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Dear Customer ,

 

I hope you are well and that you and your loved ones had a fantastic Christmas.

 
As you may or may not know, 2016 saw an increase in online shopping - in fact, early statistics show that online shopping increased by around 15% this year compared to last year. 
 
 
Well YouStatement wasn’t around in 2015, in fact we started trading on 1st June 2016 and it was a couple of months before anything really happened. We started as just my partner and I and worked every hour we could to give as much value to our customers as we could - and we still work the same hours!
 
 
Now, if you were following us early on, when we experienced our first extreme growth, when a number of products became very popular - we had manufacturing trouble - which caused delays - simply put, we had no leggings to actually print on! At that time I emailed all of our customers to inform them of the problem, I offered discounts, refunds and worked with every customer I possibly could to help them with their individual circumstances.  I also promised to put measures in place to avoid it happening again - what we did, was borrow a lot of money to manufacturer thousands of pairs of leggings, so we always had spares available - and I’m pleased to say, even with growth and increased Christmas demand, we haven’t run out of leggings since.
 
 
But then we experienced a new problem…
 
 
As you may or may not know, YouStatement.com is based in the UK - more precisely - Hampshire. We use a Canadian website provider named Shopify to host our store (as we don’t have millions of dollars to develop our own) and we have partnered with a printers in Lancashire who ship our products worldwide - that’s 196 different countries! We use our UK courier - Royal Mail to ship the items to the sea ports and airports, where they are then sorted and shipped off around the world. We have agreements with Royal Mail who have agreements with the local couriers and postal services around the world - these postal services commit to deliver items to customers within a specific amount of time - and we display those times on our website.
 
 
What these postal services and couriers are not able to do currently, is offer us a fully tracked delivery service for less than $20 - as you can imagine this would dramatically increase the price of the items on our website. As it is, untracked shipping to the US costs $10 per item - which is more than we actually charge for shipping. You may not be aware also, that although the use of tracking numbers is the norm in the US, throughout the rest of the world, and especially in the UK it is much less common - unless the item is over a certain size or value.
So with ordering online increasing, and (we believe) with the postal services not increasing their staff and services to accommodate - deliveries were delayed, not just for us - but around the whole world for many customers of many different companies. 

 

We rushed to print and ship every order within 48 hours, but once it was in the mail - it was up to the postal system .. We estimate that over 98% of our customers received their orders on time but unfortunately less than 2% of our customers experienced delays -  and we simply had no control of parcels once they have left our warehouse - but we worked with EVERY single customer who emailed us - and went above and beyond to rectify the situation, often out of our own pocket - in fact last week we were even issuing gift cards for FREE to customers who ordered AFTER our Christmas delivery cut-off - JUST so their loved ones have something to unwrap on Christmas day. We worked through Christmas Eve, part of Christmas Day and Boxing Day too, how could I enjoy my Christmas knowing that I had let down even a single customer?

 

The less than 2% of our customers who have been affected, for the most part have been very understanding .. but there have been a few people have become very abusive and made it their mission to call us a scam to anyone that will listen, this prompted other customers to lose faith and file credit card charge backs and Paypal disputes - all of this is extremely costly and damaging to a small company like ours - we have already paid for the leggings themselves, printing, packaging, staff and shipping - the leggings are on the way to every customer - so a refund not only costs us the price of the order, but we have to pay additional fines and fees, and have already spent all the money to make and ship the order. Each refund, costs us a minimum of $90.

 

If you have opened a Paypal Dispute or Credit Card Chargeback - I urge you work with us, to email me and/or close your dispute - Every single order WILL arrive, every single item is in the post on the way to customers.

 

It is extremely upsetting to be called a “scam” and the other spiteful names we have seen - the truth is, I have never scammed anyone. In my free time, I give money to charity, volunteer and actively help anyone who wants it. When I’m in a carpark I give my ticket to strangers so they don’t have to buy one, and I frequently buy strangers a coffee in Starbucks - I believe the more we do for our neighbours the better the world will be as a result.

 

But I get it! I truly understand the pain that a customer would feel - spending your hard earned money on the perfect gift that will put a smile on that special someone’s face, ordering in good time only to be let down - I haven’t slept properly in days because I FEEL this pain, and I feel slightly helpless too since every order was shipped promptly and I had no way of knowing when it would be delivered - I take full and personal responsibility, even though, in good faith, I used services like the US Postal Service, to make sure every item was shipped on time.

 

It’s a sad truth, that often we don’t give feedback unless its negative. If we’re happy with things, we stay quiet - it would be lovely to hear from more happy customers - the 98% who received their order in time and put a smile on their loved ones face. I LOVE receiving selfies from our happy customers and I proudly display on every page of our website - our products bring joy to people and are used for all kinds of things - Charity Runs, Marathons, Hikes, Events, Education and much more - I know this from the amazing people who email in to tell me.

 

Anyway, by now I have jabbered on long enough, please forgive me, I am so very tired.  You want to know the solution, the answers to these problems -

 

Naturally, the postal service will begin to normalise now that the Christmas rush is over, but we are currently exploring what tracked solutions we can offer on our site. Additionally, we are actively seeking overseas print partners who can print and ship orders from the same country as our customers. We are working through emails - as you can imagine, with everyone emailing in the same space of time, not just problems, but questions and feedback also, across email, Facebook messages, Facebook comments, Instagram, Twitter etc - We have a lot of messages to reply to - but we have hired additional people to help us get through them - it’s too much for my husband and I alone! 

 

 

I believe in people, I believe that the majority want to do good in the world, that we’re all a little scared and worried sometimes but for the most part, people are understanding and good. That is why I have chosen to send this email to everyone who has ordered in the last few months - even though most people will have received their order - I believe every one of our beloved customers deserves to know the truth.

 

For everyone affected, I am truly sorry for letting you down - I take full and personal responsibility for the actions of myself, my company and the postal services we have used. 

For everyone, I am truly grateful for your support, custom, kind words and understanding.

 

Wishing you and your families the very best for the New Year.

 

Kind regards,

Maxine Hughes

 

 

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