ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI) - Wholesale prices are appealing but after ordering on line, some local consumers say they never got what they paid for. I talked with two women who have money tied up after buying ribbons and trim.
The orders were placed months ago. Now, customers are complaining about delays and a no refund policy. This failure to deliver threatens cash flow for these small business owners.
Rachel: ‘I make shopping cart covers for children and that is part of my process of making it, I line leg openings with the bias tape.'
Shirley 'I do use a lot of ribbons for trimming my cake boards and in my cake decorating business. '
Last spring, both women ordered supplies from J-K-M Ribbons and Trims in New Jersey. Shirley Scarbrough of Catawisa says her confirmation letter said, wait 2 and a half weeks for delivery. She did. But nothing arrived. This is what Shirley did. 'I contacted them by email. He gave me a response that said they have some back orders, and it will be another two weeks. This happened four times. '
Rachel Distelrath had a slightly different experience. The listed price was a 30% discount. When she called about the delay the price changed. So Rachel pressed them on the price. 'I was able to get them up to 15%. But still they said another four to six weeks, before delivery. Well as of today, still nothing. '
The Better Business Bureau has processed 162 complaints in 38 states. A J K M spokesperson tells me the company does not stock products and depends on suppliers. That coupled with today's economy has created unusually long delays.
Michael Covone explains it this way. "Their problems become our problems. And due to the economy there are a lot of situations where they don't have enough inventory in the United States and some of these vendors we deal with have to wait for the goods to come from overseas. "
The company website may say no refunds but Covone says given the length of their wait, affected customers will receive a refund.
Their money is still in limbo according to Rachel ' I placed an order in good faith and I have nothing to show for it.'
Shirley says, ‘It`s very frustrating, for a small business owner. That comes out of my pocket.'
The Better Business Bureau encourages people to use caution when ordering online. The company's terms and conditions should be fully understood, especially the return and refund policy. And pay with a credit card so you can dispute a charge if necessary.
Call us with your consumer complaints, volunteers take calls Monday through Thursday from 11:00am till 1:00 pm, call toll free, 800-782-2222.