Bad Bad Birchbox Ops

*title of post should be sang to the tune of

“Bad, Bad Leory Brown.”

As you may or may not be aware, I was incredibly disappointed with the October Goop-partnered Birchbox. I wrote more than one post expressing this and naturally made my way to twitter with the news:

Not long after I took to twitter, posting my own tweet and commenting on others’ tweets about this month’s Birchbox, I received this tweet and was notified that BirchboxOps was now following me.

I was so impressed! I had been so annoyed and disappointed with Birchbox and when they reached out to me, I felt better. If they were reaching out to me about my dissatisfaction, not only does it mean that their customer service is aware of how their customers and subscribers feel about the service but also that they must want to try and make it up to me somehow. I felt so guilty about the nasty email I had typed up to send them.

I figured they were going to listen to my views on the October Birchbox, apologize for the monstrosity that was the Goop-Birchbox and maybe even try to give some sort of compensation (in the form of a bottle of essie or something.) I direct messaged them my email, as they requested, and after a few hours I received my first email from a staff member at Birchbox… It was all down hill from there. Not only did they not offer any form of compensation, their copy-and-pasted responses were so apparently generic it’s insulting.

Now, I doubt that very many people will take the time to fully read the entire email conversation I’m about to share with you all nor am I naive enough to think very many people will even car. However, I have done a little copying and pasting myself and have the back and forth emails posted below.

I wanted others to see a good example of how little the Birchbox Operations staff cares about the opinions of their subscribers. So little, in fact, that I was addressed by an entirely different name. If you’re at all interested, please feel free to read the back-and-forth below.

The main mission of this post is to address potential Birchbox subscribers. So, to anyone who is considering becoming a Birchbox subscriber: all I can suggest is that you look into the other subscription cosmetic sample boxes available. I’m currently a subscriber to GlossyBox and I couldn’t have been more pleased with my first box. My first box from GlossyBox had better products, larger “samples” and is most likely worth more (monetarily speaking) than all of the Birchboxes I have received combined. Another great service is Ipsy, previously MyGlam. I will be signing up for Ipsy, this week, immediately after cancelling my Birchbox subscription. I’m only waiting on my Birchbox order (the one I purchased and posted about in yesterdays post) to ship before I cancel.

Anyway, here’s the email conversation between myself and the Birchbox Operations team members. I don’t hold anything against the actual ladies who had the task of reading and replying to my messages, I do, however, have a problem with Birchbox’s protocol of dealing with these matters. Clearly, a disappointed subscriber is at the very bottom of their priorities. Unfortunately, providing quality, deluxe samples isn’t at the top.

The things that upset me most in the first response I got from Anastasia (as you can read) were:
  • Calling me by the wrong name; her name. -No explanation needed.
  • Explaining to me their definition of “deluxe-size samples” -I’m aware and none of the samples I received this month were “deluxe” by anyone’s definition.
  • Stating that of the products featured in the sneak peek, each subscriber would receive at least one -I didn’t receive any of the feature products.
  • Saying they will share my input with their brand partners. -So, they will use my opinion to get bigger, better samples from their “brand partner” FOR FREE and then give them away to paying subscribers, making their subscribers happy, who will obviously want to stay a subscriber, thus, making Birchbox more money yet they can’t throw me a product or two to thank me for my imput and dissatisfaction? BS.

Thanks for reading. And to those who continue reading from here, I thank you even more.

Love, GK

PS I’d love to hear any and all opinions and comments on this matter. Please feel free to contact me directly or to share your comments below (I always respond!) -Thanks again!

Sarah, Oct 19 03:08 pm (EDT):

Hi Kate,

Thanks for writing in. I’d love to hear your feedback on this month 😀

xGingerKate, Oct 22 11:15 am (EDT):

Good Morning, Sarah
I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Thank you again for reaching out to
me about my dissatisfaction with my Birchbox for the month of October. I am
extremely upset and disappointed with the Goop partnered box I received
this month and based on the comments I’ve received on multiple blog posts I
have written about this box, others who received the same box (or similar)
are quite upset as well.

