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My (negative) experiences with Fabric.com

07 Mar

This is part one of a two part “review” of sorts on the website Fabric.com. This part isn’t even a review, it’s more of a rant talking about my dreadful experiences with this company, the dumb policies, and the terrible customer service. Part two will be an actual review of my most recent order (which hasn’t arrived yet) comparing product descriptions and photos to the actual material.

Warning – this is very long, and very negative.

As far as I can tell, this isn’t a company that cares at all about their customers. They don’t seem to make any effort to accurately describe the things they sell, and at least in my personal experience, complaints have been ignored rather then discussed and dealt with.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the site, Fabric.com is a website that sells fabric as well as notions, patterns, and even a few sewing machines. The website has a huge variety of fabrics that range from apparel, home decor, quilting, and upholstery. They have free shipping to the US if you order over $35, and I believe they ship worldwide.

Like with most stores, online or otherwise, the prices and quality vary a lot from product to product. In the case of Fabric.com the photos can be misleading, the descriptions aren’t very accurate, and you never really know what you’re going to get until it arrives.

The website is oddly designed and makes it difficult to view fabrics. The materials are sorted by designer – there is no “view all” option so finding something as simple as ‘white organza’ or ‘black jersey’ can be a challenge. You can use the search feature, but some of the items are oddly titled and won’t show up.

The “sort by price” feature isn’t very handy since it doesn’t take into account sale prices. A fabric that is regularly $20 but on sale for $5 will be listed with the $20+ materials instead of the $4.99-$9.99 ones, which makes it really tricky if you are browsing for items in a certain price range.  In addition to that, the website isn’t updated very often, even if an item is listed as “in stock : 340” units, they may be completely out.

But my main problem with this company stems with customer service, or the lack there of.

Experiences with Customer service: 

In my most recent order I snagged twenty seven yards of fabric for under ninety dollars. I was thrilled and really excited to get my new materials. I got an automated receipt emailed to me after ordering…but then forty eight hours passed and my order was still listed as “pending” on the site, which was my first hint that something was wrong.

Three days after making my order, I received an automated email saying one of my items was out of stock. I ordered seven yards of the material, and at the time I purchased it the website said over a hundred yards were in stock. rage I was really annoyed – I would say i’m fairly understanding things like this as long as i’m informed as soon as possible and they make an effort to solve the problem. Fabric.com does neither of those things.

And strangely, when I checked the website today the fabric was STILL listed as having 55 units in stock – this is over five days after I made my order that they couldn’t fulfill.

45555

  I replied requesting they ship the remaining pieces of my order, and for them to offer a coupon or voucher for my next order. Since they do not under ANY circumstances offer exchanges I had to make a separate order to replace the out of stock material, which would total $20 – meaning I have to pay shipping on it.

Twenty four hours later I received a shipping notice for my order. They didn’t reply to my email or request. My mother ended up calling them and they frankly stated that the policy is free shipping if you spend over $35, and under no circumstances would they change that.

I think that’s pretty terrible. It’s their fault I have to make a separate order, but they won’t even consider doing anything about the situation.

This seems especially bad compared to my recent experience with OnlineFabricStore.net. A few weeks ago I made a small order from them that they were unable to fulfill, and within twelve hours they called and sent me an email saying this:better For one thing, it isn’t an automated message, and each customer service staff member has a separate email so you are always dealing with the same person. I was informed quickly, and when I sent a reply asking about being refunded for the stock they couldn’t ship I received a reply within fifteen minutes.  My order was shipped out an hour later and they only charged me for seven yards as opposed to the seven and a half yards I received.

Good job OnlineFabricStore.net

Back to Fabric.com – Here are a few other experiences I’ve had with them.

Order #1:  My first ever order was in March of last year. I had just attended Katsucon and was looking to take on another big project. Fabric.com happened to be having a sale on taffeta, I don’t recall the price but I think it was around $2 a yard, and tulle was on sale too. I made a large order of over thirty yards of material that totaled $70. At the time I ordered twenty five yards of red taffeta, and on the website they listed over three hundred yards in stock. I received the typical conformation email/receipt. Then my order processed for three days before I received an automated email saying this: angurr I asked if they would even consider an exchange, since I could use pink taffeta instead or red. I was told no – I would have to make a separate order. By this point the sale was no longer on (since it took them so long to inform me) so I would have to pay full price. I told them to cancel the order and never received a response. Three days later the order was marked as “canceled” on the website. I sent them an email asking about how the refund details would work and, big surprise, I never got a response.

