Wherein I share my sad tale of woe that others may be spared : P
Now, I love shopping on-line. I really do. And I shop on line a lot.
I’m frequently asked where I get my fabrics, accessories and the like. Truth is I get them all over the world, because when I’m working on a project I’ll spend countless hours hunting down the most “right” materials I can find. Both heaven and hell are in the details:)
Most of my on-line shopping experiences have been good. I was thrilled with the dozens of TINY BUTTONS I bought on Etsy from lovely Anna in Poland. I’ve had some amazing high end silks from SARTOR in the Czech Republic. You can’t beat the reasonably priced castings at ARMOUR and CASTINGS. These are only a few, and I’ve been an ebay and etsy shopper for years too.
None the less, on-line shopping has its risks, and even a very experienced shopper can run into trouble.
The single worst experience I’ve ever had happened late last year.
I was sourcing fabric for my upcoming Saxon Gown project and thought I’d found some good choices at Puresilk.us, an online retailer from India. They also go by quite a lot of other names including The Fabric Factory, Royal Indian Brocades, Executive Silks, and maybe others, so you must be wary if you’re to avoid them.
I like to know who I’m dealing with on line. So I started to search for reviews. I stopped looking when I found that a well known pattern maker and costumer highly recommended them. Great! I thought, I’ll go ahead and order.
I spent a total of $150US for “samples” of four fabrics (three at a yard each, and one three-yard piece).
The first thing that went wrong was they didn’t actually have one of the fabrics, despite it being listed as in-stock when I ordered. I ended up choosing an alternate that was $18 cheaper. They promised to refund the difference…..more on that later.
I waited for a few weeks, and then, oh frabjous day! The order arrived! On Christmas Eve! Like it was from Santa! What could be better! Alas, like finding a lump of coal in your Christmas stocking this is what happened next:
One fabric was the wrong colour entirely, which was annoying, but the other two seemed workable. I’d intended to over-dye one of the samples to get the colour I wanted, so I immediately ran off to get my dye supplies (because who doesn’t spontaneously dye fabric on Christmas Eve?) I popped it in to the dye bath and waited….checked it…waited…..checked it…waited……….after well over an hour, the fabric came out of the dye bath completely unchanged. That’s when I became suspicious and the real trouble started.
I got out my lighter and burn tested it. Not 100% silk. In fact little to no silk content at all. The same proved true for the two others. When the fourth piece of fabric arrived a couple of weeks later it also was synthetic.
One fabric mislabeled with wrong fiber content is possibly a mistake,
BUT ALL FOUR?!?!
Here is a link to a video of me burn testing the fabrics. A videographer I am not, but it does clearly show the results of the burn test. I’m lucky the fire department didn’t have to come. As for my cat in the background, no she wasn’t being tortured, she always sounds like that, she’s part siamese.
And here is the email string (read bottom to top). I especially like the part where they try to blame it all on poor workers in remote villages. Nice.
Although they eventually promised to refund me, they never actually processed the refund. That’s when I went to my credit card provider for help.
First I had to report the case as fraud to the RCMP. Then I had to get an expert to verify in writing that the fabrics were in fact not silk (not actually easy to do). Then after sending all of this paperwork etc. to VISA, they were able to get me my money back. It was almost more trouble than it was worth, but there was no way I wanted to let Puresilks.us keep my money.
Is this a happy ending? No. Not really. Yes, I have my money but no fabric. And they cost me my time and have delayed my project.
I post this in the hopes that you may learn from my sad tale, sewing friends.
Let my pain save you from a similar fate 🙂
P.S. I contacted the costumer who recommended this company to tell them what had happened. They would not hear of it. They defended the company, and when I continued to suggest there were issues, simply blocked me.
Were I in their position, I’d certainly want to know. I’d be worried about tarnishing my own reputation by recommending a company like this one. But, I guess no one likes to get bad news. If I’d been singing the praises of a supplier to others, and made some expensive costumes out of their fabric thinking it was silk, I might not have wanted hear this either. I’d probably be embarrassed at having been mislead. But it could easily have been me too, if I hadn’t tried to dye the fabric I might not have caught on either.