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Lightbox return issues/delays

Pearl19

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 23, 2020
Messages
161
I’ve bought several items from Lightbox since they started shipping to the UK. I’ve been very pleased with the goods and overall the shipping speeds have been impressive as well.

On a minor point, each time I purchase something I get an automatic email asking me to leave a review whereby I will then be given a $25 credit for my next purchase. I never received the credit so I emailed them and was told that I would have automatically got an email straight back with the discount code in it, and I should check my junk mail. They did include the code in their reply but implied I was mistaken in my believe that they had not sent me the code. A sign of things to come!

My opinion of the company declined a few weeks ago when I ordered a pair of earrings. Normally dispatch is within a few hours, with detailed tracking available on the DHL portal. When the goods are picked up from the warehouse by the Courier there is a ‘collected from sender’ entry on the tracking page. In this instance the pickup scan didn’t appear and there were no further updates on the tracking. So after a few days I emailed Lightbox asking them to check the situation. I was told to wait a while longer and to keep an eye on the tracking. Several days later there was no change and I emailed again, only to be told that the goods had definitely left the warehouse. Communication with DHL confirmed that the goods in fact had not been collected. Another email to Lightbox was met with the same “keep waiting” response. Not long after that I received a refund notice from Lightbox.

I was disappointed not to get the earrings (as I had bought the last pair they were no longer in stock) but at least I had my refund. Or so I thought. I had paid by PayPal and I checked both my PayPal account and bank account about a week later. There was nothing showing so I gave it a few more days before sending an email to Lightbox letting them know that there was no evidence of the refund. I was told to wait a bit longer for the funds to clear. I gave it a few more days and then emailed them again explaining that even though it takes a few days for funds to clear back into a bank account, PayPal refunds show up immediately as an entry in a PayPal account. I was told that I had definitely been sent a refund. At this point I realised I was going to have to prove that I didn’t have the refund, so I contacted PayPal and decided to use the on-screen message system so that I would have a retrievable transcript of the conversation. PayPal confirmed that there was no activity at all from Lightbox and that I would see it if there was.

Another email to Lightbox, this time telling them about the PayPal conversation and explaining that PayPal had recommended I instigate a chargeback. Within 24 hours I had another refund notice from Lightbox immediately followed by a PayPal refund notice, the refund suddenly showed up in my PayPal account, and the money went back into my account within a few days. Within moments of receiving the refund I noticed that the missing earrings suddenly went back into stock.

I realise mistakes happen and I will always cut a store some slack. But there were two problems here - firstly I was told the goods had shipped when clearly they had not (and told to keep waiting). Later on I was told I had been given a refund when clearly I had not. Again, told to keep waiting when it was obvious a refund had not been issued.

This is not an isolated incident as another forum member has recently reported the exact same experience. A third forum member pointed out that she had similar problems getting a refund and she is U.S. based.

If things go well and you get your goods then everything is fine, but if something goes wrong then you may have a battle on your hands. My advice is always to pay with PayPal and don't assume you have been refunded - make sure you check your account.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 11, 2013
Messages
2,476
There’s been some chat on the “Photos of Lightbox” thread about recent problems and delays getting returns. I am starting a fresh thread so that people can share their experiences, and hopefully the information will be easier to find. Thanks!

Thank you for starting this thread so others can share their experiences here!
 

La2020

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 15, 2020
Messages
785
The Lightbox received the returned necklace on 3rd Feb. 1 week later, there were no news and so I emailed them on 10th Feb. They responded and confirmed that the return has been received back into their warehouse, and assured me that the refund has been processed. They told me to wait for an additional 5-10 business days (8th till 13th Feb) for the refund to appear on the original payment method (mine was done via eNets bank transfer).

Since the website states that Lightbox will send a confirmation email once their team have processed the return, and there was no email of such, I have to email them again on the 17th Feb.

Again Lightbox has assured me that the refund for the return was processed on Mon, Feb 8th. And asked me to wait for until 13th - 18th Feb for the bank to post the refund. Or that I should contact my financial institution for further assistance, which I did.

When I pointedly asked Lightbox for the following details so that I could check on my end:
1) Merchant Reference Code:
2) Transaction Amount:
3) Date and Time of Transaction:
4) Merchant's Name:
5) Authorisation/approval code:
6) Mode of payment, ie; credit or debit:
7) Credit card number (1st 6 digits and the last 4 digits)

Instead of giving me the information, Lightbox suddenly realized that "the refund did not go through" on their end and requested me for more information so that they could process the refund at their end.

