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Thread: Seeking advice... what could we have done differently?

  1. #101
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cherrio
    ... a site that has great fabrics! EVEN the purples I have been seeking.
    Well... I have a weakness for anything purple. Or mauve. (I inherited this trait from my mother-in-law. Go figure!)

  2. #102
    Junior Member scrappycats's Avatar
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    You should not have your shipping costs figured that way. It should be calculated for one package. Then, you might put some instructions on the order page about how shipping can be reduced if the customer will accept the yardage cut in pieces. But, most people who order large amounts of yardage usually have long projects that are ruined if they have to be pieced.

    If you have it posted prominently about shipping in 6 yard pieces though, then she should not have reason to complain. Do you have it posted?

  3. #103
    pookie ookie's Avatar
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    Been in this position more than once.

    What I want: exactly what happened in my shopping cart and with zero contact. If the shopping cart made an "error" then seller eats the loss or the order is canceled.

    I've never had it go down in email but I don't answer unknown calls. I've had sellers call with blocked numbers as though they were creeps, political surveys or telemarketers. Smooth move.

    I only want to be notified in case of backorder or the shop's burned down with my package inside, etc.

  4. #104
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrappycats
    You should not have your shipping costs figured that way. It should be calculated for one package. Then, you might put some instructions on the order page about how shipping can be reduced if the customer will accept the yardage cut in pieces. But, most people who order large amounts of yardage usually have long projects that are ruined if they have to be pieced.

    If you have it posted prominently about shipping in 6 yard pieces though, then she should not have reason to complain. Do you have it posted?
    We have it posted on our website that each envelope will hold up to 8 yards of fabric, and that shipping costs are based upon how many envelopes will be needed to ship the order.

    Now, thanks to suggestions posted here, we also post that if any item is more than will fit in one envelope, the customer will be e-mailed to see if he/she wants it shipped in one piece (at an additional cost). And that if we don't receive a reply within a week, we will cancel that item from the order and ship the rest.

  5. #105
    Super Member quiltmom04's Avatar
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    I'm wondering why 2 packages ship for less than one, if the contents both equal 12 yds????

  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltmom04
    I'm wondering why 2 packages ship for less than one, if the contents both equal 12 yds????
    That has puzzled me, too.

    I could/would have understood that "up to 8 yards in one envelope" would mean that more than 8 yards would go in some other sort of packaging - not that the "more" would be cut up to fit into more than one envelope.

    Or I could/would have understood it that it meant that several short lengths that would/could total up to 8 yards could be stuffed in one envelope.

    It's challenging to write something that is impossible to to misunderstand.

  7. #107
    Super Member Teresa 54's Avatar
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    I work in refrigeration, I ship countless packages all day long, I never ship unless I have a postage/shipping confirmaiton and/or what we call a release from the customer in my hand. I few times I thought I was going to be fired for shipping without this.

  8. #108
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    That is one you couldn't win eather way you did it she would have been mad if you sent it all in one because of the price what you did was what you thought was best just chalk it up to a no win situation

  9. #109
    Senior Member KiwiQuilter's Avatar
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    This has been a really interesting thread.

    I am an overseas purchaser, and have bought fabric from the States for over 10 years now. Over this time, and with my interactions with other local quilters I have learned that there are 2 types of overseas purchasers; those that want to maximize the postage (e.g. cram in as much as you can), and those that want something so specific they will pay a fortune for postage.

    You can never know what type of customer you have.

    From my personal experience - I would value something on my customer profile (don't know if you store has them) where I can state what's important to me. For me, I want to cram as much into an envelope. If an item is not available I would want the option to look for something else to fill up the envelope before shipment.

    What I must also say is that when I am shopping online, I ALWAYS check the shipping page and the postage rates, how many yards (of standard width 40-44" cotton fabric)will fit, and the other terms and conditions.

    I am also fully aware that my country may charge additional levies/taxes, etc.

    If I have any questions about my order, e.g. can I buy 7 yards, and can you squeeze in a ruler, thimble, pencil (whatever) would it be included in the postage amount? I ask BEFORE I make the order.

  10. #110
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray
    Quote Originally Posted by quiltmom04
    I'm wondering why 2 packages ship for less than one, if the contents both equal 12 yds????
    That has puzzled me, too.

    I could/would have understood that "up to 8 yards in one envelope" would mean that more than 8 yards would go in some other sort of packaging - not that the "more" would be cut up to fit into more than one envelope.

    Or I could/would have understood it that it meant that several short lengths that would/could total up to 8 yards could be stuffed in one envelope.

