Monday, 13 July 2015

McCall's Online Purchase Review


Buying online from the McCall company

Recently I purchased a few Kwik Sew patterns from the Kwik Sew Out-of-Print sale. I received my package today and I'd like to write a review of my experience buying from the Kwik Sew website. Now in case you're confused, Kwik Sew is from the McCall Pattern company, so I'll be reviewing McCall's as a whole because it's all the same company.

I had no idea Kwik Sew was having a sale, I stumbled onto it when I was checking the site for something else. I knew there was at least one OOP pattern that I wanted, but I figured I should look through the entire collection just in case there was something else I liked. It took a really long time to go through the twenty pages of 300 listings. I was browsing the site for at least an hour. This was made more difficult by the fact that McCall's servers are renowned for being slow as shit. I suppose it wasn't so bad as I was shopping at night when no one else is on. My biggest beef with the website isn't actually how slow it is to load, instead it's the fact that nothing is organized. The OOP patterns aren't broken down into categories, they're all pooled together; mens, womens, childrens and craft patterns are all just mashed together with no rhyme or reason. This is why I spent the greater part of my night perusing hundreds of listings, because I had no fucking choice. I don't see why Kwik Sew can't organize the OOP patterns like their current pattern collection. It's the same thing, isn't it?

Shipping costs for Canada are okay. McCall's provides a chart which shows flat rates per pattern quantity. I was down with the $8 shipping charge because it was a clearance sale after all. I wouldn't be able to get these patterns this cheap in store which is mainly the reason why I decided to take part in the online sale. That being said, I don't think I'd ever feel compelled to purchase online at the full price given that I can buy these patterns locally and often for cheaper. Also, I have to mention that shipping to Canada is not nearly as bad as international shipping; my heart goes out to any of you who are overseas and looking to buy from the McCall company, shipping will likely cost you up to $50.
I'm using this pattern
for a psychobilly dress!

After I made my purchase I got an email saying the transaction had been processed and I received an order number. I didn't make an account with them (something I wish I had done). The email indicated that I would receive a shipping confirmation in the future when my order would be processed. Just one problem... the email never came. I checked my inbox occasionally, they now have WiFi at the campgrounds library. Not once did this email show up and after a week I started to get irritated. I've never bought anything online that's taken that long to process, especially not from a big name company. I began to worry that my order wasn't being processed and I'd miss out on all the patterns I wanted - and I was right to be concerned as this very thing happened to two other people on PR! I tried to use the order number to look up what was happening but guess what, the order number is useless! You have to speak with a customer service rep just to get information about your order if you don't have a customer account (I checked out as a guest). I hear even with the account it's still not great, but you do have access to the order status which is more than I had. 

When I couldn't find the order information on my own I wrote an email to the customer service department asking what was going on with my order. On the website it appears the only way to contact them is through an email form and by snail mail. I can't even begin to imagine making an inquiry by snail mail... that's just horrible lol. So I filled out the contact form and eagerly awaited a response. I knew it was the fourth of July weekend in the states, so I tried to be forgiving, but I can tell you now that they never wrote me back, and this is one and a half weeks later! I was pissed at four business days with no response but there is no reason they shouldn't have written me by now. After receiving no response I took to contacting them via their Facebook page where I received a generic response of contacting them by email. Fuckers. I discovered through my transaction email that there is in fact a customer service phone line for the McCall pattern company. I have no clue why this phone number isn't featured on the Kwik Sew website, but it should be! >:(

The first time I called I got an answering machine, so I promptly called back. According to the woman I spoke with, my order was shipped on July 1st. I can see now from the packaging that they began processing my order on June 30th. It would have been nice to know, as I was left in the dark. I was told to check my junk mail folder, that's kind of obvious advice and it's what I had been doing the entire time. For whatever reason, I never received the shipping confirmation. I don't understand why the shipping confirmation never showed up but the transaction email did. Clearly that's not a problem with my email address or email account. What gives?! Out of the possible sixteen shipping days it arrived in nine, so that's not too bad. I was expecting it to take about this long, but not knowing when my purchase was shipped out wasn't helping me at all.

Conclusion

My overall experience purchasing online with McCall's has been awkward to say the least. The lack of online customer service is freaking appalling. If the form doesn't work, it shouldn't be there, and the phone line should be scrawled all over their website! Trying to navigate their Out-of-Print collection was like pulling teeth. Patterns should be broken down into categories like on their competitors' websites. I had actually read a few PR members gave up on shopping because they found looking through 300 listings to be too daunting. That's terrible! I managed to get my patterns and they're in perfect condition, the package could have been sturdier, but what a mess it took to get here. If I had known when my order was shipped or had received better customer service I wouldn't be so bitter about the experience. I might buy from them again (but it's not necessary as all my local fabric shops carry McCall's). Now I know to make a customer account next time and to keep their phone line on hand should anything go wrong again. 

Customer Service: 
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4 comments:

  1. Yeah... They are losing so much money in web sales, I'm sure. I'm sure it's a daunting task to provide metadata to thousands of patterns so they could have a fully searchable site, but it would be money well spent. Not to mention the other back end issues you mention

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    1. It would definitely be money well spent, but I don't think McCall's cares enough about Kwik Sew to do it. Kwik Sew is the only McCall's site that doesn't have it's out of print patterns separated into categories, probably because Kwik Sew makes the least amount of sales. Still, it'd would be nice for the future, otherwise I don't think I'll spend that much time browsing their OOP patterns ever again lol.

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  2. I never bought from McCall's directly, I buy the patterns from sewingpatternsonline... I have never made bad experiences personally, but my friend had missing patterns and serious communication issues with one order!

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    Replies
    1. I've never tried Sewingpatternsonline, maybe it might be good for getting Simplicity patterns cheaper. Luckily I received my patterns, but I've heard McCall's has shipped orders with missing items before; usually the item is out of stock and they don't bother telling the customer until *after* they've shipped the order. It's pretty bad customer service.

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