Wednesday, 14 January 2009

I need your help!

This is what's happened & I would REALLY appreciate it if you could give me some feedback on this situation.
Last week I ordered some goods online from a local (South African) online Scrapbooking supplier. I received my goods on time, as always. I always select the cheapest postal option, which is normal post, & have never had a problem with it in the year that I have been indulging in my bit of online retail therapy...The postal address I use is my husband's work address, as we are in a rented house & I thought it would be simpler than using our home address, which may change in future. The company my husband works for uses a collection company (they go & collect the post every day from the company box number & deliver it to their physical address). On Monday afternoon the receptionist placed a couple of A3 manilla envelopes on the corner of my husband's desk. He picked them up by the edge, together with his briefcase, & brought them home to me. Needless to say, I was overcome with excitement & grabbed the scissors & started attacking the plastic wrapping tape used to connect the 2 envelopes together.

As I handled the parcel I noted that the underside felt slightly damp & asked dh if he had noticed this. Distracted by his own issues, he answered "no, I just grabbed it on my way out & put it on the backseat of my car." I opened the top envelope first & was delighted with my goodies, all of which were in perfect condition. There was a lovely Making Memories faux leather album in chocolate brown, all ready for my "album in a year" project for 2009, plus 20 Making Memories plastic refills, some assorted ribbon on a card, covered in cellophane (ribbon freak that I am!), some Tombo glue (who can live without it?) & some Royal Coat Dimensional Magic (glaze). I noticed that the lower envelope had little black & white spots speckled around the back, between the strips of plastic tape & thought "oh dear...that looks suspiciously like mould & mildew"...

By now I had a sinking feeling in my stomach so imagine my disappointment when I opened the bottom envelope to discover that all my paper was wet, despite being "braced" between 2 sheets of cardboard-box type cardboard (obviously to avoid it getting bent) - a great idea - but what I saw was lacking was that the parcel had not been waterproofed ( & it has been raining ALOT here in Durban, where I live) & in Johannesburg (from where my parcel was sent). I know this first hand as we have just returned from a holiday there. Whilst all my other goodies were wrapped in cellophane, by the original manufacturers, obviously the paper was not, as it comes in single sheets as you all know. I was most surprised that the store in question had not had the foresight to slip the paper into a plastic bag. I cut open the padded envelope to see what the filling was & was again surprised to discover that it was a weird mish-mash of paper off-cuts, perfect for absorbing moisture (of which there is plenty during the Durban summer, with or without rain, as we experience high humidity here, particularly between December & March), ie RIGHT NOW!!!

I receive parcels regularly in the post as I often shop online to save money, as obviously the prices are more competitive than retail (where shop owners need to pay higher rentals for their gorgeous premises). Normally the envelopes used are white padded ones with bubblewrap between the outer & inner layers. I've never given them much thought before & simply added them to my ever-growing collection in a kitchen cupboard! Now I get it, nada! They're waterproof! Good some, but, sadly, not all! Before getting into a state about it I decided to lay the 10 sheets of printed paper out on the dining room paper for several hours, to see if their appearance would improve upon drying. Sure enough, 4 out of 10 sheets recovered just fine (probably because they had diecut designs punched out all-over at random (approx 1") intervals). Obviously this relieved the pressure experienced by the paper from the water it had absorbed. Sadly the other 6 solid sheets were buckled & wavy & can't be used by any self-respecting scrapper.

Altogether I had ordered R674 (AUS$112/45pounds/US$67) worth of goods & was very sad that some of it had been ruined. Ever the optimist, I decided to look on the bright side, after all only a small portion of my order had been damaged, R66 in total (AUS$11/4pounds/US$7) - less than 10% of the value of my order. After discussing the sorry state of affairs with my husband I established that he was not prepared to return said papers & mouldy envelope to the Post Office in Westmead, where there is little chance of anyone being interested in our predicament (this being Africa, need I say more?) His thinking was that the goods had not been received in perfect condition & that the onus was on the sender, not the receiver, to ensure that the customer received the goods in good order, or, at the very least, to ensure that they had done everything possible to TRY to ensure this - ie: by using waterproof envelopes or waterproofing them by packing the paper in a sealed down plastic bag before putting them in. He tells me that this kind of thing happens regularly when the company he works for sends the textiles they produce to manufacturers via transporters. In the event of any type of damage he tells me that the onus is on his company to take this up with the transporters directly & ensure that the customers are happy by resending any damaged lengths, free of charge of course.

Without any doubt regarding the outcome I e mailed the store in question that very evening & awaited their response. What do you suspect it was? This is the question!!! Please help me by sending in your comments ANYONE who reads this, whether or not you are a scrapbooker, as I really need some outside opinions on this one, & the principle is the same, no matter what type of goods are in question. I would like to resolve this matter within 48 hours so would appreciate it if all comments could be in by then.
Many Thanks, Your faithful Blogfriend, Helen ;-)


Sophia said...

They said it was your problem, knowing the service in this country...nothing unusual.

andrea robertson said...

Let me guess, they said there was nothing they could do and it wasn't their fault - that has always been my problem with business today, they have forgotten about is all about money.

In my opinion bollocks to that - at Scrapkits Tracy and I always waterproofed our kits and tried to ensure that they arrived with the customer in perfect condition....on the two occassions where this didn't happen once when a tub of paint opened in transit and once when a bag was burst by the post office the customer received the new product with no questions asked and they sent the damaged stuff back to us.

I would get really stroppy and insist!!!!

Hope you get it resolved

topkatnz said...

In NZ, if goods are damaged when posted via NZ post, they will cover the cost of goods and postage costs ... the recipient just has to file a claim. However, water-damageable goods should be water-proofed by the sender; and if I received goods that I feel were damaged by their negligence - I would alert them in the first instance expecting replacement or refund. This also would help them to be aware, and avoid future issues. If this doesn't happen I would not deal with that company again ... it's never a bargain, if it is unuseable! even if they do offer to refund, I might think twice about buying from them again ...?
As for salvage ... could you iron the paper? and just settle with a slightly distressed look ...
Good luck ..
BTW ... have you posted pictures of any of your scrapping on your blog?...

topkatnz said...

Ok ignore that question ... of course you have ... duh!!