I have never owned an expensive bag before. I don’t usually care for expensive bags and jewelry. I actually opted out of having a “real” wedding and informed my husband he’d be in trouble if he bought me an expensive ring because I’m just not into it.
Last October was my 10 year wedding anniversary. I am a huge ‘Disney’s Haunted Mansion’ fan. When I heard that Disney was releasing a Haunted Mansion bag line it was the magic combination that would make me actually want a luxury bag. We figured that since we’ve done almost nothing so far for these types of anniversaries–for a 10 year anniversary this would be a great present.
I instead have had an 8 month (and still counting) nightmare in which I am out over $800, still don’t have a functional bag, and was unable to get a resolution even when dealing directly with Peter Dooney, and Dooney Creative Director Ian Ray themselves.
My experiences with the Dooney and Bourke top brass have made me feel that they don’t actually care. They may try to care, but it never quite gets to a resolution. I have dealt with people on C-Level for resolutions in the past but this is the first time in my entire life that I’ve still not been able to get a resolution that makes sense.
I’ll have to give you some background so you understand the full ridiculousness of what I’ve been through. First, take a look at some photos of the faulty bags Dooney and Bourke and Disney are selling and charging hundreds of dollars for. Some of these bags were photographed within a few hours of being gently carried for the first time:
Disney parks does a recurring collaboration with Dooney and Bourke where Dooney and Bourke make bags with Disney patterns that are then a limited sales release. I wanted the Haunted Mansion ‘Smith’ bag but it wasn’t in stock when I was there. My husband instead bought me the Haunted Mansion wristlet, tote, and letter carrier on October 12th, the same day it was released for sale. Each of these bags ranged in price from just under $100 to over $200 each.
That same day I saw complaints on some of the Disney Dooney communities that the Haunted Mansion Dooney’s were falling apart. I blogged about it here. I was afraid to carry the bags because of it, but fans on these communities assured me that Dooney was a great company and would fix the bags if they had issues. People told me they had Dooneys from the 70s that still were like new and that the bags have a lifetime guarantee. Some of the women spoke to Ian Ray, who is one of the main designers of Dooney and Bourke and he personally assured them at a Disney signing event that they should carry the bags without worry because Dooney stands by their products.
That is not what I have experienced.
It’s very telling that recently Dooney and Bourke switched from having a lifetime guarantee on their bags to a 1 year guarantee, think of that what you will.
8 Dooney Bags fell apart instantly:
Haunted Mansion Tote: I carried my tote for 2 weeks in which I was as gentle as possible on it. The leather strap frayed and it developed patches on the stress points where the material flaked off and revealed white spots.
Haunted Mansion Letter Carrier: My letter carrier never even had the tags removed and was never carried. Just the way the bag was made – the way the material was folded, caused the material to begin to flake off and reveal white spots. Also the strap it came with was much rougher than all of the other straps – it was as rough as sandpaper and totally different from the straps on the other bags. If I carried it it would surely destroy any shirt I wore. This bag was designed almost like a prank. Carry it, it falls apart and takes your clothing with it!
It’s would seem very clear to anyone who bought and used the bags in the Haunted Mansion line that it looks like the new material they switched to for this bag release is faulty and should be recalled. It’s also clear that they have quality control issues because literally each bag I have seems to be made differently.
I was too trusting, probably because I like Disney Parks so much. I bought into the “Dooney and Bourke stands by it’s products” line. I assumed that – just like 99% of companies I’ve ever bought from – that a systemic faulty bag line would be recalled and/or fixed.
Disney would never stand for this kind of thing, right?
I contacted both Disney and Dooney and Bourke’s customer service. Disney got back to me relatively quickly and told me I could return it, but I was already 1000 miles away at home and it would be difficult to do that. They suggested that I could more easily reach out to Dooney to get the bag fixed, so I did that. I didn’t hear back from Dooney for over 3 months of repeatedly contacting them and when I did the reply was unhelpful and generic.
I now know this was stupid and that I was blinded by my love of the Haunted Mansion and trust in Disney Parks. On my next trip I bought the newly reissued Haunted Mansion Smith bag that I had originally wanted to the tune of over $400.
In what will likely be known as one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done in my life, I figured that with all of the complaints they must have fixed it, right? What company on earth would find it an ethical situation to sell high end bags that fall apart in just weeks after purchase? Especially a company with a reputation like Dooney and Bourke. Disney wouldn’t still keep selling it, would they? Disney prides itself in good quality, so I trusted that these bags were improved if they were still selling them.
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid of me.
Haunted Mansion Smith Bag: My first Haunted Mansion Smith bag had to be returned the same day that I bought it because there was a quality issue with how the inside was sewn. The Cast Member in the shop assured me she had so many Dooneys and they last forever and that this must have just been an old shipment because they had issues, but had fixed them.
So I got a second one and the zipper came off right there in the shop. The CM went in the back and got me a new bag from the most recent shipment and again assured me that these were the new ones that were made better.