    It's challenging to write something that is impossible to to misunderstand.
    And it's also challenging to write something that is impossible to misunderstand, about something that is hard to understand in the first place!

    A couple of years ago, when fuel prices went sky-high, the Post Office changed its rate structure from one that was (mostly) based on weight, to one that's based on the volume/size of the package too.

    Keep in mind that most of the packages sent through USPS are Priority Mail now because you can make the labels and pay for the postage online. I believe this streamlines things for the Post Office and keeps some of their labor costs down, because now the customer does all the data entry and paying without taking up any of the Postal clerks' time.

    Priority Mail packages travel by air. And there is a limited amount of space available in the cargo hold of an airplane.

    So USPS must have figured that the flat-rate envelopes and boxes are the way to go because they're all uniform in size and can be machine processed and, with all that uniformity, it's probably easier to pack them in the cargo hold too. (I suppose.)

    And so, they reward you financially for using the flat-rate products and kind of penalize you for anything else.

    Suppose we want to ship a 15-yard bolt of fabric from the US to Austria (or Australia). It's too big to fit in a flat-rate envelope (they only hold 8 yards). The fabric plus the weight of a box will be 7 pounds. If we leave it on the bolt the size of the box needed to hold it will be about 24" x 10" x 4". The longest USPS flat-rate box is only 13 5/8" so it won't fit in a flat-rate box.

    So if we send it on the bolt, in our own packaging, it will cost $43.99 to ship to Austria, or $54.72 to Australia, plus about $1 to cover the cost of the box. (Boxes are expensive!)

    If we take it off the bolt, we can fold it so that it will fit in a flat-rate box, and will cost $41.28 to ship.

    But a flat-rate envelope only costs $12.78 to ship; two of them will cost $25.56.

    So if you cut that length of fabric in two and ship it in two flat-rate envelopes it will save about $15-$29 in shipping costs.

    Go figure!! It's the exact same amount of merchandise being shipped, nearly the same weight (the two envelopes will weigh a bit less than a box).

    Hard to comprehend the pricing, isn't it?

    Oh... you DO get a little bit of package tracking if you ship it in either a flat-rate box or a box of your own. You can see when the package leaves the US and what city it left from. And a little bit of insurance too.

    Big whoop! Is that worth $15-$29 extra?

    (By the way... you can't insure those flat-rate envelopes through the Post Office but you CAN insure them through a third-party insurer such as Shipsurance. That's particularly important for those of us who don't like unpleasant surprises such as lost packages.)

    So tell me... how'd I do on explaining this? Did anybody follow me? Or did I lose you?

  11. #111
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    It's challenging to write something that is impossible to to misunderstand.[/quote]

    I meant to say:

    It's challenging to write something that is impossible to NOT misunderstand.

  12. #112
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    I think I understand what it was that you thought you meant to say.

    :wink:

    'Nother words... it's hard to write VERY CLEARLY.

    Right??

    :-D

  13. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by Favorite Fabrics
    I think I understand what it was that you thought you meant to say.

    :wink:

    'Nother words... it's hard to write VERY CLEARLY.

    Right??

    :-D
    Thank you - yes, that was what I was trying to say. :oops:

  14. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by Favorite Fabrics
    Phyl,

    Thank you so much for your kind words! And your order!

    I'll tell the staff to get RIGHT TO WORK on it. We're moving you to the head of the pack.

    I can't get away from the computer, though, right now I'm placing an online order with Benartex. We need more fabric!!

    And we have IrishNY in the shop right now, she decided to swing by and see what our fabrics look like in person. (Hi, Irish!)
    Hey Nancy! It was great to meet you in person and of course hang out in your fabric. ;-)

    You have a great shop - I highly recommend it to anyone who is passing through the area. I spent most of the ride home (in the driving rain) dreaming of quilts I could make with the fabric I bought. However, as soon I got home, I hoped on the computer, not the sewing machine. This board is a bad influence on me. :thumbup:

  15. #115
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    IrishNY,

    It was wonderful to meet another board member... having you stop in today was a pleasant surprise. Somehow I thought you lived closer... maybe in Colden, because there's an Irish Road there and well, I just mashed it all together in my mind.

    You were a couple of hours too early, though; you missed the carrot cake & ice cream party we had for our neighbor upstairs! And he took the leftovers with him, too.

    Did'ja know that we're specialists at the Happy Birthday song? We do it in HARMONY! And with practice we're really getting much better at it. We have cake or pie for everybody's birthday around here. And chocolate the rest of the time.