However, they did not get back to me yet on whether the refund has been proceed after I have provided them my banking details

In short, until now, I have not received the refund.

If it was not for @Lindsay19's gentle reminder to checkup with them constantly, I would have forgotten about it!

I will keep everyone posted whether if they refunded me, and warn potential buyers of Lightbox (especially the overseas buyers) to think twice before getting anything from them. Since they have this habit of false "confirming" the refund status.
 

La2020

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 15, 2020
Messages
785
An update that the refund finally reached me today.

Lightbox's explanation; there was an issue with their cross-border partner’s gateway sometime after the 8th Feb.

However, they did not elaborate on why they have insisted that the refund was successful, and wanted me to follow up at my end.

I will also be documenting what I have experienced in my blog; again I standby my recommendation - be extra careful for anyone who is seeking a refund from Lightbox.
 
Last edited:

123ducklings

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 10, 2020
Messages
919
An update that the refund finally reached me today.

Lightbox explanation; that there was an issue with their cross-border partner’s gateway happened on sometime after the 8th Feb.

However, they did not elaborate on why they have insisted that the refund was successful and wanted me to follow up at my end.

I will also be documenting what I have experienced in my blog; again I standby my recommendation - be extra careful for anyone who is seeking a refund from Lightbox.

Thank you for sharing your experience and the update. I’m glad you finally got your refund!
 

Pearl19

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 23, 2020
Messages
161
Lightbox's explanation; there was an issue with their cross-border partner’s gateway sometime after the 8th Feb.

Hmm, my issue was before then - but I never got an explanation.

Glad it's finally been sorted out.
 

diamondyes

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 16, 2020
Messages
1,082
FYI for international buyers: You will not get duty back with a return, as far as I have experienced. I talked to the Canadian border advices agency and lightbox and this is what lightbox told me:

“Essentially, we’re not able to refund the duties because we’re unable to claim it back ourselves, but it might be possible to initiate a claim through our partner.

It is not a guarantee but if you'd like us to go ahead and do this on your behalf, we can.

They have advised that it can take up to a few months to receive the decision, and it’s not a guarantee.

Please let us know if this is something you would like us to do for you.

We apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced and if there is anything else we can assist you with in the meantime, please let us know.“

And the Canadian border services agency wouldn’t refund me because I didn’t have an original import receipt detailing customs tax/duty. They don’t allow for the receipt lightbox gives. Apparently if lightbox had been able to tell me which brokerage company they use, I could request a B3 customs import report, and do it that way…. But after the above quoted message, lightbox never got back to me.

I eventually gave up and took the loss as the price I paid to be able to see a lab diamond in person. This was 2020 so maybe they have things figured out better by now… but I wouldn’t bank on it.
 

Pearl19

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 23, 2020
Messages
161
That sounds like a nightmare, and so unfair on you. If Lightbox collected the duties and taxes as part of the purchase price, and states this in their terms, then Lightbox should give you a full refund and they would then sort out a refund of the taxes for themselves given that they are the exporter. What Lightbox is telling you sounds completely shady, wrong, and outright profiteering.

I'm in the UK and whenever I've returned something to the USA I've always been able to claim back the VAT and duties - either via the seller if they've collected the taxes on export as part of the final purchase price, or via HMRC on the UK side if I've paid the taxes via a bill from the courier (this route involves filling out various forms and a bit of hassle). Obviously I can't speak for Canada, but the principle should be the same as it is in most jurisdictions.
 

diamondyes

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 16, 2020
Messages
1,082
That sounds like a nightmare, and so unfair on you. If Lightbox collected the duties and taxes as part of the purchase price, and states this in their terms, then Lightbox should give you a full refund and they would then sort out a refund of the taxes for themselves given that they are the exporter. What Lightbox is telling you sounds completely shady, wrong, and outright profiteering.

I'm in the UK and whenever I've returned something to the USA I've always been able to claim back the VAT and duties - either via the seller if they've collected the taxes on export as part of the final purchase price, or via HMRC on the UK side if I've paid the taxes via a bill from the courier (this route involves filling out various forms and a bit of hassle). Obviously I can't speak for Canada, but the principle should be the same as it is in most jurisdictions.

I agree. It seems wrong. And it is the first time I’ve had an issue collecting the duty I paid in a return situation. C’est la vie! And buyer beware.
 

