To whom this may concern,
On 11/25/09 I was viewing the Rachel Ray website and was looking to place an order. I received a message that I was her 10, 000th visitor of the day and that I had won a set of cookware. All that I was obligated to do was pay for the $1.00 Shipping and Handling Fee. The offer also stated that I was entitled to two trail sample products of my choice from a list of vendors. I only chose one trial sample which was Mineral Elements by Eden Cosmetics and paid for the $1.00 Shipping and Handling Fee with my Visa Check Card. Naturally this interested me because I am a fan of Rachel Ray.
When I received the product, I used the samples for a few days deciding that it was not a suitable product which made my face red and caused extreme complications with my skin. I received the confirmation email sent to me on 12/01/09 stating that the order had shipped. I had recently seen a documentary on MSNBC about companies that charge a minimum fee for a trial sample of their products and later charge large fees for memberships and further shipments that they were unaware of. This alarmed me and prompted me to call Eden Cosmetics to ensure that I had not unwillingly signed up for anything additional.
On 12/10/09 I placed a call to Eden Cosmetics. I spoke with John, his identification number was 1099. The representative was defensive and very rude from the moment we began speaking. I began the conversation inquiring about the product and asked that the $1.00 shipping and handling fee was the only charge for the product. Before I was able to finish my inquiry, he immediately interrupted me and stated that I knew I had ten days to cancel the Membership (I was unaware the company had signed me up for this) or I would be charged a fee of $130.00. I was completely under the impression that I was only going to pay for $1.00 for the trial sample freight charge, absolutely no mention that a membership would be added to my Check Card on the web site. If I had known this I would have never taken up such an offer. I would also like to add that the quality of this product is nowhere near what it should be for a fee of $130.00. John said that I should reread the confirmation email and know that it is too late to cancel the membership. I had in fact read the confirmation email and it had nothing written in the body of the email. The email simply had a subject of Trail Order Shipped. Please see attached documents.
He stated that my trial period had ended on the 8th, 8 days after the order had shipped. To my calculations, that was incorrect due to the fact that I had recently received the product. When I asked to speak to his manager because of this, he then admitted that the trial end date was 9th. Again to my calculations this was also incorrect. He then said that my trial period began on the date that the product was shipped. The ship date was on the 30th so according to John, my trial ended on the 9th, the day before I placed the call. He then accused me of being negligent because I did not see where the confirmation email said that my trial period begins the date that the product was shipped. Again, the confirmation email only stated that the trial order had shipped. I never received any notice of a membership or terms and conditions. I asked him how it was possible for the trial period to begin on the ship date, days before consumers even receive the product and how would that give them sufficient time to determine if the product was in fact appropriate for them. He said there was nothing he could do.
I then asked again for him to direct me to his manager and I was met again with refusal. I was placed again on hold while he looked for a sales representative.
Roxy answered my call. Her employee identification number is 1016. Again I was immediately met with the same defensive, accusatory attitude. Roxy immediately stated that I was unable to cancel my membership before I could even speak my case, just as John had initially done. She interrupted me several times when I attempted to tell her my situation. She used the confirmation email as her defense and said that there was nothing she could do. I was finally offered a $50 meal voucher when she realized I had made a strong argument. I told her I was completely unaware that I would be signed up for a membership and that is why I was calling to cancel; the meal voucher was not going to make up for the $130.00 I had been scammed out of. Roxy spoke over me, very loudly and with a harsh tone. I found it very hard to get any words in. I then asked to speak to her management; Roxy was hesitant to get someone else on the phone just as John was. She said there was no one available and that they would call me back the next day. I gave her my cell number but never received a call back. It seemed as if John and Roxy were trained to have the initial response of denying any cancellation or refund. I got this impression because I was told this from both representatives even before I began to explain the details.
Later that day, 12/10/09 I went to San Diego Count Credit Union and had my check card blocked so that Eden Cosmetics could not access my account further. The Branch was located at 1475 W. Vista Way. The receptionist was extremely helpful and created a new check card for me. The receptionist stated that I had 10 days to dispute the charge as of the date the $130.00 was posted to my account. She did say that I had a $130.00 charge pending. This meant that at midnight on the 9th, Eden Cosmetics placed the transaction to my account. Later that day I received a membership cancellation email from Eden Cosmetics/ Mineral Elements. The charge was posted to my account on 12/11/09. The email finally had information of their Returns and Refunds Policy; this is the first that I had seen of it despite Eden Cosmetics accusations. Again I would like to state that I never received any notice of a membership, return policy or terms and conditions prior to 12/10/09. I did not know I was agreeing to a membership. See below link.
My experience with Eden Cosmetics has been one of the worst encounters I have had with any company. The way the web site was set up was completely misleading and I was honesty not aware that by agreeing to the trail sample, I was actually agreeing to a monthly membership of $130.00 plus further shipments of their products. It clearly stated that I would be obligated to a $1.00 S&H charge which prompted me to accept the offer. Now looking back at the MSNBC documentary and the suspicious $1.00 charge attached to the Rachel Ray web site, it makes sense this would be a scam.
I’m my opinion, this company’s sales strategy is to attract consumers with a sales pitch of $1.00 for a trail sample attached to a reputable name like Rachel Ray. Then the company fails to highlight were they will charge a monthly fee of $130.00 if their membership (which I assume most consumers are unaware of) is not cancelled within 10 days of the ship date. Once their customer service department is contacted, their representatives are no less than offensive, untrained individuals. Countless times during my conversations with John and Roxy, I had to correct dates, times, information and simple calculations that someone in their position should be able to easily present. One example is that Roxy could not tell me what time it would be on the east coast when I needed the call back to be after 10:00am the next day. Another is that John could not calculate what the correct trial end date would be. Both representatives were rude, initially were dishonest about dates and refused to help me speak to someone above their jurisdiction. I feel that if Eden Cosmetics had initially tried to help me or had not taken such a blatantly crude approach, I would not be writing this letter. I would like to mention that speaking with these representatives has given me a strong impression that they are very used to receiving customer issues and/or complaints exactly like mine and that is why they have such strong defensive tactics.
I do not have any trust as a consumer in Eden Cosmetics/ Mineral Elements and because this company has associated themselves with Rachel Ray, unfortunately I will no longer be buying her products or visiting her web site anymore.
I would like to thank San Diego County Credit Union for being so efficiently helpful. The polite representatives have been such a pleasure to work with. I have attempted to present all the facts to my case accurately and honestly. Please feel free to contact me for any further information. I look forward to hearing from you.
721 Mimosa Ave
Vista, CA 92081
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Vista, CA 92083