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  1. #1

    Thumbs down Le Labo Refills - be aware

    I have spoken to one or two fellow basenoters by PM before posting this - I don't want to start a controversy but this is just a note to fellow basenoters about my recent experience with Le Labo.

    One of the things you see in Le Labo marketing is that they offer refills if you take the bottle back. It looks like a good idea – it encourages customer loyalty and is also ‘eco-friendly’ and they make a big deal of this on their website – recycling etc. In the ‘REFILLS’ section on their website it says this:

    As of now, and in all of our stores and counters, you will be able to refill your perfume bottle (50, 100 and 500ml) with your fragrance. And it’s a bit cheaper for you so you will thank us too.

    Well, I took my sister’s bottle of Oud 27 and Patchuli 24 back for a refill here and intended to purchase full 100ml bottle of Iris 39. Thinking I would get this service and that there would be some sort of discount on the price (no big deal but nice) and the SA said no, not an option, and that it only applied in France and does not apply to Le Labo UAE. My only option was to buy another full bottle. I emailed Le Labo and here is the reply I got:

    Dear Saif,
    I am sorry you were not able to refill your bottle at our Abu Dhabi corner.
    The refill program is not available in our newest corners yet but of course it will be the case during the next few months.
    Thank you very much for your support and for your patience.
    All the best,
    Gaelle


    So - my advice to fellow basenoters is this: If you are buying a Le Labo product and think you will automatically qualify for their ‘eco friendly refill discount’ think again. I am checking the website for fine print but if you are buying from a 'Le Labo store or counter' I suggest you ask about this policy before you buy


    (thanks mr.reasonable)
    Last edited by hedonist222; 8th June 2011 at 06:48 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    good to know


    Discover my Guest Reviewer Of The Day here

  3. #3

    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    With help from mr.reasonable i sent the following and CC'd the cofounders too.

    Hi Gaelle,

    I was sure I had read that all Le Labo shops offer refills.

    I have attached a screen shot illustrating this.

    So now I am confused. The website clearly says that is it available on all "stores and corners" and the Le Labo in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are certainly not new.

    I am a fairly active member on basenotes.net and I have discussed with the many perfume and Le Labo loyal customers and they seem to agree that this is neither fair nor clear.

    I feel that I should not have paid in full for the refill as the website clearly states refills are an option.

    Would you please clarify and perhaps CC a supervisor/manager on this.

    Thanks.
    Saif
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    To which Co-Founder Eddie responded :

    Dear Saif

    Thanks for your email.

    I understand your frustration.

    The great majority of our corners offer the refill program however Dubai and Abu Dhabi are an exception and we are putting this program in place in the next months there. * The information on the website is indeed misleading as not ALL our corners have put this program in place. *We are working on deploying this everywhere. *We will also correct the text in the website.

    Sorry for this inconvenience and be sure to check back soon.

    Thanks for a being a client.

    Best wishes

    Eddie (co founder)
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    Simply not good enough.

    Thats a cop-out... and gives no recognition to the fact you spent your money on a product or service that was promised/advertised but not fulfilled. They should offer you some refund/compensation.

    So, yet another appalling Le Labo customer service scenario. It was one of the cofounders that responded to a grievance I aired when I emailed them a couple of years ago. He too effectively said "tough titty". The thread I posted is buried deep in the MFD forum if anyone cares to have a look.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    Quote Originally Posted by hedonist222 View Post
    To which Co-Founder Eddie responded :

    Dear Saif

    Thanks for your email.

    I understand your frustration.

    The great majority of our corners offer the refill program however Dubai and Abu Dhabi are an exception and we are putting this program in place in the next months there. * The information on the website is indeed misleading as not ALL our corners have put this program in place. *We are working on deploying this everywhere. *We will also correct the text in the website.

    Sorry for this inconvenience and be sure to check back soon.

    Thanks for a being a client.

