunks of thick dust… the sales guy behind the counter said they couldn’t take them back or give me a store credit as the shoes had “been worn”.

    Of course I wore them- the other ones didn’t crumble, it’s obviously a manufactors defect…. Banana Republic lost a customer that day. Write headquarters.

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  7. Dee says:

    Anyone STUPID enough to pay $200 for a shirt deserves whatever HELL you have to endure.

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  8. Jo Shiers says:

    I think you did the right thing Geri. You were right to feel irritated and let down by not only the actual garment but the company as a corporate entity. They need to know there is a quality control issue and a customer service training issue – both need to be addressed as a priority. I am an Australian who has lived in your fine country (Boston) and we experienced the highest standards of customer service while we were living there. My husband tells me L.L. Bean set the benchmark way back but he could well be wrong. You would think that the effects of the GFC, retails companies would ensure their customer service standards are at their highest.

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  9. Arlene Levinson says:

    Geri, you are absolutely in the right. Sometimes people don’t see the big picture. They not only lost you as a customer but think of all the people who value your friendship and business acumen, and value your sense of right and wrong. You influence many women and they were thinking very small minded. As a business owner I have always valued my customer so I say shame on them! Kudos to you!

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    • Geri says:

      hi arlene,

      nice to hear from you. thanks for you’re comments. i hope you’re doing well.

      oxo
      Geri

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    • Geri says:

      hi arlene,

      nice to hear from you. appreciated your comments and hope you’re doing well.

      oxo
      Geri

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  10. terry says:

    I would contact Eileen Fisher headquarters. I know they will do the right thing. Then I would let it go!

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  11. Barbara says:

    I have returned items for not wearing well also. The issue is actually that the company produced an item with inferior merchandise. An item with an expensive price tag, is an item that should wear well and if not, it should be returned to the company. I have bought things, worn them once and laundered them. Again, a pricey item; after laundering it was obvious that the merchandise was inferior. I brought it back to the store, was refunded my money and the store apologized to me. If they would not have done so, I would have gone further and contacted the corporate office.

    Geri, I would actually go one step further and contact Eileen Fischer corporate office (contact the president of the company) send a letter, and then insist on getting compensated for your disappointment in the item, the way employees of the company treated you in the store and let them apologize to you.

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  12. Fashion Flash June 18, 2012 – Fitness, Fatloss Tips and Ideas for Busy Women says:

    […] Find out why FabOverFifty founder, Geri Brin, won’t shop at Eileen Fisher anytime soon. […]

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  13. Gaye says:

    That’s only ONE of the reasons I LOVE NORDSTROM! They will return anything, any time, for any reason. No arguing necessary

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  14. Barb says:

    Wow…such harsh criticism …really..I don’t think one bad item should be a representation for the whole Eileen Fisher line..I happen to love the line..my sister had the same experience when garment met purse. If your carrying a heavy bag that drags across your hips repeatedly while walking at a good pace…HELLO.. Any shirt would be damaged especially a light gauzy one like that. And you had to write a whole nasty article about the designer, all just to vent your misery.
    Really not appropriate for the FOF’S site…

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  15. Ilene says:

    Hi Geri:

    Dare I say that this is a sign of the times? Not right, might you and the fact that you stuck to your guns about returning the $198 top due to the quality issue…you are to be applauded!

    Which item was it… the linen shirt tunic or sweater?

    As a certified personal stylist who happens to also be FOF gal… one thing I know for sure- just because a fashion product has a” brand” name, it is not synonymous with fit or quality. EF does offer quality product. Have you tried Vince (not Vince Camuto) for smart casual?

    That said, I educate my clients about the importance of fabric, fit and fashion, while refreshing their seasonal style purchases.

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    • Geri says:

      hi Ilene,

      it was the linen shirt (same one as in the photo on the blog). Have bought a number of Vince tops over the years and like them. Are you an FOF fashion guru. If not, you should become one!

      geri

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  16. terry says:

    I think you need to let this go. This was only one experience and I don’t think this is the policy for Eileen Fisher overall. I have bought things from them that are gorgeous and when I had an issue with a top, they were great! I don’t think using your “position” to try badmouth a company over one experience is appropriate. We have all had bad experiences in dealing with a particular salesperson (who is snobby, has a bad attitude, etc.), but it doesn’t always reflect the overall company policy. Eileen Fisher makes beautiful, stylish clothes that look great on Fab over 50s. I think you should give them a break and back off.

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  17. fofof says:

    I don’t think Eileen Fisher would approve of the very customer-service deprived saleswoman. However, I buy the same products at Bloomingdales, where I know the service is always excellent and response appropriate with a liberal return policy (and they usually have better sales on the same products from the single-label stores). But good for you for sticking to your guns.

