Sunday, January 11, 2015

Greensmoke has gone a bit cray-cray!

I apologize in advance for the length of this blog post, and for the non-PG rated language. I've allowed myself to have 24 hours to "simmer", so if this comes across as overly upset just know that I was feeling a lot worse yesterday!!!

OK, some background first. If you've been a long time blog follower, you'll know that I used to be a smoker, but that I quit in early 2009. Many laughed that while most people saved money by quitting smoking, but that wasn't the case for me because I had just discovered stamping, lol! All that changed with our move to Italy in July of 2010 - a particularly stressful time in my life for many reasons. It was either smoke, or kill some yeah, it was a good decision.

As 2011 rolled around, I really wanted to quit but once again I was completely hooked. Not only is it an incredible stress reducer for me, I actually enjoy the act of smoking itself. Except that it's gross, and is expensive, and smelly, and oh yeah, causes cancer!!! It was around this time that I was starting to see a lot of buzz about "e-cigarettes". I was naturally skeptical, but after doing a ton of research, I decided to give it a try. I told Thomas that if this didn't make me feel the same way regular cigarettes did, that I would be back to smoking.

The rest as they say is history. I LOVED IT!! It was much cheaper, no smell, yummy flavors, no cancer....just lots of "smoke" (water vapor) and I still got my nicotine fix. I never smoked, or wanted to smoke!, another cigarette since February 2011!! So wonderful.

Fast forward to my birthday, January 4th, and I get this email from GreenSmoke:

Claim Your Birthday Gift Today!

Dear Jeanne,
At Green Smoke, we value your business and it's with a great feeling of love for our customers that we say happy birthday! So pick up your birthday gift - a 5-pack of your favorite flavor and strength of FlavorMax™ Cartridges. Just click this link to get started.
Best Wishes,
The Green Smoke Team

 Get it NOW!


So, great right? Not so much. I click on the link, pick out my pack, check out...and bam! Get charged the full amount! WITH shipping!! I never order one pack at a time, because the price is a lot more that way and you pay for shipping. So thinking I was getting something for free, I wound up paying more for something that I don't normally order. It ticked me off, so I replied to the email with the link for my "birthday present". I didn't figure anything would come of it, but I was pissed and wanted to let them know. So I said,

Wow, what a deal! NOT!! A gift I got charged for??? LAME!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jeanne Kupsh


This is the email I got in return,

Dear Nancy,

Thank you for contacting Green Smoke customer care!

I am sorry to hear that the link for your free birthday pack was not working! I am happy to set that up for you! Which flavor and nicotine strength would you like?

Please confirm your shipping address as well, so I can have that free pack sent to you.

Awaiting your reply- Happy Birthday!

We appreciate that you chose Green Smoke@ e-cigarettes. Please keep in mind that you can always contact us via live chat, or on our website, if you need further assistance. Thank you again and have a great day!

Thank you for choosing Green Smoke!

Caroline Thomas
Customer Care Specialist

Um, what?? NANCY??? Before I could reply, I got another email,
Dear Jeanne,
I just want to apologize for sending you an email with the name Nancy!

That was a complete error!:)

Awaiting your reply regarding your Birthday Pack!

Thank you for choosing Green Smoke!

Caroline Thomas
Customer Care Specialist 

OK, whatever. Not thinking too much about this level of "service", I replied,

Thank you.
I'd like a Mocha Mist pack in the 2.4% level. 
Jeanne Kupsh


Then I get this email,

Dear Jeanne,

Thank you for contacting Green Smoke customer care!

I have placed an order for you for a free pack of Mocha Mist 2.4%.

You should be receiving a separate email with an order confirmation and it will get shipped out within the next 2 business days.

If you ever have any questions, or need any assistance at all, you can always contact our customer service department via phone, or live chat on our website. We are always happy to help and are very excited to assist you will all your needs.

Happy Birthday!

Thank you for choosing Green Smoke!

Caroline Thomas
Customer Care Specialist 

So, everything is all good, right? I got a free pack, although I had to purchase one too, but I let it go. Until I got yet another email. A very spammy, ridiculous sounding email!! So, I emailed my very own "Customer Care Specialist" who will surely take care of it for me. This is the email I sent,

Dear Ms. Thomas,
I got the following very "spammy" looking email from GreenSmoke:
Dear Jeanne,

I regret to inform you that your order is on hold due to company policies. According to these policies, Green Smoke is obligated to verify that all customers are at least 18 years of age (19 in AL, AK, NJ, and UT). I apologize for the inconvenience, but I must ask you to please do ONE of the following.

1. Email a picture or scanned copy of your U.S government issued identification to; OR
2. Fax a copy of your U.S government issued identification (along with your order number) to 305-359-9112, attention 'Age Verify'; OR
3. If your official address is different than the billing information on your order, please provide us with your official name, address and date of birth. This is so we can attempt to verify your age with our internal query system.

