Franklin >World Cup Of Tea
DO NOT BUY FROM THEIR ONLINE STORE..
UPDATE: 03/08/12 - I wrote this post yesterday after a week of no shipping information, and no return contact from the vendor. I disputed the credit card charge with my credit card company, whom contacted PayPal (whom the vendor uses for online billing). This morning, I awoke with a notice that my product was being shipped. Priority.
I can understand that in the throes of shifting a business model down from store to online, business can back up. But when a customer takes the time to contact you by several means, explaining their concerns, a simple phone call or e-mail would have prevented all these measures. My rating remains the same, as it took my aggressive, proactive measures to get any kind response.
DO NOT BUY FROM THEIR ONLINE STORE.
Save for the irrational business hours (something to the tune of 10-2 on weekdays), I had rave reviews regarding this business until today. As of February 2012, World Cup of Tea closed their doors. My mother, whom lives in Arizona, fell in love with their Chocoholic Fix tea while visiting a few years ago. I've gone to the store and purchased her a lb. here and there and shipped it on. Last week, I went to the store to find the doors locked and the building somewhat empty. I checked online to see if I could find the tea elsewhere, and was delighted to discover that their online store was still, supposedly up and running.
Or IS it?
I ordered 4 bags of tea to be shipped to me. No shipping options were provided, and when I received notice that my credit card had been charged, the invoice stated "standard flat rate shipping". No tracking number, no estimated delivery date.
As the days passed, I began to grow worried. Were they just running behind? Were they in an interim place where shipping would be delayed due to the change in the company? I called the numbers provided on the invoice (both local and toll free), and got a voice mail. At first, I called again later, and got voice mail again. I left a message. I also sent an e-mail to the e-mail address provided on the invoice. Two days later, I called again to follow up (the tea was meant to be a surprise gift for my mother on the day of my wedding... in four days) and the phone numbers - both local and toll free - have suddenly been disconnected. I checked my Spam inbox to see if a response had somehow gone there. No.
Panic set in -- had I been duped? Intentional or not, it is poor business practices to maintain a billing site if your business has officially closed -- online or otherwise. I fully understand that delays can arise, but a voice mail and an e-mail being ignored for two days? They didn't have THAT much business.
So I've called my credit card company to dispute the payment. If the company has sent the package and simply didn't respond to my query, that is just fine. But I have a sinking feeling that the operation couldn't keep sail on it's own on the web and closed their virtual doors within days of closing their physical doors.
Such a shame really. The storefront was lovely, and the use of a web store clever. I hope no one else has to suffer this strain over something as irrelevant as fraudulent tea.
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