A friend of mine whose judgment is usually sound forwarded a Facebook ad for a pair of shoes. The ad was convincing and described a pair of steel toe work shoes for $70.99 with $3.99 shipping for a total of $74.98. I placed an order online and received the shoes about two weeks later. Unfortunately I had ordered a Size 11 and what they shipped was on the smallish side of a 10.5, so they didn’t fit. | No big deal, right? Just contact the company and ask for an exchange. Well… not so fast. The company, which apparently uses more than one identity (their website is Stableon.com but we were charged by something called ChicFab Ltd.) has a return policy on its website, which states in part as follows: “Thank you so much for shopping with us! When it comes to purchasing online we know how difficult it can be to determine what works for you. With that in mind we are excited to launch our new and improved, simplified, return policy and process to make returning items easy. | Online purchase made through stableon.com can be returned or exchanged within 15 days from the delivered date.” For the record: I contacted them within 24 hours of delivery. Sounds great, right? Except that when you actually try to make a return (only AFTER they have your money and they have shipped you the wrong item), here’s what they tell you via email: “If you want to exchange or return, the return shipping costs about $35-$45 (Our factory in China）This is not cost-effective. | So I suggest that you can give your clothes to your friends. Or go to the tailor shop to modify the size. We hope that you can consider accepting our partial compensation and you keep your shoes.” The “partial compensation” offered was $10 on a $74.98 order, or about 13%. Leaving aside the absurdity of going to a tailor shop to modify a shoe size, or keeping shoes that don’t fit, I went to the StableOn.com website for an escalation policy (by this time I was no longer interested in an exchange – this called for a refund). And lo and behold, there it was – a complaint escalation policy: “If the customer is dissatisfied with the solution offered by our Customer Service, the customer may contact our Ticket Supervisor by submitting a new ticket in ‘submit a formal complaint’ section as follows: | Contact us > Submit a ticket > Select Warranty &return > Submit a formal complaint. We will respond to all complaint within 24 hours except on weekends and public holidays.” There’s just one teensy problem with that policy: there IS no “Submit a Ticket” area in Contact Us (or anywhere else on their site). Just the service at stableon.com email address. Obviously they plagiarized some other company’s fine print to populate the legal-text parts of their website but don’t actually follow the policies they plagiarized. | So we tried again, pointing out that the mistake was theirs and therefore the return shipping should be on them, but that even if they expected a customer who was sent the wrong item to pay return shipping, the shipping cost TO US was only $3.99. So that was the max we should be expected to pay. The reply: “We shipped from China, is just transfer station , the return shipping fee is very high, it will cost you about $35, so we suggest you take the $22 refund.” (Note how the refund increased from $10 to $22). This went round and round, with tiny subsequent increments in the offered tiny refund. | Their final email read: “We only receive returning parcels in china now, the shipping fee will be very expensive. The shipping cost will be more than 30-35 dollars. At the same time. there is possibility the parcel can be dirted or lost on the long shipping, we will have no way to offer any refund. Hope you can accept a refund of $28, which is maybe the best way for you at present.” | We are pursuing a refund via our payment method, but I’ve read a couple of online cases where StableOn has prevailed in an appeal because whoever judged the appeal accepted their statement that the customer didn’t properly pursue a refund request according to the policies published on their site (you know, the ones you CAN’T follow because the link doesn’t exist). Bottom line: avoid these people like the plague. Even if they ship the right product, it might fail in a week and now you know how you’ll be dealt with if something goes wrong.