Sunday, August 9, 2015

My Less Than Fantastic Experience With Shea Butter From BioFinest

I do a lot of reviews through a service called Tomoson.  Its a service that connects companies with bloggers.   I am honestly not a fan of Tomoson at all.  Their customer service is awful, their attentiveness to errors is virtually non-existent and their professionalism and attitude towards their bloggers/reviewers is in serious need of improvement.  But I do reviews on Tomoson because there does tend to be a few decent products here and there and some that we use frequently.  So sometimes the hassle of dealing with Tomoson's staff is worth it.  Most times not so much though.  Unfortunately Tomoson does have a reputation for attracting not so reputable businesses to it in hopes of cranking out excessive raving five star reviews.  These companies assume that because they are giving you something "for free" (FYI its not free because I am giving my valuable time and hard work for that item) that it automatically means you should give them a positive review.  Not true!  And sometimes these companies don't feel they need to treat you like any other paying customer.  That seemed to be the case with the company I got this product from.  Something that companies need to learn about working with bloggers is that I am going to treat a review as if I had gone to the company website, purchased the product with my own credit card and tried it out.  I expect the company to deliver great service and great product to me, just like they would any other paying customer.  Because I am going to honestly review my experience with not only the product, but the service as well.  Some companies just don't get that.  But on to the review.

I received a bag of Shea Butter from BioFinest.  The package that it was shipped in was not damaged from what I could see.  The outer pouch that the Shea Butter itself was packaged in was not damaged either. The outer layers had not sustained any damage, punctures and was not compromised from what I could tell.  But when I opened the outer layer, I found that the shea butter was sealed in a plastic wrap.  I'm not sure if it was supposed to be sealed and air tight inside the outer pouch but there was clear plastic surrounding the shea butter that was not actually sealed.  So there was a mess of half melted, softened shea butter inside this pouch with clear plastic bag mixed up in the mess.  I thought "ok this is really poor packaging" but big whoop, not such a huge deal.  I inspected further.   I found black and grayish residue on the shea butter itself.  It looked like mold or mildew.  As I said, the packaging was not damaged from what I could see and the package it was shipped it was not damaged so my first thought was that something contaminated this before it was packaged.  Which is pretty gross!  If you are not familiar with shea butter, it can be used like a moisturizing cream by itself or can be used in other products like homemade soaps, lip balm, deodorant.  There are tons of uses!  Lip balm, deodorant and soap is what I typically use it in.  So I'm thinking there was no way I'm actually using this because I don't know what sort of bacteria or substance was causing this to look mildewed.  I have never seen shea butter look like this and I have used a lot of shea butter and a lot of different brands so this seemed very out of the ordinary.

I immediately tossed this in the trash!  Who knows what that came in contact with!  I contacted the company because I do understand that well, sh*t happens.  It could be a fluke. An isolated incident.  Or it could be an entire batch that was contaminated with something and they need to know about it.  But I let them know the issue, and let them know if they wanted to send a replacement sample, that would be fine.  I do welcome the opportunity for companies to fix issues like this prior to posting reviews.  It does give me a chance to review a company's customer service in an additional way.  Its nice to know how companies handle issues like this and it can be helpful to include that in my reviews.

I got a response back pretty quickly but it sounded robotic.  Like an auto-apology with my name pasted in.  Either way, they did respond and apologized for the inconvenience regardless of how insincere it sounded.  They also reassured that this is pure unrefined grade A shea butter from Africa.  Ok......fine.....I never questioned whether it was authentic shea butter but reassuring me that its real shea butter doesn't mean I'm going to overlook the moldy mildew mess because hey, its real shea butter, and proceed to add it to my lip balm recipe!  Yuck!  I responded and let them know that this was already discarded.  I'm not keeping something in my house with mold or mildew on it because I don't know what caused it or whether it could make my family sick.   So I had chucked it and would not be using it even if it was real shea butter.

