They didn't do it. Nobody saw them do it. I can't prove anything.
I recently placed an order from Mountain Oak Vapors Premium Tennessee E-Liquid in hopes of trying out some of their flavors. Those of you who follow my blogs or videos or know me from Vaper Space know that I am a fan of tobacco flavors, but my girlfriend Ramona is not. She prefers fruit and sweet flavors, so this was more for her than it was for me. I also saw that they had a better price on the Vamo than did Indy Vapor Shop so I decided to pick one of those up from them as well. The best laid plans, right?
I placed my order, and they processed it and shortly thereafter sent me an automated email telling me that my package had shipped out. According to the tracking number, it should arrive on my birthday February 7th. Woot Woot. So on the evening of said day I checked with my girlfriend to see if the package had arrived. It had not. I checked the Stamps dot com tracking they had sent and it showed delivered. To double check, I went to the USPS tracking site and I saw something odd there. Here is a screenshot of how the tracking info showed then, and as of the date of publishing this article it still does.
If you'll notice the top right hand corner under the features tab, it says "Expected Delivery By" yet the package shows as already having been delivered. This is odd. I hadn't seen that before. I decided to check with the shipper and see if something was off here, so I sent them an email which read as follows. (Screenshots of each email are available at the bottom of this post.)
I recently placed my first order with you. According to the tracking number, it was delivered on 02/07. I have not yet received the package. The order number is 8801. The address in the email you sent me is correct, and I receive packages from many other vendors to this address. Is the tracking info wrong, or is there a mix up somewhere?
Now I'm not a guy who gets his feeling hurt easily. In fact, some people speculate that I don't have any feelings at all. But the reply I got certainly was much different from what I had expected. Here is what it said.
You could call the post office but they probably will not help you. Given the size and price of your order I'm not sure that I can help you either... if the tracking number says it's delivered that is the proof we look for.
Replacing an order of this size would be of substantial cost to us and I don't think you have any valid way to prove that this order was not delivered as it shows delivered via USPS shipping confirmation.
I do find your order comment to be curious: "Comments: Please ship to Steve Parry and Ramona Osborn if the package requires a signature. Thank you." Why did you add this comment to your note?
This reply surprised me for several reasons. First off I hadn't asked for the order to be resent. I was at the stage where I was just trying to figure out what was going on. 2nd, it would seem that if there had been a problem with my request for specific shipping instructions, it would seem that this issue would have been addressed before shipping the package. Furthermore, this didn't even apply to this order because it did not require a signature, so I found it odd that this would be brought up. In other words, since the question had nothing to do with this shipment, I felt it was more of an accusation that a question. Rather than getting off in the weeds on this issue however, I replied as follows.
My reason for adding that comment is that I live at that address with my girlfriend, Ramona Osborn. I am an over the road trucker, so I am out for weeks at a time. Therefore, I need her to sign for it if it requires a signature. If she is at home to receive a signature required shipment, they allow her to sign even if her name is not on the package. If she misses it and has to pick it up at the post office, they will not allow her to sign for a package that only has my name on it.
Can you confirm the address that the order was shipped to? Is it possible that some mistake was made on the label? I understand your skepticism here, because you don't know me. But I order a ton of vapor stuff from Halo, My Vapor Store, Got Vapes, the list goes on, and I have never had a problem. I don't suspect that you are trying to keep me from becoming a customer here, and I assure you that I was anxiously looking forward to trying your liquids. I would imagine that the problem is more likely an error that could be overlooked here. I did not ask for a refund or a reshipment, only to double check the info so I can try to see what went wrong here. I can see the address that you put in the email at time of shipping, and that is correct. I cannot, however, see the address associated with the tracking number. I was hoping that you could to confirm that it was indeed shipped to that address.
I got this in reply.
