My horrible customer service experience with VMV Hypoallergenics

Disclaimers before this post:
1. I love VMV Hypoallergenics‘ products. Theirs is the only sunblock I use. They produce the only makeup I can use. Love their hair conditioner and moisturizing milk lotion too. So I’m writing this because while their products are fantastic and worth every peso, bad customer service can happen anywhere.

2. This has been settled. They apologized and gave me a certificate for a free facial BUT STILL. This experience needs to be told so that there’s a record of this event. Hopefully it doesn’t happen ever again.

The situation:
Late December 2013, I placed two separate orders in VMV Hypoallergenics Philippines’ online store. I placed two orders because the 2nd item I ordered (Armada Face and Body Shield 60 sunblock) wasn’t available the first time around. My first order of the Armada Sport 70 sunblock arrived in January 2014 but the Shield 60 did not. I called the VMV office and after their CS agent checked, found out that 1) both orders were accidentally tagged with the same shipping number, resulting in my second order being classified as “shipped” even though it was not, and 2) the Shield 60 was already out of stock again. Okay, no problem with that. Slip-ups happen occasionally. I asked for a refund for the Shield 60 since I’d changed my mind and wanted to get the Face Cover 30 instead. Here comes the shitty part.

VMV refund

As you can see in the email notification, VMV’s customer service unit recorded my request for refund on January 8. The email said the refund would take 2-4 weeks, although the agent on the phone said that it would actually take 4-6 weeks. She said this was an issue with their payment gateway. Okay, fine. Well, not exactly fine since it meant waiting for 4-6 weeks to get my refund but what can you do, right?

Come February 3, I still hadn’t received the refund. I call VMV’s customer service again. Their agent said that they’d prioritize it.

I call again on February 14 to follow up. The agent apologized, said she’d call me back within the day. She never did.

Come February 18, I was royally pissed already. I called VMV again to follow up. Their agent was useless, didn’t give me a straight answer as to why I hadn’t received it yet. I post and tweet pissed-off messages on the official VMV Hypoallergenics Philippines Facebook pageΒ and Twitter. These posts get me very apologetic replies within a few hours. The same agent says that the refund request was submitted to their payment gateway last February 14 (HUWAW, February 14 lang?!) and that I should get the refund by next week. She also offered me a coupon for 25% off and a free yacht bag as an apology.

By February 28, I still hadn’t received the refund!!! I called BPI to check if they’d received the refund request. The BPI agent said that she couldn’t check the status from where she was. She could only see if it had been reflected in my account and no, I hadn’t received it yet. Cue ANOTHER angry Facebook post. They replied via Facebook, said that BPI said that there’s usually a 5-7 day wait then a charge slip is issued to authorize the charge reversal. By my count, if they’d submitted the refund request by February 18, then the 7-working day deadline was February 27. Adrianne, the head of the web team for VMV, called me to apologize again and said that if BPI still has not reflected the refund by next week, then she’ll submit a request to her superiors to authorize a cash refund instead. She also said that VMV was offering me a certificate for a free facial for the hassle and apologized again (Adrianne sounded sincere and I like her more than the previous CS agent I talked to).

I finally got my refund on March 6 after two freaking months. Texted Adrianne to tell her that I got the refund. She called, said that she was glad that I got the refund and that the offer for the free facial was still open. I accepted it (heck, I went through all that trouble so why not accept it?) and the certificate arrived in the mail last March 8.

vmv certificate1

Moral of the story? Keep following up with companies. Seriously. It pains me that this happened with VMV Hypoallergenics, a company whose products I actually love (perhaps I shall post a nice story about their awesomesauce skincare products when I get the time). I placed orders after after the second one and they all arrived complete and on time, so it looks like this fiasco was a very unusual occurrence. Hopefully it stays that way.

Experiencing bliss at Chocolate Mint Spa

They serve you hot or iced tea while you wait.

After three days of the exhausting madness that was Toycon 2012, I spent two afternoons last week trying to de-stress. My very generous mother gave me her coupon for a free Swedish aromatherapy massage at Chocolate Mint Spa, as well as the use of the other coupons in the booklet.

The first thing you need to know about the Chocolate Mint Spa is that they take their business hours seriously. They disconnect their phone outside of business hours (1pm-1am). While this is an admirable trait, I definitely would have appreciated it if, instead, they left the phone connected and used an answering machine to tell me that they’re not open yet and to leave a message to set an appointment. How was I supposed to know that the phone was just temporarily disconnected and not broken like I’d originally thought?