After opting to received one of the goop boxes, I checked out Facebook
posts, the sneak peek videos, etc and was thrilled at the products
featured. Unfortunately, when I saw the box I was due to receive, I came to
find that I would not be one of the lucky ones to received any of those
fabulous products. My dismal box contained:

– Lulu Organics Lavender hair powder
– Karuna Hydrating mask
– Naked Princess lip gloss
– Embryolisse 24hr Miracle Cream
– LUNA bar

Every one of these products was a one-time only sample with the
exception of the lip gloss which is absolutely tiny. When I signed up for
Birchbox, I was promised that I was to receive “premium samples” each
month. One-time use samples can be acquired from department stores or by
simply contacting companies individually; I pay for this subscription to
received more than a one-time use sample.

As it turns out, I received my very first GlossyBox on the same day I
received this month’s Birchbox. Whether I compare the two boxes as a whole
or individual products, GlossyBox was able to stand by their word and
provide me with luxe products for a little more than double my subscription
costs with you. I received 5 full size (or at least close to full size)
products from them and find that the extra $11 per month is more than worth
it (and my blog readers agree). I’ve also researched Ipsy and their boxes
(previously MyGlam) and the reviews I read on these boxes from other
bloggers leaves me impressed with their service as well.

I have been disappointed with your boxes in the past but there was
usually at least one product per box that made me feel not so stupid for
spending $10 on it. However, I don’t think I will continue my subscription
much longer after receiving this most recent box. It’s absolutely horrible. I
am promised 4 or 5 products each month and sometimes “extras” are provided
as well. Months when I receive 4 samples I can’t help but be a bit
disappointed but if the sizes of the samples are decent, the “extras” can
sometimes make up for this. This is far from the case this month. The four
minuscule samples packed and sent to me were supplemented by a LUNA bar…
thanks, but no thanks.

Not only have I read other blogger’s reviews of this month’s box but I
have also discussed with personal friends the items they received in their
box and I feel that everyone received a more worthwhile box than me and
those who received the same box as me. How can you give so many people a
box that includes a full bottle of essie amongst other products and give
others 5 one time use samples? Its not fair and it does not make any sense.

When I watched your sneak peeks and features, I was so excited at the
products featured.

– Chantecaille Brilliant Gloss
– Chantecaille Faux Cils Mascara
– DDF Wrinkle Resist Pore Minimizer Moisturizing Serum
– Essie Nail Polish

Where are these fabulous products? I had anticipated receiving at least a
few of these products and I expected them to be more than one-time use
samples. Your company promises “deluxe” samples and your highly hyped
partnership with goop gave me the false hope that I would be receiving a
completely amazing box this month. These skimpy samples do not reflect very
well upon either; they couldn’t afford to provide you with decent
sized samples to pass on to your subscribers?

I certainly hope something can be done about my huge let-down in
October. Otherwise, I don’t believe I will continue subscribing long enough
to receive my November box. However this plays out, I maintain an
obligation to keep my readers informed. I love beauty and fashion and I
love being able to review new products each month courtesy of your
subscription service. I also am proud to subscribe to what was really the
first major product subscription service in the states but now, I’m
beginning to look and feel like a fool for continuing.
Thank you for your time and consideration,

Kate [Last Name]

Anastasia, Oct 24 04:04 pm (EDT):

Hi Anastasia,

Thank you for writing in, and I am so sorry that you were not satisfied with your Birchbox delivery this month!

We definitely are aware of the fact that sample impression is important, and an appropriate amount of product is the only way to make a valid decision as to whether it’s a product you would like to purchase in the future or not.

While sample sizes do vary each month, it highly depends on what the brands provide us and feel is a deluxe-size sample. Deluxe-size means the sample gives you the opportunity to try the product on multiple occasions. Based on the brand’s opinion, the samples they produce coordinate to how much of the product they feel should be used in one use, three uses, and so on. While smaller samples are by no means the standards of what we want to send our subscribers, the product is one that we want to be able to share with our customers.

We post our Favorites video each month to highlight items that our members will be receiving. Everyone will receive at least one or two of the samples featured, but not all. They are also allotted by your Beauty Profile preferences. I recommend that you update your Beauty Profile in order to receive products more suited towards your tastes.

Once again, I apologize for your disappointment and we understand your concern completely. We are constantly trying to evolve as a brand and company, for this reason, customer feedback is extremely important to us and highly encouraged! I will be sure to pass this along to our Beauty Partnership Team, so that they are aware of how this sample was received.

