Merchant Beware, A Cautionary Tale Part 1
When I first signed up with shipwire.com I was excited at the prospect of having a partner to help me with the fulfillment services for my startup clothing business. I researched their website and watched all of their video tutorials months before my goods were scheduled to arrive from Pakistan. The first red flag was when I tried to speak to a sales representative to make sure that all was in order before my goods arrived. They informed me that no one was available to speak with me for two weeks! This was in late December and no one in sales could get back to me until January 7th.
Shipwire has a very detailed system that all vendors must adhere to in order for their goods to be processed correctly by shipwire. If you fail to do what they require they will charge you a "Special Project" fee to make sure your delivery is compliant with their requirements. As I did not want to be charged this extra fee, I made every effort to comply with their instructions and contacted their customer service center many times before my goods arrived just to make sure that all was in order. I even asked for a dedicated sales rep several times since I was delivering a full container of goods and thought this deserved more scrutiny. I was never assigned a dedicated salesperson to handle my order and every time I called or emailed I had to explain my shipment details to a different person. All seemed to be in order until the day my goods arrived at their warehouse on April 6th.
According to shipwire, a portion of my goods had not been labeled correctly so a “Special Project” had to be done to properly count and label the goods that had arrived. I was never given a price for how much this would be, even though I asked several times, until after they had completed their “Special Project”. Several weeks later, I was handed a $1,300 bill which I had to pay in order for them to process my orders. Would anyone ever agree to such a thing without knowing what the final cost would be? It seems that shipwire believes that they alone can decide what they will charge you and you just have to agree to anything they say. All told, I took shipwire more than four weeks to process my inventory from the day it arrived at their warehouse.
Shipwire- Customer Service Not Good
To make matters worse, they mishandled my first order that was made in late April. It took five weeks for them to deliver a package because there was a problem with the shipping label. The package was returned to the LA warehouse and shipwire charged me for restocking back the goods. They eventually reversed the shipping and restocking charges, but only after I had spoken with many people and explained the situation. Instead of helping and alleviating my shipping needs they were actually making things worse and making it very difficult for these issues to be resolved by their lack of communication.
This is one of the most consistent problems at shipwire. Their customer service is so poor and indifferent that at times I wonder how a company such as shipwire can stay in business. There is no sense of urgency on their part to resolve outstanding issues and there is no coordination between their sales reps and the managers at the Bloomington warehouse. The impression I get is that their main goal is to make sure that they get paid for the basic services they offer and they seem completely unconcerned with the needs of their customers.
Next week, Part 2: Lessons Learned