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  18. Tracy in NJ says:

    Geri,

    You are a “smart shopper”! The worst thing is making a pricey purchase
    and the store runs away after the sale. Keep up the alerts. It really is a savings
    for others and someone will return this favor. You are saving us time and money.

    P.S. I went to a major retailer and the salesperson said “I would just donate it to
    Salvation army or something”. This was her response to my attempt to return a sweater that
    shed all over my new turtlenecks when I simply tried it on at home …

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  19. Lori Miller says:

    Geri,

    WOW – having been in shopping center management, I know this is definitely a no-no in terms of customer service. Too many other places to spend money and hard to believe a retailer would be so arrogant.

    Guess you get to go shopping again? Sounds like a good reason to explore new designers!

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  20. Monika says:

    WOW!! I feel sorry for Eileen Fisher that she was represented so badly. Id say there should be a job opening in that store becasue the lady that argued with you should be fired!!

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  21. Anne says:

    To bad about cute top ….but good for you for standing ground…kudos!

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    • Geri says:

      hi Anne,

      Thanks so much!

      Geri

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  22. RZ says:

    Way to go Geri.
    Giving a customer a hard time equals disaster for the store and the brand.
    I would never enter that store again and I’m a man!

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  23. Becky Beer says:

    I am a person who buys Eileen Fisher,and I generally really like the clothes I get, but… no one should EVER have a problem returning anything, anytime,that dose not hold -up, or especially withstand normal wear. I’m not on the boycott wagon…but Please sales people , if you do not make your customer happy….well they Will speak or worse yet…blog 🙁 Be kind and make the people that Do support you happy, always; or….there are Many other designer brands to shop.

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  24. Ann Marie says:

    This is a highly overrated and overpriced brand and this always has been the case.

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  25. Karen Whittier says:

    WOW!! If that’s how they’ve trained their sales staff to handle consumers questions/problems there are going to be a lot more people saying they’ll never shop EF again too!

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  26. ctgal says:

    I like E.F.’s simple clothes. They are so easy to wear. However, they have their problems, and I’ve started to stay away from them. I bought a beautiful pair of black silk pants several years ago. After one wearing, the pants just dropped off of me. And I hadn’t lost weight. The fabric just stretched and stretched. I took them in twice and then gave up. Their clothes are not cheap, and I believe more care should be taken with the fabrics. I’ve heard of others having the same problems. And now bad service? Fahgettabatit!

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  27. rosie says:

    Like Sandi I also worked in retail for years. The District Managers frequently set the policy & attitude in the stores . Some pushed the sales, the bottom line and & numbers.The best ones , emphasized sales but more importantly make the customer happy – so they would be returning loyal customers.

    I am not excusing the first salesperson who wouldn’t return your defective, expensive top that was just plain stupid. In my retail days, I found returns from the Managers point of view were ok; but,they had hoped those returns would be turned around into another sale. But if a customer complained to say you gave them a hard time – that was a no-no.

    The second salesperson knew what the correct thing to do, even if she went against her Store’s Manager’s policy.

    I also had a problem with an EF top. It is a $98 hand-washable silk tee.Washed itn vacation last year & the color ran & ran in the sink. I now just have it dry-cleaned. I didn’t return it because I had worn it, liked it. But at that price-point and with the promise of it being hand washable, I wasn’t happy.In fact I haven’t bought any EF since.

    I

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  28. Diane F says:

    I brought 2 EF suits, 3 pair of slacks and 2 jackets to the consignment store in May for just that reason. The linen/linen blend fabric items look “tired” soon after purchase.

    Based on personal experience, I am guessing your transaction took place in the EF store on Madison /79th. Attitude adjustment and client service training sorely needed there.

    No more EF for me either.

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    • Geri says:

      hi diane f,

      bingo! 79th and madison.

      G

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  29. Cheryl says:

    When raising my sun when we would experience poor customer service, or poor craftmanship from various vendors, he would ask why we could not return to various stores, I would say, “their work wasn’t up to par and they were fired”. He would laugh and ask if the store was fired, children speak so clearly.
    The further promise would always be that I would tell two friends, and they would tell two friends, and so on and so on and so on. So, we would find another vendor to spend their money.
    Go Gerri Go !

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  30. Debra says:

    I’m wondering if this is more a reflection of the store’s personnel than anything that comes from EF. I must say the brand, and the woman herself, have been extremely generous in donating clothing (and I mean boxes and boxes of it) to an organization I work with, Support Connection, who support anyone dealing with breast or ovarian cancer. While there is definitely a quality issue here, I do not think the service you received is reflective of the brand. Perhaps corporate (right here in Westchester County) should be made aware of the terrible customer service, as it does reflect poorly on them.

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  31. Tricia in Los Angeles says:

    I would say HUGE mistake since now thousands of the most brilliant and intelligent women know about your encounter!

