• Tue, Dec 21 2010

Feel Cheated By ModCloth? Share Your Story!

Whoa! Yesterday we shared one blogger’s frustrating account of questionable practices by ModCloth, in which the online retailer may have been marking up the same items you can get at places like Forever 21 and Lulu’s for a fraction of the cost.

Our post, ModCloth Might Be Ripping You Off was met with the resounding reply: well, yes, yes it is!

Readers’ accounts were split like so: some found items on ModCloth that were dramatically cheaper elsewhere, while others were just (rightly) pissed that they spent $60 on a poorly-sewn dress made of flimsy material.

Have you ever had a run-in with ModCloth that left you feeling ripped off or duped? If you have links or pictures of the items in question (or even just an anecdote) let us know. E-mail us or leave your story in the comments!

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  • sarahk

    Yep, purchased a red, polka dot dress that was supposed to have a one shoulder with ruffling and when I got it, it was so flimsy it was see-through, the ruffle was droopy cotton and the fit was incredibly strange.

  • Veronica

    My biggest problem with modcloth is the ridiculous item descriptions.

    I expected to be ripped off when I shopped there – you’re paying for convenience and the aggregation of styles you like into one central online location – but I just can’t stomach reading through two paragraphs of “whimsical” bullshit just to find out some practical details about the dress I’m looking out.

    I can’t believe they actually pay people to write things like this description (for a $107 dress):

    “You’re so often compared to the classic film starlets you adore, you’re starting to wonder if you too are meant to grace the screen.

    Well, if fame hasn’t found you yet, it surely will come knocking at your door after you spend an evening out in this vivacious frock by Pinup Couture.

    This slinky number in heading-turning bright red is sure to secure your place as an adored ingenue with the help of the enticing wrapped bust with pleated detail, captivating cap sleeves, and a waist sash that shows off your sizzling figure”

    I could probably have held this job when I was writing bad poetry in my 7th grade journal.

    • Julie

      The writing on that site is atrocious. But I heard they pay horribly. Hey, (unlike the crappy overpriced clothes) at least someone is getting what they paid for!

  • Megan

    A few ideas, before this gets into a ModCloth flame war. No, I’m not associated with them…and yes, I’ve returned a few products that weren’t in any way as nice as I thought they’d be.

    Does ModCloth claim, anywhere, to have only unique styles? In a few years of looking (and occasionally purchasing) from them, I don’t think I’ve ever seen them claim exclusivity, except on a few items. They do claim to buy from independent designers– but they don’t claim that no one else is buying from them, either. Am I missing something?

    I think with regard to ModCloth, you have to remember a few things:

    1) It’s a business. They’ll mark up a price as much as they can; they’re in it for the money, bottom line. They may love fashion, but they also need to pay their bills.
    2) You run the risk of buying crappy stuff from them as much as you do anywhere else. On the internet, you can’t see an item; you can’t touch it, or try it on. Regardless of item condition, it’s ModCloth’s prerogative to attempt a sale. If you saw an item description saying “This has shoddy seams, is disproportionately designed, and isn’t made for plump girls,” well, then the writing team’s not doing their job. Would you expect a car salesman to tell you the faults of the car? No–they’re there to make a sale, just as ModCloth writers are. You buy at your own risk.

    I admit that I’ve never been to a clothing trade show, but I know designers there are trying to sell their clothing. Have you ever bought something that looked great in the store, only to get it home and note that it stretched out almost immediately, or frayed, or seams came undone in the wash? What does ModCloth do when they’re suddenly in possession of a large quantity of clothing that doesn’t wear like what they saw at the show, and in reality looks like hell? Well, they try to sell it. The same as any business does. Hoping someone buys it and likes it is better than taking a loss.

    If you can find a better price at Forever 21 or another store, good for you–consider the source. You may be getting a copy, or you may be getting the exact same item ModCloth is trying to sell you. ModCloth doesn’t claim to have better items. Forever 21 has the buying power and pricing of a national chain; ModCloth is a bit more like the boutique up the street. Look at it this way: Do you expect to pay more money buying your groceries from a national (or regional) chain, or from the mom-and-pop store? Of course, you pay more for the small business’ products. Whether the quality is the same is debatable–and I don’t know about you, but my big-box grocery store has a section where they sell local products. In some instances, I can buy apples from my organic co-op–but the apple farm the co-op buys from just may be selling them to the supermarket up the street, too. I still pay more to buy from the co-op than the supermarket, for the same product. You never know until you do the research.

