SUMMARY OF ORDERING EXPERIENCE
I had placed one order with QutieLand before, and had a very positive experience... service was exceptional, and the item I ordered (a kidsyoyo embroidered coat set that cost over $400 USD) was high quality and a perfect fit. So I was excited to see that the kidsyoyo castle prayer OP that I'd been eyeing for a while was back in stock in their shop. I had just purchased my first custom made corset, and thought this would be a great dress to have custom tailored for a corseted figure.
I placed an order, and Billy (the person who I corresponded with both for this order and the previous one) was very friendly and helpful. He helped me make sure my measurements were correct, and didn't mind when I wrote to him to change the length of the skirt the day after I originally placed the order. I ordered the dress for a 24 inch waist, to fit over my new corset.
TIME OF PRODUCTION AND SHIPPING
The dress was completed before the estimated 30 - 35 working days were up, and I received notification that it had shipped. There was a tracking number, and the package arrived quickly and safely, without incident.
QUALITY OF THE ITEM
Here is where the problems began. Although the dress was nicely constructed and of ok quality materials, when I unpacked it, something seemed off about the size and shape. My custom corset hadn't arrived yet, but I decided to try it on without a corset just to figure out what seemed strange about it. To my surprise, the waist fit my natural waist with room to spare, and the bust was much too large. The underarm area had an awkward fit.
I measured the dress, and realized that it had mistakenly been made too large. The waist, which was supposed to have been made to fit a 24 inch waist, was 28 inches. I wasn't sure how to accurately measure the bust of a dress, but I could tell by the fit that the bust had been made too large as well.
CUSTOMER SERVICE WHEN RESOLVING THE ISSUE
Since I'd had such a positive experience with my first order from QutieLand, and since Billy had always been so friendly and helpful, I wasn't too worried. I figured that they would resolve the situation in a professional manner. So I contacted Billy via email, and let him know about the sizing issue. He wrote back, and asked me for some photographs of the measurements of the dress, which I provided for him.
Two days later, Billy wrote to me, having contacted KidsYoYo. Their explanation for the sizing issue was that since this is a Winter dress, it was designed to be worn with thick wool underwear or a sweater underneath. Because of this, it was necessary to make the garment at least 7 or 8 cm larger than my natural measurements. In addition, they said that since there had been complaints about the dress being too tight at the waist, they had decided to make it 1 or 2 cm larger than they originally made it. (For those of us who use inches, 8+2 cm = 10cm = about 4 inches) Billy suggested that I try the dress on over a sweater or thick winter underwear, and then get back to him to see if it fit.
Now, I found this explanation a little suspicious, since the first item I ordered from QutieLand was a winter coat intended to be worn over a dress. When I ordered this coat, Billy was very clear that I should take all my measurements over a dress, since that is how I would be wearing the coat. If this Castle Prayer dress was really meant to be worn over a sweater or very thick winter underwear, wouldn't he have informed me of this, and asked me to measure myself over whatever I planned to wear under the dress? After all, I'm sure everyone wears different winter underwear (and some, like me, wear none at all), so it doesn't make much sense to assume that everyone will need FOUR INCHES of room under their dress in the Winter. Four inches is ALOT of room- equivalent to not one but several dress sizes.
I responded to Billy, communicating my thoughts about this to him, and again requesting a refund for the order. This is where the professionalism evaporated. He responded with a barrage of excuses, some of which conflicted with others. The email was angry (full of bold-face type, caps, and mocking quotation marks). His arguments were as follows:
- "Firstly we got to clarify one thing. The waist part is "NOT" 4 inch bigger than your body size provided." (boldface type is his, not mine) (Interesting argument, since I had provided him with photographic evidence that it was exactly four inches bigger. I guess this is the email equivilant of covering your ears and chanting "la la la, I don't hear you".)
