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Hi, padded friends. I'm having some issues with a popular ABDL diaper vendor and it seemed appropriate to share my experience here.

First off, I want to explain my previous thoughts about this vendor and what led me to place an order from their website. If you've been following ABDL products for some time you're probably familiar with Rearz' past "naming" controversies. I'll share the links below, but  - tl;dr - they tried to trademark the term "ABDL", received a ton of backlash, then tried to trademark "omutsu" - a Japanese word for "diaper" which we also use heavily in the community here. After being called out for their behavior, they actually blocked Omo.org on Twitter (lol).

LINKS:
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20180108/07500338956/community-backlash-leads-adult-diaper-company-to-drop-trademark-application-abdl.shtml
https://www.omorashi.org/blogs/entry/1491-psa-rearz-inc-attempting-to-trademark-omutsu/

When I heard about all of this, I refused to support or purchase products from Rearz for a long time. I changed my opinion on them eventually, after discussing with a prominent ABDL (Ava Panda / Miss Panda Pants) what she thought of the company in light of the controversies. She informed me Rearz is owned by a single non-ABDL mother who uses the money to support her disabled son, and basically suggested they should get some leeway over the naming ordeal because they're just out of touch with the community and made a faux pas. Hmm... it seems like they should have learned from the first time they tried to trademark a fetish term, but... alright...

Last night I bit my tongue and placed an order from their website. I'm not a huge fan of their diapers (I have had mediocre experiences with them - but that's another topic), but the new limited-edition glow-in-the-dark print was too enticing to pass up. I placed my order well after business hours, so I knew the order wouldn't go out until the next business day.

After the order was completed I returned to the homepage - and it was then that I saw "FREE SHIPPING ON ORDERS $100+". Well, shit. My order came to $91 after shipping. Couldn't they have put that more prominently on the website, or like, I don't know, put the promotional advert above my shopping cart, like other websites do?

Good thing it was after business hours, right? I shot them an email right away to let them know I wanted to modify or cancel the order. That way when they opened the next day they'd be able to intercept it before anything went out. Just like every other website I've ever shopped on and had to cancel an order from.

This morning I received an email saying "your order shipped earlier today, so unfortunately I cannot make any changes to your order." What? I placed the order last night after closing time and emailed them immediately. Surely, you'd think an ABDL vendor - of all types of companies - would check to see if anyone had problems with an order before shipping it.

So I called them a couple hours ago and was informed by customer service that while there is no way to modify the order, it could  be cancelled with a 5% cancellation fee. Okay, fine. I wanted this deal, and I wanted my black onesie.
Then he lets me know "oh, there's actually nothing I can do, it already shipped".

I asked if I could order the extra products I wanted and then we could work out the difference with shipping. All they really had to do was send me a PayPal request for $9, and ship out a small parcel. Just customer service, IMO.

"No, it'd have to be a separate order. There's nothing I can do." 
How about accepting your mistake and taking care of your customer?

I emailed them back after that, asking if they are saying there is no way to cancel an order once it's been placed - since I sent my order after business hours and immediately followed up with an email.

I mean, I get that I made a mistake when ordering, but any other site I've shopped through would've intercepted the package before it went out, and if they didn't, they'd have offered me something, it's just customer service.

I'll follow up here when I receive a reply to my email. 
If I don't hear back, I'm going to call again tomorrow.

By the way, if you see a banner on some of the product pages saying "For the love of littles... First one added to cart is free!", don't fall for it.
There's no discount or free diapers, it's just false advertising.

 

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2 minutes ago, Chevrolet said:

I wanted to buy Rearz because they were the only Canadian ABDL company, but I've heard so many shit things about them that I don't think I can bring myself to do it anymore. Good work, guys.

Diapers EH! is located in Canada... I've ordered through Instagram before, and received exponentially better customer service. Would highly recommend. Tell him Amomonia sent you, haha.
https://www.instagram.com/diapersehsamplershoppe/
There's also a website now but I haven't used it yet:
https://diaperseh.wixsite.com/shoppe

Aw, shit. I just realized Diapers EH! has the glow in the dark diapers in stock. I should've checked there first!

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I'd like to add a little bit to this conversation, as someone who is a small business owner and has dealt with shipping and customer service issues, trademark issues, and someone who has bought Rearz products before and had both good and bad experiences.