Order #2:  This was a much larger order! I made this right before new years so there were a lot of sales going on. This order was over a hundred dollars, and included almost thirty yards of material. The order was shipped quickly without any issues, but when it arrived there were some serious problems with a few of the materials.

The taffeta felt like it was better suited for a construction tarp then a dress, the jacquard listed as “medium weight” was thicker then heavy canvas and the chiffon that was labeled as “ivory” was actually orange AND stained. The image below shows two products labeled as “Ivory Chiffon” the top one is from Fabric.com and the lower one is from a shop in NYC.

DSC_4956

(on the bright side, it’s two tone, so it varies from orange to more orange)

I wrote them an email saying I was not happy with the chiffon – I included photos of the fabric which was clearly much darker then the photos they provided, as well as pictures of the stains. I received no response. I sent them a message through the customer support on the website and didn’t get a response. The fabric was still usable and had only cost $14 so I gave up attempting to contact them.

,,,

Reviews: 

Moving on to reviews! I decided to at least attempt to inform other people who might use the website that some of the materials aren’t the best. I have written several reviews for Fabric.com, a few were positive, but most of them were negative. All the reviews were within their guidelines. Though some of them were clearly negative, none of them were nasty or rude.

I pointed out that the fabrics were different then the photos/descriptions and that I wouldn’t recommend them for certain things. Strangely enough, all my Two star and below reviews have been declined and never posted to the website. My positive review, sent in at the same time, was accepted.

Conclusion:

As much as I hate to say it – I would order from this site again.  I only purchase from Fabric.com when the deals are too good to pass up – like when they have items marked down to clearance prices, some of which are 80% off. Despite all the frustrations with them, six yards of fabric for $10 is pretty irresistible.

In the end I have gotten  great deals through this website, i’ve gotten good fabric, and I have been happy with some of my purchases. But I’ve also had such frustrating experiences with what they call “customer service”. I’ve wasted money on fabrics that weren’t at all as described, I’ve had to pay extra shipping costs due to their negligence, and i’ve written realistic reviews about their products that have been deleted!

So I wouldn’t say “Do not under any circumstance order from this site” but I would suggest you keep all of this in mind if you are planning on purchasing their products. Especially if you want to make a large order of a single item, because if it arrives and isn’t what you want, there isn’t a chance in hell you will get your money back.

Thanks for reading…sorry for the bit of negativity but I really wanted to put this out there!

Tomorrow I will have another “The Making of” post up, followed by a “Stay Study” post on Monday!

 

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16 responses to “My (negative) experiences with Fabric.com

  1. Nancy York

    March 8, 2014 at 1:55 am

    I have been dealing with fabric.com for years until recently they changed their shipping policy from free shipping over 35 dollars to not free shipping for those in Alaska and HI. Before I always managed free shipping. I complained to them and they said too bad that’s the policy. I bought so much from them over the years I said I’d just stop using them. They don’t care if they lose a good customer. Just the other day I did use them again finding what I needed on there but I do try and stay away now. Up here in Alaska I have to use on line shopping. For the positive I have complained in the past about fabric not being right and they refunded my money and told me to just keep the fabric or donate it to charity.
    Nan

     
  2. Isabel Fisher

    March 8, 2014 at 2:34 am

    You should try their facebook page. I find whenever I’m having an issue with a company, especially if it’s being ignored, posting on their facebook gets results. I went to their page and it seems that they do try to help and resolve issues when people post there. Give it a try. Good luck!

     
    • Angela Clayton

      March 8, 2014 at 11:27 am

      I didn’t realize they had a page! I guess I will do that in the future if I have more problems with them – but that really sucks that they only deal with public complaints instead of emails directly to the customer service department.