- "But that is a common sense that girls got to wear thicker underwear (even that's not wool sweater inside) during winter to keep warm." , "And that's the normal practice for most our winter dressing order (unless the customers have a special notice on that, e.g. their place is not that cold during winter, like ours hawaii customers etc) as well." (In other words, although they do not tell customers such, they always assume that we will be wearing very thick underwear under our Winter dresses- thick enough that they must, out of concern for our health, make garments four inches larger than our natural measurements. And, even though customers are not made aware of this assumption they are making about our Winter undergarments, it is our responsibility to notify them if we do not intend to wear thick winter underwear under our dress.)
- FInally, he argued that since there was a 28cm difference between the bust and waist measurements, it was necessary to add an extra 1 or 2 inches in the waist for ease of movement. To be honest, I don't know if this is true or not, but since it was not mentioned in the original email with the information he got directly from the supplier, I kind of get the feeling he's just making things up at this point.
- "Base on the above condition, this order cannot be done a full refund as that's not a significant mistake been made (a 2inch bigger at the waist part due to the minor wrong information provided by the customer plus the misunderstanding of the way of wearing)." (So, in other words, 28 - 24 = 2 (way to do basic math, QutieLand), I provided "wrong information" to them because I didn't tell them that I didn't intend to wear the dress over thick wool underwear, and I "misunderstood the way of wearing" the dress because it is wrong that I intended to wear it without long underwear.)
Finally, he agreed to give me a full refund on the dress, but I would have to pay to return the dress to someone in Australia. I complained that this was, in effect, holding the customer partially responsible for an error made by the company, but Billy pointed me to QutieLand's policy page, where it reads "in case the customers not satisfy with the product (in certain situation) after received, and after agreement with us to return the product. The postage fee got to be responsible by the customer unless further discussion with us."
I contacted Billy one last time, and asked if I was understanding the policy correctly. Even if there is an error in the order due to the fault of the manufacturer or QutieLand itself, the customer is still held partially responsible? I asked him to clarify this policy for the purposes of this review, since future customers should know. He responded "The return policy has been showed in our Shopping Guide of our main page since our webshop has been setup. We are more than happy that the customers would read and understand this policy before placing the order with us." This is a pretty darn vague response to my question, and I cannot tell if (A) yes, it is their policy that customers are held partially responsible for their errors but they don't want to say it in so many words, or (B) no, that is not their policy, but they are making it sound like it is because they want to avoid giving me a full refund in any way possible.
SUMMARY OF FEEBACK
Type of Feedback: NEGATIVE AS ALL HELL (shame on them)
Would I deal with QutieLand again?
No way. It's not such a big deal that the dress was made too large- mistakes happen, and I would have been perfectly happy to remain a QutieLand customer if they had agreed to either replace the dress at no cost to me, or to provide me with a full refund. Instead, they accused me of being wrong about the measurements of the dress, not knowing how to wear it correctly (it's my fault for not intending to wear it with a wool sweater underneath), and providing them with "incorrect information" for the production of the dress (not informing them that I did not intend to wear a sweater underneath). They did so in an unprofessional and just plain rude manner, to boot. Is it really necessary to be so reluctant to admit that a mistake was made somewhere with the order, and to give a refund? I do a lot of online shopping, and have only had to return items twice in my life, but I have never had a problem like this before.
Would I recommend QutieLand to others?
Forget it. The one advantage that QutieLand has over other taobao shopping services is that they are official overseas distributors for several Chinese brands, and so offer "after shopping service", which means that they are supposed to take care of situations (like this one) where there is some problem with the order. If, as this experience has shown me, they cannot responsibly handle even a simple problem with an order, I say just go ahead and use another taobao shopping service. They are significantly cheaper. Try YoyBuy or Taobao Spree or something. That's what I'm going to do next time.
NOTE: After reading some of the comments below, I just thought I'd add this info that some people didn't know about (but which is good to know!). QutieLand is not just a shopping service, they are actually the authorized overseas dealer for not just KidsYoYo, but also a number of other Chinese lolita brands (info can be found here on their website). That's why, even if the error was on the part of KidsYoYo and not QutieLand itself, they are an official distributor and need to take responsibility for an error on the part of the manufacturers they represent. It's precisely that they are supposed to take care of situations like this that they claim we should shop with them instead of with less expensive shopping services that do not have any business relationship with the manufacturers/brands.