First, in regard to the trademark issue, I think we are missing a piece of the conversation, and that piece is intent.  As in, what was the intent behind filing the trademark?  Were they, for example, working on a very specific product line or campaign that used the term "ABDL" and they wanted to protect the unique design and style they had developed from being copied?  The desire to be protected in this way is understandable, though the trademark application should have been more specific, many small businesses aren't super well versed in trademark applications.  It could also be a defensive mechanism, if they were concerned about potential liability for using the term ABDL, having a trademark would give them some protection.

There are other, better ways they could have gone about doing this.  I want to be absolutely clear, I am not arguing that they, or anyone else should trademark the term ABDL, but I can imagine non-malicious scenarios in which a small business could go down that road.

As far as shipping goes, often shipping and shipping label generation is handled automatically, or semi-automatically, as soon as  an order is placed.  So even though one may place their order while a business is closed, as soon as they open back up someone will see those orders and just start printing the shipping forms and sticking them on boxes to go out.  With my business I could get orders overnight, print the shipping labels at 9am when I got into the office, and the orders would go out with the mail pickup an hour later at 10am.

Customer service e-mails, on the other hand, have to be processed one-by-one manually, by someone going through them.  So it is totally understandable that an order would ship even though you sent a customer service e-mail asking to cancel it.  Based on my experience with shipping, I don't think it is a realistic expectation for a small business to not fulfill orders once they are received on the off chance the customer e-mailed asking it to be cancelled.

Most online shopping cart software will automatically send the shipping amount straight to the shipping service provider, via API integration, so the shipper gets paid as soon as you send the order.  If the shipping provider has already picked up the package, the business that shipped it has almost nothing they can do.  It would be up to the shipper to refund those shipping costs and return your package.  The seller has no power to issue a refund here, because they never received the money to refund, it all went to the shipping provider.

Now, despite this, there are things a business can do.  In such a situation, with my business, I would be happy to accept a return of an unopened item.  The shipping, however, isn't something that would be in my power, or the power of most small businesses to refund.  What I would try to do, however, is offer that customer a discount or coupon for future purchases.  Now, with some medical devices, which may include diapers, there are certain laws that may prevent a vendor from accepting returns.

So, my personal experience with Rearz-

I have only bought their products a couple of times.  Once, I bought some Rearz diapers that they were selling via Amazon.com.  They were discounted, the price was more than fair, and shipping was free.  We used those for filming some videos for HD Diapers.

More recently, however, I bought some of their glow-in-the-dark Halloween diapers as I knew my girlfriend would enjoy them.  They were a little spendy, especially with shipping, but it was a special treat for my girlfriend.  First, the product got hung up in customs, coming from Canada into the USA.  After three weeks the package was released from customs, and finally arrived, and I thought everything was good.  Then, a week later, I received a bill from FedEx.  I had to pay import duties and taxes, coming to more than what my entire order (including shipping) from Rearz was.  All told, the 8 diapers that I bought for my girlfriend ended up costing me nearly $165.  There was nothing to indicate that I might be stuck having to pay import duties and taxes at checkout.  This totals to more than $20 per diaper!

Most of the time, even if you are a small business selling a product in another country, you would pay a local distribution company to stock your product and ship it from within that country.  The seller would pay import duties/taxes, but would due so in bulk for a large number of products.  This way the per-product expense wouldn't be so high.  Then they would ship from that local distributor.  There are lots of small local distribution businesses that provide just this service in various countries, at very affordable rates for smaller vendors.

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Hi TVGuy, you bring up some good points.

As far as the trademark issue, yes, sure, we can't know their intent in attempting to file the trademark. They're a business, and I viewed it as a faux pas related to not understanding their customer base.

It's quite likely this is related to the owner not being an ABDL herself. However, companies do have an interest in understanding their customer base and when they blunder that badly it makes you question the quality of their operation.

It's especially bad when you consider how they received a shitstorm of backlash over attempting to trademark "ABDL", then proceeded to try and trademark the term "omutsu". And rather than trying to make amends with the community, they ignored the complaints and outright blocked Omo.org on Twitter.

I mean, once was bad. But twice? Either way, I tried to brush this off as a silly mistake of theirs after getting the inside scoop from a well-known ABDL - but regardless, it doesn't help their situation. ABU, for instance, takes pride in being ABDL-run-and-operated, and noticeably puts effort into being a part of - and understanding - the community.


Now, with regard to the shipping fiasco.

Yes, label generation is often handled automatically, however the beauty of shipping labels is that no one is billed until the item has been received by the carrier.

