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EcommerceBytes Letters to the Editor Letters to the Editor
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Fri Apr 16 2010 15:02:40

An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping

By: Ina Steiner
Sponsored Link
To the Editor:
I thought I would write to you about an expensive lesson I've had in sourcing drop ship services.

At the end of February, my usual dropshipper gave 1 weeks notice that they were pulling out of dropshipping and concentrating on wholesale supplies instead. As I relied solely on them I had few options. Either I shut up shop or found someone else. It had taken me 9 months to get established and start bringing in regular sales, I now faced the prospect of starting afresh or going out of business.

I did some searching and found several potential dropshipper, the one with the most potential being www.dropshipdesign .com. Previously I had steered clear of fee paying drop shippers but this one looked genuine and shipped in both the UK and USA. I joined, and paid a fee of 49.99 pounds for access to products, prices etc. It was only then that I began to realise I may have made a mistake.

Their UK site is called www.dropshopfeed.co.uk.

1st of all it appeared that shipping costs were not combined for multiple items - so I emailed. I was told that combined shipping costs were up to each warehouse and I would have to contact each one to find out if they combined. Obviously this would create problems, the main one being that it would be near impossible to calculate shipping estimates for customers until they had made their purchases and only when I made the order would I find out the shipping costs. There was crucially no mention of any of this on the website except for the following: 6. How do I know how much to charge for shipping? The detail page of each product will show you the shipping price so you will know how much to charge your customers ahead of time. Not quite so accurate as it only showed the shipping & handling for one item.

Separate warehouses - which were different companies - with different shipping policies. A recipe for confusion.

I messaged Dropshipfeed and said they should be more open on their site before paying a fee to join and pointed out that 1) The different warehouses had different shipping policies, 2) Combined shipping costs were not always available and were the decision of each warehouse. 3) Shipping costs could not be calculated accurately without contacting each warehouse.

I asked for them to cancel my account and refund me because their business model wasn't suitable and had they been more open about these issues without having to sign up and pay a fee first, then I would not have signed up.
 
They agreed subject to a cancellation fee - which I contested. I told them I would refer it to a PayPal dispute - they said go ahead. I didn't realise that PayPal disputes didn't cover Services. They must have and knowing this let me proceed without at least warning me that PayPal didn't intervene in disputes over service fees. They made their offer of 40 pounds refund which I rejected and requested a full refund on account that their website was misleading and failed to give all appropriate information before signing up. PayPal replied it had nothing to do with them so out of options I wrote back reluctantly accepting their offer of 40 pounds. They told me to refer to PayPals decision. I responded saying it was nothing to do with PayPal and could I have my refund please.

That was on 8 March - I have heard nothing since. My customer support ticket has been pending ever since.

I send a new ticket on 30 March asking them to respond to the 1st one which got no response and is still pending....

I send a 3rd ticket on 10 April (it's impossible to send an additional message on pending tickets) and surprise surprise, no response and Pending.

They say they answer all messages within 1/2 business days.
 
I don't hold out much hope of a response any time soon, I may have to bombard them with ticket requests before getting a response though I doubt it will be a positive one.

I hope your readers will learn from this without making similar expensive mistake of their own. Don't part with any money until you have all the facts!
Thanks,
Craig



Comments (15) | Permalink
Readers Comments

An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping   An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping
by: Boo Hoo Hoo
       
Fri Apr 16 15:26:08 2010
So what is your problem? You don't have your own products to sell, you hire an outsource droopshipper IN THE UK blindly, you fraudently requested a refund for a "service", You didn't ask question before you buy, you want a discount so you can make a few cents extra, you were offered a partial refund when you deserve none. And now you complain? You must be joking.

I bet you list on ebay, too.
An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping   An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping
by: I agree with Boo Hoo Hoo
       
Fri Apr 16 15:33:37 2010
I agree with commenter Boo Hoo Hoo 100%.

Letters like this are just from self-righteour temper tantrum throwing children.
An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping   An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping
by: fat frog
       
Fri Apr 16 16:51:32 2010
I wonder how hard the waving red flag hit him in the head. Just something about people that do stuff like this and think that they have been jerked around. RED FLAGS ARE A WARNING. HEED EM
An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping   An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping
by: AlG This user has validated their user name.
       
Fri Apr 16 16:58:56 2010
Wow! The respondents are a little sharp today. Not using a dropshipping service, I found it enlightening.

Usually, comments are of a little higher quality than taking advantage of someone else's misfortune.
An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping   An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping
by: Doris Knight
       
Sat Apr 17 08:26:39 2010
Hi Craig! --- I'm sorry this happened to you, it's a difficult lesson to learn. I'm also sorry to read the unsympathetic and taunting comments that others have left here...you don't deserve their scorn (or delight) either.

Based on your descriptions, I think it would have raised red-flags with me and under normal circumstances, I probably would have moved on to other sources. But for you, the situation wasn't ''normal'' and you were dealing with a situation that required fast action to replace the dropship partner that you were losing. I suspect that your eagerness and sense of urgency to get a new source lined up made it easy to overlook the subtle warning signs.

It was an expensive lesson to learn, but I'm glad that you shared your experience here...maybe it will help others.

Try to ignore those who taunt at your misfortune and mistake. Good luck and much success to you in the future.

~ Doris
An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping   An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping
by: messin around
       
Sat Apr 17 09:18:27 2010
When someone is running a business and red flags are dancing all around them, they will soon find themselves in being on the losing end of a deal. I'm not so sure anyone is taunting him. The red flags were there and he chose to ignore them. Hence he loses.
An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping   An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping
by: Doris Knight
       
Sat Apr 17 10:03:42 2010
It seems that losing one's primary (only?) dropship supplier would be a cause for slight panic and a sense of urgency to find a replacement.

