Report: #1080976

Complaint Review: High Desert Vapes

  • Submitted: Sun, September 01, 2013
  • Updated: Sun, September 01, 2013
  • Reported By: ReviewGirlAZ — Phoenix Arizona
  • High Desert Vapes
    511 San Mateo Blvd NE
    Albuquerque, New Mexico

High Desert Vapes - Product not as advertised - Refuse to refund Bait and switch; terrible service ethic; alienating customers Albuquerque New Mexico

*Author of original report: Madness!

*General Comment: Just some help

*Consumer Comment: Product bait and switch and heft charge back fees

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Classic

*General Comment: explanation possibly...

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

High Desert Vapes does not advertise their merchandise as it actually is, and they will not fully refund you (or give you full store credit) once you realize you've received something different than their advertised product. Basically, you order thinking you'll be receiving what's in the website photo, receive something else, and get stuck with it.

I was trying to buy a collection of glass drip tips to go with aqua green, blue and purple vaping gear. On the High Desert Vapes website, I carefully picked out drip tips with blue and aqua green themes, and paid by credit card. When the package arrived, I was dismayed to see that although the tips were of decent quality, they were yellow!

I wrote to John Ruiz, who I believe is the owner of High Desert Vapes, and told him what had happened. I was super polite and respectful. He requested photos, so that evening I took careful pictures and even took the time to paste them next to the website photos for the same item, so the color difference was patently clear. [continued below]....


This is the sad part; after seeing the photos, which clearly showed that what was shipped was not what was advertised, Ruiz refused to let me return the items unless I was willing to eat 25% of the cost! He insisted that he had filled the order correctly, and wouldn't even take them back for store credit.

Now it could also be that Ruiz is color blind. Not kidding - that might be the issue. Some people actually can't see the difference between yellow and green, yellow and blue, or blue and green. Maybe when he looked at the photos, he saw the same tips on each side! But the bottom line is High Desert Vapes simply does bad business and don't take care of their customers. Rather than make it right, they chose to alienate me - over a few drip tips! A shame, because they do make pretty things and I would have purshased many things from them over the years. In the end, it's no good making pretty things if customers can't receive what they order and aren't treated right when there is a problem.

Ruiz was not without reasons for his actions. He claimed that people often say they will be loyal customers and then turn out not to be (I wonder why!). He also claimed that the lighting made the difference in the color of the glass. I can accept that the photos on the High Desert Vapes web site are shot in a unique light against a black background; it could be that this makes the glass appear to be a color it is not... But if that's the case, they should realize that the drip tips are never going to look like that in real life under normal lighting conditions.

Edit: after examining the tips against a black background as Ruiz suggested, I find that they are still yellow. In fact, there is no light under which they look blue or green - they are simply not the items that were advertised.

Ruiz also said that because glass items are hand made, differences are to be expected (no two alike). I don't mind variation in an item like this and even expect it... but a totally different color is not acceptable. Basic color is something that can be controled for in glass blowing.

All that aside, even if Ruiz is color blind - even if he doesn't care that one drip tip is blue and another yellow; he should still stand behind his product, offer a full refund or store credit, and win customers over rather than choosing to alienate them and lose future sales.

I'm not sure why, but some people just don't get that when you take care of your customers, they come back and buy much, much more, and they tell all their friends as well. There is no greater advertising opportunity than great customer service. It's how you invest in the future of your company.

Sadly, High Desert Vapes will not take responsibility for the fact that their site photos are a totally different product than what they ship out.

I received word from several other disgruntled customers of High Desert Vapes after posting my experience on a popular e-cig website. They all reported similar experiences - ordering one item, receiving something not as good or not as advertised, and then not being allowed to return the item. It is no surprise that I am not the only one getting burned by this company; the owner clearly has a confused business ethic.

Getting the word out is the only way to fight back against unprincipled salesmen. So that is what I am doing here. Hopefully this will prevent someone else from being taken.

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/01/2013 07:14 PM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Author of original report


AUTHOR: ReviewGirlAZ - ()

The bottom line is this company has a horrific business ethic. For less than $50 worth of merchandise, they successfully alienated me by refusing to work with me on this issue, and lost thousands of dollars in future sales.

And this does not take into account the thousands they've lost from other folks as well. The vaping community talks! We share information and "have each other's backs." What a terrible business decision. Since this occurred, I've already spent more than $500 on vaping supplies, and so much of it would have gone straight into High Desert Vapes' coffers had they simply handled this responsibly.

By the way, to the poster who mentioned the shipping costs; I would have covered those. It costs less than $3.00 to mail a few drip tips. :) Take care and watch out for unscrupulous merchants.

