Well, I was not going to bother writing this up again as I posted it on Facebook. Then I was approached by a friend who was purchasing Christmas presents and remembered my initially recommending the company Scottevest and its products… She had not heard about the horrible experience I had with one of their products, the company’s Customer Service Department, and their Founder / CEO Scott Jordan. Since I cannot, in good conscience, have people deal with this company on my say so as I’d be ashamed of them having an issue with them and going through what I did, I thought I should post the facts and information here as well. While I can’t be sure to reach all those I told about the company when I recommended them, I can try to be sure any who would buy from my recommendation make their decision with all the facts and not just initial support.
I heard about this company while flying. You know those inserts in the setback pocket where they have all that gear? SkyMall, I believe? Well I was thumbing through it six or seven years ago and came across a fleece jacket that had over 20 pockets. It didn’t look like a fisherman’s or photographer’s vest with all the pockets on the outside, and had the extra benefit of having a space between the lining and shell to run earbud cords they they wouldn’t tangle. As I currently had a cellphone, iPod, keys, sunglasses, reading glasses, wallet, and cash with me it seemed like a good idea and I bought one to help carry my items while traveling.
Well, it arrived and although the sleeves were a tad short (I don’t have particularly long arms but the sleeves stopped just above my wrists), it was as it was represented. Sure some of the ‘pockets’ aren’t really pockets (a band to hold a water bottle upright in a big side pocket, as few tiny pockets within other pockets to hold change, etc.) but it was nice to have a light jacket that could keep my items with me and separate. I used it quite a bit (still do), not just when traveling. I told many, many people about it and the company that made it. I picked up another jacket (a bit bulky but its water resistant), bought a red trenchcoat for my wife as a gift, and picked up some of their tee shirts with pockets (great idea but not a huge fan of the material). Heck, I won a contest to get a free khaki raincoat (never worn as it lacks style despite it probably being pretty functional for the right person). Suffice it to say I was a big fan of the company and respected the way the founder was building the company through social media. He seemed to listen to what customers said and took comments into account… while I had not seen how he reacted to issues, he seemed pretty open on both his company’s Facebook page as well as his own. While he trumpeted the company’s successes though, we didn’t get to see how he handled failures; even those we did see were spun in a positive light (which I gave them kudos for). Some of you may remember watching him on Shark Tank where I thought he came across pretty poorly. He wanted to seek a share in his company, but not the clothing line (which some of the wealthy ‘sharks’ appeared to be interested in. Scott Jordan just wanted to sell a piece of the company that could run headphone wires within clothing. Mark Cuban was apparently pretty annoyed, taking Mr. Jordan to task when he uncovered that Scottevest basically discourages / intimidates anyone else from running wires that way by tiring people up in court but even that little fiasco seemed like it was just a PR stunt for the company as the CEO seems good at generating controversy to keep the company’s name in the papers.
The last item I received from the company was not purchased by me. A little under two years ago I was given their leather jacket. The jacket had come up in conversation due to another contest (they are big on that to get word out) and I said I thought it looked nice but was too expensive for me to buy. My mother extended herself and bought it for me for Christmas. Lighter and thinner than I thought it was going to be, I was happy to get it but wore it little due to multiple issues: the pockets were smaller and didn’t hold items as well (I assume this was to keep the lines of the jacket slimmer), I don’t wear jackets unless it is cold and it is not a warm jacket because it’s pretty thin, and because of those lines and thinner material it is more of a dressier leather. Since I’m likely to be wearing a suit or sport coat on dressier occasions, this jacket fell between the lines and into one of those categories where it just didn’t fit my lifestyle well. In the 23 months I owned it I probably wore it around 20-24 times.
As I mentioned, last week I wore it again and had ‘an issue’. Two, to be more accurate: two tears on the back left panel. I had worn it for a few hours and then out to dinner so it certainly had not been stressed at all, yet there they were. No scratches near the tears, no evidence it had caught on anything, and certainly if I had got it caught I should have felt it, correct? Evidently not. Damn. Not near a seam or in an area easily repaired, I was pretty frustrated with the jacket and how it had not stood up to wear. However, I had owned it for a little under two years and since I had not worn it much I wasn’t too upset. It wasn’t like losing a favorite piece of clothing or anything, right?
Well, I almost just tossed it out. If I had, you wouldn’t be reading this though… Instead, I decided that since Mr. Jordan was apparently so responsive to his customers I would let him know so he could address the issue if it was happening to others or at least be aware of the manufacturing defect if I was the only one. Not only had it torn so easily, the leather was fading in odd areas, looking worn and dry along the collar, etc. despite little wear. Most of the jacket was shiny and new but some areas were looking aged (and not in that ‘good’ way leather ages!).
