Convince and Convert

I have read in blog etiquette guidelines that it is not advisable to vent personal issues or frustrations on your professional blog.  I totally agree.

However, I AM going to write about a professional issue I have as the outcome affects not only me but my customers and others out there that may potentially also fall victim.

The Deets (Details)

I ordered some gorgeous ‘Fruit Tingle‘ fabric bundles from www.funkyfabrix.com.au on the 30th of May 2011 as they had a promotion running for free shipping to NZ for all orders over $25. Awesome! So, I eagerly awaited the arrival of my parcel but it never came.

On the 12th of June I emailed FF to request that they track my parcel containing the Fruit Tingle bundles as it had not yet arrived.  I had placed a second order for fabric on the 30th of May and that parcel had arrived safe and sound the week prior so I was expecting the bundles to have arrived in a similar time frame.

I was told that:

Your order was sent regular international (free post) so we do not have tracking information.  Delivery is approx. 1-2 weeks but can take longer depending on delays in customs. It should arrive sometime next week.

So I waited.

On the 30th of June I posted on FF’s Facebook page whether Shona would be able to track my parcel (as per the term and conditions on their website – if a regular post item is ‘lost’ they will lodge an enquiry on the customer’s behalf and depending on the results will either receive a refund from Australia Post for the ‘lost’ item or not.  If a refund is received they will then pass this on to the customer.

FF responded:

Your order would have been sent by registered post international and will require a signature so please check with your local post office to see if it is awaiting collection.  I am sure all orders to NZ are very delayed as I am sure you know flights to NZ from Australia have been cancelled over the last few weeks.

I cannot check on status til I return home.  If you have a question with regards to your order please do not post on our facebook page.  It is a page for our business for information for our customers, and I will not look into any matter if you post on our page and not send us an email.  As a business person yourself I sure you understand that it is quite rude to do so.

I was quite shocked by this response. Mostly because I didn’t think I had done anything I shouldn’t have but secondly because I had indeed emailed Shona with my “question” and her response was that it “should turn up” and it hadn’t.  In my mind I was just following up on my previous email with a casual reminder. Anyhow, I emailed her back profusely apologising for any misgivings I had caused in my approach etc and things were seemingly ok from there as I received this email on the 5th of July:

We have been to the post office today.  I have  your receipt which shows it was sent registered post but it does not have the tracking number form attached.  Chris (our post office owner) files a copy of the tracking number form with Aust Post so he is contacting Aust Post today and requesting the tracking information.  I will get back to you as soon as he calls us.  It was actually sent the same day as your other order, but one would have been sent letter post and one parcel post (which has to go through customs).  Have you had a chance to check with your local post office?  If we cannot locate the parcel (which hopefully we will) you are covered by insurance, so we can send a replacement order to you.

Great – so the parcel WAS actually sent registered post. FF has confirmed that I am covered by insurance and that they will send a replacement parcel if the original one is not located. Whew! Sigh of relief.

In the mean time Shona and I had been conversing via email as to whether I had checked my local post office or my Mother’s post office (due to me using her credit card to purchase the fabric, it may have been possibly sent to her address – although the shipping details were mine). I checked and nothing. So Shona offered me the option of a replacement order OR a refund once Australia Post had concluded its investigation. I opted for a replacement order.

Shona emailed me:

 Vicki do you have any photos of the fabrics in the bundle?  I don’t have any access to any information before last week as I damaged my computer.  If you know the fabrics we will be able to send a replacement order if not found.

I emailed back that I did not have a photo of the fabric but that the following was what was in it:

Hi Shona – I looked on your site and I think with the exception of the blue pears you still have the rest in stock. I have indicated a substitute for the blue pears.

Metro Market Pears Fiesta (substitute) for the Pears that were blue

Metro Market Pears Summer (original order)

Metro Market Apples Red (can’t remember but one of the apples was in the original order)

Sanctuary Citrus Scrub (original order)

Metro Market Cherries (original order)

If you are going to replace the order could I please get you to provide 1.5m of each fabric?  I originally wanted this length but you said that you only had 2 tingle bundles in stock so I took what was there.

Shona responded:

Hi Vicki

There were 4 fruits and 1 plain in this bundle

We don’t actually normally replace orders if a buyer does not choose registered post which you did not in your case, so we are replacing this as a sign of goodwill.  I am happy to send through a receipt with proof of postage, so that you can see the order was sent to you, so please let us know if you would like me to scan and send.

