Screwed-up mail order... would you consider this stealing?

OK, so I ordered a belly-dance costume from this company in Istanbul that sells them (cough) at a very reasonable price (cough)

I gave them my bra size (allowing an extra inch, as recommended by the webmeister), as well as specifying the skirt length (I have short stubby legs, and need a short, stubby little skirt).

I then received said costume. The bra came fully six inches short of, um, closure, as well as being a cup size too small. The skirt was thirteen inches too long and frighteningly see-through, and the wrong color. Oh, and the veil was the wrong color, too.

After a bit of discussion with my customer service rep I settled on having them replace the bra, and send me a plain two-panel circle skirt to wear as an underskirt beneath the see-through number (brown and gold, they go together beautifully), as well as some coins for repair work. I told my rep I wasn’t going to make them replace the veil, as the one I had had sort of grown on me. Skirt and coins were basically given to me free to cover my shipping for returning the original top.

Yesterday, I got the replacement top. Too big around the chest, cups still too small, and the beadwork was stitched right through the padding, so, when I put it on, the girls pointed outward. They also sent me a new veil (which I had said they didn’t need to do) and some extra fabric (discussed, decided on getting the skirt instead). No coins, but they sent a very nice face veil, which doesn’t go with the costume at all.

I figured, I’m not doing this again. I am currently in process of taking the top apart and stitching the fabric around an old, nicely supportive unpadded bra. I figure if I’m careful, I can do the beadwork myself and not have the “sideview headlight” effect. For my trouble and aggravation, I feel that I am entitled to keep the second veil and extra fabric. They did screw up my order twice, and I figure my labor in basically having to make my own bra is worth something. I also had to do some alterations on the original skirt- that was a pretty easy fix, but still aggravating.

I think I’m going to call the company and complain (no toll free number, and calling Istanbul from Vegas ain’t cheap baby) and inform them of my intent to keep the veil and fabric in lieu of having them replace the top again, and risk waiting another month to find out they screwed it up again.

What say? Am I being dishonest? Is the company ethically (screw legally, for the sake of this argument) entitled to get the extra stuff back, in a case where it would probably end up costing me as much in long-distance phone bills and shipping as the veil and fabric would wholesale for?

Well, it seems to me they sent the extra stuff when you said not to. You then fixed everything yourself to how you liked it and how it should be. If I were you I wouldn’t even bother calling. For what? You’re just going to waste even MORE money. I say, you got screwed twice. Why get screwed three times?

No sense in complaining, since I assume you are not going to do business with them again.

Well, I sort of got on the phone as soon as I made the post, figured it was the honest thing to do. Got offered a twenty-dollar discount on any future costume orders as an inducement not to dump the company (apparently most of the problems they have are with the “value priced” costumes- the more expensive lines apparently don’t have the sizing problems with).

My C.S. rep was very apologetic, and agreed that I’m entitled to keep veil and fabric for my trouble. Also, their accesories (jewelry, coin belts, hip scarves, etc." ) are very good quality, and a priced a lot lower than what I would pay if I bought them locally, or through a North American- based company. And you can get beads and coins and other repair-type supplies from them dirt cheap.

I seriously doubt if I’ll be ordering any more costumes from them, though. I would probably be better off just buying the fabric, beads and baubles, and taking them to a former co-worker – the seamstress at a tux shop where I used to work and a wiz with a sewing machine-- and having her make the basic costume, and doing my own decorating.