B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

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Robert.A.Jr.
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B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#1 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » October 25th, 2020, 1:22 pm

I was initially quite loathe to saying anything on a public website. Not my style to criticize like that, especially at these times when we have bigger issues to worry about. But then my problem with this retailer morphed into a bigger problem, compounded by a snarky and contemptuous response by them, over this weekend. Now I’m just pissed.

So let me set this up. I’ve been buying from B21 the entire period of my wine sojourn. No telling how many thousands of dollars I have spent there Since 1992/93, this being one of my prime retailers. Plus I have turned many friends, family members and colleagues onto this wine store. What I like about this retailer, in particular, is that they make special van deliveries to key markets in FL, so I can build an order over time, and once I hit the purchase threshold, they deliver it by van. With the heat in FL, this is a big plus.

I had just hit a threshold and lined up some wine, like 2+ cases, for delivery. That day, only about 1/3-1/2 of the order shows up. While there was one wine I was waiting for, it was really no big deal, people make mistakes (so I thought). I send them an email just to let them know, assuming they would remedy things immediately. No response. Sent another email. No response. I think it was the 3rd or 4th email I sent near the end of that week, where they finally respond. It was clear that they did not know what transpired, so supposedly would look into it. Come next week, I hear nothing, so reach out again. After some more delays and emails, I am advised they located my order. So I ask them to put it on the next van delivery. I am advised that the remainder of the order does not meet the delivery threshold. And asked if I wanted to add more to cross the threshold. Of course I’m a bit peeved, and point out, that they messed this one up and should deliver it as I am only below the threshold because they didn’t deliver the whole order.

Over the next week or so, I am advised again that they are looking for my order (huh?), then they put it on for the next delivery. I’m like, cool, they realized belatedly that they messed up and are fixing things. The day before the delivery, the van is cancelled. No word as to why, nothing. I finally just ask them to cancel the order, and nicely ask for the contact information to the owner (Bob Sprentall), whom I know from the past. They would not give it to me. I asked twice. Then I called, and the call-in system is 100% computerized, no live voice, and no directory. I think that I asked again, but still nobody would give me his contact.

At that point, I’m like, f@ck them, I get Am Ex involved. I dispute the payments on wine that was never delivered, which to this day I do not know if they even located it. I emailed B21 to tell them that and specifically advised them to cancel all my orders, including some pre-arrivals (those are pay on delivery). I hear nothing.

About 6 weeks go by, I call Am Ex, and they say they’ve received no response from B21, but I have a temporary credit on my account, and they normally give the retailer 6-8 weeks to respond. If they do not respond, I get the permanent credit.

And within the hour, I get an email from B21, like nothing is wrong, saying that one of my pre-arrival wines was in and they charged my card. Again, this is after I told them to cancel. I has previously directed them to delete my credit card information. I call up Amex Ex to dispute it, and put B21 on total block. I email B21 to tell them this was an unauthorized charge and to refund it. To their credit, they did. Weren’t very nice about it, and even though I had yet again asked for the owner’s contact information, they would not respond to that specific question. I emailed them again to confirm that ALL orders are cancelled, then I get a snarky email from the customer service manager, saying they are doing that, and I will be charged a 10% restocking fee. Yes, I sent them I terse response, told them they have no authority to charge my card that 10% (called Amex Ex again to ensure a block was on), and asked for the owner’s contact yet again. No response whatsoever. This is from Friday.

Consider me very surprised by this. I am a businessman. I had a business fail during Covid, too. Times are tough for some folks. Wine retailers are NOT struggling, they are killing it right now. Everything I have been taught about customer service is that you bend over backwards to keep a good customer happy. I’ve been a loyal, 25-year customer of B21. I would love to have 25+ year clients. They treated me like I was dirt. Ironically, I am on a cycling/wine getaway with some buddies, all of them buy from b21. I laid out the whole story, showed them the emails - they were here when I got the snarky one - and they all said totally out of line. And they are pulling their business as well.

