Unfair pricing and internal trading
Provo Crafts has Scre... its retailers yet again, I just found out how come some of the vendors on e bay can sell Provo Craft items at a lower cost than the wholesaler, it appears that a former Director of Customer service worked for Provo crafts, he is currently selling in e bay at a cost lower than wholesale. This is what we our investigation has found out.
WARNING!!! WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE BUYING CRICUT EXPRESSION
READ THIS CAREFULLY BEFOR PURCHASING ANY CRICUT EXPRESSION EQUIPMENT ON E BAY OR OTHER AUCTION SITES.
REMEMBER THE EXPRESSION IF IT SOUNDS TO TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE IT PROBALLY IS.
THERE ARE MANY CUSTOMERS PURCHASING PROVO CRAFT PRODUCTS THAT ARE BEING TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF BY CERTAIN VENDORS
WE WANT TO MAKE THIS PERFECTLY CLEAR!!!
THERE ARE MANY VENDORS THAT ARE HONEST AND GOOD SELLERS!
WE ARE NOT TRYING TO PROMOTE OUR PRODUCTS OR SERVICES, WE ARE TRYING TO KEEP CERTAIN VENDORS OUT THERE HONEST, AND RESPONSIBLE, AND PREVENT THEM FROM TAKING ADVANTAGE OF YOU!!!
We are an authorized wholesaler for Provo crafts. We purchase our products Directly from Provo Craft under a legitimate business account that we will openly share through written inquiries.
Thru our investigations we have researched many companies and sellers; we are well informed about the company policies products and pricing.
We can not disclose the current wholesale prices Provo Crafts products do to the wholesaler agreement PLEASE DON’T ASK. You can figure out the current wholesale prices from the information provided if you desire
Please remember that the prices stated are for new Cricut expressions sold on E bay and other auction sites under the fixed price listings, final costs may be +- $2.00 -- 12.00 depending on the sales format and item sold !!
The lowest price Provo Crafts ever sold the Cricut Expression for was $200.00 on a promotion in November of 2008
PROVO CRAFT ONLY OFFERS FREE SHIPPING TO THE DEALER IF THE ORDER THEY PLACE IS OVER $500.00
THEY DO NOT DROP SHIP TO THE FINAL CUSTOMER!!!
Even if the vendor offers free shipping in a listing, you are still paying.
The average shipping cost to you in the continental USA is $32.00
Thus cost per unit is $230
EBay listing fees on an item of $232 are about 23.20
Thus $232.00 + 23.20 = $255.00
Now a seller must pay pal fees of about $7.95
Thus $255.20 + $7.95 = $263.15
This means that a dealer must sell the cricut expression for at least $263.15 just to break even.
Now let’s look at the Jukebox and cartridges.
The cheapest Provo Craft has ever sold the Jukebox for was $39.
Shipping to you will cost $15.00 average even if it is free
E bay Fees about $6.50
Pay Pal Fees about $1.50
This means that the Jukebox has to be sold for at least. $62.00 to break even
The lowest priced basic cartridge ever sold by Provo Crafts on promotion was $21.00. The cartridges cost only go up from there
Provo Crafts lowest price cartridge was $21.00.
Shipping cost $5.00
E bay listing fees $ 5.50
Pay pal fee is about $1.35
This means that the average basic cartridge has to sell for at least $32.85 to break even.
The more expensive designer cartridges sold on promotion by Provo crafts was $45.00
Shipping fee $5.00
E bay listing $5.80
Pay Pal fee is about $1.85
This means that the average designer Cartridge has to sell for at least $57.65 with no profit to the dealer
1. The Cricut Expression machine can not be sold for less than $263.00
2. The Jukebox can not be sold for less than $62.00
3. The cheapest cartridge can not be sold for less than $32.85
4. The lowest cost for a designer cartridge $57.65
5. vendors anywhere sell for a profit no matter how small that profit is
6. there is no such thing as free shipping
PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THE PRICES JUST LISTED ABOVE ARE THE LOWEST PROMOTION PRICES THAT PROVO CRAFTS HAVE EVER SOLD PRODUCTS TO THE DEALERS FOR!!!
Provo Crafts is not currently offering any promotions to authorized dealers in February
Thus if you want your favorite Cricut equipment you can expect to pay a minimum of 30% more that the promotional costs.
The current minimum prices you can expect to pay are as follows if the vendor is not making a profit!!!
1. Cricut Expression Machine $341.90
2. Cricut Juke Box $80.60
3. Basic Cartridge $42.70
4. Designer Cartridge $74.95
Here are the scams
There are several scams listed here we will make it as brief as possible.
Authorized Agents, retailers, dealers.
