Cultured Cowboy's Exchange, Return, Restocking Policies
I hate to do restocking fees. I'll avoid them if at all possible. I hate any bank fees, penalty fees, un-necessary taxes, high shipping rates, etc...
First, let me assure you... Few companies will usually be this honest with you. We all want to appear perfect. Nobody, no company is perfect. Those of us who care will strive for that perfection until we are gone. (Apostle Paul)
Who wants to buy something half way around the world, without knowing a mistake will be fixed, exchanged or dealt with fairly? You and I want to feel good about our relationship!
Exchanges are easy. Return to:
Please include a note with your name, phone & email. Copy of the invoice is nice. A letter explaining your exchange is great. You can call us before you ship so we can be preparing your exchange.
Returns for refunds are not too hard either. Ship to the same address, with the same info. If defective, we must know ahead of time. There might be another shipping address... the maker's. All products are covered by the manufacturer's warrantees, and we must follow their procedures, but will do all we can to help you if needed.
The faster all this exchange and/or refunding is processed, the better we all like it. Fair exchanges make for happy relationships!
I live in a world of make believe, most times. I want to be the hero riding up on his horse to save the day. I live in a mind-set of "people want what they want", and order, and we make them happy by shipping as requested. Although most all packages work like this, Cultured Cowboy is sometimes awakened to the fact that life is not always a fairy tale.
Sometimes it is hard to tell what you need unless it is in your hand. Sometimes boys and girls break up. Sometimes we sell a horse. There are a lot of reasons for returns that are really not anybody's fault. Sometime a maker has delays in delivery. Most are not equipped to call us back and let us know such. More suppliers than used to are letting us know if there will be a delay, as we order your products. Hurray for them! . And Justin has enabled us to see what they have in inventory, just like we were walking through their warehouse. We all try hard to get things to you as expeditiously, as correctly, as "user friendly" as possible.
Reality is we do not always have everything in stock, in every size, in every color. We use every resourceful measure to have a good balance of merchandise for timely delivery to you. As seasons change, our balance of inventory does too. Again, we believe in showing entire maker's selections, rather than the best ten sellers you see everywhere else. It is the Internet, the Info Superhighway. It should give you detail, and description, and selection, as we do. If items are returned out of season, or at close of season, they will be credited at the latest prices. (ex. A heavy Winter down filled coat bought in Fall and calling to be returned in late March isn't going to get you much. But Dusters are exchanged all year long. No problems.)
Although our inventory is HUGE, many things are ordered for you. Reality is, once made, and sold, makers don't take things back for refunds. (A few allow returns, charging a 15% to 25% restocking fee and if we pay all shipping costs every direction. And if we take advantage of this too often, they will hesitate to ship to us... We would most times rather just keep the items and keep the next deliveries coming fast.) Manufacturer warrantees state they have an option of repair or replacement, after they inspect the product. (Often an emailed picture will show what they need.) The warrantees state they are not responsible for shipping, though Cultured Cowboy will work with you on any defects.
Once ordered, if it is a customized or semi custom order, some makers will not be able to cancel an order if it has started in production, even though they have a delay beyond Cultured Cowboy's control. Often they rush to cut everything out and need just 1 more thing to finish, which they must wait to receive because they too are sometimes at the mercy of their suppliers. They tell us that if they cancelled every delay, they would go out of business. Quite true. Most of our suppliers in this industry are quite small. If defective, all of them reserve the right to fix and ship it back. If returned, returned things go into our inventory until sold again. And in the mean time, IRS sees increased inventory as profit. So taxes on returns become due.
Let me explain further. The item is ordered. We pay for the item and it is shipped to you. It does not work out. You return said item. We have the item. We must take from our funds to reimburse you. We must pay IRS & SC for the "profits". If this is not a normal stock item, with a realistic turn-over rate, it all comes from our cash flow. And the overhead costs of ordering, receiving, tracking, shipping, receiving back, and customer service, HVAC, rent portions, telephone, Internet fees, and labor paid someone are all expected to be paid. Refunds are issued anywhere from as soon as we get notice from you, to three weeks later. Exchanging, and Refunding are a part of business today, and actually if handled well, can make better friends of us all..