In the meantime, if you have any other questions and/or concerns, please do not hesitate to reply to this email or give us a call at: 877.487.7272 (9am-5pmEST| M-F).

xo Anastasia

Birchbox Operations Associate

xGingerKate: Dear Birchbox Representative #3,

MY name isn’t Anastasia. From what I can tell, YOUR name is Anastasia. Your keen observation skills and ability to address me by my own name are a perfect example of the level of care Birchbox gives to their subscribers/customers.

Allow me to respond to your most recent BS: So, a small pouch of moisturizer, a pouch that can not be resealed and a small package of dry shampoo, that also can not be resealed, are considered “deluxe”, multiple-use samples according to the company that produced them and you’ll stand by that?

This is absolutely laughable; you must realize this.

In a box of four samples: 2 products are tear-open, one-time-use packets, 1 product is a face mask to be used ONCE and the final product is a minuscule tube of lip gloss. The lip gloss is the ONLY product that I will (reluctantly) agree can be used multiple times. 4 horrible samples and then you throw in a LUNA bar as an extra… YAY! Excuse me while I jump for joy.

Thank you for your response but you really just wasted more of my time corresponding with you and gave more false hope that Birchbox would take responsibility for their service and at least attempt to make a recovery. I will be canceling my subscription following the delivery of the products I recently ordered off of your site. I will be giving my $10 a month to Ipsy/MyGlam from now on in addition to my GlossyBox subscription.

I’d thank you for your service over the last 7 months but it’s been horrible.The LEAST you could do is get my name right since you’ve been billing me for more than half a year. You reached out to me as if you were willing to/looking to make this wrong a right. Clearly you just wanted another opportunity to repeat the lofty description of your “deluxe” samples. Do you have a complaint response template that you simply copy and paste in your email responses as you see fit? I am completely aware that sample sizes vary each month but a box that consists of strictly one-time-use samples IS NOT what you promise, it IS NOT what you advertise and it is certainly NOT what I signed up to pay $10 a month to receive.

(Not Anastasia,)

Anastasia, Oct 24 04:54 pm (EDT):

Hi Kate,

So sorry for the typo and your disappointment in my response. I am definitely passing your feedback along so that it will be heard by our brand partners.

Please let us know if you need any further assistance.

xGingerKate:  Thank you for your prompt response and apology, Anastasia. And no, I will require no further assistance from Birchbox.

That’s it. Nothing overly interesting or exciting. I did think that it was worth sharing though. Again, if you’re considering becoming a Birchbox subscriber, reconsider. Check out other blogger’s reviews of Birchbox, GlossyBox, Ipsy/MyGlam and the other subscription sample boxes out there. Birchbox is a let-down monthly with their skimpy samples and then on top of that, they clearly don’t care very much about resolving any issues that their customers may be experiencing.
If you read through that crap, it is very much appreciated. Sincerely, thank you.
Love, GK

18 thoughts on “Bad Bad Birchbox Ops

  1. Hi Kate,

    Love your blog, found you randomly via google search. I def think you got the short end of the stick on the goop birchbox….. this was my first month and I never filled out the preferences survey but I did get what I consider to be some sweet samples. I am kind of obsessed with miniatures though so that could be part of my satisfaction; and I have to agree with you it is NOT worth $10 in samples. Really the only thing for multi use was the hairband, MOX lipgloss, and some little eyeshadow/highlighter powder.

    I would like to try glossybox (wow full size!) But $20+ is just too much for me to ‘test’ products that I may not be able to use. I am super fair, with sensitive skin, and I cant use any perfumey products.

    Anywho, I was in the salon yesterday and thought of you while reading an Allure Magazine (which i should have stolen), which had a 5 page article on home beauty sample services. They listed the pluses of each one, the cost, and the website, and now I cant find the article on I’ll see if I can find that same mag when I go back today to get my nails done so you can check it out… I was amazing there are like 14 different services you can test!!

    1. Colleen, thank you for reading and for commenting! That Allure article sounds very informative; ill have to do some investigating myself and see if I can find it. If you do come across it again, I’d love if you passed on the info! Good looking out, girl!

      I have that super fair sensitive skin too so I have to watch it when it comes to the skin sample products. And I totally agree about the $21 price tag for GlossyBox being a bit too high to chance it. Idk how long I’ll be a subscriber but for now, I’m willing to take the gamble.

