Tuesday, August 19, 2008

When does Coming Soon become theft?

Coming Soon... Maybe

Last December my partner and I went christmas shopping,he wasnt sure what to buy me so he gave me a huge shopping spree at Armidi. Whoohoo would be most peoples response except for one thing ...Coming Soon. Armidi was running a Gift certificate promotion at the time and in small print the cards said available for use in January.

January comes along no word. Finally at the end of Feburary Armidi posts a shopping web site that is a sneak peek and can be used by people holding their gift cards. So I giddily rush over to the store to buy some of their latest releases but to my dismay you can not purchase in the store only from the website.

I personally hate shopping this way but off I went to the website to purchase the wonderful new items and sadly they werent there only the older items where there. Against my better judgement I purchased the new hair I wanted with additional funds and waited patiently for the new items to be added to the site.

Waited, waited and waited........

March 2008 Armidi announces more releases andtheir team expands yay! Surely now they will get the new stuff up and get the cards working in the store. Sad face no they dont.

April 2008 more new releases, May 2008 more new releases June 2008 August 2008.... and more waiting.

As the releases have come out I have sent ims, sent notecards asking for help with no reply. I again check their shopping website now you cant even buy the old items it just says Coming Spring 2008....

Today I finally had enough and sent 32 ims to all the Armidis, Lola Marquez and Liam Oliver, 5 of the 32 where online 1 responded to me then an hour later I got 1 other response. THe following are the responses with their names removed.

[15:04] Sparkle Skye: Can you please tell me when is it you plan to honor the gift certificates purchased last year
[15:05] Armidi: Hi, You'll need to IM London Armidi for more information. I'm sorry, i wish i could help
[15:07] Sparkle Skye: I have and never get a reply
[15:07] Armidi: oh hmm
[15:08] Armidi: well, as far as i know, we should be able to get the gift card system up and running again in about a month. We're currently working on it right now
[15:08] Sparkle Skye: it was supposed to be up in January
[15:08] Sparkle Skye: I have had these since december last year
[15:08] Armidi: it was and we had a website where you could do your shopping online
[15:09] Sparkle Skye: with all old items
[15:09] Armidi: but we took it down to work on it
[15:09] Sparkle Skye: this is really bad customer service I see products released an no one bothers to let us holding gift certificates know what is happening
[15:12] Armidi: I'm sorry, I will let the necessary people know about your feelings. All I can say is to be please be patient. We're working on it and it is worth the wait. I can tell you that
[15:12] Sparkle Skye: sorry I dont feel that way thanks anyway

[15:12] Armidi: have a good day

The second response I got was this:

[15:03] Sparkle Skye: Can you please tell me when is it you plan to honor the gift certificates purchased last year
[15:57] Armidi: Hi! The giftcards were useable last month and past months, you will be able to use them again soon :)
[15:58] Sparkle Skye: you never put up the new merchandise there
[16:05] Armidi: The newer items will be added when you can use the giftcards again.
[16:06] Sparkle Skye: are you aware that this has been 9 months of you saying coming soon and none of the new merchandise is put up?
[16:14] Armidi: We manually redemmed giftcards for new items earlier this year.
[16:21] Sparkle Skye: there was never an offer on your website to do that

There was no further repsonse, they never posted on their website that they were redeeming manually and never responded to my requests for service nor did they offer anything today but that I should wait...

Its Coming Soon you know


Within an hour of this posting I received a response from Liam Oliver expressing concerns about what I posted here. I agreed not to post any my conversation with him.

I agreed that I would post any clarifications of the responses I received from either of the Armidi's that responded to me, if they are sent to me.

After a lengthy discussion I have been refunded my balance of my gift card, received an apology for how this was handeled and been assured that the web site will indeed be up and running soon. I was also told they will also be doing their best to reach out to those who have not been able to redeem their cards.


gogolita said...

OMG? That's a long time to wait.

Anonymous said...

so very sorry to hear that this happened to you (and so many many others from what i've heard). this is no way to run a business, nor a way to conduct "customer service" either. the best way to deal with these things is to request your money and never shop their again. vote with your money, so to speak. i wish you good luck.

Phoenix Chapman said...

