dilemma with "damaged" items - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 04-07-2011, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a problem that I am trying to figure out how to address. I have a customer who purchased some cotton-lined training pants from my Etsy shop at the beginning of December. She just sent me a message that the casings around the leg elastic are breaking through and wonders what might be causing this as she's worried to purchase more since they are coming apart. I requested that she send me some pictures thinking it was a certain exterior fabric that I used for one pair but it's the lining around the legs of all her pants that have developed holes. I've been selling this particular item for nearly a decade now and have been using this exact lining fabric and elastic for at least 6 years and have never seen this kind of wear in such little time.

 

I want to ask how she's been washing them and how often, because I just can't imagine how this could have happened so quickly but I don't want to blame her for the damage. I'm going back and forth between considering how I would want a business to address my problem but, at the same time, I've been doing this a long time and never had this problem show up before, or at least no other customers ever mentioned it. I used these pants myself in heavy rotation with both of my kids (not these exact ones, obviously winky.gif) and those pants were passed onto several friends and those didn't have this problem for years.

 

Any ideas about what to do??


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#2 of 13 Old 04-12-2011, 11:44 AM
 
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I would personally offer to send replacements for the ones that have holes in them and also send a little washing instructions sheet with them.  You want to maintain a good sellers status on etsy so this would be the best way to keep the customer happy.  It could have just been those particular ones you made or it could be something she did herself, but pleasing the customer is important either way.  Hopefully with those washing instructions, she will see that she was not properly laundering them.  Maybe in the future so to avoid this again, you could send the instructions with all the training pants you sell. 


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#3 of 13 Old 04-18-2011, 01:06 PM
 
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I would offer to replace them and then say, "Can you tell me a bit about how you washed them so that I can figure out what is going on with my fabric?"  It would be good to know what she did so that you can put it in your washing instructions going forward.

 


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#4 of 13 Old 04-19-2011, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I do send washing instructions, which indicate that the pants "MAY" be washed and dried on hot but that they will last longer the more gently they are treated. I did tell her that, while this is a common pattern of wear, I had not seen it happen so soon before and asked if she was using/washing them very often. I am not financially able to replace all 8 pairs she purchased, especially if this is going to happen again in a few months, but I offered her 20% off if she wants to try another pair.


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#5 of 13 Old 04-19-2011, 09:20 PM
 
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I saw this on the new posts.  When my DS was in training pants OF COURSE they were washed and worn often, daily to be honest.  When first potty training 8 pairs would last oh... maybe a day or so, then those 8 pairs would last longer as we graduated through the PL process.  If she has multiple kids or a daycare she could be using them non-stop. 

I agree with the PP that offering a replacement is the right thing to do as a  business owner.  As someone who would possibly purchase craft type items and deals with small business owners I would expect replacements on items that are deemed defective/not up to standard.  These items are 4 months old, generally speaking, training pants should last longer than 4 months. (store purchased pants can last many many kids). 

You said you cant afford to replace her purchase but should the buyer be forced to be out her purchase price either?  Honestly 20% off another purchase wouldnt make me a happy buyer and I would be filing a complaint with my credit card/paypal.
 

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Originally Posted by rubelin View Post

I do send washing instructions, which indicate that the pants "MAY" be washed and dried on hot but that they will last longer the more gently they are treated. I did tell her that, while this is a common pattern of wear, I had not seen it happen so soon before and asked if she was using/washing them very often. I am not financially able to replace all 8 pairs she purchased, especially if this is going to happen again in a few months, but I offered her 20% off if she wants to try another pair.



 


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#6 of 13 Old 04-20-2011, 05:40 AM
 
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Quote:
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I saw this on the new posts.  When my DS was in training pants OF COURSE they were washed and worn often, daily to be honest.  When first potty training 8 pairs would last oh... maybe a day or so, then those 8 pairs would last longer as we graduated through the PL process.  If she has multiple kids or a daycare she could be using them non-stop. 

I agree with the PP that offering a replacement is the right thing to do as a  business owner.  As someone who would possibly purchase craft type items and deals with small business owners I would expect replacements on items that are deemed defective/not up to standard.  These items are 4 months old, generally speaking, training pants should last longer than 4 months. (store purchased pants can last many many kids). 

You said you cant afford to replace her purchase but should the buyer be forced to be out her purchase price either?  Honestly 20% off another purchase wouldnt make me a happy buyer and I would be filing a complaint with my credit card/paypal.
 



 


We would not use training pants that way.  They aren't diapers and aren't meant to catch every pee or poop 8 times a day for months.