I will send for no charge 5 metres of fabric, 4 fruit and one matching plain. If you wish to order more of the fruit fabrics please place the order via the website and we will send as 1.5m pieces for you.  You can use your code on the website if you order over $50 and you will receive 20% discount.  Unfortunately postal charges will be applicable on any extra fabrics ordered.

We will be sending this off on Friday if we have not heard back from Australia Post so please place your order before Friday if you would like us to 1.5 of any of the fabrics.

Unfortunately you will need to place the order via the website as I am not back in the office this week so cannot manually process for you.

So this is where the tone of our communication began its second decline.  I proceeded to place my order for the replacement fabrics in the extra 0.5m lengths to be cut as continuous lengths.  I emailed Shona at FF to confirm that my order would be cut as continuous 1.5m lengths.

On the 7th of July Jason (co-owner) of FF responded;

Yes we will send as continuous pieces as stated below. Thais, Jason

Great – we are all on the same page.

On the 20th of July I emailed Shona:

Hi Shona,

Could you please let me know the details of the resent items?  I just want to make sure I keep on top of the post office this time so I can ensure the items arrive.

Thanks

To which I got this single line response:

Registered post international RQ023744205AU

Later that day it actually arrived.  However, it was incomplete. So I emailed FF with the following:

Hi Shona,

Since I sent my last email a parcel of fabric has arrived.  It contained:

Metro Market Pears Summer     1.5m

Metro Market Pears Fiesta     0.5m

Sanctuary Citrus Scrub        1.5m

Yellow?                       1.0m?

I am confused as to why the metro market pears fiesta has come as only 0.5m when the order is for 1.5m continuous cut. Also I am not sure what the yellow is for?  Is this gift?  If so, many thanks:-)

Could you please let me know if you sent the following items in a different shipment?

Metro Market Apples Red       1.5m

Metro Market Cherries        1.5m

Metro Market Pears Fiesta     1.5m

I received this chilling response:

As stated in our email, the bundle was for 4 fruit fabrics and 1 plain.  You order an extra .5 of 5 fruit fabrics so you have received 1.5 x 4 fabrics plus an extra .5 plus the one metre of plain in the original bundle.

Please note as per terms and conditions on our website that if you do not choose registered post we do not generally send a new order.  You originally chose international post with no insurance on your first order (which was free) and the same on your second order.  Both times we have sent registered post international for you, and as a sign of goodwill we have supplied a second order to you free of charge.  We have now answered over 20 emails so this will be the last we answer about an order which we have now lost a substantial amount of money and time over.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that what they have sent me and what they are telling me they have sent me doesn’t add up to the same thing. So not only have they not sent me what I ordered, they have not sent me what they agreed to send me as a “sign of goodwill” and they have now decided to discontinue conversation with me.

On the 21st of July I responded:

Hi Jason ,

I have just called your office number but unfortunately reached you out of office hours.

I do not understand your tone in your email.  Your tone indicates that you are not willing to supply the goods I ordered.  I have attached a copy of our correspondence relating to the details of the second (replacement) order.  When I emailed and Shona indicated that Funky Fabrix would be kind enough to send out a replacement order I was grateful. Shona did mention that to her recollection there were only 4 fruit and one plain however the ‘plain’ one was actually the sanctuary citrus scrub.  I supplied a list of what was contained in the original Fruit Tingle Bundle subsequent to her email. You will see that the agreement for sale was for the replacement of the 4 fruit fabrics in the Fruit Tingle bundle plus the plain Sanctuary Citrus Scrub.

All 5 of the original Fruit tingle Bundle Fabrics were patterned, of these 4 were MM fruits and one was Sanctuary Citrus Scrub.  See below for list:

Metro Market Pears Summer (original part of Fruit Tingle Bundle)

Metro Market Pears Blue ((original part of Fruit Tingle Bundle) but this was to be substituted for Metro Market Pears Fiesta as you are out of stock

Metro Market Apples Red (as mentioned in my email I wasn’t sure if the original order was for Red or Green apples but apples was in the original Fruit Tingle Bundle)

Metro Market Cherries (original part of Fruit Tingle Bundle)

Sanctuary Citrus Scrub (original part of Fruit Tingle Bundle)

I subsequently corresponded with Shona regarding the possibility of purchasing an additional 0.5m of the specified fabrics on the premise that I could have the fabric cut to a continuous 1.5m length.  Shona emailed me to confirm this would be the case so long as I completed my order prior to 10am Friday morning. I did so understanding my order and payment to be confirmation of the agreement for sale for the following:

