Monday, November 16, 2020

Vendor Warning

I absolutely hate when a vendor I recommended flakes out on a customer.  Meliadhor left this comment on my Treasure! post from last month.  It recounts a very disturbing experience with Alpha Officium, a boutique coin maker I've previously had very good experiences with.

Hi! Does anyone know if the AlphaOfficium store is still properly active and not a scam? We've emailed them earlier last month about coins purchase, and my friend bought about 100$ worth of coins, and so far its been over 12 days, a couple emails, and an FB message since their last reply. The owner appears to be active & posting new coins on their FB group but no replies since.
...which is kinda e-scary as my friend already paid for a larger set of coins, including the VikingMix featured here, and all we asked for was a postal tracker code. The owner (the same person as on FB) sent us a wrong one first, for a different person from a previous month, and when we asked for the one for our purchase all contact broke off :C

[update since I prepared this message]
My friends' FB has been reported for the PM asking for the tracker code & suspended, no email replies received to my friends' account, BUT my email asking about another of their coin sets received an instant reply that "yes this expensive set is available" and that they can ship them ASAP. We got all the emails copied & screencapped, gonna give the guy one last chance before opening a PayPal dispute for refund. Friend sent one last email asking about the tracker code via the same store-contact form just earlier after I got my reply just to give them one more chance but this is feeling super nasty now.

I apologize for dropping this on you like that, but we did decide on that replica coin store because we saw your recommendation here (I adore your blog and you featured some of my works here as well, and the coins appear lovely, and a lot of people online seem to have gotten theirs OK, at least in the States).

Do you have any ideas what else to do? If you need us to show screencaps of the store messages or copies of emails and such, please tell, my friend kept them all for possible PayPal dispute/claim if nothing arrives in the next two weeks. If needed we can contact you via email I believe. :C

 Hopefully this is a situation that will be quickly resolved.

6 comments:

Meliadhor said...

Situation still sorting out, hopefully I should have 'a' proper update of sorts in about 24 hours. He does reply really fast to all the other people that didn't pay yet though as we checked earlier :) Even if this somehow works out OK this is not a service I can recommend to anyone, especially for a 35$ shipping fee.

Propnomicon said...

@ Meliadhor

Please keep us updated.

Meliadhor said...

Micro update: he's looking for the tracking number today as the parcel was returned back to him due to an error in filling in the address (as per his email).
"It looks like we incorrectly filled out the address. It was returned to us. Look for a tracking number tomorrow.
Very best,
James"
Which would have been easily avoided or at least faster to spot if we'd have the tracking number in the first place. PayPal has 180 days to initiate a dispute so I guess we can wait an extra day, and chalk this up under expensive educational experience. Personally at the moment I think the guy isn't a scam and just has a really terrible work ethic and approach to people for a store owner but we'll see how this goes. Digging through the net we found one more person with a similar (but worse) issue and some general "slow parcel/slow reply" posts but they appear rare. https://www.reddit.com/r/Silvercasting/comments/30hvru/i_strongly_recommend_never_ordering_from/

Propnomicon said...

@ Meliadhor

I'm glad to hear things are close to being resolved. That said, the situation shouldn't have escalated to this point in the first place.

Meliadhor said...

I wish I was, as they say, "taking the piss", but he finally replied.

I can't paraphrase this, I have to include a screenshot because I wouldn't believe me if I told this to myself.
He gave my friend a tracker for a parcel sent in January to Jamaica. After giving him a tracker to Estonia, from last month.

https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/430503688847622155/779126019080454184/unknown.png (email)
https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/430503688847622155/779124748876906536/unknown.png (tracker code info)

If you wish I don't include screenshot links, please tell me. Its just that level of abstraction where I cannot believe what's going on so I have to look at it over and over to make sure I'm not making this up.

In all seriousness, I have no idea what his issue is. He has favourable reviews on etsy
https://www.etsy.com/shop/AlphaOfficium

A good and working FB sales group that has his website in the header
https://www.facebook.com/groups/397970046954766//
(and I would LOVE to bid on the 35 dirham set myself, those coins are lovely and friend promised to gift me those from his set)

Favourable reviews on blogs and twitter too. I am honestly baffled as to what is going on, and if his website/email were manned by a scammer then he simply wouldn't reply at all.

Anonymous said...

I've had an extremely similar experience with Alpha Officium that been going for upwards of six months now. He's finally gotten back to me and I agree with Meliadhor's assessment that he's not a scam but has an extremely poor work ethic and attitude to business.

It's very disappointing because I'd like to order more work from him but I now don't trust that I'll receive it in anything like a timely manner.