Monday, May 16, 2011

NYX 12th Anniversary Debacle

This past Saturday I was one of (I'm guessing) thousands of people who got an email from NYX Cosmetics announcing a phenomenal 12th Anniversary Sale. For 12 hours only, a select range of items on NYX's website would be available for the unbelievable price of $1.20. I, like many others, set my alarm and was on the site at full noon on the dot...and...nothing. The site overloaded so quickly, I wasn't even able to refresh it to load the sale prices when the clock struck 12. I tried, and tried...and tried...and tried...and still, nothing.

Due to the modern miracle of mobile internet (and the fact that I had relatively nothing to do yesterday) I was on the NYX site literally (like, literally literally) from the beginning of the sale until the bitter (and I do mean bitter) end- over 24 hours when all was said & done. Six hours into the sale, when it should have been more than half-way to over, no one I'd spoken to had even been able to log in. At some point, it was announced by NYX that the sale would be extended, and instead of ending at midnight, it would continue until noon the next day. So we all kept trying.

Luckily, I'm able to subsist on very little sleep when I need to, so I sat with a book and my laptop and pressed refresh for hours on end. Finally, in the wee hours of the morning, the page partially loaded for me and I was able to begin shopping. After several hours and what seemed like thousands of hits to the refresh button, my cart was filled and I was ready to checkout. But no.

I tried for about 5 hours to get past my cart page, and never even saw the NYX checkout page load. According to NYX's Twitter representative, "several hundred" people were able to make purchases. No, Really...

Now let's ignore the oddly placed apostrophes in those tweets and think about what this means. NYX has over 56,000 people following their Facebook page, so it's safe to assume most of those people knew about the sale. We'll never know how many emails were sent out, but NYX sure does- and it seems like a mighty big oversight to tell tens of thousands of people about a sale that you're only equipped to honor to several hundred people.

It's pure conjecture, but let's say "several hundred" means 500 people (I doubt it was much more than that or they would have said "almost a thousand"). Looking at the number of Facebook fans (at this moment, 56,398) That means less than 1% of their readership was able to participate in the sale. After asking my 1000+ Twitter followers if any were able to complete a sale, NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON stepped forward to say they had. I also notice thousands of comments on the NYX Facebook page; I only saw ONE that mentions a competed sale.

Believe it or not, I actually wasn't mad at all through all of the site crashes and slow loading. Once I got on to the site, I was pleased with how much was included in the sale and how little had sold out. Then I started reading the tactlessly worded responses NYX was sending out on Twitter, and, even worse, hearing accounts of horribly rude customer service interaction when frustrated customers called NYX. What finally set me off was when I realized, 15 minutes before the sale was scheduled to end, that NYX wasn't going to attempt to honor their offer for those of us that literally spent all day trying to give them our money. When the Twitter rep posted that the sale would be ending at noon and that any sales not completed by then would not be honored, it was basically like NYX had just looked me in the face and said "your time isn't worth anything to us, so fuck off and deal with it."

Now, in a career spanning over a decade managing retail cosmetics, I've planned events and promotions and I know how uncontrollable things like this can be. I've dealt with irate customers and know that the customer is not, in fact, always right. HOWEVER, I firmly believe that what sets companies apart is how they deal with things when things don't go as planned.

NYX has offered a 50% code as retribution for this mess, but in my opinion (which seems to jibe with the prevailing pubic opinion) this is not honoring the spirit of their advertised promotion.
During the sale, my 37-item cart subtotaled $44.40. After the sale ended the site was rebooted and the sale prices were cleared from the system, taking my cart up to $248.50. This means that my original savings was around 82%. To purchase the products in my cart, even after a 50% discount, would cost me almost three times as much . This is simply not acceptable.

I hate to go all "the truth is out there" with this one, but after seeing the company's response to this mess, I have to wonder if there isn't a little more to this fiasco than meets the eye. I find it unfathomable that NYX did not anticipate these issues, especially after a similar fate fell upon Sleek cosmetics last fall (the Sleek sale garnered a lot of attention, and I'm sure NYX was aware of the event). Yet where the Sleek response, botched as it has been, was to attempt to honor the original deal, NYX has made no such concession. It seems to me that NYX promoted a sale they had to know they might not have the resources to handle, only to offer a lesser retribution when the entire thing fell through. That, folks, is called "bait and switch" and it's illegal.

I feel I have been mislead, and I have filed a complaint for internet-related false advertising with the Federal Trade Commission, the California Attorney General, and the Better Business Bureau. I understand that many people feel like they've already contributed enough time to this- but really, how much time have you spent reading this & other posts, talking about it on Twitter, Facebook, etc...spend another 10 minutes & tell your story to someone who may be able to make a difference! For reference, here's NYX's info (you'll need it to complete the forms):

NYX Cosmetics
2230 S. Tubeway Ave
Commerce, CA 90040

If you're stumped about what to say, contact me (there's a button for that up at the right hand corner of the page) & I'll forward you a copy of my letter to use as a template for your own!

