This is part one of a two part “review” of sorts on the website Fabric.com. This part isn’t even a review, it’s more of a rant talking about my dreadful experiences with this company, the dumb policies, and the terrible customer service. Part two will be an actual review of my most recent order (which hasn’t arrived yet) comparing product descriptions and photos to the actual material.
Warning – this is very long, and very negative.
As far as I can tell, this isn’t a company that cares at all about their customers. They don’t seem to make any effort to accurately describe the things they sell, and at least in my personal experience, complaints have been ignored rather then discussed and dealt with.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the site, Fabric.com is a website that sells fabric as well as notions, patterns, and even a few sewing machines. The website has a huge variety of fabrics that range from apparel, home decor, quilting, and upholstery. They have free shipping to the US if you order over $35, and I believe they ship worldwide.
Like with most stores, online or otherwise, the prices and quality vary a lot from product to product. In the case of Fabric.com the photos can be misleading, the descriptions aren’t very accurate, and you never really know what you’re going to get until it arrives.
The website is oddly designed and makes it difficult to view fabrics. The materials are sorted by designer – there is no “view all” option so finding something as simple as ‘white organza’ or ‘black jersey’ can be a challenge. You can use the search feature, but some of the items are oddly titled and won’t show up.
The “sort by price” feature isn’t very handy since it doesn’t take into account sale prices. A fabric that is regularly $20 but on sale for $5 will be listed with the $20+ materials instead of the $4.99-$9.99 ones, which makes it really tricky if you are browsing for items in a certain price range. In addition to that, the website isn’t updated very often, even if an item is listed as “in stock : 340” units, they may be completely out.
But my main problem with this company stems with customer service, or the lack there of.
Experiences with Customer service:
In my most recent order I snagged twenty seven yards of fabric for under ninety dollars. I was thrilled and really excited to get my new materials. I got an automated receipt emailed to me after ordering…but then forty eight hours passed and my order was still listed as “pending” on the site, which was my first hint that something was wrong.
Three days after making my order, I received an automated email saying one of my items was out of stock. I ordered seven yards of the material, and at the time I purchased it the website said over a hundred yards were in stock. I was really annoyed – I would say i’m fairly understanding things like this as long as i’m informed as soon as possible and they make an effort to solve the problem. Fabric.com does neither of those things.
And strangely, when I checked the website today the fabric was STILL listed as having 55 units in stock – this is over five days after I made my order that they couldn’t fulfill.
I replied requesting they ship the remaining pieces of my order, and for them to offer a coupon or voucher for my next order. Since they do not under ANY circumstances offer exchanges I had to make a separate order to replace the out of stock material, which would total $20 – meaning I have to pay shipping on it.
Twenty four hours later I received a shipping notice for my order. They didn’t reply to my email or request. My mother ended up calling them and they frankly stated that the policy is free shipping if you spend over $35, and under no circumstances would they change that.
I think that’s pretty terrible. It’s their fault I have to make a separate order, but they won’t even consider doing anything about the situation.
This seems especially bad compared to my recent experience with OnlineFabricStore.net. A few weeks ago I made a small order from them that they were unable to fulfill, and within twelve hours they called and sent me an email saying this: For one thing, it isn’t an automated message, and each customer service staff member has a separate email so you are always dealing with the same person. I was informed quickly, and when I sent a reply asking about being refunded for the stock they couldn’t ship I received a reply within fifteen minutes. My order was shipped out an hour later and they only charged me for seven yards as opposed to the seven and a half yards I received.
Good job OnlineFabricStore.net
Back to Fabric.com – Here are a few other experiences I’ve had with them.
Order #1: My first ever order was in March of last year. I had just attended Katsucon and was looking to take on another big project. Fabric.com happened to be having a sale on taffeta, I don’t recall the price but I think it was around $2 a yard, and tulle was on sale too. I made a large order of over thirty yards of material that totaled $70. At the time I ordered twenty five yards of red taffeta, and on the website they listed over three hundred yards in stock. I received the typical conformation email/receipt. Then my order processed for three days before I received an automated email saying this: I asked if they would even consider an exchange, since I could use pink taffeta instead or red. I was told no – I would have to make a separate order. By this point the sale was no longer on (since it took them so long to inform me) so I would have to pay full price. I told them to cancel the order and never received a response. Three days later the order was marked as “canceled” on the website. I sent them an email asking about how the refund details would work and, big surprise, I never got a response.
Order #2: This was a much larger order! I made this right before new years so there were a lot of sales going on. This order was over a hundred dollars, and included almost thirty yards of material. The order was shipped quickly without any issues, but when it arrived there were some serious problems with a few of the materials.
The taffeta felt like it was better suited for a construction tarp then a dress, the jacquard listed as “medium weight” was thicker then heavy canvas and the chiffon that was labeled as “ivory” was actually orange AND stained. The image below shows two products labeled as “Ivory Chiffon” the top one is from Fabric.com and the lower one is from a shop in NYC.
(on the bright side, it’s two tone, so it varies from orange to more orange)
I wrote them an email saying I was not happy with the chiffon – I included photos of the fabric which was clearly much darker then the photos they provided, as well as pictures of the stains. I received no response. I sent them a message through the customer support on the website and didn’t get a response. The fabric was still usable and had only cost $14 so I gave up attempting to contact them.
Moving on to reviews! I decided to at least attempt to inform other people who might use the website that some of the materials aren’t the best. I have written several reviews for Fabric.com, a few were positive, but most of them were negative. All the reviews were within their guidelines. Though some of them were clearly negative, none of them were nasty or rude.
I pointed out that the fabrics were different then the photos/descriptions and that I wouldn’t recommend them for certain things. Strangely enough, all my Two star and below reviews have been declined and never posted to the website. My positive review, sent in at the same time, was accepted.
As much as I hate to say it – I would order from this site again. I only purchase from Fabric.com when the deals are too good to pass up – like when they have items marked down to clearance prices, some of which are 80% off. Despite all the frustrations with them, six yards of fabric for $10 is pretty irresistible.
In the end I have gotten great deals through this website, i’ve gotten good fabric, and I have been happy with some of my purchases. But I’ve also had such frustrating experiences with what they call “customer service”. I’ve wasted money on fabrics that weren’t at all as described, I’ve had to pay extra shipping costs due to their negligence, and i’ve written realistic reviews about their products that have been deleted!
So I wouldn’t say “Do not under any circumstance order from this site” but I would suggest you keep all of this in mind if you are planning on purchasing their products. Especially if you want to make a large order of a single item, because if it arrives and isn’t what you want, there isn’t a chance in hell you will get your money back.
Thanks for reading…sorry for the bit of negativity but I really wanted to put this out there!
Tomorrow I will have another “The Making of” post up, followed by a “Stay Study” post on Monday!