Sunday, 10 April 2011

Why Using 65Daigou Is A Bad Idea (Review)

(Update Wed 22 Jul 2015: Check out my guide on how to pick good Taobao sellers!


10 April Sun 2011

"Buy the World for you"...?

I first started testing their service in March, in the midst of bad reviews, bad feedback and enquiries regarding slow order status, updates and delivery issues. Reason given by Daigou was that the media publicity had increased their customer numbers such that they were swamped with orders and temporarily unable to cope.

With apologies, they said after March, things would go back to "normal" efficiency.

Since I had never tried them before, I had no idea of what their "normal efficiency" meant. Nevertheless, the "CEO" seemed sincere in his apologies and refund promises.

The sincerity of their feedback replies was assuring enough for me to try them out (still with some doubts). I doubt everything and everyone from China.  It's not prejudice, but a fact that their ethics and product qualities are in question most of the time. They, however, will not admit or see it.

So far, I've not made effort to find a personal China purchasing service agent, as I do not believe any can be trusted. So, why bother.

But recently, there was a need to get one if possible and Google led me to the very first result. Easy.

The Daigou website is easy to use, easy to navigate, user-friendly especially for the EZ-buy function.

However, buyers beware.

So far, I have tried them 3 times. The 3rd time failed.

The first 2 times, the orders were slow to process. After payment, it took a while (1~2 days) for the status just to change to "payment received". After that, another wait (a week and more) for the status to change to "items ordered". There was a constant need to ask in their enquiries section whether items have been ordered and why the order status was hanging for so long. Any enquiries would take very long just to get a reply. This was the main gripe at the time due to--according to them--increased media-generated orders.

I let that pass because as mentioned, their feedback replies with apologies seemed sincere and honest. And past customers posted comments in the positive.

During that time, I kept watching their enquiries section for any problems, to get an idea of how they were functioning and how reliable. One customer was upset enough to use vulgarities in his enquiries. At that time, I felt the verbal abuse was unfair, but now, I think Daigou deserves it.

Even now, although their backlog of orders seems to have cleared, replies to enquiries are still very slow. And there is still the need to check whether items have been ordered. From the enquiries section, it appears that customers are not informed when items are out of stock or when there are problems with sellers until quite late.

For the 2 times, I received my items by going to their collection points at specified timings and dates.

This 3rd time, there were 2 items that were ordered, from 2 different Taobao sellers. One seller was uncontactable for more than a week and the amount was refunded in "MyPrePay" account in the Daigou website. Due to the delays in March, there was also some additional refund. Total in the prepay came up to $10.26.

The way they work is that there are 2 payments:
1) payment of goods upon ordering
2) payment of shipping and agent fee once items arrive in SG.

Upon arrival of the 2nd item, the shipping and agent fee was $9.53. This was automatically deducted from my prepay account. Previously, before there was refund in the prepay, I made payment through ATM transfer and cash on delivery.

Once this last step has been made (before goods received), the advantage is on their side. So, COD is the better option. Additionally, the guys almost forgot to collect the cash from me when I opted for COD. 

I chose to collect the item at an MRT from 11.30 to 12 pm on Saturday. Unfortunately, I left my hp at home, but thought it would be Ok as I had collected twice before, know where to collect and who to look out for.

I arrived at precisely 12 pm, but there was nobody standing at the usual location. After looking around the MRT for a few minutes, it seemed the Daigou guys had left (before the stated time). Twice so far, there would be 2 young guys wearing the "company" T-shirt and carrying white plastic bags with the logo. These are China nationals (young students) errand/delivery boys. It would seem unlikely they run the show. This time, they weren't around.

This was wasted time and money for me.

Unable to collect the items, I went home. That's when I saw the SMS and missed call. So, I SMSed that I turned up at 12 sharp but didn't see anyone. He replied that he had waited till 12.15 pm and if I would please come to Woodlands at 1.45 pm to collect again.

I replied that I was already home and wouldn't be able to make it to Woodlands in time. Are there other MRT stations he would be going later so I can try again?

He never replied.

This aside, I sent an enquiry at their website, mentioning what happened and whether they can send out the item using Singpost. I am still waiting for the reply.

Today, I sent an SMS to their "service" hp, asking whether they could send out via Singpost or must I collect again. The reply was brusque without even a "Hi":

"The arranged delivery was unsuccessful. pls arrange self collection at our office at 30 jalan puteh jerneh, 278051".

Googling for the location, it appears to be a semi-detached house along a narrow road. No idea where exactly it is.

1) The fact was that the guy was not at the location at 12 pm, regardless if he was there till 12.15 as he claimed.

2) It is only fair and polite to reply to my SMS regarding whether he would be at other MRT stations that day so I can try collecting again. If not possible, he could have at least replied. 

3) They have a courier service at $5 delivery. Why isn't there the option of courier delivery or Singpost since the first attempt was unsuccessful? In fact, sending my item via Singpost is perfectly possible and would cost less than they courier fee. Simply state how much delivery would cost. Why state collection at their office?

4) Given the various timings and days for MRT collections, shouldn't there be a second chance for collection?  