I received an email at 11:58am directly from Laurie, the owner.  While I have some doubt that the order was packed, sealed and picked up that early in the day, it's possible.

While handling orders and inventory at my job - often orders from other small businesses - I've had to cancel or modify plenty of orders after the fact, and never have had an issue like this. The shipment usually gets intercepted before it goes out, and if not, the vendor has offered to cover the shipping charge on the additional items, as a courtesy for not seeing the email in time.

You might think this an unrealistic expectation, but in my experience this is just standard customer service. And when dealing with niche fetish items like ABDL diapers, customer service is paramount. And most other ABDL vendors even go above-and-beyond with their customer service. They could have offered me something, like even a fricking coupon. I didn't even receive an apology.

The thing is, they don't need to refund the shipping. I wanted to order an additional item and add it to the order to take advantage of their (poorly-advertised) promotion. All they'd have to do is bill me the difference for the extra item and put it in the box with the rest of the order. The shipping provider is going to be paid whether or not I foot the bill.

Okay, but the order needs to be cancelled to make any changes like that? Why? The owner of the company surely has the ability to add an item to an outgoing shipment. This isn't Lockheed Martin we're talking about. If a relatively simple customer service request like that can't be fulfilled, then I question their operation.

What's that? The package already went out? Fine, you can't throw the onesie in the box with the rest of the items. Let me buy the damn onesie and cover the shipping, because is it really worth saving $10 instead of making an upset customer satisfied? Take care of your customers first.

I know you know a thing or two about taking care of your customers, because I had a great customer service experience with HD Wetting. Haha.


Finally, my thoughts in response to your personal experience.

I, too, have ordered Rearz products through Amazon before, and had no issues like this. Shipping was free and the price was great.
I'm guessing that they are using a US-based distribution company for Amazon orders because I don't remember seeing anything about importing them from Canada. But I don't know how it works if I had mine delivered to an Amazon locker, maybe it is different if they're shipped directly through Amazon's delivery service.

Maybe Amazon is the way to go with them, but I just don't see myself buying any more of their stuff after this experience.

I'm now super nervous about my order, as I'm also importing from Canada into the USA. I also ordered 8 of the glow-in-the-dark diapers, and one cloth diaper. Should I expect a huge bill from UPS?

Edited by Amomonya
wording (see edit history)
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The owner sent me a cold email linking me to the terms and conditions where it says orders can't be cancelled or modified after being placed. Any other vendor I've dealt with has no such policy. They should make this clearer to customers since you know, they're selling fetish products, and people often have a lot of concern about shipping and such. I don't think holding a vendor to the same standards as their competition is too much to ask, but considering their track record, I guess faltering in comparison is nothing new for them. I asked whether she can ship the onesie and send a PayPal request for the $9. We will see how it goes, but I'm not holding high hopes.

Just hoping that I won't end up paying a $75 customs fee. From their website (in 8pt font, at the bottom of a page that you can only access by clicking a tiny link in the footer - and then clicking another tiny link on a page that looks like it didn't load properly): 

 

Quote

If you are shipping outside of Canada, based on the country into which you are sending the products, you may incur customs charges levied at the time your package reaches the destination country. You are responsible for these charges. The recipient will also be responsible for any additional charges for customs clearance. Please check with your local authorities before placing your order to determine what duties/taxes (if any) may be imposed if you are shipping outside of Canada. Most civilized countries do not charge duty or tax on medical supplies.The laws are different in every country and we cannot keep up with them all. The responsibility is yours to check with your country's Customs office to see if your country allows the shipment of products you ordered (or wish to order) to your country.


 

 

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2 hours ago, Amomonya said:

Yes, label generation is often handled automatically, however the beauty of shipping labels is that no one is billed until the item has been received by the carrier.

This hasn't been my experience as a business owner.  It may work this way with some setups, with the way I had things working the shipping was paid for directly by the customer at the time they made the purchase.  At no point did the money spent on shipping ever touch an account I controlled, it went straight to the shipping company as soon as the order was complete.

Now, I could login through my merchant account at the shipper and cancel an order if it hadn't been picked up yet.  If I did that, the shipper would refund the shipping amount the customer paid.  But once the item was picked up, there was nothing I could do, as the merchant, to reverse the shipping charges.

2 hours ago, Amomonya said:

The owner of the company surely has the ability to add an item to an outgoing shipment. This isn't Lockheed Martin we're talking about. If a relatively simple customer service request like that can't be fulfilled, then I question their operation.