    Best wishes

    Eddie (co founder)
    ..another possible reply

    Dear Eddie

    Thank you so much for your quick reply.

    Unfortunately, the important part of your email informing me of the details of how and when I will receive my refund of overpayment for the refill in question, the refund fairly owed me based on your published statement on your official website shown below, that portion of your email that must have been electronically truncated/lost prior to my receiving it:

    (re-post the LeLabo refill offer here)

    Yes, I too am sorry that I have had to put up with the inconvenience in time, travel and effort this has caused me and yes, a bit frustrated that it hasn't been taken care of already by LeLabo. Of course I cannot imagine that LeLabo would not honor their official advertising promise, one designed to bring customers back into LeLabo stores via an official modestly discounted purchase published offer.

    Am I wrong to assume that the refund part of your email was somehow lost in transit?

    I hope not.

    Since our interchange has been and will continue to be made public and is now being followed by many on Basenotes, I will say we all await your response. Be sure to check back on this Basenotes thread to read additional postings of our communications and new comments by myself and others.

    Kindest Regards,

    (you)
    Last edited by kbe; 8th June 2011 at 01:40 PM.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    Ok i just sent the above suggested reply from kbe.


    Sorcery, I was shocked. I expected at least a bit of warmth from the cofounder not this attitude.

    Kbe, I couldn't have written it better. You took the words right out of mouth.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    I don't know how many "how to succeed" marketing practices their policy violates. This practice is the mark of a very young, immature, and very narrow minded company. Don't they realize that more than half their future business relies on reorders from existing customers? This is especially true because they have only introduced one new fragrance since the company started (Santal 33) and so much of the new business would need to be reorders. Le Labo marketing geniuses at work - "Well we'll just run off those pesky existing customers . . . "

    You would think that the least they could offer is a discount equal to the cost of the bottle and packaging!? They have so many "sunk" costs already invested in the juice that is just sitting there in the store not making any return on investment. Why not convert some of that sitting inventory into customer good will while making plenty of profit at the same time? If they were to give a 25% discount for the savings of the bottle and for refill/loyalty Le Labo would still make a higher margin on these refills than they do on new bottles and they would have happy repeat customers. Instead they just bought themselves tons of "bad will".

    I suspect that the newer locations are reluctant to offer this service discount due to some kind of falacy in how Le Labo prices out the initial stocking inventory to the local store. They need to correct this problem, or just save this thread as copy for their tombstone.

    This is an example of very short sighted approach that is often common with new companies. Penny wise and pound foolish is another well worn description of Le Labo policy.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    Its really sad actually because i was planning on buying bergamotte 22 and Iris 39. At this point, i probably won't. The bergamot from The Different Company and Hiris from Hermes will suffice for my requirements and I can sway my sister to Pure Oud from by Killian easily. Especially after she hears the how we've been treated.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    This looks like an object lesson in the old business adage that it's one thing to get a customer but it's quite another to keep him. Sounds like Le Labo haven't progressed past the first part yet. If anyone from the company bothers to look in I hope they take note of the little number beside 'views' that this thread has had from existing or potential customers, all of whom have a voice.

    Le Labo has always struck me as a bit too cute for it's own good but their website refill 'we like Al Gore' coy self congratulatory stuff rings a bit hollow now . . . it's damage control time.

    PS The Different Company have a nice Iris, too BTW.
    Last edited by mr. reasonable; 9th June 2011 at 07:40 AM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    I must say, I am extremely disappointed to hear this.

    You can maybe forgive the overwrought lab aesthetic, the cutesy bottle personalization, and the minimalist fragrance names because too-cool-for-school niche houses will always rely on a certain amount of schtick, no matter how silly or superfluous.

    I love how resigned Eddie (co-founder) is to the whole thing, as if neither he or nor anyone in his employ had the superpowers necessary to rectify the situation. Surely a repeat customer who is familiar enough with your house, works, and policies to write you regarding a disappointing experience deserves better than a politely-worded "tough shit".

