Site Overlay

shady business

It’s the end of the 2020 holiday season and wrapping paper shreds still float in the air around our neighborhood.

Tinsel is still being picked out of our hair, and the neighbor’s home looks like a psychedelic disco ball with five completely different color strands of Christmas lights, all blinking at different rates.

It is a great time of an otherwise so-so year.

Two of my kids wanted light sabers for Christmas. Not wall ornaments, nor those cheap ones that you have to fling your wrist to get to come out (but never really do), but ones that light up and can be used as kids would use them – play fighting.

I’m a proud papa.

So my wife and I scoured the internet for something that would fit that bill, and finally came across this.

At the time of this post (December 2020), the words “Holiday Sale” are plastered all over the page. Note that for later.

Unsure about this site, I did a little homework but didn’t come up with any real negatives or warning signs, and their return policy indicated that we can get our money back if not satisfied. Only “Final Sale” items are not eligible for a refund.

With Christmas approaching, I went ahead and ordered two on December 9th.

They arrived December 30th. A little later than I’d like but ok.

What I opened was dollar store quality. Cheap plastic, bad molding of the pieces, and electronics that barely functioned. The buttons don’t change anything, the things just continue to make noises non-stop no matter what you do.

** that sinking feeling that you’ve been scammed starts to sink in **

So I reach out to their Customer Service to arrange a refund. Remember, only Final Sale items are not eligible and since I haven’t used them and have the original packaging I should be ok.

Right?

Here is my exchange with them.

Me:

Ref: Order #4003

    I am requesting a refund for the 2 light sabers that I purchased on December 9, 2020.

    The quality of these are not worth the price charged.  The button doesn't do anything - the light saber just makes noises no matter what you do.  

    Please contact me ASAP on what the next steps are to return these for a refund.

Them:

Hello,

Unfortunately final sale items are not eligible for refunds however we offer a replacement for damaged items at no cost, please visit our refund policy for further details, https://kionce.com/policies/refund-policy

Thank you for making a purchase with us! Have a great rest of your day!

Me:

Show me where on this page the item is listed as final sale.

https://kionce.com/products/dual-sided-light-saber-sword

This is not an acceptable response.

Them:

Hello Adam,

We hope you're having a great day. The item is on holiday sale which fits into the final sale criteria. Thank you for making the purchase with us!

Stay safe.

Me:

Final sale and Christmas sale are not equivalent meanings.  

Unless you can point me to documented statements that a Christmas sale is a final sale, my request still stands.

Them:

Hello,

Unfortunately final sale items are not eligible for refunds however we offer a replacement for damaged items at no cost, please visit our refund policy for further details, https://kionce.com/policies/refund-policy
Thank you for making a purchase with us! Have a great rest of your day! 

I’m sensing a pattern here. Keep copy/pasting the same thing again and again until the customer no longer contacts you.

The lessons here are two-fold.

First, shame on me for doing business with anyone that I haven’t vetted further. I did check for reviews on their site but when I went back to look, I noticed that they only show 5-star reviews. Nothing 4 or less. That should have been my first warning sign.

Second, they ship direct from China. I lived in China, I speak/write/read Mandarin Chinese. My wife (and therefore children) are Chinese (or at least half).

I love China, the culture, and the people, but the business practices leave a lot to be desired sometimes.

I ignored my own life lessons and made a $60 mistake. Or maybe I spent $60 on school of life credits.

Perhaps I am richer for the experience after all.