I rarely do long posts, but I gotta do this one for my friend.
This past week, she submitted a formal complaint to M.A.C. regarding its recycling programme.
She brought six empty packaging back to the M.A.C. counter at Nordstrom's in exchange for a lipstick. The M.A.C. salesperson asked her what colour she'd like. My friend named a few possible colours, but the rep said she had no stock of anything of those. My friend finally named a reddish brown, and the rep put it in the bag for her.
My friend got home, and discovered the lipstick was not the colour she picked. It was something pink, a colour she cannot wear and would never ask for. She felt deceived.
This is M.A.C. says about its recycling programme on its website:
"Recycling with Back to M.A.C.
By returning six M·A·C primary packaging containers to a M·A·C counter or M·A·C Cosmetics Online, you receive a free M·A·C Lipstick of your choice as our thanks to you."
Of my choice? Apparently not.
This is how M.A.C. responded to the complaint:
"Thank you for taking the time to contact us and for your interest in M.A.C.
Our "Back to M.A.C." program was established to promote recycling by offering an incentive for consumers to help preserve the environment. Since its inception in 1985, our program has offered a free lipstick to anyone who returns six (6) M.A.C. primary packages to a M.A.C. location. This program has been enthusiastically embraced by the majority of consumers.
Of course, over the years a few consumers have asked us to offer them a different free product. We hope you can understand that the popularity of the program, coupled with the inventory/sales logistics involved with our retail partners, precludes our extending the program to individual product choice.
We will continue to offer a free lipstick, and if this is not appropriate for the recipient, we hope it will be passed on to someone who can enjoy it.
We trust the above addresses your concern. We hope that we have the opportunity to serve you in the near future.
Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and concerns.
Global Consumer Communications"
My friend wrote back:
"Dear Ms. Toussaint-Brew,
I appreciate your effort, but your response did not address my complaint.
My complaint was that your sales person was conducting business in a deceptive way. If your company cannot afford to continue the program or think that the program is costing too much money, then terminate the program. I believe most people would rather be told that the program cannot continue than being cheated.
By pretending to let your customer choose a lip colour and then turn around and give the customer another one that she did not choose: this is dishonesty. The fact that you try to explain the act, that it is being condoned or even approved by your company shows that your company does not respect your customers; that your company thinks that keep half of a promise is OK. If your company cannot afford to continue the program or wants to change the conditions of program, then let your customers know.
I think it is irresponsible for your company to try to find a rationale for your salesperson's disceptive behavior. I think the public should know about this. I am going to blog this email exchange and let others decide whether cheating customers are OK."
Well, I'm sorry to say that M.A.C. has lost a very good customer. My friend has decided not to purchase anything from this brand anymore (and this is someone who normally buys a few things from them every month). It wasn't about this lipstick or that lipstick, but it doesn't feel good to be deceived.
What surprised me about all this was that M.A.C. could have at least say sorry. Instead, they actually supported the salesperson's action.
Now, I'm simply wondering if M.A.C. might be giving out expired products through the recycling programme, just to get rid of old stuff.
What is your experience with Back to M.A.C.?
5 hours ago