I’ve never written a review of any yarn or yarn company before, but I didn’t want others to share my experience. Also, I made a promise. And so, without further ado, here it is.
I live in Japan and have had difficulty finding yarn for a reasonable price. Extremely low quality yarn is available for about the same cost as decent yarn like Lion Brand or Caron in the U.S. on a dollar-per-gram basis, while decent yarn here costs about double what decent yarn in the U.S. costs. I’m sure a large part of it is the cost of importation. At any rate, the yarn here is pretty darn expensive, especially if you have to buy a large quantity. Furthermore, when purchasing a large quantity, you can’t be sure you’ll be able to find enough skeins of the same yarn, much less in the right color, and there are often no dye lots (well, never, as far as I’ve seen). I’ve been given one recommendation that I have not yet checked out, but so far all of the other recommendations have been a bust, and so I’ve relied on purchasing bulk yarns over the internet.
On two occasions, I’ve purchased a large quantity of yarn from a Turkish company called GSC Tekstil (Yarn Paradise, ICE Yarns, KUKA Yarns). Altogether, I spent about $300 on their yarn in less than 6 months. In my experience so far, their yarn seems to be of decent quality for the price and their overseas shipping rates (to Japan) make the overall expense very reasonable, especially compared to the overseas shipping rates of the American and British bulk yarn companies I looked into.
The first time I purchased yarn from them, the “orange” yarn I bought turned out to be something between peach and pink (I called it peach, my husband called it pink). But it was a pastel orange to begin with, and pastel colors can appear very similar, so I figured the internet picture was just not very reliable, as is often the case anyway, and left it at that. I wish I had remembered that experience when I made my next yarn order!
The second time I ordered from them, I again needed to buy orange yarn. Ironically. In my selected yarn, a bamboo sport weight called “Jazz,” there were two very different colors that ended up causing the issue. One was titled “Light Orange” and was described as “light orange” but was accompanied by a photo of very pink yarn. The other was titled “Light Salmon” and was described as “light salmon” but was accompanied by a photo of very orange yarn. (I’ve included photos of the product pages below since the company may change the photos or titles and descriptions at a later date. Also, if you’re not sure what constitutes “salmon,” run a Google Images search for “salmon color” and you’ll see they’re all either pink, pinkish-orange, or pinkish-red. As you’ll see from the product page screen shots, there’s absolutely no doubt about it, one yarn is very, very pink and the other is very, very orange.) Naturally, I figured the orange picture belonged to the “Light Orange” yarn and the pink picture belonged to the “Light Salmon” yarn. I ordered the “Light Orange” yarn. Before making the purchase, I checked my basket carefully to be sure I had added the “Light Orange” yarn and verified the product number (32879) to be extra sure. The payment confirmation that came to me by e-mail, which I checked carefully to be sure again that I had ordered the correct yarn, told me I had ordered “Light Orange” with the correct product number (32879). I figured that was that.
Then I received the shipping confirmation—by which time, of course, the item has already shipped and is no longer at their warehouse and they therefore have no control over it. The shipping confirmation gave the correct product number (32879) but gave the name of the yarn as “Light Salmon.” I immediately contacted the company, explaining the issue and letting them know the yarn had not yet arrived but that I wanted them to be aware of what was going on so they could fix it when it did arrive. After a delay of several days, they wrote back, politely asking for pictures.
Then the yarn arrived, and the plot thickened even further. The yarn had the correct product number (32879) and was obviously very pink in color (see the photo I included of the pink yarn next to yellow yarn for reference), but it was labeled “Light Salmon Light Orange.” What the heck??? Is there only one product, not two? And if so, does that mean the orange yarn in the photo on the “Light Salmon” product page doesn’t exist? (In which case, why are there two separate product pages and two separate product codes?) Or did they get the two colors mixed up in the factory? Or did the tech team put the wrong product codes and photos on the product pages? I even briefly entertained the idea that their English translation department had incorrectly translated the pink yarn as “orange,” but that doesn’t explain why the yarn I received had both names on the label or why the payment and shipping confirmations had different names attached to the same product code.
When I sent the pictures, they argued that the yarn I received is the same color as the yarn in the photo on the “Light Orange” page from which I ordered. They later said the yarn must have been accidentally mislabeled. However, these arguments don’t hold up for a few reasons…
- The yarn is labeled both “Light Salmon” and “Light Orange” on the same label. Furthermore, the label has the correct product code for “Light Orange” (32879). Therefore, it’s not an issue of them accidentally slapping a “Light Salmon” label on the “Light Orange” yarn, it’s apparently an issue of all their pink yarn being labeled with both names and the same product code.
- Both the yarn label and the shipping confirmation use the term “Light Salmon,” and both the yarn label and the payment confirmation (and the product page) use the term “Light Orange,” so there was obviously a mix-up somewhere on their part.
- Finally, the product is not as described. It is described as orange, and pink is vastly different from orange. It’s not like I ordered a product called “Under the Sea” or “Tropical Sunset.” I ordered “Light Orange,” for goodness’ sake. Again, I don’t know whether this is an issue of poor English translation, a single product being advertised as two separate products with two separate photos and two separate product codes, or what, but it’s definitely not orange. They argued that it matches the photo. Though true, if I had had the opposite issue—that is, if I had ordered according to the picture—they would have argued that the product is as described, which legally covers their butts. In other words, there’s no excuse for the product page being wrong.
At any rate, there were one or more major errors on their part in one or multiple of their departments, leading to one yarn being not only incorrectly labeled and incorrectly described, and not only described differently in the payment and shipping confirmations, but also somehow labeled with both colors’ names. I wonder what the label would have said had I ordered “Light Salmon.”
At some point, when I brought up the fact of the label discrepancy, they quit responding. I then recalled a February Facebook post by Matt Walsh, a popular blogger now at The Blaze, in which he describes how, having been in the service profession and knowing how much flack the unfortunate people at the bottom get for others’ mistakes, he is always polite when he has an issue to complain about. However, he was recently billed for a five-day stay in a hotel where he stayed for two days, and he and his wife both called multiple times, speaking politely, in attempts to fix the problem, even speaking to numerous managers. They kept being told, “I’m sorry, but we can’t do anything about it.” Finally, he called in quite a huff and was rude to the person on the other end of the phone. They fixed it right that moment. Walsh made a point about the American work ethic and said he now understands why some customers are sometimes rude in some situations—because they’ve been taught by experience that that’s the only way to get things fixed.
Well, I couldn’t quite bring myself to be rude, but I thought maybe some threat was warranted. After several days of silence on their part (they had been responding daily up to then), I concluded at the end of my next e-mail that if it was not corrected, this fact would be reflected in my eBay rating, my blog, and the knitting forums of which I am a member. They immediately responded! However, they continued to argue that the yarn must have been mislabeled, though they were unable to explain why the payment and shipping confirmations contradicted each other, why the label had both names on it, or why a pink yarn was called “orange” in the first place. I quickly gave up and, after some hesitation, followed through on my threat.
So here it is. I can’t trust that their photos reflect the true colors of their items (as described in my first ordering experience); I can’t trust that their product descriptions are correct; I can’t trust that they have correctly translated their products’ names into English or that they know the fundamental difference between very different colors; I can’t trust that their yarn will be labeled correctly; and I can’t trust that the various parts of their computer system are interacting correctly (as evidenced by the differences in my payment and shipping confirmations). I can’t even trust that they care about a customer who spends literally hundreds of dollars in less than half a year on their products. What sense does that make? And most importantly, I can’t trust that they will make it right when they make an error—or, as in this case, probably multiple errors.
I will never buy from GSC Tekstil again.