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Unhappy Wholesale Customer


countryg
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HI Everyone, just needed to vent alittle.. Just got a call from a wholesale customer ,. She received a soy candle order in May of this year , and is now calling complaining that she is unhappy with the looks of the candles, so much that she has taken them off the shelves.

As we all know soy candles frost as they sit for awhile.. I have never had a customer ever complain of this before, but I do realize where she is coming from.. Has anyone ever had this issue ?? I guess the best thing to do is to possibly do some sort of refund, it makes me however wonder how often this has happened and no one said anything..

I know I have tried many things in trying to get these soy candles to look better, but face it , with the wax I am using , the shelf life is limited. Everyone seems to want natural , but that does come with a price..

I do know that it was also warm when I shipped them in May and it could of contributed to the problem , plus shipping in a hot area.. makes me really want to reavalulate my business, with these hard to work with soy issues..

thanks for listening..

Diane

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I really believe the best thing to do is not color them. Sure people can try and prevent the frosting for the time being, but I guarantee, if they sit on a shelf in uncontrolled temperatures, they will surely eventually frost.

You should try also selling your product on the packaging. Come up with a unique container/label/lid so customers concentrate more on that rather than the color of the candle. A lot of high class soy candle companies sell soy candles in their natural color.

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Any customer, wholesale or otherwise, needs to be told that frosting is just part of the soy experience - it is not a flaw and it is not grounds for a refund or discount.

You can certainly go with what Carrie suggested - no color. Frosting will still occur and if you look closely you can see it, it's just not as blatantly obvious.

You could go with frosted jars that would hide the effect. Or you could go with a crock or some sort of container that isn't clear glass on the sides.

Lastly, you could consider going with a soy-paraffin blend that would get rid of the frosting.

All up to you and how you want to run your business :)

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Five months go by and now she's complaining about them. I realize it may take time for something like that to occur, but I can't help but wonder if maybe she is having slow sales and is looking for a scapegoat.

Do you think she is likely to buy more candles if you give her a refund? If she's unhappy with this batch she probably won't be any happier in the future, so unless she returns the candles to you and you think you can sell the candles elsewhere, I don't see any point in giving her a refund.

I don't know of any companies that let you hang on to merchandise for 5 months, complain about it and then get a refund.

If you think you make a good candle, maybe you need to set some guidelines in your marketing materials. Explain about frosting, and stipulate what your policy is regarding returns. It's ok if you want to offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. But it's also ok to offer a week or 30 days to return merchandise if you are not satisfied with it--but not 5 months!

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I agree with the above posts.

Going natural does help.

But you still have the issues of the candles turning yellow or even florescent yellow. Especially if they put your product on shelves near a window or sunlight. (Which some still do even after you explain not to..LOL)

You could always buy gift boxes to package your wholesale candles in.

They can display the first candle so people can smell it then box up the rest behind the display. This may help with the presentation of your candles and help with the issue of frosting and turning yellow..:cheesy2:

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Five months go by and now she's complaining about them. I realize it may take time for something like that to occur, but I can't help but wonder if maybe she is having slow sales and is looking for a scapegoat.

This was my first thought as well. Sales were slow, and she's trying to come up with some excuse to get her money back on them. Do NOT consider a refund unless you get all the candles back. Even then, honestly... I don't know. Five months, especially when you're unlikely to even retain her as a customer. I think I'd tell her no. I've always had the policy that we will exchange or refund for defective product only. As others have stated (since I don't make candles), nothing is actually WRONG with the candles. And even with defective product, I have a time limit. Personally, I'd say no refund.

PS - Even the more lenient big box places don't allow returns after 90 days. Five months is absolutely ridiculous. But you do need to do what you think is best, and what will sit with you and your conscience.

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The gal I talked to isnt the gal that ordered, this gal just works together in the same shop..

She stated , so she said that they have been off the shelf for more than a month, and just hasnt had time to call, also she said she would not place another order.. and that she was not advised of the soy issues..

If I only would of kept my "sent to" emails, I usually let people know that shipping in the hotter months can create problems, although I know I did send them out to some wholesale inquiries , I am not sure if she got the email as having this stated..dang!!

I really don't want them back, by the time I get them back and cost and such it is a pain.. I know they probably have issues, heck I did ship when we were hot here..

so if I did refund, what would be fair..

thanks everyone for responding, I have to talk with here again on Tuesday, so I need to be prepared as to what I should do and say..

Diane

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Even if they had pulled them a month ago, that's still 4 months and to me anyway, that's a long time to all of a sudden decide they don't like the looks of them any longer. And knowing she's not a repeat customer, unless you have a policy that says you will take it all back, I wouldnt do it. That's quite a bit of a loss to take for yourself.

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What state are you shipping to? Frosting happen when the temps start to cool for the season. Don't take them back as there really IS NOTHING wrong with the candles and the way they burn.

Sounds like the owners is upset, not the customers and if she pulled them then it's her own fault they are not selling.

The thing you need to learn to do is PLAY UP the frosting and how unique it is to strictly soy candles.

My own customers are upset if there IS NOT frosting on my candles. Why? Because I played it up as something fun and interesting about my pure soy candles. They LOVE IT!

As this person will not be reordering, tell her do as she likes and write her off as experience and move to the next wholesale customer.