    :lol:

  16. #116
    Super Member IrishNY's Avatar
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    Nancy,

    I couldn't afford to live in Colden. Between you and The Quilt Farm, I would be broke!

    Cindy

  17. #117
    Super Member greaterexp's Avatar
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    Without reading all the posts or looking at your site, do you tell customers on your site that there may be additional import fees and taxes on top of the shipping? I don't do much with ordering from overseas businesses and wouldn't think about that myself. Other than that, I think you did due diligence, and the customer must take responsibility for her lack of communication.

  18. #118
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    This is what we say on our "international shipping page":

    The price we charge for shipping just includes the cost of sending your package. Your country may charge Customs fees and/or duty and taxes; these will be collected in your country when the package is delivered. All international shipments must be accompanied by a customs form. We are required by law to list the contents of international shipments and the value.

  19. #119
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    You are probably the exception to the rule on customers most do not know what they realy want I use to do a lot of buying in ebay from Japan and they asked how you wanted shipped, it was pricie to have it sent by air.

  20. #120
    Senior Member Ragann63's Avatar
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    I wouldn't have shipped without confirmation, or would ensure shipping policy is solid prior to allowing an international order.

  21. #121
    Super Member BettyGee's Avatar
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    Just visited your site. Wow! I allow myself a certain amount to spend each month on fabric, I just used up four months worth and can't wait until the fabric arrives. What a selection you have, oh how I wish I was rich instead of cute and adorable.
    I voiced my opinion of your shipping decision before and still maintain that as a customer you have to take some responsibility in the ordering process. Your site is very clear, crystal, about what, how, when, and how orders are received and processed. If a question about my order comes up and you need to contact me; then it is my responsibility to respond promptly as to my wishes.
    BettyGee

  22. #122
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    You did everything correctly. I think she wasn't expecting a customs charge and wants to take that out on you. I haven't read all the posts on this thread, so I might be repeating, but it might be wise to post on your website that international orders are subject to customs duties and the customer is responsible to find out more about those before placing an order.

  23. #123
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    while I applaud you for doing your best to contact the customer about the fabric & shipping, I would have just set it aside until I heard from her. I work for a wholesale company and we require any changes to original orders be in writing, either by mail, fax or email. If I was in her position, I would have been upset also. Like one other said, she might have been sick, or been called out on a family emergency or been sent out of town on business. Since there was no mention of cutting the 6 yards in half, I would never had done it and shipped it without her consent. If she had gotten upset about how long it was taking to receive her fabric at least then you would have had it to show her you kept trying to contact her.

  24. #124
    Super Member k9dancer's Avatar
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    I would put a note on the checkout page to your customers: If this situation arises, would you rather a) we save you money or b) send the cheapest way? Even better if there is a box on the checkout where customers can place comments: "Please do not cut "blue roses" no matter what, but the pink fabric could be cut if need be;" or "Please send all one length, even if the postage is more."
    I have ordered fabric online, and have been contacted that they were out of all one length, and would 2 smaller cuts be alright?
    Also, since I live out in the toolies, we lose internet connections all the time, sometimes for days on end. Doesn't matter how often we complain about it, so I know what it is like to miss important emails.
    If I have a question, I contact the seller ASAP, if I am able to do so. If not, I figure they did what they could, and live with it. I also deal with sellers that give me free shipping and will take items back if I am not satisfied. Of course, it's not international, so I know that makes a huge difference.
    All in all, I expect I would have held the merchandise, or sent all one piece, provided she had agreed to the higher shipping rate.
    It was a tough call. I'm sure you did what you thought best for the customer.

  25. #125
    Super Member pennyswings's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cindle
    I think you handled the situation in a professional way. The lady didn't get back to you as to how she wanted you to send her order so therefore it's her fault not yours. You did everything a business person could do. If she wanted it done different maybe she should have replied to the email you sent with the shipping information.
    I am one of your international customers and I agree with Cindle, you handled this in a professional manner. You can not be expected to know how ALL the different customs operated in every country. What she should have done was to contact you and let you know how to handle this order. She seemed to have no problem in letting you know that she was dissatisfied with you.
    I would not let it bother me you did all you could do to get an answer from her, you choose the least expensive way to ship the item and if she is unhappy then she needs to admit that she dropped the ball, not you.
    Like Abraham Lincoln once said, "You can please some of the people some of the time but you can't please all of the people all of the time."
    Smile, I have always been happy with the way you have handled all of my orders, your customer service has been excellent and the products you sell are top quality.
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