When we built our new home in 2014, I was pretty consistent about keeping it clean and smelling good. I knew that our friends and family would be popping in, most of them unexpectedly, to see the home we’d just built. Because I have two curious cats and two very active kids, we try not to burn candles, especially since most of them leave soot marks above where they’ve been burned.
We started using Bath and Body Works Wallflowers. They seemed simple and made sense; just plug in wherever you need a light scent and, of course, there’s so many scents from which to choose. We really enjoyed using them, that is, until we saw the damage that they can cause.
Seeing this, I was crushed. First of all, it’s our new home where most everything is still pristine. Second, this damage is in my sunroom; it’s my relaxing place, my sanctuary. It’s my favorite room in the entire house. Then, I started to wonder what else in my home was damaged and if the Bath and Body Works Wallflowers were harmful to the air my family and I were breathing.
Reaching Out To Bath and Body Works
I was immediately sick to my stomach because, besides the damage to our home, what kind of damage is it doing to our lungs and our kids’ lungs if it does this to a wood surface. I never thought to look at the ingredients, assuming that they were essential oils.
I tweeted out the photo and a day later, was sent a DM from the brand. They gave me a number to call. My initial conversation with Bath and Body Works/White Barn Candle Co. wasn’t as successful as I’d hoped, but I wasn’t surprised.
I spoke first with Sheree. She seemed surprised by the photo, saying “Wow! I am so sorry… about that.” That gave me a little bit of hope, positive that she’d understand our concern and why we threw the rest of our Wallflowers in the trash.
Her first statement to me was that the brand suggests and “lists on the plugs themselves, a 12 inch clearance between the product and anything else.” She asked me if I thought it was at least 12 inches away, as if she already knew it wasn’t.
First, she told me that this warning is listed on the plug itself, which I didn’t see. She clarified that it’s actually on “that plastic part that you have to take off in order to plug it in.” If you’re like us, however, you’ve likely had the same plugins for a while and only order Wallflower refills.
Guess what – the refills have NO WARNING other than to keep away from children and pets and something about calling the Poison Control Center. YIKES!
She admitted, she doesn’t “read the fine print either” which, I suppose, is comforting, but if she’s not reading it, then who’s to say we are?
“Going forward, that’s just what we suggest, is the 12 inch clearance because the oil diffuses out of there… if you’re unhappy with the product, you’re more than welcome to take it back to the store, maybe, if that’s something you’re interested in doing,” she said to me.
She said to me that I could get a refund if I have my receipt, or the lowest price in exchange for a gift card if I didn’t. As if I wanted more product from them. I even let her know that we’d be sharing on our site because we believe that if their products cause this kind damage, people should know about it. We also suggested that we would be looking into other courses of action, at which point, she had a bit more to say.
“As far as the damage done to the home by the product, is that what your, like, main concern is about?” Seriously? Why else would I be calling?! She said that, at that point, it would be sent to their Resolution Management Team. It seemed promising at this point.
She also added that I needed to send the product back for quality assurance purposes and they’d send me a gift card for the amount of that items. My instinct was actually to hang onto it in case this escalated. Besides, did I really want a Bath and Body Works gift card? Nope.
Bath and Body Works Resolution Management Team
It seemed promising. I received a call from Natasha from Gallagher Bassett. They are a Claims Services Provider – essentially a 3rd party in this issue – whose Google description says they “…guide those suffering a loss to the best outcomes for their futures.”
She verified that we still had the product and that we had taken photos and that they were posted on social media.
She also offered me a Bath and Body Works gift card because “with that warning label [Bath & Body Works] wouldn’t be liable because it asks for a 12-inch clearance.”
I verified that the warning is “small print that appears on a disposable band that’s put on the product.” She confirmed. She also confirmed that they’re not on any of the refills.
She also confirmed that the only resolution they were willing to offer was a $50 gift card because they didn’t believe they were, at all, liable. I told her that because of the damage to our home, it’s unlikely we’ll be purchasing any more Bath & Body Works products. She said she would note that in the account.
*It should be noted that a few weeks after this post, we were contacted by Bath & Body Works. They offered small compensation to repair the damage which we accepted. However, we still no longer purchase or use the Bath & Body Works Wallflower units.
No Longer A Bath and Body Works Customer
That was the end of our attempt at a resolution. Since that conversation, we’ve not received any additional correspondence from the brand; one to which we were very loyal customers by the looks of my bank account.
We reached out to the company via email to see if we could obtain an MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for the contents of the Bath & Body Works Wallflowers.
They responded, even getting my name wrong. Twice:
Good Afternoon Dustin,
Thank you for your continued use of Bath & Body Works products; we value loyal customers such as you!
Attached you will find the below MSDS previously requested:
• Wallflower Refills
Dustin, if there is anything else we can do for you, please let us know. We appreciate your shopping with BathandBodyWorks.com and we look forward to serving you in the future.
Sr. Customer Care Specialist
Bath & Body Works Direct
The MSDS they sent attached to the email can be found here in its entirety, but here are a few highlights from the document.
It seems odd to me that something that is supposed to make our home smell better by circulating throughout the air should have these kinds of warnings. The warnings continue…
If you want more information, I definitely suggest reading the MSDS on the Bath & Body Works Wallflowers. As for me, gift cards or not, I will no longer be purchasing the products. If it does that to my paint, what can it do to our lungs. Or, apparently, our aquatic life. At this time, I’ve haven’t heard anything further from either Bath & Body Works or from resolution management team.