Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A (quilting) consumer gripe

I am afraid this consumer story relates to a quilt shop. Strangely whilst I am quite happy to name and shame MP3 stores I shy away from doing so to a fellow quilter but I would be grateful to know if you agree that this is really bad service.

The background is that I have made three mail orders with this one UK shop all of which have taken a long time to arrive. On one day I bought charm packs from them and from a shop in Texas one immediately after the other and the UK order arrived 4 days after the ones from the States! Not impressed.

The current beef is that my husband splashed out on a rather expensive (to him - we quilters would easily justify it!) kit for a king sized Kaffee Fassett quilt from this shop. When I opened it and eagerly started to make it just after we returned from our Christmas travels I realised one piece of fabric was missing and of course it wasn't the binding but one right from the middle of the quilt. Dennis was really disappointed as was I.

He contacted them only to be told that they didn't have the fabric and hadn't at the time they sent the kit and that the best they can say is that it should be on a boat which docks sometime towards the end of Januray but they can't guarantee a date. I then emailed and pointed out (with lawyer hat on) that the website says that the kit 'contains all you need to make this quilt' and that they should not have sold it if it was incomplete or at the best rung to ask if it was Ok or if he wanted to choose a complete one - especially as it was being sold around christmas time. ( I refrained from actually using the term' breach of express term of the contact' but that was the gist!) I pointed out that many other shops - like the one in Texas have a feature on their webiste asking you what to do if the order is not available straight away.

Their reply was, and I quote,
"In September the manufacturer, Rowan, for economic reasons switched deliveries so that fabrics now come by ship from the States. Fabric that we anticipated receiving at the end of October finally arrived in mid December. Some fabrics that were not on that shipment have now been out of stock for over three months and we hope(!) will be on an end of January delivery. Therefore the best answer I give for you (although unsatisfactory) is that your fabric is on backorder and that a ship should dock sometime before the end of the month. If we had known at the outset that this would be the case we would have removed affected fabrics from the website. Unfortunately we are in a situation where Rowan has adopted a wholly inadequate stock policy for the Kaffe Fassett fabrics, one of our most popular fabric lines. We have already made representations to Rowan and we are currently looking at how we can reflect the stock situation as accurately as possible on the website. "

Peronally I don't think that answers the question as they clearly knew when they sent the kit that the material was not there yet did not phone us, or even put an explanation or expected delivery date in the package.

After a day or two steaming and having told them that I was not renewing my membership in their discount club which expires on 19 Jan, and that I would stick with other UK mail order services I had found more reliable, ( I can recommend The Tabbycat for example) I realised that I needed to order backing for the quilt which is not in the kit and we decided to stick with the original and get the recommended Kaffee Fassett fabric. Guess which was the only UK shop I could find who stocked the right one..... yup!

I swallowed my pride, hoped they wouldn't remember my name from the email and rang to check that the fabric showing on the website was actually in the shop. Three times. They never answered the phone.

I bought it from the States.

I am all for supporting local shops (and I spent a fortune everytime I go to Just Sew in Penrith or Country Threads and Midsomer Quilting when we are down in Bath) but I do expect a certain level of service back. Do you agree or I am just a grumpy old woman?


Sue B said...

Oh I would be just as unhappy with this situation. Sounds like they didn't realize the kit was incomplete until they got several calls from people just like you. I wonder if a call directly to Rowan wouldn't be in order.

Brenda said...

Sending out an incomplete kit is just plain wrong. I don't blame you for being disappointed and cranky. Now that it has happened, is there anything in the shop's control that would fix the situation from your point of view?