Metro Market Pears Summer    1.5m

Metro Market Pears Fiesta          1.5m

Metro Market Apples Red           1.5m

Metro Market Cherries                 1.5m

Sanctuary Citrus Scrub                   1.5m

To date I have received the following:

Metro Market Pears Summer     1.5m – correct

Metro Market Pears Fiesta          0.5m – incorrect

Sanctuary Citrus Scrub                   1.5m – correct

Yellow?                                                1.0m? – not ordered

What I am still waiting on:

Metro Market Pears Fiesta          1.5m

Metro Market Apples Red           1.5m

Metro Market Cherries                 1.5m

Could you please confirm whether the MM Apples Red and MM Cherries are in another parcel? Also could you please correctly resend the MM Pears Fiesta?

I understand that you are running this at a loss out of the kindness of your wallet but please appreciate that I have contracted to you for the items listed in the agreed quantities of 1.5m continuous cuts. As you have agreed to provide me with these items and taken payment from me for these items you are not at a privilege to decline conversation with me as your client until the items ordered are correctly despatched and delivered (as you have indicated registered post was used we will be able to ensure the location of the parcel(s) and their assured delivery).

If your understanding of the order contradicted mine it would have been advisable for you to contact me prior to the cutting, packaging and despatching of the fabrics rather than now once the incorrect item has been received.

I have confirmed on two occasions the order to be a continuous 1.5m cut of the 5 ordered fabrics so I am certain my requirements were made clear.

I look forward to hearing from you.

I heard nothing back that day so the following day on the 22nd of July I emailed:

Hi Shona & Jason,

I called your office to speak with you in case you did not receive my email (see below) and was informed you are out of the office till next Wednesday (the 27th of July). The lady I spoke with said it is best to reach you via email.

I have concerns that my order will not be fulfilled completely. Jason has provided the tracking reference and the number correctly matches the parcel I received yesterday (thank you) but it is incomplete.  I would like to hear from you what your intentions are in response to my email (see below).  I too am out of pocket a significant amount and if we are unable to resolve this issue I will need to contact my credit card provider to organise a chargeback for the portion of goods not received as ordered. I have only a limited time frame to do so, however I would prefer to work things out with you directly.

I did send one final email, however. As I was looking through FF’s Facebook Albums I found an image of the illusive ‘Fruit Tingle’ bundle. So I emailed it to Shona and Jason:

Hi – sorry to email again.  Just found a picture of the Fruit Tingle Bundle so we can now be certain what it contained.  I got this off your FB page.

The image (as you can see below) is of the exact fabrics I recalled, listed and Shona agreed to replace.  I am still waiting for a response to my emails. I think perhaps I will be waiting a while….

So coming back to the title of my post “Convince and Convert”, check this link out: 4 Keys to Turning Negative Commenters Into Brand Advocates. All it will take to turn me into a Brand Advocate for Funky Fabrix is my order turning up correctly as they have the most awesome range and quality of fabrics.  Simple really.

UPDATE: Received only moments ago (26/7/11)

Your order has been sent.  Shona and Jason are currently away.  Please stop emailing or we will have to report you for spamming.

Your order was sent in 2 lots so please be patient.  We have not yet once received a thank you for sending a new order, when you clearly agreed to our terms and conditions, which states that a new order will not be sent if you do not pay for registered post.  You ticked this box when you placed your order therefore agreeing to our terms and conditions.  We were absolutely under no obligation to send you a new order.  We clearly state these terms and you clearly agree to them.

Australia Post have contacted us and said that your order was delivered, so as far as we can tell, you are not telling the truth (which amounts to theft) and are now threatening to slander us.  I would be very careful what you write,  you can be sued and held accountable for such actions.

Unfortunately Australia Post only phoned us with this news on Friday, had we known, a new order would have never been sent.

It is very disappointing that we acted in good faith, had full proof of postage to you,  yet you did receive the order and did not tell us. This has cost this company time and money.  Please note that no more emails will be responded to, we are now placing your email address onto our blocked list and your ip address, as you are no longer eligible to purchase from us, or access our website.

We have extensive following both here and in New Zealand and it would be a shame to have to write about this unfortunate experience with your business.

Regards

Marie Farr

I want to cry.  Not only have they accused ME of stealing – they are threatening me. What on earth has gotten into people that we can’t have a polite conversation and sort this out like adults?  I have phoned this afternoon to try and talk about it like adults but Marie told me she didn’t want to talk to me and to please not contact FF again. I am so upset I am shaking.

