Well. This “Win a T-shirt in a Photo Competition” is quite a saga, fellow cyclists. You start something simple – something that melds the bicycle community into a photographic force de jour and all Hell breaks loose …
I ordered 15 T-shirts from these guys in September last year and received an email close to Christmas telling me the order had RTS’d. Do I want my money back? No, thanks, just send the T-shirts. The US postal service (such as it is) probably thought that WA meant Washington. Weeks passed. Nothing arrived. I emailed the T-shirt guys every 2 weeks thereafter and heard nothing. Zip. Not willing to let this go, I Googled the owner of the factory, his girlfriend and even his employers and found a whole bunch of other email addresses that led to CAE Buttons. I CC’d everyone in.
“Where are those Bicycle T-shirts?”
Had I lost $150 on a bad order? What irritates us makes us stronger.
PayPal will stop all transactions to/from an account if there’s some kind of hiccup in an order or if someone feels badly done by. It’s a nice failsafe to online transactions using this system. They have a Dispute Resolution Center. But disputes must be lodged within 45 days of ordering. Who can you complain to once your order has gone beyond that? These T-shirts were ordered and paid for last September.
Not willing to let this one go, I Googled “how to complain about a bad internet deal.” Apparently the ACCC will look into international web companies who re-neg on their order or just take your money without delivery. I filled the ACCC complaint form in. But that wasn’t satisfying enough. It felt too local. I was really angry about this. Our little photo comp winner deserves this bloody T-shirt!
CAE Buttons are based in The Bronx. They are part of a community workshop set up by the US Government who are trying to find self-employment options for wayward 20-somethings. When I read this I figured I’d been swindled by a bunch of crims. Should have seen the writing on that wall.
After an inordinate amount of Googling one bored morning (when I should have beenworking on this website) I discovered an interesting little fact. In the US, if a business does something wrong, or is naughty you can complain to the FBI!
So I did.
Within an hour of filling in the FBI’s official complaint form for overseas people (they’re trade name is the Federal Trade Authority FTA – but it’s the same thing) I got a rather long and apologetic email from CAE buttons who are only now – shipping the T-shirts. Well – we’ll see about that.
So, if you’ve been thinking of submitting a photo to the BTA’s photo competition, you still can. The deadline is simply when the bloody T-shirts arrive.
Now you’ll be in the running to get an FBI authorised T-shirt made by hoods in the Bronx merely for submitting a half-decent bike-related photo.
In the meantime, something a little less controversial, a lot more entertaining and in keeping with this post’s theme.