 

Anyhoo, could you replace them once and explain to her the best method of care and also that you cannot afford to keep replacing them?

 


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#7 of 13 Old 04-20-2011, 09:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post


 

You said you cant afford to replace her purchase but should the buyer be forced to be out her purchase price either?  Honestly 20% off another purchase wouldnt make me a happy buyer and I would be filing a complaint with my credit card/paypal.
 



 



ita

 

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#8 of 13 Old 04-20-2011, 10:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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first I want to clarify that these are EC pants, not regular training pants. I have never potty trained my children because they were both ECed from birth or close to it, so I have no idea how regular training pants would be used. I did use my own pants very heavily and washed them often and in hot water in a coin-op washer so I do know how these stand up to heavy use and washing. I also know that when I soaked them for extended periods (treated more like cloth diapers), the fabric broke down much faster and I did ask if this is what happened but she has not responded to my note at all.

 

I do not understand why someone would be petitioning paypal for a refund. I did not send her damaged or inferior goods. The cotton fabric got holes in it faster than either of us expected but I did not make those holes. I understand that it is upsetting when a product does not meet your expectations and I understand if she never trusts my product again because of that but why should I have to pay her back for that item 6 months later??

 


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#9 of 13 Old 04-21-2011, 05:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubelin View Post

first I want to clarify that these are EC pants, not regular training pants. I have never potty trained my children because they were both ECed from birth or close to it, so I have no idea how regular training pants would be used. I did use my own pants very heavily and washed them often and in hot water in a coin-op washer so I do know how these stand up to heavy use and washing. I also know that when I soaked them for extended periods (treated more like cloth diapers), the fabric broke down much faster and I did ask if this is what happened but she has not responded to my note at all.

 

I do not understand why someone would be petitioning paypal for a refund. I did not send her damaged or inferior goods. The cotton fabric got holes in it faster than either of us expected but I did not make those holes. I understand that it is upsetting when a product does not meet your expectations and I understand if she never trusts my product again because of that but why should I have to pay her back for that item 6 months later??

 


I agree.  Perhaps you can give a limited warranty in the future.  IME, if someone complains to the payment processor (PP or CC), the customer almost always wins.

 


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#10 of 13 Old 04-21-2011, 06:31 AM
 
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Maybe you can find a happy medium.  Honestly, 20% off a future purchase is a slap in the face.  This customer probably won't buy anything from you again anyway, so now you need to appease her enough to avoid bad reviews of your business.  Can you swallow your pride a little (even if you are right) in order to protect your good name?

 

Maybe offer her a choice of 2 things in order to give her a feeling of power that will appease her frustration ....  think about what you would expect in her shoes.  Perhaps one free, or 50% off a future order up to X dollars.

 

good luck mama!

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#11 of 13 Old 04-21-2011, 07:01 AM
 
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Wow. Assuming these are in fact the actual items she purchased (and not older ones she had hanging around that happened to look almost exactly like yours), I would absolutely replace them. If you can't afford to replace them, would you be able to have her send them back for repair? Are they repairable?

Do you have any other customers that ordered around the same time/same fabric? Could you send a general followup, something like, hope you are enjoying your training pants, please email me feedback & in return you'll receive 10% off your next order? Just something to get an idea if it's just this woman's or if it's a larger problem that customers are not reporting?

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#12 of 13 Old 04-21-2011, 09:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I haven't heard back from her, so I don't know if she felt "slapped in the face" or what. The pants are not repairable, but I advised that she could have someone zig-zag stitch around the legs to hold the layers together so that they are more comfortable (which is what I do on older pants that are otherwise in good condition)

 

I have sold hundreds of pairs of pants using this exact fabric (had a huge roll of it which is nearly gone now) over the last 8 years, including making a dozen or so for my own use, and nobody has ever mentioned this issue before. There could very well have been a few people here and there who had a problem but didn't say anything, but I think this is mostly a fluke. As I said, when I was soaking my pants a lot, the lining did start getting holey pretty fast, so that is what I think might have happened, but I can't say without more communication with her.

 

Honestly, this makes me even more ready to give up this biz. I've been trying to make it work for 10 years but it's like pushing a giant rock up a hill. Diapers and trainers are such a high-use item and the cheap big-names have made most customers not willing to pay for what they actually cost to make. When my marriage ended, I was on the verge of breaking into a bigger market but couldn't afford it and now I have lost too much ground. My inventory is nearly gone so I think I might just quietly fade back out.


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#13 of 13 Old 04-21-2011, 11:07 AM
 
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Sorry, mama, that sounds frustrating!

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