donderdag 28 juni 2012

Buying from the internet

I've been buying from the net for over a decade. At first it were only books, after that it were hair toys such as sticks or clips, and the last few years I also bought yarn and other craft supplies such as crochet hooks.

It's fast, and sometimes it is even cheaper. The amount brands or products to choose from are much greater than in the store. And since I got kid(s) it is way more convenient to buy from the net then try to locate a store that has the products I want.

Mostly I buy from independent shops in the Netherlands if I need some yarn, but otherwise I either go to Etsy or Ebay.

There are a few things to keep in mind when you are buying on the internet.

Find out if the shop you are buying from has good reviews or has a seal of approval. It really helps decide wether or not transactions can go wrong. On Ebay and on Etsy every seller gets feedback. Read it.

Pay safe. At first you only could pay with bank transactions, but nowadays you can link your bank account or your creditcard to your Paypal account and safely pay for your order. Sellers cannot see your personal information, only the account you made in Paypal.

Communicate. If you have specific questions just ask the seller. Important topics can be custom orders, products that are not listed but seem to be sold (such as crochet hook sizes, some sizes are quickly sold out and for me it is sometimes important to know when they will be listed again), combined shipping, shipping costs etc. On Etsy you can send sellers convos and on Ebay it is really important to check shipping costs if you are abroad and if the seller offers combined shipping. Sellers will not always list these things.

I've had three transactions gone wrong in the decade that I am a buyer on the net.
Once I made an order for a wooden book on Ebay. It arrived but it was damaged (did not happen during shipping). Had a whole discussion with the seller but she stopped mailing and ignored further inquiry. Sad. She also closed down the shop she had on Ebay during that period and started a new one on Etsy. I think I wasn't the only one with a bad experience unfortunately.

About a year ago I ordered some stuff from a large "warehouse" on Ebay. And I did not do the thing you really really need to do: check the feedback. I made an order of several items, and asked the seller for a combined invoice regarding shipping. Once you click "buy" on Ebay you are commiting yourself to your bought items, and this seller seemed to never ever combine shipping. Since the products came from the US I was told to pay 13 dollars per item. I filed a complaint with Ebay after I checked the site again and found out that the seller does not list this "rule" and read that other customers complained about the non-existence of combined shipping with this seller. Bummer! Idid not know how to act, but I filed a complaint with Ebay itself and claimed a refund through Paypal. It was so easy to do! Ebay considered my complaint valid and wrote the seller annulling my order. And Paypal organised the refund. I was stressed out at the beginning of this dispute, but it was so nice that the people of these two sites helped me out.

And during the past week I found out that the Etsy seller from whom I had ordered a couple of crochet hooks closed down her shop with no communication at all. I payed a month ago for these hooks. I know shipping can be delayed, so I waited three weeks for the parcel to arrive, but unfortunately nothing arrived. Luckily I knew what to do, so first I opened a dispute at Etsy itself (because I did not know what their policy was) and they directed me to the dispute center at Etsy and advised me to claim a refund through Paypal. Yesterday, I suddenly got a message through Etsy and Paypal that my order had shipped. With apologies and the message that the seller had gone ill and could not ship. After browsing through the feedback notes of this seller it has happened before this year. Some people had to wait four months..... Will I ever buy from this seller. No. Lesson learned!

Hopefully I will be able to show you the hooks next week.Until then, I keep my case open at both Etsy and Paypal (the seller requested a closure of the case) just in case she did not send it or sends a fake package. And otherwise I cannot reclaim my payment at Paypal because of the 45 days period they use for refund.

Fingers crossed.

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