One thing about Tomoson is that there is a due date for when reviews must be completed and verified as completed.  My due date was approaching so I let them know that if they planned on sending a different package of shea butter, then I needed a definitely update and would need them to extend the due date so that there will be time to inspect the new package and complete the review.  I got this smart @** response that they were extending my due date even though its pretty last minute.  Like what.....I'm supposed to be grateful that they were so gracious to extend it?  Like it was a huge inconvenience for them?  I was sent a moldy product!  And instead of just immediately publishing an "Avoid This Disgusting Product At All Costs" type of review, I gave them a chance to correct it and make a good impression.   So at that point, I was not impressed by their customer service at all.  Never make a customer feel like an inconvenience when you made an error and sent an unsanitary product!  Common sense!

So I wait a several days and a new package of shea butter arrives and as soon as I see the shipping package.....I'm livid!   Because I get to pay the postage!  Yep, USPS dropped off the package at my door with a bill on it!  So now I have a balance due at my post office.  I was ticked!  Seriously ticked off!   So I contacted them again to let them know that they needed to reimburse for this shipping charge that I was now being held responsible for.  They responded immediately stating "We have already paid for the shipping fees, there is no need to pay for anything else."  No, there is a need to pay something else.  I don't know if they just chipped in a buck or 50 cents and figured that was enough or what but I do not pay shipping on review products! 

I'm pretty sure my postal carrier didn't just slap this on as a joke!
Because that's really funny right.... 
What an odd sense of humor my postal carrier must have???? (sarcasm)



Livid I was....just livid.  Because that is one of my biggest pet peeves!  You go online, you buy a product, you pay for shipping (or the shipping is advertised as free or included) then your package arrives ....with a bill on it.  I hate that!  And to have such a response as that.   Horrible service!  Their first response should have been "SORRY!  We want to fix this right away!"  but no it was more like too bad, so sad.  

I would never purchase anything from BioFinest!  I have used tons of brands of shea butter and definitely have my tried and true favorite!  Not only does my favorite brand of shea butter provide an excellent product, but they are dedicated to excellent, respectful, helpful, courteous service.  BioFinest could definitely take a few lessons in those departments.  Eventually they wanted to know what the balance was on the shipping bill.  I told them to forget it, I'd pay it because honestly, I just didn't want to deal with them anymore.  I wanted to be done.   I didn't want to talk to these people anymore.  They had already wasted enough of my time and it was time to post my review.   I did let them know that my review was going to be an honest and unfortunately negative review because I did not have a good experience with their product or service and would not be recommending them to anyone.  That's just my opinion based on my experience.  Yours might be different (I really really hope it is if you do decide to purchase from them) but this was my experience.    My favorite shea butter and the one I would recommend in a heart beat is better quality from what I can see from the replacement package that BioFinest sent, its also Grade A, raw, unrefined, organic and half the price of the product from BioFinest and comes in a convenient, resealable, reusable tub.  That's what I would recommend over and over and you can purchase it HERE!

It really is a shame in my opinion.  They just have a lot of improving to do if they want to have repeat customers.  Unfortunately I won't be one of them.   I ended up tossing the replacement because I don't know if this new package could contain the same bacteria that the first was contaminated with and it was not worth the risk for me.  My impression was that this company doesn't have their customer's best interests at heart. If they had a contaminated batch, I don't know if I would trust them to recall it and start over or just ship it out and hope for the best.  So mine was chucked.  Better safe than sorry!


Disclosure:
I received a sample free of charge (but was unknowingly held responsible for shipping charges) to facilitate this review.   All opinions are my own and based on my personal experience.

3 comments:

  1. Wow, what a bunch of aholes. Thank you for letting us all know about this companie's bad customer service and especially, the product itself!! That is disgusting and I am glad you did'nt use the second package..

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  2. Nightmare city. Customer service and good products will make a company go far. The reverse is also true. Thanks for the warning.

    slehan at juno dot com

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  3. KUDOS to you for being an honest blogger! I hate to say it, but I've seen waaaay too many blogs that give nothing but glowing reviews for products and in the end, it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I understand that companies want these glowing reviews, but in the end, if bloggers only put out positive reviews, then consumers aren't going to look to blogs for objective opinions when deciding whether or not to purchase a product! Maybe right now the "we give you a free product so we expect a positive review" thing is working in the companies' favor, but consumers aren't stupid-----eventually we'll look toward more well rounded opinion sources when deciding where to put our hard earned money! Thanks again for being an honest, yet VERY fair blogger!

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