For those who participated in the super quick stamp GA (check here if you're not sure if that's you), I received my SMJ package, but it did not include our GA items. SMJ simply left them off in storage. So, they have not shipped yet. I have just requested shipping on them, so hopefully they should be here within a week or so. SMJ has waived the shipping cost, so this payment is free.
As anyone who was watching this post today knows, there was a big conflict today between myself and SMJ. Around the end of the day, Nick (the owner of SMJ) commented on this post in response to the exchange I had with who I assume is another SMJ employee. You can read his comments here and here, and I am leaving all of the emails up below the cut so that you can all evaluate this transaction on your own judgment.
What I will say is:
- I am still probably going to close my SMJ account.
- The person I interacted with over email was very unprofessional and had no sense of customer service, and I hope SMJ will not represent themselves this way in the future.
- Nick seems very kind and reasonable in the comments, so this is hopefully just one person and not all of SMJ that is behaving this way.
- There are a LOT of horror stories about SMJ in the comments, so other people have had this experience as well. However, other people have also expressed that they have never had problems with SMJ. So it is up to you to decide from the information whether you feel comfortable using them.
- allinia has written a beautiful recommendations for Noppin in the comments, which you can read here.
Without further ado, these are the emails.
I paid internal shipping on the GA items early in the day (on whatever day it was that I paid for them). Then, I submitted a shipping request with specific instructions to hold shipping until the payment had processed. Payment processing is supposed to take 24 hours, and it had already been at least 9 hours since I had submitted payment. I did not think this would be a problem (and if it were, they would tell me, right?). Well, wrong.
I received the package, and lo and behold, my two flats from previous auctions and nothing else in the giant box they always use. So the following email exchange occurred:
4:17 PM (17 hours ago)
I just received shipment with tracking number #9405511201080976722856. In the shipping instructions, I specifically requested that shipping be held until my payment for item ID d130580746 was processed so that that item could be shipped along with other items I had in storage. I had paid for item ID d130580746 earlier the same day that I requested shipping, and it was already marked as Stored in USA.
However, I just received the package and it does not include item ID d130580746. I checked my SMJ account information and it is still stored in the USA. I am very frustrated, because shipping is expensive and I deliberately held off shipping on my older auctions until I had a larger set of items to justify the shipping cost. The instructions I gave are no longer listed on my SMJ account information page, but were listed there after I requested shipping.
I would like the item in question shipped, and request that I only be charged for the difference between the cost of shipping that item and the cost of shipping my previous order (which was $9). This mix up happened entirely because SMJ disregarded my explicit request, and I do not feel that I should have to pay extra for shipping as a result of this failure.
Thank you for your time and I appreciate your helping me with this issue.
Emily last name
SMJ user ID: emurii
4:50 PM (16 hours ago)
Please remember that the shipping request form explicitly states on the top of the page that only items that are updated as both customer paid / stored on the my account page PRIOR to the submission of the form will be included. If the item is not in stock in the USA when you submit the request we will not hold the request. You must only submit the form when the items you want shipped are in stock and paid for. Otherwise we will only ship what is available when its processed.
9:15 AM (13 minutes ago)
While your disclaimer protects you from liability on this issue, it does not make your actions reasonable. I cannot believe that whoever is responsible for processing these shipping orders is trained to disregard the instructions box. At the very least, proper customer service would be to notify the customer and inform them of this policy.
SMJ has been an excellent and reliable tool for middling, and I have been willing to pay higher fees and questionable shipping costs for several years now because I value the reliability of your service. However, when it comes to customer service, SMJ consistently fails to meet even the basest standards of business practice. Dissatisfied customers are consistently rebuffed with callous restatements of policy: we are never treated as people, but as annoyances or aggressors. Perhaps the most poignant example of this is around a week ago, when I received a mistaken invoice and responded in regular, civilized tone that it was not mine. I asked what I should do, and received a highly defensive response about technical errors. I was not even complaining, yet I was still treated like an annoyance rather than a valued customer.
SMJ is a business and it needs to learn to operate as such. Stop treating your customers like irritants. There are many other middlemen (with significantly lower fees, I might add) in the market today, and you're not going to get anywhere if you continue to provide such a negative customer experience.
I have pulled my deposit in the past, but this time I am pulling it for good.
11:51 AM (29 minutes ago)
Our shipping department has no contact with customers, so they are not able to send emails regarding shipments or questions etc. We follow shipping requests as much as possible but in the end it comes down to the customer following what is outlined on the website. We have everything listed on the website from the beginning of the process to the end of the process on exactly what to do and how to do it. If there are questions we tell you to shoot us an email for further help. There is not much we can do to ensure people actually read and understand what they are doing when its an internet based business and were not able to sit beside someone and walk them through it. Its about reading over the website and grasping the concept of the process and reading the forms that you fill out. The shipping request form states only items stored and paid can be shipped, the website outlines the inability to take a request for a future shipment etc. It in all honesty comes down to the customer responsibility on reading what is being submitted. In the end, simply read over everything before submitting forms and you will be good to go.
12:10 PM (9 minutes ago)
While I appreciate your attempt to explain the situation, I can't help but feel that you are doing exactly the same thing as always and shifting the blame for your poor customer service onto the customer.
If your shipping department has no contact with customers, why do you include a special instructions field? If I can't ask for a special instruction, why are you giving me a field in which to do so? I know other users who always ask that packages be shipped without packing peanuts, and their packages are always full of packing peanuts. Clearly this form can be used neither for administrative requests, nor for physical packing requests, so I can't help but not understand the purpose of the form. If the instructions at the top of the form are meant to be taken as hard and fast rules with no exceptions, that should be stated explicitly. It's not my fault if you don't properly label your website.
