Posts Tagged duties
Today, I am bringing you a tag team post created for you by myself and another one of my faithful Australian readers, J. Argenta. I hope you enjoy.
Recently, I posted about Bonobos. As a result, one of my readers, J. visited the site and did a little shopping.
“I’m one of his avid readers and couldn’t help but check out the Bonobos site after he spoke so highly of it! I found some great stuff on there, but when I got to the checkout and it was $91 to get stuff shipped to Australia! — More than the pair of pants I was going to get. I was basically a stranger and hoped what I was about to ask wasn’t too strange, but I asked if he wouldn’t mind placing the order for me and sending it over for me? I offered to transfer you the money to cover it all and do so before he placed the order. I just don’t happen to know anyone in America and figured the shipping would be cheaper this way. I knew it was a long shot, but I hoped he would be comfortable with this.” – J. Argenta
This posed many challenges. I wanted to help him out. I was totally game to do whatever I needed to do, but this would certainly force me to give up anonymity. He would need to know my name and address to mail me payment. I didn’t feel comfortable breaking down the fourth wall.
I thought about how else I could help. I knew as a blogger, I had a certain level of power. I could reach out to the Bonobos PR team and see if there was anything they could do. I sent them an email:
Hey there Bonobos PR team.
I am one of your biggest fans (I bought the Shortboards – Lapis Lazuli and ABSOLUTELY love them! and have since bought some pants and hats because I love how everything fits me well. I digress) I have an odd request to make. I am a blogger. My blog mainly (but not limited to) attracts a specific audience, but one that fits well with the Bonobos brand — the gay community. You can check out my daily blog at onegayatatime.com. That being said, I love Bonobos products and am not shy about telling my readers about this. In one of my posts, I mentioned your brand and how much I enjoy it. Afterwards, I received an odd email from one of my readers in regards to your products.
[I attached his original email].
I’m not 100% comfortable making this transaction for him, but I was hoping maybe by reaching out to him I could help him solve his high-priced shipping problem. I told him I would reach out to you and see what you could do for him. I work in media, so I know the value of word-of-mouth. You can expect me to continue to speak positively about your products in my blog and can be assured I will make special note if you find a viable solution for my reader. Thanks for your assistance with this issue.
I look forward to hearing from you!
I was CC’d on an email to the Ninjas who take care of this, and they replied back, “Done. Thanks.” I was surprised how brief the response was, but I decided to wait and see what they sent to J. Argenta. I also asked them to keep me up-to-date with what they were doing so I could share the positive story. I got an email in response:
Sure no problem. Sorry about the curt email. Your message was forwarded to us from the PR team so I though I was giving her a direct reply. My apologies if that came off as short. I can definitely keep you updated. I didn’t know your friend/fan’s name but I shot him an email outlining our international shipment options (we actually pay for outgoing shipments but have to do it manually due to shipping negotiations and site shortcomings).
Thanks for reaching out on this.
“I told O.G.A.A.T. they offer free international shipping, but because of ‘how the young program is and various logistic negotiations/planning/tweaking,’ Bonobos covers the cost of shipping manually in the form of store credit. Nick also said I would have to cover customs charges, but I’ve never had to do this with other international orders from other sites. I’m not sure if other sites maybe cover this cost or just include it in their selling price.” — J. Argenta
I emailed the Ninjas again and told them the issue:
Because of this, I think you may be losing a sale and a customer, and I am disappointed in how this problem is being handled. I was hoping to report a viable solution on my blog with a happy story of great customer service to match a great product, but as of now I can’t do that. A store credit of $91 doesn’t sound like a viable solution to me. The problem would just represent itself when he attempts to apply said store credit. I would hope you would further investigate this issue or possibly escalate it to a higher level. I look forward to hearing a happy ending to this story.
Thanks for your help!
This is when Nick really went above and beyond to clarify the situation and make sure he had a satisfied customer. He quickly sent me a reply:
Let me start off by saying that I don’t think your friend will have to pay duties. Sorry about the confusion here. I think maybe there was a miscommunication on our part. Basically the deal with customs is that we (or any company/site/vendor) have no control over duties and customs charges. These are determined solely by the host countries and reimbursing recipients for customs/duties is a legal ‘iffy’ area.
