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1515art

The Big Ceramics Store, shop with caution

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A word of caution, I ordered some clay and glaze to test last month and placed an order with the big ceramic store for two bags of laguna paper clay and 4 pints of different coyote glazes to try out. After placing my order I immediately got an automated reply from the big ceramic store that some of the items were out of stock, "sorry the inventory moves so quickly sometime we are out of some items" or something to that effect. I'm bummed, but the stuff is already ordered an I do want it. A week to 10 days later part of the order 2 bags of clay and 2 of the glazes show up (I paid $80. In shipping) a week later I call the store and get no answer so I leave a message, another week passes and 1 more pint shows up at my door. I call again and this time I get a person on the phone, I tell this clark I'm interested in buying some glaze and want to know if they have in stock the glazes I need, she tells me there is no way they can check to see if an item is in stock as the inventory is to large and moves to quickly. This isn't what I want to hear so I hang up without ordering anything additional. Checking google reviews seems I'm not alone, there are many complaints about "The Big Ceramic Store" so buyer beware. I placed an order with another store located in North Carolina, great customer service... I'd mentioned to the n.carolina dealer that I'd recently had some difficulty and they knew immediately who I was talking about, even commenting the reputation of that store (without mentioning the name, wink, wink, nod, nod, say no more) was terable. I called again today to see is they could just ship me something else they can find in inventory, but they aren't answering the phone and the voice mail box is full and won't accept anymore messages...Big Ceramic Dissapointment.

yappystudent likes this

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I've also had problems with The Big Ceramics store. Ordering stuff and not finding out it was out of stock til only half of my package arrives.  Bummer. I order supplies through The Ceramic Shop now, they're pretty good people. Its crazy to think I can place an order with shipping way cheaper from a shop in Pennsylvania than ordering from a supplier in my own state (Trinity ceramics).

Edited by BlackDogPottery

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All online stores dealing with a large inventory will have issues from time to time, and just about anyone with an online presence will have bad reviews at some point, especially because the unhappy people are more likely to do a review. I'm sorry you had a bad experience with BCS. Personally, I've never had a problem, and I order from them 3-4 times a year.

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Hi Neil,  Great you have had good luck shopping with them, it seems many have not and my BCS experience matched exactly the negative reviews. It's taken me years to adapt, I now because the big box stores and economic trends in general have made it difficult not to do so shop online frequently and I seldom if ever have this problem without some previous disclaimer.  Also, answering the phone/email and returning messages when you can't deliver is kind of basic good customer service and they dont score great  in that arena, can't even leave them a message.

I just ordered 75# of dry coyote glaze from Clay King, completely different experience they even got me reduced shipping direct from coyote because I'm closer to the source  on the west coast than they are in N. Carolina, of course I don't have my shipment yet...

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4 hours ago, BlackDogPottery said:

I've also had problems with The Big Ceramics store. Ordering stuff and not finding out it was out of stock til only half of my package arrives.  Bummer. I order supplies through The Ceramic Shop now, they're pretty good people. Its crazy to think I can place an order with shipping way cheaper from a shop in Pennsylvania than ordering from a supplier in my own state (Trinity ceramics).

I'll have to check them out, thanks for posting them.

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A while ago another clay/glaze group went nuts posting about bad experiences with the particular vendor in question.  Many who had not even used them said they now would not ever order from  them.  Over a few years I have had only good experiences with the company, so I posted that, along with my 2-cents worth that is more fair to submit negative reviews directly to the site, rather than spreading it on a public message board.  What bothered me was it just didn't seem right to bash them where they are unlikely to see it to defend themselves---a business could be ruined that way, so that irked me.  I do think positive comments about suppliers are quite useful, healthy for the Forums, and are of  benefit...but I guess I just don't trust negatives, in general, enough to boycott a business without a direct cause. It's a tricky issue tho, since a fair warning is also something to be appreciated! 

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I have ordered from them a little over the  many years  without issue. I'm much closer so fright is low.Since I deal with Laguna directly and they are a laguna dealer I usually need something non-laguna from them.I bought some bats once and a chair and some Brent booties or magma with out issue. I tend to not buy online with most ceramic supplies unless its a specialty item or they are on sale.

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I could list pages of complaints like these, but I won't wast the storage space... they don't respond to complaints, hence my warning here. Shop at your own risk, I still don't have my complete order.

3 hours ago, LeeU said:

A while ago another clay/glaze group went nuts posting about bad experiences with the particular vendor in question.  Many who had not even used them said they now would not ever order from  them.  Over a few years I have had only good experiences with the company, so I posted that, along with my 2-cents worth that is more fair to submit negative reviews directly to the site, rather than spreading it on a public message board.  What bothered me was it just didn't seem right to bash them where they are unlikely to see it to defend themselves---a business could be ruined that way, so that irked me.  I do think positive comments about suppliers are quite useful, healthy for the Forums, and are of  benefit...but I guess I just don't trust negatives, in general, enough to boycott a business without a direct cause. It's a tricky issue tho, since a fair warning is also something to be appreciated! 

1 starOrdered a kiln Dec 31st 2017. Started to worry February 12th, 2018 when I had not heard about the kiln being shipped. Emailed BCS. A response a day later said they would look into it. Few days pass and I write again. Same answer. Repeat several times to today March 6th when I decided to call Paragon directly and see if they could provide any info. Turns out my kiln has been ready to ship for quite some time but Big Ceramic hasn't paid Paragon so the kiln can't be sent. 
Poor customer service. Will never buy from again

1 star Charge you for complete order, when items are on backorder and they have no idea when they will ship them. No one answers the phone when you call. Always sent to voice mail after being "first in queue". Should not be charging for items that are not shipped, until they are shipped.

