Monday, February 8, 2010

A Rose and Thorns

You've probably noticed we are selling our work on both Etsy and Art Fire.  We weren't sure at first which was the best venue to sell from but we are pretty much happy with the way things are for now.  We have decided to keep both venues -- our Etsy shop to sell our handcrafted beads, buttons, tutorials (coming soon) and other supplies.  We prefer to keep these items separate from our jewelry and accessory collection which is sold from our Art Fire Studio .

There has been many ups and downs in the business of buying and selling online.  It takes time to build up contacts as well as a lot of work and patience.  We also spend time looking for just the right supplies and findings we need to finish off our work.   It has been a learning experience from both ends for us.

We first want to present a Rose to Art Fire for the excellent work they have been doing.

Almost a year ago we were considering setting up a website and looking around for the right server.  Then we heard about Art Fire and decided to give them a try.  We managed to get in on the ground floor (at a great price) when not too many things were being offered at the time but we felt it had a lot of potential and a good future.  We are so impressed with all the functions that are available now and it has been a good solution for our website home and an excellent place to sell from.  They still keep adding more features and it is a lot more worry-free and time saving than managing a web page.

I don't like to give out any thorns but this is something we feel we must share -- especially to any fellow Canadians so they will be aware -- The thorns without the rose go to Fed Ex.

We recently placed a large order from a supplier in the U.S.  The order only came to $200 but there were many little items.  We had a choice of shipping -- Regular Post was $39 and Fed Ex was $29.  We couldn't believe that Fed Ex was that much cheaper and yet faster so we decided to try that route this time.  A few days later we received a phone call from Fed Ex saying they needed an additional $80.  They needed the money upfront with a credit card or they would send the package back (in which we would be out our $29 and have to reship again for $39).  We knew we would be paying taxes (GST and  PST), brokerage fee and duty on the items,  but couldn't understand why they were asking for so much ($80??).  They explained they charge a normal processing fee of $10 which was up to 4 items then there was an extra processing fee for each additional item adding up to another $37.50 making that an extra $47.50 plus they charged tax on that again!  The girl on the other end of the phone was very nice and pleasant and checked to see if we had an account with them it would be less.  She came back and said it would still cost the same either way.  I couldn't believe that we were charged an extra $50 extra just for their services of calculating out the tax and duty!  So it seemed we were saving on shipping ($10) but in the end it cost us $40 more for our order.  Our $200 order ended up costing us $300 by the time we received it.

We refuse to use Fed Ex as a shipping option ever again.  We informed the company we bought our supplies from and they were not aware of this type of extra charges from Fed Ex.

I don't like to end this post on a negative note so instead I will leave you with some flowers -- a whole bouquet of some new floral print beads and accessories we have been working on the past few weeks. I will show you soon what I will be doing with the long focal beads in the pile.

Have a great day!


cleobytheseao said...

That must have been a real sickener, what an incredibly underhanded method of charging.
I live in the UK and would love to order from a couple of places in the US but they refuse to state a price for postage upfront so I give them a wide berth.
I hope you can offset some of the costs - 'experiences' of this kind is a hard pill to swallow.

Gera Scott Chandler said...

I have had similar experiences- I once was charged $30 by UPS for a little piece of hotel sized soap someone sent to me- I refused to pay it and told them THEY could have the soap. They eventually dropped the charge but I had to waste a lot of time arguing with them on the phone.

When I order online I always get confirmation that items will be shipped via USPS. NEVER UPS or FED Ex.

For shipping in Canada both companies are great - just avoid borders and brokerage fees!


Gera Scott Chandler said...

OH! I forgot to tell about the time when friends in the USA sent us a silver spoon when my daughter was born. UPS charged us $150 in brokerage fees.


2 Good Claymates said...

Thanks so much for sharing Gera -- Looks like it could've been a lot worse and we were let off easy! Some companies are just out to gouge whenever they can.

Beadcomber said...

g'morning! Yes, you've probably heard the joke that if Fed-ex and UPS ever became one company they'd be "Fed-up". In the past Fed-ex just charged a simple $5 brokerage fee plus taxes and didn't charge for every single item!! That's atrocious of them. I'd give them thorns too! Thanks for spreading the word.

Renate said...

I avoid UPS and FedEx. It's outrageous they charge what they do to do the customs processing on stuff that almost never has any duty owing. Though I have been charged duty by them in the past due to their mis-classifying items into non-exempt categories. I always use USPS

Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor said...

Same thing happened to us with UPS. A company sent us a free sample of a $5 product and UPS charged $50 at the door. Now I have to have things sent to a postal box in the states since many places won't send by USPS. Big pain to deal with the border though. Makes it hard to order things from the USA.

Radically Riley said...

My experience has been the same. I always choose USPS. Brokerage fees are outrageous otherwise. I used to like to order from Thunderbird for silver. The used to give me an option of USPS, but the last time it had to be UPS or Fed Ex. The sale was great, but the brokerage fees ate up all the savings and much more. No more Thunderbird for me. I did, by the way, let Thunderbird know about the outrageous brokerage fees, but they aren't interested in using USPS.

Linda Cardella said...

I absolutely insist that packages from the States are sent USPS and never Fed EX or UPS. If the seller won't ship via USPS, I don't buy. On two occasions UPS charged me $50 for the privilege of having them take my tiny package across the border (with no tax or duties due). Never again.