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Strike Two, Oriental Trading Company

on September 29, 2008 - 12:00pm

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

I should be blogging about a terrific comic book I was recently sent, but instead I'm forced to vent about the ridiculous adventures of cross border shopping.

Readers of my blog will remember that I had an unfortunate shopping experience with Oriental Trading Company. They extended an olive branch and sent me a certificate toward my next purchase for my trouble. At the start of last month, I decided to give them a second try.

Everything showed up in good condition this time. The only groan I had was that at the time of ordering, I was told they couldn't confirm whether or not an item was in stock (normally not a big deal, but I wanted bang for my shipping buck. If I had been told I couldn't get the item, I would have picked something else).

Now, weeks later, I've gotten a bill from FedEx for outstanding charges. Whaaaaat? Oriental Trading Company ships to Canada through BorderFree which is supposed to alleviate all these headaches for me. I've already been charged for my order, so what is going on?

After talking with FedEx and then talking with Oriental Trading Company, it seems the proper charges weren't sent to BorderFree. At the time, I couldn't find my invoice but while waiting for a supervisor to call me back, I tracked it down.

From what I can gather from my invoice, I was charged shipping directly through the Oriental Trading Company, and NOT BorderFree. Hence the lack of duties and taxes being paid.

What a headache. I'm morbidly curious to see how this plays out. Last time I said OTC and I weren't completely broken up, just separated. I think now the divorce papers are going to be mailed out.

20 minutes after posting...

I phoned them back and talked with another representative who knew nothing about how they use Borderfree except that since my order was taken on the phone (Canadians can't use certificates online...*sigh*), she would have entered the shipping herself and apparently, they aren't able to process orders to Borderfree directly (what the...?). It has to be done through the Internet, through the website (which boggles my mind. Is that step really so hard to set up for your customer service representatives taking orders from Canada?).

I just wanted to confirm at this point that I was only charged for shipping and that the shipping cost wouldn't have been different if the order had gone through the correct billing channels. She didn't know. So she got a supervisor.

The supervisor also had no idea how Borderfree operates with their company...*stunned silence*...and would make a note for the supervisor in charge of Canadian Orders to contact me today or tomorrow.

While OTC has a very friendly staff, they do not have an informed one. People picking up the phone on the other end of a 1-800 number Canadians can use (different from the one on the main website) should be trained on how basic shipping works in their organization. And if they can't actually process Canadian orders over the phone, then why take the orders in the first place?

Updated Oct 1

Strike three, OTC. No one ever called to follow up and answer my questions.

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