I speak only from the experience I have from purchasing from LiveNation/FanFire’s work with Pentatonix.
Even before I got a pseudo-credit card, I have been shopping at Pentatonix’s official merch store. My father was the one paying for the orders in those cases. Since I have to ask each time I want something, my purchases vary in dates.
I’d probably place an order once every two months. They take a terribly long time to get here. When they do, it is always in that disappointing silvery-white bag.
I knew I couldn’t always ask for what I want since the merchandise itself is already very expensive, let alone shipping, and my parents aren’t keen on spending money online. So, when I found out through a friend that Tap and Go is a thing in Hong Kong, I immediately got one.
It worked well. I placed a few orders in immediately after I managed to get the thing to work. The first one I placed is on April 3rd, the second on April 9th, and the last on April 11th.
This is where things get fucked up.
After I placed the first order, I asked two friends if they’re interested in getting gifts. After confirming what they want, I got down to business and ordered the merchandise to ship to their addresses.
On their website, you need to enter an email address (which at first is set to force you to enter their mailing subscription) as you check out. I used the same email address for the three orders because it’s my email address.
The first two were shipped a few days later, and I waited patiently for the first order since the second one technically isn’t my problem anymore. After 8-24 business days later, the items still haven’t arrived even though the Pentatonix store sent me an automated email telling me to review the items, as though I already have them at hand. I didn’t.
A little over a month later, I get a notification from Patreon that Pentatonix is doing a $5 Patreon only sale, at first posting a code for a 50% off on every merch item on the store, then changing it to a 30% discount since they were having technical difficulties with the first code.
Hearing this, and noting the deadline, I first commented on the post and told them that I would gladly do another round of shopping, but only if they refund me since what I ordered a month ago still hadn’t arrived. Their team on Patreon tried to fix this and messaged me on the app, telling me they’ve already contacted their customer service and they’ll email me promptly for a re-ship on both orders. They said both packages probably got lost in transit and they’ll re-ship. I received the first two items of my three item order nearly a month later.
After that is running a course on its own — since we’re in different time-zones and the Patreon team takes forever to respond — I asked my best friend if she wanted something from the store, since I’m not going to pass up a chance of getting merchandise relatively cheaper. She asked for socks while I put in some other items that I’m interested in. I confirmed the order with the same email address that I own.
Later that night, I told my father about the sale (without mentioning that I only have access to the discount code because I’m a Patreon) and convinced him to get me something for my birthday, which is only a week or two away. He punched in his credit card information while I filled in the email slot — again, with the email address I own and use frequently.
Supposedly, that was the wrong move.
While in Taiwan for my graduation trip, I woke up the day after my birthday and checked my emails. Turned out they had canceled both my orders on May 28th and when I asked why, they said it was because I used the same email address for five different orders (in the course of a month) and it triggered the fraud department. Pentatonix’s Patreon team assured me that “the customer service department will be emailing [me] directly to re-order and they will honor the 30% discount.”
This will be the beginning of a two-month long battle between shitty customer service and apparent lack of communication between the employees.
They emailed me immediately on June 6th and told me to place an order again and give them the number, so that they can reduce the amount to properly honor the 30% discount. I texted my dad to order on his own and enter his email this time, instead of mine, while I secretly dealt with my own canceled order.
We had to pay full at first before they refund the discounted amount. However, my order got canceled once more.
From here on I will refer to the canceled orders as “May,” “Dad,” and “June,” in the exact order I ordered them.
All canceled orders come with a cancellation confirmation email, which reads at the end, “you have not been charged for the canceled items from your order.” They mention that it is a pending transaction and when it expires, the money would go back to my card in 2-5 business days.
Since I paid for May and June myself, costing over USD$100, I am rather eager to have my money back when I needed to buy something much more important. I waited patiently for 2-5 business days to pass.
As I waited for it to pass, I emailed customer service department again to ask for the reason why June was canceled. They told me it was due to incorrect billing order. I told them it wasn’t possible and mentioned the money they took from my account. This time, they said the transaction buffer takes 1-8 days to expire.
It was 2-5 business days, and now it’s 1-8 days? Okay.
After two months since May and nearly a month since June was canceled, I hounded Pentatonix on Patreon again to demand a refund. Surely it is past 1-8 days or 2-5 business days. Patreon Team redirected me to a customer service employee called Barbara Harris.
Barbara emailed me and immediately told me they have reinitiated my canceled orders — including Dad — and the merchandise would be shipped out soon. They have also removed all shipping charges — cool! — and ensured that the 30% discount was applied.