I remain most disappointed because the relationship was so good for so long. Does anyone know if the business has been sold, whether Bob Sprentall remains the owner? Every time I spoke with him, he was a class act. This just does not seem like his business anymore. I cannot do business with them.
Last edited by Robert.A.Jr. on October 25th, 2020, 6:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#2 Post by ClarkstonMark » October 25th, 2020, 1:35 pm

His email starts with a b and ends with @b-21.com. If you know the structure of their employee emails, you might be able to guess his email.
Or install something on this website and they will give you the email.
https://www.zoominfo.com/p/Robert-Sprentall/14266511

He is on Linked IN as well if you want to connect there, and it might show his number if you make a connection.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#3 Post by ybarselah » October 25th, 2020, 1:42 pm

interesting. i had a very similar situation - though much simpler; ship a case of wine from their store to my hotel in south beach. it turned into a truly massive logistics project which eventually resulted in the wine being delivered a few days after we returned to NYC (i got a nice call from the front desk that my wine was here and would i like them to put in my room fridge). i'd say i called the store and spoke with 5 different people.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#4 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » October 25th, 2020, 1:43 pm

Just checked all emails. I did in fact tell them to delete my credit card information and cancel all orders. So they did move forward a month or so later using my credit card without my permission and over my specific directive.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#5 Post by Hank Victor » October 25th, 2020, 1:48 pm

Damn sucks to hear. I’ve bought sporadically from them this past year after reading some of your posts complimenting them. Nothing crazy just a half case here and there. Hopefully Bob can advise and mend the relationship.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#6 Post by Marcus Dean » October 25th, 2020, 1:59 pm

Seems like a crazy way to treat a long term client

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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#7 Post by Kris Patten » October 25th, 2020, 2:10 pm

Marcus Dean wrote:
October 25th, 2020, 1:59 pm
Seems like a crazy way to treat a long term client
Just remove the words long term and you hit nail on the head.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#8 Post by Max S. » October 25th, 2020, 2:14 pm

Thats a hard no for me. I've looked at purchasing from them several times, but ill pay a higher price for decent customer service.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#9 Post by HenryB » October 25th, 2020, 2:18 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
October 25th, 2020, 1:43 pm
Just checked all emails. I did in fact tell them to delete my credit card information and cancel all orders. So they did move forward a month or so later using my credit card without my permission and over my specific directive.
Moments like this make me glad for being a European citizen - you can quite quickly play the GDPR card. Oh, you didnt delete all of my personal data within 48 hours of being requested? That's a breach. Oh, you didnt report the breach to the ICO within 48 hours of being told of the breach? That's another breach.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#10 Post by Neal.Mollen » October 25th, 2020, 2:29 pm

Damn Robert, I know this was one of your go-to shops. I even bought a few things there on your recommendation. Well, all things come to an end I suppose
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#11 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » October 25th, 2020, 2:36 pm

This is an assumption, but having paid attention to the company over the many years, I think they have really moved more toward a national, Internet wine retailer business. I’m sure they currently have a huge volume of wine orders. What they have lost is the personal touch. They used to have very sophisticated sine industry personnel (Rhett Beilette, Steve Rayman etc) that many of us customers had relationships with, that would email you from time to time about certain wines they thought we should try. That was before state laws started to loosen up on out-of-state white shipments to private citizens. So while I was disappointed to have seen that personalized part of the business change, at least for many years they continued to execute the actual orders well. It just was no longer personalized, I place my orders, they sell it, and they deliver it when I hit a threshold. For all I know the complete ownership of the company has changed. It seems like a Walmart now.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#12 Post by I. Howe » October 25th, 2020, 3:18 pm

Bummer man, sorry to hear. I happened to be in Tarpon Springs a few weeks back and dropped in the store and purchased a few things. It has been a while, at least a year, since I have done the van delivery.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#13 Post by NED VALOIS » October 25th, 2020, 3:30 pm

Sorry to hear all this. I've bought from them for years with no problems.
Please let us know should you get a satisfactory ending to this story.
Until that occurs, I'll not buy!

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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#14 Post by Wes Barton » October 25th, 2020, 3:41 pm

Incompetent bumbling employees. It's no wonder that they don't want the owner hearing about this, regardless of if it's still Bob or not.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#15 Post by F.Daner » October 25th, 2020, 3:51 pm

Robert- Bob is still the owner but they have made it difficult to get folks on the phone. Not sure why other than some changes due to covid and I think their volume is up quite a bit. I'll send you Bob's email. He is usually very responsive and I think he would hate to lose you as a customer.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#16 Post by Howard Cooper » October 25th, 2020, 4:05 pm

Robert, sorry about your experiences.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#17 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » October 25th, 2020, 4:43 pm

F.Daner wrote:
October 25th, 2020, 3:51 pm
Robert- Bob is still the owner but they have made it difficult to get folks on the phone. Not sure why other than some changes due to covid and I think their volume is up quite a bit. I'll send you Bob's email. He is usually very responsive and I think he would hate to lose you as a customer.
Thanks, Fred. Much appreciated.

