While in Edinburgh this summer I happened to stop by Harvey Nichols and found their sale was on. I scored a cracking deal on a pair of Red Wing boots, and found an interesting shirt as well. The shirt is green, in a slightly military cut, and made from “Tencel“. This grabbed my attention, as I’d not come across it before. A quick Google had it described as “The most environmentally friendly fabric known to man”, or something to my effect. Right up my alley then! The shirt was by a company unknown to me, John Elliott, and was reduced from around 400 pounds to a more palatable 100 or so.
And it’s a fine looking shirt! With the “Tencel” angle it is also a good basis for another post about alternative and more environmentally sound fabrics.
Except. After wearing it 4 times it looks like this under the arms. Now this is something I’ve never had happen to a shirt before, be it cheap or more expensive, so I’m wondering: Is is the maker that is pretty shit, or is it the wonder fabric Tencel that is pretty shit?
I need to find out, as to my mind a shirt that retails at around 400 pounds, which usually gets you a pretty decent jacket, should be significantly better in all ways than cheaper variants. It’s made in China as well, so there’s not even a handmade in America aspect to explain the price. Oh, you’re saying it’s the designer name that bumps the price up? Maybe, though it’s still pretty damn crummy quality.
So, given my success with regards to Dr Martens at the #solegate saga of splitting soles, I popped a mail off to John Elliot customer support:
“Hi, I purchased a “Season seven” shirt this summer at Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh. Lovely shirt, I really like it, but I just noticed that after wearing it 4 times it is coming apart under the arms. I have not washed it yet, as it has only been carefully worn. Please see attached photos.
And after a few hours this reply arrived:
“Hi Nick, Thanks for your reaching out. Because our stockists operate completely independently from us, any purchases made from them are subject to their terms and conditions, including their return policy. I recommend reaching out to Harvey Nichols for more information.
Obviously the standard customer service “get loste” reply, but ok, I’ll play ball, so I sent this one off to Harvey Nichols customer support at the crack of dawn on Friday morning:
“Hi, I purchased a John Elliot “Season seven” shirt this summer at Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh. Lovely shirt, I really like it, but I just noticed that after wearing it 4 times it is coming apart under the arms. I have not washed it yet, as it has only been carefully worn.
You may like to follow this: (link to this blog post)”
We look forward to hearing from you.
CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPERIENCE TEAM LEADER”
CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPERIENCE ADMINISTRATOR”
“Hello Mr Johannessen,
My name is Euan and I’m the Menswear Manager of Harvey Nichols Edinburgh. Your email was forwarded on to me this afternoon from our Customer Service Centre.
Firstly please accept my sincere apologies regarding your experience with your John Elliot shirt. At Harvey Nichols we pride ourselves on selling the finest quality garments and it’s very disappointing when we fall short on this.
I will be investigating this and will come back to you very soon.
SALES MANAGER | MENSWEAR”
“Hello Mr Johannessen,
Further to our telephone conversation earlier today I’m pleased to confirm our offer to refund your faulty John Elliot shirt. As discussed please post the shirt for my attention to:
Harvey Nichols address
We will also be happy to refund any postal charges incurred. Once we receive the shirt we will call you for details in order to process the transaction.
I will also follow up with our buying team in London, who will contact John Elliot directly. If we receive any feedback I will keep you informed.
Once again, please accept our sincere apologies and thank you for your patience while we resolve this issue for you.
I hope to welcome you to Harvey Nichols again in the future.
SALES MANAGER | MENSWEAR”
Thanks for following up.
We consider Harvey Nichols a valued partner and wanted to clarify the relationship we have with them and all of our other stockists.
Since they are a wholesale partner of ours, they purchase product from us and as a result those products become part of their inventory which then becomes subject to the terms and conditions of their store.
I can understand how this scenario can be frustrating, and for that I do apologize.
We are pleased to see that your case has been escalated, please keep us updated as we endeavor for all of our customers regardless of where they interact with our brand to receive exceptional customer service.
If for any reason you do not receive a reply from the staff at Harvey Nichols, please don’t hesitate to reach back out to us, and we would be happy to put you in touch with the appropriate person.
Customer Experience Manager”
Now… I don’t want to seem ungrateful, as they have sent a reply, but it’s not much is it and it’s taken a week. So the moment to “exceptional customer service” has long passed by and they have still not replied to my actual original question, which I’d like to rephrase a little: