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Frustrating situation in ordering translation dictionaries
Thread poster: gad
gad
United States
Local time: 07:36
Member
French to English
Feb 3, 2006

I ordered a couple important translation dictionaries from an online site (one that was recommended to me by fellow Prozians, btw), and have not received them, even though I was charged for these items, and was told that they did indeed ship out right away. They supposedly shipped from France "economique" - which, to me, did not necessarily indicate that they would have been sent to me by boat. Actually, I didn't know that this was the shipping option that I'd picked, just because I didn't expedite the shipping.

I've exchanged a few emails with the site admin/staff, and they said that they are putting a trace on the package, but I am rather skeptical, and it's annoying as I really would like my dictionaries, and so I'm considering asking my bank to process a refund for this transaction.

Anyone have any similar experiences? What did you do to get your situation resolved? Thanks in advance for any input you provide.


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bohy  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:36
English to French
+ ...
don't forget the customs Feb 3, 2006

I have similar experiences of books shipping from France. It took something like 5 weeks, if I remember well, and the main reason is because the Customs are very picky with everything which enters the States. Unless you have already been waiting more than 6 weeks, you should trust your seller... it's not his fault, by the way.

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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:36
German to English
How long ago did you order the books? Feb 3, 2006

You didn't indicate time time frame in your query. It can easily take a month or longer for books to arrive from Europe. The other thing that may slow things down is the order in which the company sending your books entered your address. One German company once reversed the order (town/state/zip/street address) of my shipping address, which slowed down the delivery substantially.

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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 13:36
French to English
Can you ask them for the tracking number... Feb 3, 2006

So that you can check on it yourself? They are probably having the post office do an "investigation" on it if the package can't be tracked for some reason. This has happened to me before and takes awhile.

Can you find out if they sent it "colissimo" or by another means? Colissimo is trackable on line.

Economique sounds scarily like something that can't be tracked...must be a misunderstanding. I can't imagine they would send it that way.

Might it be held up in customs on the US side??

If you can't get anywhere with them, I would go for the registered letter to the merchant asking for a full refund and cancellation of the order.

By the way, I think I know which merchant you are referring to (large dictionary seller in Paris, right?). I was about to place my first order with them but I think I'll wait now.

Have you considered Schoenhopfs in the US? They specialize in foreign language books (Cambridge MA with online sales too)? I am sorry to say this, but you are sure to get better customer service from a US merchant than from a French one!

If you can get the colissimo number, let us know and someone will tell you how to track it online or do it for you.

Good luck.

Sara


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gad
United States
Local time: 07:36
Member
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
It's been almost 2 months Feb 3, 2006

bohy wrote:

I have similar experiences of books shipping from France. It took something like 5 weeks, if I remember well, and the main reason is because the Customs are very picky with everything which enters the States. Unless you have already been waiting more than 6 weeks, you should trust your seller... it's not his fault, by the way.


Thanks, but by now, it's been more than 6 weeks. Hopefully that still means the mail is just slow and/or the package is just held up at customs, like you said.;)


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gad
United States
Local time: 07:36
Member
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Almost 2 months ago Feb 3, 2006

Kevin Fulton wrote:

You didn't indicate time time frame in your query. It can easily take a month or longer for books to arrive from Europe. The other thing that may slow things down is the order in which the company sending your books entered your address. One German company once reversed the order (town/state/zip/street address) of my shipping address, which slowed down the delivery substantially.


Yes, I figured that it might take at least a month, but at tis point, it should definitely have arrived.


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gad
United States
Local time: 07:36
Member
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
There is a tracking number Feb 3, 2006

Sara Freitas-Maltaverne wrote:

So that you can check on it yourself? They are probably having the post office do an "investigation" on it if the package can't be tracked for some reason. This has happened to me before and takes awhile.

Can you find out if they sent it "colissimo" or by another means? Colissimo is trackable on line.

Economique sounds scarily like something that can't be tracked...must be a misunderstanding. I can't imagine they would send it that way.

Might it be held up in customs on the US side??

If you can't get anywhere with them, I would go for the registered letter to the merchant asking for a full refund and cancellation of the order.

By the way, I think I know which merchant you are referring to (large dictionary seller in Paris, right?). I was about to place my first order with them but I think I'll wait now.

Have you considered Schoenhopfs in the US? They specialize in foreign language books (Cambridge MA with online sales too)? I am sorry to say this, but you are sure to get better customer service from a US merchant than from a French one!

If you can get the colissimo number, let us know and someone will tell you how to track it online or do it for you.

Good luck.

Sara


There is a tracking number, so that is how they are supposed to be checking on the shipment for me.

I will send you an email with the name of the site. Thanks for the information about Schoenhopfs. I wish ibd still sold French dictionaries.


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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 13:36
French to English
Oops, spelled it wrong Feb 3, 2006

http://www.schoenhofs.com/

There you go. I used to live near Boston and the store was good. Don't know about their online sales but I have heard that they will get just about anything for you.

Regards,

Sara


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gad
United States
Local time: 07:36
Member
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
In fact, they had the address incorrect Feb 3, 2006

Kevin Fulton wrote:

The other thing that may slow things down is the order in which the company sending your books entered your address. One German company once reversed the order (town/state/zip/street address) of my shipping address, which slowed down the delivery substantially.


