|Fri Apr 16 2010 15:02:40|
An Expensive Lesson in Dropshipping
By: Ina Steiner
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!