The Smell of Bullshit, part 53: VAT cats

Lush launched their new website on 31st March this year. It’s been set up in such a way that customers ordering products from outside the UK are charged VAT, even though they shouldn’t be.

The web team have been “looking into it” since it was first reported to them. I would strongly advise non-UK people not to buy from the Lush website unless they’re certain it’s been sorted out. Surely a website for a company which ships abroad should handle removing VAT for non-UK orders as a matter of course. Are Lush incompetent?


I received an email from a non-UK Lush customer today, which I think deserves a place here in the main blog rather than being relegated to the comments. I think it answers any lingering questions about Lush’s competence.

Lush are saying on their twitter/facebook a bit ago that international customers should all call our orders in instead of using the Lush Kitchen website to order. They said that way we can ask them manually to take off the VAT since it doesn’t seem to be taking the VAT off automatically as the old website has done for years. And Lush suggests calling in also because there are issues with the ordering system. This came at the same time I was told that my issues have been fixed, (which is incorrect because I still have the same one issue left). People have been working on my messed up orders for weeks, and it seems to be *almost* fixed. And from reading around others’ orders still seem to be messed up. Is there a professional company working on trying to install this new kitchen website or is it one of the Lush staff? So it sounds like now international people may have to call in their orders, making it even less likely that we’ll be able to get in and order. What about the people whose first language isn’t English? What are they supposed to do? Lush has on their site that this new site has been a year in the making, and had a Beta site with people testing it before they put it up. Next time, they should test the website as a customer, and not test it as only Lush employees.’


I would bet my Future Primitive body whip that the new website has been done by one of the Constantine offspring.

They’ve set up a new website, and arsed it up so badly that it doesn’t remove VAT for non-UK customers, they still haven’t fixed it, and their response is to ask non-UK customers to phone their orders in – even though they might not speak enough English to do that, or might have to get up in the middle of the night to do it. Omnishambles clusterfuck just about covers it, I think.


15 thoughts on “The Smell of Bullshit, part 53: VAT cats

  1. Lets not forget the marvellous ‘Lush Kitchen’ – products made by hand, fresh – didn’t everyone think Lush did that anyway? – before we found out it was mass produced months in advance by giant machines in huge factories that is…
    Against my better judgement I ordered something. I just couldn’t resist, that’s the hold that Lush has over people. You get hypnotised into it. I placed my order over two weeks ago and I’m still waiting for it to arrive. I emailed them to check my orders progress and over a week later I am still waiting for a response.
    The way it is run they must be getting a cut off the Royal Mail as the postage is extortionate. If you want something you have to order it there and then or you’ll lose out and then later that day or the next day they will have something different as a must have which, if you want that too, you have to pay more postage for it. It’s ridiculous.
    Sadly things have happened exactly as I expected. It just doesn’t get any better. You truly can’t make a silk purse out of a sows ear.
    I won’t make the same mistake again!

  2. According to Google (if you search for “new Lush website” and look for a link to “Creative Review”, the details are there – wasn’t sure if I could post a link here or not) the new website was designed by a company called Method. I don’t know if it’s better or worse that outside people fucked it up so royally but there you go.

  3. Yup a Constantine was in charge of the new ‘branding’ including the website which was done by an agency called Method (as stated already). Cost 1m+ so I hear…. for what?! Messing around with a new logo and some moving images of each product.

  4. Just wow on all of this I’ve been reading.
    I used to be so into LUSH and I was once on the forums. I stepped away from those more for board bullying (at the time someone in LUSH staff I think did get called out for being a cold, fake biatch), but that was all. I never knew that LUSH was anything but.
    I purchased their items for my family and myself to use. I did notice within the last couple of years, the prices seemed to be steadily hiking, while quality didn’t seem anywhere near what it was when I first began using LUSH in the early 2000s. As a result, I found other companies that actually do the things LUSH claim to do (but now I see those are lies), and I must say I agree with you 100% about Future Primitive. I am in the US but I often order from FP because the products are awesome in quality, concept, use, scent, texture, on and on. Really though, I have to say that even after the international shipping and conversion rates, FP products are the same or even cheaper for me than LUSH.
    All of these experiences and things that LUSH is doing bowls me over. On the top of my mind is the child labor thing, that I bought products for my children to use when they may have come from enslaved children. Not that I would do so otherwise, but I think you get what I mean. The whole kissing campaign, ugh! Just no no no! The story about Rockateer really pisses me off. I remember when it came out and loving the story that the son of the founders came up with it. I was surprised that son wasn’t small like mine, but thought, “Eh, still cool.” As I’ve stated, I don’t read the forums anymore. Now I see I was right to have the impression a young boy came up with the idea, someone else’s sweet kid! That was one that I always purchased, because my kids loved everything about it and I loved that story.
    I am glad that I have found this and that I didn’t place that LUSH Kitchen order I was recently tempted to place, a couple of weeks ago. I have gone through my bath things and just thrown out some of the LUSH things. I hate waste, but I can’t fathom using their products now, on my children or myself.
    So thank you to you and the other posters for shedding light on this monster in the closet.

  5. Many companies find errors in their websites on a daily basis – if this incident is such crime that it warrants such a negative post then surely the same should be said of every social media platform and company website that was affected by the HeartBleed bug as that also caused issues for customers.

    The point regarding company competence and websites could be illustrated far more adequately by other examples.

    You could easily argue that the hundreds of companies who have had SSL code compromised for 2 years by hackers to be incompetent yet this type of issue remains ignored?

    An interesting post but largely biased by an apparent dislike for the company.

  6. Another month on from the new Lush Digital company being set up and over half the people employed there have either left or been sacked (including high up forum moderators). Staff either don’t want to work with Jack Constantine (who can blame them) or they have had ‘the chat’, although it now has new wording…. instead of ‘we don’t think you’re happy here’ you now get ‘we don’t feel you’re economically viable’. Or the other one is ‘go home and think about what you can do for the company’ Then when you go back with your ideas they disagree with what you come up with and hey presto! you’ve talked yourself out of your job. So that’s their new “get out of a lawsuit free” cards.
    The website and Lush kitchens have caused so many problems and ‘customer care’ is so under the cosh that most of the staff have left which means the thousands of complaint emails aren’t being answered and they’re giving so much free stuff away at the moment as pacifiers to disgruntled customers that they are losing money hand over fist and Lush’s reputation is slipping further down the toilet than ever before.

  7. A new disclaimer is on the LUSH international website checkout page. It reads: “We just wanted to let you know that from the 1st November prices have changed for our online customers that live outside of the EU. We believe in equal prices for everyone which is why all our customers that shop with us at will pay the same price regardless of where they live. The price you see in your basket is the price you will pay. ” This message is being interpreted in the US to mean that VAT will no longer be deducted for orders sent to the States. If that’s the correct meaning, then what is LUSH going to do with this windfall of new money? I doubt that they will remit it as tax collected because they are not obligated to collect VAT for non EU orders and they are not saying the extra money is a tax. So I assume they will simply keep the extra 20%.

    • And the grammar is awful. “All our customers that shop with us”? It should be “all our customers who shop with us.” Customers are people, not things, and therefore should be referred to as who, not that.

    • Thats exactly what i said Sudsy. Its not morally correct. Im furious. and i honestly hope the company shuts down for good. They are stealing money from U.S. buyers. Its kind of funny how they claim to do good for the world but what are they doing with all that money? It makes me sick. I used to love lush but at this point i really hate them.

  8. Pingback: The Smell of Bullshit, part 61: VAT cats getting vatter | Mitherings from Morningside

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