SOCIAL MEDIA

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Disney Mail Disappointment: A Story With a Happy Ending!

I know what you are thinking "Disney mail disappointment? Say whaaaa??" but this is the exact thing that happened to me this week! When we were down in Disney for Spring Break I wanted to sneakily buy my hubby a Graduation Mickey because he is finishing his undergrad this spring.  Only the graduation merchandise was so few and far between that I couldn't find any so I had planned to call Walt Disney World mail order.  I was telling my friend and she mentioned this site/facebook page where you could order merchandise.  I headed over and saw the site was doing a "Live Outlet Run" where they post pictures from the Florida Disney outlet with prices and you can text your order and then PayPal the cost right there while they are shopping! When I saw a scrapbook stack and bag (both of which I had held in my hand for double the price in Disney World in March) I was SOLD! I sent my text and my money and was feeling great! After the Outlet Run was over I messaged the seller about the Graduation Mickey and she got my order together.  I was then told that I, the buyer, was responsible for paying her PayPal fees (for those who do not know when you sell goods to someone there is a fee from PayPal but if you send money to someone as "gift" there is no fee).  I was not okay with this as I don't expect my buyers on Ebay or Etsy to ever pay for my fees.  After discussing this with the site owner she waived the fees and I was feeling good again.

On April 13th I went and sent my final bit of payment for shipping.  A few weeks went by with no shipping confirmation so I sent an email on May 4th.  It was returned immediately saying she was behind and my package finally shipped on Tuesday May 7th, and arrived at my door on Friday May 10th.  In the meantime many people had been posting on her page requesting shipping info for their outlet purchases.  It was shipped priority but arrived in horrendous condition.  It was clear to me that this was packaged in a cheap box so I went and calculated the sellers shipping cost to find she charged me $4 for a box.  I knew supplies were part of this deal and therefore I paid so I simply asked her for proof that she purchased this box (flimsy box or not I would have felt slightly more satisfied knowing that she had purchased it brand new for the amount I had sent her).  She not only refused but fully blamed the post office and when I pressed it BLOCKED me on Facebook! After this I pulled out my own shipping supplies and found that all of my items would have fit in a flat rate box which USPS provides for free and charges nearly half the shipping cost (roughly saving me $8)!

So, here I am with a damaged scrapbook stack and having spent more time, money, and stress than if I had shipped directly through Disney.  My cost through this site was Cost of Item + 30% surcharge for her services + PayPal fees (even though these were waived for me they most certainly are not for others) + shipping cost and supplies (and she did not even ship as cheaply as possibly)! If I had purchased directly from Disney called WDW mail order and the outlet directly I would have spent $9.95 shipping from each location plus cost of items and saved myself nearly 2 weeks of waiting, $19, and a whole lot of stress!

I spent quite a bit of this morning distracted by this scenario I could not help but put myself in her shoes.  What if this were someone who had ordered from my Etsy shop? Or when I sell on Ebay? It is always disappointing to lose money when you are selling something and even more disappointing when you feel like you have already accommodated that buyer but I know what I would have done and that was in the least return the cost of shipping supplies or send a receipt showing what I paid.  I expect to gain customers who like what I make and more importantly like the way I treat them so I am always willing to work with people.   I would rather lose some of my profit than lose a costumer.

In the end I really needed some Disney sunshine this week and didn't get it, and have learned my lesson.  So how do YOU avoid this situation?? Well, I am not going to post the name of the person I worked with but if you are thinking of placing an order somewhere and feel like it might be with this company email me and we can talk.  I am not out to trash talk people (as most of you saw after I left writing for a prominent Disney blog after I found out the owner has very non-Disney ideals) so I don't go posting hateful things and specifics and hope that people do not comment naming names here. I am not about that at all- I just want you to know what happened to me and how to avoid it!

What I am out to do is help YOU have the most Disney magic in your lives! And so here are some helpful links and info:

1.  If you just couldn't find that special item but can describe it or where you saw it try contacting WDW Mail Order by phone 877-560-6477 or by email Merchandise.Guest.Services@DisneyParks.com! I have used both and had great luck!

2.  If you have a receipt and something broke in shipping or traveling contact WDW Mail Order also using the above info! When we traveled home with a statue my hubby bought me and a piece of stitch's nail broke off I emailed a picture of my receipt and they sent me a BRAND NEW one free!  Disney works hard to make sure their travelers and customers are hap-hap-happy!!