Pearl19

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 23, 2020
Messages
161
It sounds to me as though Lightbox are trying to profit from the taxes/duties you've paid by avoiding the process of claiming them back. Only giving you a partial refund to not include the taxes they have charged you is, I suspect, outright illegal.

I would take advice from your tax authorities or advisory bureau, rather than allow Lightbox to get away with this. You yourself cannot claim back the tax if you weren't the one who paid it, so this falls to Lightbox. If it turns out Lightbox are acting improperly, I would put that to them in writing and I suspect they will soon sort the problem out.
 

diamondyes

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 16, 2020
Messages
1,082
It sounds to me as though Lightbox are trying to profit from the taxes/duties you've paid by avoiding the process of claiming them back. Only giving you a partial refund to not include the taxes they have charged you is, I suspect, outright illegal.

I would take advice from your tax authorities or advisory bureau, rather than allow Lightbox to get away with this. You yourself cannot claim back the tax if you weren't the one who paid it, so this falls to Lightbox. If it turns out Lightbox are acting improperly, I would put that to them in writing and I suspect they will soon sort the problem out.

I actually think they collect the tax for the tax man, and thus they don’t have the tax in their pockets for long.

Honestly my last correspondence from them is 2020 so I think that ship has sailed. I had a lot going on in my life at the time so I couldn’t follow up forever, I’m over it. Happy to warn others though!
 

Pearl19

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 23, 2020
Messages
161
That's correct, they collect the tax and pay it to the tax authorities. Therefore when they refund a customer (in full) they would need to fill in the requisite forms and claim the tax portion back from the tax man. It sounds to me like they want to avoid the hassle of doing that and will leave you out of pocket instead - I don't think that is legal.

I don't think it matters that you corresponded with Lightbox in 2020, if they tried to avoid issuing a full refund you would still have a case. I can understand why you might not want to have to deal with them again though.
 

diamondyes

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 16, 2020
Messages
1,082
That's correct, they collect the tax and pay it to the tax authorities. Therefore when they refund a customer (in full) they would need to fill in the requisite forms and claim the tax portion back from the tax man. It sounds to me like they want to avoid the hassle of doing that and will leave you out of pocket instead - I don't think that is legal.

I don't think it matters that you corresponded with Lightbox in 2020, if they tried to avoid issuing a full refund you would still have a case. I can understand why you might not want to have to deal with them again though.

I appreciate your words. I did end up emailing lightbox on the ongoing email chain, we will see if they decide to respond. Crazy that they would be happy to just ghost me but I suppose the customer service agents aren’t being paid to go above and beyond.
 

Pearl19

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 23, 2020
Messages
161
As I recall I didn't get anywhere with my refund until I took advice from Paypal. Once I threatened a case I got the refund from Lightbox quite quickly.

If you paid by card or Paypal then they could probably tell you exactly where you stand. This will hinge on Lightbox's terms and conditions - have a look to see if there's a clause about partial refunds for overseas customers (although I think they would have quoted it to you, if it existed).
 

chere

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 10, 2021
Messages
180
I did end up emailing lightbox on the ongoing email chain
I'm glad you followed up. It's never too late. Their website states duties are included in the price and you shouldn't have paid it on delivery. I don't know if this FAQ was updated after you placed your order.

I think they should reimburse you since "their partner", I'm assuming DHL, has the custom documents and it's a small amount to pay for your future business.

I will be livid if DHL sends me a customs invoice later this month. I ordered more than I should have because I thought it would be a straight forward return.



Lightbox Duties.JPG
 

diamondyes

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 16, 2020
Messages
1,082
I'm glad you followed up. It's never too late. Their website states duties are included in the price and you shouldn't have paid it on delivery. I don't know if this FAQ was updated after you placed your order.

I think they should reimburse you since "their partner", I'm assuming DHL, has the custom documents and it's a small amount to pay for your future business.

I will be livid if DHL sends me a customs invoice later this month. I ordered more than I should have because I thought it would be a straight forward return.



Lightbox Duties.JPG

So I think part of the problem is that the duties were in the price I paid, but it wasn’t clearly laid out how much the duty was. Like I paid one price and it doesn’t define how much of it was duty.

I did not pay any additional duty on delivery.
 

chere

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 10, 2021
Messages
180
That's really strange. Keep pressing them for it. I'm sure you'll get the duties back.
 

chere

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 10, 2021
Messages
180
I got a copy of the custom documents from Lightbox. I can submit a duties and tax refund claim on my own now. I posted about it on the other thread if anyone here is interested in reading about it.

 
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