Customer Service...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I have two jobs; by day I am an office manager, and in between I run Ohhh Lulu.  In both jobs, I make mistakes fairly regularly.  I forget things, sometimes something might not get stitched quite right, sometimes there are typos, occasionally a customer isn't happy.  This will happen with any job you do.

I've learned that the best way to deal with your mistakes is to be upfront and honest.  Offer an apology, fix the situation, and move on.  I've made so many mistakes in my professional life, I have become Queen at this.  With Ohhh Lulu, I've been fortunate to only have a handful of mistakes, and I have a good policy in place where, if it doesn't fit, I'll remake it, and I make it my priority.

I recently placed an order on a well known fabric website for a few things.  I always liked shopping at this well known fabric website, they have good prices, good selection, quick shipping, never had a problem with them.

Five days after placing my order, I received an email saying a fabric was out of stock.  I chose a replacement that was less expensive and went about my merry way.  Three days after that, I got an email saying that they had received my full payment and that my order would be shipped.  I was a little confused because I paid eight days ago at this point, and I was actually supposed to be getting a partial refund. So, I emailed to confirm... and was ignored.  Four Days after this, I received a notice that a second fabric was out of stock.  I was very confused at this point, because my order was supposed to have shipped four days ago!  So, I called, and requested that the entire order be cancelled.  At this point I had to add a couple other things to the order anyway, and wanted to just start fresh.  The representative assured me the order was cancelled and I would receive a full refund in 7-10 days.

The next day I placed my new order, which included two fabrics from the original, cancelled order.  Two days after that, on July 4th, I received an email that my cancelled order had shipped! I immediately emailed them, knowing that they would likely be closed for the holiday, explained what had happened and asked that someone please follow up with me by Friday.  On Thursday my new order shipped, and of course I have heard nothing from them.  So, now I have double the fabric coming in two SKU's , and have paid shipping twice.  In reality, I will likely be able to use all of the fabric, but I am mostly annoyed that I have now paid $50 in shipping.

I am so frustrated with the service I've received from this company! And by service, I mean no service.  If I were this company, I would do two things.  First, I would check and respond to my emails within 24 hours. Second, I would offer a refund on at least the cost of shipping to make up for the error and complete lack of customer service I received.  Shipping from the US to Canada costs upwards of $25.  Ignoring your customers, especially your angry customers, is probably the worst customer service policy!

In hindsight, I wish that I had insisted that the representative give me some kind of reference number, or something.  How do you think this well known fabric website should have handled this situation?  Have you had any bad experiences buying fabric online?

On that note, where do you like to buy fabric online?


  1. Oh no, how frustrating! You really can't beat good customer service. We're all human so mistakes happen...I think its the way that they are dealt with that is most important! I have bought fabric from a wide range of online shops and ebay and am lucky that I have not so far had a bad fabric buying experience. I do hope you get some kind of resolution from this company - if I were you I would persist!

  2. Uh-oh
    I do buy fabric online ( and tend to wait until they have sales to do it. That being said, I also use my 40% off coupons at Jo-Ann and Hobby Lobby.
    I would definitely recommend trying to get it all sorted out- and I agree,good customer service can't be beaten.

  3. What an unpleasant experience, if you experience something like that. You know exactly where you stand as a customer.... And $ 50 - shipping .... which is expensive! Have you ever in the Netherlands or Europe sought to fashion fabrics? Even the shipping is much cheaper.
    Check out: What an unpleasant experience, if you experience something like that. You know exactly where you stand as a customer. And $50,- shipping .... which is expensive! or
    If you like more addresses from the Netherlands, I can give you more websites with lingeriematerials. Check out my blog, there is a website list, if you like:-)

    1. I never would have thought of sourcing from Europe - would have thought shipping would be insane.

      I don't understand shipping. It can cost as much for me to ship a parcel to the other side of Canada as it costs to ship to Europe.

      Thank you for the links -they are great! And the shipping really is reasonable.

  4. oh how I feel your pain!! Awhile back I purchased 4 yards of 3 different silks from a well known online fabric store & had a similar experience. I was charged for the full price including over $20 shipping (yes I live in Canada too) but only received half my order, as apparently some of it was out of stock - even after I had asked and been told that my whole order shipped.

    If you find a good online fabric store, do let me know!! I've resorted to what I can find locally & the occasional Etsy purchase :)

    1. I have always had great experiences buying off of Etsy, and I actually buy a lot of supplies off of Ebay too. It is nice dealing directly with the owner of the shop - you get better service :)

  5. I've had good experience buying notions on-line from the big stores, but not fabric. The last time I got fabric, I ordered 5 yards and they sent it in a 3-yrd and a 2-yrd section! I called to complain that it wasn't sent in a continual section (which is what I needed and thought I would get) and pretty much was told that I still got my 5 yards, so I had no basis for complaint! Needless to say, I will no be getting anything from them again! I haven't tried Etsy or ebay yet, but it's now on my list when I need fabric again.

  6. If I may suggest a possible help, if not a solution...

    When I have a problem with a company, I always bring paper and pen to the phone or shop with me, behave impeccably polite, no mention of their customer service standards (unless to compliment them on previous good service: "I always get such good service from you that I know you will help me!"), and I ask the person I speak to to repeat their name for me, note the time and date I spoke to them and any info that they gave me before the conversation ends. Sometimes I even point out I'm writing things down by asking them to repeat something "so I can write it down." Many times they go out of their way to help me on the first call, but on the times I've had to make a second call I ask for the manager and I tell them, reading from my notes who I spoke to, when and what they told me. I have rarely had to make a third contact to resolve a problem. And when I have, I then, and only then, let them know that I'm displeased with their customer service and am considering not doing business again with them. Works like a charm.

  7. oh what a terrible situation and method of not-handling it! as for on-line stores, i've bought fabric from, both of which can be hit or miss, but are cheap (i've had terrific luck with wools and silk) . emma one-sock and gorgeous fabrics were both terrific.

    i haven't tried sourcing from etsy but i have from ebay. hmmm, time to branch out!


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