Rent the Runway Is Facing a Customer Service Nightmare

Subscription-based clothing rental company Rent the Runway was riding high up until recently, opening a massive new fulfillment center, boasting over 11 million members, and facing a $1 billion valuation. But the company is now in hot water after customers—including some high-profile ones—began complaining that their orders were late, missing, or not filled correctly.

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of customers have complained on social media about not receiving rented items, and many also claimed that they weren’t able to get in touch with the company’s customer service team. Frustration was at an all-time high among some of the company’s most high-profile users, which had rented dresses to wear to the Emmy Awards and other industry events happening this week. 

Jill Twiss, a writer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, shared her frustration on Twitter, tweeting: “Er, at this point it seems worth telling you all that @RenttheRunway is not delivering dresses, has shut down their phone system, and isn't returning messages. If you have a dress might want to make other plans (seeing dozens of other tweets of people stuck).” 

So far, the company has taken several steps to remedy the situation. For one, the brand posted a message on its website, assuring customers that those who didn’t receive their rentals would receive $200 "in an effort to make up for this failure." Additionally, in an email sent to subscribers on Friday morning, chief executive Jenn Hyman said that the service would stop accepting new subscribers while working on software updates to its fulfillment operation, which the organization says are to blame for the delays and dress no-shows. In the biggest show of mea culpa, Rent the Runway's head of supply chain, Marv Cunningham, will be stepping down after joining the company back in October 2018.

Though customers remain frustrated for the time being, Rent the Runway is doing what it can. “We’re in the process of upgrading our operation in order to make your Rent the Runway experience even better including more inventory & access. In the short term, these changes are causing shipment & customer service delays,” the brand wrote on its site. And, to demonstrate that no executive is taking this situation lightly, Hyman herself has personally taken to Twitter, responding to customer service questions and complaints. All the company can do for now is to try and ride out the storm.

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