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Customer Service Matters



I make the majority of my props and sew all of my costumes. Sometimes a friend will give me something for a costume, and occasionally if I see a really good deal I will buy something that I either didn’t have the time or facilities/equipment to build. There are a lot of talented prop makers out there and what sets the best apart from the remainder is good customer service.

Last week on the same day I bought 2 different things from two different craftsmen. They were both pre-made, ready to ship items. Both men agreed to ship as soon as payment was recieved, and to mail the packages with tracking and insurance, and to provide me with the tracking number immediately after shipping. I sent payment. I waited 2 full business days. I sent each man the exact same message.
"Hello! I sent the payment as discussed. May I have the tracking number please?"
The first man answered and said that he’d sent the package immediately upon receiving payment and mailed it priority so it should have arrived by now. He promised to get the tracking number as soon as he could (he was at work and it was at home.).

The second one snapped at me, claimed that he hadn’t spent the money yet and that the payment had only been received a few days ago. He said he would send it today.

I never accused him of anything. It’s not relevant whether he spent the money or not. I just wanted the tracking number as discussed. and also the agreement was that the package would be shipped when payment was received. but I’m not about to get into an argument over it so I ignored his rudeness. He then said he would give me the tracking number when he shipped it. There has been no contact since.

The first seller got back to me and explained that my package had slipped between the seats in his car and as he had been mailing several things that day he did not realize what had happened until checking his USPS receipt and not seeing my address on it. He promised to deliver it immediately and include an extra gift as an apololgy.

The gift is unnecessary but very kind. The fact that he maintained a polite tone throughout the transaction is what sets him apart, as well as the fact that he realized he promised to ship immediately and did not due to unfortunate circumstances, and apologized for it. I will recommend him to anyone and tag him in all photos using his props.

I hesitate to tag the other seller. I don’t like to recommend people who have poor customer service no matter how good the product is. There are kinder people who provide the same service. I have yet to receive the product or tracking info. So when this costume debuts I may name the seller but I will provide no links and if anyone asks me about him I will be entirely honest. Customer service is just as important as the product to me.

Update: The situation with the second seller has been resolved. These are my issues with the transaction and why I will not be even referring to this person by name, ever

1. Agreed to ship the item immediately upon receiving payment and agreed to provide tracking information. Did not ship item until I had asked him to on two separate occasions, until 5 full business days after I had paid. Never provided tracking information. Was rude and confrontational when contacted.

2. When package arrived I opened it and the fabric REEKED of cigarette smoke, had small gray spots all over it and was covered in ants. I took photos. I tried anyway. I have an extreme aversion to insects and cannot truly express my horror at this moment.

Lesson learned from this:

1. When sellers insist on a method of payment that makes refunds impossible, there is usually a reason. I am never using anything but Paypal again

2. When stuck with an unsatisfactory item, your choices are limited. I could name and shame this seller (if anyone private messages me I will give his info) but I’m not posting his info publicly. He is relatively unknown and has no store. Nope, if by some miracle hot water, detergent and the Lord can make this disgusting pile of fabric into something I can use for a wearable costume, and people ask me where I got it, I will link to this post. In photos of this costume I will credit this post. I will never send any business this person’s way. I am so done.

UPDATE: I contacted the seller of the second item on May 27th. I explained why I was unhappy with the purchase. As always I tried to be polite, diplomatic and fair. I gave him 3 options. 1. A full refund and if he wanted the item back he would pay return shipping. 2. A partial refund for half the price I paid, and I would keep the item 3. No refund at all, and I would simply eat the cost and review the transaction accordingly. He chose option 2, and agreed to refund me half of what I paid.

The next 12 weeks basically consists of me asking for the refund, and him telling me over and over that he would send it, making excuses and giving reasons, occasionally saying that today was the day, or tomorrow, or next week. Finally in July I said that I would need to review the transaction for my blog so if he wanted the review to end with ‘despite the unfortunate beginning, the seller did eventually refund me for half of the costume so he’s not all bad’ he would need to refund me by August 1st. THEN he began to get defensive and demanded to know why I needed to review anything. And wanted to know if I intended to wear the costume. At that moment the answer would be no, it still doesn’t look right and is not wearable in its present state. But if he wanted me to not wear the costume, he should have agreed to a full refund and return, not a partial refund and keep, which is basically agreeing that the costume was NOT sent in 100% good condition, and that the value of it had decreased enough to justify a discount. So if I WAS able to make the costume wearable despite the horrific condition it was sent in, in my opinion that does not invalidate the need for a discount.

At any rate, finally today, August 13th, I received my partial refund. I still don’t know if I can ever fix up this costume, but in your opinion, does getting the partial refund (months later after a ridiculous amount of messaging and reminding) make this seller one you would recommend? And do you think a partial refund means that I forfeit the right to wear a costume that I paid for?




So yeah it’s not like I didn’t have enough costumes for this con or anything (original plan was 3, somehow wound up bringing 6-7 depending on if you count a swimsuit version as a costume or not, ymmv) but my friend had an idea too awesome to be ignored and…

How do you all even take the time to even change into all those costumes? I’m a newbie so, the most I take is two: one for Friday and another for Saturday, but 14? Like, would you wear one a couple of hours and then change into another?

DragonCon for me starts on Tuesday or Wednesday, ends on Monday and its pretty much a 24 hour con once it gets going. I’ve been going for years so I have a lot of friends there in many different fandoms. We plan structured photo shoots with a character designated to each person. I have a spreadsheet to make sure none of the shoots I’m in overlap,and I just wear the costume I planned to wear for the designated amount of time until its time to wear something else. When you start on a Tuesday and end on a Monday, at a con that has something going on almost 24 hours a day, you have a lot more time to cosplay than you would at a typical 3 day con. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. Or maybe I’m in too deep to see the crazy. Lol

So yeah it’s not like I didn’t have enough costumes for this con or anything (original plan was 3, somehow wound up bringing 6-7 depending on if you count a swimsuit version as a costume or not, ymmv) but my friend had an idea too awesome to be ignored and also it is free so I can’t really say no…so yeah 8 costumes to a 3 day con, I think this is a personal record

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