I just drove back from the beach and was reflecting on this whole thing. I’ve had my cathartic, I think I will pass on reaching out to the owner. I’ve spent enough time on this mess, including another call to Am Ex to make sure this retailer is blocked. Am Ex said them not deleting my credit card information on my request is a problem, and they are looking into that business practice. I’m very disappointed, and actually upset, that a retailer I used to love is basically gone for me. I am assuming that the owner decided to embark on an internet, transaction-based model over a customer-service model. There are no names and emails on the website, as far as I can tell. You cannot reach a live person. The call-in system is fully automated. That was not the case before. I assume this was a business decision, and I assume perhaps it means there is more volume now with the internet and the ease of interstate shipments. It’s really no longer a family business in the old sense of the word. If it remained customer-oriented, I do not think I would have experienced what I experienced. While I know in life there is some gray and “he said, she said” stuff in most disputes, but what cannot be disputed, or explained, is why they would respond to some of my emails but they never ever once would give me the contact information to the owner. I asked five separate times in five separate emails. These emails went to the sales department and the shipping department. No less than two people responded to me, including the rude person on Friday. So two “live” people acknowledged receipt of my emails, responded to part of them, but deliberately chose not to give me contact information. That’s pretty basic customer service, and for a family business, totally surprises me that the contact with the owners has basically been blocked. These employees failed, but customer service starts at the top. Seems like the owner checked out and nobody is properly training or monitoring these people.
Last edited by Robert.A.Jr. on October 25th, 2020, 6:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#18 Post by Matt Latuchie » October 25th, 2020, 4:59 pm

sorry that happened Robert. i don't purchase much from them, but i'll steer clear too.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#19 Post by J.Vizuete » October 25th, 2020, 5:02 pm

Sorry to hear of such poor customer service toward you, Robert. Thank you for sharing however as I was planning a case purchase from them and will now look elsewhere
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#20 Post by Markus S » October 25th, 2020, 5:06 pm

Businessman? I thought you were a country lawyer (which are run like charities, right?).
Sounds like a bad experience, but booze shops have been awfully busy during this pandemic, as they are an essential business supplying the troops. Response times have been slower. Also, many shops have some type of "restocking" (or whatever "sock-it-to-you" fee they call it) charge if you cancel. At any rate, sometimes we know when a relationship has ended and its time to move on.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#21 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » October 25th, 2020, 5:10 pm

I don’t buy a ton from them but I’ll steer clear as well.

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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#22 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » October 25th, 2020, 5:13 pm

Markus S wrote:
October 25th, 2020, 5:06 pm
Businessman? I thought you were a country lawyer (which are run like charities, right?).
Sounds like a bad experience, but booze shops have been awfully busy during this pandemic, as they are an essential business supplying the troops. Response times have been slower. Also, many shops have some type of "restocking" (or whatever "sock-it-to-you" fee they call it) charge if you cancel. At any rate, sometimes we know when a relationship has ended and its time to move on.
Ha! Lawyers gotta run their business, too! I had an aviation-sector concessions retail business as well, but we shuttered it as a result of Covid. Seems to me in a bad economy, when some folks have lost their jobs, the busier companies, like wine And liquor retailers, could perhaps hire more to meet demand. I think that is only a piece of the problem here. Any business that is up during this terrible time in our nation’s history, should be jumping up and down, happy as a clam.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#23 Post by Anthony Sanford » October 25th, 2020, 5:14 pm

Sorry to hear...and this kind of CS sucks. I've had such terrible experiences with B-21...and will continue to steer clear from them as well.

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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#24 Post by Nick Christie » October 25th, 2020, 5:15 pm

No bueno. Very infuriating.

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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#25 Post by Greg K » October 25th, 2020, 5:22 pm

I’m sorry for your experiences Robert. I think customer service everywhere has slipped during the pandemic, but I’ve yet to experience anything at this level. This has been true all around - my bank, restaurants, wine stores, etc. I’m generally willing to cut a fair amount of slack, but don’t image I’d agree to deal with a fully automated system. That sounds awful.

