A deceptive Wen email advertisement

Heads up for all of my Wen haircare lovers (yep, I’m one of them too.) As you know, I’m always pursuing the best prices on this pricey haircare product. I’m convinced that the December QVC gift set they’ve done the past couple of years is one of the best ways to get the lowest price on this product — half off what it usually sells for.

My history with Wen has been well-documented. I started out ordering the products directly from Wen, then switched to buying from QVC.

In November, I received a “bounceback” email offer from Wen offering an “Extra Large Supply” for $49.90:

Wen advertisement

  • 2 Cleansing Conditioners — plus 1 FREE with 33% more in every bottle, in the formula of your choice: Sweet Almond Mint, Lavender or Pomegranate.
  • Bonus: WEN SIXTHIRTEEN® Ultra Nourishing Cleansing Treatment can be used as a boost to your Cleansing Conditioner, as a deep treatment mask or as a leave-in conditioner
  • In addition to your Cleansing Conditioners, you’ll get a FREE WEN® Travel Kit* for great hair on the go — a $25 value. *Only available in Sweet Almond Mint.

I bit the bullet and jumped at this Wen email offer. It promised two cleansing conditioners, plus 1 free with 33% more sounded pretty good at $49.90 — that’s $16.63 per Wen, plus the free 613 and travel kit.

I ordered, and my kit showed up today. Take a look at what I got:

Three 16-ounce bottles of Wen Pomegranate and a 12-ounce bottle of 613.

Where’s the “1 free with 33% more?” If you look at the photo in the original email, one of the bottles does appear larger than the other two, but I received three of the same bottles.

Instead of a travel kit, I also received a 2oz. Replenishing Treatment Mist, a 1oz. Straightening Smoothing Gloss, and a full-size 4oz. Anti-Frizz Styling Creme, all in Sweet Almond Mint. (The travel kit was supposed to contain the same bottle of mist, plus two 2oz. Wen cleansing conditioners.)

I called Wen to see what was going on. I explained that the email offer I’d responded to noted that I would get one bottle with 33% more than the others. My invoice noted that I’d signed up for the “Extra Large Supply” kit. The Wen rep was confused and said, “I don’t know how we can provide that – I’m not even aware of that size bottle.”

I asked about the travel kit, and she told me that they’d run out of travel kits and substituted other items. Fine… it was a freebie anyway.

The Wen rep transferred me to “escalations.” The new rep on the phone explained that the ad “may not have made it clear” that the bottles I received would all contain “33% more” product than their 12-ounce bottles of Wen. “16 ounces is 33% more than 12 ounces.”

What? Wen’s always been sold in 16-ounce bottles from Wen.com. Going back to my first bottle in June of 2013, it always shipped in 16-ounce bottles. So, saying these are 33% larger than a smaller bottle of Wen doesn’t make much sense.

Guess what? I still have two Wen bottles from my original subscription with them in 2013:

The size? 16 ounce bottles. It’s extremely misleading to send consumers an email promising a bottle that’s 33% larger than what they previously received… when I’ve never received Wen cleansing conditioner in a 12 ounce bottle. Ever.

In fact, browsing around Wen’s site reveals many 16-ounce bottles of Wen for sale, and very few 12-ounce bottles. I was only able to find 12-ouncers in a “Cleansing Conditioner Special Collection” similar to the QVC holiday set – but with four 12-ounce bottles instead of five 16-ounce bottles. Hmm.

I told the rep that I felt the ad was very misleading. I read the ad to her again and said that the way I was reading it, each 3-month kit should contain 2 regular bottles, plus one with 33% more in every order. This is being called an “Extra Large Supply” versus the normal 3-month kit, right?

I asked what I would get if I let my “Extra Large Supply” kit renew in three months. She replied that I’d get three 16-ounce bottles.

Well, that’s not an “Extra Large” kit – that’s the normal 3-month Wen kit that you get when you subscribe to them, same as I had before.

The Wen rep offered to send me another 16-ounce bottle of Wen, free of charge, to make up for this deceptive ad — I accepted.

However, after that bottle arrives, guess who will be canceling with Wen once again?

Comments

  1. RachelliC says

    Oh good grief, I can see what G-R has done here – the photo’s perspective makes it look like the first bottle is bigger. I love Wen and I’m returning to using it after a couple of years, but I really don’t know why G-R can’t get their act together. The CR agents I’ve spoken to in the past have generally been really great and tried to help, but I also always get the feeling they either really have their hands tied for what they can do or they’re really micro-managed on the phone. Anyway, I’ll give G-R another try for now, but if things get silly again, I’ll be buying from Sephora or TSC (Cdn version of QVC although it’s still G-R products). Unfortunately, I’m up in Canada so buying from QVC is awkward and expensive (reship from a US address or drive to the border). I also love the Wen Volumizing Mist, but that’s a feat in itself to get up here.
    Oh and thank you so much for your posts. Wen has a pretty steep learning curve so your site has been a great help!!!! I’ll definitely be checking out more from your site.

  2. llamalluv says

    See, I read the ad totally different. I read it as all three of the bottles would be 33% larger than their standard bottle, so 21 to 22 ounces each.

    • says

      Even so – whether we thought 33% larger on one bottle or 33% larger on ALL bottles, the reality is that these bottles are identical size to what you get when you sign up with Wen – 16 ounces.

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