The hunt for Levi’s continues — disappoints

By | January 30, 2008

In my ongoing quest to find a brick-and-mortar or Web merchant from which I can easily and conveniently buy Levi’s jeans in my size, I decided to try going right to the source:

The first sign that this was not going to be an entirely positive experience was when I noticed that the size drop-downs on the item order pages display two numbers separated by an “x”. The only problem is that the drop-downs don’t tell you which number is the waist size and which is the length, and this information is not documented anywhere on their Web site. Now, I know the waist size is probably first, but still, after the experience I had ordering two pairs of jeans from Sears and having them get both of them wrong, I’d rather be cautious than make assumptions.

So I emailed their customer service department and asked, specifically, which of the two numbers in the size drop-downs represents the waist size and which represents the length. After some hours, they sent me back an answer which had nothing to do with my question. I wrote back and told them so, and they actually answered my question the second time around, which actually surprised me. (By the way, the answer is that the waist size is first.)

While I was browsing on their site, I saw an ad indicating that if I signed up for their email list, I’d get free shipping on my first order. So I filled out the subscription form, specifying as my email address (I put site-specific extensions on the email messages I give out so I can detect when sites sell my email address). The form claimed to have processed my subscription request successfully, but nothing else happened — the Web site didn’t tell me how to get my free shipping, and I did not receive any email about it either. So I emailed their customer service department again, asking how I was to go about taking advantage of the free-shipping promotion.

After some hours, they responded, “Once you have registered you will receive an email with the free shipping code for future use.

I responded, “I did register, using the email address, last night. I have not received any email in response to my registration. How long will it take?

Five hours later, they responded, “When you sign up for the our email list, you are signing up for the `The Latest Styles, Sale and Promos.’ We are not aware of any free shipping code that is assigned upon signing up for the email list. We apologize for the confusion.

I responded:

If I go to and click on “MEN”, an ad is displayed on the right side of the screen: “JOIN THE LIST FREE SHIPPING ON YOUR FIRST ORDER SIGN UP NOW >>”. This is the ad I saw last night. I clicked on it and entered my information to join the list. I don’t understand how you can tell me that there is no such promotion when I am looking at it right now on your Web site. Perhaps you should refer my question to someone who IS aware of this promotion. Or perhaps you should refrain from engaging in false advertising on your Web site.

Six hours later, they responded, “Please allow 2-3 days to receive the email containing a promotion code for the Free Shipping. Also, please be sure to check your bulk/spam folder to be sure it was not delivered there. We hope this information is helpful to you.

Three days later, I responded:

It has been more than 2-3 days. I still haven’t received anything from your mailing list. I checked my spam filter and confirmed that nothing from Levi’s has been trapped there. As I mentioned before, I subscribed to your list using the address, which is a valid email address (I just sent email to it from a different account and confirmed that it arrived in my inbox).

You need to figure out why I didn’t receive the email. You need to do this because there is an ad on your site promising free shipping for the first order of anyone who subscribes to your list, and I subscribed, and I haven’t been given the free shipping. That’s false advertising, and I assume that false advertising is not something that a reputable company like Levi Strauss wants to be engaging in.

They responded (rather quickly, interestingly enough):

Thank you for contacting, and giving us the opportunity to assist you.

We apologize for any inconvenience or disappointment caused.

Thank you for your inquiry. We have requested additional information from our Operations Department. Kindly allow at least 2-3 full business days for a resolution. Business days are Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays. Your reference number is (Request ID#deleted).

We appreciate your understanding regarding this issue and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

The next day, they emailed me again:

We have received a response to request #deleted. We have been advised that our research department cannot provide a code for”Join The List Free Shipping On First Order”. If you have not yet received your code, we suggest that you sign up again. If you still do not receive your code after signing up for the second time, please reply to this email and provide us with the necessary information. We will then attempt to sign up for you.

The return address of this email was the bogus address “”. Gotta love it.

I tried to sign up again as instructed, even though it was blatantly obvious that it wasn’t going to work. Then I waited ten days. Then I sent them this reply (which bounced, because of the bogus address in the header of their email, and then I resent it to the correct address and complained about the email address problem as well as the mailing list problem):

I attempted again to subscribe to the list on January 20. It is now ten days later and I still haven’t received anything from the list. I specified the following information in my subscription request:

Email Address:
First Name: Jonathan
Last Name: Kamens
Gender: Mail
Zip Code: deleted

Can you fix this?

