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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

D Krewe Teases Some More....

More previews photos from D Krewe's "Rhythms"......Carnival 2011





Carnival Services Review: Boots by Daryl

With all this carnival fever in the air and all the preparations for carnival, I could not help but reflect on my 2010 experience purchasing boots from Boots by Daryl, hence this carnival review. For Carnival 2010, my friend and I contracted with Daryl to design boots for us (I was in Osage FL and my friend was in Mystery of Loulan FL). As I have many carnival buddies from the Boston area, I was very familiar with his work.  He is known for very glamorous and ornate design and solid craftsmanship. The work that I have seen of Darryl’s has been really nice, so we thought that we would give him a try.  Big mistake! I have not received worse customer service in my entire life.  While the boots themselves were fine, I would never recommend his services to anyone.  We were left disappointed, deceived and 8 months later, he still owes us money!

In January I emailed Daryl to determine if he had the availability to take on two more boot orders, to which he would be able to do so, but that he was “completely booked” at his regular rate of $150 US and that he could only do it for $175US.  He indicated that he already had the materials for my section and he would acquire the materials for my friend’s, so we made an agreement that we would have the boots sent to him, we would pay for the services and he would ship the finished product to us.     My friend and I both order our boots online (two separate orders, of course, and two separate styles) Daryl sent us his address and we had the boots shipped via FedEx to him.  Additionally, we made for the boots.  Boy, was I relieved at how simple a process this was going to be! (Little did I know…)    

On February 4th, he sent he the picture listed below of an Osage boot which he purported to be mine, which was admittedly wonderfully over the top.  I loved it!

The next day, he requested my address so that he could send them to me via expedited shipping, to which I immediately complied.  But then, that’s when the real drama started!

He sent my friend an email indicating that he switched our boots by mistake and that he had put the Osage trim on my friend’s boots (Above the knee length), and the Mystery of Loulan trim on my boots (mid-calf length)    He indicated that he was under the weather, but would strip the boots and redo them both, but as a result of this mistake, he would have to transport the boots to Trinidad himself to allow for additional time.  He then asked us to reimburse him $50 for the extra bag charge to bring them across from Boston to Trinidad. Then had the nerve to double back and said that he neglected to look up the fees for  American Airlines extra baggage, and initially wanted us to pay the actual cost , which was $100.  Well, in addition to all of the inconvenience and having to wait for the product , we were not going to pay an additional $50, so he said that he  would honor the $50 price because that's what he told me first and that's what I agreed to (Fortunately for him, he ran this past my friend –I was not copied on any of his emails about his--who is way too nice, because I would not have agreed to pay for his mistake, especially since there were no delays in him getting our money.

So here we were less than a week from Carnival with this news and the winter storms in DC (Basically snowed in, so no “just in” case shopping the last couple of days before we left)  Besides, Daryl assured us that this was the safest and really only option because of the oversight.  So, off we went to Trini where we immediate contacted Daryl to arrange boot drop off and money exchange (for the extra baggage fee; the boots themselves  were paid in full)  We called him  and emailed with our location.  This is the email we got in return!!!!

On Thu, Feb 11, 2010 at 9:20 AM, DARYL COX coxdaryl@hotmail.com wrote:
Hi Robin,

I know where Monique's guesthouse is - but there is a HUGE problem - however I am working on it and hope that I will be able to pull through or else I would have no choice but to refund you ALL of your money and make some arrangements. Both your boots as well as ALL of my materials for redecorating orders from other folks in addition to a few of my items was quarantined in Customs. I have arranged for a broker to go with me on Thursday (later today) to try to clear the stuff. Although they say it should be ok to clear they MUST follow protocol.

Iknow this is NOT what you want to hear at this time and trust me I delayed in telling you largely because I thought I could have dealt with it and you only to find out after the fact - however I am becoming worried but not giving up hope.

My number in Trinidad is 4717188 if you need to speak with me directly. Again, I hope you see that this is no fault of my own its actually better that I HAD brought it in given what I do, from what was said, if anyone else had brought it in as their personal belongings they would have been charged.