      Thanks for your support and recognition of my skimpy box. I felt like a brat posting this one but I was too shocked at their lack of interest to not share.

      I hope to hear more from you, Colleen! Let me know if you find that article again when you get your nails done today! I’d love to read it! Thanks again!

  2. That’s horrible customer service. When I was reading and when you said they sent you a message on twitter I thought you were going to say that they said they were sorry for the October box and that they would try to make it up to you so you wouldn’t cancel your membership subscription. WHen I continued reading I was shocked like to you to read just how little thye cared aboutwhat you had to say. Your being upset over this box is completely understandable the samples you received we ity-bity! (I went back and read your full review of the October box so I could see the sample sizes). My friend gets a Birchbox box every month and I thought about signing up for the service as well. After seeing what kind of samples they deliver and then reading how horrible their customer service team is, I will not be signing up for Birhcbox. I looked into Ipsy after reading that they are a service you suggest and I ahve decided to sign up for them. Maybe me and my friend can start a blog too and she can post her views on her Birchbox each month and I can post my views on my Ipsy samples! If we start our blog I hope you would read it and maybe even post a link for us. That would mean a lot. I really like your blog and this is my first time commenting. Thank you for sharing your info and opinions! I love reading them!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Thanks, Pennie!

      Whenever you and your gal pal get that blog started, let me know! I would love to share a link for you! I appreciate your supportive words and I’m glad you’ve chosen to subscribe to Ipsy! Make sure you stop back and let me know how you like it!

      Thank again! Hope to hear from you again soon!

  3. I used to be a Birchbox subscriber. I ended up canceling due to repeat samples as well as small sample sizes (magazine sample size!) I completely agree that subscribers pay to receive the “deluxe” sized samples; the one-time-use samples that you received this month are completely inexcusable! The fact that they can not stand by their promise to give deluxe samples is ridiculous. Birchbox has more and more competitors as time goes by, if they can’t improve their service they won’t have a service to sell anymore.

    I work in the marketing field professionally. You are 100% correct: Birchbox will take your complaint letter and (as they said) share it with their brand partners. This will convince these brand partners to fork over bigger and better samples at which point Birchbox will turn around and sell them in their boxes. Future customers will be happier with these samples but what about the current customers? What about the people (like you) who are voicing your concerns and opinions NOW? This is a prime example of bad business.

  4. I am also super disappointed with the Oct goop box and am going to unsubscribe as soon as I use my points (need to get on this!!). I did get the essie nail polish but it was silver and looks terrible with my skin tone. I also got a gray nail polish in my previous month’s birchbox so it was like adding insult to injury to get 2 nail polishes that I will likely never use. Luckily my roommate is into nail art… Two of the other items were in the tiny foil packages which I hate with a passion and is one reason why I thought Birchbox would be a great place to get samples that are actually usable. My skin is sensitive, so it is impossible for me to tell if a product is good from a one time (or possibly two if it stretches) packet. I think the only thing that I liked was the jouer lip balm sample and a packet of tea. Not worth the money.

    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting! Redeem those points!! If you’re canceling Birchbox, take a look into Ipsy. It’s the same $10 per month but the loot they deliver blows BB out of the craptastic water they float in.

      Thanks again. I hope you’ll be back to read and comment!

  5. I was just in the midst of composing an email to Birchbox because despite ordering the GOOP box on October 9th, I have yet to receive it (they list the order as “processing”). I found your blog while googling Birchbox complaints. And like your box, the products that are supposed to be in my box are lackluster to say the least. Really, a luna bar? As soon as I get it, I am cancelling my subscription–what a scam! Thank goodness I did not buy the year’s subscription. But the good news is that I found your blog and I love it. So, I’ll keep reading. -Liz W.

    1. I’m glad Birchbox’s horrid customer service lead you here! And the vindictive little bitch inside me is glad that this has been one of my most commented on blogs!

      Thank you so much for reading. And thank you for sharing your bad experience; I’m sorry to hear you we charged for undelivered goods… they’re not that good anyway. I hope you comment more in the future!!

