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."