Editor’s Note: The decision to publish the story was given serious consideration as well as ample time for VullSport to provide a public statement. Customers left waiting up to two months for orders have expressed a desire for an explanation as to the cause of the delay. Additionally, with VullSport advertising their next new release on February 3, 2020, we believe that the community of customers, current and future, have the right to make informed decisions about the purchases they make. — Justin LoFranco, Editor-in-Chief
Apparel company VullSport has come under fire for failing to explain why customers were left waiting up to eight weeks for items purchased during its Black Friday sale, and raises questions about its compliance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 30-day Rule.
The Morning Chalk Up launched an investigation more than two weeks ago after speaking with ten disgruntled customers who made purchases between November 28 and December 1, a number of customers reported waiting until late January to receive a shipping notification and their goods.
- One of the customers – Valentina Cecchi – is yet to receive her three items purchased: “I am (or was) a regular customer. I bought a lot and my last purchase was made for Black Friday. I want my clothes, or my money back,” she said. Valentina is yet to receive a shipping notification but finally received an email on January 29, two months after her purchase which read: “Your order has reached Australia and should get to you soon.”
- Peejay Lawson waited until January 17 to receive her full order, which came in two shipments. “We love VULL. All we wanted was a simple ‘Hey guys …’ and we could of completely understood and waited for our items,” she told the Morning Chalk Up.
- Missy Gee waited eight weeks for her goods to be shipped and said: “I definitely feel like Vull should have given an explanation for the delay. Even if these become my favorite workout tanks I will probably not order from them again just because of the way they handled the transaction.”
- Tiffany Evanchof waited until January 23 to receive her shipment and while she said it was exactly what she wanted: “It makes me feel bitter towards the company and I get that it’s a small business but I feel like all the customers deserve some kind of explanation for this.”
One big thing: Interviews with ten customers and a review of order details, including receipts and correspondence with customer service raise questions about VullSport’s compliance with Federal Trade Commission’s Mail, Internet, or Telephone Order Merchandise Trade Regulation Rule.
- The law expressly states that companies are required to ship orders in the time frame the company has specified, or 30 days at the latest if no time was originally promised.
- VullSport states on their website for domestic orders: “All orders ship within 2-3 days via USPS.” It also says: “New releases can sometimes take longer, when excessive order volume comes in.”
- If a company cannot ship within that time frame or 30 days, customers must be contacted to provide their consent for the delay and include the option to cancel an order for a “full and prompt refund.”
- A company’s obligations to fulfill begins when payment is received.
A search for answers: Customers began taking to social media to voice their concern that orders hadn’t arrived. VullSport subsequently disabled the commenting feature on its Instagram account. What’s more, Kat Leone has also switched her personal Instagram account to private.
- Morning Chalk Up staff contacted the owner, Kat Leone, who is a five-time Regional athlete. She responded promptly yet strictly asked we not divulge the explanation she gave.
- Follow-up attempts for additional comment as to the cause of the delay were not responded to.
- Based on conversations with customers, Leone stopped responding to customers in December. The last known contact VullSport came between December 10 and 12 where Leone cited a “Sports Bra issue” and said they “hope to have everything out by the end of the week.” (See screenshot below).
- Another message said: “We previously had an issue with clickable tracking links … but all is fixed now.” The same message thread also blamed the “Sports Bra issue.” (See screenshot below).
- The VullSport Instagram hasn’t posted since December 17 and their men’s account (@VullSportsMens) has been silent since November 30.
- Christy Markwell was one of the customers who received her order in several shipments: “Even though I don’t agree with how the situation has been handled, I sincerely hope she (Kat Leone) is able to come back from this after some serious damage control.”
- Another customer, Heather Banos said this was the first time she’d experienced a problem like this with the brand. “I have ordered numerous times from them and while sometimes it took a little longer on certain releases I understood cause it’s a small company and Kat was doing her best but it has never been anything like this,” she said.
Our own order: As part of the investigation, on January 15 the Morning Chalk Up purchased two items on VullSport online. A day later, on January 16, we received a shipping confirmation for the order, including a tracking number with USPS. We have since received all the goods in a timely fashion, leading us to believe the delays were exclusive to a short window in the post-thanksgiving period.
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