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  32. Dee says:

    Several years ago I bought a beautiful Grey silk linen outfit from EF in Westport. The fabric was fragile and lasted only two seasons. I paid a small fortune for the jacket and pants. I haven’t shopped EF since.

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  33. mrsfitz says:

    Why is it the expensive stores are so nasty to their customers? They should be bending over backwards in this economy instead of treating you like a leper! I had purchased a cashmere sweater at Kohl’s and when it took it out of my cedar chest the NEXT year I realized it was pilled beyond wearing. I returned the sweater and was given a credit on my card….(fortunately I save my receipts). I no longer shop at stores that don’t offer full returns (with the exception of Talbots who no longer takes returns on sale items- what can I say? Their clothes fit me). A $200 piece of clothing would be an investment to me….I would expect it to last a life time! I think you made the absolute right decision and applaud you sharing you experience to warn everyone else.

    As for the ladies who feel clothing should come with warning labels or it’s their fault if the jewelry snags it….please, these are clothes you should be able
    to accessorize without fear !

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    • Pat says:

      The bracelet I wore when I snagged the E F sweater has a safety clip that sticks out on the side just long enough to catch on many things . A poorly designed clip but I love the bracelet . I just wasn’t thinking of the snagging issue with this bracelet when I wore the sweater that has a very loose weave.
      I have been wearing E.F. clothes for many years and I will say that they do hold up very well.

      Pat

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  34. Blue Bear says:

    I don’t know where you bought your Eileen Fisher items but I have been wearing her clothes for years and I buy them at Neiman Marcus. If anything goes awry, and it hasn’t, Neiman’s doesn’t hesitate to refund your money. They never ask questions and their returns are, consequently, painless. I have had to return other label items and I know it can be nerve wracking but a lot depends on where you shop. Your blog indicates you shopped directly at an EF location and there is no excuse for how you were treated. As for the quality, Eileen Fisher has an online site and I would write them and complain about the quality of the items you purchased and explain why they had to be returned. I would also bitterly complain over the treatment you received. EF is like any other big fashion house and they need to know these things! Don’t forget to mention you have a blog and, frankly, I would send them a copy of this blog page! They don’t like bad press! Just for grins, cc Vogue!!! (I’m vicious about these things when I am treated badly!)

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  35. EILEEN FISHER says:

    Hi Geri,
    We’re really upset to hear about your recent experience. We take great pride in the quality of our clothing and strive to provide positive customer experience. Please let us know if you’d like to talk directly with a member of our Retail Management Team to further discuss. Your feedback is very important to them and they would be happy to hear from you. Please feel free to Direct Message us on Twitter @EILEENFISHER with your email address and we will help you arrange a call. Thank you, and we hope you’ll give us another call!

    And to all the readers who have shared comments: Thank you for expressing your personal concerns and experiences, as well. We’ve read them all and truly value them. We’ll pass them all along to our teams, but please feel free to DM us if you’d like to discuss with someone on our team, as well.

    Thank you,
    EF Team

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    • Mamavalveeta03 says:

      Geri, this is a sign of a good company: They took your concern seriously and are making sure that we feel HEARD! I would bet that the store on Madison Ave will get some serious Customer Service training!!! But please, give them another chance to make it right!

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  36. Jeanne says:

    The majority of my wardrobe is comprised of Eileen Fisher pieces, and I consistently receive compliments about looking “put together” and modern. Some of the pieces are made of sturdy, machine-washable fabrics while others are semi-sheer and quite fragile. Before I make a purchase, I decide if I am willing to pamper the garments made of delicate fabrics. If not, I don’t buy it. When I wear the tops that require a little extra tender care, I don’t use a shoulder bag or crossbody purse that day; I use a satchel or tote. Isn’t this just common sense on the part of the consumer? Geri, don’t blame Eileen Fisher for her special fabrics. All of my loose-weave and semi-sheer tops from EF have a tag attached that states it can snag easily and that cautions the wearer to use care with jewelry and other items that can damage the fabric. The rude sales rep is another story, however. She needs to work in an isolated cubicle and not be allowed interaction with the public.

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    • Geri says:

      hi jeanne,

      thank you for your thoughful comments. I understand about the labels but I still think shirts for every day wear, particularly in the summer, should not be fragile. A Ming vase, yes, but not a shirt for busy women, especially in Manhattan.:)

      geri

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      • Vanessa says:

        Then don’t buy sheer, fragile fabrics! Vote with your wallet!

        Virtually all my clothes are EF, and I can practically dress in the dark with my eyes closed!

        As for quality, nothing is perfect. I got caught in the rain with a red Coach bag slung over my shoulder. The color ran so badly I looked like I was hemmoraging by the time I got home.

