It wasn’t that long ago that I wrote a glowing review about the Kylie Lipkits by Kylie Jenner and sang the praises of the popular LipKit that contains a matte liquid lipstick and lip liner. That was before some of the more serious Kylie Cosmetics customer service issues surfaced for me personally and before I saw dozens and then hundreds of complaints posted online seeking help for similar issues….all of which were left ignored or dismissed completely by the Kylie Cosmetics Customer Service team. As with any product and company, there will be issues that arise. Nobody is perfect, and even the best companies have stories of failures and “lessons learned.” What matters most is how a company responds to those issues and how they treat their customers in the process. That is exactly why I find myself writing a follow-up blog about Kylie Cosmetics. In my opinion, they have failed at providing even the minimum, basic service that customers expect and deserve from any company they spend their money with.
I wasn’t a customer of Kylie Cosmetics during their initial fall launch in 2015, but I understand there were a lot of complaints even then related to shipping, lack of communication from Customer Service, and other such things. I was a little late hopping onto the Kylie Cosmetics train around February 2016. Aside from the complete pain it was to stalk out the restock dates and order online quickly before everything sold out in 5 minutes, I didn’t experience any significant issues with my first few orders. I was pretty satisfied with the products that I received, as you can tell from my first review of the Lipkits. My opinion has quickly changed due to recent experiences unfortunately.
Over the past 2 months, I received 4 orders where the box was delivered to me completely opened and smashed up. Products inside were either obviously opened and tampered with or missing altogether. I began seeing similar experiences posted online by various customers….the exact same scenario. The problem begins with the fact that Kylie Cosmetics ships their products in a nice black & white box that clearly advertises Kylie Cosmetics all over, and the box is sealed with a single piece of scotch tape, if that. It begs for theft since people know how difficult these products are to get their hands on. They don’t have to make much of an effort to get inside the box, as the piece of scotch tape holding the box together just lifts right up without using any muscles whatsoever. The theft is occurring between the Kylie Cosmetics warehouse and the USPS, not after delivery. It’s employees of one or both companies. How do I know this? Well, as others have also experienced, all of my packages are delivered straight to my private, locked mailbox at my apartment/condo. I am the only one with the key to that locked box, aside from the USPS. The packages were in this condition when I opened the lock box. That means that nobody is wrangling through my packages after they are left by USPS because they are completely inaccessible to the public. They’re not left on my doorstep/front porch where nosy neighbors can help themselves. One of my boxes was missing an entire liquid lipstick. Other opened boxes contained Lipkits that had been obviously opened and tampered with. I couldn’t use them in that condition since it’s a health risk for me as a patient with Systemic Lupus (I take serious medications to suppress my immune system such as low dose chemo and other things). One microscopic germ could put me in the hospital or even be deadly. It’s no joke.
Photos: This was exactly how my last order was delivered to me, box wide open inside of my private locked box that only USPS and I have access to. Notice there’s just a tiny piece of scotch tape in the first photo, which is easy for thieves to pry through.
The Lipgloss Diaries – Thankfully I was otherwise occupied when Kylie announced the release of her new lip glosses just 5 minutes before the launch time. I was upset for missing out on the launch that day, but it was a blessing in disguise. Why? Well, Kylie released her glosses knowing that they had a defective applicator/brush in them. The brush comes out of the bottle completely frayed where users can’t apply the gloss at all. Complaints started rolling in to customer service immediately after customers received the defective product. A good company with good or even decent customer service would have responded to these complaints immediately and either shipped out new brushes or provided refunds. They did neither of those things. Instead, they refused to assist anyone with replacements or refunds who was sent bad brushes/products for at least 2 weeks.
Kylie later posted a snapchat update saying she was “improving” the gloss applicators, and only the new brushes would be sent out from then on. She proudly showed a video of the new brush, which is much shorter and not frayed all over the place. Ok that’s great….but what about the hundreds of thousands of customers who paid $15/each + $8.95 or $14.95 shipping for the bad products? Still, customer service refused to help the majority of those customers. Copies of their emails from customer service were plastered all over the Internet. This is just bad business and it’s unacceptable.