My wife thought he would refund the purchase price or offer a new jacket but I did not because of its age. I did think he would want to know about the issue though, and felt I owed him an explanation as I had supported the company so I sent a brief message and some pictures. As I wrote in the email, “… this jacket and its construction is not what I believe you want your company known for. I would hate to think of a new customer spending that kind of money for a garment and getting so few wears from it before it fell apart. I’m not sure if you have had other issues, if it was the materials or the manufacturer, or if this was ‘just’ a fluke but did think you would want to hear about it.”
At first I was impressed. He responded right away, even on a Sunday evening, and asked me to send the info to him and to his Customer Service Department in the AM. I did so and thought that may be the end of it, unless he had any questions. Instead, I got an offer for reimbursement of $30 toward leather repair from Customer Service. Then an email from Scott where he said he was sorry the leather had not lived up to expectations, they had not had many other complaints, and I was offered $75 off another leather if I was interested: a deal he said they didn’t offer to others because there were only 400 made but he wanted me to be satisfied. Well, there was no way I was going to spend another $350 for a leather jacket from a company who’s first leather failed to stand up, but I politely thanked him for the offer(s) but declined (“While I appreciate the discount offer, I think I’ll hold off. Glad there haven’t been any other reported issues with the (leather jacket). ”).
Again, I thought it would be over.
Two days later I received a mass mailing to all owners of their leather jackets offering $100 off their new jacket. Really? $25. more than what I was offered from their CEO? I forwarded him the email.
His response was to tell me he had not intended on insulting me and made me an offer: $125 off that leather I had explained I would not be buying. Really? $25 more than the rest of their customers despite my having a defective $450. leather from them already. At that point, he had managed to insult me and I told him I’d share the experience. I took a video of it and posted it on my own Facebook Page so he could see how easily it tore.
He responded with a rambling 10 minute video message telling me he ‘knew’ I had worn it more than I had said I did (?!), ‘must have’ torn it on a chain link fence (!!), and that it was ‘impossible’ to tear as I told him it had. Instead of thanks for letting him know of the issue, I was now being called a liar… and a liar with no motive. Evidently, I was just lying about the events and issue for the heck of it. He clearly was confusing fast customer service with good customer service. Insisting that the only reason it was tearing so easily now was because I was tearing it (in the video) along existing tears, I shot another one. Doubling up the leather by folding it over, I could pull it and it would tear like paper and NOT along a tear or seam.
PLAY EASY TEAR MOVIE CLIP (I didn’t bother posting the full clips that I posted on FB and sent to Scottevest’s CEO, but the above clip should be enough for you all to get the point. )
That clip should be pretty clear and definitive, no?
Despite some impartial people seeing it (some of their own customers), Scott Jordan steadfastly refused to acknowledge it tears easily. Did seeing it with his own eyes bring forth an apology, either for actions, statements, or the trouble with the product? No. What I got were more excuses and denials, insistence that it cannot do what it was doing, etc. Over 5 or 6 days I believe there were around 20 emails from him, in addition to the video message. He thinks that is being responsive and it is evidently his idea of customer service. He even wanted me to call and provided his number – NOT to discuss it or apologize in person but simply to ‘explain the facts and tell me why that didn’t happen as I said it did. Truly amazing. He said could ‘explain the facts’ and tell me how what I know had happened did not actually happen. The interactions got weirder and stranger until I finally sent him an email, copied his Customer Service Dept., and insisted he not write or contact me.
I’m not going to guess what the issues there are. He’s open enough on his Facebook page about past personal issues and current lifestyle issues that I could play armchair psychiatrist as others have but I am not going to do so. This is about the expensive jacket he sold my mother, its inability to stand up to normal wear, clear indications it has failed (whether it is the line, that jacket, or that piece of leather / goatskin), and the horrible customer service given a good and frequent customer that had shown they had fully supported the company.
I still want nothing from Scottevest. I want nothing from Scott Jordan.
What do I want? I want everyone who reads this to realize they may very well get a decent jacket with a lot of pockets if they order from Scottevest. They may also have an issue with the product and I want them to realize that if they do they may very well receive some of the worst customer service I have seen in 52 years. Truly stunning. IF you buy from this company, please do not do so based on any recommendation I once gave. Do so despite this current warning.