       
      • Isabel Fisher

        March 8, 2014 at 2:18 pm

        Yes, it’s too bad some companies handle public complaints better, but if that’s what it takes, so be it. I had a problem with a broken laptop cooler from a very high end electronics/computer parts company. I called and emailed several times with no response. I started posting once a day on their Facebook page about their complete lack of customer service. I had to contact the BBB and the California Attorney General as well. They finally took care of my problem! I went back to their Facebook page to post a final update and saw all my pleas for customer service were removed and I could no longer post on their page. Hurts them more than me! Anyway, moral of my story is unfortunately, sometimes you have to be a very squeaky wheel. 😉 And social media really helps in that regard. Hopefully you won’t have to be in that situation again.

         
  3. deweydecimalsbutler

    March 8, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Thanks for the heads up. I’m about to start quilting big time, and ordering fabric online is going to be a big part. Sorry you’ve had such rotten experiences.

     
  4. Nikki

    March 8, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Thank you so much for the warnings! Good to know. Sorry you had issues!

     
  5. davidbruceblog

    March 8, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Reblogged this on davidbruceblog and commented:
    This is a very good use of the First Amendment.

     
  6. essieofwho

    March 8, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    I understand the problems with Fabric.com. I try to stay away from them unless I can’t find fabric anywhere else. I’ve had so many bad experiences with them I’d rather buy fabric at a higher prices as long as I’m guaranteed to get what I ordered. The final straw for me was when they shipped 10 yards of fabric in 6 yard and 3 yard pieces without telling me before shipping. I hat to admit it I did shop at their store after that, but it’s not my go-to store anymore. I’m glad I’m not the only one who had problems with them!

     
    • Angela Clayton

      March 11, 2014 at 11:55 am

      I feel the same way – if I can get what I need somewhere else, I will. It’s only when the prices are drastically different that i’m willing to deal with the crappy customer service.

       
  7. Fair Escape

    March 9, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    This is the sort of company I’d shop from with a credit card, and if there are massive problems (like fabric cut into smaller pieces, a blatantly incorrect color) I’d challenge the payments. You can’t do it too many times, but this sort of thing not only allows you not to pay for blatant violations, but it also looks very bad for a company.

     
  8. jennabows75

    April 30, 2014 at 7:39 am

    HI Angela I live in South Carolina and there is a store in Gastonia called MAryjo’s. I have been there and it is huge. there are lots of good deals too here is the website http://maryjos.com/. I have heard that the return policy is pretty good too!!!!!! Sorry about your experience.

     
    • Angela Clayton

      April 30, 2014 at 8:36 pm

      Thank you for the recommendation! I’ll have to look into it.

       
  9. thatsjustmink

    January 13, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    I ordered from them at the recommendation of a friend who orders from them for her business and I had no issue. I ordered with the new years sale and since it took longer than 2 business days to ship they expedited my order without me even asking. I see lots of bad stuff about them online but I know there must be hundreds of other happy endings that people don’t bother reviewing them for. I think people only review things when they have something to complain about.

     
    • Angela Clayton

      January 13, 2015 at 8:04 pm

      I’m glad you had a positive experience. That may be true, but every experience I’ve had with them has ended badly and I know others who have had similar troubles. If they were a fantastic a company they wouldn’t give customers so much to complain about or completely ignore issues when they are at fault.

      It’s true most reviews are negative, because people assume businesses will run as promised. And when they don’t people complain, and usually they have a reason to!

       
      • thatsjustmink

        January 14, 2015 at 4:57 am

        That’s true! I think they used to be better before amazon got to them. When amazon bought the company they switched to having a separate warehouse from the people who run the orders. This is where all the issues with it saying there’s 55 yards of something when in fact there is none.
        I will in the future only buy their “reorderable” (or whatever it’s called) fabric.
        I think the more people hate them and won’t order from them the more they will change things, even if all you get to see are emotionless emails lol

         
  10. crystal taylor

    August 20, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    HI. My name is crystal and i was wondering Ms. Clayton do you design wedding dresses? Like a hippie wedding dress? Your gowns and work are absolutely beautiful.

     

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