        It happens.

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  37. Sandi says:

    Geri,
    I worked retail for years and years. I have never ever heard of someone giving someone a bad time about inferior material. That is so not your fault at all. I applaud the employee that said I am doing it anyway no matter what! That is exactly the response you should of received from the first employee. The problem is that the attitude you got probably does not come from the company itself, but from some district manager that wants her district to stand out in sales ( although they would not admit it). I think that you should email the CEO of the company and let them know what went on. I can guarantee you this will shake this problem up! Good luck to you.
    Sandi

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  38. Victoria says:

    I have three tops just like that one that I paid $14 each for, and I do have to wash them by hand. They are identical in every way. Maybe they’re “knock offs,” but I love them. I cannot imagine paying $198 for that kind of top. That fabric is quite popular this year and it is very flimsy. The store where I bought them takes things back without any question whatsoever, which is one of the reasons I keep shopping there. Funny how those overpriced shops give you trouble about returning things. Boy would I be pissed off if I paid that much for a top and then got that kind of response when I tried to return it. But then I wouldn’t have bought it in the first place at that price.

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  39. Cindy Knudsen says:

    I’ve had the same problem with EF’s sweaters. I’ve stopped buying them also.

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  40. Pat says:

    I love E F. clothes too.. I would let the corporate office know of your issue.. they sell a lot of shirts.. they can post a warning on the lable.. I bought a sweater last fall wore it once and got a big pull from a bracelet I was wearing.. my fault.. angry at myself .. tried to fix the pull better but still shows..
    My daughter has a purse that is rough scaly texture on the outside.. and found that the purse did pull the fabric on some of her lighter clothes.. so she doesn’t use the purse on a daily basis anymore.. and never over her shoulder anymore.
    P

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  41. Amy Ferris says:

    Well, this inspired me completely. I just had a similar situation at Willow on Amsterdam Avenue. I had bought a linen sweater (for 95.00) in two colors, eggplant and black. I had worn the eggplant sweater and was dismayed at how quickly it pilled and snagged. Having never worn the black one, I decided to return it (it had all the tags – 2 or 3 – and had never been worn). The salesgirl wouldn’t take it back. I didn’t have the original receipt (although , clearly none of the tags had been removed) and she told me that they couldn’t credit me, and that i was”stuck with the sweater.” Stuck with the sweater???!!!! I asked for the manager, I was told she was at home. I asked her to call the manager at home, and I stood there as she explained that i wanted to return this sweater but didn’t have the receipt. the manager refused to take the sweater back. I live in Pennsylvania, and coming into NYC isn’t a weekly habit any longer. Willow is a shop I would go to on my NYC pilgrimages and spend a fair amount of money shopping there. It saddens me that this store is no longer on my ‘must go to, or buy at’ list any longer. It takes so little to be kind these days. Between Eileen Fisher and this store, I say: KINDNESS PAYS.

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  42. Teri says:

    Hi Geri,

    I’m sorry to hear this happened to you!

    I have admired (and frequently drooled!) over the E.F. clothing line, but have stopped short of ordering anything because the prices seemed exhorbitant. However, a nagging sentiment that this clothing may also be quite durable and, therefore, worth the price has intrigued me to nearly place an order many times.

    After reading your experience I am going to hold back. It’s not just the rude sales associate; the predicament seems to be frail product too. Even if the associates will happily accept the item for return, the problem is it shouldn’t happen at all…..not at those prices.

    Thank you for sharing your story. You have saved some of us from what sounds to be a very disappointing shopping experience.

    Theresa

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  43. Christine Remo says:

    Clearly the problem is more than just with the poor quality fabric. The real problem is with how the situation was handled. The fault lies with both the manager and the sales clerk. I say manager because it is the express responsibility of the manager of each store to ensure that their salespeople are properly trained to not only meet but to whenever possible exceed the customers expectations and be a representative of the integrity of the company for whom they garner a paycheck. Obviously this clerk did not meet those requirements. Her cavalier attitude will cost the company dearly. Not only will you, a valued customer, not shop in her store, but now millions of other women may just think twice about spending their hard earned money in one of their locations. The clerk who failed to remember who she really works for should be demoted or removed from customer contact and the one who rose to the occasion should be promoted.

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  44. Jane says:

    I’m sad to learn that EF clothes are no longer made in the US. I’ve bought a few pieces and have loved their fit and classic lines. It’s unfair to indict an entire company due to one sales person. Whenever I’m not satisfied with the product and service that I receive, I always send an email to the president or CEO of the company. I always receive an apology and a satisfactory solution to the problem.

    PS: I don’t send frivolous emails to get something for free. It’s always about something that I’ve paid good money for that has failed.

