Candywarehouse sold a product that was stale and/or expired and would not accept a return for a refund.
Part of my order was ok, but the other part (Twizzler snack bars) were too stale to eat. I called customer service and spoke to a rep who would not give me his name, transfer me to another rep or to another manager (b/c he said his manager was not in), and then hung up on me. I called right back and got another rep who said the manager was on another line (so she was there). I exchanged a few emails with the Customer Service Manager and by their own admission, this was Halloween candy ordered "around" 7 months ago (and their website says this candy has a shelf life of 2 months), but as of today, they still continue to insist the candy was not expired or stale??? Everything except the Twizzlers in my order had an expiration date on it, so i called the manufacturing company (Hershey's) and asked them about this and they said their products are required to have a "Best By" date on them, and if they didn't, it was a pretty good indicator the product was old. When I brought this up to the Customer Service Manager, she advised she sent this to upper management, but still insisted the candy was not expired (but how would they know that if there is not a "Best Buy" date on them? I have yet to hear back from anyone in upper management. I left a message for the Operations Manager and the Owner/Founder of the company and have not heard back from them either. They keep telling me that they do not accept returns on food products, but their website says "satisfaction is guaranteed on all orders except for chocolate." So needless to say, I am not satisfied, and this candy was not chocolate and definitely not edible.
Their motto is "Fresh Candy Shipped Fast!" These Twizzlers were at least 7 months old (and that is from when CandyWarehouse received them, not from the date they were manufactured, and with no expiration date on them, they have no idea how old they really are, but either way, they are well past the 2 month shelf life advertised on their website). The manufacturer's rep said the code on Twizzlers was too old to register in their system, so they had to have been at least a year old. I have asked to return the Twizzlers for a refund and have been told no,and now they flat out refuse to respond to me.
Because Candywarehouse is a google trusted site i was able to sign up for purchase protection. Google has been attempting to contact them to help me resolve this, but they have not responded to them either. Google is working with me to resolve this, but I want to make sure it is on record how Candywarehouse has responded (or not responded) and that they are selling expired candy.
$81 for the stale/expired Twizzlers I purchased and have not been able to return. If Google let's me return the Twizzlers to them for a refund, I will reimburse them.
When we receive any calls from customers complaining about a product, we immediately pull the product and check for expiration dates and quality. We will open a package and have several employees inspect and sample the product to confirm quality, freshness and taste. Only when we determine that the product in question is in good condition will we then continue to sell it to our other many happy customers. If a product is determined to be in poor quality, we will refund a customer's costs completely, pay for all related shipping fees and pull all products in question off our shelves. We had countless other customers order Twizzlers that same week and had no other complaints. Unfortunately because so much time has passed ** this case, we are unable to re-examine the candy and check for any expiration dates, etc.
It is our responsibility to respond to every customer concern in a timely manner, and we deeply apologize that this did not happen. We regret that this customer did not enjoy the product and was left upset and unsatisfied. As a growing company, we consider this a learning experience and will embrace all opportunities to improve and increase customer satisfaction.
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
I offered to return the candy the day after I received it and was told that was not an option. I called and left several messages, and sent several emails to customer service management, operations management, warehouse management and even to the owner himself, with no response. So the only reason so much time has passed ** because they out right refused to respond to me or accept the return of the candy. Not one time did anyone from Candywarehouse offer to look at the pictures I took of the packaging (to show there were no dates) or to accept 1 or all of the bags of Twizzlers back to verify for themselves that there were no dates on them. So how can they say it is unfortunate, when ignoring a complaint for so long was a deliberate attempt to allow enough time to pass ** that they could use that exact excuse as a means to escape accountability? According to their Customer Service Manager, they still had these Twizzlers in their warehouse, so they didn't even need mine back to verify there were no dates on them, even though I did in fact offer to send them back many times.