    They do make up for this (at least in my opinion) with a very lenient return policy–you may pay for your shipping, but you at least don’t pay to return something. They also post reviews. With the exception of brand-new items, you can read reviews to see whether the item you’re considering is of decent quality and fit.

    So–I’m really not sure why the whole “ModCloth is ripping me off” idea is a hot button. Might they be charging you a higher price? Sure. Might you find items somewhere else? Sure. Are items not what you think they’ll be when you try them on? Possibly. But they don’t claim otherwise. I don’t think ModCloth has invited themselves to be held to a higher standard; I don’t understand why we attempt to impose one. Explain it to me.

    • MAD

      Well, from working there, I can tell you that they change the item names so you can’t search for it. So Brand X Red Lollipop Dress because they change it to “Crimson Petals Boudoir Dress”. Now if you want to compare, you can’t unless you go out of your way to do some heavy research into figuring out what item that is.

      To me, that’s underhanded and I can’t fairly compare. Plus, they tout having good benefits, but are a revolving door. They say “oh yeah you can get them! they’re awesome!” but then you hit the 80 day mark and suddenly you didn’t make your quota well enough. To be honest though, most people don’t last more than a month. The warehouse has no air conditioning or heating and they never rotate positions. Which means if you are folding little boxes, you do that for 7.5 hours. If you are folding clothes, you do that for 7.5. For portraying themselves to a be higher standard than other retail places is a JOKE. I have worked in multiple warehouses before and after my time there and I have never been in a retail environment that shady (including megabigboxes.)

      What’s even worse is that I’ve even seen the cheap dresses from Macy’s and the like (no more than $20 there, not including coupons) and they sell them for $50. The cost markup is insane, because they get the dress for $10.

      They also edit the reviews too. =/

    • Ally

      Just use tineye.com to do a reverse search on the promotional image. Then there’s no heavy research required. This has saved me a ton in retail price, postage, and international import tax on Modcloth items.

    • http://www.foreverashley.com Ashley LaMar

      Or just do a google search by image and you’ll find it a ton of places. I usually shop ModCloth for accessories and I’ve never had a problem.

    • henrietta

      I think you are confusing rip-offs with scams. I don’t think people are saying that ModCloth is running some sort of deceitful & shady scam (at least on their website; their warehouse sounds like another thing). But they are indeed a rip-off (and now that I’ve read the inside story from a worker, their wholesome image definitely doesn’t hold water). That their items are a rip-off simply means that they are overcharging (taking a much higher profit margin than other retailers) for most items that are lower priced at most other places. It means that their mark-up from manufacture to online shop is insane! It is nothing about being held to a higher standard and everything to do with smart consumers waking up and realizing that the quality of the dresses and items are not as high or well-made as the effective marketing would have you believe (having purchased a few shoddily made and flimsy dresses, I agree). Also, just fyi to your claim, their return policy has changed. It is no longer free for true returns.

  • kinz

    I always loved the way their dresses looked in the ads, so one day I decided I would order two. I’m a fairly big girl, about 5’10″ and wear a size 8-10 so I ordered a large. As it turns out their larges are meant for someone no taller than 5′ and possibly a size 14. It fit me like a babydoll from VS might. Very strange sizing, indeed.

    • Porcelina

      When ordering from anywhere online, always check measurements! They have listed on the site that it is juniors sizing. You cannot go wrong with measurements.

    • DreaTheGreat

      I find the complete opposite, I am a true size 12, which their L is supposed to be. I have ordered over 4 dresses in a size L and all had to go back because they were meant for a size 8 or under.

  • Werner

    Two questions:
    (1) Does The Gloss have the same venture cap funding as Forever 21?
    (2) If you could’ve gotten a cheaper knockoff somewhere else on the Internet, that is your own fault.

    • TheChefette

      is number 2 a question?