Unless the auto-generated shipping label calculated the weight of the shipment.  Adding another item could increase the package weight, rendering the shipping label invalid.

2 hours ago, Amomonya said:

What's that? The package already went out? Fine, you can't throw the onesie in the box with the rest of the items. Let me buy the damn onesie and cover the shipping, because is it really worth saving $10 instead of making an upset customer satisfied? Take care of your customers first.

I know you know a thing or two about taking care of your customers, because I had a great customer service experience with HD Wetting. Haha.

I completely agree.  I always strive to keep my customers happy, if there is any way at all to do it.  Customer goodwill goes a long way, and positive word-of-mouth can be great marketing.  Plus, at least for me, there is just the matter of being able to sleep well at night knowing I don't have pissed off customers.

If there is some technical reason why they couldn't cancel/modify your order, I think they should explain to you the exact issue.  That is what I would do.  I would also ask what I could do to make the situation right with you and do the best I could to make sure you had a positive experience.

2 hours ago, Amomonya said:

The owner sent me a cold email linking me to the terms and conditions where it says orders can't be cancelled or modified after being placed. Any other vendor I've dealt with has no such policy.

I can understand having such language in their terms and conditions to protect themselves in extreme circumstances, but to hide behind such language and utilize such a policy as a first line of customer service, instead of trying to find a way to fix things for the customer first, just seems like a really bad policy and isn't the way to earn repeat customers.

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8 minutes ago, TVGuy said:

This hasn't been my experience as a business owner.  It may work this way with some setups, with the way I had things working the shipping was paid for directly by the customer at the time they made the purchase.  At no point did the money spent on shipping ever touch an account I controlled, it went straight to the shipping company as soon as the order was complete.

Huh, maybe it's just FedEx that works that way? I actually had a conversation with them pretty recently and they told me that until the parcel is actually in the system, the label isn't charged for. I think they put a hold on the credit card until then? Of course a lot of merchants probably use something like Pitney Bowes and I dunno how that works.

Quote

Unless the auto-generated shipping label calculated the weight of the shipment.  Adding another item could increase the package weight, rendering the shipping label invalid.

I did consider this, though IME there's usually some leeway on the weight, and also the label doesn't become invalid - it arrives with postage due. And I'd pay the postage due. Then again I never ship with UPS, only FedEx/USPS, so maybe it's different. Anyway, like you said, if there was a technical explanation for why they couldn't help with this, they could've explained it to me instead of being obtuse and pointing at their practically-hidden ToS page.

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 I would also ask what I could do to make the situation right with you and do the best I could to make sure you had a positive experience.

I haven't even gotten so much as a "Sorry for the inconvenience". Shame.

Quote

I can understand having such language in their terms and conditions to protect themselves in extreme circumstances, but to hide behind such language and utilize such a policy as a first line of customer service, instead of trying to find a way to fix things for the customer first, just seems like a really bad policy and isn't the way to earn repeat customers.

This, right here, is what's bothering me the most about the whole experience.

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After reviewing their policies I'm seeing that I, too, will be subjected to an absurd duty fee. At absolutely no point in my shopping experience was I informed there would be additional charges. Any other site I've shopped on internationally makes this info very clear. I let them know I will be refusing the package and filing a chargeback if they can't work with me on some kind of satisfying resolution. It's outrageous to hide that kind of stuff from your customers.
The icing on the cake is their policy states there is an "additional charge of $100 per chargeback made" which is completely against the terms of service of every merchant processing/credit card company.

Will follow up tomorrow when I receive a reply.

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11 hours ago, Amomonya said:

After reviewing their policies I'm seeing that I, too, will be subjected to an absurd duty fee. At absolutely no point in my shopping experience was I informed there would be additional charges. Any other site I've shopped on internationally makes this info very clear. I let them know I will be refusing the package and filing a chargeback if they can't work with me on some kind of satisfying resolution. It's outrageous to hide that kind of stuff from your customers.
The icing on the cake is their policy states there is an "additional charge of $100 per chargeback made" which is completely against the terms of service of every merchant processing/credit card company.

Will follow up tomorrow when I receive a reply.

So, courts have found that when you check a box saying that you agree with the terms and conditions that is the same as signing a contract.  It is a legal agreement, and you are responsible for knowing what you are agreeing to.  I fully agree that if they are doing things in a way that isn't clear, or entirely forthcoming, they should be careful to make those things conspicuous so that customers don't get surprised later. But, from a strictly legal perspective, if one clicks and agrees to the terms of service that is a binding contract.

