I have a new retail startup selling electronics. I have a problem with a supplier that has sent some goods, but not all. The situation is as follows:
Sent initial purchase order on June 7, a total of $612.62, the supplier said that the goods were not in stock, and that he would let me know when they were back in stock. On July 8 (a month later) after many emails asking about when these products would be ready, and being told week after week they would be ready next week, I got an email saying they were finally ready.
I send payment on the July 9, and the supplier posted the goods on the 18th, 9 days later, I feel that he was not being completely honest about having the goods, as it took so long to post. He then said that only 2 of 3 product types had been posted in one box, and the other type had been posted in another. (So I would get two boxes.) But I only got one tracking number...
I received the first (and only) box on July 20th, all was well with it, however the other box did not arrive... I sent an email and waiting in vain for either a reply or the second box with the other products... after many emails, and a delay of 14 days. I got a reply on August 3rd, saying he had been busy and would send the last products immediately (he didn’t reply to concerns that I he had said they had been sent in an earlier shipment).
I received no such shipment, and I have sent many emails asking for a refund for these products, and as yet have received no reply.
I expect the supplier will send neither my products, nor a refund.
I do not know what to do next, as the supplier is in the US and I am in the UK. Although I would like to, I am reluctant to bring this up publicly, as it would reflect bad on myself also...
The value of these missing goods is $83 products, which although is not large, it is a significant portion of the profit on the original goods (which I have since sold) and so would cancel out all profit on these items. As a small business I really don't want to have to write off funds that I have already paid... A non-paying customer is one thing, a non-paying supplier is a really sickly thing to have to swallow..
I would appreciate any advice from you knowledgeable lot.
Thank you kindly.
In the future, pay by credit card. Then you can do a chargeback.
The US has strict rules on shipping orders. In general, an order must be shipped within 30 days of payment, or the seller must notify you and give you the option of waiting or a refund. Note payment means they must have the money. If you sent payment on July 9th by wire transfer, they may not have received the actual payment for from 2 - 9 days! (The US doesn't handle wire transfers very well.) For US rules see:
FTC 30 Day Rule I would contact the seller one more time, explain the FTC rule, and demand a refund or your merchandise. Give him a fixed deadline of say, 5 business days to reply. Let him know you will file a complaint with the FTC if you do not get a satisfactory response. If you do not receive a refund or a tracking number on your shipment within those 5 days, file a formal complaint with the FTC.
Talk to your bank and chargeback the transaction. It's likely easier than you think.
Consider yourself very lucky. You just learned a very valuable lesson in international business for the low price of $83 and a few headaches. Many others have paid a higher price to learn what you just did.
Find another supplier, pay by credit card as somebody else said, and if you can, don't pay the full amount upfront. If your volume increases, switch to letters of credit (aka documentary credits). They are expensive but safe.
File a complaint with whatever appropriate officials in the suppliers country and do the same for the bank transaction place you used.
Don't use the supplier any more.
You got off lucky - find a new supplier and figure out a way to protect yourself in the future.