  6. I found your blog post when googling “birchbox scam” as I ordered birchbox products for Christmas presents this year and haven’t received them. Now that in itself is not a huge deal, but the lack of response to emails, Facebook messages, tweets and the fact that their phone number currently (and has for two days) routes through to an unavailable extension number concerns me greatly. My order still says processing, even though it was put through before the final order before Christmas date because there was the promise of free boxes. I am sure that they will say sorry in a weeks time and that there are no Christmas boxes left, but frankly I am tempted to report fraud to my credit card due to the lack of service on what I thought was going to be a brilliant gift for family members.
    For a first time Birchboxer this is thoroughly unsatisfactory and annoy on Christmas to realise I am short three major gifts for people!

    1. They’re absolutely horrible. I’m still shocked anyone signs up for their services at this point after all the bad business clouding their name (and lack of any attempt to rectify their reputation) as well as the success of similar services that are much better.

      Check out Ipsy if you’re interested in a monthly service. If you sign up using the link I’ve provided above, I earn points toward free bags. Once a member, you’ll also be given a link to provide others so you can earn free bags as well. Check out some of my Ipsy Glam Bag posts to get an idea of their service and products.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting! I hope you’ll check back again soon!

  7. Birchbox for men is a total disappointment. Twice the cost of the ladies box and my first one was a dud. Four small samples and a ceramic soap dish. Plus they have charged me twice for the one box and they have no return policy on sample boxes. They won’t change anything. As long as they have enough people subscribing and the money is coming in they will keep doing what they are doing. Some people are dense enough to think they are getting a deal when you can get better samples free from manufacturers and department store makeup and fragrance counters. So bummed about Birchbox.

  8. Wow, I’m the Anastasia from this email chain! I had been googling my name for something and this popped up. This was pretty wild to find!

    I left Birchbox a couple years ago. In my defense it had been a long day of answering complaints about that GOOP box and there is only so much you can do for customers 😦

    1. That’s crazy that you found this! I’ve always worked customer service jobs and I know exactly how it goes, you can’t please everyone. Birchbox had pissed me off and as fate would have it, you were the cs rep who got my message. I hope things are well with you! and sorry I was a total bitch.

      1. Totally not a bitch, I actually felt your pain that month too 😉 And now I found a cool blog to read!

  9. Hi I found your blog while trying to find someone in Birchbox to contact besides CARA … I have been with Birchbox for a couple of years and have purchased way too many products! Well if you purchase that many items online you are bound to have several items come in broken, leaking, missing and so on.. well I just ordered a perfume set for $95 and a mask along with their “free” mystery pac. I received my order and they didn’t check and they perfume bottle gold in color was totally scratched.. ok ticked off but no big deal but….the mystery pac had an eyeliner pencil in it so old that the color part pulled away from the pencil. I them received my other order which had mask and a bottle of toner. I opened and the invoice was wet and smelled of lemon(toner) I contacted Birchbox and again got CARA! She always insinuates that you are lying even with photos..I have also sent other items back for their “inspection” and they determined always was problem on their end. Well the time before this last order she -CARA had the nerve to ask me if there was another address for them to send my orders…told her that makes no sense as it has always been a problem on your end what would another address do.. Now on to the latest orders..She told me that this was the last time they would either resend-after I sent back- or they would credit back my money. Now here is the GREAT PART— She -CARA said from here on if you still decide to order from us we will not be responsible for you items! If they do not get to you or if they get to you damaged we will not do anything about it. No return, No refunds No nothing!!! How is that for good customer service??? I have been trying several ways to get to another higher up person but always get CARA!!! Which is how I found you blog looking for anything..I am beyond pissed. Sorry this is so long but thank you for being here so I could vent. There are many more problems would take to Why don’t I cancel??? Year sub! At the end of my last year sub I got some really great things..then after I paid for another year.. crap and horrid customer service. Again thank you…. Patty

    1. Thanks for reading and for your comment. Honestly, Birchbox is THE WORST! Ive heard only horrible stories from their customers. I’m never one of those “let me speak to a manger type of people”. Their service and customer service is sub-par at best. Back when I was into the makeup boxes, I switched over to GlossyBox and was very happy with them. There’s so many other monthly sub boxes for cosmetics and beauty out there now that finding a better, more fun option isn’t hard. Good luck in the future! Thanks again for commenting and I’m sorry this Cara was rude to you. (Perhaps she’s so exhausted answering the tons and tons of complaints.)

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