Fire:rolleyes2

Fire

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A customer who complains about something 5 months after they receive it is not a customer you want to hang on to--especially after they claim they had a problem after 4 months but didn't do anything about it AND they don't plan on placing another order with you.

I think you should ask her what her company policy is concerning refunds. Does she ever give out refunds for anything after 5 months? I seriously doubt it. Frankly, I would tell her it was not possible to give her a refund at this point. Business owners know that kind of thing just doesn't happen. If she sold shirts in her store window the sun could fade the fabric--that happens a lot. Would she call the shirt manufacturer 5 months after they've been sitting in the window and tell them she can't sell the shirts because they faded and she wants her money back. No.

It's a bunch of baloney for her to ask for a refund. She probably knows she's being unreasonable to ask for a refund, but figures it won't hurt to ask.

You have absolutely nothing to gain by giving her a refund.

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I am 100% with sockmonkey here. You don't owe her an explanition either. Come on, Nothing wrong with the candles besides SHE says she doesn't like the look which sounds like total BS and 5 months to contact you about this. :shocked2: You can't return ANYTHING after 5 months, heck your lucky if you get 30 days. Stand your ground and don't go back and forth with her on this one or you will be swayed to give in to her. She had enough nerve to even ask something so stupid so be prepared for her to not accept your answer. Keep it short and sweet, no money back, don't even mention the frosting, that is not an issue or a defect. If she contacts you again about it after you tell her no just delete the email.

Good Luck

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Thank you for posting this Diane. I just went all soy and have very much considered going natural - no dye as well. I think you may have just helped me make up my mind. I am sorry to hear about your customer. I have a new wholesale customer myself, and she has placed multiple orders already and I too have worried how the soy is going to work for her in the long run in her little retail shop.

Kim

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I agree with the above posts.

Going natural does help.

But you still have the issues of the candles turning yellow or even florescent yellow. Especially if they put your product on shelves near a window or sunlight. (Which some still do even after you explain not to..LOL)

As I stated in above post, I am considering going natural with my soy. Would a UV additive help with any discoloration? I use it with my colors, but it makes sense that it would help the natural coloring too, correct?

Thanks in advance!

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UV additive is VERY important. The best compromise is to choose pastel colors, so that as little dye is introduced as possible. Giving out written storage/display instructions with wholesale orders might not be a bad idea...

The buyer ALWAYS has the option of putting them on sale with one or two burning to illustrate that there is nothing WRONG with the candles, so they COULD recoup their money themselves... ;)

They should be turning over their stock much quicker than that! Who in their right mind takes a product OFF the shelf and doesn't ask for a refund or even contact their supplier for 5 months and then expects ANYTHING other then hysterical laughter?:laugh2: I'd have to tell 'em nice try, but no cigar, as I wiped the tears off my face and regained control... ;)

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Thank you for replying about the UV additive, Stella. And my apologies for going a little off topic in the above post.

I agree with everyone else. I would not refund her any money at all. She shouldn't have even pulled them off the shelf, but instead put them on a closeout sale to at least get some of her money back. It all sounds kind of fishy to me.

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My view on it is if they have not been able to sell them in 5 months they must not be displayed or promoted them right. I dont know how large of a store or what kind of inventory they have but 5 months is a long time for them to have product left unless it was a large order. Most stores want to turn their whole store inventory several times each year to keep the money flowing in and the products looking fresh.

I doubt that frosting is the real reason they pulled them off the shelves. Space is valuable and if for some reason they were just not selling they just may have wanted to try something else in that spot.

Bruce

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I agree with Fire and Ice.I wouldn't take them back.Reason is my candle will frost at times in one month.I Only have a handful and the rest look pretty good. SOme the frost blends in and no problem.So if it is frosting, you shipped hot weather, and you have no idea how hot it might have been in her store.I wouldn't take them back and give her these reasons

Now for me I hate and am embarrassed by the frosting but love my colors to much to change. I know where the Apple Pie candles are.They are red and helps when my customers ask for a certain candle.

BUT believe me customers have no problem.I found out through craft shows. I tell them "I don't like the looks of that.The customers say what is the matter with it. It is faded and frosted.The lady said that doesn't bother me.All I do is burn it. I guess I should look at it the way customers do but it is hard. I am sure some look and walk and then you have the nice ones like this lady who could care less.Same with my tarts.Had some broken but a lady asked if I had more.I said yes but not selling them because they are broken.She said that doesn't bother me one bit.And she brought those that were in a few pieces. I am happy with the way some customers are and really do know the characteristics of soy or else just love the scent and the candle.

Oh and I bet her wholelsale order was a spring order(florals etc) and now what is left will sit. She wants money back for that reason.

LynnS

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  • 11 months later...

I always tell my wholesale customers that I will buy back $50 worth of product if they haven't moved. As for refunds on defective, I've never had a complaint. But, I would probably not give a refund if the person said they were not going to reorder from me in the future. If they do not have loyalty toward me, then I do not feel I owe them a thing unless the product is truly defective.

On another note, how to avoid the look of frosting? Consider using 100% soy. Make chunks of scented colored wax, overpour with white wax and then sprinkle crumbles on top. The whole thing looks good enough to eat! The imperfections are what makes the candle look unique. So don't look at soy like it's a problem, look for ways to work with it that play up its imperfections so that people love them. Note: The different colors of wax should blend into a nice color - so be sure to use a color wheel when deciding on what colors of chunks to use in your candles. Othewise, it might end up looking brownish or black.

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