How many of you have seen this, while they may be authorized vendors for Cricut, through the countless different wholesale companies and drop ship companies, they often have to pay membership fees to these companies to be able to sell Cricut and call themselves authorized vendors. THEY ARE NOT AUTHORIZED BY PROVO CRAFT. In order to meet the requirements of an authorized vendor, one must have a business registered through the state. They must have a business license, EIN # and be a reputable person with a history of at least 3 external business or trade relations. To be accepted as an authorized vendor by Provo Craft. So how does this affect you? If you buy from vendor who is not an authorized Provo Craft vendor, the product you bought was just sold to you as is. No warrantee, no help, no refund!!
The Drop shipper
The most common scam are sellers who use drop shippers, while this is great for a vendor, it is not so great for you the customer. NO DROP SHIPPER IS A PROVO CRAFT AUTHORIZED VENDOR!!!
How it works the drop shipper can purchase a large amount of products from a company and get a little better prices, the company ships the products to the drop shipping warehouse, the drop shipper retailer/ the vendor you are buying form sells the product, gets an average of a 15% commission on the sale and then the drop shipper sends it to you at your home with “free shipping”
The problem arises here; consider this, Wal- mart purchased about 4 million units of the Cricut Expression machines their cost that they paid about $196.74 this does not include the logistic costs from wall-mart’s warehouse to their stores which is about $15.00 more thus Wal-Mart pays about $211.74
I doubt that any single drop shipper is purchasing this quantity.
Ok lets just say a drop shipper got the Cricut expression for the same low price of $211.74 they need to pay the drop shipper retailer at least 15% commission to cover the fees that the drop shipper retailer incurred for selling on e bay, and pay pal fees, lets face it a drop shipper retailer will not sell something if they don’t make a profit.
Ok so 15% on $196.74 is $31.76 in commission this just covers the fees. Then there is the “free shipping” that you still pay for, this is about $35.00
So let’s add this up $211.74 + $31.76 + $35.00 this means that the Cricut Expression machine needs to be sold for a minimum of $278.50 just for everyone to break even.
Ok you won an auction and got your expression for $250.00 you are a very happy customer you got a great deal you purchased the Expression for lower than the market price. So what is wrong with this picture looks great right? Not so, so what is the catch?
Be warned!! The catch is that you will have little or no valid warrantee. Here is a warrantee disclaimer from one of the top drop shippers selling Cricut. So we don’t get in trouble, we have removed the name of the company!!
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So what does this mean for you the customer? Simple because you purchased your item from a non authorized Provo Craft vendor, the MFG. Warrantee does not necessarily transfer and therefore is voided because you are now the 4th party purchaser. Yes you are, 1st is the MFG, 2nd is the Drop shipper, 3rd is the drop shipper vendor, and 4th is you the customer.
So what does this mean for you the customer, SORRY, you are SOL, if your equipment fails, the non authorized vendor will tell you, you have to mail it in to Provo Crafts to have the warrantee work done. What they don’t tell you is you have to pay the shipping both ways. Cha ching another $70.00 + out of your pocket and it is up to Provo Craft discesion if they will cover the equipment under warrantee. If they decide that they don’t want to, you will have to pay the for the repairs. You see how this works; the vendor does not want to have anything to do with returns or repairs. There are some companies/vendors out there that offer a 30 day warrantee, just to make you feel better, but what they don’t tell you is that it has to still be in the box. This is so that they can resell it as new. ALL CRICUT EXPRESSIONS, CRICUT ORIGINAL AND CREATE COME WITH A 1 YEAR MFG WARRANTEE VALID THROUGH AUTHORIZED PROVO CRAFT VENDORS. IT IS REQUIRED THAT AN AUTHORIZED PROVO CRAFT DEALER MUST PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR A 1 YEAR PERIOD ON CRICUT CUTTER EQUIPMENT!!! An authorized dealer can not warrantee anything if it was not purchased from them.
RE Manufactured products
Another scam out there is Remanufactured items. While the seller says they are new and factory sealed, and in deed they are they are used pieces of equipment repaired and repackaged to be resold.
Here is how the scam works. Sellers don’t need to be an authorized dealer to buy reman's from most companies. They buy the remanufactured item at ½ the original cost or less; say for $100.00 they sell it to you for about $230 including shipping free shipping to you. The problem arises here 1. You are getting a used piece of equipment, not new
2. You get a shortened limited warrantee, the warrantee started from the original purchaser, so say that the original owner had the machine for 3 months and then was returned for repairs but they gave them a new machine instead. The repairs take about a month and take another month for the seller, to sell it to you and to ship it. You now only have a 7 month warrantee, plus it is now a limited warrantee, warranted for everything except the parts that were replaced.