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#2 General Comment

Just some help

AUTHOR: Dollface72 - ()

Here is my two cents on this situation for what it's worth even though it probably won't have any impact on the current situation maybe it can prevent any future ones...

To the consumer,  

When purchasing online always follow the crede buyer beware. .. Always check for any customer complaints on a company you are thinking about doing business with online. .. like they say hindsight is always 20/20 and you could save yourself a huge headache by doing a little homework first. .. Also when ordering something online always check the stores policy on returning items for any reason and what their refund policy is. .. Many a unsatisfied customer are born when you don't take the time to read the fine print. . I know in the moment when we are unhappy with something that we have purchased online and the company tells you that they won't be giving you a refund due to store policy we want to immediately file a report against them...When this could of been a positive expierence had you just read everything first. . You truly can't bash a company and make threats when you didn't do all you should have done in the first place. .. Also familiarize yourself with the product before you buy it so you know exactly what it is your getting. .. Yes the company should be responsible for outlining the product it's best that you don't just assume they are going to. ..


Now onto the seller

IF you know that a certain product can possibly appear  different in person then it does on the screen couldn't you put some kind of warning of this so this kind of thing doesn't happen .. I'm sure it would be a great way to instill trust with your customers if they know exactly what it is they are receiving. .. I also think sellers should take better care about making sure their customers are aware of a item they are purchasing is not returnable/refundable for any reason. .. I read way to may reports on here where the customer says they didn't see where that was stated when they purchased the item. .. allot of the time it's because the policy isn't always veiwable where they are purchasing but somewhere else on the site. .. yes I understand where you say well I had it on there that should be good enough but I think when you make it easily seen and understood not only are you saving yourself the hassle of an upset customer but you again build that trust with them that everything was clearly seen and completely understandable. .. Yes I know there are allot of people out there just running scams. . Trying to get something for nothing. .. But to me do you really want to risk alienating a possible  life long customer due to not making it completely clear and easy to understand what both parties are responsible for. ..  The easier you make things for your customer when it comes to ordering from your website the better chance you will have at a return customer but also them referring more business your way. .. which is what you want to begin with. .. a happy customer means more dollars in your pocket. .. When you insist that just because you might not have done anything technically wrong that it somehow makes it Ok in the end you will just end up hurting your business. .. As long as what your customer is asking is within reason you should try your best to make them happy..  With a small business word of mouth can make or break you. 


Well that's it for what I have right now. .. How this can be of help to someone. .. 


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#3 Consumer Comment

Product bait and switch and heft charge back fees

AUTHOR: Nubcakes - ()

I wish to include my own experience with the shop myself. 

At first, I did have problems but Jen always went above and beyond for me. This kept my business to them mainly for juices and various replacement parts. Wonder where she went? Now, I have referred all my family, friends, coworkers, and others that I have pointed towards HDV to other places. Why? Because I had the same experience as the original poster - Poor service, bad attitude, hefty charge back fee (20%), and products did not match description.

My last two deliveries were ordered at almost the same time but on two different orders. The juice package arrived but had been tore open then resealed with packing tape - uh, well that was not something I really enjoyed receiving. Extremely unprofessional and made me wonder if there was any tampering with the contents inside. I had never received a package ripped open like this from HDV or any other vendors so - bit alarming.

The other delivery was a hardware one, now - I actually was zipping through the site while on break and purchased an item I thought I had removed from my cart. I figured, no biggie - its only been an hour since my order was put in that I could probably get that removed without causing any major issues. Wrong. I was contacted and asked 'Why I didnt want the item' - uh, why couldnt I just get it removed? After some exchanges I was advised I would take a hit of 20% fee on the WHOLE order for cancelling this one item.

I couldnt just remove the item I didnt mean to buy, I had to cancel everything and eat 20% of the purchase. I thought okay - whatever, wish I rechecked my cart. I ended up leaving the order alone but now I wish I would of ate the 20% because the items that came did not match what I seen! Quaility on a APV was horrific and died in two days! Not to mention I had to wait 2 weeks for a hardware only order to be delivered. 

After that - I am done. I have also pointed several others to different vendors that I have found and everybody is happier. Later I received an email from HDV stating that they had been having poor feedback (Oh really?). This was AFTER the original posters post on a popular forum none the less - the email asked that people give positive feedback for the store in exchange for discounts on store items. So, pay people to give you good feedback. I responded to this email and unsubscribed from their mailing list - so deceiving. 

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#4 REBUTTAL Owner of company



This review is the classic example of "I didn't get my way, now I am going to write a bad review".

