JustFab promises shoppers a wide variety of high-quality shoes and boots for the low price of $39.95 (or in the case of their current site-wide sale, two pairs for $39.95).
Shoes aren’t enough to satisfy your shopping needs? JustFab also offers additional categories to complete your shopping experience, including accessories, jewelry, and denim.
JustFab’s parent company, JustFab Inc., also operates ShoeDazzle.com, FabKids.com, and Fabletics.com. The company saw a boom in internet appreciation throughout the past year for their apparently sweet deals on some pretty awesome shoes. They currently service millions of users and have attracted a whopping $149 million in backing!
Sounds pretty appealing, right? Except, a little over a year into their business, the online mood towards JustFab is starting to change. We’ll talk more about this in a moment, but let’s first take a look ar what JustFab offers.
First, What JustFab Offers:
Visiting JustFab.com, you’ll notice the site is designed to look very similar to Zappos, Shoebuy, or any other online retailer. The immediate difference is that, unlike traditional retailers who offer different products at different prices, all shoes, handbags, and denim products sold through JustFab are priced at $39.95 across the board (jewelry products are priced individually).
When you find a style that you like, (I was exploring shoes, but the process appears consistent across categories), prospective buyers are shown all the normal information: available color and sizing options, materials and details, and a fit survey. User reviews of the items are also available, and seem consistently positive.
However, shoppers will find that the pricing is unique. Items are given two prices: the “VIP price”, which was $39.95, as are all the items (save jewelry) on their site. There is also a “regular price” listed at $49.00 — an entire .05 cents difference — that has been crossed out, forcing customers to purchase products at the VIP price.
In Short, You Must Sign-Up For VIP Membership to Purchase
To do so, users can register with Facebook or their email address. Signing up for VIP membership also requires a few extra steps:
- Take a short style quiz so that the site can make personalized recommendations for you
- Search through the selected items, favorites or their entire stock
- Purchase any item at the VIP price of $39.95
There are additional “perks” to becoming a JustFab VIP, which include:
Receiving notice of a selected personal boutique to shop from on the 1st of each month
- Saving 50% off your first purchase
- Receiving free shipping on all orders over $39
- Receiving free exchanges
- The ability to purchase any item in your personalized boutique for only $39.95, up to the 5th of each month
- “Skip” any month that you don’t want to make a purchase by clicking “Skip the Month” by the 5th
Is JustFab a Subscription Service?
According to JustFab’s How it Works page, “If you are not ready to make a purchase, simply click Skip the Month in your boutique by the 5th and you will not be charged.”
That’s right! JustFab is a cleverly disguised subscription service, and the online store forces customers to sign up for their VIP membership to purchase any of their products.
Once you’ve signed up, your credit card will be charged $39.95 on the 5th of every month, unless you take the time to log into your account and notify JustFab that you want to skip purchases for that particular month (and you’ll need to repeat this process monthly in order to avoid any charges.)
The fine print goes on to say that you are allowed to skip as many months as you would like without penalties, so I guess that’s nice of them.
However, VIP members who have simply forgotten to go in and “skip the month” and incurred the $39.95 charge are credited for one JustFab item, which members are allowed to redeem at any time in the future.
Finally, JustFab states that you are allowed to cancel your membership at any time. Just be aware that doing so must occur before the 5th of each month or you will incur charges. While it’s not explicitly stated, I assume that cancelling your membership eliminates your option to redeem any JustFab credits.
What JustFab Customers Think
It’s pretty hard to find happy reviews of JustFab, even beyond the sneaky subscription charges. Here is a direct quote from blogger Literally Darling, who writes an extensive review of her JustFab experience:
“Cardboard is more comfortable. The boots were simultaneously too big and too small. They actually hurt just to wear around in the apartment. Oh well, I thought. Back they go. Thus, I began my journey down the black hole that is JustFab.com. All promotional purchases are final sale. This includes the initial $19.95 pair. I began to look through the site and I realized that a lot of the merchandise is actually coded as promotional. Not even eligible for site credit, just final sale.”
Several months later, the reviewer at Literally Darling attempted to use accumulated credits to purchase another pair of boots. However, the order did not go through due to “problems with JustFab’s site.”
Frustrated, she then decided to forgo the purchase and logged into her JustFab account to check the status of her credits… which weren’t there (despite the cancelled order). Her customer service experience with JustFab speaks volumes:
And Literally Darling isn’t alone. JustFab’s hidden charges and poor service upset so many people, that a contributor at Gawker wrote about her experience with the shoe retailer, titling the article “The Biggest Scam in Online Fashion.”
To summarize why JustFab customers are saying the site is not so fabulous:
- Shoes are reported as being poor quality and uncomfortable
- Misleading membership information signs you up for autoship (and charges)
- The majority of shoes available are promotionally priced and non-returnable
- Honest reviews of the shoes are not being posted
- 30+ Minute wait-times to reach customer service
- Members must actually reach a customer service representative to cancel and avoid repeated charges
Final Thoughts on JustFab
Having not purchased their shoes, I can’t speak to the quality of products buyers receive. That being said, JustFab has garnered enough negative reviews to convince me not to try!
If you’re interested in buying shoes online, Zappos.com is known for it’s fantastic service and free shipping, as well as offering buyers a straightforward price that doesn’t include any surprise charges, memberships or hidden fees.