    In a tough global economy, it is reassuring to know that Le Labo customer service will kindly fob you off for free.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. reasonable View Post
    This looks like an object lesson in he old business adage that it's one thing to get a customer but it's quite another to keep him. Sounds like Le Labo haven't progressed past the first part yet. If anyone from the company bothers to look in I hope they take note of the little number beside 'views' that this thread has had from existing or potential customers, all of whom have a voice.

    Le Labo has always struck me as a bit too cute for it's own good but their website refill 'we like Al Gore' coy self congratulatory stuff rings a bit hollow now . . . it's damage control time.

    PS The Different Company have a nice Iris, too BTW.
    Yes i own the Bois d'Iris from The Different Company. It's very nice.
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    This is what happens when people start a company, it takes off quickly and does quite well sales wise. Then becomes trendy, to top it off. They believe their own importance and do not realize they are in customer service and should treat customers well.
    Another reason, to add to an ever growing list, of why I truly dislike Le Labo and all they stand for.
    These are not the people worthy of the money they are making.

    Shame on them.
    Quand on boit l'eau, il faut penser sa source

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    Hopefully someone from the company will see one of these threads and realize the error of their way.

    Then again, they are making money at the moment and they probably do not care.
    Quand on boit l'eau, il faut penser sa source

  15. #15

    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    Quote Originally Posted by Buzzlepuff View Post
    I don't know how many "how to succeed" marketing practices their policy violates. This practice is the mark of a very young, immature, and very narrow minded company. Don't they realize that more than half their future business relies on reorders from existing customers? This is especially true because they have only introduced one new fragrance since the company started (Santal 33) and so much of the new business would need to be reorders. Le Labo marketing geniuses at work - "Well we'll just run off those pesky existing customers . . . "

    You would think that the least they could offer is a discount equal to the cost of the bottle and packaging!? They have so many "sunk" costs already invested in the juice that is just sitting there in the store not making any return on investment. Why not convert some of that sitting inventory into customer good will while making plenty of profit at the same time? If they were to give a 25% discount for the savings of the bottle and for refill/loyalty Le Labo would still make a higher margin on these refills than they do on new bottles and they would have happy repeat customers. Instead they just bought themselves tons of "bad will".

    I suspect that the newer locations are reluctant to offer this service discount due to some kind of falacy in how Le Labo prices out the initial stocking inventory to the local store. They need to correct this problem, or just save this thread as copy for their tombstone.

    This is an example of very short sighted approach that is often common with new companies. Penny wise and pound foolish is another well worn description of Le Labo policy.
    ...and I was just mentioning the demise of a company! I also agree, Buzzlepuff. The lifeblood of any retail business is repeat customers. Maybe it's oh-so trendy to start a niche line, and then make your bundle of cash, close operations and walk off with the cash.

    I guess the novelty of having your scent "custom" blended with your name written on the bottle will wear thin some day. Time will tell.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brielle87 View Post
    Hopefully someone from the company will see one of these threads and realize the error of their way.

    Then again, they are making money at the moment and they probably do not care.
    Brielle, I agree with you 100%.
    Last edited by Primrose; 9th June 2011 at 12:53 AM.
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    Brielle - I do hope someone from Le Labo sees this thread . I am fed up with bad customer service. Truly I am .
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/370...o-Profumo-Onda
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  17. #17

    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    Quote Originally Posted by Mimi Gardenia View Post
    Brielle - I do hope someone from Le Labo sees this thread . I am fed up with bad customer service. Truly I am .
    Mimi, those out there who make money need to understand that the perfume-buying community--people who buy the luxe/niche/overpriced--can and DO talk among themselves.
    "No elegance is possible without it...perfume is a part of you." Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel
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  18. #18

    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    Quote Originally Posted by Brielle87 View Post
    This is what happens when people start a company, it takes off quickly and does quite well sales wise. Then becomes trendy, to top it off. They believe their own importance and do not realize they are in customer service and should treat customers well.
    Another reason, to add to an ever growing list, of why I truly dislike Le Labo and all they stand for.
    These are not the people worthy of the money they are making. Shame on them.
    Well said! The stand up thing to do would be at least to offer to send an extra amount of fragrance to cover the difference between the refills and the new bottles. There was an admission that the advertising was not accurate and no helpful remedy. Boo!

