Rent the Runway’s customers are mad as hell because their outfits aren’t showing up on time. And they have a right to be angry. Rent the Runway made a name for itself by renting out gowns for fancy events, and the entire business model requires that dresses show up before the event. But over the last few weeks, customers have been reporting that their orders have been canceled at the last minute, leaving them scrambling to make alternative plans.
Jennifer Hyman, the company’s founder and CEO, has sent out a steady stream of apology emails. In a recent one, she explains that the delays began on September 13 due to errors in the midst of a “significant software transformation” in the company’s fulfillment operation. This new technology was designed to make items available faster, since it would be integrated with a new racking system.
Hyman says the upgrade will be completed by October 15 or sooner, but will not accept any new rental orders or subscribers until after this date. And the company cannot guarantee that orders scheduled to be received this weekend will arrive on time. “You rely on us for meaningful events in your life and to get dressed everyday,” she writes. “We realize we have let some of you down, and we need to fix it.”
We reached out to Rent the Runway for additional comment and will update if we hear back.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Hyman said that the company will issue refunds and will also give an additional $200 in cash—not Rent the Runway credit—to customers whose orders have been canceled. Only 14% of Rent the Runway’s subscribers have been impacted by this problem, and an even smaller percentage of event renters. And Bloomberg also reports that the company’s head of supply chain, Mary Cunningham, who has worked at Target and Amazon, would be stepping down.
Despite all of these efforts to regain customer trust, some appear to be done with Rent the Runway. Many have found themselves in a lurch before a wedding or party, forced to take time off work and school to find a last-minute gown they hadn’t budgeted for. Those who have tried to reach out to customer support say that they haven’t received responses in a timely manner. Some customers say $200 will not be enough to win them back.
Are we supposed to be grateful? You guys screwed me. I leave at 8:30am tomorrow. This is terrible. Does $200 take away the stress & panic I’m experiencing? DOUBT it. I was forced to buy a $300 dress tonight for my black tie event. Thanks for nothing short of a heart attack.
— Ali Courtemanche (@bundy513) September 27, 2019
For a first time user this is a HUGE let down. I travel for a wedding in four days and will now have to lose time from work to find a dress. Huge disappointment. Please send my refund ASAP.
— Tania.P.Donovan (@Tania_P_Donovan) September 27, 2019
@RenttheRunway this is bullshit! You notify me the day after the dress was supposed to to arrive that it won’t be coming! My daughter is in tears and has to miss school to find a dress. Will never use your service again! pic.twitter.com/On523EVCCU
— Jill Marsh (@marsmarsh) September 27, 2019
— Gloria (@gmlaraa) September 27, 2019
Disastrous!. Needed my clothes for an event today. Placed order Wed. PM. Never got it. Then got an email from RTR saying you have received my return (that I never got). Tried calling – was told it was a 3 hr wait time. No one called back. Emailed, too. No reply. #unacceptable
— Mya Jones (@MMJ3NYC) September 21, 2019