  • Stina

    I’ve been knowing this ever since I saw their Hot Air Balloon Dress at F21 weeks after I bought it (but returned it due to the crap quality). I bought it in pink, but I remember seeing a black version offered on their website as well. The black one had better reviews than the pink. Anyways, I saw the black one at F21 for $24.50, and it was being sold on Modcloth for 44$. Another time I purchased a red crap quality dress for 44$ too, around the $40s price range, and saw it at a small boutique near my campus for 24$. So yeah, Modcloth is selling stuff at significantly higher price and trying to say their customer service is so……their clothing always falls apart, its never worth the price paid for. I try to stick to the accessories, but I’ve also seen some of their accessories with jacked up prices compared to other stores.

  • Jamie

    Oh man, I used to work at Forever 21, XXI, whichever one you shop at. And sure, you can find things cheaper there. If you want to deal with the mass amounts of crazy teenagers and equally as nutso adults that shop there as well. I can only handle going into F21 or even to their online site a couple times a year.

    I shop at ModCloth, not everything I got there has been perfect, but I have been pleasantly surprised on more than one account by the items I ordered., and by hearing Tegan and Sarah play on the customer service line while waiting to call in an exchange (another pleasant surprise!).

    Oh, and that’s another thing – you can’t return items at F21 for a cash refund. You can only get store credit. If it’s past 21 days (I think) then you’re sh*t out of luck, and stuck with your crappy purchase. Honestly, I’d rather pay more for a better return and exchange policy, and for a better experience while shopping. *Agree with Megan above

  • Nikita

    I was looking through Modcloth once and I noticed that they were selling the exact same top I bought earlier from H&M but for double the price I bought mine for. I left a comment pointing this out but later on that day, I received an email from the Modcloth crew that my comment had been deleted because they don’t allow posts from people who haven’t actually purchased the merchandise.

  • Bertha

    I saw a dress on Modcloth.com for 129.99… Saw the same dress on Lulus.com for 39.99. I am a loyal Lulu’s shopper now.

  • Hannah

    ModCloth and Forever21 are the same store!

    Okay, not EXACTLY but here’s how…

    They are both selling made in China knock offs of designer clothing.

    Forever21 has been sued dozens of times by designers for making cheap replicas of their designs. Here is a link to an article illustrating just that:
    http://ethicalstyle.com/2009/04/forever-21-copyright-lawsuit-to-go-to-trial/
    ModCloth has yet to be sued for copyright infringement, but I think anyone who’s ordered from them knows this: the clothes are poor quality.

    The fabrics are cheap, the stitching is bad, and the fit is strange because they’re made in a factory overseas. ModCloth’s clothes are Chinese knockoffs – bottom line.

    Forever21, Charlotte Russe, WetSeal, ModCloth, Urban Behavior, even Urban Outfitters. They all buy from a lot of the same factories.

    It’s ALL over priced.

  • Stasha Loren

    I loved Modcloth when I first discovered them, but then I started seeing the same exact items of clothing via karmaloop.com, lulus.com, delias.com, etc etc for at least $30 cheaper. I had paid $50 for a dress from Modcloth and when I received it it was TERRIBLE quality… I would have paid $15 for the dress not $50, so I returned it. Sure enough I was browsing through Delias one day and came across the same dress selling for $17.99. I bought it just to see if it was the exact same dress and it was the EXACT same dress. I posted a comment on Modcloth.com under the dress, and received an email saying something along the lines of “We cannot post your comment because it names another vendor and hinders the integrity of Modcloth.” Moral of the story is don’t buy anything from Modcloth before doing your homework.

  • Emma

    I know this is an old debate, but the outrage of this post is premised on an expectation that as consumers, it is our right to own tons of cute clothing for cheap, even if it’s crappy quality. As said above, Modcloth is an aggregator, so you’re not going to get the best fit or quality, but they’re also still a new company, so maybe they haven’t figured out how to sell their clothes for $10 by ripping ten people off somewhere down the line like Forever 21 or H & M. Just buy fewer things from better quality (better, local) designers and retailers. Check out local designers in your area! Many cities have designer collectives that sell beautiful stuff.

    • henrietta

      Very good point. Even if ModCloth is ripping off consumers (making unreasonably high markups), at the end of the day, it is all the poorly paid seamstresses and poorly treated warehouse workers who are getting ripped off by all of us. Buy consignment, thrift store or local designers and be happy with fewer but higher quality sustainable clothing.