    Martin

  19. #19

    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    I am a happy Le Labo customer now.
    This is proper customer service if you ask me. Everyone makes mistakes but rectifying a mistake is what separates respected establishments from others.

    Read the emails that followed after the last one i posted above.
    Begin reading from the bottom most for it to go in chronological order.

    ------------------------------------------------

    Good day,

    I am impressed and not too sure whether other brand founders would take it upon themselves to converse on such detailed levels with a customer and in such a swift manner.

    I can now say that Le Labo has excellent customer service because everyone makes mistakes but not everyone reconciles them properly.*

    I will definitely make this known so that Le Labo gets the recignigotion it earns.*

    I have a question, how different will the reformulated Patchouli 24 be ?
    Will other creations also be affected by the lack of resource that led to the change in patchouli 24?
    Can you make it known to customers when a certain creation will be reformulated?
    This way the customer has a chance to stock up on that perfume before it's gone forever.*
    Lastly, what's coming up? I have santal 33 on order right now. I can't wait to try it.*

    Best regards,

    Saif

    Sent from my iPad

    On 9 Jun 2011, at 16:48, Le Labo London <[email protected]> wrote:

    Hello Saif
    We will send you a 100 ml of Iris 39 free of charge.
    We are also known for our excellent customer service and i would be surprised if any other brand's founder would have dealt with your issue so quickly and personally.
    We want our clients to be happy with our perfumes and our service even though it's not always easy to guarantee the same level of service across all locations.
    Thanks for enabling us to rectify our communication on the refills on our website and sorry for this frustration.
    Best wishes
    Eddie



    From: "Saif F." >
    Date: Thu, 9 Jun 2011 15:18:54 +0400
    To: Eddie Roschi <[email protected]>
    Cc: Info Le Labo <[email protected]>, "[email protected]" <[email protected]>, Eddie Roschi <[email protected]>
    Subject: Re: [contact] GENERAL QUESTIONS ?

    Good day Eddie,

    Thanks for taking the opportunity to make things right.*
    It's this kind of customer service that strengthens customer loyalty and develops the brand's image both in the real world and as importantly, online.*

    It's good that the website has been updated to reflect the current refill options. And hopefully the UAE Le Labo corners have refill services soon.*

    My mailing address :


    I would like Iris 39. But I have to insist on 100ml because I really do use up that much perfume (2 to 3 ml per application).*
    I wouldn't mind paying the difference between the offered 50ml and the 100ml bottle, if need be.*

    Kind regards,

    Saif

    Sent from my iPad

    On 9 Jun 2011, at 14:27, "founders @ LeLabo" <[email protected]> wrote:

    Hello Saif
    We all wish it was as easy as dictating them…
    We're trying to find a solution here so bear with me.
    You can bring your bottles to colette in Paris for refills during your next trip to Paris.
    Regardless if you chose to do that or not, our London store will send you free of charge an O27 50 ml for the hassle this has caused or another scent if you wish.
    Let us know your mailing address and your perfume choice.
    We have changed our website text and are sorry that some corners still do not have the refills program. *As I said previously we are working on making this available in corners that still do not carry this program.
    Best wishes
    Eddie



    <image[6].jpg>

    <http://www.lelabofragrances.com>
    Le Labo ph *+ 1 212 219 2230
    Le Labo fx - + 1212 219 2231

    SAVE PAPER - THINK BEFORE YOU PRINT!