After Kylie went on a massive campaign, launching an expensive commercial for her new gloss products, customers were just stuck with bad products and a company who refused to make it right. Kylie acknowledged the original applicator was bad and she fixed it, but nothing was ever done to rectify the situation for customers who already paid their hard-earned money for defective products. Then enter makeup artist Jeffree Star! Jeffree posted a snapchat video and Twitter posts showing him opening the glosses for the first time. He also received the defective products, and he didn’t hide his displeasure as a customer one bit. He tossed the glosses in the trash and went on to say how ALL customers should receive the good, quality product. He went on to complain about how Kylie often releases a product prematurely with issues and uses customers as Guinea pigs. Then she releasees an “improved version” that customers who buy it later will receive, also forcing the original customers to repurchase it if they want a usable product. He talked about her lack of quality control, among many other things. He basically said she’s just another celebrity who is putting her name on products but not taking the time to make quality products before taking her fans/customers’ money.
Jeffree’s tweets and snapchat post went viral immediately and caught the attention that it deserved. Finally! The “little” customer’s voice was finally heard through Jeffree Star.
On April 17th, Kylie (Kylie Cosmetics) released a statement saying that people who purchased her glosses on 4/1 would be shipped new brushes/glosses. She said as soon as she discovered the issue, she stopped production and changed them.
I have a couple of problems with this, and honestly, that’s when my support for this company and Kylie changed as a result. ☹️ She knew for weeks that something was wrong with the brushes where customers couldn’t use the product. She still allowed customers to pay their hard-earned money on them, and she shipped the defective products out without giving it a 2nd thought. Her customers aren’t as wealthy as she is, and for some of you, you had to save up your money a long time just to afford ONE kit or gloss. 💰 She made a huge mistake and didn’t correct it properly until it hit the news and went viral. Until then, customers had been writing customer service after receiving the defective products and were basically told “sorry….we can’t replace them or give refunds” or worse….after sending photos of their defective gloss brushes, customer service told them that it was still usable and just fine. People were just stuck with bad products and lost money and were obviously angry. Things ONLY changed AFTER Jeffree Star put her on blast on Twitter and Snapchat. Only AFTER that did she change the response her Customer Service team was sending out and then post a notice that everyone would receive a replacement (see post below).
Kylie has some loyal fans who immediately started praising her after the post, saying “great customer service” and “Thank you for caring so much about your customers and products.” NO!!! 😤 Great customer service is implementing quality assurance processes BEFORE you send products to customers, not knowingly sending bad products to hundreds of thousands of people. Great Customer Service is making it right the MOMENT a customer emails you to explain there’s a problem; you send a replacement immediately. If there was great Customer Service, it wouldn’t have taken a viral shit storm to make things right! Furthermore, in her post, she continued to blow off customers who received defective products after the 4/1 shipment. She said all orders filled after the 4/1 launch were filled with the improved products. Not true! People DID receive defective products after that, and many posted photos to prove it. People were still being sent defective products as late as the 4/11/16, restock. Those customers experienced a hassle having replacements sent to them. Note: as of the publication date of this blog, nobody has received any replacement glosses or brushes.
Make no mistake. This wouldn’t have happened without a voice as big as Jeffree Star. The rest of us who pay our money and get bad products have zero voice and influence. Without Jefore, hundreds of thousands of customers would have been stuck with bad products and would have lost their money being a Guinea pig for this company to experiment on.
I’ll show you just on example of how quickly things changed after Jeffree went public with the problem. Thank you to @evuhhlynn on Twitter for her expressed permission to use her emails to/from Kylie Cosmetics. Evelyn sent a photo of her obviously bad gloss brush to Kylie Cosmetics Customer Service. She received a response from “Brad” at Kylie Cosmetics CS saying her brush “seems to be in usable condition and we unfortunately cannot send a replacement.” Do what!!?? Look at the photo! Are you kidding me? This scenario played out repeatedly hundreds and hundreds of times as angry customers were just ignored and blown off.
Compare that to the email response @evuhhlynn later received after Jeffree’s posts went viral. Suddenly Kylie Customer Service agreed to ship a replacement after previously telling her that her glosses were just fine. It’s mind-blowing….really, it is. Completely unacceptable service! They should have helped her the first time, not after multiple emails and a viral firestorm.
The problems don’t end there. Let’s talk about some of the other issues customers have experienced recently.