There is always an allowance for returns. That is normal business. But sometimes the allowance is out of kilter. If there are normal returns, you are credited as soon as the box is opened. (and we know who it is...If the return label is from a UPS Store, and there is no note, it might take us a while to know who sent it back. PLEASE put notes in the box, or refuse with original labels and email us either way, that it is being returned, so we can avoid delays to you.) Cultured Cowboy likes to close out all returns within the same month we receive them. It makes bookkeeping easier and makes you, and VISA happier.
Why we like to Talk with you ... When Cultured Cowboy first went to the Internet in Fall of 1995, we had buy buttons and all. We had March '96 sales of huge proportions. But, returns were over $150,000.00 that month. The $$$ amount of returns killed cash flow for 3 months. We took those "easy to punch" buy buttons down. Listen, this whole industry of cowboy stuff is all "Mom & Pop". None of us can constantly take the hits of mistakes, guessing wrong, stuff ordered to take a family picture, or go to an event, and then to be returned. We took the buy buttons down so we could have more personal contact with you. Fewer mistakes that way. Almost like walking into our store! We can share experience with fit and function. Returns have fallen from averages of 1 of 3 items then to 1 of 50 now. Pictures and descriptions are better.
Today, Internet users are more adept at using their computers, smart phones, and cameras. So, we do have an order form below to make it easy to order at your favored time. We can still call with questions and answers, so we can better serve you, if necessary. For many items, you just know what you want. With the form, if there will be a delay in shipment, we do not have an automated card charging system, so we can be more fair about when you are charged for goods and services. We want to work together for your good.
(No need to read the next 3 indented paragraphs, unless curiosity kills ya) Other "fun" things have come and gone in the "Lack of Proper Communication" since then. Like the time a group of thieves based from Nigeria stole a bunch of credit card numbers, and had figured the verification codes that went right through Visa. WE thought ...OK, ship. But after this group had stolen a lot of money from all over, Visa reimbursed all card holders, and then took the money from all the merchants. These guys stole millions according to all the law enforcement agencies. But Visa charged back many thousands to us, then took another matching amount as a security deposit for safety nets for future mishaps. But what really made me mad...Then they, with the 3rd party merchant service providers, charged us about $1500.00 a month to handle all our money until nothing was left of that huge security deposit.
(We should read all that fine print we sign. Did you know some companies have the rights to send you agreements that unilaterally tell you your agreement has changed? You agree to all the new terms if you take another credit card payment. And the USA government loaned banks money? Does Congress know the profits come on the front end from vendors, the interest from consumers and all sorts of penalty fees in-between?) And the major banks wanted to charge you for debit cards as well as the fees they charge every place you use them? Thank you for saying NO. OK, I'm almost through ranting.
Your plastic providers, and the 3rd party vendors, clearing houses, whatever, and the banking systems can net more off your purchases than I do. At very little risk. Yet they are worried about the risk they have taken by giving Cultured Cowboy and other small companies the right to accept a form of payment they have advertised themselves into profitability by shrewdness. This rate of risk, they manage by charging us higher fees than the "WalMarts" of the world. Still, I am glad you have the ability to use them. We survive by sharing gross income of ours with them. ( Cultured Cowboy will GLADLY take your checks.) ( Checks? That's this paper thing you fill out and snail mail to 3003 County Farm Rd, Greenwood, SC 29646.)
Through all the misunderstandings and through all the good faith, and through much work on the part of many, Cultured Cowboy has survived the worst that mistakes and misgivings can throw at us. Truth is, there are Justin boots, and other larger companies, that can take a few hits, but even they had to re-organize more than once, over the past years. Your Cultured Cowboy just keeps plodding along, solving problems with fit and function. ( I happen to like peanut butter & jelly.)