    From: "Saif F." <>
    Date: Wed, 8 Jun 2011 22:22:06 +0400
    To: Eddie Roschi <[email protected]>
    Cc: Info Le Labo <[email protected]>, "[email protected]" <[email protected]>
    Subject: Re: [contact] GENERAL QUESTIONS ?

    Hello Eddie,

    I assume that any partner managing your stores is bound by the terms and conditions you, as Le Labo, set for them to operate with. You dictate them.*

    Just to be clear, why is it hard for the Abu Dhabi Le Labo to honor a refill? Isn't it as simple as re-using my bottle with the same perfume they make? Instead of pouring it into a new bottle, just pour it into mine and charge less as indicated on the website.*

    I walked into Le Labo that day intending on refilling Patchouli 24 and Oud 27 and buying a full bottle of Iris 39. all 100ml.*
    Because they refused to honor the refill of my patchouli and Oud.*
    I was forced to buy patchouli 24. I decided to refrain from buying another bottle of Oud 27 and Iris because i decided to contact Le Labo to make sure there is no refill program in Abu Dhabi.*

    Now I'm probably not going to refill my Oud 27 bottle, nor am I going to buy the Iris 39 because I am upset with the service from the corner store and disappointed with the response from Le Labo management.*

    Pure Oud *by Killian is excellent and Hiris by Hermes will suffice as an Iris perfume ( till i go to Paris in July and buy Iris Silver Mist from the Palais Royale boutique of Serge Lutens). Plus I know for a fact that by Killian has a refill program in Abu Dhabi.*

    Regards,

    Saif
    *
    Sent from my iPad

    On 8 Jun 2011, at 19:22, "founders @ LeLabo" <[email protected]> wrote:

    Dear Saif,

    All our stores have refills, unfortunately we can't always control the speed at which our partners that manage our corners, and*when they decide to,*implement some of our programs.

    Abu Dhabi and Dubai will have refill programs soon. *In the meantime we have corrected the text on our website to avoid any future misunderstandings and potential misleads.

    Just to make sure that I have all the correct information before I contact our partners in Abu Dhabi to ask them to solve this for you, may I ask you :

    Did the corner in Abu Dhabi refill your bottle and ask you to pay the full price ? *Or did you end up purchasing a new bottle ? *May you let us know what perfume and size you purchased ?

    Thank you.

    Best wishes

    Eddie
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  20. #20

    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    Great news - terrific response from the company - we like happy endings

    I'm impressed that Le Labo reworked their website so quickly. It's very interesting to see how this has unfolded, the world is getting smaller and faster - although this may have been an uncomfortable exercise, having the spotlight shone so brightly on the company, the sheer transparency of it all has left me sitting here thinking, wow - okay, sorted.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    So glad you got a resolution. This, though, is priceless:

    "We are also known for our excellent customer service and i would be surprised if any other brand's founder would have dealt with your issue so quickly and personally."

    I think it's better to let your customers decide that. One of those things you might think but probably shouldn't say out loud to your distressed customer.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    Glad to see Le Labo finally took you seriously. The free bottle was a nice gesture on their part.

    I still find the faux-apothecary aesthetic a bit much, but it's good to know there is some substance behind the "style".

  23. #23

    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    In response to my last email: (in bold)

    ---------------------------

    From: "Saif F." <>
    Date: Thu, 9 Jun 2011 18:18:30 +0400
    To: Eddie Roschi <[email protected]>
    Cc: Info Le Labo <[email protected]>, "[email protected]" <[email protected]>
    Subject: Re: [contact] GENERAL QUESTIONS ?

    Good day,

    I am impressed and not too sure whether other brand founders would take it upon themselves to converse on such detailed levels with a customer and in such a swift manner.

    I can now say that Le Labo has excellent customer service because everyone makes mistakes but not everyone reconciles them properly.*

    I will definitely make this known so that Le Labo gets the recignigotion it earns. * Thank You.

    I have a question, how different will the reformulated Patchouli 24 be ? *

    Olfactively very difficult to smell the difference. *Color-wise new one will be much clearer. *But you should be the best judge on this. *Do you want London to send you sample of new P24 ?


