Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Buying Fabric on the Internet

A friend of mine, Mary Wilkins, wrote this article on what to look for when buying fabric over the internet. She has some great tips and Brenda and I appreciate her wisdom! Thanks Mary!

The World Wide Web - it is an integral part of our lives. The possibilities and opportunities are endless. Now our shopping has taken on a whole new dimension. We can buy basics, gifts, even a new car over the Internet. However, there are a few things to consider before you make any purchase online. While buying fabric can be fun helping our stash grow almost overnight, the buyer should beware. When you are contemplating the purchase of fabric from an online site, consider the following factors.

1) Can you see an actual swatch of the fabric online? If so, remember that color variations take place from one monitor to another. How the fabric colors appear to you may not be what it really looks like at all.

2) Is the fiber content, width, price and washing instructions all available? These are all important things you should want to know. Ask about catalogues and if swatches are available to be mailed to you. Better safe than sorry.

3) Do they have a return policy clearly stated? If not, then ask.

4) Does the site have an email address that really works? Do they have an address and phone number that is active. Send an email query and find out. If you do not get a reply, and you couldn't find anything in your spam or junk email foders, you want to consider purchasing elsewhere.

5) Does the site have a secure order form to handle credit card transactions? If not, do not order online. Never send a credit card number through regular email. This valuable information can be picked up by someone less than honest.

6) Make sure you know about cross-border shopping if you are ordering out of your own country. Make sure it is very clear what charges will be billed to you. If you are Canadian, you will be charged the applicable tax for your province, duty, delivery and border handling fees. Make sure you know what their delivery charges are and approximately how long it will take to receive your fabric.

The postal system is great to a certain degree. I have had fabric delivered half way around the world in 10 days or less and I have also had orders to the next county take 3 weeks. It's far from perfect, but then again, what is?

7) Make sure you insure your fabric order. This might cost you a dollar or two, but it is worth every cent. When your order leaves the vendor, they have no control over the route your package takes or where it ends up. If you insure your order the seller receives a tracking number on their postal receipt from the post office. If your order becomes lost, they can start a trace to find your order. This is a long drawn out procedure that may or may not yield results. If your insured package is not found, then insurance claims are filed and you go from there.

But, if you do not insure your package, tough luck for you. You have lost your money, the vendor has lost his fabric and the post office will not take any responsibility for the situation. It's a lose-lose situation--all because you did not spend one dollar.

This is a broad overview of what you should be aware of when ordering fabrics online. I know this seems like a lot to remember, so print this column and keep it close by your computer for the next time that you just have to have that special fabric.

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1 comment:

  1. Great advice and it applies to almost any type of internet purchasing; caveat emptor!



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