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2 March 2013

an open letter to [redacted for legal reasons]

i guess i should explain a little; i bought some stuff online last week, and when i tried it on at home, nothing fit. i am not a big girl - i'm curvy and i have giant boobs, but i am a UK 10-12, and to be on the safe side, i had bought both size 14s. this isn't uncommon, i regularly have to go up a size to acommodate, so i thought - if anything, the stuff might be too big. well, it wasn't. and i had a really irrational and emotional response to that, because of the way the clothes, and in turn the company, had made me feel about myself as a consumer. and so, i wrote a strongly worded email to them the next day.

i was in two minds about posting this, but was spurred on by some friends who felt that it would do no harm either way. the general feeling is that if it educates people about the inadequacies of certain online stores, then it could be a good thing. i believe that's true, but i also don't want to get into any kind of trouble - true or not, it is only my opinion, and the example of this particular experience is probably not the general experience that this company is known for. that being said, i had a really bad experience. this is my blog, so i'll do what i damn well want. i have removed the company's name for cowardly reasons.

**exhibit a: two dresses bought from [redacted] in the same size**

**exhibit b: a stronly worded email send to [redacted]**

To the Quality Controller at [redacted],
As you can see from the order below, I recently purchased two items from [redacted]. I bought both these items in a size bigger than normal, because I have been told that generally speaking your sizes run small. While I don't appreciate having to buy a size up in order to fit a particular brand, I realise these days it's more about fit/fabric/etc rather than basic, uniformed sizing that we're all very much used to and love, and the two dresses in question are absolutely adorable and I would've bought them in a 20 if they looked good.
which, funnily enough, they don't.
Considering they are both labled a size 14, how is it possible that these two items fit so differently (see pictures attached)? while I understand the fabric in this case has much to answer for; the viscose being an unholy nightmare when it comes to a large bust as there's no give, there's no reasonable way that this polka dot dress is a size 14. I am a standard UK 10-12-14 in ALL high street stores. I chose a 14 in this case because I wanted them slightly bigger so I can wear jumpers/shirts underneath. as you can see from the pictures attached, there's no way I can fit my bust in there, let alone a shirt. 
As for the floral dress, even as a size 14 it is INCREDIBLY BIG, and that's even before I put it on. Size for size, the floral dress swamped the polka dot dress when I lay them atop each other, and again, I cannot comprehend how as one brand you could have such bad quality control. As a new customer of [redacted], I was overwhelmed by embarrassment when trying these dresses on the day I received them, and was (rightly) overcome with so much anger and frustration at the blatant ignorance of such a reputable high street brand. 
I follow a LOT of fashion bloggers who promote [redacted] enviably. I suppose if I were wearing free clothes I would too, but whatever you're doing as a marketing team works. Having these stick thin fashionistas promote your products in their highly edited photos, with their high street bowler hats and token vintage scarves, and lashings of Kate Moss lipstick makes people like me want to buy their look. STUPIDLY, I was sucked in because this polka dot pinafore is unvelievably adorable. ON YOUR SIZE 8 MODEL. 
Perhaps I wouldn't be so offended if you offered this dress in a size bigger than a 14 like you do the majority of your other products. The fact that this particular dress is only offered as an 8 - 14 range is hideous. You obviously have a market for that dress, congratulations. The rest of us who don't fit your cookie-cutter mould, will continue to shop in stores that understand and cater for regular sized humans. I am a personal style blogger myself, and you can count on a review of these dresses going up on my blog, just like those girls that you pay in clothing. Unlike them, I won't be encouraging my readers to buy from[redacted], unless they fit in your archaic and unreasonable size ideals.
I trust this email will be followed up with a generic email response from your shiny, happy customer service department. I would rather have no reply at all than a slap in the face in the form of a copy&paste reply.

**exhibit c.1: [redacted]'s generic response to my complaint**

Dear Erica
Thank you for your email.  
We are writing to let you know that we have received your e-mail and the Customer Service Team will look into your enquiry. We aim to respond to you as quickly as possible, but in the meantime you may find our FAQ pages useful as they provide information on most questions. Please click here for more information.
There's no need for you to respond to this email, we just wanted to let you know we have received your e-mail and will be in touch with a resolution shortly.
We apologise for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience at this time.
Kind Regards,
[redacted] Customer Services.
**exhibit c.2: [redacted]'s personal response to my complaint**
Dear Erica,
Thank you for your email.

Please accept my sincere apologies for any embarrassment or upset this may have caused; Please be assured it is never our intention to upset or anger any of our customers.
I am sorry to hear you are dissatisfied with the fit of some of our products, however please be advised our products are sourced from different manufacturers, therefore size variations may occur with different style clothing.

I have forwarded your enquiry regarding the garment fittings on to our quality control team.

As a gesture of goodwill for the inconvenience, please accept a 20% discount from your next order. Please enter the code xxx xxx xxx at the checkout to redeem the discount.

I hope this goes some way to make up for the issues you experienced, and if you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Kind Regards,
Person X 
[redacted] Customer Services
it seems to be that the company feels they have compensated me for my 'issues', but in actual fact, they did exactly what i thought they would do, which was to placate me with an incentive to remain a customer. which, i actually thought about, until boyfriend scolded me and asked me why i would consider buying from them again when i literally was in fits of tears when nothing fit the first time around. and he's right. it won't be any different - i might have a different experience the next time, but it will never undo the first impression i was given of that company, which is "you don't belong here".

[edit: i should mention, i have sent it all back for a refund - there was no question. this company does offer a 'no questions asked' free-refund policy, which i am also very grateful for]