I sat here and read through as many of the other Ripoff reports as I could stomach, before I filed my report. It was really quite disconcerting to see other people experiencing the same things that I had gone through and saying the very things I was intending to say in my report.
If one or two people complain about a company, you can always chalk it up to isolated bad experiences. When you see double digit reports, all saying much the same thing, well, you really have to give the reports some credence.
And in this case you really should. What you have is a pattern of behavior. A pattern that is repeated over and over again. A pattern being reported independently by multiple people from all across North America.
I have only ordered from this company once. That experience was so bad, I will never repeat it. I ordered from them because my friend and trainer, who ran her own pet/tack store for many many years, spoke highly of them. Most of her experience with them was from a number of years back, and it sounds to me like this company has gotten into serious trouble since then.
The internet has allowed them to grow and sell via other "channels" as they call it. And I think this is part of the problem. In my case, the items I ordered, mostly heavily discounted sale items that were listed as in stock at the time of the order, were also being sold through their eBay "channel" and Amazon "channel" at higher prices. They fulfilled sales on eBay (not sure about Amazon) ahead of my order, selling out on one critical item, even though the eBay auction(s) closed after my order was placed and paid for.
Then their CS rep (and I use that term very very loosely with this company, as they are not interested in customer service as far as I can tell) emails me telling me that one of the items I purchased (and that they already took payment on) is out of stock (yet it was shown as in stock when I ordered it, and this is 2012, there is just no reason for online inventory not to be up to date, this is all automated now). It did not seem to bother them that they took payment on something they did not have, nor that they claimed to have it in stock at the time of the sale, but are now saying it is out of stock.
I assume they didn't think I would check their eBay auctions and see that item had sold and been available *after* I had placed and paid for my order. I suppose they will have some sort of rationalization about how the two don't relate. But they do. They sold my item to someone else, after I paid for it. Or at best, they sold me an item they did not have. either way, this is unacceptable business in 2012.
If you wade through the Ripoff reports here, and their rebuttals, you will see a clear pattern. They will always have an excuse or rationalization for their screw-ups. Nothing is ever their fault. Most often the customer is just wrong. And as for the time they spend here, no wonder they have no time to offer real customer service, their CS reps are busy arguing with people here, and rebutting these reports. That in and of itself is a real red flag. Even if the screw up is 100% not your fault, you don't argue with the customers about it.
After telling me that my one item was not only out of stock, but that it was a discontinued item (absolutely no mention of that on their website, BTW) and that they could no longer get it, they offered to let me buy something else. They were very clear however that it could only be something of equal or lesser value, or I would have to pay the difference. They went on to tell me that if the replacement item I chose was more than $1 less, they would refund me the difference. I guess they figured they should get to keep up to 99 cents for the troubles I put them through by not ordering something more costly.
And that clearly was what they were hoping. I had ordered some things that were for this out of stock item. They were useless without it. There were lots of similar items to the one I had ordered, at 2 to 3 times the price, but nothing at all anywhere near the price of the original item. I am sure lots of people just go ahead and order a more expensive version. It's the old bait and switch tactic.
I didn't go for it. I cancelled all of the items that related to that out of stock item. There was one other item on my order, and it was unrelated to the other items. It was also a sale item. But they indicated that it was in stock, both when I placed the order (though I now know how meaningless that was) and when we emailed back and forth about the problems with the out of stock item.
Their attitude was very clear, I had no business being upset with them. None of this was unsual (with them, I believe this) and customers should expect this sort of thing. Besides they were offering me a refund of all or at least most of what I paid (what more could one ask for from customer service, right?). What made this cavalier attitude all the more frustrating was the sappy, saccharine sweet butterflies and horses graphics in the signature (which they have no changed BTW, and since it was a link to a graphic, the graphic has changed in the old emails as well). The touchy-feely sweetness of the graphic made their cavalier attitude stand out even more.
Anyway, at this point all should be well, they have at my request cancelled the items I no longer want/they no longer stock and refunded me the purchase price for them, plus the difference in shipping owing to the new lower total for my revised order. The remaining item is in stock. Their shipping is overpriced and slow, but still I should have it in 7-10 days.
