So last February, I decide to try ordering beer online for the first time. New Orleans had a limited (though great) selection of beer and I love trying new beer, so I thought this was perfect.
Yes, it was going to be expensive, due to shipping, but I thought it would be worth it…at least once. Boy, was I wrong! What a mess.
The reason why I chose Brewforia over other online stores, was that they had their selection all laid out for you to see, and you could just check off which ones you wanted. I had read good reviews about them too. I also heard Bruisin Ales was a great place, but since you didn’t know what they had in stock currently, it would have involved more back and forth emails to see IF something was in stock or not and to find out how much it would cost, since that was also not on their site. Perhaps I should have gone with them anyway….
So here is the story from start to finish of my disaster order with Brewforia:
February 20,2012: I made an order with Brewforia that cost approx $100, including shipping. I received an order confirmation from Tatiana at Brewforia. I also received a confirmation email from customer support listing my entire order.
February 22, 2012: I received an email from customer support that said there was a glitch in their system and two of the beers I wanted were “done for the season”…did I want to replace those two?
Ok, that’s totally fine. It happens…it was only 2 beers. Same day, I responded telling them just to credit the amount back to my credit card, if it was already charged or just to take those two off the order. I didn’t want two different beers. Seems pretty simple, right?
February 24, 2012: I received an email from customer support saying my order had shipped….my entire order…including the two beers they claimed they didn’t have.
I wrote right back asking if they indeed found those two beers, or if they would be refunding my credit card for them.
March 3, 2012: I received a box of beer…missing 9 bottles of beer plus the glass I ordered! Hmmm….ok, I thought. Maybe there’s another box coming? What I found strange was that there was no order sheet in the box. Anytime anyone sends anything, there’s always a receipt in the box. Hmmm…..
I emailed them right away, that day.
I called the store and they said Tatiana just left and I needed to email her about this. So I did.
No response. For a LONG time.
March 16, 2012: Tatiana writes back in response to the missing beer. Here’s her response:
“...the distributor is still out of stock on The Bison Brown and The Fishtale Organic Amber and the Scuttlebutt IPA. We normally get a couple of orders a week from these distributors and we keep on ordering them and they keep on saying they are out of stock. I know it’s been a very long time but what would you like to do? I don’t want you to have to wait longer than you already have? Do you want me to go ahead and send out what we have and make some substitutions for the ones we are out of? Or maybe you would like me to send what we have an issue a refund for what we are out of? Just let me know and I’ll take care of this.“
May I add that the three beers you see listed that are out of stock in that message are completely different than the ones mentioned earlier, which were seasonal beers (New Belgium Frambozen and Wasatch Winterfest)! No explanation why there were 9 bottles and a glass missing from my order. And of course, there are more out of stock now that it’s weeks later!
Is that how it works? If it’s out of stock, they just don’t send it and don’t tell you? (first, they should update their site…those that she mentioned that were out of stock were listed as in stock on the website at the time she wrote the email)
I emailed her back right away (as it sometimes takes them weeks to get back) and explained the Twitter happenings (I tweeted with Brewforia a week earlier than this most recent email and found out they were only out of the Uinta Dubhe, so I told them an exact beer of equal value to replace it with. They said no problem, box would go out right away…it didn’t).
By this time, even more beers were out of stock (from my original order). I emailed the list of exactly which beers they still owed me (that I’d already paid for). I asked for them to let me know ASAP exactly which of those beers were out of stock and I would email a list of replacements so they could ship them out right away.
March 19,2012: I received an email from customer service (Tatiana) telling me which beers I was missing, and explaining that she substituted those that were out of stock with other ones (of her choice instead of mine) and gave me the tracking number of the shipment.
At this point, I was done. I just wanted this over. I knew I’d already had several of the beers she substituted and why would I pay that much money for someone to send me those when I’d already had them? Anyway, I left it at that and just waited for my box.
March 26, 2012: My final beer shipment arrived. Unfortunately, the awesome Petrus chalice I ordered was completely shattered (as you can see above). I had been saving my Petrus to drink out of it…but alas, I had to use my Cantillion glass (from Avenue Pub):
I didn’t bother to complain to Brewforia. I was done.
Maybe it was a fluke that I had such bad luck with them, since others didn’t seem to have these problems. I’m not going to say YOU shouldn’t order from them, since others have had good luck with them and they do have a good selection of beer. But I am going to say that I will never order from them again.
Where have you ordered beer online? I think I will steer clear of online beer ordering for the time being and enjoy my new beer surroundings in New England!