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Belen Echandia / Quality of customer service and bags

1 England, Greater London, United Kingdom Review updated:

Please stay clear of this company! They make/sell bags that are nothing like they claim on their website. They are of inferior quality, from mismatched and inconsistent leathers, wavy and unfinished stitching, flaking hardware and leather, unsealed handles, wrong linings, bags being sent incorrectly to other people, the list goes on. When you order a bespoke bag, there is NO recourse for returns or refunds, even though THEY get it wrong. They claim their USP is the outstanding customer service they provide. Far from it!!! The designer/owner is very aggressive when you question something to do with the quality, even though it is very apparent and obvious. With regards to the bespoke bags, they require an automatic deposit, however the turn around to produce is not as quick as they claim, and they charge the remaining amount BEFORE it is even shipped. They use Twitter to badmouth many of their clients that complain on an open forum, which is within their customers rights to do so. They continue to bypass MANY of the quality issues, and this is a constant occurrence. The bags are NOT CHEAP!!! Recently, they tried to sell Breast cancer tags, however when a lot of customers ordered, thinking they were in stock and ready to be sent out, they were told they had to wait, as they had to be made. Now, if they genuinely believed in this cause, surely they would have been pre-made BEFORE orders came in? Their actions speak volumes!!
Do yourself a big favour, and save your money, or better still, go to a company that has a reliable, and consistent reputation, both for their QUALITY AND CUSTOMER SERVICE. These bags ARE NOT WORTH IT!!!

Tp

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  • Be
      14th of Nov, 2010

    This website is a great resource, but the complaints are not verified, meaning that anyone can use it to post untrue and unproven allegations against a company. I am a representative of Belen Echandia and I would like to respond to this complaint. It is absolutely true that we occasionally make mistakes. It is also true that we have occasional quality problems with our bags, as I would imagine most companies do. If a mistake or quality problem occurs, we always try to rectify the situation to the satisfaction of the customer, acting reasonably. We are never aggressive towards our customers. On the contrary, we have a very high percentage of returning, satisfied customers. It is true that we require a deposit for a made to order bag, but to help our customers, we don't charge the balance until the bag is about to be shipped (most companies require full payment in advance). We do charge before a bag is shipped so that there is no delay in posting when the bag arrives with us from Italy. We have never ever used Twitter to badmouth a customer. It is easy to check that claim because the account is public: www.twitter.com/belenechandia. We are so confident that we have never done this, that anyone who is able to find an instance of us badmouthing a customer will receive a gift card! We sold a lot of our breast cancer tags during October and we informed customers in advance on our website that these would be special ordered and were intended to be worn throughout the year and not just during October. But don't take all of this from us. Please take a moment to look at the genuine customer images and reviews uploaded by customers to our website. Since we have included images in the reviews, these are impossible to fake. http://www.belenechandia.com/reviews.aspx. Thank you.

    0 Votes
  • Tp
      14th of Nov, 2010

    ...don't forget the staples!!! BE claim that's normal in couture bag?

    0 Votes
  • Be
      15th of Nov, 2010

    Hi Michelle,

    Staples are not normal in a couture bag, or any Belen Echandia bag. We do not use staples in our bags, although there was one style on which one leather staple was used to reinforce an area that could not be seen. This is quite normal to some leather workers in Italy. However, we were not aware that this had occured, and as soon as we were notified we immediately changed that aspect of the design. Even if a leather staple can on some occasions be useful, it is not acceptable on our bags. We had one customer who notified us of this and she is very satisfied and happy with the help and advice she received from us.

    Thanks for your recent interest in Belen Echandia and for giving us the opportunity to explain this.

    0 Votes
  • Tp
      16th of Nov, 2010

    Belene - So are you claiming that EVERY single one of the complaints, with and without pictures OPENLY posted on the Purse forum are FALSE? So, you're calling YOUR customers LIARS? For those interested, there are MANY individual and specific threads relating to issues. Of course no company is perfect, but please do not try to deny these ladies of valid complaints. That is unfair when it is common knowledge that you email and PM those that dare to complain, and ask them NOT to post on the open forum. You have continually made excuse, after excuse undermining both them and their issues.