So I hunker down and curb my enthusiasm, waiting for my order to arrive. 7 Days go by, I am now expecting ti to show up any day. I see them selling the very same item on eBay in the meantime. Day 7 I get an email from them. Sharing the wonderful news that my item has been packed and is scheduled to be shipped within the next 24-36 hours, if I live in the US or Canada (what the *&*^%, they don't even know where I live? But it's alright because they then go on to reconfirm my shipping address, so they must know where I live.
But it is now 7 days since my order was finalized and should have been shipped, and 10 days since I paid for my goods. And they haven't even shipped the item yet?
Yep, that's how they run folks. Read the reports here, you see the same thing over and over again. Are they criminal or just criminally stupid and incompetent? I don't know. it seems like they are running a bait and switch scam to me, and taking money for items they do not actually have. That is criminal in most places. It also seems they are willing to simply refuse to fulfill an order if they don't like the price or can sell it via some other "channel" for a better price, even though they have already taken your money for it. That is also criminal in most places.
Their customer service is clearly just criminally stupid and incompetent. Though in fairness, as much time as they are spending arguing with people and rebutting reports here (and I assume on other sites), it is amazing to me that have time to deal with customer's orders at all.
Their website is cumbersome and makes for slow shopping. It does not allow you to narrow your search parameters properly, so shopping on their site takes a lot of time. I wasted that time when I placed my order, especially given that I only ended up with 1 out of the 5 items I ordered. But this did allow me to check their prices. They are overpriced on almost everything except their sale items. Many of their sale items are obviously under-priced. They may be "loss leaders" or they may be bait and switch lures, I do not know. What seems obvious is there is a high risk of those items not actually being available, for whatever reason. And their shipping is also overpriced. They use a system that determines shipping based on the total cost of the order. Most places that still do this, have low shipping prices. HorseloverZ.com does not. At least not via their online store "channel". Their shipping fees were much lower via their Amazon and eBay "channels".
Their shipping is also ridiculously slow, especially for what they charge. They are basically charging Priority Mail prices, but offering mule train schedules. While I have been sitting here waiting for my order, I sold 20 or so items on eBay. My shipping fees were lower on every single order, than what I paid for 1 item from HorseloverZ.com. And some of my orders were for multiple items that needed bigger boxes than the 1 item I ordered from HorseloverZ. What's more, all my customers have their items in hand. Despite many of my auctions ending days after I placed my order with HorseloverZ, and my customers paying less for shipping, they have all gotten their goods. All I have is an email promising my item will ship maana.
My customers got tracking info on their shipments within hours of payment. I paid 10 days ago and what do I have? An email promising my item will ship maana. No tracking number, no confirmation from the shipping company, no nada, just their assurances it will ship maana.
I have had other comapnies tell me an item I ordered was out of stock, sometimes even after they accepted payment. In those other cases, the company was apologetic, seriously, deeply apologetic. They offered me a more expensive replacement item at no extra charge, and/or they covered the shipping fees. They did something tangible, to show their concern, to make me happy, and to soothe any irritation the problem might cause. And they did so without concern for whether this was their fault or not. Fault wasn't an issue to them. Completing a sale and keeping their customers happy was their only concern. Did this cost them? Sometimes, in the short run. In the long run, it helped make me a loyal customer, who came back many many times. They made up whatever they lost on that problem sale, many times over, in the course of the years.
HorseloverZ has a completely different approach. They want you to get over yourself, and just accept things. They want to offer you nothing, no gifts, no discounts, nothing to soothe your frustrations, not even a sincere apology. In fact they won't even give you a full refund in some cases. They would rather argue with customers than keep them. This is just bad business. And the only way you keep doing this, is if you are always selling stuff you don't actually have. If this were just an occasional mistake, they would offer their customer something as a way of making up for the problem. If selling stuff they don't have is SOP, they can't afford to offer the customer anything or they'd go broke.