Daryl

Riiiight, so he claimed that our boots had been confiscated when he entered the country. Could happen to anybody right?  OK how many of you who brought feathers into the country experienced this?  After talking to several carnival “queens” who had their share of feathers and feathered accessories, and even others who he made boots for but were fortunate enough to transport their own shoes, NO ONE had this experience.

And so there we were, all over POS checking for boots, to no avail.   And so we continued to wait with baited breath for our beloved boots and all while receiving various reports of Daryl winding down in every fabulous party (do customs agents set up satellite offices in  fetes?)  We called and called and called, until Saturday morning we received the following:

Hi Robin,

I am answering this remotely from my friend's phone but I needed to respond so you know I am working on things. As of last night I could not get a broker that was available to go with me to the airport to clear the stuff. I will have no choice but to leave them in quarantine and take them with me when I go back to Boston. I will refund you both all of your money in full. The broker informed me yesterday that mainly because of the carnival season everything gets delayed. I cnanot type fast enough to explain and so I will call you once we reach our destination and hopefully a quiet place.

Daryl
4717188

I guess that quiet place was Boston.  We ended up wearing sneakers on the road Carnival Tuesday and, in fact, we never heard from him again until I emailed him on the following Saturday regarding the refund.  I received the following email promising to refund the money, and ship the boots to us:

Hi Kenya,

I am still in Trinidad and leaving today (Sunday) I have to go to customs and claim the boots for export and will ship to you once in the US. You would be receiving the boots and refund per our conversation in Trinidad before the end of this week. The boots may be a little delayed given shipping and packaging etc etc. The refund would be more immediate once I can get a secure enough connection to do the transfer.

Regards,
Daryl

The same day, February 21st , he emailed and said

Just wanted to give you and update. I was able to get the boots out of customs in Trinidad and I have them with me in Miami. I am overnighting here in Miami and will be in Boston tomorrow and will proceed with the transactions then.

Daryl

It was until March 1st   that I received the boots (that’s one hell of an overnight service!), but no refund.  My friend also received boots.   However, we received each other’s boots!   Her trim was still on my boots and hers on mine, which leads me to believe the issue was not that the boots got held up in customs, but the trim was applied to the wrong boots and rather than taking the time to correct this error as was promised, he manufactured this ridiculous story about the boots being caught up in customs.  Even if he had delivered them in Trini, we would not have been able to wear them.

Now as for the refund:

We had to email and call Daryl about the refund in several occasions.  Finally, he promised to refund the money on March 15th, which is unacceptable in itself given the fact that a refund should have been made available immediately.  A full month had passed since the boots were supposed to be delivered.  Finally on March 24, we both received a partial payment of $96.80 from Daryl via Paypal, with a promise to pay the balance in two weeks time and TO DATE have not received the balance of our money

Business Contact Information
 
Customer Service URL:
Customer Service Email:
Customer Service Phone:
617-557-3000





Amount received:
$100.00 USD
Fee amount:
-$3.20 USD
Net amount:
$96.80 USD





Date:
Mar 24, 2010
Time:
12:58:42 PDT
Status:
Completed





Subject:
You've got money!
Note:
Balance will be forwarded to you within the next two weeks.
Payment Type:
Instant






Needless to say that we were and continue to be extremely disappointed with the whole experience, from start to finish.  Daryl’s his business practices left a lot to be desired.  I, for one, will be glad when folks start to realize that talent is not enough to run a business, even a Carnival business!  Every business owner has a responsibility to its clients: specifically, if you set deadlines, make those deadlines; if you make a mistake, fix it!  And most importantly, my refund (especially not a partial one) should not be tied to your day job paycheck. Refunds should be issued when they are due!  There is no way that I should have to chase down a business to return money that I am owed, especially when their lack of business acumen ruined a central aspect of my Carnival mas experience.  

By the way, if anyone is interested in the boots, they are sitting in my closet, in mint condition. Name your price, LOL!
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