I will say, as COVID has progressed, I’ve found I’ve narrowed my list of retailers I deal with. The older I get and the more stress there is in my life, the less the 5% I might save somewhere else is worth it.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#26 Post by G. Curd » October 25th, 2020, 5:23 pm

From the looks of it, many people will be avoiding this store (myself included). They probably had no idea that treating one customer this way could possibly cost this many customers. However, as a small business owner myself, you always have to remember that word of mouth is the greatest marketing there is. Every customer should be treated like your most valuable customer. That way something like this never happens. It is somewhat a sign of the times as more companies move to a more internet based model. However, no matter what your business is you can always treat customers well. Word of mouth is a powerful thing.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#27 Post by Albert R » October 25th, 2020, 5:38 pm

I have received average service (at best) from them over the years and have not purchased anything from them this year. This type of CS for a long term customer is simply unacceptable.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#28 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » October 25th, 2020, 5:41 pm

Greg K wrote:
October 25th, 2020, 5:22 pm
I’m sorry for your experiences Robert. I think customer service everywhere has slipped during the pandemic, but I’ve yet to experience anything at this level. This has been true all around - my bank, restaurants, wine stores, etc. I’m generally willing to cut a fair amount of slack, but don’t image I’d agree to deal with a fully automated system. That sounds awful.

I will say, as COVID has progressed, I’ve found I’ve narrowed my list of retailers I deal with. The older I get and the more stress there is in my life, the less the 5% I might save somewhere else is worth it.
You are 100% correct.

And I also know this, you are at a sterling law firm doing truly concierge work. I guarantee I am right when I say this - you doubled-down to make sure your clients get even better service during this period. I know that I did. Now, I’m sure as far as b21 wine buyers go, I’m like a minnow.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#29 Post by Greg K » October 25th, 2020, 5:59 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
October 25th, 2020, 5:41 pm
Greg K wrote:
October 25th, 2020, 5:22 pm
I’m sorry for your experiences Robert. I think customer service everywhere has slipped during the pandemic, but I’ve yet to experience anything at this level. This has been true all around - my bank, restaurants, wine stores, etc. I’m generally willing to cut a fair amount of slack, but don’t image I’d agree to deal with a fully automated system. That sounds awful.

I will say, as COVID has progressed, I’ve found I’ve narrowed my list of retailers I deal with. The older I get and the more stress there is in my life, the less the 5% I might save somewhere else is worth it.
You are 100% correct.

And I also know this, you are at a sterling law firm doing truly concierge work. I guarantee I am right when I say this - you doubled-down to make sure your clients get even better service during this period. I know that I did. Now, I’m sure as far as b21 wine buyers go, I’m like a minnow.
I won’t regale you with some of the client tap dancing I had to do at the start of the pandemic to account for working from home working pains. :)
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#30 Post by Mark Golodetz » October 25th, 2020, 6:01 pm

I suspect this is not over. You will get a call this week from the owner. Over under is Wednesday morning

Sounds like a small problem which was allowed to get totally out of hand.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#31 Post by tpetty » October 25th, 2020, 6:05 pm

Agree with your righteous fury regarding this. I have no similar local wine retailer, so do most everything online, but I certainly would not tolerate this either.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#32 Post by alan weinberg » October 26th, 2020, 12:21 am

sorry to hear. I’ve bought on and off there also. No more. Good luck.

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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#33 Post by Scott Brunson » October 26th, 2020, 3:42 am

NED VALOIS wrote:
October 25th, 2020, 3:30 pm
Sorry to hear all this. I've bought from them for years with no problems.
Please let us know should you get a satisfactory ending to this story.
Until that occurs, I'll not buy!
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#34 Post by Bdklein » October 26th, 2020, 4:04 am

I think you should make a road trip and see how they respond in person. Could be interesting material for WB.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#35 Post by scamhi » October 26th, 2020, 4:16 am

I had cut off buying from B-21 in 2011. I don't recall why and they deliver to my LBK home on Thursdays. They do have 2014 Ulysse Collin Champagne Les Roises at a good price $159.99 a bottle on pre-arrival due to arrive 10/26
I bought 3 bottles and a bottle of liquor total $541.00. They refused to deliver to me via truck because my pre tax wine only was $479.97 and it is a minimum $500 wine only for van delivery.
F*ck these guys. I will have the bottles shipped in December and I will block them from wine-searcher.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#36 Post by Jim Stewart » October 26th, 2020, 4:31 am

Wow, that escalated the wrong way! Poor customer service often translates as disrespect. Hopefully someone at B-21 contacts you soon to try to see if things can be fixed. If not, like you say, time to move on. Their loss. Good luck.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#37 Post by Victor Hong » October 26th, 2020, 5:08 am

I had bought some stuff there recently for Robert. The customer service was as friendly and helpful as a past-due corpse.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#38 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » October 26th, 2020, 5:21 am