Leland Vaughn, Vice-Pres of SCN Bank once told a group of businessmen that Chuck Taylor would pay back anything owed anybody, even if he had to go without eating. He knew my character in 1984. It has not changed. But character is only 1 part of a financial equation. We have assets. exceeding liabilities several times over. Yet, it is a fact that cash flow in a growing business is always an issue.
If we did not have all the expertise we do have in this cowboy industry, we would have been gone long ago. For instance, this past week, a training couple came into the store and asked questions, traded info, and commented: "No matter what, I know I can always get the best answers by coming in here. We don't always buy much, but this place saves us a lot of grief, and reassures us that we are doing best for our people. (clients)" (We are all looking to answer the idea of - How to help you all best, and still stay in business.)
To have the right answers, we have years of experience in training horses and people, in running a horse farm, in show rings and on trails. We confer with some of the brightest and most famous in our industry. We don't mention a lot of names because we don't pay endorsements. (We can't afford it!) But we appreciate the many of you who faithfully refer your students and clients to our store. I never am bothered by legitimate questions when you have them. (Whether on returns, shipping, fitting, training, or a relationship with your God.)
Cultured Cowboy is not "just" a little independent store, yet, it is. I understand you all want to try stuff. And, we want to send stuff to try. Often, we offer to send a couple close apparel / boot sizes, or alternative saddle pads, so you can try on and return the fit that does not work best. We can do this with items we have, that we normally stock, that we should have had in stock; but, not with every custom made item we offer. We have heard many times how unfair it is to pay shipping for something you didn't keep. Shipping goes to the shippers. Unless something is busted, they feel they did their job getting it back and forth.
We have heard how many times we are hard to get a hold of. Mondays and Fridays are the busiest days to get through. Lots of people are calling from their work, first thing in the morn, or on a break, or at lunch. Midweek is easier. Saturdays, you can get through, but none of the makers are open to get tracking numbers. It may take a few days, but every one of you is an important child of God. And we respect that. I am answering questions and helping somebody 10 to 18 hours a day. And there is a staff that is also trying.
We try our best to correct every problem fairly. (example: We ship tens of thousands of packages a year. And, there are about a dozen complaints with the Better Business Bureau, about us. Once registered, they never go away. Yet fewer take the time to tell BBB when something great happened. Last we figured, about .00001.5% of sales were reported to BBB as a problem.) We depend on making you happy to keep you purchasing from us. Almost every problem has been resolved.
We pay for almost everything as it is ordered. (Our preference: Our suppliers need the money as much as we do.) We even have reserve accounts with several of them. We are no where near insolvency, yet cash flow might be a temporary problem. Although we have a real store, and lots of stuff here, much stuff is made for you as it is ordered. It is because we offer entire lines of the makers products. Who wants to research the Internet to only see the same "top ten" at every website? We believe in making variety available to you. (No Way to have it all in every size, in stock at all times... Another reason we mostly do not charge you till we hear stuff is ready to ship, unless it is a deposit charged to help keep everything coming faster.) ( Yes, I repeated myself. I think I get this from my Daddy. A preacher, not my Dad, once told me to "tell em what yer gonna tell em; then tell em; then tell em what you told them.) ( Our biggest call back is: you have not charged my card yet, is everything OK with the order? ) Does no one else wait to charge, trying to be fair to you?
As the "Middle Man", the one who spends a heap to build the ads & web pages, pays all the ad fees, phone bills, Internet fees, site building costs, etc., we get the rights to ship stuff to you, for a small margin above our supplier costs. But, if it is returned for a maker's defect, many times, we must pay all shipping back to the maker (They mostly warrantee product. Not the shipping to return for fixing it.) If it is because we sent the wrong thing, regardless of fault, we pay costs again. (What you don't see, is that all the screw-ups have to go into our stock anyway.) We understand it is frustrating to wait additional time. And even so, makers only repair or replace the right thing, acknowledging that they can't always do anything about shipping, about having to break in another pair, or about discontinued styles.