First of all, of the 3 drip tips depicted, the only one that was produced in a batch (meaning there was more than 1 made of that style/color scheme) was the first one shown in the review. I admit each of these was ever so slightly different than the picture because they were made in a batch and like all hand made things will have a small variance. But even looking at the picture you can see they were incredibly close.

However, the 2 other drip tips shown were one of a kind tips, meaning the tips we showed on our site are the same one's we send out. In this case I am 100% sure we sent the correct items. Our tip pictures were shot up-close with a good Canon T1 camera, on a black background and the flash on. The photo's were not altered in any way. Whereas the pictures shown from the customer were clearly blurry (out of focus), on a lighter but multi-colored background. They were not shot at the same angles, or on the same background color so of course they are going to look totally different. The skinny blue tip with the bump on it is the perfect example, my picture shows the bump, the customers picture shows the back side of that same tip.
--Why aren't you showing them from the same angle if your trying to prove that we don't send what we advertise? Seems very misleading to me.

Fumed (looks yellow in direct light) glass products are known as the "Color Changers" in the pyrex world and those who have purchased other pyrex products are familiar with this type coloring, it is very common in the industry. The color change occurs when the product is placed on a dark background....if you've ever gone into a store that sells fumed pyrex products,notice they always set it on a black background when your viewing it---this is to show the color it will change to.

The customer did initiate communication in a nice manner, and we replied in a nice manner. After reviewing the issue, and double checking the stocks I verified that we sent the correct products and explained to the customer that we do not accept returns unless a mistake was made or the product is defective. In this case, it was simply a matter of the customer didn't like the products and wanted to return them. As noted in our return policy we do not accept returns for this reason among others.

I even went as far as to break the policy and accept a return for partial store credit (75%). After the solution was reinforced in a reply to the customer, this review appeared and they did not reply after it was realized that we do not give in to customer demands.

In my experience, customers who promise to be loyal customers never are, and often have their own agenda. The loyal customers know who they are (AS DO WE) and they do not try and flaunt it or make demands upon us. I have a lot of experience in selling different products online, and any vendor will confirm that you get people who want nothing more than to take advantage of a business, it happens daily. While I agree that customer word of mouth advertising is wonderful, I am not willing to just give in to demands because someone cannot accept responsibility for their purchase. This is not a try it before your buy it industry. There are health concerns that must be considered with these products and we cannot accept back used products for re-sale. It would not be fair to our customers and could pose potential health issues if we did.

I believe this review should be removed on the grounds that clearly this is a retaliatory post designed to give false information about my products and not a review at all. Obviously the product is going to look different in different lighting situations due to the color of the glass, angle of the shot, background, flash---it was designed to.

*A simple google search on "Fumed glass" will show some wonderful examples of this type of glass and all the various colors it can assume.

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#5 General Comment

explanation possibly...

AUTHOR: Tyg - ()

 Since you ordered this off of a website, I can saftly assume that you are expecting THEM to pick up the shipping charge. This is what is causing your restock fee. As this is a business the is esentially a "mail order" business, the get a nice deal from the shipping companies to SEND products but not so great a deal on returned product. Im betting you expect them to eat the costs of shipping the product from you to them. As YOU are the dissatisfied customer, the responsability lays with you to return the product to the vendor. Anytime you make a online order you run the risk of getting shafted. The only real difference between "Mail order" and "online" is simple. Back in the day you couldnt look at what you wanted to buy on a monitor. It still has the same pitfalls that we were warned about previously when dealing with "mail order". Oh its a bit faster now getting the items you order, but in the end its always the consumer who gets the shaft. Why you might ask....thats even easier to answer. What are you going to do?? Oh complain all you like, but ppl dont go to sites such as this untill AFTER they get screwed. That means they will still order from them. Had you made this purchase at a RETAIL store, they would have happily exchanged the items of given you a refund. But since you ordered it online, what are you going to do. You have the item you wanted, just not the color. To them opps, too bad, so sad we already have your money what are you going to do about it. Well Im going to call the BBB and file a complaint, Im going to call the AG of my state, Im going to post angry comments on the web. In the end, if they are going to give you back roughly 75% of your purchase, BE HAPPY!! There are plenty of other consumers out there who get nothing. Or just keep the tips on hand just in case you break one.

My point is this.....How can you expect and assume you will get a retail store experience when you never meet these ppl. You never go into a physical store, and you are basically doing an advanced "mail order". You need to pull yourself AWAY from the computer and shop locally. Online was great when it first started, but its been around more then long enough for the idiots and scammers to set up thier own businesses. It used to be that a business lived or died by its customer base. With online shopping the customer base is the entire world.

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