And speaking of which, is there a reason Candywarehouse still has not directly addressed the fact that there were no expiration/best by dates on the Twizzlers, which in and of itself is in violation of the manufacturer's requirements? If they did in fact "pull them from the shelf to check the expiration date" after my complaint, why is there nothing in their response back to my initial emails indicating what the expiration date(s) were? (It's because there were dates, so they could not put that in writing, instead, they chose not to address that in their response). I tried several times to get them to respond to that, and all i was told was that it was "sent to "upper management to address", and then never heard from anyone at Candywarehouse again. Also, it's interesting to hear their response above about their return policy, when their only response to me (both during my initial call, and in their email response) was that they do not accept returns...that's all the 2 customer service reps, and the Manager repeated to me several times after my initial call the day after I received my order.
I will still be happy to send Candywarehouse anything they would like. All they had/have to do is respond to me and ask for what they need. I have pictures; I have screen shots of their website (to verify they guarantee customer satisfaction; that candy is sold "fresh"; that they give Twizzlers a 2 month shelf life; to verify that the Twizzlers were removed from their website the next day, etc.). I also have an email from their customer service dept to confirm they purchased the Twizzlers at least 7 months prior to selling them to me. I have documented calls, and letter from the manufacturer after our call. I have all of my communications with Google, who stepped in to handle this on my behalf (but still have not heard back from CandyWarehouse either). I will send them whatever they need, but they can not use the "too much time has passed" excuse because that is their own fault.
Not one time has anyone from Candywarehouse denied the fact that there was no expiration or "best by" date on them. The Customer Service Manager told me she went down to the warehouse and opened up a bag of the Twizzlers to taste them and they were "fine". I asked her if they had an expiration date and she refused to answer me. And is that really the way this company chooses to test the quality of a product's freshness? To have a Customer Service Manager open up a bag to taste it? I thought that is what an expiration or best by date was for? And since this product did not have that, and they ordered it at least 7 months before they sold it to me, how can 1 person tasting a piece of the candy be an adequate measure of it's freshness? And they can say now they had several people taste them and they were fine, but I also had several people try the candy and everyone had the same reaction, which was they were stale and had a terrible after taste. Even my husband, who eats everything in site (even when he doesn't really like something, he will eat it when it's there), grabbed a handful of the Twizzlers and then came right back in and threw them back in the bag after he tried to eat the first one and said how disgusting and stale they were. But Candywarehouse was so set on refusing the return, that they would not listen to anything I said, and then just ignored me.
When the manager told me others had purchased the candy and there were no complaints, I asked for something documenting when it had been purchased, and how much was purchased at one time because i would assume most people would not have purchased as many bags as I did at once. If I had purchased a bag or 2, I would not have complained; I would have just chalked it up as a loss and not ordered them again, but I purchased almost $100 worth of this candy and none of it was edible, so I was not going to just let it go. ******I would also like to add that as soon as I complained and was told the Twizzlers were "taste tested" by the Customer Service Manager, the very next day this candy was no longer listed on their website for purchase. So is that just a coincidence, or did they in fact remove them from their shelves as they should have?******
I find their apology for not responding in a timely manner to be insincere because they could have easily responded to me. Their lack of response was clearly done on purpose to avoid responsibility. If they truly wanted to resolve this and/or inspect the candy, they would have asked me to send back at least 1 bag for them to inspect. I think think their approach in which they handled this was very short-sighted on their part because I had purchased these Twizzlers (and other items) from them in the past, with no complaints, and would have purchased from them again in the future, had they handled this better. But, they lost a repeat customer over $81 and horrific customer service.
I have read so many complaints since my last purchase (on yelp and other review sites) about customers receiving stale candy form Candywarehouse and then being ignored by their customer service. So again, apologizing for not responding when this appears to be the way they conduct their business is meaningless, and they clearly don't stand behind their "customer satisfaction guaranteed" or "fresh candy shipped fast" mottos.