    Will other creations also be affected by the lack of resource that led to the change in patchouli 24?

    *As of today no and it is usually very rare. *We truly hope not as we are the first ones to be disappointed by any changes.

    Can you make it known to customers when a certain creation will be reformulated? *

    Yes we always do. *Patchouli 24 is the good example. *No smells evolve without us letting our clients know.

    This way the customer has a chance to stock up on that perfume before it's gone forever.*
    Lastly, what's coming up? I have santal 33 on order right now. I can't wait to try it.

    * Santal 33 is our latest launch and is proving to be a great success so we are very happy with it. *Not sure when future launch will be as you know we don't launch a lot of scents. *We are busy opening a new store in San Francisco so that is keeping us busy.

    Best regards,

    Saif

    Sent from my iPad
    Last edited by hedonist222; 9th June 2011 at 06:14 PM.
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  24. #24

    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    Quote Originally Posted by hedonist222 View Post
    We are also known for our excellent customer service and i would be surprised if any other brand's founder would have dealt with your issue so quickly and personally.
    Quoted for emphasis. Sounds like you were treated extremely fairly.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    It is nice to see they made things "nice" and were quick about it. Hopefully they will do this in the future immediately and not after much back and forth.
    Quand on boit l'eau, il faut penser sa source

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    They do have great customer service! They replaced a faulty bottle of mine and threw in a travel spray (both city exclusives).

  27. #27

    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    A nice gesture, but I still feel it a bit of a smokescreen.

    Le Labo were uncooperative and unwilling to offer any resolution UNTIL you mentioned your correspondence is being made public here at Basenotes. Then Eddie's tune changed drastically.

    YES the outcome was favourable to you, but NO, it was not at all forthcoming until you told them their laundry was out to air.

    Personally, I'm afraid this does little to change my attitude towards the brand and their customer service.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    These things cannot be long hidden: the Sun, the Moon, the Truth--Buddha

  29. #29

    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    Quote Originally Posted by Sorcery of Scent View Post
    A nice gesture, but I still feel it a bit of a smokescreen.

    Le Labo were uncooperative and unwilling to offer any resolution UNTIL you mentioned your correspondence is being made public here at Basenotes. Then Eddie's tune changed drastically.

    YES the outcome was favourable to you, but NO, it was not at all forthcoming until you told them their laundry was out to air.

    Personally, I'm afraid this does little to change my attitude towards the brand and their customer service.
    Sorcery, I agree with you. Had hedonist NOT mentioned that he aired his complaint on an international fragrance forum--thus shaming them into cooperation--they would have just ignored him.

    A good move, yes, I am still not impressed. They should have done the right thing from the beginning.

    It's like a celebrity doing something bad, then all of a sudden becoming contrite and apologetic.

    And this response, bragging about the personal and swift customer service, got me laughing:

    "Hello Saif
    We will send you a 100 ml of Iris 39 free of charge.
    We are also known for our excellent customer service and i would be surprised if any other brand's founder would have dealt with your issue so quickly and personally.
    We want our clients to be happy with our perfumes and our service even though it's not always easy to guarantee the same level of service across all locations.
    Thanks for enabling us to rectify our communication on the refills on our website and sorry for this frustration.
    Best wishes
    Eddie"

    They were just doing major damage control when they were caught giving poor customer service in front of an international fragrance-buying community.

    The free Iris bottle was their means of public relations damage control, not making up for a mistake.
    Last edited by Primrose; 11th June 2011 at 05:08 PM.
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  30. #30
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    Default Re: Le Labo Refills - be aware

    That's the impression I got as well - not unlike the flusters of someone caught on camera with his fly unzipped. Still they came through in the end, hopefully the wiser. Thanks in no small part to kbe's eloquently worded response.

    Congrats & enjoy the 100ml of Iris 39.

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