How this scam works is a buyer will go to a liquidation or auction of a business and purchase merchandise to resell. The problem arises with the warrantee, once they purchase the item from the retailer or liquidation store; they are the third party purchasing the product. When they go to sell the product to you as is, there is no 3rd or 4th party transfer of the warrantee, thus if you have a problem that needs to be repaired, you have to pay all cost associated with the repairs, and shipping. The Mfg. Will not warrantee any product sold by a third party. Well you state how do they know some one else purchased the item and not me, well in the case of auctions or liquidations, the purchaser buying the product has to be a recognized business, the transaction is recorded for accounting reasons. It flows like this… The Mfg sells and records the sales information of Company ABC, the company goes under and liquidates their products thus company ABC sells their product and records the sale to Person or company XYZ. They are now the third party purchaser which means that they activated the warrantee automatically. Company XYZ sells the product to you and you do not have any warrantee if something goes wrong, sorry but warrantees in most cased do not transfer.
This is another scam. There are a number of ways stolen merchandise comes to be sold here on e bay. They will sell it for about ½ the retail value they ship it to you free of charge. They still make a huge profit because it cost them little or nothing for the stolen merchandise. How does this affect you? Each electronic device has a serial number mandated by federal law to track stolen property. Thus if you purchase an item you could be buying stolen goods. This means big problems for you because you purchased the stolen property even if you did not know it was stolen. You can spend time in jail or prison. How you can get caught. If a seller is selling stolen goods and the police find out, they can confiscate their computers and get the sales records of the stolen property and track this to you. Second if you purchased stolen goods, and have a problem with it and send it in for repairs, the company will not honor any warrantee, and you will lose your merchandise be because they are required by law to turn the product and your personal information to the authorities, and you will be arrested for possession of stolen property.
The Old Bait and Switch
This is less common out there but it still happens very regularly. How does this scam work? Look very closely at some of the pictures of the Cricut and the Cricut Expression. Do you see a difference? Many times but not always a dishonest vendor will try to sell you the Cricut Expression but if you look closely at the photos you and know what the Cricut expression actually looks like, you will see sometimes that they have a photo of the Cricut create or the Cricut Stixx. This should be an automatic flag that something is wrong and that the seller does not know what they are talking about. This also goes in reverse there have been people selling the Cricut Expression, they have the correct Photo of the product, and title, but reading the TECHNICAL information or features it is apparent that they are not selling the Cricut Expression but rather the create, or Original Stixx. This sells for about $150 less than actual retail discussed above. BE CAREFUL HERE
The Non delivery Scam
This happens somewhat often but it is the easiest to remedy. A vendor lists an item and you purchase it. Hopefully you paid with pay pal, because they will protect you and refund your money at no cost to you. If you fell into a scam where they want you to send a money order you are out of luck. If you paid via wire transfer or by check chances are your bank will help you recover your funds.
The Order Scam
You need to pay special attention to this.
OFTEN 94% OF AUTHORIZED ONLINE VENDORS OF PROVO CRAFT PRODUCTS DO NOT HAVE INVENTORY OF THE PRODUCTS! 94% of vendors on e bay and other auction sites are home based businesses, they are not a brick and mortar business where they have inventory on hand because it is too expensive and to much inventory to maintain for custom orders. THUS MANY ON LINE AUTHORIZED VENDORS OF PROVO CRAFTS HAVE TO MAKE ORDERS TO THE COMPANY!
Because of the need to order items, order scam has been perpetuated by those less honest. How this works is very simple, buy something on line and the vendor states that they have to order the item to get it to you. You say ok and the item you ordered doesn’t come doesn’t come you try to e mail the vendor and you don’t get an answer within 1-2 days. THIS IS A RED FLAG!!! You probably have been had; you can contact your financial institution and get help to get your money back.
An honest vendor will keep you in the loop and give you almost any information you request in a timely manner such as order status, order confirmations from the MFG, delivery times and dates. Remember that MANY ON LINE AUTHORIZED VENDORS OF PROVO CRAFTS HAVE TO MAKE ORDERS TO THE COMPANY! FOR CUSTOM ORDERS THE FASTEST YOU WILL RECEIVE AN ORDER WILL BE 7-14 BUSINESS DAYS.
The Knock Off or Counterfeit Scam
What this is just as it sounds there someone sells you a product at an incredible low price, and yes there are many knock offs out there for the Cricut product line. You get it and most of the time people don’t know it is a fake. They are cheap imitations of OEM products that look and may function very similarly to OEM. But the distinction here is they have no warrantee, they don’t work long if at all, and there is very little that one can do to get their money back. Because the vendor is here today and gone tomorrow, most these vendors are selling from countries of the orient where there are few international laws to protect you. We are not saying that there are not honest vendors from the orient, there are many good people just trying to make a living. Just be careful.