    +1 Votes
  • Tp
      16th of Nov, 2010

    Just to refresh Belene's memory, this is the thread relating to the colour fading, and twitter comments...

    http://forum.purseblog.com/belen-echandia/petrol-pebbled-wtm-colour-fading-624809-3.html

    Looking at the bag, I would think that is a quality issue, and at the very least would hope the customer was either refunded, or had a bag re-made to their satisfaction. THAT, is what exemplary Customer service is.

    +1 Votes
  • Be
      16th of Nov, 2010

    Dear Michelle,

    You had owned the bag for almost 2 years when you approached us to ask for our help. Leather fading is not a quality issue, but rather an issue of how a bag is cared for (a quick search of leather fading will bring up a whole slew of articles about how even very expensive leather can fade and what to do to prevent and treat it) and the bag had been in your possession for a very long time. Even despite this, we spent half a day of our own time trying to help you. We ordered you a special cream from America, and we paid for it. We contacted a specialist leather expert and we wrote a long email explaining the issue to her and put you in touch with each other. We followed up with emails asking you how you got on and asking if you required any more help. We don't think it was a reasonable request to have a refund over an issue that is out of our control and when a bag has been in a customer's possession for almost two years. But we did our very best to give you the best customer service that we could in those circumstances. Do let us know if you need further help.

    Warmest Wishes,
    Belen Echandia

    0 Votes
  • Ta
      17th of Nov, 2010

    I am a Purse forum member and I went off BE bags when I saw the constant interference by Jackie, the inane excuses given to the quality of the bags, and her treatment of customers. My bag had nothing BUT issues from the day it arrived, and I was told to basically lump it!! This is how they treat their customers. They give it all the talk about bags being checked 4/5 times before they are sent out, who's checking them, blind people?? How on earth are these issues still occurring?

    +1 Votes
  • Be
      18th of Nov, 2010

    Hi Talula,

    We're really sorry to hear that. We are not aware of anyone having any outstanding complaints. Most of our customers are repeat customers and they come back again and again without complaint. We are also very sorry that you see the involvement and help of Jackie as interference, she really tries hard to help our customers. If you have an outstanding issue that we don't know about, please do email us, we'll be delighted to hear from you and really happy to help you.

    Have a lovely day.
    Belen Echandia

    0 Votes
  • Ta
      18th of Nov, 2010

    ''we informed customers in advance on our website that these would be special ordered and were intended to be worn throughout the year and not just during October''

    Yet more lies and misleading information. There is absolutely NO mention of the tags having to be specially made. It was under the 'Just in' tag, implying that it was already in stock, but we all know that, that's not how BE works. Talk it up, charge customers cards, and expect them to just put up and shut up. Your tactics are transparent, 'quick leather running out', 'Low stock, buy now' what utter rubbish. BE should be ashamed of themselves, they see an opportunity to cash in on a charity. Instead of spending all your time trying to drum up more customers through facebook, why not just deliver the goods you promised. I'm sure the ladies of the forum are curious just to see exactly how much BE donated to these charities.

    0 Votes
  • Be
      20th of Nov, 2010

    Hi Talula,

    This is a totally unfair description of our how company works. BE is a tiny, tiny company. We do the very best that we can. Instead of trying to destroy our reputation and all our hard work on a website like this, why not be courageous enough to email us and tell us who you are, so that whatever complaint you have, we can fix it? We can't fix complaints that we don't know about. We stated transparently that we don't make any profit on a $20 tag including shipping, the idea of this was to highlight the foundation and the cause. It's not possible to make a $20 in Italy and ship it and have any money left over at the end, which means that all the work we did in highlighting this cause was for free. Regards our leather running out. It does run out. We don't order much in advance, because our business is so small that we can never be sure if it will be available tomorrow. We only order a tiny number of each piece: as you will see the Covet Me style is out of stock now. I'm so sorry that you evidently despise us so much that you would come on a website like this and say such things. I don't know what else to say.

