Don’t make me angry… you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry…

So the first thing you need to know for this story is that Tuki wears a poncho. As in wears it all the time. As in I’ve mended it three times and made myself really proud by refinishing the “brass” plastic buttons using fingernail polish.

She wears it to school.

She wears it on stage.

You can’t get her out of it.

It was really a masterful buy on my part, as I ordered it without first consulting her. That is normally not something one wants to do. She is really picky and pretty unpredictable. I ordered it because I liked the pseudo military styling, and because she really needed a new light jacket. It was a huge relief when she loved it. Other people had complained that because it is a knitted material, like a sweater, that it stretched, but in our case it seems to just keep growing with her. She has been wearing the thing for about two years now.

Jump to Christmas time when my father asked me if I thought she would like a new poncho. I was not certain. After all, love of current poncho does not equate to love of all ponchos. But he decided to order one he thought she would like. He found it on eBay, and it was shipped from the UK. It cost about $30, and shipping was free, so naturally it arrived late. Which was not really an issue. She doesn’t mind late gifts. The problem became apparent first to my mom, who opened it. She took one look at it and said, “It’s tiny!” My dad pointed out the label that said 9-10 Years. My mom said it was obviously mis-sized, so they would have to take it back. My dad pointed out that the size on the label was indeed the size he had ordered, so he didn’t think the company would take it back. My mom pointed out that labels are sometimes wrong.  My dad wanted Tuki to try it on. My mom demonstrated the tininess by showing how it would not come close to fitting over her head. My dad wanted Tuki to try it on. My mom called me and told me it was tiny. I said to send it back. My dad wanted Tuki to try it on. My mom said she was absolutely sure it wouldn’t fit anyone over the age of four. My dad wanted Tuki to try it on.

It was mailed to me.

I took one look at it and knew it would never fit. I told my dad to send me the payment info, and I would deal with it. He still wanted her to try it on, so I waited until she returned from a vacation trip. It would not fit over her head. However, she DID like it… if only they would send one that wasn’t toddler sized. My dad sent me the ordering info. The receipt was signed by “Vilma”. I began very nicely.

——————————

Dear Vilma,

 
My father, David Hathorne, purchased a lovely poncho from you (reference below) as a Christmas gift to my daughter. Sadly, it is very, very much too small. This is somewhat confusing as she is a rather petite 10 year old, not at all a large girl. However, the poncho we received, although marked 9-10, will not even fit over her head, and if it were forced would only just barely cover her shoulders. The item looks to me to be sized for a 4 year old at best.
 
As I said, it is a lovely item. We would love to have one that would fit her. Please inform me as to the best way to proceed.
 
Best,
 
Alicia Hathorne
——————————

Hi there,

I’m very sorry, but we do not have a bigger item in stock. As our return policy, we offer a refund if you are unhappy with your goods in any way. If you wish to post item back we will happily return the money you paid once we receive the item. If you do wish to return the item, please make sure it is returned in the condition it was sent. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Kind regards,

 Vilma Simkiene

 Lotmart UK Ltd

——————————

As this item was very seriously mis-sized, please send me a shipping label for return post. 

Best,
Alicia
——————————
Now it is at this point when Vilma must have bumped me to her supervisor, because my next email comes from “Valdas”.
——————————
Hi there,

 I’m very sorry, but we do not provide return labels to USA. As our return policy, the buyer is responsible for the return postage costs.

If there is our mistake we will return the shipping cost to you once we receive the item back.

Kind regards,

 Valdas

 Lotmart UK Ltd

Unit 7B, Midas Business Center, Wantz Road, Dagenham, Essex, RM10 8PS, United Kingdom

——————————

NOW I AM ANNOYED!

——————————

Dear Valdas,
 I am not certain what you would consider being your mistake. The fact is that the label on the product does say 9-10 years. It is also a fact that the actual garment would never fit anyone over the age of 4. However, I can’t prove this to you without also shipping you my 10 year old, which while tempting, would violate laws in both our countries. At least I assume so. I am not up to date on UK postage law, but here in the states they had to crack down on that sort of thing after several people got into the habit of mailing their toddlers to Grandma’s house.
 
To reiterate my previous letter to Vilma, this is not a case of buyer’s remorse. We actually like the product, or we would if there was a sufficient amount of it to cover a good sized vole. I understand that the problem most likely originated in the factory, by mis-sizing the product, and that you are merely the middleman trying to sell it. However, you are NOT going to be able to sell it again to another 9-10 year old unless what they are really shopping for is a hat. I would be perfectly happy to toddle off and pay to post this to you except for two things: 1) It was a gift. At this point I am paying for NOT having a gift for my daughter, and 2) the quality of customer service received so far does not reassure me that my father would be seeing a refund before Essex is inundated due to Global Warming let alone MY receiving a refund on postage.
 
Now I am more than happy to send you photos of my daughter with this “poncho” perched on her head like an oddly symmetrical headscarf, but I am afraid that at this point I am going to have to recommend that my father request his refund from PayPal and resort to the only recourse of the eBay buyer… the dreaded feedback. But he WILL NOT be the one writing it. I will. If possible I will include the photos.
 
Or, perhaps you could see your way clear to sending me a return mailing label.
 
Kind Regards,
 
Alicia
——————————
At this point I really don’t care any more about sending the damn thing back. Now I am just doing this for my own amusement. I am therefore somewhat surprised to hear back from Valdas.
——————————
Hi there,

 Can you please send us photos of your daughter with this poncho?

 Kind regards,

 Valdas

——————————

 Of course I got this email on Monday when Tuki is at her dad’s. I am cursing myself for not planning ahead and taking the photos at the time of the original threat, but I really didn’t expect to hear anything ever again. So I quickly sent the following:

——————————

Dear Valdas, 

I am so pleased that you replied. Unfortunately my daughter is away for the next two days. Please be assured that a complete photo log WILL be forthcoming by no later than Wednesday evening, PT.
 
However, to show that I am serious, please accept this photo in the meantime of the only family member who is able to get the product over his head.
 
Kind Regards,
 
Alicia 
p.s. Apologies for the photo quality. It was hard to get him to hold still and hold the phone at a reasonable distance. I am hopeful, but not in any way certain, that this will not be a problem when photographing my daughter.  Fingers Crossed.
IMG_0537
——————————
Then, as I had promised (I always keep my promises), I sent this:
——————————

Hello there,

 
So, my daughter is 55 inches tall and weighs 70 lbs, which is dead average according the the government charts for the US. I doubt there is an appreciable difference in the UK. Here you see the extent to which she is able to wear the poncho. The arm holes are here roughly at the height of her neck. Even if she were able to get it on properly, these would be just below her shoulders and useless.
IMG_0538
Here you can see a closer shot.
IMG_0539
Here she is, looking rather adorable. As I said, it does make a rather good headscarf. 
IMG_0540
Kind Regards,
 
Alicia
——————————

Hi there,

Thank you for the pictures. We have refunded you in full for the unsuitable item, you do not have to return it. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

 Kind regards,

 Valdas

——————————

VICTORY!!!

All for $30.35.
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