Chocolate Mint Spa (CMS) is located on the second floor of the building that also houses Banco de Oro along President’s Ave. in BF Homes, Paranaque. The building is across the street from Pancake House and Starbucks. The stairs to the second floor are on the left side. The sign is just above the stairs and is kind of small, so just look out for it.

Once you enter the spa, you’re greeted by a cozy atmosphere. The plush chairs are comfortable and they offer you a choice of hot or iced tea while you wait. They only turned on the ambiance music when I entered so hooray for energy conservation techniques.

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Dreaming of a massage from the Oils and Scrubs spa

There are two reasons why I love “groupons” (or group coupons, as Groupon as technically a brand but whatever :P): 1) I love getting stuff at a discount (who doesn’t?) and 2) it gets me to try new places I wouldn’t have otherwise. Aids and I ended up trying Oils and Scrubs Spa before I left for Palawan after buying a voucher for a honey and oatmeal treatment, glutathione body scrub, and one hour massage and I have to say, the experience was just heavenly.

First off: the spa is hard to find at the moment because the facade of the building they’re in is under renovation so the spa window is hidden under a blue tarp. Ack. The spa is almost at the corner of Arnaiz Ave. and Amorsolo St in Makati, beside BPI.

This was my first time to get a body scrub so I had no idea what to expect. With our scrub and massage combination, the scrub is done first then the massage. They give you disposable underwear to wear and the bed is covered in plastic. The therapist rubbed the glutathione in first, starting from my shoulders then down to the rest of my body and my arms. Even the body scrub was relaxing! The glutathione scrub is supposed to result in fairer skin, but of course you need multiple sessions for that so I can’t say if the treatment worked on me or not. The honey and oatmeal treatment came next, with the oatmeal acting as a mild exfoliator and honey as a moisturizer. Lucky for me that oatmeal happens to be good for sensitive skin. The treatment was very… sticky. LOL. Like I said, it was my first time to get a body scrub and I found my muscles cramping from having to stay in the same position for the entire time I was left alone after the application of the treatment. I could have moved but moving while sticky was more uncomfortable than the muscle cramps. I was also at the mercy of the “relaxing” nature sounds soundtrack of the spa. Nothing against recorded nature sounds, but they don’t relax me. I would have preferred to hear some Foo Fighters instead but that’s me πŸ˜› Next time I go here, I’ll get the non-sticky body scrubs.

After an eternity of stickiness (though it was probably only about 15 minutes), I was instructed to shower and wash off the oatmeal and honey. Be sure to ask for a fresh towel prior to getting into the shower as they initially only provide you with a bathrobe and the robe isn’t exactly that useful for drying off. This is also when you toss the disposable underwear and put your own undies on for the massage.

The massage was wonderful. I wish I could tell you what massage style they used (Oils and Scrubs offers Swedish, Shiatsu, and Oriental Stick Massage) or how exactly they pressed into my aching muscles (I requested for a harder massage than their standard) but I conked out after around 15 minutes. Now, I rarely fall asleep during a massage – who can sleep when someone’s prodding you every minute? – but this time was one of those rare times where sheer exhaustion combined with the perfect pressure and produced a vegetable Macy,

My rating: 9/10 (I’d have given them a 10/10 but I live in Paranaque so their place isn’t convenient for me and they’re admittedly on the pricier side if you pay full price).

OILS AND SCRUBS SPA CO.
Ground Floor, Gervasia Centre, Amorsolo Street,
Legaspi Village, Makati City Philippines
Tel. No.: (632) 519-6782, (63) 917 5250082

Download their service menu

Skincare, the Dermalosophy way

The people who know me know that I’m probably one of the least kikay people on the planet. I only use makeup when I need to go into the office and wear contacts only when I’m in costume (as per XO Aids, “Walang Jedi na may glasses“).I finally caved and got my first facial and acne pricking last year – the acne just got so bad – but I had to stop about three months ago because of the expense. I started getting facials again last March because of the Groupon deal for a deep cleansing facial and intense pulsed laser (IPL) underarm treatment at Dermalosophy and I have to say, it was absolutely worth it.

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The Dermalosophy clinic

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