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  45. Linda Rose says:

    I hope the mgt of EF sees this post and acts on it! Good for you Geri! I agree with many of the comments and I am a big fan of EF but the quality has gone done and the prices are getting ridiculous. I think Geri did the right thing in posting. EF should know about their employees’ BAD customer service and should 1-revisit their policies (and they are very restrictive) and 2- retrain their employees. I worked retail for years including Nordstrom, which focuses on Customer Service in their training. More and more, I am seeing bad customer service and employees with bad attitudes! Retail stores want to know if their employees are not performing.

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  46. LR Carlozzi says:

    I agree with many of the comments and I am a big fan of EF but the quality has gone done and the prices are getting ridiculous. I think Geri did the right thing in posting. EF should know about their employees’ BAD customer service and should 1-revisit their policies (and they are very restrictive) and 2- retrain their employees. I worked retail for years including Nordstrom, which focuses on Customer Service in their training. More and more, I am seeing bad customer service and employees with bad attitudes! Retail stores want to know if their employees are not performing. I hope the mgt of EF sees this post and acts on it! Good for you Geri!

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  47. Norma Byrd says:

    I agree with all of the above statements including the one regarding the unfairness of basing the blog on that one improper sales person, but also the one regarding expensive items being made in other countries. I have had to return items a few times that weren’t what they should be (Nordstrom is one that will take anything back at any time, no questions asked and even pay for the return by mail!). Of course I’ve always been fair and honest in doing so. I know someone who on a regular basis returns things she’s used for years, even to a different company from which she purchased it, and made so much noise they refund just to get rid of her. That’s not only mean, but terribly dishonest, and the sort of activity that makes things cost more for the rest of us. They have to cover such costs and I know that companies often build into the cost what they call the nuisance factor. I am glad that Geri stood her ground and insisted on a refund. The company owes her an apology PLUS a gift of some sort would be nice. Like the head of that rude sales person on a platter. LOL!

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  48. bmarie says:

    I’m not as thrilled with EF as I was a few years ago. I agree with NEATS. My ‘old’ EF pieces still look great. Nordstrom has a return policy beyond belief, and within reason, will always take back merchandise that doesn’t hold up. I loved the ‘old’ FLAX clothing line, too. I have two tops from 20 years ago that still look wonderful. Who has suggestions for clothing lines and designers who still design and manufacture lovely clothing, beautiful fabrics that last?

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  49. Neats says:

    Just had the EXACT same thing happen to me. Bought an open weave sweater and wore it for the first time to a convention. Sat in a chair all day taking notes. Elbows are a mess. Am about to call EF and ask for a return. Will let you know what happens.

    BTW – here’s a question for all. I love EF and wear little else to work. Have always loved the generous loose fit. Seems to me that the stuff is just getting big and sloppy. And everything is sheer requiring you to buy another piece underneath. Prices going up, quality and satisfaction going down. Or is it just me?

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    • Vanessa says:

      I love EF and wear little else. But I have noticed that the sizing is changing. I used to be a PS, but find that that is too baggy on me now (my weight and measurements haven’t changed at all). PP is too small, though. XS is OK, though I have to hem the slacks. I know I’d fit perfectly into a P6, but the P8 accommodation makes the clothes just too loose. I wish sizes were straight forward P6, P8, etc., instead of “grouped” (6/8). At these prices, the fit should be a bit more precise.

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  50. Mary says:

    I stopped buying Eileen Fisher clothes the minute they stopped being made in the USA. To pay so much for an article of clothing made outside our country is not what I will ever do.

    You deserved your money back plus a huge apology for your having to return a faulty piece of merchandise.

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  51. Barb McC says:

    Did you ever speak with the manager or someone higher up in the organization? I think it’s unfair (and rather irresponsible blogging) to indict an entire company based on the behavior of one rude/stupid salesperson.

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    • Beth Y says:

      Why should the customer have to seek out the manager? The store employee could have taken her name and number and had her manager call the customer to discuss the matter.
      The customer is not happy or satisfied so it is up to the store personnel to seek her out and make things right. I think there is very little customer service these days. Geri is right for blogging, that is how we as consumers can get information and we know how to read between the lines if it is just a personality issue.

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  52. Babe Hope says:

    Love this site, because I love hearing intelligent, stylish conversation! Well-done!

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    • Geri says:

      Hi Babe,

      Such a cool comment you made. Thank you.

      Geri

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  53. Connie says:

    Sadly, Eileen Fisher is completely out of touch. She used to serve a customer that was somewhat underserved, the over 40 and not exactly svelte. But over time the clothing has become over priced, impractical and the staff in the stores a bit haughty. Too bad.

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  54. Debra S says:

    I am getting increasingly frustrated over the cheapening of ALL clothing in general. Nothing will hold up and far far too much is so thin, you have to layer- and in summer?? Who WANTS to layer all the time when it’s 90? Phooey.

