Et tu DailyCandy? The Verdict on DC’s New Sample Sale Site

What: Kathryn Reviews Swirl, Daily Candy’s New Online Flash Sample Sale Site, and wonders at what point did one of her favorite online brands became a follower rather than a leader.

The Lowdown: Daily Candy is launching a Sample Sale site named Swirl….. so what? In the past month, we’ve received over 50 emails (no joke) announcing the launch of “new flash sale sites”, from everyone from a mega auction site (eBay) to fashion industry insiders (Gilt Groupe) to over funded start-ups ran by silicon valley geeks (insert the crazy sounding company of your choice). Just like there’s no new ideas in Hollywood, there appears to be no new ideas in the fashion tech world (well at least at the corporate level). Like all the rest, Swirl claims to offer you up to 80% off top designers and, par for course, encourages you to give up your email address in hopes of scoring a major deal (note: your email address can be worth up to $20 to these sites as a good chunk of their valuation-how much they’re worth- is based on the size of their email lists). But do these sites really give us a great deal? Well… it depends on your definition of a “deal”.

In the case of Daily Candy’s new site Swirl, it features all the same designers (Eugenia Kim, Loeffler Randall, Orly Keily,etc) that you can find on Gilt, Hautlook, ideeli or any of the other flash sale sites. While we love DC for introducing us to hot designers like Loeffler Randall, I’m not entirely convinced that Daily Candy is going to get you a better deal than any of the before-mentioned sites or say hitting up your local Last Call Neiman Marcus Outlet. What the wonderful folks at Daily Candy is banking on is that the goodwill generated by their 10+ years of branding will convince you to do your “flash sale-ing” with them.

Of course you have to be a Daily Candy subscriber in order to receive access to the beta launch edition of Swirl and if you’re not already a subscriber (at this point, who isn’t?) they’ll sign you up for the Daily Candy everywhere edition, thus increasing the size of their lucrative Daily Candy Newsletter Database (it can cost $100,000+ to advertise in a single DC newsletter). All of this to receive 80% off a designer we can score at Target.

Verdict: I love ya DailyCandy, I really do, but hmmm, do we really need another online sample sale site? What are you going to offer that I can’t find from one of the other sites that has popped up recently, thanks to the reported $500 million + (over) valuation of Gilt Groupe.  While I love the name (,  as a pioneer in the whole women-fashion-online-magazine space we expect more from you Daily Candy.  You’ve become, well, common. It’s like you’ve become the “Jersey Couture” of the online sample sale industry.

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  1. lillie says

    I agree with you… they have to offer something totally new or different, because it’s hard enough keeping up with the sites that are up now. I love Gilt and ideeli though :)

  2. Donna says

    In my opinion, Swirl is an awful service. They don’t have enough product/selection. They allow transactions to go through and email a week later saying they didn’t actually have the merchandise. Their customer service is slow to respond and rude. Gilt Groupe and are much much better. I highly recommend those sites.

  3. Dissatisfied says

    I am extremely dissatisfied with Swirl & would not recommend doing business with them!! I bought something in April, it shipped to me in the wrong color. They were sold out of the color I wanted so I couldn’t even exchange it.

    The package was missing the pre-paid return label so I had no way to return it without incurring additional costs. Had to call 3 separate times and wait 2 weeks to get a label sent to me.

    And since they did not have the product in stock that I actually ordered I arranged to have a credit card refund which only makes sense (their policy is for store credit refunds only a la Forever 21). It has now been 2 months and I still do not have a credit card refund! TERRIBLE customer service and TERRIBLE operational capabilities!!

  4. Laura Allen says

    I had nearly the EXACT same experience as the above poster! I bought a purse that was the wrong color, went to return it and never received store credit or a refund. I was told their warehouse never received it. I am filing a formal complaint with the Better Business Bereau, and encorage others to do the same who had a problem with Swirl.

  5. Ripped Off says

    Wow, I plan to file a complaint as well. There was no return label so I had to ship my item back via UPS at my own cost. It’s been nearly 2 months and I still don’t see a merchandise credit on my credit card. No response to 2 emails. Never had such a bad experience shopping online. Horrible!

  6. C.A.M. says

    I am similarly unimpressed with Swirl. My order has been “in process” for more than 10 days with no updates. After contacting Swirl’s customer service, I learned that they pre-sell their merchandise before the manufacturers have actually sent them the stock. As they explained it to me, since the vendors often do not ship during the promised timeframe, it is very common for Swirl’s customers to wait…and wait…and wait for their items to arrive at the Swirl distribution site (which is just the first step required before Swirl ships it to the customer). More importantly, I needed to change my payment information after the credit card I used to place my order was stolen. Because Swirl has not yet charged my card (they charge upon shipment of the merchandise, which is standard practice), they should be able to update my payment information to reflect my new card. But, no. I was told repeatedly that there is no way to change the payment information and that when they try to authorize my original purchase (if the merchandise ever gets to them), they will simply cancel my order if the charge attempt is declined (which it most certainly will be, since I had to close that account). When I notified my credit card company to see if they could ensure the charge was authorized, they simply could not believe that a store operating today did not have the means to accomplish a payment change prior to charging a customer. Be warned–yes, you can speak to a human being through their customer service number, but there is little guarantee that they can actually be helpful.

  7. AP says

    I am as equally disgusted with Swirl’s customer service. I am fed up with getting email responses and they don’t read the email thread (since each reply from them is from a different representative). Is there a place we can rate or review Swirl? It’s not right when other buyers can’t be warned,

  8. Jenny says

    Swirl is TERRIBLE. They try to seem friendly and profess to have great customer service, but they don’t have their act together at all and are extremely frustrating to shop from. I purchased something over a month and a half ago and decided to return it. However, the box was missing the return label and I had to call several times until I was finally issued a new label. I have still not received my store credit. I called them four times, and each time they promised they would “expedite” my return. The last time I called I was suddenly informed that the item was “final sale”! There was absolutely no indication of that when I purchased it (and I always make sure I know the return policy on what I buy), and there was no mention of this when I called the previous three times. I am NEVER shopping from Swirl again.

