At Pawprint Press, we have always strived to provide the best service to our customers, including affordable and timely shipping. Until now, we have been using S.F. Express for our international shipping needs as it allowed us to offer significantly lower shipping costs to our customers. Direct shipping from the manufacturing country, predominantly China, allowed us to make savings of up to 50% for our European customers and as much as 80% for our customers in the Asia Pacific region compared to shipping from the US.
Moreover, we have occasionally used S.F. Express to ship to customers in the Americas to reduce freight time and cost, which in turn helped us keep a lower retail price on some of our products. Since 2023, we have been fulfilling most products from our own facility in California with DHL, UPS, and USPS. However, we retained the use of S.F. Express for some products to enable our customers, particularly those residing overseas, to benefit from cost and time savings.
Despite these advantages, we have recently taken the difficult decision to discontinue our cooperation with S.F. Express. The primary reasons driving this decision are concerns around customer service quality, handling practice, and privacy. In keeping with our tradition of transparency, we are providing detailed explanations in this article about our concerns and the effects stemming from our decision to discontinue cooperation with S.F. Express.
Insufficient Customer Service
We discovered that S.F. Express began using a provider called PiggyShip for delivering our parcels, at least for destinations in California. The service quality offered by PiggyShip was noticeably inferior compared to the mainstream courier brands we typically use. S.F. Express's previous ground segment in the US was carried out by UPS Mail Innovation, and the switch to PiggyShip is a clear service downgrade. We worry that this decline may soon become system-wide across all S.F. destinations. Furthermore, S.F.'s poor IT infrastructure has caused much inconvenience for our customers, including unclear information about the final courier handling the package. Despite our attempts to mitigate this issue through an intermediate site, the hassles persist.
We have also received numerous pieces of customer feedback regarding S.F.'s poor online customer service. Instead of resolving any issues that arise during shipping, S.F.'s representatives merely direct customers to contact the shipper – us. This process creates unnecessary confusion and pressure for our customers. It's also worth noting that we're often unable to solve these issues as we don't have access to the specifics of what went wrong during shipping.
Unclear and Inconsistent Parcel Acceptance Policy
In our recent shipments of the Samuel Plush, S.F. repeatedly flagged our IOSS number as incorrect. Despite us confirming the accuracy of the number and asking for a detailed explanation, they simply continued to claim it was incorrect, without providing any substantial information. Meanwhile, the parcels seemed to be delivered successfully.
Additionally, two packages containing Samuel Plushies were intercepted mid-way within S.F.'s network on the grounds of containing "prohibited goods". S.F. has failed to provide a reasonable explanation for this action, and it has significantly delayed our fulfillment of this particular product.
Poor Handling Practice
Another factor that led us to discontinue cooperation with S.F. Express is the quality of their parcel handling. We have recently been disappointed by the sight of several parcels from S.F. Express arriving with severe damage to the outer packaging. Thankfully, in these cases, the products themselves remained intact. However, we see this as an issue that will continue to worsen, as it's likely just a matter of time before the deteriorating handling quality impacts the condition of our products.
Adding to our concerns, we have also noticed a recent rise in parcels being delivered to the wrong recipient. We believe this is due to errors in S.F.'s label change procedure, a fundamental part of any courier service.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we are alarmed by certain practices of S.F. Express that raise serious concerns about privacy. In a recent incident, while placing an order on S.F.'s mobile app for their expedited express service (which is different from the eCommerce service we use to fulfill our orders), we entered the street address of our office in San Ramon. Unexpectedly, an auto-fill pop-up appeared, displaying the full name, phone number, and room number of an individual we don't know. We suspect this individual is another user of S.F.'s service within the same building, and that S.F. is using full address details as an auto-fill dataset.
Although we have no evidence as yet that S.F.'s eCommerce system is leaking any sensitive information about its recipients, this incident has heightened our concern over S.F.'s handling of personal information. We are committed to protecting our customers' privacy and to complying with all relevant laws and regulations. Consequently, we cannot in good conscience continue to work with a company that does not demonstrate a similar commitment to privacy.
Therefore, we have taken the difficult decision to discontinue our cooperation with S.F. Express. We acknowledge that this may bring temporary burdens to both us and our valued customers. As of now, we still have some final batches of orders to fulfill with S.F. Express, but we aim to complete the transition before this Fall.
As part of this transition, we will temporarily suspend the sale of several products. These include:
- Nekojishi: Dakimakura Body Pillow Covers - Likulau
- Nekojishi: Dakimakura Body Pillow Covers - Lin Hu
- Sileo: Diego Dakimakura Body Pillow Cover
- Sileo: Tai Dakimakura Body Pillow Cover
- The Smoke Room: Clifford Dakimakura
- The Smoke Room: Samuel Dakimakura
Please note that existing unfulfilled orders may experience delays as a result of this change, and we are actively reaching out to affected customers to discuss compensation or refund options. If your order is affected yet you have not received an email from us, please contact us with your order number. We assure you that we will promptly look into your case.
Going forward, we are currently partnering with DHL to ship international orders from the US, and we anticipate that the majority of future orders will be shipped from the US regardless of the destination. This shift may lead to an increase in shipping charges for some destinations due to the added shipping distance. We have detailed these anticipated price changes below:
- European Union
- United Kingdom
- The Philippines
We understand these changes may affect your purchasing decisions, and we deeply regret any inconvenience this may cause. However, we firmly believe that this move will allow us to ensure better quality of service, delivery, and privacy for our customers.
Please know that we are actively exploring alternative shipping options and partnerships to mitigate these changes, and we are committed to finding ways to continue offering affordable shipping rates. As always, we greatly appreciate your understanding and support during this transition. We will continue to update you on any further developments.
Thank you for your continued trust in Pawprint Press.