3.  If you are looking to have something ordered and sent directly to a room (ie. a Gift Basket or other items for your trip or a loved ones trip) I HIGHLY recommend the services of Memories By Betsy.  She is FABULOUS and I have used her services on many occasions.  Super nice, super helpful, and no hidden fees! Head over and check out her Facebook Page for more info!

4.  Don't forget that www.DisneyStore.com now has a rather large selection of Disney Parks merchandise and there are always sales and deals over there!

5.  Just because a page or site has "Disney" in the title does not mean they are affiliated with the Disney company! I feel like some shopping sites may look as though they are sanctioned through the company but they aren't.  Look at my site: right now you are reading this on Picturing Disney Photoblog... because no matter where I go I am picturing myself at Disney... lol... but I am a fan site and not affiliated with Disney directly in any way, shape, or form (as you can read in my disclaimer).  I may very well have to change my name someday but the bottomline is do not let names deceive you on these personal shopper pages just because they haven't been told to cease and desist using the Disney name (yet)!

6.  Be wary of ANY internet seller who requires that you pay their PayPal fees or send them money as a gift.  If you "gift" someone money you lose your chance to dispute it if you need a refund or never get your item AND it is fraudulant and against the PayPal Terms of Service to request the buyers send money as "Personal" or "Gift" when they are purchasing "Goods and/or Services".  Keep this in mind because I lost my ability to dispute my shipping charges because of this!

7.  Don't underestimate the power of a "like".  After my debacle I saw that 8 of my Facebook friends liked the page of the company.  I sent them a quick text messages explaining what happened to me, and all the fees, and just generally warning them to be careful if they shop through her.  Nearly all of them replied and said "Oh I thought her surcharge was too high" or "I've heard others who had issues with her" followed by "...but I liked her page so that I could look at her pictures of new Disney World merchandise".  What you don't realize is that customers see that a page has LOTS of likes and are comforted by this and shop here.  So don't give away your likes for free and remember that there is power in "unliking".  I always make sure I unlike pages I would never shop at again even if the company never notices- at least my friends won't see that I like it and think there is a value!

8.  If you are still thinking of using a 3rd party personal shopper site think it through and TAKE YOUR TIME. I now believe these are rarely, if ever, going to be worth it in the end (but then again last month I ordered from one).  Now I feel like maybe the very long drawn out process and set up of how you read the costs was purposely listed as it was as not to deter people.  I have heard a lot of stories from people who have used multiple different sites like this with everything from problems like mine to people never getting items to getting severely overcharged. Most important of all is to calculate every penny you are spending (before you send anyone a dime) and then find out if there is somewhere you can get it cheaper! In the end, as consumers we need to shop where it is best for us and in nearly every case it will be direct through Disney!

Hope this helps you have more magic with your Disney mail then what happened to me today! Keep spreading sunshine and Disney magic everywhere you go!


UPDATE: November 2013

As circumstances would have it I got to talk to one of the owners of this Disney shopping service this weekend! She contacted me about possibly joining in a Christmas giveaway and I re-explained who I was and our predicament.  Guess what she told me? Not only was I one of only two customer who had ever had this happen to them BUT that two customers was too many for them so they have switched to using USPS provided boxes for shipping on nearly all orders! It has been a really money and time saver and I am so happy to hear they have changed their shipping policies because, obviously you can see this really took the magic out of the experience for me at the time! And as you can see by the picture at right their packages look like they are being handled with care (and some magic too).

On top of discussing this change, the owner offered to make good on my issues and refund my shipping charges so I feel like I can confidently say that if you know which personal shopping service I am referring to I would 100% be willing to try their services again.  Have you ordered from any personal shopping services in the last few months? How was your experience? I would love to hear follow up comments (again please no naming names in bad situations as I don't want this to become a slam thread and have already deleted some comments).

I can say this... If you are curious who this personal shopping service is that I now would stand behind, you will see us working together on a future holiday giveaway as I am always happy to have magic in my life even if the pixie dust arrives later than expected.

I think I can sum up this update with the end of my conversation with the site owner on Saturday November 9th.
"I just love a happy ending."
"Me too."

