Customer waits months for craft show purchase

November 22, 2012 7:56:31 PM PST
Have you ever bought something from a trade show that's only in town for a couple of days? It can be a good way to find unique merchandise. But what if you're not happy with the order?

One woman went to a very popular craft show and ordered some customized clothing. While it didn't cost her a fortune, she was very upset when her order never arrived.

Street fairs and trade shows come and go in the Bay Area -- like pop up marketplaces offering everything from computers to crafts, until the tents fold up again.

"They had some really cute t-shirts that had little rhinestones on them," South San Francisco resident Susan Tai said.

Tai went to the annual Quilt, Craft & Sewing Festival at the San Mateo County Event Center. She fell in love with handcrafted clothing made by Dazzling Diva's of Santa Ana.

"So I tried the one I liked, but it didn't fit me," Tai said.

So she ordered a custom made sweater and shirt, paid $60 cash, then waited for shipment.

While Tai says the seller told her it would take two to four weeks, more than a month passed and the clothes never came. She tried to track down the vendor. All she had was the receipt with some contact information on the back, so she emailed the seller.

"And then I sent her another email, lots of emails," Tai said. "I never got anything."

Weeks passed, then months. Still she had no shirts, no refund, and no store to go back to.

"And even if they give you a receipt and they have like their name on it, it was very hard contacting them," Tai said.

So she contacted 7 On Your Side. We told her to notify the event center and the Better Business Bureau. The BBB now has four complaints against Dazzling Diva's for unfilled orders, including Tai's.

However, as soon as we contacted the company, owner Laurie Pedersen did send Tai a full $60 refund. Not only that, the show's promoter got word of the problem and immediately offered to refund the money too.

"I was so shocked, I said whoa!" Tai said. "First of all, I didn't get anything for months, and now I got two!"

Of course Tai declined the second check. The show's producer, Rusty Barn Promotion Group, said such problems hardly ever happen but the company made sure Tai got her money back.

In a statement to 7 On Your Side, Rusty barn said, "Product not being shipped rarely occurs at our events. When it does we always take quick action to fix things. Most all of our vendors are very responsible and take care of their business obligations well."

The event center also said vendor problems are rare, but noted, "We address every single complaint and are very cognizant of everything that happens at these events. We are a nonprofit and we exist for our citizens. We want to make sure they are well taken care of."

Pederson did not respond to our request for comment except to say Tai did receive her refund.

"And you guys did it for me," Tai said. "I appreciate it, thank you."

We'd appreciate Dazzling Diva's for coming through with the refund. Also thanks to the San Mateo County Event Center, and Rusty Barn Promotions for their prompt response.

The lesson here -- if you order something from a traveling trade show, use a credit card rather than cash, and that way you can make sure you get your money back if items aren't delivered.

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