After this season I am fed up with prop builders who want 40% down and shut there phones off when there ship date passes. This is getting way out of hand. This is just not small guys but big players too. Scarefactory is one of the worst. Because of this a prop escrow business like paypal could be used. Hell why dont these people use paypal. When someone has my money and says they will ship in 6 weeks they need to do it. I had shit showing up 2 weeks after I was open and the vendor had $17,000 of my money. Really pissed me off is they called the day before they shipped and said you need the balance so they could ship. I sent it that day and it a week to get them on the phone after the product didnt show up. Maybe we start a rating service or something. Any suggestions.
I feel exactly the same way you do. I've had plenty of stress over the years waiting for items to arrive in time for the season. Just a bit of info I'd like to pass on... the 2007 season is coming in 9 or 10 months. Seems simple enough that manufacturers should start gearing up for next year right now. It would be an amazing thing to be able to pick up the phone and order a product thats in stock and ready to go. I wonder how much business goes away because of lack of inventory and poor customer service? I'm starting early on the ordering process this year. Hopefully we can get our stuff before the TW rush and take advantage of off-season discounts from manufacturers.
I think what happens is that on the bigger props they will make like one maybe two. Then they wait for orders and use some of the money to buy the stuff they need to build your prop. This is no way to run things because they will get behind and then someone will lose out. (and it will not be them) I think if your going to sell props you need to have a good inventory and ship it out when you get paid. I hear bad things all the time about vendors but I do know that there are good ones out there too. I like your idea of a rating service.
Every year it's the same story, isn't it. Last year, after a slew of horror stories posted here, I suggested adding another board here so that Haunters could share their good and bad stories and allow the merchants to respond (if they dare/choose). This suggestion was disregarded at the time, but it is still an idea I support. The BEST way to promote good service is to allow people to post about the bad service they recieve.
But then, I suppose it really depends what Larry wants this forum to be. If it is a forum for all professional haunters to exchange information, then a feedback forum like I suggested would be a great addition. I have seen this done in other industries with great results.
A feedback forum is a good thing. It's good for the industry and it's good for struggling haunt owners. The only person it might not be good for is Larry as it might cut into his ad dollars.
OMFG - I thought it was just me!! :shock: Being from the UK it is 10 times worse because it can take months to come by boat and then sit in a customs warehouse for god knows how long.
I provide exact instructions for shipping - how to describe the item etc. and still crap happens. But I am an expert at dealing with crap now having been through all the scenarios!
I did tell a seller not to include the powered dye as it would cause problems - he ignored my advice and the customs guys got a nasty surprise when they opened it. Shipping powder is not a good idea. Unless it has special documentation.
I have developed a nasty streak to avoid getting ripped off. International Fraud usually does the trick because is an actual avenue we can take. Over here it is very serious. The Birtish are nuts on this! 8) However when communication breaks down then it does make it hard and we actually have to file fraud charges and pursue a claim as well through insurance.
The problem for me is that part of what I do is providing good for other people, not just ourselves! So it is often other people's money I have. We are honest with our customers and tell them up front. They are paying us for the hassle as well the goods.
This is something I would like to expand and be able to offer people in the US a UK branch of their business. Shipping is a real hassle and I have good shipping connections. Plus I can get to the ports and Gatwick easily as well as provide storage, marketing and web-selling.
Up until two years ago none of the shops had anything - at all! Zip, zero, zilch!! Now there are few bits (mostly crap) but I have to import everything - even the most basic components!! Most of the big stuff we make ourselves or partially make and then add the components or sometimes the severed heads etc.
Hell - I've imported latex molds, poured plaster, resign, carved my own tombstones, painted latex blanks etc. etc.
The problem is the prop makers. The products might be great and would certainly sell well but their unreliability and unprofessionalism is infuriating!!
Being in the middle and having a jerk to deal with is crap. The PayPal escrow only works on small items (coming by courier or express) because the cut-off is 60 days for intial filing and then another 30 for resolution!
I had a cretian partially ship an order as well as it being not being what I ordered and being faulty, but because our intially filing of the claim was 'non receipt' all they did was produce the shipping receipt and PayPal found favour with them.
Were were out £2,000. However they did pay up eventually after some threatening legal action.
I think a name them and shame them approach would be best. Perhaps a listing with a seller rating? If Haunts can be rated then why not prop makers?
