Small business owners understand that customer satisfaction is EVERYTHING. If you make a product that doesn’t live up to expectations—or offer less-than-stellar customer service—you won’t have customers for long. I have always wanted to make my customers happy, usually by providing more: more designs, more services, more options. Today, for the first time, I realized that assuring customer satisfaction sometimes requires offering less. As a result, we’re changing our international shipping policy; I’d like to explain why.

Several years ago GCDSpa started offering international shipping; we’ve sent gifts and party favors to Ireland, Switzerland, and Australia, among other countries. While I’ve enjoyed working with people all over the world, shipping issues have always complicated this process. International shipping is expensive and products can take a long time to get through customs. Even customers who are happy to pay high U.S. shipping charges may not be as delighted by their own countries’ customs fees, VATs (value added taxes), and the additional shipping fees assessed once their packages leave customs. And when favors or gifts are held up in customs, they may not arrive in time for the event, making them basically useless to the customer when they do arrive. Preventing these disappointments is our priority; however, with shipping times and fees largely out of our control, we’ve had limited success.

When I order something, I want to know what it’s going to cost and how long it’s going to take to arrive. Our customers expect that, too. Through experience we’ve learned that we can’t accurately predict either cost or ship time for international orders. Shipments of $50 products shouldn’t take four weeks to arrive and cost $75 to ship and claim, but since we can’t change how long it takes or how much it costs to claim packages—and we can’t afford to refund shipping or product charges to (understandably) disappointed customers—from now on we will only be shipping to addresses in the U.S. and Canada.

I truly appreciate the interest in our products and regret any inconvenience. I know that I can’t guarantee that my customers are happy, but when an option consistently leads to stress and disappointment, it’s time for a change. Please let me know if you have any questions at all about this; I’m always available to help and I welcome your feedback!