My Smith bag lasted about 6 weeks before exhibiting the same flaking issue.
The worst part is that Disney is still selling the faulty bags even today. I just came back from Florida and I saw at least 6 Haunted Mansion Smith bags in the jewelry shop on Main Street, USA in the Magic Kingdom. Hundreds of women have had the same problem I have had. If you just use it for a special occasion you may not encounter this. But if you actually use the bag every day for 1-3 months you’ll eventually see this issue.
I spoke to the shop manager at Disney and she played dumb, but eventually revealed that she was aware of numerous complaints about that bag. I found it interesting that until I pushed her with my now deep knowledge of this bag line she pretended to not know about it. She told me I could get my money back from Disney if Dooney would not oblige.
Unable to get a resolution from Peter Dooney and Ian Ray:
I was unable to get a helpful reply from Dooney and they had up to 3 months to get me a reply.
I got frustrated and sent postal mail to Peter Dooney himself. I figured that he’d want to know this was happening since his name is on the bags. He handed my correspondence off to Ian Ray who told me he’d like to handle getting my bags fixed himself.
I was concerned because the email that Mr. Ray sent me was long, somewhat “rambling”, and more focused I felt on excuses. He also asked me to not publish the email. I didn’t publish it at that time because I am not unreasonable or a jerk. I understand if things go wrong – it’s all good if you make it right.
Unfortunately they did not make it right.
In his email I didn’t hear a lot of what I felt was needed: solution-based thinking. He explained to me that all of Dooney and Bourke was having quality issues. He stated that the Disney bags are the same quality level as their other bags, and said that this is why I had such a bad experience with customer service. They are literally getting so many complaints that they cannot handle it.
I’m like, that’s great. So they took a large amount of my money, didn’t deliver a solid product, but you want me to feel sorry for you?
Still, I remained polite and positive.
Ian Ray sent me a bag for free since I had to send my bags to him to get them repaired. The bag he gave me was a Disney Flower and Garden Festival bag. I thanked him and told him I appreciated his help – because I did.
Well…the strap came apart in under 2 months on my free bag and the color flaked off on the strap a little. I had to superglue it together to keep using it because I do not own another purse.
Wrap your head around this.
The freaking free bag they sent me to apologize for all of these bags I bought falling apart, fell apart.
The dark blue/black dye on the side of the bag is also starting to blur/bleed, but I am having trouble getting my camera to pick that up.
Mr. Ray told a friend of mine who met him at a signing event that they will repair the bags no problem and they stand by their products. Just 1 day later he emails me to tell me that oops, they don’t have any replacement Haunted Mansion bags in stock and can’t fix them but he could put dye over the white spots to cover up the flaking.
Why would I want this? They’ll just keep flaking! That is not a fix!
I politely declined and decided to try and work with the Disney side since the store manager in the Magic Kingdom told me they’d refund me.
Ian Ray then mysteriously stopped replying to my polite emails at that point. I requested to have my bags sent back to me as I would ask for a refund from Disney. However I know he received my emails because after I phoned Dooney and Bourke I was able to find out that my bags were in the process of being shipped back to me.
The situation currently at hand:
This is a sad situation in which Dooney and Bourke’s failure is directly impacting Disney’s reputation. I hope that Disney realizes this and takes action. I am not the only person who is extremely upset by this.
It’s been an epic nightmare since October when I bought these bags. Disney sent me to Dooney. Dooney sent me to Disney. I was ping-ponged back and forth which wasted a lot of my time. I am afraid they will push it such that I can’t get a resolution by next October when my warranty is up.
I emailed Disney about this because their store manager told me in April that I could get a refund. However Disney customer service told me I’d have to get a Dooney and Bourke gift card to buy a regular Dooney bag.
I never wanted a Dooney and Bourke bag. I never would have bought a Dooney. I bought it because it was a Disney Haunted Mansion bag and I purchased it from Disney’s store right on Main Street USA in Florida. I am still being ping ponged back and forth and each company is passing the buck to the other company since October!
For the first time in my life, I got a bit…direct…with the CSR after first apologizing because this was totally not her fault. Allegedly Disney will now give me a Disney gift card if I can find all of the receipts.
Cross your fingers, guys.
The sad thing is that I was treated terribly, but I received better treatment from Dooney and Bourke than most of their customers.
The Haunted Mansion Smith bags that are currently in the Disney parks shops all probably have this issue. They are still selling them. DO NOT BUY THEM. I am still fighting to get my money back and I don’t even have a purse I can use. I am not sure I’ve ever been treated worse in a high level item customer service scenario. I hope that someone high up in Disney reads this and understands that this is happening and this is the opposite of how Disney strives to treat it’s customers.
Disney’s partnership with Dooney is turning into an epic negative experience that is leaving a bad taste in everyone’s mouths who were unfortunate enough to buy these particular bags. I don’t know why after all of the complaints that they’d continue to sell these bags in their stores. That’s the part that upsets me the most.
You can see some photos of the faulty bags here.
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