Just Fab, or Just a Scam?

JustFab is yet another online shop, offering discounted shoes and other clothing items. They’ve been advertising on television as well as on YouTube, really making themselves known. The screaming women are excited about the shoes (SHOES!) and excited that they’re just so cheap. The adverts state that you can get shoes from as little as £7 and that they have VIP memberships. That seems great, but is it too good to be true?

The first issue I had with JustFab was delivery. The estimated delivery days came and went, and no tracking information; bear in mind that shipping is not free. When I chased up my order I just got excuses; they’re pretty backed up, and they’re sending it out today. Why not update the delivery details? Who knows. Hermes, the courier company JustFab use, eventually marked the parcel as “delivered to neighbour” on their tracking website. No note was put through my door to tell me about it and I had no way to know which neighbour had it. Knocking on every door in the neighbourhood is unrealistic, so I chased it up with JustFab again.

As I paid through PayPal, I requested a refund. It was immediately marked as having a response from JustFab, but there did not appear to be any message. I waited a day, but it wasn’t delayed. It would appear they have an automatic blank reply to all PayPal disputes, meaning that you can either escalate it, keep trying in vain, or mark it as solved. I escalated it. With no response from JustFab in the two-week period, PayPal gave me my money back.

Ironically, not long after that, a neighbour I had never met before brought the parcel round once she realised that she still had it. We thanked her and apologised, explaining that we hadn’t been told where it went. I thought this concluded my annoying experience and wouldn’t have done anything more than simply avoid using JustFab in future.

And then a £35 charge was taken out of my PayPal.

Despite the fact that I did not consent to this payment (having simply signed up for a basic account) the fact that I had paid for one pair of shoes apparently qualified me, and auto-upgraded me, to a “VIP” account which costs £35 a month. This charge was the first I know of the supposed upgrade. On checking the website, I found that there is no way to edit my payment details or change the level of status of my account. In fact, aside from thanking me for becoming a VIP member in a small text box, there was no way to view the cost of my unwanted VIP membership!

What’s more, there’s no way to cancel or delete a VIP account on the website at all. There’s just a very difficult to navigate series of FAQs along with mention of a “live chat” with zero links to access it. The only information is that, to cancel, call their cancellation phone number between 8am to 8pm. On calling 6:05pm I was met with answer; it rang but then just beeped. Call rejected?

I queried the payment on PayPal; I received another automatic blank response, so I just escalated it immediately. I messaged JustFab on Facebook and phoned again the next day. While Googling for their live chat at the same time, I found a lot of blog posts and some article links calling out JustFab for their shady charges. I eventually found the live chat. Although I had now had my call answered, I was on hold, so hung up as soon as I got a response on the live chat.

Despite claims that it is a live chat with a staff member, it felt an awful lot like a bot. After giving my account number, I asked to cancel my account. I was told I was a VIP member and had VIP points, am I sure I want to cancel? If I just want to skip a month I can just go to such-and-such a page and click “skip”. For an already convoluted process, this script was like pulling teeth. Yes, I told the ‘not-a-bot’. I double checked that it was done, and as soon as it allowed me to I cancelled my whole account.

Apparently, without a VIP account and paying £35 each month, the price offers are not available to you and you instead pay “retail prices”, the unadvertised £20+ prices the entire point of the site is to get a discount on. This is not made clear in their advertisements and is not made clear at any point during shopping, purchase or at all; I did not realise this until the live chat was trying to talk me out of cancelling.

This high monthly fee is not only already the price of buying a pair of shoes each month, but also means that to actually be saving more money overall you would need to be buying at least three pairs of shoes a month. Even the most extreme of shoe fanatic would be hard pushed to be buying a new pair of shoes almost every week. The kind of person that is, is probably not that concerned about saving money and is going to be spending well over £500 on each pair of Louboutin’s, Jimmy Choo’s and Steiger’s.

Using an unreliable courier is one thing, but this monetary practise is shady at best, and has all the ‘red flags’ of a scam. To advertise as a discount store and then sneak in exorbitant background ‘fees’ for access is disingenuous. To hide the details about the fees and force the customer to jump through hoops to cancel or even change that paid account at all? Deliberately nefarious.

Save your time, money and piece of mind, and avoid JustFab like the plague.