1. Issues with KourtK LipKit – There are many complaints online from customers who purchased the latest shade in the popular LipKit called Kourt K. Again, this was a situation where after its release, Kylie posted a snapchat stating that she was changing the brush on the KourtK products. She didn’t outright acknowledge the many complaints posted on the internet about how this shade applied splotchy. She just informed us that a new “improved” applicator was coming in the future. Again, there’s a pattern of “let’s test the products out on paying customers and release an improved version if something goes wrong.” Customers who paid for the original, bad product are just stuck with a substandard product and losing their money. Seems to be a pattern. Even with the improved applicator, customers continue to post complaints about this shade and formula due to the splotchy application. It doesn’t seem to be an issue with the applicator but rather with the formula itself. If you follow Kylie Jenner or Kylie Cosmetics, you’ll notice that they don’t ever post photos of anyone wearing this shade after its launch. They stopped promoting it completely, yet they continue to sell it out to unsuspecting customers in every restock. Mums the word from the company as they refuse to acknowledge any issues.
2. Website issues and privacy breech – On April 4th, Kylie had a restock of all her matte Lipkits and glosses, which she said was the most she ever sold in one day. Her entire stock again sold out within 20-30 minutes, some items sold out within the first 5 minutes. The problem this time seems to be a privacy and data breech that occurred on this busiest day ever. At least one customer reported that she logged in and was able to see the personal info of another customer around the world. Every time she refreshed, it showed her a different customer’s personal information and order history. She took screen shots as proof. This issue hit the media, but there was never a response from Kylie Cosmetics. Ever! They didn’t even acknowledge it. A proper response would be to immediately offer free fraud protection policies for all customers registered with a Kylie Cosmetics account, to ensure they are protected from the data/privacy breech that occurred. That is how a reputable company would respond. Kylie Cosmetics has a history of retweeting positive feedback while ignoring any customer who contacts them with issues and concerns. Yeah, that’s a good way to go out of business quick! Just ignore everything.
3. More website issues – Some articles and fans incorrectly thought that Kylie acknowledged the data breech above when she posted that she was fixing her website and she didn’t like “the line” either. However, she was referring to a completely different issue that customers experienced on the website, unrelated to the privacy breech incident. Kylie’s website is known for crashing every time she has a product restock. It can’t handle (what I consider to be) a somewhat low number of concurrent users shopping at the same time without crashing. Customers were obviously getting angry after they would finally get their products in the shopping cart, but it would crash repeatedly during the checkout process. By the time it stopped crashing, it would remove all the products from the shopping cart and say everything was sold out. Yeah, that’s a good way to piss off loyal customers who waited up all night/day to order your products. Then she implemented a technology that was intended to minimize the site crashes during checkout. When a customer clicked “Checkout,” a page would come up that basically said “Due to the overwhelming demand, you’re in line for checkout. As soon as a space becomes available, you will be able to continue the checkout process. Do not refresh this screen or you will lose your spot in line.” YEAH, WHATEVER!!! I’m a manager in the technology field, and no such thing exists like a virtual “line” you’re placed in. People would sit on this screen for 10-20 minutes, thinking that their shopping cart was reserved while they waited. Meanwhile, customers who started the checkout process 10 minutes later were able to complete their transaction. Then the first set of customers would be left with an empty shopping cart because all the products had sold out again. It was a mess. Has this been fixed? Well, we still don’t know because she never gives her customer more than 2 hours notice prior to a restock, which minimizes the amount of traffic on the site. The real test will be the day she gives her customer advanced notice of a time and day of a restock so that ALL customers can shop that day, not just an exclusive few who were watching her app an hour beforehand for the notice.
4. Customers Overcharged Taxes – On April 15th, the launch day of the Kylie Coachella Metal Matte Lipstick line, yet another issue occurred. Customers in the US state of California were charged triple the correct tax rate that they should have been charged for their orders. Only California customers were affected since laws require internet based companies to charge state and local taxes for anyone who lives in the same state in which the product is made and shipped from. Customers surely weren’t expecting to see this inflated rate. The complaints immediately started rolling in online, and yet again, Kylie stayed completely silent on the incident publicly, never acknowledging that another major glitch had occurred or apologizing for it. Customers who wrote Kylie Customer Service received the following form letter in response, promising a refund of the overcharges. But seriously….enough is enough of this kind of thing. What kind of legitimate e-commerce bus insets allows these kind of “mistakes” to happen with customers’ hard-earned money? This isn’t normal, and it shouldn’t be accepted just because she’s “Kylie Jenner” and she’s “young” and “still learning.” No!
