Many of you know I tend to make the majority of my minis. But for the Storybook Cottage, I had worked hard on making and selling vanities, and liquidated some of my older mini projects so that I could afford a few special artisan pieces. Sadly, I will have less than I thought, and will have to make several of the things I intended to purchase. Mainly, because they are hard to come by, and secondly, because I am afraid to shop. Unless I can find something through eBay, where I feel there is accountability, a way to rate sellers and relatively easy recourse when something does go wrong.
On April 27th, I placed two orders from Swan House Miniatures. One was for a tea set, using a gift card from my daughter. The other order included pieces by Alex Meiklejohn, Taller Targioni, TYA, Jason Getzan and Elisabeth Causeret. As you can imagine, little old 'make your own and make do' Jodi was quite excited!
What happened next did not alarm me at first. Mistakes happen, lord knows I've made my share. But how events unfolded, the way I was treated, and the general lack of any responsibility taken from the merchant has been shocking. I felt I needed to warn you: Buyer Beware! What follows are the email communications with comments.
5/7/18 - Initial contact when I did not receive a shipping notification or tracking number for the orders after 11 days. Having paid $11.95 in shipping on each of the orders, I was a little surprised when the seller did not refund one of the shipping charges, as they were all tiny items, and one postage charge would have easily covered the postage cost and insurance.
His response. Apparently, it is the customer's job to research information. Note the two order numbers in the subject line.
His response. Apparently, he had not even looked into the situation, or read my email, because he did not know there were 2 different orders.
To which I responded:
The end of the week came and went, so on 5/21/18, 8 days later, I sent this:
To which he responded:
He mailed my package to someone else. Apparently not checking or letting me know until I hounded him. No offer to send me what he had in stock. No apology. Now we wait for the customer in possession of the package to fix the problem.
On 5/23, I ask...
Monday came and went. In fact, another 7 days went by before I contacted Him again!
Suddenly, as soon as I wanted to cancel the order, he responds:
Okay, all is well that ends well, right? By 6/6/18, the Priority Mail package is still not here. I email again:
To which he replies:
Note the lack of apology or taking responsibility of any kind. It gets better. I still do not have the package as of this 6/11/18 post. Was this all a giant misunderstanding? A series of unfortunate events? Maybe, and I can forgive more than most. But being treated as if I mattered, and an apology would have gone a long way.
Some interesting facts about the tracking.
1. The label was created on 4/30. This was prior to my initial contact on 5/7, and before he even realized that there was a problem (that he sent the package to someone else) on 5/21.
2. The package was shipped from the very same zip code as his store. Funny, since supposedly the customer was faxed a label and she shipped it from her house.
3. The package reached his USPS distribution center on 5/31 and then just disappeared. Was it really a package? No way to tell.
4. In spite of it being a $135 order, it was only insured for $100
I submitted a lost package trace with USPS. I was told they were not going to be able to track it down, and that I should file an insurance claim. Uh, huh. And lose $35 through no fault of my own? Let's say this together - "It is the sellers responsibility to get my package to me"! Otherwise, buying online is like gambling.
I have requested a PayPal refund. He said he would not refund unless the package was returned to him. See the problem? I have no package, and other than placing items in a cart, I have no control and very little recourse in this situation. I have escalated the case in PayPal. I'll update this post when it is resolved.
*** NOTE: As of 4:18 on 6/11/18, the PayPal case, number PP-006-998-838-041, has suddenly disappeared from my PayPal account. It's as if it does not exist, though I have all the email conversations with the case number listed. I emailed PayPal. Will advise if/when I hear back. Moving from baffled to angry.
6/11/18 4:00pm - filed a new complaint with PayPal explaining that the original complaint disappeared, and that their reply to my inquiry about the original complaint disappearing was an automated response telling me to visit the Resolution Center, which I had already done. The Resolution Center gives no email address or Contact Us link, so it takes some major sleuthing to find a place to send one. Beware.
As of 5/12/18 7:00am, PayPal has the claims under review, and has assigned a new claim number. The seller provided them with the bogus tracking number. How long until I get rejected or can finally make them understand the circumstances?
6/12/18 7:12am - Submitted complaint with the Washington State Attorney General's Office.
Another important caution. I recently had another lost package. It came from France. I contacted the seller after 5 weeks and was told that her policy is not to lift a finger until two months has passed since the shipping date. Again, Buyer Beware. Read policies, and fork out the extra $$ for tracking and insurance. I was refunded because Etsy does have limited seller accountability, and regardless of the particular shop's policies, the Etsy policies take precedence.
Hope you're having better luck than me!
More folks who've experienced issues with this online shop:
In response to my formal complaint, the Attorney General's office in WA feels there is merit to move forward. Here is what they sent:
We'll see if he responds. He has six weeks.
No formal response yet from the USPS fraud complaint I filed. The package is still "lost", and I am being told to start a search through the MRC (mail recovery center) process. More red tape.
A repackaged package was delivered today from USPS containing some of the items from my order. However, $74.75 of the merchandise was either missing, not what I ordered or broken beyond repair. I have revised my PayPal claim. Will update with any news.
More frustration after PayPal did not respond to my request to have the seller refund me for the missing items. Instead, they gave me 7 days to return the entire package to Swan House and provide a tracking number. After hearing about the customer who returned a package, which Greg them claimed to be empty, I instead filed an insurance claim with USPS. I filed on 6/21/18, the claim was approved on 6/25/18, and I had a check 7 days later. I then canceled the PayPal claim, and left them a detailed review of the whole situation. Disappointed in PayPal, outraged at Swan House, but go USPS!!! All is well, I have 5 lovely items, insurance refunds on the rest, and I know to never deal with Swan House or Greg Madl ever again.