Fashion label Shakuhachi's customer service prompts onslaught of complaints
An Australian fashion label is facing a slew of complaints from disgruntled customers on both sides of the Tasman claiming repeated failures in its online sales operation.
Customers of Shakuhachi, which makes designer womenswear, have reported their online orders have arrived late, incomplete or not at all. Some complain that requests for refunds have also gone unfulfilled.
Shakuhachi, launched by self-taught fashion designer Jessie White, has been among the favourite party wear of fashionistas and celebrities since the brand was established in 2000. White, an Australian, is based in Bali.
The company has responded to complaints of missing or delayed items saying it had faced "overwhelming" demand and was awaiting a stock shipment from an offshore warehouse, which had been delayed by Customs. The excuse has failed to wash with customers.
At the time of writing, there were more than 20 complaints on the company's Instagram account. Screengrabs of complaints on the Shakuhachi Facebook page have also been captured. The posts have since been hidden.
Of the 79 reviews on productreview.com.au, 74 customers have given Shakuhachi a "terrible" review, echoing similar experiences. Reviews date back to 2013.
When asked for an explanation , Shakuhachi's Jovey-Anne Fletcher responded:
"We could not predict the overwhelming response that reducing our prices was going to have. Our sales increased ten fold and our small team of two in sydney just could not keep up with the orders meanwhil [sic] have been working around the clock packing orders themselves from sydney [sic] office. There were a few customs delays but all has now been overcome. We have now outstsoruced [sic] our pick and pack to a third party warehouse, they are rapidly getting us back on track with our deliveries."
Consumer NZ's Jessica Wilson said if a retailer advertised a sale, there was an expectation that a "reasonable supply" of goods would be available.
"If there are restrictions – for example, limited stock – that should be made clear in the ad."
Australian consumer law was very similar to New Zealand's, Wilson said.
As such, Shakuhachi, was obligated to "provide products of acceptable quality and deliver its services with reasonable care and skill".
"If a trader fails to meet these requirements, and the failure is major, consumers can request their money back."
"In practice, this means if you don't get the product you paid for, or it's not delivered in a reasonable time, you've got the right to cancel and get a refund."
Wilson said if the company failed to respond, consumers who paid by credit card could ask their bank for a a refund to their card.
Kiwi consumers could also file proceedings in the Disputes Tribunal as New Zealand has an agreement with Australia to allow proceedings to be started here against a person in Australia."
Auckland-based Ashley Ropati, 26, is among those who have taken to social media to warn friends. A dress she purchased in June has not arrived.
Ropati purchased three items from the website, two of which arrived within two weeks. The third - a white lace dress which cost approximately NZ$420 - was not in the parcel.
After emailing Shakuhachi's customer service team, Ropati was told the item would be back in stock by the end of the month.
The date came and went.
Ropati emailed the company again and did not receive a response until early November - five months after her online purchase.
Ropati requested a refund on November 7. She still hasn't been refunded.
When Ropati tried calling the two phone Australian numbers listed on the company's website, an automated message said the lines had been disconnected.
She, like dozens of Shakuhachi customers, has taken to social media to warn others from buying from the brand.
Another Auckland woman, Lena Solomon, received a refund after "bombarding" Shakuhachi's Instagram and Facebook with her plight, having received no response to repeated emails.
"I saw my friend make a post on Instagram saying, 'never buy off Shakuhachi', and that she'd been waiting for her two dresses for over a month and they just wouldn't email her back.
"Then I looked on their social media and the comment sections were filled with similar stories - some girls had been waiting since June for their orders and nobody seemed to have had any communication from the company." She believed complaints from customers were being removed from the social media pages.
A screenshot of the same Shakuhachi Instagram post, a day later on November 29. The original complaints have been deleted, and replaced with new ones.