Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Shady Introduction to Cloth Diapering

Manitoba hasn't quite yet jumped on the cloth diaper train.  In reality, I actually only know one person that has cloth diapered.
There is tons of information on cloth diapering on the Internet, if you seek it out, but it isn't the same as having an actual physical store that you can go to to shop.
This is why I was super excited when I found Cloth Diaper Mom, an online cloth diaper shop that also had a physical store in Winnipeg, a nearby city to where I live.  The prospect was exciting-a place that I could go to to touch cloth diapers, where I could speak to a real person with extensive experience in cloth diapering, where I could visit time and time again both before and after Perogy arrives to shop for a variety of baby items.  The idea of shopping local-ish also made me feel good.
Even more exciting, their online shop had a good selection of bumGenius 3.0 DELUXE diapers, something that I have spent countless hours searching online for since they were discontinued.  After a short discussion with Ryan, I went ahead and purchased 24 of these diapers from their online store.  I was going to be in Winnipeg in a few weeks, but I wanted to make sure that they didn't sell out before I got there.  Shipping was free.  I immediately paid for the order through our PayPal account.  Done.
A week later, I was starting to wonder when my diapers would arrive.  I checked the status of my order online, and it still said "pending", as if they hadn't been shipped yet.  No big deal, the money had already gone through our account, so I would just have to be patient.
Another week passed with still no package, and an order still "pending".  By this time Ryan was also starting to ask where the diapers were.  I emailed the company to check the status of my order, and received an automated response stating that I would hear back in 2 days.  Two days later-no response.   This is when we started doing some research into this company.  First, we found this blog, with a comment from a blogger with a similar experience in which products had not been shipped.  Then, we found this company's profile with the Better Business Bureau, which indicated multiple customer complaints of the same nature.
I again emailed the company (as their voicemail was full), asking them to get back to me as soon as possible in order to resolve this issue.  I stated that if they were not going to ship the products in a timely manner, that I would like a full refund.  Another automated response.  Another 2 days with no answers.
This brought us to our trip to Winnipeg.  We decided that we would stop in at the shop to sort out what was most likely a misunderstanding or a highly over-burdened mother trying to run a business.  When we drove by the shop, it was closed, and looked like it had been for some time.  There were no hours of business posted.
When we returned home, we filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, and submitted a claim to PayPal to receive our money (almost $500) back.  We were successful at getting our money back through PayPal, but to date have still not heard back from this company.
Barely the store-front shown on their website.
I have several thoughts on this and everything that transpired with this company.  Firstly, I am angry at PayPal and the Better Business Bureau, that, given multiple complaints about this retailer, have failed to protect consumers from fraud.
I am angry at the owner of this business, who I truly believe was at one time a well-meaning mother who was seeking some satisfaction from owning her own business.  However, I feel that she has failed miserably, and has now become a predator, preying on vulnerable parents and parents-to-be.  I am angry that she would take such a large sum of money from me (knowingly or unknowingly), with no intention to provide a product or service in which this money was rendered for.
Finally, I am at a loss for what to do next.  I truly feel that this online "business" should be shut down and that no other person should fall victim to this company.  Given the information that is posted on this website, along with the information provided to me by PayPal and some googling, I know the owner's name, where she works, the name of her husband and children, her home phone number, her address, etc.  Should I contact her through other means and give her a piece of my mind?  Should I file a report with the RCMP?  Should I contact the web host to shut down the website? Or should I just be grateful that I got my money back and focus my energy on more positive things like this new baby that we will be soon welcoming into our family?

What would you do in this situation?

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