    I despair sometimes, I want good sturdy classic clothes that will last more a year.

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  55. Suzanne says:

    I buy a fair amount of Eileen Fisher because I love the style, but I have had problems with quality. I bought a long, white, button down linen dress that I wore a couple of time. I found that the size of the button holes got larger and it wouldn’t stay buttoned. I had no problem returning it, but it wasn’t at an Eileen Fisher store but Holt Renfrew which has a great return policy.
    I then had a problem with piling from a wool sweater. Because I bought it in the US and I live in Canada, I wrote to the company and had the same kind of service that you had. I was told by someone that piling should be expected and basically there was nothing they were going to do about it.
    I’ve also had elastic in the waistband of pants snap. Fortunately, my drycleaner was able to fix it. I love Eileen Fisher clothes, but I am seriously questioning not only do I get my money’s worth, but their general lack of good customer service.

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  56. Eddy says:

    This sounds as though there were problems all around. However, it seems clear that both parties were not on their best behavior.

    Recently, I was horrified to read an article in LHJ about an actress who bought an outfit to wear to an audition, without being sure that she would keep, rather than return it afterward, if she didn’t get the part. That sort of chicanery is rampant, and it is right for the saleswoman to be careful.

    You walked into the store without having first contacted the company to describe the problem, and describe yourself as being outraged to not receive instant gratification.

    A word of advice is to first contact customer service online to desribe the problem and arrange for a return. Do remember that you get more flies with honey than vinegar. Being nice really can get you what you want, especially if you describe yourself as a loyal customer who is certain that the company wants to be aware of difficulties.

    Retail personnel are only irritated by people who are in any way unpleasant. Ditto for customer service personnel who are very accustomed to threats. Assertiveness does not mean abrasiveness.

    I have often made complaints, then received not only refunds, but also coupons toward future purchases. 99 times out of 1oo, business people want to have good relations with customers who are reasonable and pleasant.

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  57. Mamavalveeta03 says:

    I agree that I would be upset with the quality of the top if I spent that much on it. But I think the right thing to do is to 1)Attempt to deal with the issue directly with a sales associate. 2)If that is unproductive, and it sounds like it was frustrating at best even if you got your money back, then 3)Call the manager of the store, calmly telling her about what happened and write to the company and tell them about your experience. I don’t think it is right for us to respond in anger by complaining about a whole company when it may well be THAT specific Eileen Fisher store is managed poorly, or sales associates aren’t trained well in customer service. Geri, you have a venue to air your grievance quite publicly. People DO make mistakes!

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  58. TuKute says:

    Geri, while I do understand your point and frustration the story would have gone a little different for me. As soon as I realized the saleslady had no idea of good customer service I would have moved on the the next person if the manager was not there. There should always be someone for them to, at the very least, give a call. When saleslady #2 said she would return your money or get fired I would be thinking at that time that this is a store policy not to give refunds. Once getting my refund I would have contacted the manager to make sure that the was not just the way the sales associates handled it personally but a store policy. It it was a store policy I would then SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS. SERIOUSLY?
    The item not on sale and damaged within a week? Here we have Clark Howard. He would be getting a call.
    I also would write a letter of great service about saleslady #2. Especiall if she really did put her job on the line.
    I don’t buy her brand of clothing but now I won’t.

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  59. Joanne Page says:

    I too love Eileen Fisher clothing and the pieces I have I treasure. It is too bad they are soooo overpriced because many women feel the same about her classic and timeless designs. It’s funny that buying direct from Eileen Fisher got you this much trouble to return an obviously weak design when if you purchased it at Nordstrom (even on sale) there would be no questions asked! Hopefully these people that work in her retail establishments will get wind of this and change their snobby attitude. NO ONE needs it!

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  60. Sarah Baldwin says:

    Geri, I generally love Eileen Fisher. Beautiful, flattering, comfortable clothes.

    But I bought an EF linen sweater this spring. Paid full price (I usually wait to buy EF on sale). The knit is very loose with a thin and thick yarn.

    After two wearings, it was full of pulled yarns and snags. The fine yarn catches on everything! I’ve worn it a few times since, and now it is covered with snags and looks like it is ten years old. Every time I wear it, I have to use a crochet hook to pull all the loose yarns through to the wrong side of the fabric.

    Since I bought it in NY and live in ME, I’ve been meaning to contact the company directly to voice my dissatisfaction with the quality, which is not what I’ve come to expect from EF.

    I hope that I get a better response than you did! Otherwise, I’ll be joining you on an EF boycott.

