St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 3, 2012 – A New Jersey company that sells decorative ribbon and trim products has drawn more than 200 complaints from customers frustrated by unfilled orders, long shipping delays and the firm’s refusal to refund their money.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns consumers to be careful when ordering merchandise online from JKM Ribbon & Trims of Berlin, N.J. The BBB has received complaints about the business from 38 states, with more than 160 of those recorded in the past 12 months. More than two dozen complaints have come from Missouri and Illinois, including several from the St. Louis area. Purchases have ranged from less than $20 to more than $600.
A woman from Columbia, Mo., said she never received a $211 order that was charged to her credit card in May. “You need to stay away from these people,” she warned. “I feel like I was hung out to dry.” She said the company consistently refused to refund her payment despite several requests. She finally got the charge reversed on Aug. 25—more than three months after her order —when she appealed to her credit card company.
JKM Ribbon & Trims has an “F” rating with the BBB, the lowest possible.
Michelle Corey, BBB president and CEO, said JKM had been responsive to BBB complaints in past years, but it has not responded to the BBB in recent months.
“It would be one thing if items were shipped one or two weeks late, but many of the complaints involve shipments that were delayed for months or never came at all,” Corey said. “Good consumer relations are the lifeblood of any company and when that breaks down, everybody suffers.”
The company’s website, www.jkmribbon.com, advertises bridal ribbon, floral and craft supplies, fabric, bows, holiday and seasonal items and sewing and quilting products. It says JKM has been in business for more than 15 years. “We try our very best to ensure you receive the correct ribbons in a timely manner.” Most orders are shipped in seven to 10 days although items on back order could take longer, the website says.
A woman from Catawissa, Mo., who operates a cake-decorating business, said she ordered 13 rolls of decorative ribbon from JKM on March 13. Six months later, she had not received the merchandise. When the ribbon did not arrive in time to be used on cakes for May weddings, she tried to cancel her order but was told that was not possible. The $87 charge for the items was never processed, but the woman remains concerned that she still may be asked to pay for the ribbon in the event it is ultimately sent.
“I feel they lied to me from the beginning,” she said. “I would not recommend them.”
A woman from Chesterfield, Mo., said she paid JKM $134 for elastic and bias tape that she uses to construct children’s shopping cart covers. She placed the order April 12, but had not received it more than five months later. Recently, the company notified her that it would not be able to honor a 30 percent discount and offered a 15 percent discount.
“It’s been terrible,” she said. She said she now is less enthusiastic about buying online from an unknown business.
A customer from Ballwin, Mo., paid $88 for white satin ribbon used to make communion veils. She has been unable to get her merchandise or a refund for nearly six months.
In a response to BBB questions, JKM President Carmela A. Fusco said the company ships between 85 and 90 percent of its orders on time, a record described as “an excellent shipping rate in this business.”
Fusco said that because JKM does not stock its own products and is dependent on its suppliers, “the timeframe for shipment can take weeks to months before an order is complete. “In order to process small orders at wholesale prices, we do not provide the same services as can be found in a retail operation who charges higher pricing.”
Fusco said customers should read its sales policy—including no cancellations—before ordering. “Most of our customers understand back orders and delays in our business. However, since the economic downturn we have seen more customers quickly involve the BBB in a delayed order which has resulted in significantly more BBB complaints.” Fusco said the company will continue to work hard to address consumer concerns.
The BBB offers the following tips for consumers buying products online:
- Order from known, reputable businesses and be careful of those businesses you know little or nothing about.
- If you do decide to order from an unfamiliar company, try to make direct contact with a customer service representative by phone or email before ordering. If you can’t get in contact with a real person or you are put on hold for a long period before being able to speak with someone, that could be a sign of problems.
- Read and understand the company’s terms and conditions, which are usually printed on its website. Pay close attention to the firm’s refund policy and determine how long you have to return an item if you are not satisfied.
- Pay by credit card whenever possible so that you can challenge the charge with the credit card company in case there is a problem.
- Get a BBB Business Review by going to www.bbb.org or calling 314-645-3300.
Contacts (News Media Only): Michelle Corey, President & CEO, 314-645-0606, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Chris Thetford, Vice President-Communications, 314-584-6743, email@example.com, or Bill Smith, Trade Practice Investigator, 314-584-6727, firstname.lastname@example.org