I am in exactly your same position - have tried to get replies, and nothing.

flopesto said...

That store sucks anyway and is overrated, as is the talent. bunch of crap seriously. I'm not a hater, they just sell trash.

Dove Swanson said...

Law has one he hasn't been able to use since christmas either. :/

Anonymous said...

bangs head against keyboard.. i also got giftcards for friends at christmas. NONE of those "cards" have been used yet.

it is pretty god damn funny that when you contact someone at ARMIDI it is ALWAYS the wrong person


.....bangs head against keyboard some more

Sparkle Skye said...

I did get a respnse back finally after this post and was told that they will be making an effort to reach out people who have these.

Toko Voom said...

I personaly sent email and note card got no respons what so ever last I loged on, my 1300 (left over) was missing from my card!
I didn't ever recive refund or the items i asked for in the note card!
Sure hope I get my refund... Will log in and try to IM/contact for the 4th time

Ashia Tomsen said...

Best customer service eva!!

Anonymous said...

yeah I'm in the same situation. If I ran my store like this I'd be run out of town.

Catero said...

I have used the My Shop Card online service from Armidi many times since it was launched. I'd rather browse at my leisure online and not have to brave the jaw-breaking lag at the Armidi sim.

Though I am disappointed that their newer content was never added to the eCommerce site (I am still waiting for the Giasci Men's tie to be available in pink in-store and I'll continue to cross my fingers), I figure its a business model that is a little different than the usual SL store and there are kinks to iron out. How many other designers manage an online store? It's gotta be hell to coordinate.

Armidi HAS improved their online shopping experience to a degree. Clothing and accessory items used to be one long list (sometimes over 10 pages) as opposed to being categorized and grouped - which I griped about. I hope others did too. It's gotta be a sign that change is on the way.

As for the customer service aspect, I'm not too thrilled with the handling of loyal customers outlined in this post and in comments. Hopefully, continuing to provide them with feedback like this in the form of IMs, note cards and posts will drive positive change.

Samara Kasshiki said...

I thank you for posting this. It often seems that the "big boys" forget that there are actually people behind the avatars. I can't see why they would sell things that couldn't be redeemed. This is beyond absurd. Good for you to speak out. And I hope LOTS of people saw your post :)

Anonymous said...

They will continue to do that because you guys rush out and slam the sim every time they have a release, they are so huge who cares about customer service. Come on 9mths? 9mths? This is incredulous and absolutely unacceptable. Do you realize I could have had a baby in the time it takes them to make their card system work? Not even RL stores would treat customers like that. Who cares how hard it is to iron out, don't launch something if you have not fully tested your Q & A. Is Armidi the new Linden Labs?

Anonymous said...

Correct, Amidi IS Linden Labs. All evidence points to it. From having their own last name to treating customers like crap and getting away with it to being able to persuade well established content creators to work for them. There is more but I dont have the energy to get into it right now. Boycotting would be a wise choice though.

Anonymous said...

I too have close to 10,000 in Armidi Gift Cards, that I was unable to use on the Newer releases. I own most of the older stuff as it is.. and Thought wow Great Idea. I love Gift Cards.... But now all the new stuff is coming out, and I still cant use the Cards.. SUCKS... so either I dont shop there until the Cards are available for use in the Store.... or I just go with out, and choose not to SHop with Armidi anymore Period.... I wonder if they are willing to start refunding all of their customers that bought cards, or had cards given to them..... Sounds a lil fishy....... You think they could get the system Running considering how many people are involved with Armidi.

Anonymous said...

I am in the same position...no 'news', 'updates' or responses to ims regarding this gift certificate 'scam'.

Was not impressed after xmas (certificate was a gift) and still not impressed 9 months later.

Thank you for highlighting this issue...shame on the Armidis.

Chalice Carling said...

Amazing how it takes exposing this pathetic situation on a blog to get some action. What on earth do the ppl running Armidi expect you to do after 9 months but to use alternate ways to highlight the problem. Boo hoo that he was upset you blogged about it. Here's a tissue.

Good for you taking things into your own hands. They have had more than enough time to sort this out and really, why don't they just redeem the value of the cards and allow ppl to go into the store and purchase what they want if they system is stuffed. Bad, bad Armidi. Georgio Armani, your misspelled namesake would not be pleased.

