Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hindsight is 20/20

I have to confess that I’ve been a frequent online shopper, although it’s not like I order something that I don’t need. - and it’s not all bad. In actual fact, buying online has saved me a fair amount of money.
Most products are exactly the same items you can get from local retail shops, just that you can get them at better prices. Besides, you can cancel the order if you change your mind and you will always receive refund if something is wrong with the item. All you have to do is simply returning the item via reply-paid post. Simple.

But, that was until now.
Recently I was looking for something which turned out, is not available in Australia
However, after doing some Google search, I found out that the item is available at the online shopping site called “DinoDirect.” 

I’ve heard the company name before, and the name comes up on “”, “” and other popular websites that help you get a great deal. 

- A well-known company that offers great variety of products at affordable prices, and who also offers free-shipping. The reviews - all good.
Unlike usual, I didn’t ask myself twice “what’s the catch then?”

The day after I placed orders on the site, I went to their discussion forum for the first time.
Oh dear, it was flooded with massive numbers of complaints and pleas. I was shocked but thought – Nah, it shouldn’t be that bad…well, I was wrong. 

In retrospect everything makes sense. The company invests a lot for advertising themselves on the popular websites to make them visible to wide and large population, using Facebook to get more customers.

The problem is, their customer-service is almost non-existent. The customer service officers (if there are one) don’t understand or write English well enough, which makes even my English look better.

Their answers are always in the same format, straight out of the list of prepared answers.
And most probably they're using google translator or some sort to understand customers’ emails and posts on the forum.

I wasn’t really expecting that I was going to be one of their victims.
I paid the insurance for my orders and didn’t pester them to get a quick delivery.
“Well, give them some time and they’ll send me the items eventually.” That’s what I was thinking.

Anyway, after two or so weeks of waiting, a poorly packaged parcel arrived at my door, which contained nothing I wanted but two wrong items. That’s when the nightmare started.
Immediately I sent the company polite emails with photos, relevant documents attached as proof of receiving the incorrect items.

Geez, I didn’t receive any form of answer till I became impatient and started harassing them with numerous posts and emails. They eventually got back to me but the answer was far from what I was expecting. They didn’t even admit to their mistake. 
Initially I asked them to re-send the correct items, but they refused.
Then I asked for refund. They refused.
Then I offerred to return the items via reply-paid post. They asked me to pay the postage.

It was the final straw for me. I stopped being nice and wrote an angry email with heaps of f-words. 
By that time, I thought “No, I am not going to back down. Don’t underestimate me just because I’m Japanese.” 

I sent another email with the same set of photos that clearly show the difference between the ordered items and the wrong ones and requested to check the photos closely before I escalate my Paypal dispute (yes I already have) to Paypal claim.
That’s when I finally received their email saying that they are willing to refund. However they asked me to trust them and close the dispute first. – The thing is, once you called off the dispute, there’s no guarantee that they will keep their words, and you can’t re-open the dispute.

I warn you, there are some companies whose words you can never trust, and DinoDirect is one of them. I don’t know what they will do next, but if they don’t refund within the time limit I will claim my money back through Paypal.

What I learned from the gut-wrenching, stressful, teeth-gritting experience was that I can’t just believe what comes up on popular websites.
My advice. Before you make a purchase through an online shop, do thorough research and check both positive and negative reviews, and acknowledge the potential risk when you place an order.

Simply put, I was gullible.
The safest bet is not buying anything from DinoDirect or any similar drop-shipping companies.

When you live overseas, sometimes you can’t get everything you want, but it’s safer to compromise with what you can get locally than banging your head against a brick wall.

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  1. you are not alone

  2. Thanks Anonymous.

    Maybe it's just me, or my wishful thinking but lately they seem to be getting more cancellation requests than before and also desparately trying to avoid paying refund (other than for cancelled orders.)

    I think they're going downhill already.
    Wait and see how long they will stay in business.

  3. Update:
    I got all my money back this afternoon!
    To those who shop online, make sure you keep all the relevant evidence, include invoices (*at the moment you ordered something, emails both sent and received, keep the items, the photos and copies of the website pages) just in case the shop try to scam you by deleting the evidence, change the amount on your web invoice or website design.

    Do not close a dispute or a claim under any circumstances, as it means the end of your chance getting your money back.

    You know you're right, you know they fucked up.
    You should be able to get your money back.