Horrible Experience at Artbag, NYC

So, I'm not usually Ms. Negativity, and I prefer to keep this blog light and upbeat, but I have to share my tres terrible experience at Artbag yesterday/the last 3 months. I won't get into the gory details but needless to say my overall experience was stressful, harrowing and overwhelmingly negative. As you've heard me ramble on about over the last few months, I have this great vintage Morabito Alligator bag, which I dropped off at Artbag to have repaired, treated and generally made ready to conquer the world. I paid quite a bit to have this work done, but I was O.K. with that, assuming that I was going to get quality work and be happy with my experience (duh, right?). I mean if you have a quality item, you have to take care of it, otherwise what's the point; it has upkeep and you want to keep it at it's best and not let it deteriorate.

So, anyway, I put the deposit down and wait the max 4 weeks that I am assured it will take for the work to be completed. A month comes and goes, still no word....I'm like O.K., not a huge deal as long as its worth it in the end. A few weeks later though, I am a bit worried so I call, and I'm told, "actually its ready"...(they had assured me they would call, so I had been patiently waiting). Next day, I trek up there (a bit of an ordeal for me, they close at 5pm, so I have to move my schedule around and make time in the middle of the day),'s not ready. What? "come back in 2 days", so I do, and guess what? still not ready! By this point I am getting more than a little annoyed, after-all who has time to be foolishly running around like this for no purpose, still I think it will be worth it in the end. Third times a charm right? Wrong. They call me a week later to tell me its ready--AGAIN, I go back, and lo and behold this time they produce the bag from the depths of the back room supposedly ready to go. However, upon closer inspection, at least 2 parts that were supposed to be fixed are not, I have to remind them about other additions and the workmanship looks shoddy and unfinished in places. I am so upset. You have to understand the cost of these repairs would have bought me a new Balenciaga. I definitely had high expectations. They tell me, "sorry, we will work on it some more, we will call you when it's ready' AGAIN. At this point, I have become really wary, but still I think and explain to them "Okay--I would rather you take it back in and the work come out well", I am O.K. with waiting longer as long as the end product is beautiful workmanship and complete. The story is almost over (and hey, I left out most of the details!). Bare with me, Ugh.

So....a few more weeks pass by and this Monday I get a call, "it's ready". So, I trek up again and at first they can't even find the bag. One guy asks me "is it under a different name?", he reeks of vodka, at this point I am becoming frightened, "a different name?", nope same one it was under the last 3 times, OY! Finally the bag is produced, and the drama begins. In brief, rude behaviour, disagreements about what was included in the cost, and general unhappiness...ugh...It was soooo unpleasant.

A couple of things I learned from this experience: especially with higher value items, take pictures before you get work done, otherwise it's just your word, and make sure you have a detailed version of any repairs being made, very detailed. In my case, when we originally went over all the repairs to be made, he listed them all on one piece of paper by incremental cost then transferred that to a receipt with only the grand total and not a complete list of all that we had discussed..BIG MISTAKE. Make sure you keep that breakdown of costs....since I didn't have that (nor was it offered to me), I was really at a disadvantage. Usually I am bit smarter, and I definitely had some gut reservations initially, but honestly, I naively wanted to trust him; this is a well-established store and I guess more than anything, I wanted it to be a positive experience. I didn't want to start questioning his methodology for calculating cost and 'stir up trouble' so to speak. Lesson learned: don't be afraid to ask for all the detailed info you are entitled to, look out for yourself!!!

P.S. This Chris Moore guy (at least that's what the card he gave me said) that I dealt with throughout almost the whole process (I might add not the vodka-tainted one, no slander here!) was mostly very rude and unpleasant always. Why, oh why? You'd think for that kind of money he'd be just a touch sweeter. I am hoping this whole thing doesn't taint my love for the new bag, it is most definitely absolutely beautiful.

P.P.S. I would also say, if you can, go straight to the manufacturer to fix high-end items (e.g., Louis Vuitton--I have always had great luck and experiences with their 5th ave flagship store's repair department). Unfortunately in this case the manufacturer was in Paris, but let it be known, next time I will fly to Paris to get Morabito fixed before I return to ARTBAG.

The things people can get away with these days.

oh and P.P.P.S. I will post pictures of the bag on Monday.

Til then,


Anonymous said...

i feel your pain... i've been looking for a place to fix one of my vintage handbags. now that i've read your "horror" story, i certainly won't be giving my money to Artbag!!

Bag chick said...

Oh man...I just had a similar experience with them, though not as awful (so far...I have yet to pick the stuff up). 2 items left to be made, pre-paid, and no call for 8 weeks (4 more than the alotted time). Hopefully, they are ready, though it's not a big trek for me to get there.

Bergdorf Girl said...

BC: Yikes, I am so sorry....I hope your workmanship turns out better than mine in the end...I wonder if there are other good options as an alternative? If anybody has a suggestion feel free to share!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comments on Artbag. I was thinking of sending some Chanel and Gucci vintage beauties to them, but after yours and others terrible reviews, they are NOT getting my business.