Technically, and legally, chargebacks are supposed to be reserved for cases of card fraud.  At some point in the chargeback process, you are going to be asked if you authorized the transaction and will have to say that you did not.  It is then assumed someone else used your card without your consent.  Chargebacks are not supposed to be used for customer disputes, where you did authorize the transaction, but for whatever reason want to undo it.

The merchant's card processing company, when a chargeback is issued, has to treat that card as being stolen.  This means blacklisting it across their entire network.  Often times this blacklist isn't just with the card, but also with the shipping address (because you were presumably wanting to have items shipped to someone using a credit card fraudulently) and the name of the person receiving the item.  This means in the future you could find yourself unable to complete a transaction at an entirely different site, or even in person at a store, because your info has been blacklisted in this way.

The other problem is, if you actually did initially authorize the transaction, and the merchant can show it was you and not a case of card fraud, they can now sue you.  You have now committed fraud by filing a false claim that someone else used your card.

As far as them charging $100 per chargeback, I really don't understand how they could do that.  Who are they going to charge it too?  The card owner, who had there card stolen?  The processing company wouldn't let them do that, nor would that in any way be fair or legal.  They could try to charge the scammer, but they don't have the scammers payment info, so there is really no way to do that.

-------

Now, with all that said, there are some potential legal pitfalls with the way they are going about things here.  For one, even though you have to click to affirmatively agree with their terms and conditions say nothing about shipping or returns.  Instead, at the bottom of the terms and conditions it provides a link to their shipping and returns policy, and it says by ordering from the site you accept the policy.  That is a passive agreement, you are not clicking a checkbox or anything else to affirmatively agree to that shipping and returns policy.  Courts have found these kinds of passive agreements are not binding or enforceable.  This is why websites and software make you click on a checkbox or on a "I Accept" button instead of just a flash of text that says you are bound by simple usage.

As such, I think you would have a very strong argument that their shipping policies were never adequately disclosed to you, including the need  for import duties and taxes. Nor did you ever actually agree to any kind of restocking fees or costs of doing a return, as all this language was hid behind their passive agreement link.

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So, with all that information, what should you do?

Well, the first place I would start is with their payment processor.  If you paid via PayPal I would file a claim through PayPal's buyer protection.  Otherwise I would try to track down the company that actually processed the payment and file a claim through them.  It costs them to be hit with a chargeback as well, so they will be more motivated to simply cancel the charges and avoid a chargeback scenario.  Also, this clears you from any liability in issuing a chargeback, should they prove to be litigious.

Speaking of being litigious, I would suggest suing them as your next course of action.  It is clear that their terms and conditions were not written by a lawyer, because if they were they would include language regarding the agreed upon legal jurisdiction for disputes and a mediation option.  It would also include language stating that if any part of the agreement is found to be legally invalid, the remaining provisions would remain intact.  Because these things are missing, you are free to sue them anywhere you want, including filing a small claim at your local court.  This usually costs about $75 to file.  You would then have to pay a process server to serve them with the notice they are being sued, this could be $50-$100.

You would want to sue for your refund, shipping costs, import taxes and duties, court fees and filing costs, and for compensation for your time you spent dealing with this.  You would ask the court to nullify any agreement you had with them, as their terms and conditions includes illegal language (regarding the chargeback policy) and no provision for maintaining the rest of the agreement.  Thus you never agreed to any of the additional costs or fees.

They would be required to show up at your local court, where you filed the suit, to either argue the case or request a change in venue.  If they fail to show up, you can request a default judgement against them.

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Ok so I sort of TL:DR'd some of that discussion, but I appreciate people jumping in here. I did want to note as someone who has lived in different time zones, that 'after business hours' can be a very different thing for different folks. 

I must say that I love Rearz diapers and training panties, and have had good customer service experiences with them in the past. 

I saw some stuff above about court cases... I think that would be going way too far. 

Also, and not to be too much of a Rearz apologist, while I do think advertising free shipping over a certain value would be nice (and parts of their website are sometimes hard to navigate), I don't think they should be expected to advertise free shipping over $100 if they don't want to. I can't imagine why they would have this and not advertise it heavily (as it would help drive more business), but hey, they do their thing. 

Regarding duties, I've had mixed experiences with this. While living abroad I had a couple of packages of things like cookies slapped with duties until I told my parents to stop declaring ridiculous prices on gifts ūüôā

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