I got engaged last June and the wedding was scheduled to take place this June. After a few weeks of looking around for invitations, I decided to go with Peacock Invitations on Etsy. The shop profile said they were nearly fully booked for 2011, so on August 16th, I sent them an Etsy conversation asking if they could fit us in for 50 invitations in one of the styles offered in the shop.
I got this reply : Even though we are now fully booked for next summer, I think we could squeeze you in. We would charge half of the total upfront to hold the date, as the order is quite small. Let me know if you'd be interested and I'll set up the listing right away.
Peacock Invitations had over 250 positive feedback at that time and no negative or neutral feedback, so I felt fairly confident paying the deposit and did so a few days later - it was $180. The seller and I corresponded over the next couple of days about colours, customization, etc. I checked in again in October just to remind them I was still interested in working with them and waiting on my mother's portion of the guestlist; Peacock Invitations replied to take my time because they wouldn't really need all the names and addresses until February.
On January 23rd I wrote to send them the wording I wanted and never got a reply. On January 30th I sent them a spreadsheet with all my guests' names and contact info, this time using the address on their "official" non-Etsy website and my gmail address since I couldn't attach the document to the Etsy conversation.
By February 4rd I still hadn't gotten a reply or a confirmation they'd gotten the spreadsheet, which was really unusual since previously, they had gotten back to me within 1-2 days of my writing them. I sent off another Etsy conversation to remind Peacock Invitations about my orders :
Our wedding is fast approaching, and as we have a lot of international guests, we were hoping to send the invitations out by March. It's the first week of February and I don't know if any concrete work has been done on our invitations. I need to know if you'll still be able to process the order - especially considering that my fiancé paid $180 up front for it. Unfortunately, time is running out on our end. I really need to make sure I'll have invitations for the wedding! If I don't hear from you by 11/02, I will have to cancel the order and go with another seller as well as request a refund for the $180 deposit from PayPal. Please get back to me ASAP.
By the deadline I hadn't heard from them, so I filed a dispute of non-delivery on Etsy on the private listing they had set up so we could pay the deposit. (The dispute was closed on the 19th "at the seller's request" according to Etsy; I never got a notification about that or was asked if I approved of the closing or anything.)
Within a few hours I got an email saying that they were very confused by the dispute because they had been emailing me status updates all along - to the email address attached to my fiancé's PayPal account since he was the one who paid the deposit. My fiancé checked his email and he had nothing from them, not even in his spam folder. His spam gets automatically deleted after 30 days, but there's no way they had emailed him at least 30 days before I filed the dispute since I hadn't sent them the wording or guest info by that point.
I was getting really annoyed and skeptical, but they had all that positive feedback - and $180 of our money... I told them to communicate with me via my Gmail address from now on to avoid further confusion. (I also contacted another seller to ask about the possibility of doing a rush order in case Peacock Invitations flaked on me again.)
On February 12th they emailed me to say : We have started working on your proofs based on your submitted order form and should have them delivered to you in the first part of the coming week. I replied the same day asking to see the proofs before they delivered them. By the 25th I hadn't heard anything, so I wrote, On 12/02 you said that my invitations would be ready and delivered within the next week. It's been almost two weeks and I haven't heard from you since. What's going on with my order?
They replied that they had sent my proofs on the 13th and had been waiting for my feedback. Except I hadn't gotten anything (yes, I checked my spam folder). I pointed out that they should have emailed me separately or sent me an Etsy convo when they saw that I hadn't said anything about the proofs, since I had been frequently contacting them for a month by that point, trying to figure out what was going on with my order. They agreed that they should have convo'd me and sent me the proofs. They looked good enough that I temporarily forgot how flaky and weird they were being.
The next week, my fiancé and I decided to have a simple city-hall ceremony without guests instead of the fancy wedding we'd been planning, for a variety of reasons. I emailed Peacock Invitations to ask if they had started working on the invitations, because if not, we wanted to change them to wedding announcement cards. They replied this wouldn't be a problem. Which also meant that by early March, they hadn't started working on the invitations which they had previously told me would be shipped out by mid-February! Also, if they hadn't started any work, what had they been sending me multiple emails about before I even filed the dispute?
I emailed them to thank them for their understanding. I added that we were thinking of moving the date of our sort-of elopement up a week or two from the date the wedding was supposed to be and asked how much notice they would need. Never got a reply. About a week later I emailed them again to ask if they'd gotten my previous email and to reiterate my request that they contact me on Etsy since we seemed to have weird communication issues (or at least that was always their excuse) via Gmail/their email. Never got a reply.
By this point it's been over a month since I've heard from them. I've grudgingly made my peace with the idea that that $180 is gone forever. It just really fucking galls me, but more than that I'm just confused by what the hell happened. They had tons of great feedback, a lot of which praise Peacock Invitations' great communication! They even got 2-3 feedbacks in the time that this ridiculous saga took place, which means they were working on other people's orders and sending them out. I just don't understand what went on, why they decided to flake on MY order, what these mysterious "communication problems" were...
Edit Nobody panic - I am responsible for the tags.