African Treasures.com Complaint - Company Tells Buyer Her Business is "Unimportant"!

Review by waitingforgodot on 2010-02-26
CALIFORNIA -- First for the positive: this online site specializes in beautifully crafted, exotic imports from Africa, at competitive prices. However, online buyer be very aware! Your likelihood of having a positive shopping experience is heavily dependent on several variables not necessarily in your control as a consumer. And if website-related problems do occur while you are ordering, you should not anticipate a level of customer service that is comparable to the minimum of those provided by even a less-initiated business entrepreneur: such as a first-time retailer on Ebay, for instance.

Details: In my first-time online shopping experience, African Treasures lost my account information twice while I attempted to purchase an item. Next, after I successfully and instantly paid using the site's available PayPal feature: no further communication was received from African Treasures until over 24 hours later when I contacted the company about the status of my order. Further, their website showed that I had never placed an order!

The tone of African Treasures' initial emailed response was both quick and polite. It explained that they had received my name, email contact info, instant payment and shipping address, but did not know what product I had ordered. I found it rather frustrating that based on this problem; no one had thought to email me in 24 hours. Next and equally frustrating, the email indicated the wrong shipping city and requested that I inform them of the product details, promising to ship my purchase on getting this information. The problem was that no printable receipt was available during the buying process (only a printable order number), and their website lost my buying history. Therefore, I was reduced to looking through most of their products in order to find the item that I thought I'd selected, among very similar looking items (with very similar sounding names) priced the same.

After thanking the sender of the email for her prompt response, I corrected my “ship to” city and provided the details for my purchase. Also, I shared that though African Treasures offers beautiful products, I had not had the best shopping experience. I did this professionally and briefly: assuming that the company placed value on their customer's experience.

The bottom line is that after so much frustration, the best that the company could offer was to promptly ship the item and make a response implying that my future business was unimportant. Much later in the day, I realized that when forced to “re-discover” my purchased item, I had erred in my selection. So, now I had to re-purchase my original selection, if I wanted customer satisfaction. This action resulted in the company representative canceling my order, refunding my payment and CONFIRMING IN WRITING that my future business was unimportant! "Come to think of it - INDEED - VERY CLEARLY - repeat business from you is totally unimportant to our company."

AMAZING and totally unenlightened--especially in today's helter-skelter state of our country's ever-shifting economy (here today...or for 12 years... and "poof"--suddenly gone tomorrow!) The bottom line is that this company took offense that I dared to specify problems that I incurred while making my purchase. Rather than professionally resolve the issues by pursuing the creation a win-win for each party: African Treasures threw a temper tantrum and insulted the customer! Simply put--not very intelligent, "INDEED" (to borrow a recently quoted remark)!

If you are seeking fine African imports online, enjoy a grand shopping experience at one of the several other great sites readily available. However, what ever you do: avoid the risk of ensuing headache and shopping frustration by avoiding African Treasures.com altogether.
Comments:6 Replies - Latest reply on 2010-02-27
Posted by Alain on 2010-02-26:
Good review.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-02-26:
Was this an Ebay sale?

As for printable receipt, you would have gotten one in your email from Paypal with your order on it. 24 hours is a good turnaround for contact, heck it is fabulous. 2-3 days is actually acceptable. As for them not having your order info immediately, their website could be like most and have processing time. Most websites do not work in real time.

WHY did you need contact with them so fast? You could have checked your email. And to top it off, YOU made a mistake, they canceled your order and refunded you, and asked you to not shop there again.

Reasonable enough to me. It sounds like you do not know how to use an online retailer that uses Paypal.
Posted by waitingforgodot on 2010-02-26:
Dear LadyScot:

Thanks for your comments. Firstly, "No, this was not an Ebay transaction". Next, I am both an both an "old gnarled" vet on Ebay and in using PayPal. Actually, I have successfully puchased on Ebay and Etsy using EXCLUSIVELY PayPal, HUNDREDS of times over several years! By-the-way...my feedback rating on these sites alone is a perfect 100% Positive.

I did not have a problem reading my PayPal receipt, which I received immediately. In fact, I was able to immediately ascertain the product item number, etc... And...when I contacted African Treasures to confirm that all was okay with this sale; it was I who gave them product details that were clearly visible on the Paypal receipt. African Treasures' claim was that this information had not been forwarded to them from PayPal. I am confused about this point, however, since the information that African Treasures DID have was available on the same receipt that had a product item number. Also, I correctly ascertained an email contact from my PayPal receipt. My point is, I can negotiate my way around the workings of online transactions and using PayPal features in my deep sleep!

Another problem, as I said in my review, was with the African Treasures website. PayPal's item number did not correspond with African Treasure's product because their site listed no product number--a problem when trying to rectify...problems. Their site listed two products that looked very similar, for instance: one was "Mustard with Orange"; the other was "Mustard with Black". When I selected and paid for the item initially, I simply clicked on the item that I liked and attempted to pay for it. I paid no attention to its name! Typically, there are product numbers associated with these things.

I am accustomed to receiving follow-up from retailers relatively promptly (i.e., within 24-48 hours) after a sale is made: if for no other reason, to confirm that a sale has been made. Typically, in my HUNDREDS of successful transactions, this confirmation has occurred within 1 hour of the sale (!). Nonetheless, African Treasures was paid INSTANTLY by PayPal, and yet no confirmation and no order could be confirmed on their site. So, in answering your question about "why" I needed confirmation of a sale within 24 hours; it was because I had been charged and paid for a product, but could find no indication that the retailer was 1) aware of the transaction; 2) intended to provide the paid for service. I had never done business with this online retailer before, and I needed to ensure that the "odd" transaction was not a fraudulent one. Also, since the company pledged to ship within x-amount of time after the product was paid for, and I needed the product quickly; I was concerned about any unnecessary lost time. All quite reasonable.

I do not understand your comment, "you should have checked your email". African Treasures sent me NO email prior to me contacting them. This is what one of my problems was. In fact, I PROMPTLY accessed my PayPal receiptS in duplicate from my emailS. I pretty much live online--I am perpetually checking my emailS for various replies, etc...

Lastly, the mistake that I made could be likened to the following analogy. You shopping at a bookstore for a specific title, and discovering that there are 60 books of like title, but by varying publishers. You choose a book and pay for. The bookstore loses your order and cannot work with the SKU generated somehow via the transaction. The bookstore asks you to go back to the shelves and find the book that you previously paid for in good faith. You accidentally choose the wrong one, and this book is shipped to you. Later in the day, you go back to the bookstore and realize that the book among the 60 that you chose the second time, was not the book that you initially chose and paid for (in good faith). You re-purchase the book. You inform the bookstore that this has not been an ideal transaction. The bookstore cancels your 2nd order (for the book that you initially chose and paid for in good faith), and tells you that "Come to think of it - INDEED - VERY CLEARLY - repeat business from you is totally unimportant to our company."
Posted by jktshff1 on 2010-02-26:
LS...where ya been???
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-02-26:
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-02-27:
jk, working like a hound. I have missed ya'll.

OP, I was not being snarly. I also have a website and have purchased online for years. Some retailers send me an email when I order, some don't. Some websites are built to download orders within 24 hours. Your expectations were a bit unrealistic in expecting every one you order from to work the same way. If someone orders candles from my site and calls me 2 hours later, I am not going to know what they are talking about until the orders batch and are downloaded.

You got a refund. I feel the company decided it was too much hassle to work with you. All companies reserve the right to refuse service. Find another, and practice a little patience next time.

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