    Best regards,

    Belen Echandia

    0 Votes
  • Ta
      26th of Nov, 2010

    Really? Funny how many share the same sentiment about your company. We as customers/consumers have the RIGHT to voice our opinions, and share experiences, not b bullied into silence. Why do you always try and control what is out there, when it is common knowledge and fact! Your fake attempts at trying to appease the customer will not work, as time and time again you dismiss and undermine those with issues that speak out against your company.

    +1 Votes
  • Ba
      3rd of Dec, 2010

    I would take anything anyone from The Purse Forum says with a grain of salt. They are not always the most honest when it comes to stating the facts.

    -1 Votes
  • Ta
      4th of Dec, 2010

    Yet these same people are BE's customers, that flaunt and reveal their bags, thus driving traffic to BE's site, so why diss them? Oh, I see only if the review is POSITIVE, they are worthy of being a Purse forum member. baggaru, no doubt YOU are a Purse forum member, but are so gullible to think Jackie is honest? The very fact that many have left in their droves speak volumes.

    0 Votes
  • Sp
      10th of Dec, 2010

    There is a silent majority out there who knows Talula13 is correct and have chose to walk away from this brand.

    +1 Votes
  • Ky
      17th of Dec, 2010

    I brought one of these bags and it fell apart. I'd agree with the comments about lack of quality. What really upset me was that it was cheap quality at high prices.

    +1 Votes
  • Be
      21st of Dec, 2010

    Hi again,

    If your bag fell apart then please do email us right away and we will fix it for you immediately. Our bags do not just fall apart. In all our 7 years of business, we've had a handful of bags returned from retailers. 4 years ago we had a faulty lining delivered from a supplier (it looked the same so it was impossible to know until the bag was used) and the lining ripped. We were returned about 5 bags by a retailer in New York - all the linings were replaced and returned to their owners.

    You have absolutely every right to voice your problems and if you have a manufacturing fault with your bag you also have at least a moral right to have it fixed and we will do it. There is not a single manufacturing fault that we have not had fixed. Please email us right away and we will fix the problem for you. We are really very sorry to know that you are dissatisfied with your bag and we are keen to help. Please email aimee (@) belenechandia.com right away and if it is a manufacturing fault we will get it fixed for you right away.

    As for Jackie being honest. that is not a fair comment to make without stating what you mean.

    Thank you. We hope to hear from you soon so that we can help you.

    Belen Echandia.

    0 Votes
  • Sw
      22nd of Dec, 2010

    I've read a lot of the posts above and I have to say in fairness that BE do get it right a lot of the time. They do have a lot of repeat customers who are happy with the quality/pricepoint, many of the reviews are genuine as are the photos posted to the "Happy Customers" section of their website.
    That being said, there have been plenty of occasions in the past when customer complaints were dismissed and only once the customer had raised the issue on TPF and there was pressure on BE did they fix it e.g. Susan Lee's "zebra" taupe matte bag. It's situations like this that leave a bad taste and have customer's wondering how good/consistent the CS really is and for an online retailer that sells items sight unseen, doubt is never a good thing.
    I don't like how customers are constantly badgered about how much things cost BE, how small they are and, my own personal favourite, how the bags should be priced much higher than they are! Raise the price then and stop whinging! If this company really is not making any money, how can they afford to run so many competitions and give away free goods?

    0 Votes
  • Be
      23rd of Dec, 2010

    Hi there,

    Thanks for your comments. You are right that in the past we had a few growing pains. There were definitely situations that could have
    been dealt with in a different way. We can't promise that we will always get it right, but we are doing our very best and many things
    have changed in the last year. As you've kindly given us this opportunity, let us tell you about a few of them:

    1. Service - we now have a dedicated team handling all our customer service emails both pre-sale and post-sale. We did have to make a
    couple of changes to this team, to improve performance. Aimee and Rose are both absolutely fantastic.