Please note that Green Smoke can only ship orders to customers who have been age verified. If you choose to opt-out of age verification, we will set your order to be refunded immediately upon notice.

Please feel welcome to contact our Customer Service department with any questions regarding the age verification process.

Any personal customer information is stored on a secure network and will not be distributed or shared with third parties.

Thank you
****Needless to say, I will NOT be faxing or emailing such sensitive private information!! Not sure if this is a legitimate email or not, but this is a perfect situation for identity fraud to occur! Not sure what I'm supposed to do now! I've been a customer for nearly 4 years, and I've never had so many issues with your company than I have in the past 6 months - it's been a nightmare!!!
Jeanne Kupsh 


I had been having issues ordering for a while and actually had to open up a new account with a different email address in order to get the US website, instead of the UK one. It was stupid, but I worked around it. It was still ME, with the same billing/shipping address and the same billing account. I assumed, incorrectly, that this was just some "phishing" method used by hackers or something. You NEVER, EVER give out your private info like that - to anyone online!!! Unless of course you actually enjoy the hassle and expense of identity theft. Call me weird, but I don't! So...I get this completely unexpected response,

Dear Jeanne,

Thank you for your response. As per our new policy, we are no longer able to send orders out with adult signature required instead of verification. In order to process your order further, we will need a copy of a valid photo ID. I would be happy to add 1 free pack of cartridges for the inconvenience. The email was not spam and this is something required of all customers.

If you still insist on not sending in a valid ID, is there a USA address I can manually try to verify with?

Have a wonderful day.

Thank you for choosing Green Smoke!

Danny Dubrovsky
Customer Care Specialist 

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME???? Seriously?? Oh sure, I'm going to just photocopy an official document (ILLEGAL!) and email/fax it (STUPID!) to prove I'm over 18 years of age. NOT!!! And um, hello?? I've been a customer for years! And hello, YOU PEOPLE are the numbnuts who knew it was my birthday in the first place!!! And hello, I just got a tracking number for the pack I PAID FOR, where you didn't need to "verify" my age!!!! I couldn't believe this was for I sent this reply,

Mr. Dubrovky et al,

If you think I'm going to send a photograph of an official government ID, you're crazy! I have been a "valued" customer for over four years!!! So apparently, as long as I'm paying for my cartridges, that's fine. But if I'm being given something "for free", I have to jump through hoops. What is wrong with this picture??? Have you ever heard of identity theft? Identity fraud? Banking fraud? I'm the wife of an active duty soldier, and in these dangerous times do you think I'm going to compromise my safety and security, and that of my husband's, to get one free pack of cartridges???? In a word - NO!!

I accepted the "generous" offer of a "free" pack, only to be charged the full amount! (This has been shipped already; so much for your new policies) When I complained, I was offered a free pack as offered. THEN I get a run-around about needing age verification. Email after email after know what, FORGET IT! Just keep your "free" birthday present! Funny how your company knows it's my birthday, and has accepted my orders, and money!, for years....but no, just keep it.

You know in these tough economic times, companies shouldn't be going out of their way to lose customers! You aren't the only company producing e-cigarettes....and I will be doing a lot of research on finding a replacement for my needs.

You just lost a customer!

Jeanne Kupsh(Google me, I have a rather large online presence, and this WILL be blogged about and put on social media!!!)

Within minutes, on a Saturday!, I received this reply, 

Dear Jeanne,

Thank you for your very honest response. We would never expect you to compromise your family's identity in any fashion if that is how you feel. We are very devoted to the security of all documents and online correspondence and an idea that I thought of that might be favorable is to block out any sensitive information like ID number and the sort. All we need is your name, date of birth, and to see that it is simply a valid ID.

We would hate to lose you as a customer but we are simply unable to send out any orders without verifying the account first.

With regards to your free birthday pack being charged, I have already submitted the $16.97 for a refund and you should be able to see that back on your account within 24-48 hours. It was meant to be a present as small token of our appreciation for your long commitment to Green Smoke and I apologize for the error that occurred in processing what should have been a completely hassle free pack of cartridges.

Please consider my suggestion above so we can move forward and send you the current 2nd free pack order.

I would be happy to add an express kit as well for all this inconvenience.

Looking forward to your response.

Thank you for choosing Green Smoke!

Danny Dubrovsky
Customer Care Specailist 

I bring your attention to the red, high-lighted bit above. An idea he just thought of....what the hell??? Are they just making shit up as they go??? Here's a bit of information for you Danny Dumbass, whether you block out some of a photocopy or not, IT'S ILLEGAL TO MAKE THE COPY IN THE FIRST PLACE, AND A SECOND CRIME TO DISTRIBUTE IT!!! Your stupid company wants me to commit two crimes, that I'm aware of, in order to get one free pack of e-cigarette cartridges??? Sorry, but I'm not as stupid as you apparently are!!! My reply,

Mr. Dubrovsky,
I'm really shaking my head at all of this!! Before I go over, once again, why I will not comply with your request, I want you to be advised that I have saved the entire correspondence of this fiasco and will be printing it out to turn in to our local Judge Advocate General (JAG) office. The military needs to be apprised that your company is requesting information that could damage the safety and security of our armed forces. If you are pulling this nonsense on me, chances are you are doing it to others too. Others who may not be aware of the risks they are taking in complying with your illegal requests.