I like to think I am pretty careful about who I order from and I check them out to make sure I know who owns the company, their address, phone number, whether they are properly registered, etc. etc.
But crap still happens. Sad really. Because one guy did great work and I would love to use him again and buy a whole crate load of his stuff to sell here but he is too flakey.
I made a mistake once with some 'tombstone outfit' run by a woman named Vanessa in Florida. They had really good ones and not too 'mass manufactured'. Perfect for us and resale potential on the smaller ones. I ordered samples first and they were great - 5 foot tall grim reaper, 6 foot tall angel and some small ones. It was the plaster detailing that made them. I then placed a big order and then nothing..........dead air....... then the website went down.... and I read on blogs that they swindled a lot of people...
Sorry for the rant but this makes me so mad!! :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
If anyone knows of honest prop makers who would like help selling in the UK/Europe market PM me.
The only problem I see with using THIS forum as a place to air complaints about prop suppliers is the fact that this forum is sponsored by those very same companies.
Scroll to the top or bottom of this page and 9 times out of 10 you're gonna find a banner ad for a prop company. Those people pay good money to advertise here. That's money that helps keep this forum up and running.
Why should Larry allow this forum to turn into a place that is openly-hostile to the very companies that sponsor it?
How long would the HAUNTWORLD forum last without the financial support of those prop companies?
I agree that someone should start a no-ads, non-biased website where people would be free to openly review prop companies, haunts, etc.
This forum just isn't it.
So if a haunt took admission money then turned off the lights and locked the doors...nobody should complain or say anything?
"Just quietly walk away..please."
Anybody ever tried this? Does it work pretty good?
Anybody ever have hired help who was really trying to be "Hired Helpless"?
Findind a dark corner to hide in and remain quietly hidden til it's paycheck time? Kind of frustrating........
When currentcy changes hands there are reasonable expectations to be met.
I have sold tickets, then turned off all my outside lights and put my voice outside saying, "Sorry, we're closed!" Lots of FUN!
Kinda sets the mood, let's them know I'm in charge! hahahaah!
So do most of the prop-builder problems come from the unpredictability of demand for a new product?
I like to think we are all doing the best that we can the majority of the time, whether a prop -builder or a haunt owner.
These business are more difficult than many realise.
Ok how about praising the good guys!!
The flip side is that there are honest and good suppliers out there who are getting passed over because of others.
The majority I beleive are good but the bad ones hurt them all. :D
The 'complained about supplier' also may have just been experiencing a short-term problem and could use it to their advantage to resolve it and let people know that its fixed.
service, quality, originality, price, - I assume that even a supplier who might not have the best rep for service (as long as they are not a complete theif) could at least get recognition in one area! :shock:
I don't believe that anyone would want to do bad business when they have a good product. The sad thing is the person who I won't name had what looked like really great products. I wouldn't have cared if he said he was having problems and gave me options. I am a reasonable person. I know crap happens. What I value more than anything is a long-term bigger picture relationship.
Not a one off smash and grab - take the money and run.
It is the same with my customers - I want then to tell their friends and keep coming back and then they tell two people and so on....
I don't take chances anymore. This is my primary reason for thinking of going to Transworld to see venders in person because I have cut down buying and restricted who I buy from to a very short list. Mostly from Germany this year. This also means I am probably missing out on some really good stuff.
The suppliers could really benefit from this. Before I bought a new sound-system I read the reveiws and then made my choice.
These guys would benefit and so would any other larger ones who do business with transparency.
The supplier I mentioned (tombstones) is not one of the ad sponsers - they no longer operate -they just made some great prototypes and then took people's money for 8 months before they shut their doors for good.
I would much rather have a supplier say "Sorry we can't do your order until xxxx because we are fully booked". I had one company offer me a 10% discount for just that reason - "we can't do for this year but if you buy now for next year.....".
Now a supplier like that I love. Maybe cause I get everything shipped in but I want to know the lead time.
No one has a perfect business. Just looking for honesty!
so you guys think thats bad?im still waiting on a prop i ordered from haunted classified.paid for in august.this fool emails me everyday askin did you send the money yet over n over then after he cashes check he turns into a ghost.i still cant get a response from the company.i guess he thinks if he hides long enough i will forget about my thousands of dollars
so how does one go about avoiding/staying on top of the problems that you guys speak of?