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  61. erica says:

    I love Eileen Fisher clothing but can’t afford it even on the kind of sales that stores such as Nordstrom or Bloomingdale’s offer. That’s why I shop the outlet in Seacaucus, New Jersey. You may not find what’s in the stores, but the bargains are fantastic! I stay away from any fabric that seems flimsy and have been very happy with the majority of my purchases there over the years. But I do understand your anger at the treatment you received and would have done exactly the same thing. The store’s clerk had the wrong response and these days, with the kinds of communication tools available to consumers, it is very unwise to diss a customer the way you were. Being that kind of stupid can (and should!) really hurt a business.

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  62. carole howard says:

    I’m lucky enough to live near an Eileen Fisher outlet so I buy lots there. Over the years, I’ve found that her clothes are the ones I wear over and over again. I agree that your experience was bad customer service, but ONLY on the part of the one saleswoman, not the whole store and certainly not the brand. If you want to do something about it, why not write a letter to the store manager and explain what happened to you, so he/she will know about what the service people (in this case, service person) are doing? Then he/she can do something about it.

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  63. Mary says:

    I would by from the clerk who was willing to risk being fired for giving the refund.
    She should be a CEO of something!

    And, it’s not just Eileen Fisher–I used to love to shop and now, at 55, I cannot stand to go to the mall.

    Is there anything beside a grandkid I’m not quite ready to have yet that will get me back to strolling, shopping, spending?

    This is indeed rhetorical, but the whole world seems rhetorical from the vantage point of age 55!

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  64. Jacquie says:

    I don’t necessarily think you can fault the brand. It was poor customer service in my opinion.

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  65. Beth says:

    Hi Geri,
    As frustrating as this may be I am not quite sure on why the boycott to Eileen Fisher. I would understand the boycott to that particular store but I have returned merchandise to EF stores many months after purchasing and have received a full credit. I think the problem here is the training of the staff at that particular store. Have you received any follow up from the Manager?
    I would just hate for you to be sour on one bad apple. I know Eileen Fisher did not expand its brand with customer service flaws like this.

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  66. Hope says:

    FYI, I love her silk jersey tanks, but found one this spring that is viscose/spandex blend. Fits like a dream and flattering. Unfortunately, I wore it belted, and the belt seems to have created some pilling. Yes, the belt did it, but really, I do plan to wear these items in what I consider a normal usage for fabric. Not bad enough to return, but disappointing all the same. On another note, I have her wide leg linen pants and they appear to be bomb proof .

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  67. Lynne says:

    I like wearing Eileen Fisher. As it is expensive, I don’t have a lot of pieces. but what I do have fits very well and wears well. They do a great job of “body skimming” clothing and I can buy tunic length tops in petite sizes.

    I agree with an earlier poster that the particular store gave very poor customer service – don’t think that the entire Eileen Fisher company deserves a bad rap for your one experience. I do admire your approach and I would have also stood my ground about getting a credit or return.

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  68. Lyn says:

    I agree with Lisa Shaw, you had one bad salesperson, and one fragile top. I’m not sure it’s appropriate to bash an entire company on that experience. Have you bought other items from EF? Are you unhappy with those as well? Before using your web audience to denigrate the company (whose clothes I don’t own, no affiliation) I’d think you’d want to contact them first. The internet is a powerful & public tool…

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  69. Badgerfanz says:

    Why do salespeople at these stores think this is coming out of their pockets? They take the attitude like this most of the time………..it is nuts………………..

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  70. Hope says:

    When I do buy EF, it’s because she still uses great fabric. Lately, I have been pretty picky, and your experience confirms my thoughts on some of the thinner, more fragile fabrics. Glad they made things right, but what a hassle.

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  71. Zipporah Sandler says:

    Geri – I used to LOVE Eileen Fisher and wore it all of the time. I’ve found that while I still LOVE her styles, the fabric gets threadbare very quickly. There are other companies like CP Shades who make similar linen pieces here in the US out of quality fabrics.

    I have found over the years that my shopping has been more customer serviced based. It’s such an important piece of the shopping experience, and in this economy companies who don’t understand that are going to find themselves out of business rather quickly.

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  72. Amy says:

    Poor customer service at ANY store should never be tolerated. I do think though, that you are giving the Eileen Fisher brand a bad rap undeservedly. You can urge a boycott of the particular store–but not a brand that is designed to serve women of all ages with appropriate age dressing and has a wonderful grant program for women starting out in business.

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  73. Lisa Shaw says:

    Let’s put it in perspective: You ran into a poor salesperson who didn’t know what to do and did not act correctly towards you. You were right. The fabric should have endured, especially at that price. The 2nd saleperson KNEW to do the right thing and did it. But, don’t you think, in general, that Eileen Fisher clothing is actually quite good? Isn’t that why you are a repeat customer who bought these items (retail) in the 1st place? Rather than ‘never darken her door again’, I would write a letter to the company, explaining the issue. They probably want to know and probably want to improve. You are right, I would have stood my ground and gotten my money, too, that day. But, to reflect on the whole mess, to reach up to the company level, beyond the single store, you’ll influence how someone else is treated. And that will make you feel even better than the credit card refund.