    2. Products - we now stitch all drawstrings, we have changed our hardware supplier after some small issues and we have switched crystal
    supplier because we were not satisfied with the performance of the crystals in our tags.

    3. Quality Check - we have a different system for quality check now, which is working wonderfully. There is an element of human error
    that cannot be prevented in any endeavour, but we are doing our best to avoid this. Most of the problems experienced by customers were
    not quality problems but teething problems which occured when our bespoke service first launched. We have now put systems in place to
    avoid such mistakes.

    4. BEC check - in the past, we allowed customers to make changes right up until the last minute and by email. Unfortunately, this led
    to some mistakes that reflected badly on us. We no longer allow this. All changes to orders must now be made by the customer and on
    the BEC system. If this is not possible, then no further changes are permitted.

    Absolutely everything has improved within our company in the last few months. We are still BE, only much better. We just have to
    complete this with our new website and next year our new BEC site and service and then we'll be truly proud of what we've achieved.

    As for the costs - we don't intend to "badger" customers, but rather respond to them. We get many emails a week asking why things can't
    be done (e.g straps), why things cost what they do (e.g. extras on BEC). We are also constantly asked for discounts, for people to pay
    in different currencies than their own to save money and for us to forgo the price of something or to give it for free. In the past, you
    are right that we have handled this wrongly, too. Out of respect for our customers, we felt the need to give a satisfactory response to
    these questions and we have always given a very (probably too) honest explanation about why we can't do these things. We realise now
    that this was a naive approach, but we did always have good intentions in doing so.

    You will be pleased to hear that we will be raising our prices next year. We have already stopped offering straps for sale
    and cut the number of options on BEC. As for whether we can afford to run competitions and give away free goods, that is a part of
    being a modern business, whether we can afford it or not.

    We would like to take the time to thank you so much for your very constructive criticism and offer our warmest wishes for a Merry
    Christmas. We hope that our response puts your mind at ease a little and that you will continue to enjoy our products.

    Team BE x

    0 Votes
  • Ro
      23rd of Dec, 2010

    I have read all the responses, and thank the OP for starting this.
    I was badgered into buying numerous bags to make up the minimum number, the pressure was immense and was given the sales patter by certain forum members. I was upset to find the leather consistency was not what I was told, instead I got a thinner pebbled bag which was less durable than in the past. Also, why were we told that certain leathers were running out, low stock of certain bags, that you may not get again, only to find out that you were getting less durable batches of leather, without informing the customer. What I am trying to figure out, is why did BE regulars such as lovebags, and Contessa disappear? These people organised a lot of bespokes, and drummed up a lot of business for B.E and supposedly 'bought' a lot of bags. Are you telling us that the multiple buyers were constantly asking for discounts? If so, I don't doubt that it was purely a 'You scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours' arrangement? The greed goes both ways. You give discounts and give away freebies to get them coming back for more, in exchange for them writing glowing reviews on your forum.
    What about having to lie on customs forms?

    0 Votes
  • Be
      30th of Dec, 2010

    Hi there,

    We do not nor have we ever have any control over what, or if, others post on the internet. Leather does vary because it is a natural material and we can make no guarantees that every skin of leather will be the same, but all our pebbled leathers are very durable. We don't know which leather you refer to running out. Most of our leather is not in stock but is available at the tannery. We have no control over whether they will stop making it unfortunately. This is what has happened with various leathers, such as the dark purple pebbled leather. The pebbled leather has now been discontinued but it is still currently available in many colours with our local tannery. It just won't be produced again in its current form so it will not be available in the future (but we don't know when they will run out of what they currently have in stock. It could all sell tomorrow, or next year).

    It is not our style to pressurize customers into placing orders. We're sorry if you felt that someone else pressurized you, but we are not able to control others or their internet posts. If we can help you, please let us know!

    Happy New Year!

    Belen Echandia

    0 Votes

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