Yes, Craig did make a mistake that could have been avoided, but it's entirely understandable. I agree, it was his own fault, but I'm glad that he shared his experience so that others can learn.

The ''boo-hoo-hoo'' comments are indeed *taunting* and ridiculing someone's misfortune. The not-so-subtle implication that Craig somehow ''deserved'' what he got because he overlooked (ignored) the warning signs is unnecessary.

Referring to Craig's frustration as a self-righteour [sic] ''temper tantrum'' is little more than a personal attack that serves no purpose other than to belittle and marginalize him. Not helpful at all.

Craig wrote to Ina to share his experiences. Ina thought it was worthy of sharing with us. The sharp-tongued comments directed at him are little more than a way for petty people to express delight in someone else's misfortune.

So he made a mistake and was upset about it. He committed no crime. No skin off the noses of the taunters.

Kicking someone when they're down is truly contemptible. A modicum of decency, support, and encouragement would cost nothing. --- Where's the sense of community and goodwill?
An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping   An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping
by: Think about it
       
Sat Apr 17 14:47:45 2010
Tough to be perfect.
An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping   An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping
by: Lisa
       
Sat Apr 17 21:52:21 2010
It's hard to be sympathetic to somebody who resells products they never touch along the way.  You could always do what most people do, shop Walmart sales, list the sale items at regular price plus a percent and have it shipped from WalMart to the customer.  You can calculate shipping right on WM's site and if sales are pretty brisk, you can order enough of the product before the sale is over to cover your listings.  eBay doesn't care who you sell from or if you sell from WalMart's catalog and jack up the price.  

I will say you're a fool for not accepting the $40 pounds offer when it was made, but it sounds like there wasn't a lot of researching in general about the service ahead of signing up. $50 US isn't much for a service like that, if you know what you're getting in to.  I prefer to stick with niche products that I physically obtain and ship myself so I can stand behind the quality and no rely on middlemen and worry about closures, changes, etc.

I know plenty of wholesalers I can buy from using Alibaba or others, and if I want to buy quantity, my price goes down.  Nice pieces, probably good sales. But I'm trying to stay more to my own site now where I prefer to offer HTF and unique stuff.  Dropshipping seems like an accident waiting to happen and one bad seller can muck your whole business model up by not shipping on time, sending wrong items, or not refunding.  Not my cuppa tea.
An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping   An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping
by: m
       
Sat Apr 17 23:12:36 2010
Aha..that is what I figured. Contempt for people who sell via dropshippers - this is nothing new.

There are people who use dropshippers because it is the most feasible option for them. I used to sell using this method; have since moved on to other things.

The nasty comments are so useless. Sometimes I do think we'd all be better off if the internet weren't so anonymous.

Thanks, Craig, for sharing your experience.
An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping   An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping
by: Maggie
       
Mon Apr 19 23:36:52 2010
Thanks for sharing. I used to read ebays answer center just to see what kind of problems other people were having so I could learn and not make them myself.  I appreciate the info.
An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping   An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping
by: Bluto
       
Tue Apr 20 01:03:57 2010
"I bet you list on ebay, too."
Boo Hoo you art a real jerk. Whatever you do would not exist without Ebay and the early sellers there. THAT was the genisis of ecommerce for small operators. You kick that person when they are down. That means attacking this forum. Go back to your bottle and your incredible success...
An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping   An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping
by: On the Fence
       
Tue Apr 20 19:19:31 2010
I can see merit in some of the arguments made on both sides.   Obviously, Craig acted carelessly and as such had no standing to request a refund.  But dropshipping is and always has been an extremely viable option for those of us just getting started, with no money to purchase products in advance.
An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping   An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping
by: Craig
       Web Site
Tue Apr 20 22:34:35 2010
Thanks for the messages of support, especially in response to the first three posters.

I must admit though, I did have a good laugh when i read them and thought that maybe they were from the company I was writing about.

I am now using several dropship companies so I don't have all my eggs in one basket. Sales are coming back faster than I expected.

To those who attack me for using dropshipping and selling on ebay:

1) I have physical items that I store and sell on Ebay from wholesalers. Due to the financial climate of the last couple of years I am unable to expand due to the banks not lending credit.

2) I use dropshipping now because of the above. due to limitations on space and the opportunity to expand I decided the best option would be dropshipping so I could expand without much, if any initial outlay, and find a way of beating the credit crunch.

3) The dropship products are not sold on ebay but my own e-commerce site. I keep the two separate so I don't end up with negatives or low DSR's if for some reason my dropshipper messes up.

4) Fraudulently request a refund, Boo hoo hoo? I respectfully suggest you check the legal definition of fraud. Clearly your knowledge of what constitutes fraud is severely limited.

5) Doris Knight - You are right, i panicked and ignored the red flags, and you are right that I wrote this to warn others, not to complain or have a childish self-rightous temper tantrum as Boo Hoo Hoo's friend suggests.

I've learned from my mistake and have moved on, it has turned out to be fortuitous because it has led me into other avenues I would not have looked into otherwise.

I may have lost money but I consider it a lesson.

Onwards and upwards!
An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping   An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping
by: Harry Endres
       Web Site
Sun Aug 28 10:44:42 2011
Hi, I am not here to badger anyone for making a mistake. But in all this i am searching for a good drop ship company(do not contact me if your a drop ship company) i find all have some way to get you going for free then they suck you in or try to by charging a monthly fee and or will give you many more companies for an upgrade. Now with all this out of the way does anyone have any dealing with a company that does not pull this garbage? You are welcome to email me if you wish and thanks for any answers. Harry harryendres@comcast.net


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