The Idiot’s Guide To Everyday Life


Adventures in Online Shopping

Alternate title: How To Lose a Night’s Sleep Without Really Trying

I love window shopping. Going to the mall or my favorite shops and looking at all of the shiny new things on sale. Touching the soft fabrics of clothes and imagining what I’d look like in them. Seeing my dream home furnished and decked out in all the latest finery. But let’s face it – I’m a single mom with two small children, one of whom has severe ADHD. I rarely leave the house. My window shopping usually happens online.

I fell into the ebay game years ago, buying everything from clothes to a jewelry box to books, cd’s and video games. When it came time to buy my wedding gown, I thought, “Hey, why not save a buck or two that I don’t have?” I saw loads of Chinese seamstresses peddling their wares on the ‘bay and decided to give it a shot. The designer gowns were all really made in China by seamstresses just like them, right? They all had great feedback scores, that should count for something. Wrong.

My first attempt at buying an online wedding gown was a disaster. I sent my measurements to the dressmaker of my choice, along with my payment and waited. Suddenly, three weeks later, my seamstress was booted off of ebay. What now???

Thank Bob for Paypal. Luckily, within my 45 day time limit I could get my money back for undelivered goods. The vendor didn’t even respond to my dispute, so I had my money back in a couple of weeks. No real loss. Still, no dress.

Fast forward about four months. I can hear the wedding countdown clock ticking in my ear. I know how long it takes to get a wedding gown from a real manufacturer. (For those who don’t, it’s 10-12 weeks minimum! THREE MONTHS!!!) I only had six and a half months till the wedding, so in order to have time for alterations, time was of the essence.

I decided to still order online, but to go through an actual store, a boutique. A rather “Boutiqueful” shop, to be exact. I placed my order and felt rather chuffed with myself that I saved $550 by going with a less expensive gown than I’d originally planned, and even saved almost $200 off of the same gown from a local bridal shop. All was well, right?

Four days after I placed my order, I ran across the shop’s facebook page. The last entry apparently made was in July or August, but a former client had left a msg on their wall, “Do not buy from them. They’ll take your money and not give you the dresses!” OMG

Have I just been duped a second time around????

To put it mildly, I was ill. I tried calling the shop, but it was late at night there. I sent emails, and within 10 minutes that derogatory post had been taken off of their page. Still no email response, no call back. I woke up the next morning and  called Paypal to file a preemptive dispute until I could get to the bottom of it. I called when I got to the office, and no answer. Finally, at 9am, I got a call from the shop owner. He did everything he could to reassure me, but I still wasn’t feeling it. I was too skeptical. I asked him if he could send me documentation from Mori Lee (the dress manufacturer) that the order had been placed. He said no problem. He emailed me a print of their online order confirmation. He’d blacked out the confirmation code and customer number with asteriks before sending it to me, but it still showed me the order details.

I wasn’t satisfied. I tracked down a customer service number to Mori Lee myself. I wouldn’t settle for just the information he could email me. Anyone can create a document and email you. I could in ten minutes with my laptop. What the shop owner failed to realize was that when you print something online, the URL of your print is at the bottom of the page. And that particular URL contained the confirmation code he tried to black out. This was rather handy when calling Mori Lee. Within ten minutes I had customer service at Mori Lee verify the order was valid, that the dress was exactly as I had ordered it, the shipping date was exactly as stated in my order confirmation, and that it was placed the same day I placed my order. That’s all it took.

Talk about breathing a sigh of relief!! I can’t remember the last time I felt such a weight lift from my shoulders. I would never have taken shop boy’s word for it, but getting a confirmation from the designer, that was what I needed. I know my order was placed. I know my gown is being made. I know it will arrive when they say it will arrive. I called shop boy back. I didn’t tell him I’d spoken to Mori Lee, I simply told him I’d received his emailed confirmation page and I felt better. I thanked him for his help and told him that with all of the online scams out there, maybe references from past brides wouldn’t be such a bad idea. It would certainly put people like me a little more at ease, and would go a long way toward fostering more business.

In the end, some people kill your trust. Others don’t do much to earn it back. The truth of it is – it’s down to you. Do your due diligence when researching the problem. Make sure you know who you’re buying from. Make sure you use something like Paypal so you know you can get your money back within a certain time frame. And for goodness’ sake – DON’T BUY FROM CHINESE SEAMSTRESSES ON EBAY! LOL

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