I sincerely hope NYX reconsiders it's current course of actions swiftly and somehow finds a way to honor the $1.20 price for those of us who spent hours of our valuable time trying to patronize them. I will not be using the 50% code, and if this situation is not rectified, NYX has lost at least one customer.


MakeupAriel said...

thank you for stating this the way that you did. I will now be following your blog as I see you have other helpful & intelligent posts.
I will be posting my response to the NYX sale on my blog tomorrow (I just hope it doesn't turn into an angry "don't be rude" one), I hope you feel free to check it out.

Ana said...

O_o Just...

I've no words, especially after all the other cosmetic comapnies'... what to call them? Scandals?

Ngelic said...

Wowowoww! Ithought Sleek MakeUP was bad! I seriously had and still ahve a grudge with them from November but this takes the cake.

I've been a NYX girl since forever, I own almsot every item they sell but if they treat us this way... I think I might needa rethink about it huh?

Musing on Beauty said...

These failed sales are getting old already.
Call me a snob but I don't get the fuss about a sale on products that are already cheap, especially as it was announced there wouldn't be a GWP nor free shipping. I'd rather pay the full price and not lose 24 hours in front of a computer.
But then you have a point on CS: don't try playing the big sale game if you haven't anticipated the technical requirements, and don't be rude when talking to customers, stressed or not. Big fail there, NYX.

Phyrra said...

Your post is really well written on the subject. I wrote mine too quickly because I was pissed at the experience.

Kate C. said...

I too tried to get on the NYX website for hours for this sale and was unsuccessful. I the following comment on their facebook site only to have the comment deleted and blocked from posting anything else on their site..."One word.....FRUADULENT! A professional company should anticipate traffic such as this on a sale and for your site to be continuously down during the entire length of the sale and then offer your customers a "deal" not even close to the sale advertised is FRAUD! In case you are wondering here is the definition of fraud: noun - deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage." I will NEVER spend another dime with NYX and I am so glad that you are encouraging others to file a complaint with the FTC. What NYX did was flat out wrong!

Unknown said...

Bahaha...thanks for the compliment, and just to let you know, I actually really liked your post- i wanted to steal the name "NYX- Customer Service, You're Doing It Wrong". It's funny 'cause it's true!

You and my fiancé are on the same page here- he's of the "time is money" persuasion. And honestly, I could have made a couple grand during the amount of time I sat there trying to buy $44 worth of makeup.

For me, it's more the response than anything. I honestly expected to log on to the site and find a small handful of older products marked down, and I really wouldn't have been angry if this was just an issue of selling out quickly, etc...because that's to be expected. Yes, NYX is cheap to begin with, but a promise is a promise- right?

Ngelic & Ana
Yeah, this actually makes Sleek look like the silly little sister- they goofed, and continue to botch things as they clean up their mess, but at least I can see them trying!

NYX was rude to customers on every single platform I've seen- Twitter and Facebook responses were short & condescending, and customers who tried to contact them in person were yelled at and even HUG UP ON!

I have to say, while I'm sure there were some irate customers screaming at the NYX people- and there is NO excuse for that, customer service people are just the mouths and ears on the ground- they can't generally make decisions, and are really there just to relay your info to those that can- that is still no excuse for yelling back at the customer (or worse, hanging up on them). The thing to remember here is that the irate customer isn't being PAID to keep their cool. Customer Service professionals are.

Glad you liked the blog, though I'm sorry you had to find it on such a negative note! I'll definitely hop over to your site to see what you have to say!

Snarky P said...

They've lost a customer by ways of me never purchasing again.

I seriously can't believe they pulled this kind of a stunt. I mean, I'm far from an IT expert, but I'm an IT Geek by trade.... And the "crash" very well may have and probably was caused by us thousands trying to purchase products and hitting the servers constantly. However- as considerably large business, they should have been prepared for this kind of a response- especially in regards to a sale of this magnitude.

This was an easy way to drive a lot of traffic to their website, to their Facebook pate, and to their twitter accounts. Interpret that how you will- but I think it's awful convenient they didn't just shut down the site and offer a "Rain Check Sale" until they were able to get everything fixed.

This also just reaffirms my stance of purchasing products from Indie MMUC's. At least I make friends with most of the owners!

Snarky P said...

**Correction- it was supposed to say Facebook PAGE.

I can't type :p

MakeupAriel said...

I have my complaint to them up on my page now if you wanted to check it out.

Amanda Lehrke said...

I was one of the people able to get my NYX order through. After hours adding items to cart, I refreshed the check out page for about 4 hours I finally got through 20 mins before the sale ended. I feel lucky but this so ridiculous and I cannot believe they don't think they did anything wrong.

MakeupAriel said...

This is from an e-mail sent to another customer:

Dear NYX Fan,

Thank you for taking your time out to shoot us a little note. We want to personally express our apologies to you due to the experience that you had during our 12 Year Anniversary Sale. We hope you know that this was a good experience for us as a company, just so we know how to better prepare ourselves for our next big event!

We hope that you accept this 50% off discount code and free shipping for your next purchase with NYX Cosmetics!

I seriously cannot believe they are still acting like this towards us. Are they incapable of admitting that the made a mistake instead of either acting like everything is fine or blaming it on their customers?

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