Victor Hong wrote:
October 26th, 2020, 5:08 am
I had bought some stuff there recently for Robert. The customer service was as friendly and helpful as a past-due corpse.
LOL, but I did get those bottles, and thanks again! Had one on Friday sitting on the ocean with cheese and meats!
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#39 Post by Howard Cooper » October 26th, 2020, 5:34 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
October 25th, 2020, 4:43 pm
F.Daner wrote:
October 25th, 2020, 3:51 pm
Robert- Bob is still the owner but they have made it difficult to get folks on the phone. Not sure why other than some changes due to covid and I think their volume is up quite a bit. I'll send you Bob's email. He is usually very responsive and I think he would hate to lose you as a customer.
Thanks, Fred. Much appreciated.

I just drove back from the beach and was reflecting on this whole thing. I’ve had my cathartic, I think I will pass on reaching out to the owner. I’ve spent enough time on this mess, including another call to Am Ex to make sure this retailer is blocked. Am Ex said them not deleting my credit card information on my request is a problem, and they are looking into that business practice. I’m very disappointed, and actually upset, that a retailer I used to love is basically gone for me. I am assuming that the owner decided to embark on an internet, transaction-based model over a customer-service model. There are no names and emails on the website, as far as I can tell. You cannot reach a live person. The call-in system is fully automated. That was not the case before. I assume this was a business decision, and I assume perhaps it means there is more volume now with the internet and the ease of interstate shipments. It’s really no longer a family business in the old sense of the word. If it remained customer-oriented, I do not think I would have experienced what I experienced. While I know in life there is some gray and “he said, she said” stuff in most disputes, but what cannot be disputed, or explained, is why they would respond to some of my emails but they never ever once would give me the contact information to the owner. I asked five separate times in five separate emails. These emails went to the sales department and the shipping department. No less than two people responded to me, including the rude person on Friday. So two “live” people acknowledged receipt of my emails, responded to part of them, but deliberately chose not to give me contact information. That’s pretty basic customer service, and for a family business, totally surprises me that the contact with the owners has basically been blocked. These employees failed, but customer service starts at the top. Seems like the owner checked out and nobody is properly training or monitoring these people.
Robert, I do not believe that becoming an internet based business is an excuse to stop providing customer service. I know that for myself I only buy from internet businesses that provide good customer service, whether automated or by person (and usually a combination of the two). I have to believe that if a business like this lets customer service slip this badly, they are going to lose a lot of business whether they are on the internet or not.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#40 Post by RehbergK » October 26th, 2020, 5:36 am

I had pretty much stopped doing business with them around 12 years ago when one of their employees was very rude to my wife at one of their tastings. Gave them another shot 7-8 years later on some insane deals they were having, only to have them call and tell me they couldn't fill 1/2 the order and now what they could fill was below the free delivery threshold..so ended up cancelling the rest.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#41 Post by Art R » October 26th, 2020, 7:09 am

Just blocked their offers!
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#42 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » October 26th, 2020, 7:24 am

RehbergK wrote:
October 26th, 2020, 5:36 am
I had pretty much stopped doing business with them around 12 years ago when one of their employees was very rude to my wife at one of their tastings. Gave them another shot 7-8 years later on some insane deals they were having, only to have them call and tell me they couldn't fill 1/2 the order and now what they could fill was below the free delivery threshold..so ended up cancelling the rest.
Damn, Kevin, that is your backyard!

Well this thread has certainly helped me. I always feel badly being critical, but sounds like some others have come to a similar conclusion. Thanks all for the input. Makes me feel more comfortable that I wasn't just being a PIA first-worlder.
Last edited by Robert.A.Jr. on October 26th, 2020, 7:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#43 Post by RehbergK » October 26th, 2020, 7:35 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
October 26th, 2020, 7:24 am
RehbergK wrote:
October 26th, 2020, 5:36 am
I had pretty much stopped doing business with them around 12 years ago when one of their employees was very rude to my wife at one of their tastings. Gave them another shot 7-8 years later on some insane deals they were having, only to have them call and tell me they couldn't fill 1/2 the order and now what they could fill was below the free delivery threshold..so ended up cancelling the rest.
Damn, Kevin, that is your backyard!