[He then went into detail on international shipping and customs policies, as well as breaking out costs and examples].So basically our feeling was since we lack the ability to predict or control customs costs in other countries we would make it up to the customer by not charging them for international shipping a la the store credit option. I think the confusion here might have been due to when and how the store credit is applied.
The idea was that the most viable way of compensating for our systems/logistics shortfall was to offer a free shipping service until we could finalize a partnership with an international shipper.
Sorry for the long-winded email, I just wanted to make sure I was specifically answering your concerns in regards to, “The problem would just represent itself when he attempts to apply said store credit,” since the store credit actually resolves the problem of shipping costs, not make it worse.
I know it’s a bit of hassle if you’re an international customer which is why we really do try to do as much as we can at the moment given the resources available to us. It’s a big headache on our end as well as we would love to develop an international customer base (pants = the universal language). It’s just proven to be a much bigger bag of worms than anticipated and therefore has been much slower going in terms of negotiating with a shipping agent.
The short answer for your friend is that he will only pay for his clothes, we will cover shipping, and as far as I can tell he won’t have to pay for duties (though again, my knowledge of Australian customs law is cursory at best). The only catch is that he has to shoot us a quick email or give us a call so that we can drop the credit to cover shipping into his account.
If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to shoot us another email or give us any feedback. I always love talking shop.
All the best.
I was duly impressed, and I let him know:
Hey dude. Thanks for the explanation. I indeed appreciate the long-winded email. You know your sh*t. I also appreciate the time it took to write and explain. I’ve passed along the info to my reader. I will continue to give nothing but rave reviews going forward of Bonobos and will not the extra effort you made to make a customer (and myself) happy.
He replied once more:
No problem dude. I just wanted to make sure we were on the same page. We’re definitely a little behind the eight ball when it comes to international shipping so your (and your friend’s concerns) were well founded and we appreciate you keeping us honest. We’ll be in touch and feel free to give us a holler any time you have a question.
I relayed this information to J. Argenta to make sure he knew how this would go down.
“I finally understood what they were talking about. It all sounded good! All this for a pair of pants! But, I thanked O.G.A.A.T. for being so persistent and placed my order. It’s nice to know there are people out there willing to help out a stranger in need (of some new pants).” — J. Argenta
I was happy to hear the transaction come to a positive outcome. I am happy to bring the story to you and highlight Bonobos customer service on this issue. They once again proved they are a company with not only top notch products but also top notch service. They really went above and beyond to help an Ozzy out who needed a pair of pants…
I’m Jason by the way. I live in Australia, obviously! Hello! I’ve got a blog as well — Not one that I advertise much at all, but I’ve sort of been branching out a bit with it lately. Not sure if it would be your type of thing — It’s a bit random really, just about everyday goings-on, and things that I find interesting like racism and gay-related things. I wrote my own little gay life story a few posts ago after coming across so many gay-related blogs. Anywho, check it out if you like — jaargenta.blogspot.com – and I’ll look forward to hearing from you!Follow @onegayatatime
When I got home from my dinner date with Smiles, I sent him a text asking if I could spend the following night with him at his place. I wasn’t sure if he’d already passed out, but I never got a response. I was hoping he’d answer me before I left for work in the morning so I knew if I should bring clothes for work the next day.
My office party was that Wednesday night at the Greenwich Village Country Club. We weren’t able to bring guests, but I was hoping I could see Smiles following the party. I wasn’t all that into it and was willing to leave early if need be.
Wednesday morning arrived, and I still had no answer. I decided to be on the safe side and bring clothes regardless. Maybe he’d answer me midday. When I didn’t get an answer, I asked the question again in a text.
He responded with an apology. He didn’t realize he didn’t respond the night before. “Yes. You can spend the night.” I explained the party, and he told me he had happy hour plans with his wealthy client friend and his partner.
