Online shopping is so easy and convenient that we sometimes forget to check the legitimacy of a shopping site.
Customers of a Southern Illinois-based needlework supplier have been complaining for some time of delayed orders or orders that were never received. When they tried to get their money back, the vendor, Needlework Corner, either didn't respond or promised refunds that never arrived.
Online stores are expected to deliver products within a reasonable time. If delays are expected to be long, the seller should tell customers that so they can cancel an order and get their money back.
You can check out online vendors at the BBB website: http://stlouis.bbb.org/find-business-reviews.
Today's BBB release explains what happened and how you can avoid similar problems:
St. Louis, Mo., July 31, 2012 - Customers of an online needlework and craft supply business from Southern Illinois say they have been frustrated by unfilled orders, poor communication and an inability to obtain refunds from the company, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns.
The BBB suggests caution when dealing with Needlework Corner (www.ineedlework.com) which lists a postal box in Carbondale, Ill., as its address. Heather Moreno owns the business.
Customers from across the nation have filed 26 complaints against the business since May 2010, with 12 filed this year. The business has not responded to several of the complaints. Needlework Corner has an “F” grade with the BBB, the lowest grade possible.
Michelle Corey, BBB president and CEO, said consumers have a right to expect that online businesses fill their orders promptly. “But in those cases when delays are unavoidable, the business has a responsibility to communicate the reasons for the delays and make every effort to satisfy their customers, even if it means refunding their money.”
The BBB sent a letter to Moreno on May 4, noting a pattern of complaints against Needlework Corner. At that time, the BBB asked whether the company intended to respond to the unanswered complaints and how it intended to reduce the number of complaints. The BBB received no response.
Needlework Corner’s website says the business has been offering needlework products since 1997. The business offers a wide variety of craft items, including needlepoint and cross stitch kits, yarn and thread, knitting supplies and quilting materials.
The site asks customers to allow one to four weeks for delivery. But several customers told the BBB it sometimes took months for them to get their orders, if they received them at all.
A man from Fredericksburg, Tex., said he never received any of several crewel sewing kits he ordered from the company in early April, despite sending them multiple emails and leaving several phone messages. Ultimately, he was able to receive a $50 refund by filing a complaint through Paypal. He called the company’s business practices deceptive and said, “I would hope that the state of Illinois would take some type of action against the owners.”
A woman from Pollock Pines, Calif., said she has never received a cross stitch chart she ordered from Needlework Corner in January. “While I certainly understand that companies can have problems with shipping, I can’t understand a company not communicating with a customer.”
A customer from New York said he felt cheated after paying $46 in March for products that were never delivered. “This is among the most blatantly dishonest transactions I have ever experienced,” the customer said. “I’m shocked the website is still up.”
The BBB offers the following tips for consumers buying products online:
- Order from known, reputable businesses and be careful of those businesses you know little or nothing about.
- If you do decide to order from an unfamiliar company, try to make direct contact with a customer service representative by phone or email before ordering. If you can’t get in contact with a real person or you are put on hold for a long period before being able to speak with someone, that could be a sign of problems.
- Pay by credit card whenever possible so that you can challenge the charge with the credit card company in case there is a problem.
- Get a BBB Business Review by going to www.bbb.org or calling 314-645-3300.
The BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Reviews on more than 4 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution service, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information.