26 comments :

  1. Thanks so much for this. I stumbled upon the folks I think you're talking about. I saw something on the outlet run that I wanted, but the fee plus shipping made the item almost 3x the bargain price, and more than the original price. So I passed.
    I have done business with another group that sells Park merchandise. but they are not personal shoppers. The items do cost a bit more. But I am willing to shop with them because they were professional and, lets face it. Who would make money selling it for the same price as Disney? Plus I forgot I could call WDW for the items.

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  2. And some items can't be purchased through Mail Order because they really need specific info to get it so I am sure it will really help to have someone you trust!! :)

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  3. MouseEarredPirateChildMay 11, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    Thank you. I know exactly who you are talking about. I had asked them 3 weeks ago to find the Haunted Mansion Coaster set for a wedding I attended yesterday. I had to almost harass the "shopper" and finally got a text back 2 weeks before the set time I had given saying "they" would look for it that next day. After 2 days, I text them and asked if anything had been found. On Monday, May 6th is when "they" text me back simply saying "Not yet :(". I find it truly unprofessional and I totally agree with you on using the WDW Parks Mail Order. I have used them before and they work perfectly (other than the shipping with is crazy high..but exactly what is needed for all the items you are sending).

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  4. I know EXACTLY who you are talking about and I agree. It would have been cheaper to GO to Disney with all the fees and surcharges. They don't answer emails timely and are very vague when asked for shipping/handling charges. Thanks for the info on ordering directly from WDW. I will do so in the future.

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  5. Agreed! I worked it out and could have paid two separate shipping charges through Disney and still saved money! Such a shame! I hope you had better luck getting the items you needed than I did!

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  6. That really stinks! Are you still looking for them? I will be staying in Downtown Disney for a conference in June and can keep my eye out! :)
    I emailed this morning after I was blocked from them on FB messenger but I think they have just decided that they are not going to make good on a problem that had nothing to do with me and that is both unprofessional and very unDisney!

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  7. MouseEarredPirateChildMay 11, 2013 at 10:59 PM

    Thank you! Just let me know if you see them. I'm just sad that yesterday was the wedding. I was able to gift her some custom items that she needed for the event but I know she would have been excited about the coasters as she is a huge mansion fan...

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  8. I will totally keep my eye out when I am down there! I know how hard that can be! Email me so I can email you next month if I see em! Also, have you tried calling WDW Mail Order and describing them?

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  9. I believe I know who you are talking about, and I had sent a message about a week ago asking about some things, and still have not gotten a response. Thanks to your article, I will look elsewhere. Thanks!

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  10. I too know exactly who you are talking about and have a large group of friends who have had nothing but bad experiences with them. Unfortunately, there is no place to post these honest reviews. If you do it on their fb pages, they delete and block you and if you do it somewhere else, they report you for harassment. I have knowledge of several of these "shoppers" in the area and would not use ANY of them! They are all out to swindle as much money as possible off people who love Disney merchandise. I had a rough dealing with another seller using the "pay as a gift" scam. Do you know how to report them to Paypal. They really should lose their accounts over that. Let me know!

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  11. I know who you are speaking of also. When I tried to put buyer beware on the FB which was erased after a few seconds, then she would message me. After about two weeks I messages her and she said she couldn't find my transaction. So I had to send her my proof of purchase. She had doubted that I had sent the payment! She said then she would send it out on Monday, guess what after another message from me to confirm ship she hadn't shipped it till Wed.

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  12. I know who you are talking about. I have done business with them 3 times in the past 5 months with absolutely no problems! And my orders were huge. I only paid full price for 1 item ( I forgot to get a dated scrapbook when I was at Disney World in October), the rest of my items were from the Outlet runs and items they had on their facebook page. I have priced items on DisneyStore.com and ebay and it was so much cheaper to buy from the personal shopper facebook page and their Outlet runs. Granted, it took longer than expected to receive, but I wasn't in a hurry to get my items. Everything came in perfect condition. As far as paying thru Paypal, their instructions specifically states that you are to send money thru Paypal as a gift so that there aren't charges to them. Maybe I got lucky! I would do business with them again.

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  13. I am glad you have had luck, however, it is fraudulent use of PayPal to require buyers to pay you for goods and services as a gift. It is in their terms of service. What they are doing is (1) denying buyers the right to dispute charges and (2) avoiding fees that PayPal puts in place for all sellers so that in the end they make more money and deny customers their rights. If PayPal knew this they would deny their account the right to receive any personal money through their account.
    We may have to agree to disagree on the cost as well... Disney charges shipping by cost for and online ships orders of $75 or more for free so I think the majority of the purchases people make will still be significantly cheaper through the authorized official website or mail order. My outlet order had a huge discount off retail but when I factored in the 30% surcharge + the inflated shipping rates it was as if I bought it regular price in the park. :/

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  14. It is a real shame. I don't think there is harm in cutting off orders as if to say "okay we have taken all the orders we can fulfill this week" in order to ensure good customer service but I am not a businesswoman!