For me, the office party was not all fun. Every year I get wrangled in to help with a few elements of the night. I performed my duties and then had fun drinking and dancing with my coworkers. It was a really good time — Better than I expected. However, I was more looking forward to seeing Smiles.
I texted him to see what he was up to. If he was still out, I was going to meet up with him. He told me he was wrapping up drinks and heading home shortly. I told him I would be leaving the party shortly as well and would come by.
I said my goodbyes and collected my coat. I wasn’t that far from his apartment, so I decided to walk. While I walked, I called his phone just to make sure he was home. I called about 10 times in a row with no answer. I sent text messages and heard nothing back as well. I wasn’t sure what to do, but I decided to continue on to his place. Finally, just as I was nearing his block, he picked up. His phone was on silent in the other room, but he was home.
We talked about happy hour and the party while we hopped into bed. I undressed and hopped on “my side” of the bed, and he slid into his side.
Just recently, I made the switch back to briefs periodically. I decided I looked good in them since they showed off my legs — The same legs Smiles loved to compliment. So I knew what I was doing when I laid on my back in just briefs while talking to him. We chatted a bit before he made a big move. My seduction worked.
Warning: The following may be too graphic for some… As I laid on my back in my briefs, he started groping my crotch as he rolled over partially on top of me to make out. This was a bit out of character for Smiles, but I like it. Apparently he liked what he saw and went for it. I could get used to that.
Things got more heated and passionate and the clothes came off. I thought this was going to be the extent of our romp in the sheets, but apparently he was ready to escalate things. He proposed sex. I was a little apprehensive because he was still recovering from surgery. I didn’t want to further injure him. He detailed his limitations; he couldn’t top and he couldn’t put his legs up. I was still worried I may hurt him, but if he was good for it, I was game.
With that, he put a condom on me, and he climbed on top. It didn’t take long before I lost it. I’d been drinking the better portion of the night, and that really wasn’t helping at the moment. “I always lose you in this position,” he said. I found that ironic, because that was the position Broadway and I so often found ourselves in.
“Have you ever done poppers? he asked. I told him I’d never done them myself, but I’d witnessed them used. He told me it increased blood-flow and would produce one of two effects. Either it would make the problem worse or it would solve it. I figured it was worth a shot, so I agreed to partake.
He opened his nightstand drawer and pulled out a small vial. He held it up to my nose as I inhaled. Sadly, it had a negative effect.
“Let’s try one more thing. Stand up. It may help the circulation,” he told me. So I did what I was told. Magically, it worked. He turned, and I pressed my chest against his back. He lubed me up and bent over the bed, and we went at it. Finally, we were having great sex, even if it did get off to a rocky start. Apparently, he also was enjoying it as he finished on the floor. Just as he did, he turned around and said, “I wish I could make you cum.”
And it was over… I was close to finishing, but him pointing that out to me made me lose it immediately. My mind switched over immediately.
He walked to the shower, and I laid in the bed. I wanted to hop in the shower, but that wasn’t physically possible based on his setup. I thought we could have more fun and maybe I would finish. When he came back, I took off his towel and pulled him into the bed. I told him not to say things like that because it was a sure fire way to make sure I didn’t finish with him.
We cuddled for a bit, just laying in each others’ arms. Just as he was about to get up to go brush his teeth, I asked him if I could ask another question. I wanted to ask him where we stood. I wanted to know what I was to him. However, as he walked away, he responded, “No.”
I was a little crushed. I went from being so happy to finally be having great sex to utter disappointment. How was I supposed to be in a relationship with him if I couldn’t express how I was feeling.
He came back, and I was already prepped for bed. I curled up facing the wall ready for sleep. I wanted him to read my body language and realize how much I closed off, but I don’t know if he got the hint.
That night I had a dream about Smiles. I specifically remember him in the dream saying to me, “You know I like you, right?” It was the reassurance I wanted in reality, but this was a figment of my imagination. It was just that – A dream.
For the rest of the night, I didn’t sleep well. I tossed and turned like the inner turmoil I so wanted to release.Follow @onegayatatime