I did say thank you (see above email evidence) for the offer to replace. I did not receive the first parcel (which since it was signature only they would be able to verify this). I did not receive any notification that there was a second parcel – let alone that it had been sent.

I just don’t know what to do now.  I have not received any info on the second parcel that Marie now tells me is coming so how can I believe that it really has been sent considering the nature of FF’s most recent communications? I can’t even contact them now to ascertain this info.  They have even taken the ridiculous step of excluding my IP address from ordering from them – heavens above.  What on earth would possess me to make a future order from them considering the above???

Anyone out there got any advice for me?

UPDATE 26th July 2011: I had truncated my post earlier today as Jason from FF personally phoned me last night to apologise for the miscommunication to date.  They have been dealing with significant personal issues within the family and admit that whilst this does not negate the matter it goes some way to explaining how things got to be as they are. Jason assured me there was a second parcel on its way.

However, today things have changed – again.

UPDATE 27th July 2011: I received my second parcel from FF today and I sent an email to Jason to say thank you.

Hi Jason,

The second parcel you sent has arrived. Thank you.  Could you please let me know if you will be resending the 1.5m continuous cut of MM Pears Fiesta?

Kind regards,

Of course I expected him to say he would be but instead I got this response:

Hi Vicki

Unfortunately we did not have a photo of the bundle when your second order was sent.  Shona did state that she thought the bundle contained 4 patterned and one plain fabric and this information was sent to you and you seemed to understand this from the emails we received.

If you do not wish to keep the plain and the 50cm piece you received you are welcome to return this for a full refund of what was paid for these pieces.

Our return postal address is

Funky Fabrix

PO Box 249

Grange, Qld, 4051

Regards

Jason

OK – so let me get this straight. FF f**ked up, but I should PAY to return the fabric I DIDN’T order so I can get a refund on items that I DID order but FF NEVER SENT?

My response to that was:

Hi Jason

Irrespective of the fact that no photo was provided, I provided written confirmation of the contents of the bundle. It is unfortunate that Shona acted on her recollection and not mine.  At no point did I accept that any of the fabrics in the bundle were unpatterned (please review all communications to verify this). Shona said there were 4 fruit – there were 4 MM fruit, Shona said there was 1 plain – there was 1 sanctuary citrus scrub (which does not show up when I search your website keywords for ’fruit’ so I took that to be what Shona meant by ‘plain’. Either way I listed time and again the contents of the Tingle Bundle and made it more than clear when I placed my additional order for the extra 0.5m lengths what I was expecting.

I will happily return the 1m yellow and the 0.5m pears in exchange for the 1.5m MM pears continuous cut. Please send out the correct fabric with a return satchel and I will pop the incorrect items in the post.

Kind regards,

I am sick to death of this. What is so difficult about getting things right and when things DO go wrong PUTTING THEM RIGHT AGAIN?

UPDATE: 27th July 8.10pm

Hello Vicki

We will send the pear fabric to you tomorrow.  Could you please let us know which Metro Market Pears colour you were missing, if you have a photo that would help.  Obviously communications have been muddled along the way, as we thought we were sending what you had actually ordered.  We sent your new order in good faith and sent what we thought was correct.

Unfortunately we cannot send a return satchel, as we do not have access to NZ satchels only Australia Post satchels which cannot be sent from NZ.  Please feel free to keep the incorrect fabric.

Regards

Jason

Hallelujah!

Jason further emailed at 8.30pm:

Thanks for the photo, we will send out the correct fabric tomorrow, as mentioned, please keep the incorrect fabric.

Sorry for inconvenience caused regarding this entire order.  As I mentioned last night, this should have been handled better by our staff in our absence.

We are small business run by ourselves and one staff member.  This is our sole income source to support our family and as such we rely on customer loyalty.

Although you have had a poor experience in this case, we hope this is now resolved and we hope that in the future we will be able to serve you much better.  We will be certainly be making changes so instances like this will not occur in the future.

We have made immediate changes in our staffing and will be making changes in the process of handling enquiries.

Regards

Jason

THE END

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27 thoughts on “Convince and Convert

  1. Hey love i think this is disgusting! from all ive read from above you have been nothing but honest and that they have mucked you around i would seek some legal advise as you have paid for these items you have all the proof you need above so that makes it a binding contract also. Put them to shame and treat them the way they have treated you they where rude and it was totally uncalled for . You even tryed to call them to talk it out personally that just proves who more grown up here and who shouldnt run a business

    Like

  2. This is the first time I’ve seen your blog. I have now unliked Funky Fabrix on Facebook and will be sure not to do business with them in the future. I just sold my boutique, and had Funky Fabrix listed as a contact for the new owner — I am going to be sure to show her this post so she can decide whether or not to do business with them. This is beyond ridiculous and even though I don’t know you, I am mad for you!! How ridiculous that they think they can talk to customers that way! And that Marie???? She needs to be fired, whoever she is. Geez!!

