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A new one on me....

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In the 13 years I've been in business, I've never had anything like this happen and I'm not sure what to do about it, if anything.

In early March I had a customer place a decent sized order on my site...almost $160. They said that they didn't want any fragrance and didn't have a particular time requirement for receiving the items, but had some requirements on colors. So I contacted them right away but heard nothing. A week later I sent another email asking that they call me, or give me a time I could call them. Still nothing. So I called a couple of times, left messages, but still nothing! Within a couple of days, I again emailed and told them that if I did not hear from them by such and such a time and date, I would be cancelling the order as I did not want a chargeback. Within hours I received a phone call from this woman's assistant, telling me that the customer went on vacation right after placing the order and then came home and got sick. She was sure the customer still wanted the order, would not do a chargeback, and would be in touch as soon as she was better and back at work. Well...here it is May, it's rapidly approaching 60 days, and I still haven't heard anything. :confused:

I don't want to cancel this order and would love to fill it, but I'm not sure what to do. I hate to "threaten" cancellation again to get a response, but would you? I mean, I don't care if she wants to wait 6 mos. to have me fill the order. I get bridal orders 6 mos. to a year in advance all the time, but this isn't a bridal order. I can't imagine anyone paying that kind of money and then waiting so long without receiving their purchase. I have so many questions. What would you do? TIA

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I honestly would just cancell it, you gave her enough time to contact you back. I would cancell and email her and let her know and tell her when she is ready to re submit her order to call you and let you know.

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As usual, when I made the initial post here, it was before I had had my first cup of coffee and didn't enter enough info for you to understand the full situation. I think the ravages of age are catching up on me.:laugh2:I'll have to watch that in the future!

Without giving too much detail of how I run my business, I sell strictly online and EVERYTHING is custom made when ordered. There is no finished product here. All the pictures on my site are of products that were made for testing, then tested and are gone. If they don't pass the tests, they aren't put on the site. But good pictures are the most important thing in selling product online, so I take the picture while I have them made up. My customer base has continued to grow over the years because I do things this way. Many times they can find something very similar elsewhere, but it's not the color or fragrance/unscented that they want. I also make one of a kind upon request.

That said, suppose a customer orders a candle in aubergine with Tuscan Cypress fragrance. No matter how many orders are in the que ahead of them, within 3 days the materials(wax/soap, fragrance, wicks, containers, etc.) are pulled colored and fragranced and ready to manufacture as time and space become available. That is why they pay when ordering. Custom color/fragrance options may be what they want but if they change their mind, it may be a long time if ever that that combo will sell.

I also get and take ALOT of orders for products that aren't wanted until months down the road. These are mostly for weddings, anniversaries, showers, special parties, birthdays, etc., and I actually have a few paid 2010 Xmas orders already that they don't want until December. It's what the customer wants, and they feel peace that something is "taken care of" and they don't have to store it! And no, I've never missed one need date.

This has helped tremendously in avoiding monthly peaks and valleys in cash flow, managing workload, and not carrying more inventory than needed.

So, to answer some specific questions/comments:

Wildcrafter, this is why I charge them when they order, not when I ship. Their order is custom for them.

Candybee, no, in this case, it is not absurb. It's a special service I offer, and being told once(at the time I first posted) that she did not want to cancel the order and had no set delivery needed, was reason enough not to cancel.

darci, it isn't a scam. She is the wife of a large builder in Idaho. I've checked with American Express(her payment method) and everything was an exact match, plus when I've called they answer the phone with the company name.

She has been ill, but is sending swatches of the blues she would like. So all is well. I guess I got nervous because in this economy, no matter when customers order for delivery, they always want the details worked out immediately. The nonchalance of this customer threw me.

Sorry this is so long, but wanted to explain.

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