SMJ seems to be lacking a basic grasp of customer service, and I just don't understand how this is possible. In the food industry, you would not serve someone a menu item as-is when they order it with modifications. If it were impossible to make the requested modifications, a customer would be informed of this fact and given the opportunity to adjust their order. It is no different in any other industry. If I order a shirt in size small from a website, they should not send me size large because they do not have the size small in stock. These are basic principles of business.
I do not understand why I was sent an oversized (approx. 1'x1'x4") box and charged $9 for the shipment of a small memo pad and a few sheets of stickers. It is ridiculous that you are charging me for that, and on top of that for shipment again of another set of items which I explicitly requested be included in the first shipment. Even if shipping has no access to customers, they certainly have access to others who do have access to customers. I can reasonably expect that if you give a special instructions field, those instructions will be made note of.
I could shrug this off if SMJ's response was not to repeatedly shirk responsibility. I have not received a single apology for this failure in customer service. Instead, I have been told that I should pay attention to a form (which you gave me the opportunity to modify), that SMJ cannot hold my hand all the way through, and that being an internet company means that SMJ doesn't need to provide any customer service because the burden is shifted to the customer. In short, the response has been "regardless of the quality of your experience with our service, you're an idiot and we're right, so pay up." This is simply preposterous. If you were in my position, you would not want to work with SMJ again, either.
I have posted these emails to the collecting community where I am a member and have received an overwhelming response from other users who have had these same problems with SMJ. I do not understand your decision to consistently employ unbusinesslike, rude customer service practices. That said, there is obviously nothing I can do about it except to close my account and publish the treatment I have received.
Thank you again for your attempt to explain your situation. I hope I have explained adequately as to what the problem here is.
It all boils down to the fact the item you wanted shipped was not in stock and as outlined cannot be added if its not here. You would need to simply submit a shipping request when ALL of the items you want are in stock and paid for. The comments field is for requesting like (only ship this 1 item and not everything), please add extra protection etc. People request us not use peanuts all the time, we cannot follow that request as all we use are peanuts so that it does not add weight to the package that isnt needed and drives up the cost. We will follow anything added in the comments section as best as possible as long as its within our ability and the policies we have.
No, it doesn't boil down to that. First of all, the item I wanted shipped WAS in stock. I had paid for the item, it was in stock, and I had paid internal shipping on the item several hours prior to the request.
I am not upset because you ignored my shipping instruction. I am upset because there has been no effort whatsoever to take any sort of accountability for that fact, or even to apologize on a superficial level for your failure of service. In fact, the substance of my several emails back and forth to you have been with regard to your customer service; yet you completely ignore these complaints. If you had simply apologized and discounted the shipping on my other order, that would have been wonderful. If you are not able to do that, simply apologizing would have been a million times better than this incessant blame avoidance.
I can tolerate mistakes. Mistakes happen, I understand. If there were some automated shipping process that made it absolutely impossible to bury a request in an inbox for 24 hours until payment were updated, that could be explained and I would understand. What I cannot tolerate is the fact that you simple refuse to accept any modicum of responsibility for your actions, or even apologize for the trouble I had with your service.
You are at work. This is your job. You are paid to serve customers. I am paying you: your job is to make sure I have a pleasant experience, or you do not get more business. As an internet-based business, I am sure you are aware that this is astronomically more important for you than for a physically premised business. I think it is pretty basic to expect an apology -- or even any sort of respectful treatment -- when something like this happens. Instead, I have been subject to a pattern of disrespectful treatment that is outrageous coming from a legitimate business.
I hope you understand the problem.
We are trying to explain to you the proper steps to take in the future to prevent this from having the ability to happen. As for the item itself not being included with your previous shipment, the item that was not included did not arrive in the USA until the 14th where as the items that were in the shipment were pulled from stock and prepared for shipping on the 12th. If it were something along the lines of the payment not having been updated but the item was here, we would have checked over the pending payments and just included it. However, with it being an item that was not in storage we couldnt include it. Please remember in the future to not submit a shipping request until the items you would like shipped are in stock and shows both customer paid and stored. If any item doesnt show both of those status prior to the request being submitted, it cannot be included. As for now, ive spoken with the shipping department and the remaining item will be shipped out to you at no cost as a 1 time convenience. If you happen to receive an invoice, just shoot us an email so we can clear it out. Even free shipments have the invoices sent for any tracking related information.
Thanks for the exception. I appreciate your help with this. I will still be closing my account, but I will make sure to mention that you did waive the cost to anyone I have spoken to about this.
This comment has been screened because it contained account information from a member. Please see the relevant text below.
[Bad username: shoppingmalljapan]: I'm Nick, the owner of SMJ for those who don't know, and I very much need to comment.
To Emurii, the issue is because you requested shipping prior to the actual item being in stock. We can't fill such requests, and that's what has caused the issue. Right on the shipping request page, http://www.shoppingmalljapan.com/shiprequest.html, it states your items must be "In Stock" and "Paid" prior to shipping. I'll be picking up the shipping tab myself to get these items out to you, I understand you're not the only one waiting for the items in a GA purchase so I want to help out, but in the future please be a tad more careful.
I felt this needed to be put out there, because SMJ is a big name middle man and many newer members may begin using them without knowing their reputation fully. Some members have had good experiences, and some members have not. Because Nick went out of his way to explain the situation to us, I felt that I should not present my own opinions outside of the substance of this interchange.
I am leaving all comments on this post up (unless a mod asks me to or decides to delete some) as well.