  • Rachel

    I shop at both Forever21 and Modcloth. I have not noticed them having the same items in their stores but hearing that they do pisses me off. Why pay $60 for something that you can get for $20 at Forever21?
    I have ordered 3 or 4 items from Modcloth and all of their clothing is tattered, torn, doesn’t fit properly and is made in China. Why pay $200 for a dress made is China? I have a vintage bathing suit that keeps pissing hot pink dye every time I swim in it. I have washed it numerous times and it still pisses all over me.
    If you want “unique” style stick to Forever21. Never had these types of problems there.

    • Jennifer

      Forever21′s clothing are all made in China as well……

    • Linsey

      I’m very sad to hear this. I was going to shop at Mod Cloth simply because of the horrors i’ve been told about products made in China. Now I find myself confused because I’m hearing that the products are made from China and now over charged. I’m doing my best to get jobs back in America… and now I’m being lied to. I’ll probably still stay away from Forever 21 though… That company I know for sure is slave labor in a nutshell. I recommend H&M. At least i’ve been told they are making an effort.

  • Olivia

    Recently I saw a cute dress from modcloth, black skirt and a top half with a cute mushroom print but I could visibley see the cheapness of the fabric and even little puncture holes in the top. I have really tried to love modcloth because I am a quirky girl, and it seams that it is rare to find a store with quirky/ indie clothes but I have never been able to commit because it all looked so cheap and had bad reviews. After years of buying from h&m, forever 21 and browsing modcloth I am now committed to buying small amounts of fantastic quality clothing, it’s actually worth it! :)

  • MAD

    Work there. Can’t say which office or what I do, but the whole place is like a Soviet era company. Warehouse is expected to make ridiculous goals, that only keep getting upped. This is partially why you see so much crappy merchandise go out- everyone skips quality control because you are desperate to fold, tag, lint, package properly 65 items an hour. The ONLY way to get promoted is to be BFFs with someone- I routinely see qualified people get dismissed or not promoted bc they are too smart for positions. Either you have been there for 3 years or less than 6 months. You also have to vomit “Mod Culture”, which is a nice way of saying brainwashing. Just because they put out goldfish crackers and ramen noodles for their employees to eat during break and lunch does not make them worthy of worship. Paying people 9.25/9.50 does not mean the employer can take extra advantages, especially through a public metrics system where you are called out if you don’t make the *magic* number. It is ALL a veneer. Inside the place is rotten. Cannot wait until I find another position. (I have also only been there one month and I miss my former shitty jobs. Ugh.)

    So yeah, feel free to complain about the quality and service, they certainly don’t listen to the low-level employees. =(

    • Lady

      Why did someone downvote this? It’s someone telling their experience.

  • Shaymaa

    I noticed a dress on Modcloth that looked exactly like one on shopruche.combut at least 15 dollars more expensive. I commented on the modcloth dress saying so, and my comment never went up. They never emailed me either, to tell me that I had posted in the wrong place, a mini explanation, to tell me they were looking into it, nothing. And the stuff about having higher prices than a bigger retailer and that’s why it’s expensive, well, ruche seems smaller than modcloth, so I’m guessing their orders are smaller. Why was the ruche price still cheaper? Doesn’t seem consistent.

    • Shaymaa

      The dress I was talking about was the strawberry and blueberry iced tea. See for yourself.

  • Sunny

    I love modcloth. It is great for people who work and don’t feel like digging around in stores to find perfect dresses. The customer service is fantastic. I don’t care if I can get as similar or even the same dress for a penny. I will remain loyal to modcloth. Nothing I have purchased there has ever fallen apart. I think they have nice quality dresses and I have found a ton of designers that I now love. Sorry guys. I love modcloth.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rachel.stockwood Rachel Stockwood

    That makes a lot of sense. F21 is “copying” even though they had everything YEARS before ModCloth. LMFAO! Makes TONSSS of sense!

  • http://www.facebook.com/rachel.stockwood Rachel Stockwood

    ModCloth is cheap sh*t that marks up their merchandise to $60 a piece and has a bunch of sheeple thinking they’re buying something of “quality and care” – even though they only paid $2 for it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rachel.stockwood Rachel Stockwood

    Btw, F21 designs its own clothing!