The address that is on your shipping/invoice confirmation is immediately printed on the shipping label. We do not alter these addresses in any way.In the morning when I return to my office, I will be able to email you the exact details. If I can find anything that remotely indicates an error on our part, I will gladly rectify the situation.I only ask that you contact your local post office Monday morning and report this missing package.
Now the date that I received this response was February 9th. It should be noted that this was on the weekend. And while it did say that the info would be emailed to me "in the morning" it didn't surprise me that I didn't ear from them on Sunday morning. It did, however, surprise me that I didn't hear from them again until I contacted them on Monday at around noon. I began to feel like my issue was rather low priority. Either way, I had contacted the Post Office and they had started an investigation so I emailed the following.
I contacted the USPS this morning and they confirmed that they show the package as delivered. They opened an investigation to determine what might have gone wrong, and they gave me an investigation number and said that they will contact me with more information by the close of business tomorrow.
This was the response.
I do hope they are able to determine something. I went back and double checked the information from our Shipping program. Here is the exact address that was used:Steve Parry(Address redacted, but it was the correct address.)This address matches the address provided to our site during the creation of your account.The most interesting thing I note is that it departed the Indianapolis facility twice. Then arrived at the same facility. And then departed again. I would imagine that the employees at that facility really messed up. This is information that they can see, but I would mention it.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN, 46237, US 02/07/2013 2:02 PM DELIVERED INDIANAPOLIS, IN, 46239, US 02/07/2013 10:28 AM OUT FOR DELIVERY INDIANAPOLIS, IN, 46239, US 02/07/2013 10:18 AM SORTING/PROCESSING COMPLETE INDIANAPOLIS, IN, 46239, US 02/07/2013 7:39 AM ARRIVAL AT UNIT INDIANAPOLIS, IN, 46241, US 02/07/2013 2:54 AM DEPART USPS SORT FACILITY INDIANAPOLIS, IN, 46241, US 02/07/2013 2:53 AM DEPART USPS SORT FACILITY INDIANAPOLIS, IN, 46241, US 02/06/2013 8:05 PM PROCESSED THROUGH USPS SORT FACILITYThis leads me to believe that your package is still possibly sitting there in that facility processing. This may be an isolated issue with their facility.Please keep us updated.Warmest Regards,Brandy NairOwner
Mountain Oak Vapors
And thus began the painful process of dealing with the Post Office. After several calls back and forth the investigation was concluded with the official USPS position being that the package had been delivered. I even received a call from the local Post Office and they attempted to contact my carrier, and I informed him that I had received another package the day before because I thought that perhaps the carrier might remember if she had or had not delivered packages on consecutive days. He called me back and told me that the carrier had no specific recollection of delivering the package so I would need to file a claim by going online or picking up a form at the Post Office.
Now, due to the nature of my work I couldn't immediately get online to file a claim, so the next direct update involving Mountain Oak Vapors occurred on February 27ty, but before I get into that there was the issue of my needing the product that I didn't receive. As any vaper knows, one can't just wait around in hopes that something will eventually be resolved. So I went to Indy Vapor Shop and purchased another Vamo (Bamboo) and 3 30ml bottles of Halo Prime as seen on the receipt below.
The Vamo (Bamboo) is the "Unlisted Item" and the Halo is shown on the receipt, This was purchased when I got home on Valentines Day and while I waited for the other issue to be resolved. On or about the 21st, when I became aware that I would need to file a claim, I let Ramona know that I would be placing an order after I filed the claim and I asked her to select what juices she would like to try from Mountain Oak Vapors as she had been sleeping when I placed the last order so I had chosen for her. Here is the message she sent me on Facebook so that I would have the info when I got online. Notice the date at the top of the message.
