Just got suckered in at Teavana

38 Replies

Hi, I’m new to this board and new to tea, and I too got hustled at Teavana. BUT, I’m happy to report that I successfully returned $110 worth of tea and rock sugar. There was no attitude, or attempt to sell me on an exchange instead. Maybe I got lucky with the salesperson.

As for my purchasing experience. It was the same as all of the horror stories on this thread. I understand that it’s a business and there are business strategies, and I should taken a hold of the situation. What really irked me was the dishonesty. They don’t tell you that some of the teas use dried candied fruit, or that “a little sugar” in the sample equals 3 cups. The tea is really good, don’t get me wrong, but I’ll be looking elsewhere for my loose teas. Treating customers right is what keeps them coming back.

Sil select said

You want amazing customer service – try butiki teas :) Stacy has some pretty great flavoured and unflavoured teas and does right by her customers.

Really glad to hear you we’re able to return the tea though. :)

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A friend of mine works at Teavana, and I’ve heard all sorts of horror stories. They try and pit the stores against each other for instance.
“the hallowdale location sold twice your goal last week, why is your store having so much trouble meeting quota?” etc.
A toxic company if I ever saw one. Hopefully Starbucks straightens them out. Not that I’m a huge Starbucks fan but it has to be better than Pushy-vana!

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Kelsy said

Hi everyone! Just wanted to let you know that Teavana’s customer service got back to me. Blended tea IS returnable. However! After explaining the situation to my mom, who laughed at me :), we agreed that she will be paying me for half the price of the tea and we are going to buy some 4 oz tins and give some of the tea to some of our family friends who are big tea drinkers…and this way, we can keep some for ourselves to enjoy, as well.

As for me…I’ve learned my lesson! I’ll be interested to see if business strategy changes after Starbucks takes over, but I’m going to do my absolute best to not be a pushover if I’m ever in there again! :)

Lazey said


After Christmas I’m planning to go halves on some tea orders with a few other tealovers I know.

Serenity said

That sounds like a perfect solution! You can share the love of tea. And I hope you get some Christmas $$$ so you can buy even more tea.
Thanks for the update!

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Ugh, glad you got your return! Yeah, basically anything can be returned (with a receipt, within 90 days) unless it was a sale item. Sale items are marked with red stickers which will say something like “30% Off” and then a bit about their being final sale.

I really hate hearing stuff like this (although I don’t doubt the truth of your story). I don’t think every location is like this (I stand by mine!), but there are too many that are, and it brings the company down. Personally, if I ever get the sneaking suspicion that a customer doesn’t understand the price, I STOP what I’m doing and clarify it with them until I’m convinced they know exactly what they will be paying. Our scale displays the price, it’s easy to just show them! As my regional manager says, “If the customer ever gets to the till and is shocked by the price, you haven’t done your job properly.”

My suspicion/pet theory is that the bonus system has a lot to do with this – in order to receive a monthly commission bonus, you need to maintain a monthly sales average of $60/hr. (With the exception of the holidays, when it rises to $105/hr.) From what I’ve heard, this is the same for every store regardless of foot traffic – which makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever, as it seems to encourage staff at lower-traffic stores to be pushy and cutthroat at the cost of customer satisfaction. I am lucky to work in a store with high foot traffic, a great manager, and a great sales team that gets along and helps each other out when someone’s sales are low for any reason; and I don’t think I’ve ever felt we needed to be pushy! Yes, we do upsell and whatnot, but that’s sales, not Teavana being Evil Corp – it’s totally okay for people to say no, or leave with $6 of tea or whatever. Setting staff up to fail and alienate customers along the way just seems like a fatal flaw in their business model to me. I dunno, I hope I do not get in trouble for saying this, but I would like to say the same thing to head office! Maybe I just don’t understand the math and logic because I am not a CEO, but I really think that lower personal sales goals for staff in Tier 1 and Tier 2 stores would result in staff focusing on customers more, and less on making a big sale, and our reputation overall would improve a lot. Wouldn’t that be a good thing if they want to be a household name?

Also, NO, returned tea is not to ever be put back out. Teavana actually has a strict rule that if the purchased tea has crossed the threshold of the store – meaning, even if you walked out, turned around a foot out of the store and walked right back in – the tea is considered contaminated and not fit for sale. Every store is supposed to have a bright red shrink bag in the back that such returns are placed into so that no one accidentally puts it back in a wall tin. I suppose I can’t promise that no location ever puts it back out; but that’s the policy, and H/O sure sends us enough tea that it shouldn’t be necessary.

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