Thursday, December 13, 2012

Purchasing Supplies From Overseas

It really is a crap shoot when you purchase products online from overseas.  In the last couple of years, there has been both good and bad experiences when bringing in supplies from off-shore companies.

My dealings with a company in the Philippines that sells wood beads were very positive.  The service was fast and friendly.  My shipment arrived in a timely manner.  And, best of all, the beads were as represented & described on their website. They even sent me a sample pack of other beads they carry, free of charge.  I understand that they were just trying to encourage me to buy more beads, but it was still a nice gesture.  A great way to garner customer loyalty and repeat orders.

Purchasing gemstone beads from a company in China did not elicit the same kind of positive experience. The shipment came quick enough but the yellow jade beads were dyed, not natural. Nowhere in the product description on the website did it say the beads were dyed. The photo posted and what I received were not the same. I felt that it would be more trouble than it was worth to try to send them back, so I kept the beads and used them for something other than what I’d wanted them for in the first place.  

I recently found a company in Thailand that sells the type of pendant I have been looking for to use on my prayer beads. The minimum order was $100, a minimum of 10 of any one design. And because the pendants are so inexpensive, I had to order 80 of them to reach the minimum order (8 different designs, 10 of each).

Unfortunately, there was no description of the individual pendants online, only a small thumbnail of each, and hence no way of knowing how big or small they were.  Sometimes, I had no idea what they were even representing, they only had a part number listed.

I placed the order and my confirmation comes back with two shipping options.

- UPS at $62, 3-5 day delivery time
- Regular Post at $43, 2-3 month delivery time

I didn't want to wait so I chose UPS.  The package arrived quickly, as promised, but with $34 in brokerage fees to pay before they would release the package to me. Now, those inexpensive pendants end up not so inexpensive after all.

To add insult to injury, the pendant I like the best (and the most expensive design) is the worst quality. The metal is so thin that they bend when you look at them and are totally unusable for anything.  The rest of the pendants are thick enough to be stable but two of the designs are so large that they will not work for my prayer beads.  The fine details on another design are not very well defined. It looks like the mold is worn out and should have been replaced a while ago. 

Once again, I don't feel that submitting a complaint will be worth my time & effort, so I will make the best of the pendants I can use.  Hopefully, I can recoup my investment with the sale of prayer beads.  

I'm not saying that I will never buy products from on off-shore company again but I'm certainly more hesitant about it. Has anyone else had similar experiences? Perhaps we can lament together.  *smile*


  1. Sounds like buying locally really does have advantages. Sorry that you ended up with these poor experiences

  2. each company is its own not paint them all with the same brush.

    1. Yes, I understand that and did open my post with a good experience that I had with an off-shore company. I will, however, still be hesitant about ordering overseas again.

    2. I've had better luck when ordering products from the U.S. but I still prefer to shop locally so I can see & touch what I'm buying.