Get a system in place to deal with customer dissatisfaction and stick to it.

Anonymous said...


I think what's amazing is how many people jump to these conclusions based on a blog post.

I've shopped at Armidi since they've opened, I got giftcards from friends, and also purchased them for friends. Yes it sucks I can't use the card on NEW releases, but they are working on it - I have cash, I can wait. It's not like they are holding it from me...I spent most of it months ago on their online service.

When I bought the card, it said that redemption would be ready in early 2008.

In January or Febrary they started accepting cards for redemption - via NC, I chose to wait as I was excited for the mystery online service.

In February or March they launched the online service, every product they released was available for purchasing. This is was a huge accomplishment in my opinion, who else has done this? Answer: nobody.

Unfortunately...they didn't update that, but considering those items weren't available when the cards were purchased, I was okay with it - others were not.

Now the online service is down, many months after it was opened, this looks like progress to me. I am excited to see it finally launch for everybody.

You know for a fairly new company, one whose first project only launched less than a year ago, they've done some pretty amazing things. People can slack them off or call them uptight, rude, not caring, but you know what? None of us really know them.

So where exactly do these accusations stem from? Nine months?!! The service was readily available many months ago.

My friend never heard back re: her gift card, she had trouble accessing the web site. Another friend did, their support may be pretty random, but again, they are a very new company who has grown pretty fast.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4:05pm,you are the reason why companies like this get away with with raping us. People like you who roll over and take it in the ass. Nine months is a fucking long time to wait don't you get it? Do the math, they sell gift cards, you got one for Christmas,so now they have a shirt on sale which you could have used your gift card to purchase, but wait, no the damn gift card won't work so you just use your cash, cash you could have used to go get something else. Do you realize they have already been paid for that shirt you just bought? The person who bought that gift card just gave them an interest free operating loan. It is not fair to hold on to people's money for such along time without services or goods or even the courtesy of an update.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4:56

First off, Armidi doesn't have sales.

I don't understand the nine months thing, they launched the services for gift card holders in early 2008 - everything released at that time was available, that's what was available when the card was purchased + 2-3 months of new products. You could go onto the website, buy what you want. I did for what I wanted, also saved some of my balance.

They've also manually redeemed cards ever since, the same as most other stores, but no - they are Armidi, since they offer a special web site - us customers can't accept having the option to manually redeem cards the same way as other designers.

Come on.

Anonymous said...

It's curious how you need have a blog and post something negative to get some response or to unban you from their sim. It's like hey I will give you anything you want, but please don't say the truth to my blind customers.

ely said...

Sorry, March was too long to ask people to wait for redeeming Christmas gifts.

Yes, before that you DID have the option of redeeming via notecard...but you had to spend the entire giftcard at once. They would not credit you for the remainder if you didn't spend it all at one time. Plus, who wants to spend time writing up a notecard, I just wanna click and buy please.

Anyone who thinks that the past and current situation is acceptable....you may feel that Armidi is doing us some kind of a favor by working on this new system. Yes, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of buying items online and having them delivered in world, lag free. But, you can't take people's money at Christmas time, and then still only have very limited use now here at the end of the summer.

Just because no one ever did it before, doesn't mean we have to accept poor service while they iron out the kinks. Run it in beta if you need testers.

(luckily I spent all mine on shoes and hair the minute they made the system available)

Grazia said...

I'm so glad you post this.. I realise I bought a huge Armidi giftcard for my friend last X-mas.. and indeed, he has not been able to use it... makes me feel guilty about buying a non gift, what a waste.

Nadja Baxter said...

i am in the same situation. I buy ciftcards for my frinds too. I is a bad situation!. Thank you for this Post!

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised at all..

Armidi, Stiletto Moody & Minnu Palen are the S.H.I.T of the grid!

Anonymous said...

***I'm not surprised at all..

Armidi, Stiletto Moody & Minnu Palen are the S.H.I.T of the grid!***


Samara Barzane said...

Thanks Sparkle for telling us what we already knew-that the emperor has no clothes. I too have a friend who was in your boat. She's still pretty P-Oed and hasn't darkened their doors since.