  • Jessica

    I think Modcloth is like any other store, sometimes you get a great deal and other times you just skip something by. I had a dress disappoint me for quality only once and that’s bc I didn’t read the description well. The picture gave me the impression of one fabric when the details clearly stated it was another, again MY FAULT for not reading. I will agree though that renaming the clothes is pretty irritating bc I REALLY REALLY want the best deal. However I’ve never had a problem with purchases or returns or anything except that one dress material and something that just didn’t work for my body type (which happens anywhere).

  • KP

    I totally found a dress at a local business on sale for $25 (not discounted)–the same dress was being sold on Modcloth for $50. It really made me question how insane their markups have to be, since the cheaper end of dresses there usually sits around $50…and don’t even get me started on their absurdly priced bathing suits.

  • katherine

    I’ve bought from them 4 times. I’ve never been impressed; their sizing charts are off & the zippers and fabric are very cheap. Mostly the clothing is just not good quality for the cost.
    At first I was pissed about the inability to return items shipped to Canada. Now they’ve changed that, but insist on shipping w/ USPS, which charges import / duty fees to international clients (usually FedEx doesn’t / UPS is a crap shoot). So if you buy a dress & hate it, you can return it, but the gov’t still gets tax on the sale.

    The last dress I bought was like getting kicked in the teeth. It was incredibly cheap; couldn’t have cost more than $3 to make yet cost $50 retail. The fabric was thin to the point of see through. No support in the bust & NO WAY to wear a bra with it. After wearing it for 20 mins, it started to stretch out. It contained strange little cups to cover the bust yet they weren’t anchored within the dress so they just floated around, folded up….and all the time remain totally visible as the material was so sheer.

    Yet if I return it I’m out $20. I will not deal with them again & will speak out against anyone who wants to buy from them.

  • hami

    thats y u look for stuff that look rare and unique btw u can get them for a regular price cause there having a 70% off sale

  • justanotherretailer

    As an online clothing boutique owner myself, I can say matter-of-factly that ModCloth purchases their clothing from the same places as everyone else.

    There are wholesale ‘shopping mall’ websites of almost all the clothing manufactures/distributors located in LA and other ‘Fashion Districts’ where a retailer can order clothing. These are the exact same manufactures who supply other chain retailers such as Forever21. These company will also do Private Labeling so a store owner can have their own tag put in the clothing..

    Many times I have seen and purchased dresses that had a wholesale cost of $14, sold on my site for $32, and on ModCloth’s for $94. I emailed them once about it acting as a customer, asking if they price match because I couldn’t believe the mark-up in price for the same dress. The response was:

    “Maybe that store can purchase larger quantities and get a better discount that us. We are a small company and can’t purchase large quantities.”

    Little did they know that I am a one woman operation, who only buys the minimum order quantity of 6 per style…while they had 24 in stock of this dress…And that I had already read all of their PR and marketing releases about their MILLION DOLLAR INVESTMENTS they had just received.

    ModCloth is not an independent company any longer. The owners sold out a few years ago to corporate ‘bigwigs’ to receive millions of dollars in funding. There is a reason Susan is no longer the ‘Owner’ but the ‘Founder’ of ModCloth.

  • Chat

    I have bought a couple of dresses on Modcloth. After a while I stopped buying anything on Modcloth because they just can’t seem to get my size right. If H&M can get it right, I really don’t see why Modcloth can’t!! Also what’s the point paying $50 or more for a dress and paying for shipping and paying another $30 to get the dress altered. Don’t get me wrong. They have really nice stuff but I would agree with the fact that for the money and the trouble of getting everything altered it is just not worth it. I would love to know how their pricing strategies work!!

  • Laura

    I browse their website pretty often just for style inspiration (I sew) haha! Their clothes are incredibly marked up and yes you can get them elsewhere for cheaper. Case and point: “Promoting Elegance dress” Modcloth price $147… Found the same dress on Zulily a few weeks ago for $35. It’s not similar it is the same dress identical in every detail. I bought it and I love it. I did recently partake in the “stylish surprise” promotion which is where you choose your size and it’s $10 but you have no idea what you will be getting. I’m glad I went for it because the dress I received was very beautiful and fancy worth far far more than the $10 (plus $4 shipping) I paid. I’m sure the full price on that dress was upwards of $70. Things are only worth what people will pay for them because people are willing to pay a super high price they keep charging it.