As makers, they consider that for the right to make a margin above their wholesale price, we should handle our customer returns. They readily admit that if they took back things that didn't sell, they could not meet their expenses. Please contact us first, if you purchased an item which you have a question about. Some of our suppliers are happy to hear from you. Others would REALLY have you go through us.
How do we handle Problems?
Example: One week, we sent a hat out to a customer. The customer waited over 2 weeks. The item came in & we were tickled pink. Looked on the bag... marked just what we needed to ship correctly. Looked on the tag on the hat...marked as just what we needed. No body here tried the hat on. It was the wrong size with markings as if correct. Customer shipped it back. Just wants what they want. I don't blame them!
This $46.99 sale cost the customer $46.99 and $13.89 S&H. Then it needs to be returned to us and another shipped out. That's 3 X shipping, (shipping companies get all that) and the costs of two hats. Now, the bank gets about 02.5% going and coming. (They get $1.62 plus the clearing house gets another $.85 + $.35, total of $1.20 every way.) So, the maker gets profit on 2 hats, but because we ordered only 6 hats to get each order, (yes, usually 3 to 12 hats are ordered at a time to make any potential profits.) we know that they might have broke even money on each cost of shipment. (Overhead costs) The product was supposed to be marked correctly when they pulled it. ( It was imported, and I'm sure, put in the right bin, according to the UPC Code sized on the bag.) (How do they know some part timer at our store didn't switch it.) Apologies and a double check on their part until all is resolved. The maker is full of really nice people, they followed procedures plus, if I want to continue doing business, I just know I have to have to sometimes suck it up. MY NAME is not WALMART or Lowes.) The banks are happy! They position themselves just like yer ole time stockbrokers! We know the costs of continuing to keep good customers like yourself, so we want you happy. Our customer will not be charged any more than rightfully, already paid, for a correct shipment the first time.
This sale cost us much more than what profit we made. Doesn't matter. What matters is that the mistake was corrected expeditiously by our supplier getting more product to us and us to the customer, so the customer is happy. This is a cost of mistakes made. But, we love you, we love our suppliers, most times, and we love this industry. And, the fun is that at the end of the day, have we done all we could, given circumstance? Did we build a closer relationship with that supplier, with that customer, through the trials?
Should the customer deal with this? No. They ordered what they wanted and trusted us to deliver it. That customer has been more than understanding. I must take all responsibility. This is my business.
Want to hear about an odd week? Truth is: In one unusual week, one saddle was not quite the color on their laptop website connection, and another saddle customer can't afford the saddle anymore. ( I had another, argumentatively ready to make a return to us, and we didn't even provide their saddle?) Two pair of custom chaps were not quite what was expected. One felt stiff, and the other didn't look exactly like the tooling on the picture. Another saddle was rejected (turns out, they sold their horse & forgot to tell us). Customs confiscated a shipment that was not picked up by the recipient. One coat was delivered a day late and refused. OK, An exotic boot was sent with a toe that was just a little more pointed than they expected. (Maker knew better!) Somebody refused to pay for their $419.69 invoice. And, I could go on... I won't. We shipped a couple hundred packages out that week. And all sales, all of you, are great, and appreciated! What is happening is that all the returns have the potential of driving us out of business. Since 1997, we have watched the similar demise of many of our compadres. (No, every week is not so bad, or we would find another way to live.) If a week like this happens, it might take us a couple weeks to credit your card on a return. If you need me, my cell phone is 864-341-4775.
If you have a return that is legitimately wrong. We will still make it right. If you have a return that is ordered, but you anticipated the wrong size, or you just didn't like it, or it was a wedding dress obviously worn and returned, we have no way to stay in business except to begin restocking fees on some items.