Now I included those two images and that information for this reason. For anyone who doesn't know me, if I had received this package and was trying to scam as if I hadn't, there would be no need for me to go to Indy Vapor Shop on the 14th of February and purchase the exact same items (device and liquid) that had arrived at my house a week earlier. Furthermore, I did not then nor do I now believe that Mountain Oak Vapors was to blame for me not receiving my package or I would not have been prepared to place another order with them. However, when I attempted to file the claim online I needed a label number which I did not have, so I contacted the USPS again and they then informed me that the party that shipped the package has to file the claim and not the intended recipient. I let MOV know this with the following email.
I tried to submit a claim with the USPS over my order that was never delivered. They informed me that the claim has to be filed by the person who mailed the package, not the recipient. Are you familiar with the claims process, or know what needs to be done here? This is in regards to tracking number 9405511201080800412328 shipment.
I was shocked at the response I got. Until now this company hadn't really seemed to care that much if I got the order or not. What I got this time was some excellent customer service. Check this out.
We can look into this. My understanding it’s about a 6 month ordeal where they make it so difficult that nobody would bother doing it.At this point we are just worried at protecting ourselves this package shows as delivered and it’s $115.00 order. Can we refund it? Yes it’s within our power and we certainly could do that for you but our concern is that we would have to do this for anyone who says a package was not delivered (when the delivery confirmation shows that it was).Legally speaking as long as we have a positive AVS match and proof of delivery (delivery confirmation) we are not liable for the funds. At the same time, I really feel bad about this.What I would like to do as a common place for us to both meet and deal with this situation is wait for our re-stock of Vamo’s to arrive, at which point we will re-send this entire package.Does that sound agreeable to you? We are expecting Vamo’s in March, but with the CNY just ending I can’t guarantee when, we ordered them 8 days ago so we’re hoping another 2 weeks max.How does that sound?Sincerely,Steve NairOwner/ManagerMountain Oak Vapors LLC
In hindsight, I should have jumped on this. A simple "Yes, that will work." email was all that was needed. But I'm a fair and reasonable guy. I believe that the tracking info shown above depicts a problem with the Post Office, and as long as MOV shipped the order they they did their part. I accepted their offer with the following caveat.
To tell the truth it sounds more than fair. I would not have suggested that as I do not want to cause a loss for you, as I understand the issue as I am looking at a loss myself. Furthermore, I already had a Vamo for my use and this one was intended for my girlfriend. Being as I live near Indy Vapor Shop, I went there after this package did not arrive and purchased another Vamo from him for her as I was unsure of what would come of this and I didn't want her to have to wait indefinitely.
I do not wish for a refund, as it was the product that I wanted. Thus, I think a better meeting place that would be more fair to both parties would be for you to simply ship the liquids that were ordered. Again, I say this based on your offer as I do sympathize with your situation and understand that you have done your job and have already lost inventory on this. In the event that you do attempt to and are able to come to a resolution with the USPS, then perhaps an in store credit could be offered in place of the unit. If not, then I would be willing to take the loss on the unit. The largest issue to me was trying the liquids, as my girlfriend prefers the sweets and fruits and most vapor shop liquids in that category don't really cut it for her.
I appreciate the offer that you made, and either of these suggestions are beyond what is required of you, and I respect that level of service. If this solution is not satisfactory to you, then your offer is acceptable. I just feel that it is more fair if there will be a loss that the loss be shared by both parties than for you to take the whole thing on yourself.
Now if you're thinking to yourself "idiot" then you would be correct. But this seemed fair to me. After all, up until now I had assumed that the Post Office would deny my claim and I would be out $115 but in this scenario I was getting half of my order. And here is the kicker. I started to place the above order that my girlfriend had requested thinking that they could ship it all out together at once, saving them the extra shipping as well. Before I could finish the order, however, the little Yahoo ding went off and I assumed it was him saying they were happy to just send the juice. You're not going to believe this response.
