Caveat Emptor: Let the Buyer Beware

Cartoon by Wagtoons

*Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect new information 

Caveat Emptor!

Some of you RedState Readers know me as a cartoonist, pen name wag. Usually, when I post a cartoon on RedState I exaggerate for comedic or dramatic effect. The following is a true story that actually happened to me. It is not an exaggeration. It is fact.

On April 7, 2020, San Bernardino County mandated that face masks be worn in public.

Full Disclosure: I have worn a face mask for months now. I am currently being treated for Stage 4 Cancer. The oral chemo I take has many obnoxious side effects, one of these being that my immune system is severely compromised. Most of the time I have a very low white blood cell count and am susceptible to catch whatever germ is lurking around my person. So I wear a mask. (My friends joke now that everyone wears one because I started the trend.)

The mask I wear makes it difficult to breathe freely. And on April 3rd, my husband informed me that JiffyShirts.com had sent him an email informing him that because of the pandemic, they were offering non-medical, washable, reusable, lightweight fabric masks. We both agreed that in situations where I would be out of doors, but not likely to be in contact with people, these would be a good idea.

The problem was JiffyShirts is a retail outlet. You can buy one of a kind, but they also sell (and give a discount to) places who buy hundreds of like items at one time. The face masks were a multiple item discount. You had to buy 120. The ad said the original price was $211.20 but we could buy them at the discounted price of $169. The ad said, “At JiffyShirts we love being part of the solution! We are happy to have non-medical grade daily face covers available on our site for pre-order. Click here for more information:” — which made them seem altruistic in their offering.

My husband and I discussed this and contacted our children to see if they’d be interested if we bought “a bunch of masks.” Some said they could use them for their family. And we decided to purchase them and give the extras to family and friends.

When the package came I was surprised to see how small it was for an envelope containing 120 masks. My husband opened the plastic bag, took out one mask and tried it on. It was smaller than we’d thought. And when he stretched the ear loop to go around his ear the fabric raveled and tore, rendering the mask useless.

“These are junk,” he said. “I’m going to return them.”

Two hours later, I was at the computer, drawing a cartoon when he entered the room, visibly upset. “I got a computer-generated email from JiffyShirts,” he announced. “They said if I want a refund I can’t have opened the package. Problem is, I got the email two hours after the package was delivered–two hours after I’d already opened it.”

He left the room, fuming. As I sat contemplating what he’d said something didn’t make sense. You never return a package without opening it to see if it was the right size, right color, or flawed. A month ago we bought a vacuum online and when it got here my husband opened the box and they had sent the wrong model. Using the “Jiffy refund logic” we shouldn’t have been able to return it.

“Tough luck. You opened it. It’s yours!”

My husband has been leaving comments on the JiffyShirts Facebook page. And it’s interesting to see how the company has dealt with this. Many customers are furious. Not only will Jiffy NOT refund any money, they are only offering varying amounts of in-store credit. (We have read on Facebook that some people have only been offered a $40 in-store credit for their $169 plus tax purchase price.)

And now, the products are described (on their site) as “one time use, disposable.” And a “No return” has also been added. This is not what was written when we purchased the masks. (Luckily we have all the emails.)

We have been ordering from this company for over ten years. Just last month, we ordered some sweatshirts for our only child living at home when he started a new job. Before this debacle, we had always had a positive view of them. We will never order from JiffyShirts.com again.

Yesterday, I asked my husband if he wanted to see if we could get the costs disputed through PayPal. In frustration, he replied, “No. It’s not their fault.” I then asked if he wanted me to throw away the masks. “No. They’re flimsy and disintegrate to the touch. If we can’t buy more toilet paper in the next month we can use them for that.”