  9. Mary says

    Wow, after reading the above comments, do I feel like a sucker!!! I am currently having the exact same return issues with them as everyone else. Sent something back (even with their return label) 6 weeks ago, it was received by their warehouse within a few days of shipment, and I never got credit. I’m now being told it was FINAL SALE (again, as above, no indication anywhere on this when purchasing it), and, they have the nerve to tell me that if this was the case, it should have come back to me (which, it hasn’t). So, Swirl, where is my ugly, ill-fitting dress, huh? I’d at least like that for all my trouble. DO NOT PURCHASE FROM THEM…IT IS A RIP-OFF!

  10. Rachel P says

    Yes – I am having the exact same experience. I have made a total of 4 purchases from them and have NEVER received a return label. I just e-mailed them to get another copy sent to me. I took it to the UPS store, and even though I live in Virginia, it is going to cost be over $20 to send back one box because it’s an “out of the way location” according to UPS. How awful. The only plus was that I received the packages the next day. As long as you are positive you are not going to ever return anything, don’t waste your time.

  11. Catherine says

    I’ve sent back multiple items to them for return credit (we’re talking maybe 5-6 orders) and none of them have been processed in over a month. After calling customer service and emailing multiple times with no helpful response–I’m going to have to take it up with the credit card company as a last resort. I’ve also received multiple shipments with either 1) missing items, 2) wrong colors, 3) something totally different, 4) stuff that has been damaged. The fact that I’m relieved when I get what I ordered should be fair warning to other. STAY AWAY!

    I thought I’d give them the benefit of the doubt of being overwhelemed when they first set up shop but now it’s just gotten ugly. Too bad–it seemed so promising…

  12. Hang says

    I had such a bad experience purchasing at Swirl by DailyCandy. The first time I bought a pair of a skinny jean. They were arrived with one inch whole near the private part of the human body. I ended up return and got the in store credit which I haven’t used it yet. A month later I gave it another try by purchasing the $280 Gustto handbag. The outside and the color was okay. I didn’t use the bag right away until 2 months later. After 1 week of using it, all the compartment & pockets were ripping apart. The fabric started to tear apart that I can hold anything in the pockets. I contacted the company and they confirmed they cannot accept my return because I purchased it 2 months ago. Please do not shop and pay high price for their junk merchandise. Be aware of this company’s scam. They’re selling defective products. I just lost $280 for nothing. STAY AWAY!!!!!!

  13. Helen says

    I agree with all of u. They SUCK! And the customer service is horrible. Just stop that xo BS and get your acts together. I ordered stuff in August, that I returned right away. I got my refund (store credit) last week, end of OCTOBER! Seriously. Don’t be fooled into buy anything from Swirl, no matter how good the deal is. Oh, I also had the same problem with no return label in the box.

    They were just not ready to get this site up and running, and should consider taking it down until they do.

  14. Jessica says

    I had a similar problem. I bought American Apparel in July – August and returned it the next day. Months passed and i never got my refund. So i asked CS about it and they told me that since I had paid only shipping they would not give me my money back.. So i did not have the dress and my money was gone too!!!! 5 weeks of torture and now they gave me a $9 refund…Horrible!

  15. Jen says

    I’ve had the same experience too. I’ve reported them to the Better Business Bureau. It’s scary that a company can treat customers so horribly.

    1) I purchased the same dress as my friend in the same size and on the same day and I received it a week and a half after her. We live in the same neighborhood. After she received hers, customer service could not tell me ANYTHING about my order. They could not even confirm that it would be sent out within the next 3 months.
    2) I asked customer service why I should order from them again and the woman said, “I don’t know.” I definitely will not ever shop there again.
    3) My emailed questions were not answered within the 24 hours that was promised on the website.
    4) No email was sent to inform me that my package had been shipped. This email was promised by customer service over the phone and in a different conversation over email.
    5) When I received my package one item was missing and had been canceled without any notification at all.

    This company should not be allowed to treat customers so poorly. It’s outrageous. The whole experience made me feel completely powerless. If you’ve had an unfortunate encounter with this company, you should help others by reporting them to the Better Business Bureau.

  16. says

    I waited for my product longer than I expected and when it came it was the wrong size. Like others who complain about this site, this will be the last time I ever order anything from them. The payment information was listed incorrectly; I also noticed they don’t have a customer feedback area. Stay away, a rip off!!

  17. Jessica says

    I have had the same problems as all the other posters. Wrong sizes, no return labels, cheap merchandise. And now I’m stuck with a store credit and no way to get my money back–I’ve been trying to find something to spend that amount on (and no more!) and it’s been 6 months. If you’re like me and have been browsing the site since it started, you’ll notice a lot of repeat merchandise/designers.
    Also, has anyone else noticed that they change their return policy after you purchase an item? I’m sorry, but I learned my lesson not to buy non-returnable things from them when got stuck with a pair of ill-fitting, poorly made shoes!
    Horrible, horrible customer service. Daily Candy should be ashamed of themselves for such a terrible business. Intolerable wait times, incompetent representatives and a total lack of organization. They never respond to emails and you often have to call 3-4 times to have anything resolved. I feel bad for their customer service reps, b/c in my experience they’ve been friendly. Just nothing gets accomplished.
    The ONLY good thing I ever purchased from there was a pair of rain boots.

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