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  1. #1
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    Seriously...?
    This one has me shaking my head.

    We recently had a bunch of stuff printed up in prep for doing a booth at a Gold and Treasure Show. We did banners, shopping bags, t-shirts and bumper stickers. We went with a local company to do our shirts and stickers, 400+ shirts and 2500 stickers. We also got two sample cloth bags to consider for our shopping bag needs, but they proved to be too small.

    Today I received an email asking if I planned on returning the samples, or would I like to purchase them for $3.75? Seriously...?

    Aren't samples generally written off as a cost of customer acquisition? I've never heard of anyone asking for them back. It won't cost much to send them back, and I'm happy to, but it was a surprising request. It just strikes me as really odd that they're worrying about $3.75 after all the money we'd just spent with them.
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  2. #2
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    Does seem a bit odd. Are they a well established local company?

    Asking for 2 samples back, or asking you to pay $3.75 is crazy

  3. #3
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    Yeah, they've been around for years. I say local, but they're actually about 25 miles away. The drive into town to pick up the samples cost more than $3.75.

    The worst part was that the email closed with: "I look forward to working with you in the future."

    Then why did you just send this email? I was really happy with everything you've done up until this single, ridiculous, email.
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  4. #4
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    It's called penny wise and dollar foolish.
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  5. #5
    Full Member kayecee's Avatar
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    Could it have been an automated email?

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    Reply back and say you're sorry for keeping the bag and sorry you took their up their time to take your money. Then, promise not to keep any future samples or bother them with your orders.
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  7. #7
    The affiliate formerly known as ojmoo
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    cheesehead is right, penny wise pound foolish. But I think you should offer them a chance to admit thier mistake and appologize. Email them back and tell them that if you hadn't used their organization for the actual order you might understand them wanting their samples back. But since you did buy the actual products that they have two choices, they can either bill you for the samples and you will pay them but never buy from them again or then can apologize for this misunderstanding and you may consider using their services in thr future.

    I'll bet you'll most likely you'll get an apology instead of a bill.
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  8. #8
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    I came close to being snippy, but instead thought she might pick up on the fact that her request struck me as odd.

    Sorry about the delay. I had no idea the samples were expected to be returned. I've not run into that before. I'm pretty sure we still have them though, and should be able to get them in the mail today or tomorrow.
    Guess I should've been a little more obvious. Her reply:

    Thank you.
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager zooma230's Avatar
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    I've run into a few places that required samples to be purchased, but this is a indicated up front. I'm not sure how they could charge you for the samples after they were sent unless you agreed to this in a contract.
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  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador danay's Avatar
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    That's pretty wierd. I've ordered these products so many times that I can't keep count. I have NEVER had to return samples, even when I didn't buy. It's part of the cost of marketing their products/services.
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  11. #11
    Believe knight01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danay
    That's pretty wierd. I've ordered these products so many times that I can't keep count. I have NEVER had to return samples, even when I didn't buy. It's part of the cost of marketing their products/services.
    That is usually the case. It's an expected cost of that type of business. I've worked with companies that actually say things like 'samples available at deep discount', it makes it clear upfront they expect payment.
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  12. #12
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Tell them to stop by any time to pick them up!

  13. #13
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick
    Tell them to stop by any time to pick them up!
    I just may!
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  14. #14
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eathan
    This one has me shaking my head.

    We recently had a bunch of stuff printed up in prep for doing a booth at a Gold and Treasure Show. We did banners, shopping bags, t-shirts and bumper stickers. We went with a local company to do our shirts and stickers, 400+ shirts and 2500 stickers. We also got two sample cloth bags to consider for our shopping bag needs, but they proved to be too small.

    Today I received an email asking if I planned on returning the samples, or would I like to purchase them for $3.75? Seriously...?

    Aren't samples generally written off as a cost of customer acquisition? I've never heard of anyone asking for them back. It won't cost much to send them back, and I'm happy to, but it was a surprising request. It just strikes me as really odd that they're worrying about $3.75 after all the money we'd just spent with them.
    After reading your post, the only thing that would worried me would be...

    If those two sample cloth bags are not free, then I would wonder where those two sample cloth bags have been before, and who and with or for what those two used sample cloth bags were used before...

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador CCBerries's Avatar
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    I guessing what is really happening here:

    Most printers donít stock every possible item they can print on, they order a sample pack from the suppliers that have one of each most common items in a class and will do the volume orders required by the suppliers when they get an actual order.

    When a retailer orders from a supplier that they donít use very often they may get hit with minimum order fees, minimum shipping and the rest, so the merchant may get hit with all sorts of fees just to replace those two bags.

    Another possibility is that the Ďsamplesí from the manufacturer may only be available as part of a sample Ďkití that may cost several hundred. If they were already printed: the bags may have been part of an over-run and the manufacture may not even offer sample packs and may only sell in larger quantities.

    Whatever the reason the sample replacement cost for a non-stock item can be far greater than a few bucks per bag.. That they asked for it back shows the cost of getting replacements is higher than the cost of the time in getting them back. (though they should have said up front that itís a loan not a free sample). If the samples were printed set up time for reprinting the samples is not insignificant (different screen, different inks, cleanup time...).

    Or they could jus be part of a set that normally hangs on the wall in their retail location.

    And with the economy being what it is they could be trying to save money any way possible.

  16. #16
    Full Member TerriFalcone's Avatar
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    There is nothing wrong with charging a fee for samples IF and that is a BIG if, the company tells you that is their policy at the time you asked for the samples. Anything else reeks of bad business practices and you might encounter additional problems in future dealings. Be cautious.
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  17. #17
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    It's definitely "odd."

    This boils down to a customer service issue - they annoyed you enough to think twice about them as a viable source for product which is seriously penny wise, dollar stupid, no matter how much those samples cost.

    If you wanted to be nice, you could let her know how this affected your view of the company. Maybe she'll *get it.*

    A similar experience is charging a good customer for *missing* an appointment. If it's not habitual and there are extenuating circumstances, a good business will not charge for a missed appointment, even if that's their *policy.*

    It's all about making the customer happy and feeling good about the company. Customer retention and satisfaction is vital, in a "bad" economy or a good one.
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  18. #18
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    I think you all pretty well nailed it. Return or cost of the samples was never discussed, and that's why the email bothered me so much. I would've happily dropped them off when we picked up the shirts, or picked up the stickers, but nobody had ever mentioned it. To get an email a couple weeks later asking if I was planning to return or purchase them read like our new account was worth ever so slightly less than $3.75.

    I don't believe they were part of a sample set. They were two different bags of one specific color. I think they ordered them in for me and were going to be billed for $3.75. Unfortunately they never told me and penny wise, pound foolish, they sent me an email after the fact that really didn't sit well.

    Cest la vie.

    Hope you all have a great weekend. It was my son Oliver's first go at Easter eggs today and he's already claimed his favorite. Next year I may do the onion skin dye my mother used to do when I was a kid. That was the coolest!
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

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