The issue here is that May and June contain the same things, but I paid more for June than I did for May, as I used the discount code on May and June is paid in full. Them telling me that they will “un-cancel” the order makes no sense. Are they going to “un-cancel” May and put a 30% on it while removing the shipping fee? Or are they going to put the 30% discount on June, when I already had that on May?
Either way, they’re refunding me over USD$20 for the discount and the shipping charges, since I doubt they’d discount a discounted order. That, along with May, costing USD$43.63 minus the foreign tax fee means I should see more than USD$70 in my account.
I told Barbara that much, but she ignored me and mentioned that the money is, again, a preauthorization hold and they haven’t received the money. She also mentioned that management has sent instructions on the “un-cancellation” and she will be shipping Dad and June.
Annoyed, I emailed her again telling her I don’t want another “Dad” since Veronica from LiveNation Merchandise Customer Service already honored the re-order my dad did on his own on June 7th and half of it has arrived.
I also wanted her to refund May in full and June’s shipping charges and the deducted money from the 30% discount, that I won’t be happy about the lost money just because she’s “un-cancelling” orders.
She never replied to my email.
I later got an amount transferred to my account labeled “DAI*LIVENATIONMERCHAN.” However, no matter how I calculate the amount transferred, it is not the combination of May and June’s excess money. I don’t know how they got that amount but it did not make sense. They refunded me less money than I paid them.
I was still disgruntled so I took advantage of Internet friends. I asked for an American friend who was free and told them to call LiveNation’s customer service line. I gave them all the information they needed to force them to refund and after a few minutes into the call, the friend told me that the lady on the phone harshly said, “that order is canceled,” and immediately hung up on her.
That lead went dead after that.
Now, though, I got June this morning, and a duplicate of Dad, which I am giving to my best friend as a gift.
You’d think the shit customer service is the end, but it’s not. Another reason not to shop at LiveNation, other than the fact that they’re slow on deliveries, often getting their mail lost in transit, refusing to refund, and just terrible handling of human relations, the merchandise themselves aren’t without their problems. (Some of these products I tried to leave a review on, but LiveNation has not “approved” of them since I had been honest. I will try to recreate what I have typed all those months ago.)
I have bought a few things and I assure you I will not spend another dollar on them.
Misbehavin’ Flannel: not as displayed on the website. The displayed photograph shows the flannel to sport a white, large printed word “MISBEHAVIN'” across the lower back of the shoulder blades. However, the actual thing has the white letters in a smaller font and the letters are instead stitched on right across the top of the shoulder blades. And while the letters being stitched on might make it more sturdy, the flannel’s material is thin and flimsy, completely not worth the money. Inside of the flannel, you could see the stitch marks. Poorly done.
Five Colors Logo Backpack: it works like a backpack, but all it really is is a black pack with an extra piece of hard cloth stitched on. The logo is tiny and the straps are thin, I often feared that it would wear through. The bottom of the backpack is certainly not good. I used this pack as my school bag and my books are apparently too heavy. They scratched the bottom and at the corners of the bottom of the back, it’s beginning to wear through. Flakes of black fabric are falling off and I fear there soon will be two holes at the bottom of this bag. Once again, cheap material and not worth the money. However, this one has a much bigger practical use, even though the material is not quite up to standard.
Circle Logo Crewneck Sweatshirt: the actual color is a lot bluer. Other than that, it’s relatively comfortable and the material inside is soft on the skin. The pouch contains the same inside lining and it’s perfect to put your hands in.
Sound Waves Beanie: the beanie is too big for any head. The material makes your head itchy after you wear it for a period of time. Flipped to see the inside, you can clearly see the fabric they pasted on to stitch the sound waves on. They didn’t even bother to cut the extra fabric. Now it’s just a blot of white on the rim of the inside of the dark beanie.
Misbehavin’ Necklace: darker and smaller than pictured. Fake metal. Darker in the grooves of the word. It’s just a necklace, so it’s rather hard to really point out its flaws.
Piano Keys Necklace: again, darker and smaller than pictured. Fake metal. Darker around the edges of the letters “PTX” on the back, as well as in the grooves of the piano keys image.
Rose Gold Junior Muscle Tank: thin, cheap material. The hole for the shoulder is large and would show the world anything you’re wearing underneath, such as a binder, or a bra. The shoulder straps are significantly thinner than pictured.
Mitch Baseball Jersey Tee: why 16? Cheap, thin, and flimsy material. Easily see-through.
All shirts I’ve purchased from the online store are all too long. Made for white people height in mind only. Racist to Asians.
Edit: the duplicate of Dad costs. I didn’t even ask for them to “un-cancel” it.