1. I have been a customer for nearly four years. All four years I've lived overseas as a military dependent.

2. I am 48 years old; and therefore more than meet the criteria of being over the age of 18.

3. I currently live in Germany, as the spouse of an active-duty soldier in the US Army.

4. We have an American mailing address. All APO/FPO addresses are considered US mailing addresses.

5. My billing and mailing information is, and has been, the same.

6. In the state which I have a valid driver's license, it is ILLEGAL and a felony to make or distribute photocopies of it.

7. It is a FEDERAL CRIME to make a photocopy of a military ID card.

8. It is a FEDERAL CRIME to make a photocopy of the military overseas driver's license.

9. It is a FEDERAL CRIME to make a photocopy of my passport.

10. "Blocking out" some information on an official government ID does not make it any less illegal to photocopy or distribute!

11. Providing this information, besides being illegal, opens up the possibility of identity theft, identity fraud, bank fraud, as well as the compromise of military safety and security. Something I personally take very seriously!

12. The order I placed for my "free" pack of cartridges, which was not in fact free, but I was charged for it. (Order #XXXXXX-XXXXXX-XXXX) No refund has been received by me at this point. The order was placed on January 4, 2015, and was shipped on January 6, 2015. There is a current, valid USPS tracking number for this shipment and it was sent via USPS First Class mail.

13. After four years of patronage, I'm now being asked to commit a crime and put myself and my family at great risk in order to receive a product at no charge. Your need for "verification" seems dependent only on whether I pay for a product or not.

I suggest that you bring this situation to the attention of your supervisors, because you have irritated me enough that I'm going to see that it is followed up not only by someone in authority in your company, but also by the US Army garrison we are assigned to. You apparently are making these requests "flying by the seat of your pants" and don't appreciate the legal repercussions of them.

Jeanne Kupsh

Needless to say, I didn't receive another reply! So, I have made copies of our emails back and forth, and Thomas will be going to our garrison JAG office to file a complaint. I will also be calling the corporate office at GreenSmoke myself tomorrow. I will keep you updated on what transpires. This isn't about how I got "jipped" out of a free product. This is about personal safety, and how ignorant people can be in this modern day and age about things that can seriously have a negative impact on your life!!! It can take years and years to recover from identity theft and destroy your credit rating!! It could mean the difference between being able to buy a house or car, or whether or not my husband's security clearance is renewed. This is no joke for anyone!! And I got pissed off enough to not blow it off, and to take a stand!


Linda said...

I can't believe how you have been treated and how silly their policy is - good luck in getting this sorted and hopefully preventing this from happening to someone else. This is enough to drive anyone to take up smoking! I hope you can continue with the e-cigarettes from somewhere else.

Deanna said...

The whole scenario is unreal. I kept thinking surely they can see how ridiculous they are asking for age verification the day after they had shipped to you. I would be very upset too. Just what you needed was this frustration.... NOT.

AliceKay said...

Wow! I wonder how many people actually followed thru with what this company was asking for?? This world is a scary place. People need to realize this. I'll be looking forward to your updates. Good luck!

Amy said...

Good for you for refusing to comply, and for taking your case to the JAG. Others probably don't know enough to refuse, and you're doing your part to help! Good job!

Gail said...

Hope you get satisfaction in a timely manner.
I'm a smoker too, who 'enjoys' it.
I can go a long time without one, and people are surprised to find out I smoke......
You let me know what happens cause these (not this particular company) sound like a wonderful substitute.

ChicagoLady said...

While I can't, and won't, question any of your claims you listed, I do know that the gov of IL signed this in August regarding e-cigs: The products must be sold from behind a counter, in an age-restricted area or in a sealed case, and may not be dispensed from a self-service display. A previously passed law prohibits the sale of alternative nicotine items to those under 18 years of age. House Bill 5868 is effective Jan. 1, 2015.

Not sure where Green Mountain is located, but that state may have passed a similar law and that's why they are now, for the first time, asking for verification of your age.

I've never heard of the illegality of copying a driver's license, and I can't find anything in a quick search regarding laws in IL regarding that. Not to say it isn't illegal somewhere else. However I agree you wouldn't want to make a copy for just anyone.

Intense Guy said...

Stand up for what is right. You should be able to just say you are "old enough" - one's word used to be worth something....

Donna Nuce said...

Thanks Jean for standing up to this company for their illegal requests! Can't wait to hear what their corporate hqs has to say about this!

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