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  15. I have used this shopper and was very satisfied. Considering her fees and shipping supplies, I still would have been paying $10 for shipping if I had just called Disney Mail Order. I also was very grateful that I was able to find what I was looking for during the live runs since I couldn't get them at Disney any more. All in all, I still saved money and found her to be very cordial. Great communication throughout as well. I am so sorry you had a bad experience :( I would suggest, if you know some one in that area, to ask them to pick up an item and ship it to you. I have done this a few times and saved even more thanks to the kindness of the locals :)

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  16. I do know how to report this sellers to PayPal but I can't bring myself to do it. Obviously there are people who use this service and think it is worth the inflated costs and so they will stay in business. I think they prey a little on people who are looking for a little magic... but I would rather spread magic (and some warnings) then spread some bad karma and put negativity into the universe reporting them.
    Also, please feel free to share any reviews with me! Facebook, twitter, or right here in blog comments! :)

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  17. I have heard that there is a rather delightful shopper, with very little markup called Mickey Shopper though I have not used his services or looked into it! Just to give you a place to start if you are looking to try and find a personal shopper instead of going the Walt Disney World Mail Order route!

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  18. I am not sure how long ago you used this service but I was charged over $19 for shipping! My order would have entirely fit in a $12 priority mail box but I was instead charged $15.08 for shipping + $4 for supplies (what I was told was for the box) though they never produced a receipt. I am going to add a picture to my post of how my box arrived. Unfortunately, you may have only had such great customer service because you dealt with either a different company or because there were no problems. A true judge of customer service is how you treat a customer when something goes wrong, ya know? I will also be relying on the kindness of friends from here on out! ;)

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  19. I don't know what I did by my comment got lost! The gist of it was this: they are violating PayPal's terms of service by having you send money as a gift! It strips you as your rights as a consumer because you can not request a return or dispute your charges when you send as gift. Additionally, PayPal charges seller fees which you agree to pay when you sign up so they are not only eliminating your rights as a buyer through PayPal but they are avoiding fees. This kind of fraudulent use of the service hurts everyone and if PayPal found out they would no longer be able to send or receive money as personal through their account. If you are positive you used the same service as me I would be very careful in the future before sending money this way- I am not sure if you can also have your account limited for sending money that was for goods as a gift but you can probably look it up in the TOS.

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  20. Also, there are multiple sellers out there so I don't mean to assume that the one you used and the one I used were one in the same. I just could have paid the same price for shipping and had items shipped from the outlet AND Disney World and they would have made good on poor shipping or damaged items. Not to mention they wouldn't have added a 30% charge to my retail price. :/

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  21. Additionally, just so you know, you can call the outlet directly for future orders if you would like and they use the same shipping scale that Disney does while protecting your rights as a consumer if you need a replacement or items are damaged. ;)

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  22. Thanks Melissa for the info on calling the Outlet directly! The only this with that is, I would have to watch the outlet run for pics on what is is for sale for things I may want and then call the outlet store and try to order that way. It would be GREAT if the outlet store had a website to order from!!!

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  23. Thank you for posting this. I had looked at this site and saw their "Live Outlet Run" and wondered if it was worth the cost. I'm sorry you had a bad experience, but thank you for letting the rest of us know.

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  24. Thank you for reading! I gotta look out for my fellow Disney lovers!

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  25. I have an outlet by me in NY and if I were just a *little* closer I would help people out at cost only since I know it sucks not being near a Disney Store (the outlet is the only one I have near me at all). Being its 40 minutes away, though, I would have to deal with a lot of back and forth to make it work!

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  26. I have one here in NH, about an hour away. I went there last week~It says it's an Outlet store~(I made it a point to call this "Outlet" store first to make sure it wasn't just another Disney store. They stated that it definately was an "Outlet" store). What a disappointment! It wasn't anything like the outlet stores in Florida. They had Disneyland (no Disney World) items on clearance. The other things were regularly priced items and a few clearance items I could have gotten online or at any Disney Store.

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