As a small business in the gift industry, finding high-quality products at reasonable prices has become increasingly challenging. The cost of living crisis has led customers to expect lower price points for gifts, particularly for peripheral celebrations like wedding anniversaries, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Valentine’s Day. This, in turn, has put additional pressure on retailers to source affordable yet well-made products.
Our search for quality gifts took an unfortunate turn recently when we discovered that one of our favourite wholesalers, Widdop & Co, had banned us from purchasing one of our best-selling wedding anniversary gift items: the Mr. Right & Mrs. Always Right themed mug sets, aimed at milestone anniversaries.
Misleading Explanations and Inconsistent Policies
When we first noticed that we could no longer order these popular mug sets, we were informed by Widdop & Co’s sales team that they had ceased selling them due to quality issues at their Chinese factory. This made sense to us, as we had encountered and sent back numerous faulty items ourselves.
However, we later discovered that this explanation was completely false. Widdop & Co had actually stopped selling the mugs to us because we had rejected too many of them due to poor quality. This left us with an unwelcome choice: either accept substandard products or get banned from selling them altogether.
At AnniversaryIdeas, we prioritise quality above all else and will continue to reject items that don’t meet good standards. Our customers can trust that they are receiving high-quality gifts when they shop with us.
Underhanded Tactics and Poor Customer Service
The inconsistent and misleading information provided by Widdop & Co only served to exacerbate our frustration. After losing access to the mug sets on their online portal, we called their sales team and were assured that they were no longer selling them to anyone, not just us.
However, weeks later, we discovered that the mug sets were still being marketed on their website – just not when we were logged into our account. When we confronted Widdop & Co about this discrepancy, they finally admitted that it was only us who had been blocked from purchasing the mugs due to our “exceptionally high level of returns/credits.”
Despite only having a return rate of approximately 18% for the mug sets, we were still required to provide photographic evidence of the defects, as shown below. These images demonstrate the poor quality that Widdop & Co expected us to accept.
The Importance of Quality and Trust in the Gift Industry
Our experience with Widdop & Co serves as a cautionary tale for other businesses navigating the world of gift sourcing. Not only do we need to be vigilant about product quality, but we also must be aware of the customer service and ethics of our suppliers.
We’re not sure if it is related however this all occurred at the time the company’s ownership changed by being brought out by the sons of the previous owner. So maybe a change in their supply tactics.
At AnniversaryIdeas, we will continue to prioritise quality and transparency. Our customers deserve gifts that are crafted with care and that they can feel proud to give to their loved ones. Rest assured that when you shop with us, you are choosing a retailer that values your trust and satisfaction above all else.