Well this thread has certainly helped me. I always feel badly being critical, but sounds like some others have come to a similar conclusion. Thanks all for the input. Makes me feel more comfortable that I was just being a PIA first-worlder.
Yea, I used to love visiting the store and bringing home a few cases. Loved back when they would highlight their staff, their knowledge, etc which was always confirmed when you had questions. Now, all that personal touch has been removed. Its hard to completely blacklist them since 1) they are so close and 2) have the best selection in the area at typically good pricing, but they certainly aren't a must go to anymore.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#44 Post by Victor Hong » October 26th, 2020, 7:58 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
October 26th, 2020, 5:21 am
Victor Hong wrote:
October 26th, 2020, 5:08 am
I had bought some stuff there recently for Robert. The customer service was as friendly and helpful as a past-due corpse.
LOL, but I did get those bottles, and thanks again! Had one on Friday sitting on the ocean with cheese and meats!
I did have to pay the Florida protect-the-children pricing premium.

Who knew that wholesalers and retailers were such vulnerable children themselves, at risk of under-age alcoholism with premium wines?
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#45 Post by AAgrawal » October 26th, 2020, 8:51 am

Sorry you had issues like this. I have had more customer service issues this year than ever before, mostly big retailers that I didn’t have a long-standing relationship with. Maybe they are too busy to need more business. Retailers that I’ve bought from regularly and that have more personalized service have been great, and I’m consolidating more and more purchases with them.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#46 Post by Victor Hong » October 26th, 2020, 9:00 am

Almost all of my wine purchases during the past two years have been via WineBid, with which I have no commercial affiliation.

Prices, shipping, bottle conditions, and customer service have been fine. Retailers could learn from it.
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#47 Post by Troy Stark » October 26th, 2020, 9:00 am

Not surprised to hear this. As a resident of Tampa with many wine-drinking friends, the stories of their poor customer service are a pretty common thread (including one friend who was charged 3 times for the same in-store order!). We live about 20 min from the shop and I decided to go in one day as we were up in Tarpon goofing around. I spent about 30 minutes wandering around and not once was I asked if I needed help. That and the way certain high end bottles were being displayed told me everything I needed to know about the place.

Robert, there are a lot of other very good wine retailers in the Tampa area who have great pricing and may make deliveries to Orlando (not sure). I'm sure you're aware of them, but Craft & Curd and Redneck both come to mind, though I'm not sure how deep their selection of Loire reds is!
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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#48 Post by Jayson Cohen » October 26th, 2020, 9:04 am

AAgrawal wrote:
October 26th, 2020, 8:51 am
Sorry you had issues like this. I have had more customer service issues this year than ever before, mostly big retailers that I didn’t have a long-standing relationship with. Maybe they are too busy to need more business. Retailers that I’ve bought from regularly and that have more personalized service have been great, and I’m consolidating more and more purchases with them.
What happened to Robert is really unacceptable. But I feel like some of the retailers I buy from, including brand new contacts and both big and small stores, have gone out of their way during COVID to provide good service, including offering me wines I never asked for. This has only occurred because of personal contact, whether email or phone or even in-person (socially distanced of course).

So I think it has gone both ways, with the retailers who do provide strong personal service able to really shine (as you suggest).

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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#49 Post by Julian Marshall » October 26th, 2020, 9:10 am

Sorry to read about this - what a lot of hassle. It seems strange that at a time when so many retailers are struggling to survive, one of them would treat a faithful client like this.

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Re: B21 Wine in FL - Major Disappointment, Ending my 25+ Year Relationship with Them

#50 Post by Jay Miller » October 26th, 2020, 9:23 am

Jayson Cohen wrote:
October 26th, 2020, 9:04 am
AAgrawal wrote:
October 26th, 2020, 8:51 am
Sorry you had issues like this. I have had more customer service issues this year than ever before, mostly big retailers that I didn’t have a long-standing relationship with. Maybe they are too busy to need more business. Retailers that I’ve bought from regularly and that have more personalized service have been great, and I’m consolidating more and more purchases with them.
What happened to Robert is really unacceptable. But I feel like some of the retailers I buy from, including brand new contacts and both big and small stores, have gone out of their way during COVID to provide good service, including offering me wines I never asked for. This has only occurred because of personal contact, whether email or phone or even in-person (socially distanced of course).

So I think it has gone both ways, with the retailers who do provide strong personal service able to really shine (as you suggest).
Agreed. I've had great service from both Chambers St. (long time customer) and Flatiron (haven't bought much from them in the past though that's been changing this year). Also Winebid who has improved their service (notably in the new shipping options) from an already high level.

I remember looking at B21 20 years ago and wishing they could ship out of state. The experiences described are exactly the sort of thing that would put me off ever ordering from them.
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