  • elle_darko

    I did a big order from them once (around $400AU worth of stuff- which is more in US dollars)- boyyyyyyy was I disappointed!! It’s basically shit you can get from Asia for a fraction of the cost. Forever 21/forever new merchandise is not only better it’s pretty much a quarter of the cost. The jeans and tshirt quality is deplorable. And the dresses- don’t even go there. I couldn’t be bothered returning the stuff (my bad) because of shipping costs/bother factor but I only have one item I actually wore from it-and even them- the fabric was inside out- I kid you not!!! I actually complained about that but never heard from them. It’s still a nice dress it’s just that their idiotic uneducated sewers turned the ‘batik’ fabric feature on the INSIDE of the dress- so moronic. No other buyers picked up on this on their ‘reviews ‘ leading me to suspect they either delete the bad comments or the people who buy from there are stupid idiots. Either way I would never shop there in a million years. Especially when I can go anywhere else and get a way better product for less. Rip off artists

  • clsaughter

    I HATE MODCLOTH! Bunch of greedy idiots! ALL swimsuits were supposed to be 20% off, I also had a $25 off coupon. For some reason for course the one suit I wanted wasn’t showing up on sale. So I call. They offer to give me %20 off my whole order which saves me less than the $25 coupon. I also had a pair of shoes I was ordering. I said can’t you just refund me the $15 I would have saved? Like a normal company, since its your fault your website is glitching? “Oh, we’ll put in a request” two weeks later I recived the $15. And then the suit didn’t fit anyways nor did the shoes so I sent them back using their shipping label. Well, what modcloth doesnt tell you is that if you use their shipping label (which they charge you for anyways might as well buy one that takes 5-7 days from the post office) it can take up TO THREE WEEKS! They also have to have the item within 30 days or you will just get store credit which I think is their way to screw you into using store credit. Well my package was received 9 days ago, and I STILL don’t have my refund, ordered this crap over a month ago. I called and it can take up to 5 more business days. NEVER ordering from these aholes again.

    • kjhfjdgghjfd

      I’m sure ModCloth is devastated over losing a self-righteous, entitled, nightmare of a customer like yourself. You call Modcloth greedy, yet you had a $25 coupon from them and they gave you a generous 20% discount off of not just the bathing suit but your ENTIRE order and it STILL wasn’t enough. It must be their fault you don’t know what size you are also? ModCloth has the best customer service ever. They state right on the site how long the returns take to get back and process, so yes it would be better to mail it back on your own if you are in a rush to get money back that you spent in the first place. I don’t know any other company that would have bent over backwards to refund one whiny customer $15 dollars that they were never owed in the first place. All companies have a 30 day return window. No one wants a smelly bathing suit that’s been kicking around in your college dorm room or the trunk of your friends car. I agree that Modcloth clothes are overpriced and a total rip off and I never shop there anymore either. But from having worked in retail and customer service at a couple of different places, customers like you are impossible to please and no one sheds a tear when you throw a fit and say you aren’t coming back…If you are a terrible customer you usually get terrible customer service.

  • imili

    The store is hit or miss for me. I will pay a higher price for pieces at Anthropologie and similar stores because 90% of the time, the unique style, material and craftsmanship are worth it but not at Modcloth. I have had to return Modcloth items numerous times because the quality of their products is just not good. And do not even get me started on the bathing suits. I have bought two bathing suits in the past with a tag price of $80+. The material and cut of both bathing suits were the worst I have ever seen and trust me, I have tried on A LOT of bathing suits in my life. Not worth the prices that they have at all.

    I also have never understood why Modcloth does not put the names of the brand designers of the individual dresses under their descriptions. Only occasionally do I see the store do that with popular name brands like BB Dakota. Is it because they do not want their customers to look elsewhere and find lower prices? Most likely.

    One of the few incentives to keep shopping there is they have a nice store credit option on returned items that adds on an extra $5. If you are okay with that option and regularly browse the store for new items, that does come in handy for when you do find something worth keeping.

    Overall, the majority of their items seem to be poorly made and have over inflated prices and those are huge turn offs for customers that are looking for good quality, unique pieces. Some advice for those looking to buy something there: think twice before buying something; you might find the item elsewhere for cheaper and look carefully at their descriptions and the reviews- that usually changes my mind in the end.