There is 1 vendor that sells on eBay that worked for Provo Craft that was pretty high up in the company. There are 6 additional vendors on e bay that are relatives or friends that work/ed at Cricut and thus have inside connections. Though we know who they are, so we don’t get in trouble with eBay, and so their families are protected and not harmed, we will not disclose who they are or any information about them and no, it is not us. They have used their connections and power to undercut honest and hardworking Authorized Provo Craft vendors. What they don’t tell you is that they offer no warrantee on their products, and suspicion has it that they are selling Remanufactured Cricuts expressions as new because by their own admission, they get the New circuit expression from Provo Craft for $240.00 so how can they sell them at $231.00 including e bay fees pay pal fees and shipping to you the customer, and still make a profit. Quite simply they can’t unless they are reman’s
How to protect yourself.
There are several steps here to protect yourself.
1. Know the product that you want to buy, take a few moments and read up on the item. Make sure that it is a product that will do what you want it to do. If you are uncertain then look on YouTube for videos about the product you want. There are many good references out there for any product you want.
2. Look for good honest vendors that have been around for a few years. Ask them for their contact phone number and address, check it against whitepages.com. Call the seller before you purchase the item judge their mannerism. Are they short impatient, or are they helpful and friendly? DO NOT LOOK ONLY AT THEIR POWER SELLER RATING!!! A PERSON CAN BE A POWER SELLER IF THEY SELL OVER $6, 000 A YEAR!!! Look at their feed back!! If you find someone selling the Cricut expression at a cost below the prices we discussed before, chances are there is something wrong there.
3. Look for vendors selling the product at a cost not less than what we discussed above, chances are that the product is valid and you are not going to get stung.
4. Ask the vendor where they get their product from, ask a vendor for their business name that they opened their Provo Craft account under, call Provo craft and check them out and see if they are indeed a dealer for Provo Crafts. They should not be afraid to give this info out because someone else tries to order a product in their name it is automatically shipped to the dealer not to the customer. If they are unwilling to share information with you, chances are they are receiving the products from an outside source and they are NOT an authorized dealer for Provo Crafts.
5. If the dealer has the item in stock ask for the serial numbers for that product that they are sending you and call Provo craft and check if it is clean, check the serial the dealer gave you against the product when it arrives and verify it.
6. A popular option for many dealers is to give the customer a choice of cartridges. If the dealer is offering you “your choice” and they have the product in stock ask them for the serial numbers of each item you are ordering. If a dealer does not have them in stock this will be called a pre order, ask them to e mail you the order confirmation that they receive when placing the order with Provo Crafts you must pay them for the product before they will order the item for you.
7. Provo Crafts does not drop ship, if your order is a “your choice, or customized order” chances are the dealer will place the order the following business day, and it will take 3-4 days for Provo to ship the order, 3-4 days for the order to arrive to the dealer, and another 4-8 days for it arrive to you. Ask the dealer to e mail the order confirmation they receive from Provo or a tracking number. Remember custom or your choice orders will take about 2 weeks to arrive to you so be prepared. Do not be tempted at the possibility of getting a custom order faster, you will be sorry.
8. Get a receipt from the dealer because Provo craft will only honor the 1 year warranty with an authorized resellers receipt. A buyer who wants the product should not be concerned with what the dealer paid for a product a final buyer will never get this price honestly unless they set up a business.
9. Look for sellers offering a 1 year warrantee on Cricut machines, and a 30 day or better on cartridges, they have to supply support for you the customer, on items that they sold you. Quiz them on what the warrantee covers.
10. Ask the vendor to break down their prices for you. What does it cost them for the item, shipping, and ask them how much profit they make. Natures collections breaks down the Cricut item prices for you, shipping costs, and profits we make. See if there is any other vendor will do this for you.
11. Above all, use your common sense, and be safe. REMEMBER IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE IT PROBALLY IS!!!
THERE ARE MANY HONEST AUTHORIZED PROVO DEALERS OUT THERE, WE ARE NOT TRYING TO SCARE ANYONE FROM E BAY OR OTHER AUCTION SITES, AND WE JUST WANT YOU TO BE AWARE OF WHAT IS GOING ON.
I challenge any vendor of Provo Craft products there to prove me wrong on any of these points. If I am proven wrong on any of these points I will immediately revise or pull down this guide. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Even after all this and confronting Provo Crafts and another seller mentioned above they still claim that they charge everyone the same price. HMMMMM I dont think so, Because by the addmission of one of the employees they buy provo craft cricut expressions for $178 where is the justice for the common vendor.
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