Kevin, in fact this was the problem - I asked them for a copy my invoice, while I never had received, and right on the invoice was a combination of my home address - which was the BILLING address for my credit card, obviously - plus my work address, which was the actual shipping address. They didn't even have the house number correct, nor did they even indicate the state.

The thing is, I have had vendors make mistakes on my addresses before - not often, granted, but it has happened. However, had they confirmed all this information to me upon receipt of payment of my order - or even upon my first inquiry as to the status of this order - then the mystery would have been solved. I have no explanation as to why they would simply put an invoice in the package and consider that sufficient customer service, but suffice it to say that I will likely NEVER be dealing with them again. If they lost money on this, well then that is their problem, since I lost money in that I really needed these materials in a timely manner, and I have had plenty of work in the meantime for which these materials would have come in handy, and also I paid them for these things and just never received them. Their original claim that I was supposed to allow 3-4 weeks minimum is also ridiculous, since I am absolutely positive that had they actually sent this to a correct address, I would have received it before then.

I emailed them to explain how they had confused the two addresses and even got the house number incorrect, and then politely asked them how they propose to resolve this situation. Hopefully I will finally get my dictionaries one of these weeks, but in the meantime, as you can tell, it's been frustrating.

Thank you all for your responses, I appreciated hearing from you.:)

[Edited at 2006-02-03 14:11]


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Jean Martin  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:36
Member (2004)
Italian to English
Grant & Cutler in London Feb 3, 2006

I get all my dictionaries from Grant& Cutler Foreign Language bookshop in London. Have a look at their website - this shows delivery charges for the States.
Regarding deliveries from France - my experience in the past has been horrendous. I waited 2 1/2 weeks In December for a parcel sent by express delivery. The package I sent back to France took 2 days door-to-door from London.


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gad
United States
Local time: 07:36
Member
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Feb 3, 2006

Jean Martin wrote:

I get all my dictionaries from Grant& Cutler Foreign Language bookshop in London. Have a look at their website - this shows delivery charges for the States.
Regarding deliveries from France - my experience in the past has been horrendous. I waited 2 1/2 weeks In December for a parcel sent by express delivery. The package I sent back to France took 2 days door-to-door from London.



I have heard of Grant & Cutler and was even going to place an order recently (back in November), I'm not sure why I did not place it then but I will take another look since you have recommended them.

I've actually ordered from other vendors in France and had shipping expedited at minimal cost, so that is why when this shipment started to take so long I contacted this vendor right away. They seem to be nice enough in their responses, but hopefully they have learned something from this situation. I know I certainly have.;)


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 04:36
English to French
+ ...
Not working too well Feb 3, 2006

Hi Gad

I am no longer ordering anything from France after a number of frustrating experiences, even with renown web-based companies. At this point, the only thing that works is asking a friend to buy the book for me at a brick-and-mortar store and mail it to me. You can probably arrange that with a fellow prozian.

Also, if you ordered from a Parisian store -acronym MDD- I'm not surprised at all. I was there once, at their store, and I never set foot there again. They're very unorganized, and rude to boot.

Sorry to hear about your mishap.


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gad
United States
Local time: 07:36
Member
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Sara Feb 3, 2006

Sara Freitas-Maltaverne wrote:

http://www.schoenhofs.com/

There you go. I used to live near Boston and the store was good. Don't know about their online sales but I have heard that they will get just about anything for you.

Regards,

Sara


I got it bookmarked. Thanks again and take care.:)


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Maria Karra  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:36
Member (2000)
Greek to English
+ ...
Shoenhofs Feb 3, 2006

Sara Freitas-Maltaverne wrote:

http://www.schoenhofs.com/

There you go. I used to live near Boston and the store was good. Don't know about their online sales but I have heard that they will get just about anything for you.


Shoenhofs is in my neighborhood. I find it too expensive, to be honest. The store itself is quite small so most of the time I don't find what I want, but it's true that they can order any foreign book you wish, and you'll have it in a couple of weeks. The service is great.
Maria

P.S. Sara, nice to know you lived near Boston. Are you in Paris now? I moved to Paris a couple of years ago but now I'm back, I'd missed Boston too much


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gad
United States
Local time: 07:36
Member
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Unorganized, rude, and apparently not too bright regarding shipping packages Feb 3, 2006

sarahl wrote:

Hi Gad

I am no longer ordering anything from France after a number of frustrating experiences, even with renown web-based companies. At this point, the only thing that works is asking a friend to buy the book for me at a brick-and-mortar store and mail it to me. You can probably arrange that with a fellow prozian.

Also, if you ordered from a Parisian store -acronym MDD- I'm not surprised at all. I was there once, at their store, and I never set foot there again. They're very unorganized, and rude to boot.

Sorry to hear about your mishap.


Thanks, sarahl - I have never before had this kind of situation, I have to be honest. I don't see how anyone could mess up my address so bad. I mean, am I the first person ever to ask for shipping to the U.S., that they don't know that it is IMPERATIVE to not only get the house number and the zip code correct, but also to use the state abbreviation that I very clearly indicated (actually, I wrote out the name of the state, interesting that they completely ignored it as if that was an unnecessary detail).

I haven't heard a response from them on how they propose to resolve this situation, but I really am wondering if in the meantime I should have my bank process a refund on my card. These were important dictionaries and this whole situation is so ridiculous it's not even funny. And like I said, I've ordered from other places overseas where the shipping was so quick that you'd think that I'd ordered it from within the U.S., this is the first time that I've had this much trouble receiving any kind of order.


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