Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hi Customers.....

There seems to be some confusion lately from *some of you* about when your credit card is charged for orders you place with me. As with just about any/all online purchases, the transaction is run-through near-immediately for approval, however we here do not use a third party cc processor, I hand-transact it myself through my merchant services. One reason for this is that this allows me some flexibility for when customers want to place add-ons to orders (which happens a lot!)...especially with our retailers who want to add more product, customize, or any number of changes, etc. If we did not hand-transact ourselves, you would have to place a new order for any changes because it would have gone through a third party processor independent of us. 
In the past, we often did not run cc trans thru until we actually shipped. Over the past couple of years, this has proven to be a BIG problem on our end. And I know I posted a notice about it before, so if you don't follow our newsletter (<--signup click), here at our blog, or at FaceBook...you won't see it. So DO follow us for updates! 
The problem was that the economy began to get bad, credit card orders were being declined much more frequently.....and so where I would often spend a half a day prepping a single order that was labor-intense with special packaging/wrapping or gift accessories....only to have the cc for the order declined upon ship time, the customer cancel the order and I be left with a wasted half day and a fully prepped order going nowhere...this is simply not cost-effective for me to operate my business this way. Everyone can over-run their credit limit from time to time, a spouse do some spending with the card that we didn't know about, yadda yadda...I get that. And I always ask a declined card customer if they have an alternate card we can try instead. But the frequency of people canceling orders they placed altogether due to not having enough credit to pay for them in the first place was getting out-of-hand. Anytime you place an order online for anything, you SHOULD expect it will be charged right away and know you have enough credit to pay for it. Every time I run a declined transaction through, *I* am charged a fee for the declined card, so please don't ask me to "keep trying to run a transaction through" if you don't know you have credit to back it --*I* am having to pay for you not knowing or having credit! 
I understand no one wants to pay for something that might take them a few days to get shipped, but we are often overbooked with orders and can't process them instantly. If I hire help, I have to add that cost onto the soap....do you want the soap to cost more than it already does? If you need a specific lead time, ask about it. Most all of our retail orders go out within 3-4 days, sometimes longer in busy seasons....wholesale orders longer, depending upon size.....as we get wholesale orders anywhere from $100 -to- several thousand dollars in volume. We do not keep thousands of dollars in product on our shelves at any given time *in all varieties*, and custom soaps (which we make for many) have to be made on-demand and cured before shipping. All of this is outlined in info pages on our site. 
In this hurry-up, machinated INSTANT world, it sometimes bears reminding.....what I make is indeed a genuinely handcrafted product.....handcrafted in every way, in America, by caring human hands. No machines involved whatsoever. Made just as it would have been if you happened upon a soap guild vendor in a medieval village (well, except for our printed labels). Many of the botanicals used in the soap were grown my me, hand-gathered at peak ripeness, each oil hand-chosen, the soaps hand-stirred, hand-poured into wooden molds, hand-cut, hand-trimmed, hand-packaged, and caringly hand-packed for shipping and delivered to you. A reminder of simpler times and simple products that require skilled human hands to make, not machines. 
 If my policies are not palatable to you, no problem for me, I suggest you find another soapmaker, there are literally gobs of them on the 'net! But no, I will likely NOT be going back to the days of waiting to charge cc's till I ship. In our current climate of declined cards, I don't have the productivity time to waste for the many that don't go through.  And no, I will not charge your cc AFTER I ship either. I'm just a working stiff like everyone else and need to make a living, pay my costs. That's really about the only change I've made over the years----not waiting to charge cc's till I ship. Prices haven't even changed to take into account my rising costs. That may be next on the drawing board for alteration........
P.S. We always take and process orders first come, first served. So when I get a declined cc for an order, even if you "came first", until I get a good cc that *works*, I will take other paying orders in front of you till you can provide that cc that works! In the past, this has caused some of you to get your order bumped because large (paying) orders have indeed came along in-between your payment problem, and you wonder why it's taken so long to get your order that was placed earlier. That is why. 
I don't think my policies are too out-of-line, but a recent spate of complaints about charging orders before the ship date have moreless forced me to post this to explain.  I hope it clears things up and helps you see my side of the issue.