We love you. We love your trust. But to do right by everyone, we have no choice. Don't know what the "official" restocking fees are. If, like the chaps, we paid an extra $25.00 to our makers to get the belts changed out, we will charge $25.00. We would have charged another 10%, but the "color" was not exactly right. Some of this stuff sits around for years before someone else needs that exact product. And there is no outlet other than hoping for the next phone call that needs it. If there is a "rush" to get it in time for a birthday, rush fees will not be refunded. Shipping in general, will not be refunded. If, we do a rush because it is a fault of ours, we will rush and charge a lower shipping rate. If it is a maker's reason the item must be rushed, we will do our best to work with you.
If you need an exchange, and the exchange is somewhat timely, ...No we do not refund and charge again. We just get the stuff back and ship more stuff. Visa/MC/and all get money going and coming, and we don't normally like to charge for all that.
There are costs of administrating an order. We suck up most all of these, most times. I get so mad when a supplier says, " Guess we all have to go up on our prices." NO...the market will only bear so much cost. If the costs are too high, then consumers will order an Amazon book, instead of a set of cowboy dishes!
So hoping everybody can play pretty together, Visa / MC / Disc / AX. This is notice that we must use some discretion on returns. THIS IS OUR POLICY. If it is our mess, we will be responsible. If it a maker's mess, we will still be "the man" you all expect. If it is a consumer oriented return cause, on a "special item", there will be at least a 5% non refundable restocking fee. Restocking fees will depend on the degree of customization, the "rush" fees charged by the makers, the rarity of reselling, used items returned, items returned to us purchased from another retail outlet, (returned to us as if it were the item we sent), your dog chewed merchandise on your porch, and whatever else might come up!
I hate this, but, we have to pay our bills and without the restocking fees, Which do not cover our costs of restocking, but may allow us back into profitability as a whole, we cannot stay in business. The whole deal about calling or emailing your orders is about being able to contact you, to be sure your needs are right the first time. And Almost always, they are...Hooraayyy!!
We take the absolute
lowest margins possible so that you can have fair pricing on high
quality merchandise. We love this industry and we love the people we
meet. It is fun to be a small part of so many lives. Still, when we
cannot profit, because of returns, we must adjust. Lord knows, I
don't want to mess this up.
God Bless you all. Pray
PS: Crap, we still may not charge a restocking fee...but, we must reserve the right and state: The redemption, refusal, dis-recompense, or admission of non-application of any fee, charge or duty of cost does not dismiss the rights to apply fees of any sort to future or other shipments to the same or to other parties, as attributed by SC Law, or by US Law, or by International Law. Should any jurisdiction dispute the claims of such offers, and/or acceptance of offers tendered through Cultured Cowboy, stated above, jurisdiction and jurisprudence shall be according to the courts of Greenwood, SC, USA. SC law provides that this is a right to sue state. As such, any costs of plaintiff or defense of jurisprudence will be upon the plaintiff of such suit. As such, should awards be in the favor of said plaintiff, all costs of court, legalities, sheriff judicious expositions, and warrants shall be upon the parties bringing suit, without availability of compensation for such costs. Cultured Cowboy will be responsible only and only for only the costs of any items in question. Any Warrantee, guarantee, or fitness of purpose whether stated, or implied, will be the responsibility of the maker of such item, and the consumer of that item, excluding Cultured Cowboy. Be it known that Cultured Cowboy is merely a middle distributor, acting as an agent for buyer of such products requested, and not responsible for tort, accountability, duress, or suitability for purpose of products offered for distribution.
What this means to you, is be sure of what you want. Be fair to us, and we will be fair to you. A $1600.00 exotic leather coat made for you, thinking you really want it, and then returned, for a refund, will not be refunded in its entirety, though returned in perfect condition, as soon as we learn you wanted to look good for a picture. A "rental fee is in order.
Two pair of chaps rushed out, will be refunded the costs of the chap we can re-sell reasonably, but only 1/2 of the cost of the really "special" one. And Shipping fees will not be refunded.
A hat with sizing marked wrong, will be replaced at our expense. Cultured Cowboy will be fair with our associates, buyers, and suppliers. Love Ya!