Nine hours later, they responded: “We have tried to sign you up for the Levi email list, but we are receiving an error message that your email address is invalid. Please contact us at 1-866-860-8907 for further assistance, or reply to this message with a valid email address. We sincerely apologize for your inconvenience.

I responded:

There’s nothing wrong with the email address If your software won’t accept it, it’s your software, not the email address, that’s broken.

Your Web site sucks. Your customer service sucks. If you think I’m going do business with a Web merchant who has convinced me even before my first purchase that they have a sucky Web site and sucky customer service, just to save $5 in shipping on my first order, you’re mistaken.

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7 thoughts on “The hunt for Levi’s continues — disappoints

  1. Chloe

    The site still sucks. Limited sizes available for the Curve ID styles, and no verification email for free shipping, after three days. Thanks for posting and showing it’s not just me with issues on the site. Seems the only way I can ever get those dang Curve ID jeans is by finding a store and trying them on in there and leaving with or without a dang pair.

  2. juber

    my husband got some jeans – in his size amazingly enough – from the flagship levi’s store in SF recently. they only had one pair of them in stock. luckily the pair that was his size was a good color and style. he was told by the salespeople to order them – as if he could have better luck that way. ha! the website only has one style/color in his size that we can find, no way to search BY size, and when he called levi’s to ask about ordering some jeans in his size, they told him they didn’t MAKE them in his size! he, of course, replied “i’m wearing some right now”, to which the lady in customer service had no response.

    sadly, i’m about to order the same jeans from the website because he’s desperate for nice jeans in his size for under $200 since he goes through them so quickly. wish me luck!

  3. jik Post author

    Got a second response from Levi Strauss:

    Hi Jonathan:

    Thanks for taking the time to contact us at Levi Strauss & Co.

    We’re sorry to hear about your experience, and appreciate the time you have taken to contact us. Your comments will be passed along to the appropriate management.

    If you still have questions, please call us at 1-800-USA-LEVI. We’re available Monday – Friday, 6:00am – 4:30pm Pacific Time.

  4. jik Post author

    Just got this message back from their customer service department:

    Thank you for contacting, and giving us the opportunity to assist you.

    We place a tremendous value on the feedback we get from our customers – especially when it concerns any problems or dissatisfaction that you have experienced.

    We are continually striving to improve your shopping experience, and your input is vital to that process. We value your business, and we hope that you will continue to shop at our site. Thank you for helping us to achieve our goal: the complete satisfaction of each of our customers! If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to contact our customer service department again.

    Please feel free to contact us again if we can be of further assistance. Just email us back, or call us at 1-866-860-8907. Our Customer Service Specialists are available 24 hours a day for your convenience.


    Customer Service

  5. abbasegal

    I will admit that I can’t say I am surprised. They probably had some contractor write their website, who subcontracted it out (very possibly abroad), to someone who rolled their own email address verifier without looking at the spec (probably didn’t even know there was a spec!), and the “+” sign is breaking their software.

    There is effectively a zero percent chance that they would fix it, as you can be sure the cost to them of fixing it now would be more than they could possibly earn back from the additional sales they get from the small set of the market of people with the “+” sign in their email addresses who might buy from their website. (Especially since the people with “+” in their email addresses are almost certainly people tracking their email spam sources, which is a market of people who would, other than you, already have given up on the Levi’s web site before they got that far!). The only real chance is if, for other reasons, they decide to start again from scratch and accidentally hire someone experienced and/or competent enough to either write their own (correct) verifier or re-use a pre-existing one. You will of course be a long-lost potential customer by then…

    Of course, knowing this doesn’t make it any less frustrating…

  6. Jen Gordon

    Many years ago, when the whole idea of buying things online first started to be big, I tried to shop at the Levi’s site.

    I’m shocked (well, not really) to hear that in fact their website still sucks. Back then it was just a terrible, terrible UI (so bad I couldn’t figure out how to make a purchase).


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