When I spoke to the manufacturer of the Twizzlers directly, I gave them the code on the candy bags and they said it was so old it was no longer in their system, so it was at least a year old. I even offered to call the manufacturer with Candywarehouse's Customer Service Manager on the line, and she refused to talk with them. Furthermore, even by Candywarehouse's own calculations, the candy was at least 7 months old, and their website gives Twizzlers a 2 month shelf life, so not only did they sell this product after their own "shelf life" expiration, they refused to acknowledge or respond to the fact that they sold this candy with no expiration date. The manufacturer said their candy is required to have an expiration or "best by" date on it, so the only reason Candywarehouse ignored my requests for them to accept the candy back was so they did not have to address the fact that they sold this candy without the required date(s). That would have been an easy thing to check; even if they would have just taken one bag back to inspect, but they refused to do that.
They had ample opportunity to examine the candy, but they made the decision not to accept the return. That was intentional, and I feel their lack of response was a tactic used in hopes I would just let the matter drop. I can assure you that the ONLY reason I have not continued to pursue them directly is because Google stepped in to handle this on my behalf (because I used Google's verified checkout for this purchase so my order was guaranteed through them). When they asked me for feedback on my purchase and I told them how horrible my experience had been with Candywarehouse, Google's customer service contacted me immediately,and they were amazing! (The complete opposite of my experience with Candywarehouse's customer service). Google attempted to contact Candywarehouse several times as well, with no response. I am running out of characters for this response, so I will be happy to provide you with additional information under separate correspondence if need be.
Final Business Response
CandyWarehouse's ultimate goal is to sell good products to satisfy customers. We always strive for excellence, but like anyone else, we sometimes make mistakes.
The way CandyWarehouse handled this customer complaint is unacceptable, to say the least. No customer should be given the run around or ignored. Although our policy is not to offer refunds, we should, and will, do so if a product is of unsatisfactory quality. The proper measures were not taken and we did not do our due diligence in resolving the matter. We are glad to know that the correct resolution was eventually reached, as Google was able to assist the customer.
I have supplied my personal contact information so that the customer can reach out to me directly. I can personally ensure that she will be responded to in a timely and proper manner. As mentioned before, we are deeply sorry that this customer was left upset and unsatisfied. We see this as a huge area of opportunity for improvement and to learn from past mistakes.
Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
The apology in CandyWarehouse's last response was written beautifully, and I wish I could take it at face value, but considering it only came after Google reimbursed me, 7 months after my purchase with them, and they still have never reached out to me to even discuss this, it seems to be more for the benefit of the BBB in hopes to appear as though they attempted to resolve this matter, when in fact they did not.
The truth of the matter is, CandyWarehouse did not propose a resolution to this; they simply are apologizing now, 7 months later, because Google stepped in and resolved this (not on behalf of CandyWarehouse though; Google handled this as a customer service issue because it was a Google Trusted Purchase and I was not satisfied with the purchase, so they made this right, not CandyWarehouse).
I'm not sure who from CandyWarehouse wrote their last response, but no one has supplied me with anyone's personal contact information to discuss this, nor has anyone from CandyWarehouse ever contacted me directly to address this, despite my repeated attempts. Their only response to me since our initial communications in April was via this complaint, and even that was several months after it was filed.
Apologizing and admitting they handled this incorrectly now just seems insincere. If they had taken that approach when this first started, I would have believed it was genuine and we wouldn't be having this conversation. But I called and emailed several levels of management and customer service at CandyWarehouse,including the owner himself, and never received a call or email back. It's only after Google reimbursed me that they became apologetic because they are in essence "off the hook" now.
The apology from CandyWarehouse is nice, but their actions have been, and still are, completely contradictory. Has CandyWarehouse reimbursed Google for the $81 they paid out on this? It wasn't Google's candy that was inedible, it was theirs. If their goal here is to seek resolution, and they are genuinely sorry for how they handled this, then they should make Google whole (but the last I heard from Google was that their attempts to reach CandyWarehouse had gone ignored as well).
At this point, the only proposed resolution I can suggest is to have CandyWarehouse reimburse Google the $81. My hopes of hearing from them directly to handle this amicably faded months ago, but they could still do the right thing here and pay Google back.