    Are these the owners of the company? If not, go above their head. If they are, file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau… or post about it on Facebook.. Twitter… something to get the word out. Don’t slander them, just send people to THIS post stating the cold hard facts.

    Those jerks will fix it or they will lose business. It’s simple.

    Like

  3. Have shared this link on my own page and call on others to spread the word as well! No matter how much they may not like the flack from this it doesn’t make it slander when it’s true! Let’s all show them what blacklisting is really all about, NZ style!!!

    Like

    • I am doing that now. They need all the info I have just put in this post. That makes it a little less work, just a copy and paste exercise. The CC company says that it may take up to a year to settle the dispute though.

      Like

  4. Good on you Vicki to post it and let all other know, I will post it on my page as well as soon as I finish this comment – it makes me so angry to read their email, you are far too nice to them, WT…H in their mind to call people ‘theft??? I feel more than angry till I read to the last email they sent you! I would think just forget about the items you bought from them before the last email, learn the lesson and never go back to do business with them. However, I wouldn’t end it until the last email turn up! Please ask them to provide the reference or a piece of paper that show the items were ‘DELIVERED’! If they can’t, tell her to take all the words back otherwise it’s SLANDER I will throw back to her! Can’t believe there’re such nasty people over there…they don’t like you email them then you should keep email until an ‘sorry’ back to you!

    Like

    • Hi – I did send one final email. Details below:

      Hi Marie,

      I am appalled by your response. I expected a professional response to what, to date, has been an adult and professional conversation from myself.

      I sincerely regret that this issue has come to the current state.

      I am most upset and cannot accurately express in simple terms how aggrieved I am. I have done so on my personal blog and you are welcome to read it. You will find an accurate account of events including all email correspondence between FF and myself, verbatim, for your review.

      I am not in any way threatening you. I am simply a customer that placed an order. It did not turn up. FF offered to replace or refund (contingent on Aus Post findings) and I agreed to a replacement PLUS I placed a further order. This turned up incomplete. I contacted FF to ascertain whether the order was sent in more than one lot and I received a ”we will not corresponded with you anymore” response (I summarised this in my own words). To my knowledge no second parcel was sent, no tracking number has been provided.

      I phoned you this afternoon to speak about it like adults but you simply said you didn’t want to talk to me and for me to not contact FF again. This response is unacceptable.

      I am left with no options other than to tell my story and I welcome you to tell yours.

      P.S Please provide evidence of the initial parcel that was sent, the confirmation of receipt (this will have a signature on it since you said that it was sent signature only and Aus Post have now deemed it delivered). This will confirm that I did NOT receive it. Please provide the tracking details of the second parcel that you informed me today via email that was sent.

      Kind regards,

      Like

  5. I am going to spread it too. We could take this viral. I had someone accuse me of slander recently and threaten me with legal action but they didn’t have a leg to stand on because I was only telling the truth. It did still hurt however and upset me.

    You poor thing! They have no right to treat you this way. I just want to give you a great big hug!

    I recon you still get that payment stopped with your credit card company. I bet the so called parcel wont turn up and now that they have blocked you they can’t contact you either.

    Keep ya chin up!

    Like

  6. I’m sorry they treated you like that. I run a FB fabric business and hate hearing things like this as it gives us all a bad name! Hope you get an apology SOON! xx Lara

    Like

  7. After working in retail for years and undergoing customer training from a range of specialty companies I am disgusted by the treatment you have received and I do not blame you for becoming a disgruntled customer. As you previously pointed out there should be a signature on record if the parcel had been received and the company should be chasing this up. You may have agreed to non insured postage but this agreement was made void when a new agreement was reached with Shona. Obviously this is a problem that was simply passed on within the company as no-one wanted to “deal” with it. I don’t know if it would be worth pursuing this with the ACCC http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/tag/ForBusinesses/
    or the NZ equivalent if you have no joy with the said company, australia post or your credit card company. I am no legal expert but I think you have a great case. Best of luck. PS I don’t think having a rant is unprofessional, just
    therapeutic.

    Like

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