Mr. Parry,I tried to find a resolution by contacting USPS. When that didn’t work, I contacted your local post office in Wanamaker. The Postmaster spoke with me for about an hour about your package and their delivery procedures. They do not mark a package as “Delivered” until the few moments before they put the package in a mailbox or leave it on a doorstep. So, she was very confident that your package was delivered. They have had complaints from individuals living on (street name redacted) having mail/packages stolen. I was told this was a very busy main road in Indianapolis and these things are common. I was also told that we will not be able to open a ticket about this package due to the nature of their careful procedures of delivery and the “Delivered” status of the package.I further asked her to speak with your mail carrier. She will be speaking with your mail carrier this evening and will report back to me in the morning. I thought perhaps your mail carrier could remember the delivery, details about the delivery, and whether she placed the package in a mailbox or left it on a porch. I will let you know what I hear back.Warmest Regards,Brandy NairMountain Oak Vapors LLC
I can't tell you exactly what I said when I read this. What I can tell you is that I was a United States Marine for 4 years and have been an over-the-road trucker for the ensuing 16 years. If I had used that string of language in a Marine Corps chowhall, I would have undoubtedly been told "Watch your mouth, there are sailors in here." Needless to say, I never submitted that order. Here is what I did instead.
Now rest assured that I am not an idiot. I know that MOV can submit a claim on this, and from where I sit that is all I was asking for. Just submit the damn claim, and let the chips fall where they may. It will either be accepted and I will get reimbursed for my order, or it will be denied and I will be out $115. It's that simple. But what kind of company makes such a generous offer and when you accept part of it, they withdraw the offer and refuse to even do the bare minimum you requested of them? If it were one individual that I was dealing with, I would say that person was likely bipolar. I am aware that it was two different individuals, but from where I sit you can see that the effect is the same. I'm not saying that these two individuals are bipolar, but their combined efforts in customer service are.
So here is the net summary of this review. I cannot begin to tell you a single thing about the quality of the flavor, vapor production, or throat hit offered by Mountain Oak Vapors E-Liquid. I can tell you that I placed an order, and that I firmly believe that they packaged it and shipped it out. Had they simply said "Okay" and submitted a claim on the order to the USPS, I would be awaiting my next shipment. But their refusal to make this simple accommodation complicated by their apparent rescinding of the offer to replace the product (I say apparent because I have made no further attempt to contact them nor will I) leaves me to say that the customer service is so bad that I would strongly advise against ordering from this company.
I just received the following email from Steve.
My offer still stands we’ll take care of you when re-stock arrives. Sorry Brandy & I were not on the same page she responded to you shortly after I did but do not worry we’ll get you taken care of.Sincerely,Steve NairOwner/ManagerMountain Oak Vapors LLC
Apparently, the offer was still on. I think you can see where I thought otherwise based on the last email that I received. I will post a final review on this after receiving the product. I will leave this stand as is for the time being as there is validity to my complaints on the CS. However, assuming that they come through with this shipment that has to say something for them. After all, I did state that they didn't need to send the Vamo and legally they didn't have to do any of this. I felt that accepting the juice was fair since he didn't want to go through the hassle of submitting a claim, but let's face it. Odds are that I lose a claim with the Post Office so I felt like splitting the loss with them was still not only fair but slightly slanted in my favor. I will update this whenever the shipment arrives.
I received the following email last night.
Steve,I’ve gone ahead and refunded you in full for $114.06. I have no idea when the vamo’s are going to arrive I have not even received a shipping update from our supplier. I don’t want to leave you out in the cold for another month while we wait on this.Sincerely,Steve NairOwner/Manager
Now, being a reasonable guy, this obviously changes my assessment of the situation. Thus I have taken the word "fail" off of the title and put a strike-through over my original analysis. At this point I am rather wrapped up in how things turned around here. Let me try to step back and consider this from the big picture.
At the end of the day, I have to make the assessment that Mountain Oak Vapor does care about its customers. When I, the customer, understand that the deal I got is more than fair here it is fair to say that the deal they got is less than fair. Therefor, I am going to have to place an order again once this refund hits so perhaps that flavor review will be coming after all.