Shipping And Fulfillment Lessons Learned- Part 2
Just recently another disturbing incident occurred. A customer ordered an item but I received an email that the item was out of stock and could not be shipped. This was impossible as there were 41 pieces in stock of the item. Apparently, something happened at the warehouse and my goods mysteriously disappeared! According to shipwire, since I had not taken out added insurance coverage “there are no options for reimbursement on this inventory”. This complete lack of accountability and responsibility is totally unacceptable. I can not begin to describe how completely irresponsible and potentially criminal shipwire’s dismissive attitude to possible theft of their customers merchandise is. Do they not realize that we, their customers, are entrusting our business and livelihood to them? Is this the best they can do? Their business model is not a partnership. It is one where is seems that they are trying to take advantage of their customers at every turn and make it as difficult as possible to hold shipwire accountable when they make a mistake.
When I spoke to the head of their customer service department, she said that this is something that never happens. Unfortunately, this is the same excuse I heard regarding the previous incidents that I described. It seems improbable to me that I am just very unlucky and that these problems have never been faced by other shipwire customers. It’s shady business practices like these that motivated me to report shipwire to the Better Business Bureau.
- Contact the company’s customer service center several times before you sign on. This is a good way of seeing how they deal with their customers and any problems that should arise. If you are not happy with their response, don’t expect it to get any better if you do decide to contract their services
- Ask how they deal with problems and what systems are in place to lodge a complaint.
- Ask how they deal with theft or damage and how much more of an extra charge it will be to add inventory insurance.
- Start by only shipping a portion of your goods to a fulfillment center. This way you can test them out for a few months and see how they operate and if you trust them with your entire inventory.
- Once you ship your goods to their warehouse, it is usually very costly and almost prohibitive to remove them. Find out what these charges are and what the logistics will be to remove your inventory from their warehouse.
- If possible, choose a facility that is near to where you live so you can visit the warehouse and develop a relationship with the people who will be handling your account. This way you can check out the facility that will house your goods and they will know that you are able to discuss any issues in person.
- Consult with your attorney to see if there is any legal recourse, especially if there is any real amount of money that is involved.