Customer Received Broken Cookies!

Hi, ladies, I wonder if I can ask for some advice? I am a home cookie business from the UK, and have today received an email  from a customer from the USA whose order arrived and 6 out of 28 cookies are broken! She has sent me photos. This is the first time this has happened to me. I packed the box very carefully inside another box with several layers of bubble wrap. I am really shocked that so many were broken.  The customer is demanding that I send her replacements. How do I handle this situation? It's not cheap posting to the USA and I don't want to receive bad feedback?!

Original Post

Do you have any statements on your site or in your materials about not being responsible for breakage incurred during mailing? It may not have been an issue with your packing but rather with the handling. Something to consider for the future.

In the meantime, I'd probably send replacements to keep her happy, but I'd make it clear that you can't be held responsible for breakage in transit this time.

Hi Julia, I sell on Etsy and yes my policy does state that I don't refund for breakages that have incurred during transit. I use lots of bubble wrap and always 2 sturdy boxes, this is the first time I've had a breakage and didn't think I would be on the receiving end of such an aggressive email from a customer! The delivery was handled by USPS.

I think I will send her replacements to keep her sweet, and as you say will remind her that any breakages during transit are not my responsibility this time. This order has cost me a lot already but I wouldn't want her leaving me unpleasant feedback on Etsy either!!  Thank you so much for your time Julia :-)

That said, why do you bother with international orders? Or even out-of-state? Shipping adds a huge hassle factor and cost. I never shipped when I had my bakery - I just focused on local word-of-mouth advertising, and pretty quickly had a large local clientele that kept me super busy. I wonder why so many cookiers do Facebook marketing, because it would seem to me that most could stay pretty busy right in their own neck-of-the-woods by advertising/marketing more locally.

Hi Julia, I wasn't offering international delivery until this customer especially asked me to accommodate her order, and a big lesson learned, I will never take on an international order again! It really isn't worth all the stress. I have come to realise the hard way that building my reputation in my own area is the way to go. I don't mind offering delivery within the UK as it's so easy and the customer receives their order next day. I have posted many parcels within the UK and not had a problem (yet). I'm a cookie novice who has finally seen the light :-)

Good advice Julia :-)

I understand your stress and predicament.  I agree that you need to either refund the customer for the cost of the broken cookies or send replacements.  To avoid having to deal with the breakage issue,  I only sell cookies to local customers and they either pick up the order or I deliver and charge mileage.  Also, preparing a package for shipment requires shipping materials which is costly and packaging takes precious time.  When I receive an inquiry from someone who is not local, I suggest they search online for a cookie decorator in their vicinity.  Good luck!  Joan-My Cookie Clinic

Absolutely, I know that now. I really appreciate the good advice from fellow cookiers on this site, such an amazing resource :-)

I haven't heard from the customer, I know that her replacement cookies were delivered yesterday morning. I assume they arrived safe and well otherwise I would have known about it by now!

I have been silently following this thread, because as I don't sell cookies, it is only theory I can offer. BUT, international trade is my business, I at least know a bit about the generals.

So, let me summarize: You sold cookies to some lady from overseas who actually talked you into this, as you normally only ship locally. You mention in your terms that you don't take responsibility for breakage during transport. And still you feel the need to replace her broken cookies free of charge so she won't give you a bad review on etsy???

If she had contacted me nicely I would have offered her replacement cookies foc, if she paid for the freight. If she was rude, not even this. Cause honestly, that was a clear case.

Maybe I am strange, but I have been working with customers for more than 20 years now. There are just some who rip off your whole arm when you offer your little finger. Sometimes it is better to risk a bad review (and add a statement below it to clarify the facts), than to let yourself get fooled

Hi Laegwen, in hindsight I do feel this customer did not deserve the replacement cookies after being rude to me in her email. Yes she did rip me off but she won't be receiving my services again . Being polite isn't that difficult if there is a problem, you can always work things out but being rude just makes things ugly and unpleasant all around. I am new to Etsy and building my portfolio and feedback is very important at this stage, potential customers will want to read reviews from the past and form a decision as to order from me or not. If this had happened further down the line, then I wouldn't have been so worried about a bad review. From hereon, I will not let this happen to me again! 

cookiesandcream posted:

Hi Laegwen, in hindsight I do feel this customer did not deserve the replacement cookies after being rude to me in her email. Yes she did rip me off but she won't be receiving my services again . Being polite isn't that difficult if there is a problem, you can always work things out but being rude just makes things ugly and unpleasant all around. I am new to Etsy and building my portfolio and feedback is very important at this stage, potential customers will want to read reviews from the past and form a decision as to order from me or not. If this had happened further down the line, then I wouldn't have been so worried about a bad review. From hereon, I will not let this happen to me again! 

I keep my fingers crossed that it was worth it and she will leave a very, very nice comment then.

It is sometimes hard to walk the fine line of serving a customer with all care, and still be decent to yourself...

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