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  74. Cheryl Avery says:

    So sorry you had to have such an ordeal that was so unnecessary. A place of buisness should side with the customer regarding faulty material especially at that price. It is just good buisness practice and customer service.

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  75. Dorinda Hallenbeck says:

    I will never buy Eileen Fisher anymore either…it has always been very over priced and in general very poor quality and workmanship….I bought it previously because it ran large..and was about all I could fit into.

    I sew, I know fabric etc., etc.,…and it is a rip off…the only good thing is good styles with a roomy fit.

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  76. Maggie says:

    I’m not in retail but I am a working professional who needs to be very careful about what I spend on clothes. I appreciate your candid review, Geri – it makes me trust this site more.
    Thank you!

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  77. Kim Marie says:

    Way to go Geri – I too always stand up for what is right as you did in this situation. As AJB commented, I too shop at Nordstrom and have some EF pieces. And Nordstrom’s policy as I understand it, is to take back anything & everything (unless it’s been altered) for full $$ back. We FOF’s love our clothes and I believe shop with a keen eye looking for the best value at the best price. We should expect a “good” name product to provide us with at the very least more than one wearing! BTW – Thanks for FOF! Love it!

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  78. Jennifer says:

    but yes, Good Customer Service would call for a full refund, no arguments… sad that you didn’t receive that.

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    • Geri says:

      At least I got the refund. This reminds me of the scene in Pretty Woman….when Julia Roberts returns to to store on Rodeo Drive and says “Big mistake. Big…big mistake.”

      G.

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      • Michelle in Htown says:

        In my retail days, we just never argued with the customer. We took back anything, even if it obviously had been worn more than once. The logic? There’s simply no reason on earth to anger a customer who probably will spend money with you again, and who will definitely bad-mouth you to his or her friends and family if you do them wrong. Customer loyalty trumps just about everything else in my book.

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  79. gail says:

    good to know…i’ve been looking at their red linen gauze shirt online. you just saved me $200 that i knew i should spend on gauze anyway.

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    • Geri says:

      Hi Gail,

      Glad you’re not doing it!

      Geri

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    • Geri says:

      Hi Gail,

      🙂

      Geri

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  80. Gwen says:

    All of this is why I shop at Alle Couch in Dallas. Great fabrics, outstanding service, and customer satisfaction. But mostly Quality! Her fabrics are beautiful and worth the price.

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    • Geri says:

      Hi Gwen

      Paulette, the owner, was interviewed for FOF when we started. Her interview is on the site. Put Paulette in the search bar.

      Geri

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  81. AJB says:

    That’s why I love shopping at Nordstrom (which happens to sell Eileen Fisher!).

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  82. Joni says:

    I love what you did to take care of your mishap. I would have done the same thing. Thank heaven’s the other sales woman knew what to do.
    I would never buy any EF’s clothing new. I did get lucky once and found a tunic at a local consignment shop which I love. I’m surprised that fabric wasn’t tested more accurately. That rubbing damage could have happened with anything. A purse, a piece of furniture, your watch, etc….It shouldn’t have been used for clothing in my opinion. You’re my retail hero Geri! 😉

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    • Geri says:

      Hi Joni

      just looked at your blog. it is sensational!
      Thank you for your wonderful comment.

      Geri

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  83. Victoria at Posh Boutique says:

    I read with interest your accounting of your experience at Eileen Fisher. As a consumer, I would have felt much as you did. It is touch to take this type of treatment when you buy, at full price, I assume , in good faith, a clothing item that does not perform as you would expect. We as consumers often go by the old adage, “you get what you pay for”but in this case, it was not so. As a store owner, I have found that the manufacturers rarely “test run” their new styles. They are looking for a look, when they pick a fabric for a certain garment in their line, and do not necessarily consider the consequences of day to day use. It probably did not occur to them that their delicate lovely fabric would run into a leather handbag! Of course, now that it has happened, it is sort of an” ah ha” moment. Too late. It is a live and learn situation for the manufacturer but under no circumstance should you pay the price for that! The sales person would have better served her employer if she had given you a full refund, reported the fabric performance to the manager who should pass it on to the powers that be. The bottom line is that everything in our closet is just stuff, and stuff happens…even to our most beloved items! By the way, “The customer is always right” may get abused at times, but it does usually guarantee a repeat customer…it is what we believe at POSH. If you are ever in Charlottesville,Va we would love to show you! Visit us on face book and our blog, Posh Sisters.

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    • Geri says:

      Hi Victoria,

      I am going to visit you on FB right now!

      Geri

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