BEWARE FABLETICS SCAM!

by Naomi Clark on January 15, 2017

fabletics 1fabletics2It’s January! And in case you haven’t noticed the Yoga Studio is extra busy – we’re ALL looking to kick off 2017 with new activewear to complement New Year’s resolutions, right? It’s a good time to issue an IMPORTANT WARNING to you Yogis about my recent unpleasant experience with a company called FABLETICS UK.

A couple of months ago I noticed two of my yoga students wearing pretty sports bras –  ‘Fabletics!‘ they chirped ‘Really cheap, check it out!’ I’m fortunate that I’m given most of the Yoga gear I need by a few different companies to trial  – who know what I like to wear – but having invested in a Sweaty Betty barre vest with a cute cross back and wanting a little low budget brightly coloured cheapie bra top to wear underneath, I thought I’d check them out and hopped online. 

I’m pretty much familiar with all the yogi brands around from Onzie, Yoga Bela to Sweaty Betty and new kids on the block Bikram Yogis Yogangster, La Lucci and Festi- to-Vinyasa attire Burnt Soul, so was surprised to have not yet heard of this international sportswear company, Fabletics. The site was overly busy in design with randomly varying price options but the gear looked ok and it’s owned by actress Kate Hudson, ‘Oh, she’s nice, isn’t she?’ I half-mused.

Like Sweaty Betty and most other athleisurewear brands (I love that word!), there seemed to be an Ambassador programme they were calling ‘VIP’ where you could get a discount as a ‘Thank You’ for sharing and recommending products to your Students offering a cheaper option, which I chose. I persevered through the slightly confusing site (many items were sold out) and bought a couple of little tops for about £24 the pair. They annoyingly took a few weeks to arrive and although the design was ok, the fabric quality wasn’t that great or durable for Hot Yoga and the colours faded quickly. I got a couple of emails addressed to the VIP but that’s standard marketing in leisurewear. I wasn’t planning on buying any more items from Fabletics. 

So I was surprised then, to check my online banking and see that Fabletics had taken another £44 out of my account a month later! 

Checking previous emails to see if I’d made some sleepy midnight purchase which I’d promptly forgotten (I hadn’t) I noticed several marketing newsletters about the VIP programme which I then googled and saw these, to name a few…

http://fableticssucks.co.uk

https://fabletics.pissedconsumer.com

http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5150889

http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/style_and_beauty/2249696-Does-anyone-know-about-Fabletics

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-3253754/Kate-Hudson-s-Fabletics-fashion-wear-brand-fire.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3500874/Fury-Kate-Hudson-s-Fabletics-scam-Customers-threaten-sue-firm-claims-ve-ripped-hidden-monthly-charges-taking-VIP-membership.html

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-22/fabletics-exercise-clothing-retailer-warning-accc/7532844

https://www.talkphotography.co.uk/threads/fabletics-a-company-with-probably-the-worst-reviews-ever.585231/

http://uk.businessinsider.com/are-justfab-and-fabletics-scams-2015-9

http://www.rosesandtherest.com/2016/02/fableticscouk.html?m=1

http://www.independent.co.uk/money/spend-save/kate-hudsons-online-sports-brand-fabletics-drains-your-account-if-you-dont-say-stop-10456614.html

 

 …and I realised I’d been duped! 

I called one of the original students who mentioned Fabletics to me to ask her if she knew it was a scam and that she might be ripped off too.  ‘Oh it’s fine’, she said, ‘you have a 4 day period to call them every month if you DON’T want to buy anything and then they don’t take £44 out.’ 

What? You have to remember to call the company in a brief 4 day window every month to ask them not to charge you for shopping you haven’t bought?! Imagine if I charged my students for not coming to yoga because they didn’t tell me they weren’t coming and had only in fact come once to practise and never returned?! Excuse me…

Surely, this is ILLEGAL? Yup, it’s called ‘Inertia Selling.’ 

inertia selling. n. (Commerce) (in Britain) the illegal practice of sending unrequested goods to householders followed by a bill for the price of the goods if they do not return them

Except that I didn’t have any goods…that I’d already paid for…and there’s the kicker…if you DON’T have any goods yet, it’s actually kinda legal. Immoral, unethical, but for the moment, not against the law.

So I Tweeted the company directly to cancel this ‘VIP Membership’ and was told that they had ‘Signed me up Automatically’ (how dreadfully thoughtful of them) and that they couldn’t cancel via social media. 

PLEASE CANCEL ME TWEET

So I emailed, and was told I couldn’t cancel via email, I would have to telephone them. 

Except the number to call them on costs 35p a minute* and you’re speaking to someone in the Phillipines who doesn’t have English as a first language so line up dem dollars baby!  

Desperate to put this matter to bed and feeling bolstered by all the good information from www.fableticssucks.co.uk (go here if you have also been a FabVictim and tell them your story!) I sucked it up to call the company…

The phone rang. And rang. And rang. No answer. I tried to get through on 15 different occasions over 4 days with no luck. There is simply no answer on the automated option for cancellations. 

Meanwhile, I was getting response after response to my public Twitter rants, from ladies in a similar situation asking for advice to get them out of this ‘contract’ with Fabletics, some had had nearly £1000 taken from their bank accounts. I felt for them. Occasionally I would get a tweet from Fabletics saying ‘We are not a scam.’ But, if you’re not scamming people then why would you have to vehemently deny being a scam?

Fortunately my bank recognised the name immediately ‘Oh yes, that company is famous for scamming people, weren’t they on Watchdog?’ And were awesome, putting me straight away to the fraud department, refunding my 44 quid and cancelling all future payments – but what if I hadn’t noticed? – that’s nearly £600 per year that would have gone out of my account had I not been on the ball.

HOW can I have been so daft?

I went back to the site, to retrace my steps and see where Oh where I’ve agreed to giving Fabletics £44 a month…Small print? Nothing popped up to CLICK saying ‘You are now going to pay £44 per month”. In fact, it was in tiny letters in the bottom left hand of a photo.

I included that screenshot from my phone at the top of this blog. Did YOU notice it? (scroll up for another look…) Can you even read it? Exactly.

So I’ve reported Fabletics to Trading Standards and I’ve written this blog, and I’ve tweeted about the whole process…

So please, please please do not have anything to do with this unethical company. And if you’ve already been caught as I was and you are are going around in circles trying to un-VIP yourself, then you can do 2 things – 

  1. Call your bank IMMEDIATELY and request the Fraud Department to put a stop to all payments to Fab UK/Just Fab/Fabletics UK or Fabletics. They may also refund previous amounts if you report it soon enough (I believe within 30 days.)
  1. Don’t bother tweeting, emailing or trying to exhaust yourself calling Fabletics. It’s fruitless. Write them a letter to 8-10 Dryden St, London, WC2E 9NE with your name address and customer number saying that you do not give permission for any payment to come from your account to theirs and send it RECORDED delivery so they have to sign for it. Photograph letter and envelope for your own records and send a copy of this to your bank. 

recorded letter fabletics

Finally, after all this, I received this (final email) from Fabletics…

hoorah!

PHEW…..and the ordeal is over – Hoorah!

My NEXT BLOG lists all my favourite yoga clothing brands & why I love them AND I have some YUMMY discount codes for them all…so subscribe here to get your discounted athleisurewear now THAT’S fabulous! 

Namaste!

 Naomi x
*UPDATE  www.fableticssucks.co.uk have since told me that due to persistent legal pressure fabletics have now introduced a new telephone number and are no longer allowed to use a Premium-Rate number – small mercies!
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