5. More product issues? The jury is still out on the latest product released by Kylie Cosmetics – the Coachella Metal Matte Lipsticks in Reign, King K, and Heir. Fans have been anxiously waiting for their shipments of this new metallic lipstick after Kylie has been furiously advertising them the past few weeks on her Instagram page and Snapchat. I received mine 2 days ago, and I can already predict a lot of complaints forthcoming with this product line also. They apply very splotchy and uneven. Honestly, they look plain horrible! Only one color has an opaque look and application, but it’s so dark that it will be tough for the average person to pull off. I’ll come back and provide an update as more customers post feedback. I’ve read several complaints already, but it will be another week or so before everyone received their shipments from the Metal Matte launch day. Stay tuned for more information.
Here’s my problem with the issues above. She has proven time and time again that she doesn’t test either her products OR her website. Customers are used as Guinea pigs for both. Websites and technology should be thoroughly tested offline using load testing software to ensure it can handle 300-500,000+ concurrent users without crashing. If it can’t, you don’t relaunch your products until the technical issues can be fixed. PERIOD!!! There is just no excuse for these continued issues. I always love it when some teenager tries to tell me how a business and technology “really works” and that Kylie is a small company and she’s “doing her best.” It’s laughable. If you can’t provide a satisfactory level of service and products to people, you have no business being in business. This is real money they’re playing with. Real people all over the world. I’ve been in business and technology for over 20 years. I actually know a thing or two about this topic or else I wouldn’t be speaking about it so openly.
By the way, I realize some people will be upset with this blog. After all, Kylie finally agreed to reship new glosses/brushes to all customers who received a bad product from the 4/1 gloss release (AFTER the issue went viral). However, this problem is much deeper than one batch of bad glosses. It shows the lack of quality control and outright lack of customer service that exists from the top-down in this company. It proves to me that the money she’s making is more important than the customers who brought her the success she’s experiencing right now. There’s a lack of passion, quality, service, and all of the basics that are required to make a company successful. Granted, she’s very young and has a lot to learn, but maybe it’s time for her to step away from the cosmetics business, enjoy her remaining teen years, and then come back when she truly has the desire and passion to deliver quality products for the right reasons. Perhaps some college business classes wouldn’t hurt either. Education is never a bad thing. It should NEVER take a media firestorm to treat customers the right way. All customers deserve a quality product the first time, not after thousands of other customers unwittingly served as the Guinea pigs and testers for the defective stuff. By the way, there is nothing whatsoever wrong with her being young and taking time off to live her teenage years. I truly mean that! She’s in a position where she doesn’t HAVE to work right now, and I would much rather see her enjoy life and come back to this later when she has the time and maturity to make it great! That’s not a diss at all.
Oh, you may ask yourselves…. How did Kylie Customer Service respond to the 2 complaints I personally filed for my shipments that were missing products and tampered with? Well, we engaged in what felt like non-stop email communications back and forth about both complaints. They would write and ask for a photo of the boxes. That would take a week to get a response for. Then they would write and ask for more photos…this time of the packing insert. Really? Then they wanted photos of the other products I purchased that weren’t even affected. After 3 weeks, I’m still waiting for a replacement. They finally agreed to replace one of the shipments where my LipKit was completely missing as a “one time courtesy.” Still waiting.
If you’re going to order from this company, just understand that they offer no guarantee of their products, no refunds, and no replacements for anything….even if you were sent an empty box like many people have received. They have a strict No Refund and no satisfaction guaranteed policy that they stand firmly behind. It’s important to read the fine print before ordering. Don’t take my word for it. There’s an excellent blog written by a blogger on saltandchic.com where she details similar experiences by multiple people. People who order internationally are treated even worse and told they can’t be sent replacements or refunds for anything whatsoever. You’re paying money for something that you may not receive, may receive in poor condition, or for a product that hasn’t properly been tested by Quality Assurance Analysts before its release. Furthermore, the data and privacy breech issues should be taken seriously. People tend to ignore these things until they become a victim of identity theft or have their bank accounts hacked and every penny stolen.
While many people may be upset by what I’ve written, I will ALWAYS stay 100% honest. I will NEVER compromise my opinion because a celebrity name is attached to something, just for popularity’s sake. That’s not me. Never was and never will be. Much love. ❤️💄👊🏻
Update Posted on 4/26/16 – Well, it turns out that I wasn’t so lucky in escaping the gloss debacle after all. I just checked the rest of my glosses from my order that I placed on 4/11/16, and below is a photo of what I found. Of course, I thought I was seeing things since Kylie was so adamant that all glosses sent after the 4/01/16, order were the new, improved glosses and brushes. I already knew that wasn’t true, but now I have proof. I have sent Kylie Cosmetics an email requesting a replacement and am awaiting their response at this time.