5) The prepay may seem convenient (for them obviously),  but there have been complaints that deductions are made without customer's approval or knowledge. In this case, the 2nd payment was automatically deducted from my prepay (no notice) when I'd rather have paid COD.

If the shipping and agent fee hadn't been automatically deducted from my prepay account, I think the result would have been different. Courier/Singpost delivery would have been possible. But now that everything has been paid for, it is now in their favor.

For every purchase, customers are encouraged to provide reviews at the end of receiving the goods. So far, I've never left any feedback as I wanted to see how it would go. If it continued to be good, my review would be continued usage of their service. If the service was bad, as now, I would not bother leaving a review, but would inform other people of why buying through them is a bad idea.

I believe it is a only a matter of time before more issues turn up. The Daigou website is still new, started about a year or so ago. Their replies to enquiries have already become less friendly. Simple things like my collection at 12 pm is not handled well.

There are customers who purchase several hundred dollars' worth of items from Taobao through the website. It is even said that local merchants use the service. How true that is, I can't verify. But given the simple lack of consideration and service for just 1 item that I purchased, I doubt their ethics and service standards.

Given the wastage of time and money in the first collection attempt, I do not wish to spend more time and money searching for their semi-detached "office". I am willing to pay for courier service delivery or Singpost for the item to be delivered to me, but as stated in the SMS reply today, collection would be at their office.

As this item was purchased on behalf of someone, the result is that I have to pay for the costs, including the forfeiture of the item.

There is $0.73 left in my prepay account, which I e-mailed to have it transferred to my bank account. Let's see how long that will take. It is not the money, but that I do not wish to have them profit further from even this little amount.

I run my own business and even when customers miss their first collections, their items can always be mailed to them (even if there is no second collection available).

To use 65Daigou was a bad idea in the first place. Testing it only proves it.

If you have been using the service without problems, don't say it too soon. :)
For those considering using the service, I'd say use at your own risk. Or don't use at all. 
For those spending hundreds of dollars buying Taobao items through them, I feel the risk for you. It's like freefall without net anytime.

Having purchased from Taobao a few times already, I can 100% say that the products are not as great as the photos. Be prepared for disappointment.

To buy from Taobao, you need to be Ok with:

a) Items falling apart the moment you receive it.
b) items not matching website photos
c) poor quality clothing that go out of shape after washing for the first time
d) clothing that is supposed to be new but looks worn with torn label tags
e) shoes with inner lining coming off and generally not really fitting
f) not receiving the items at all
g) bags and clothing with smell

Cheap comes at quite a heavy price if you don't get what you want/expect.

I've even seen someone asking if she/he can purchase furniture using the Daigou service. This really takes the cake for sheer silliness and whatever else (ridiculous-ness?). If even simple things like clothing can be bad, how bad can furniture be? :)  I'd rather just buy from Ikea (and even then, I avoid buying from Ikea).

Someone laughed when I mentioned it. Said: yeah, buy a table that comes with 3 legs. The other leg on the way, separate shipping fee.

Update: $0.73 refund was deposited into my bank a/c today 11 April, after sending my e-mail request yesterday (Sun). This was good and there was also notification reply in my e-mail.

Checking my account with them, there is a "re-arrange" delivery button available now where I can choose again delivery MRT, time and date. To confirm this is possible, I have SMSed their "service" hp number again. I wait to see if there will be reply.

As for the enquiry I sent earlier to their enquiries section (which would have been displayed at their website for viewership), there has been no reply as of today. Presumably, there is no need for reply since in the SMS, the person said to collect at their "office". I don't think they refused to post it since previously, they had even showed the "enquiry" with the vulgarities (unless it was to gain sympathy from other customers with their oddly tolerant replies).

Update 2: The SMS reply was not immediate, but some time within an hour. Regarding whether I can re-collect the item at their specified re-arranging delivery slot: 

"can, pls change it in the system by choosing "re-arrange delivery", we will arrange for you accordingly.".

Now why didn't they say that in the first place after the missed first collection? Such a simple alternative. Don't they know the system can arrange for "re-arrange delivery" and inform the customer of it?

I will try to collect again on that day and see how it goes.

Update 3:  Item picked up on the re-arranged date, time and same location.

Turned out they had changed the location of the collection. So that's why I wasn't able to find them that day. Usually, just some minutes before the collection, there will be an SMS informing customers of where they will be at. It occurred to me to check the previous message and saw that they had changed the location. That day, I didn't bring my hp and assumed they would be at the usual spot. 

If they had changed location, why didn't they state it in their website? 

Also, they had included an additional item in my plastic bag. It is not a free gift as there is the name of another customer attached to it. So... someone's order has landed in my bag. Someone is missing a grey, felt material, double-sided, wallet-style holder.


To be honest, their prices are great. However, the disadvantages and their amateurish handling of orders are not so great.


Update 4: Daigou is supposed to inspect the items before sending out to SG. However, as stated by a customer in enquiries section: "some goods weren't inspected. Some items are spoilt and even came with the wrong brand". 

Latest update 15 Jan Thurs 2015: