African Treasures / Frustrating experience
The following review is written by a well-seasoned consumer with many years' online shopping experience under her belt: successfully completing literally HUNDREDS of online transactions with sites like Ebay, Etsy and non-auction retailers, while using PayPal nearly exclusively. Throughout all these online transactions, I have received 100% positive feedback from retailers who use this rating system.
First for the positive: this online site specializes in beautifully crafted, exotic imports from Africa, at competitive prices. However, online buyer be very aware! Your likelihood of having a positive shopping experience is heavily dependent on several variables not necessarily in your control as a consumer. And if website-related problems do occur while you are ordering, you should not anticipate a level of customer service that is comparable to the minimum of those provided by even a less-initiated business entrepreneur: such as a first-time retailer on Ebay, for instance.
Details: In my first-time online shopping experience, African Treasures lost my account information twice while I attempted to purchase an item. Next, after I successfully and instantly paid using the site's available PayPal feature: no further communication was received from African Treasures until over 24 hours later when I contacted the company about the status of my order. Further, their website showed that I had never placed an order!
The tone of African Treasures' initial emailed response was both quick and polite. It explained that they had received my name, email contact info, instant payment and shipping address, but did not know what product I had ordered. I found it rather frustrating that based on this problem; no one had thought to email me in 24 hours. Next and equally frustrating, the email indicated the wrong shipping city and requested that I inform them of the product details, promising to ship my purchase on getting this information. The problem was that no printable receipt was available during the buying process (only a printable order number), and their website lost my buying history. Therefore, I was reduced to looking through most of their products in order to find the item that I thought I'd selected, among very similar looking items (with very similar sounding names) priced the same.
After thanking the sender of the email for her prompt response, I corrected my “ship to” city and provided the details for my purchase. Also, I shared that though AfricanTreasures offers beautiful products, I had not had the best shopping experience. I did this professionally and briefly: assuming that the company placed value on their customer's experience.
The bottom line is that after so much frustration, the best that the company could offer was to promptly ship the item and make a response implying that my future business was unimportant. Much later in the day, I realized that when forced to “re-discover” my purchased item, I had erred in my selection. So, now I had to re-purchase my original selection, if I wanted customer satisfaction. This action resulted in the company rep canceling my order, refunding my payment and CONFIRMING IN WRITING that my future business was unimportant! "Come to think of it - INDEED - VERY CLEARLY - repeat business from you is totally unimportant to our company."
AMAZING and totally unenlightened--especially in today's helter-skelter state of our country's ever-shifting economy (here today...or for 12 years... and "poof"--suddenly gone tomorrow!) The bottom line is that this company took offense that I dared to specify problems that I incurred while making my purchase. Rather than professionally resolve the issues by pursuing the creation a win-win for each party: AfricanTreasures threw a temper tantrum and insulted the customer! Simply put--not very intelligent, "INDEED" (to borrow a recently quoted remark)!
If you are seeking fine African imports online, enjoy a grand shopping experience at one of the several other great sites readily available. However, what ever you do: avoid the risk of ensuing headache and shopping frustration by avoiding AfricanTreasures altogether.