Anonymous said...

Nothing worse than Muism is shit of the grid. Over priced and evrything doesn't fit.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Anon, 5:43 pm. Did someone hit you with a stupid stick? Sale does not have to mean something was marked down. Sale can also mean available for purchase. Look it up. So "a shirt for sale" means ready to be bought.

Anonymous said...

I've not shopped at Armidi in a long time mostly because I find there are smaller and better designers who are willing to give good customer service. Plus I don't have to wait a long ass time to get new releases on a gift card. I've been waiting to buy some pants from Armidi using my gift card (because it's there- trust me I wouldn't spend my lindens on them normally) but I can't even do that. And as someone said, yeah I could have redeemed it but I didnt want to spend it all *right then and there*. I actually do like to shop over a time period. My pixeldolls card I got for christmas has been used, yet my armidi balance which is pretty large sits in their coffers.

I can name a couple big designers who *NEVER* treated their customers like crap... then there's the less known designers who give OUTSTANDING customer service. I'd rather shop there- than at armidi anyday.

Anonymous said...

I think it comes down to horrible customer service, sketchy identities, and promises not kept. Sparkle is right! Spring 2008 is long gone and it is near to impossible to get any service.

As long as the masses flock there, I doubt it will change. Even when there is only 10 people on the hole damn sim and it's still laggy as hell and a horrible shopping experience.

As for some who say they have no talent, I disagree that they are not talented. Shoes I've purchased from there are the reason I go back for more...*drools* However, there are other equally talented people out there with better service and even better prices.

Calantha Theas said...

Even if Armidi had half-decent customer service and trying to shop there wasn't like wading through gray treacle, I'd rather support independent designers anyway.

Leilani_A said...

I too have had my giftcard since Christmas 2007. I was able to use it once thus far. The Armidi gc system is pretty unique and I enjoyed shopping minus the lag and load time.

I love Armidi and their gorgeous, overpriced items but nine months is a damn long time to wait. One would think with the money they rake in, they would be able to set up something that is freqently updated and works.

*Camps out in her sleeping bag and waits for the gc system to be online*

Leilani said...

With their *fabulous* customer service, one would hope customers with giftcards are compensated somehow after this is all done...

Gillian Waldman said...

I too have giftcards for Armidi...I stopped asking months ago for an explanation.

brutus martinek said...

***I'm not surprised at all..

Armidi, Stiletto Moody & Minnu Palen are the S.H.I.T of the grid!***

Stiletto Moody has great customer service :s
She responds as quickly as she can. At least she did for me, and alot of my friends.

MMS..no comment..

I was part of the ones who were banned for the Facelight 3000 (lol). We weren't even warned, just banned. It's funny that after this was posted we recieved an im stating we had been unbanned.
and like someone said before, with as mucu cash as they bring in, they dont need customer service...thats how it goes in rl retail as well. it sucks, but as long as people are buying from them at the rate they are, they are going to take their sweet time at everything they do.

Anonymous said...

YDo you seriously think armidi is linden lab? Give me a break, dont start rumors. ANYONE can get their own last name, sign on to secondlife.com and look to the vanity/business account section. You pay, you get customized last names and top priorty service from linden lab. It is nothing new, several business have this.

Green Dream said...

Goodness gracious, lots of flack being directed at each other. Let's put on our big girl panties and big boy whities and remember that we're all people on the other end. I think some humor and facetiousness is being missed amongst the sting. :)

So, I've never been to Armidi, and I don't plan to go. My reason is based on how they handled an "April Fool's" joke on their blog in a very untimely manner. Seems to be a trend. To my recollection, it wasn't very well handled, either, but oh well.

As for Armidi being LL, I think the comment was more a joke. It wouldn't be surprising if LL and Armidi are close, buddy-buddy, or the like because Armidi is a big SL company that brings in commerce. AS seen by Sparkle, she kept putting in money. Some people probably buy Linden while there to get things, which helps LL. I know LL is close with other large names, for better or worse (I have the 'distinction' of knowing an example of each pretty closely).

So, let's all act on an earlier comment: vote with our money. We can also vote with our traffic. Put it toward creators you adore and places that support your ideals.