 1 starI ordered 4 bottles of glaze from The Big Ceramic Store. Right after I placed it, I realized I forgot a bottle, so I attempted to call and add to my order. I was always "first in the que" but always was sent to voice mail. Then I find 4 of my items (basic underglazes) are back ordered. So I called to cancel my order. Of course, sent to voicemail. Stay clear!

 

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I order  stuff from Big Ceramics quite a bit because the are located closest to California (tax free) and often have the lowest prices. 

I've never really had any problems.

They stay in touch and answer my e-mails within 24 hours.

If it's a time issue for you when ordering glazes or chemicals, I'd either find out for sure before ordering or order elsewhere.

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Rex thanks for adding balance and your good experience with the merchant, I have no bone to pick with them other than my experience was not one they will have the opportunity to repeat with me. If and when they show me something different I'll be certain to give them good credit for the effort.  

the one time someone at BCS did answer the phone they said there was no way to check inventory without placing an order,  there's no way to confirm first. You have to order and then try to cancel the order, or dispute the transaction via the financial institution if the merchant is unresponsive.

lowest prices? I would guess they seem about average and the shipping seemed on the high side for two bags of clay and 4 pints of glaze I'm also in California not that far, cost me 1/2 the shipping price for 75# of glaze from clay king and the glaze sale price they have going on was better... I'm sure the price war goes back and forth and it depends who is on sale. 

Edited by 1515art

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Wow-1515-sure sounds like this "fair warning" is warranted! Messing with shipping a kiln is a real deal breaker! What an awful experience. My only "bad" taste was with a different company that sent me an ugly plastic tool when the site info and image was for a good looking wooden tool. They were quickly responsive to my complaint, including agreeing with my assertion that it was tantamount to deceptive advertising --they explained that somebody just didn't update the page after the product changed. They refunded me and paid for the return shipping, so I am satisfied. I will shop there again, because of the good customer service. 

I am curious as to what others think about  discussing specific suppliers in the Forums ( things like customer service, products/wheels, and qualities/flaws with commercial clays/glaze) ---positive or negative, is it a useful thing or not so much???? 

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(I am curious as to what others think about  discussing specific suppliers in the Forums ( things like customer service, products/wheels, and qualities/flaws with commercial clays/glaze) ---positive or negative, is it a useful thing or not so much???? )

Yes this is useful but may fall in the doing business  area-hopefully a mod can chine in and say

We have spoken in the past about many businesses. I do know we cannot say whats on sale where but in a general business talk about flaws or qualities that exchange is helpful to all.

 

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Personally, I do not like this thread, as BCS doesn't have a presence here to defend themselves, nor is this the place to have that discussion IMO. There are places to voice your grievances- the review sites- which are available for anyone to see if they are thinking about doing business with just about any company.

IMO, if you want good customer service, then buy locally, or at least from a reputable company where you can talk to a human being, not an online-only company. It is very difficult for brick-and-mortar folks to compete with the online-only retailers. We are expected to give the same low prices and free shipping and squeak by on the same small margins, yet also provide excellent customer service and tech support, which takes time and money.  It's a race to the bottom.

Chris Throws Pots and Ceallach like this

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18 minutes ago, neilestrick said:

Personally, I do not like this thread, as BCS doesn't have a presence here to defend themselves, nor is this the place to have that discussion IMO. There are places to voice your grievances- the review sites- which are available for anyone to see if they are thinking about doing business with just about any company.

IMO, if you want good customer service, then buy locally, or at least from a reputable company where you can talk to a human being, not an online-only company. It is very difficult for brick-and-mortar folks to compete with the online-only retailers. We are expected to give the same low prices and free shipping and squeak by on the same small margins, yet also provide excellent customer service and tech support, which takes time and money.  It's a race to the bottom.

I don't want to pick on BCS anymore I've had my say and given fair warning to those interested. I will comment on one of your points. I frequent a lot of different forums, metal detecting/prospecting, antiques, jade carving  and firearms to name a few and reviews from members are generally the most trusted and widely read among users and enthusiasts. many of the review sites are laden with shills or paid product placement, I like reviews from those I know in the limited internet way and at least had some experience and time online.  

yappystudent and Rae Reich like this

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This thread does not break the forum rules. Folks are allowed to express negative opinions here, as long as they are not defamatory, harassing, or inaccurate. For the purposes of fairness, I do think that when other people share positive experiences with the same company, those opinions should be allowed to stand, without argument, as well. Continuing to express a negative opinion over and over, trying to convince others to change their mind, is maybe a step too far (not in terms of forum rules, but in terms of courteous forum use). 

@1515art if you’re ordering online anyways, there are so many other suppliers to choose from. A simple solution to the problem you experienced. 

curt likes this

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As someone else mentioned,  buy local.  I understand that some dont have anything nearby...my closest  is 25 minutes without traffic.   But I want to be sure that they are there when I need them, and using  them is the best  way to do that.

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25 minutes would be very doable for me But Not much that local here. I get my clay from a guy that buys his clay in bulk and is willing to sell to others but has no shop. But if i wanted to buy glaze or dry ingredients i have to order from somewhere. I so miss Bennetts, thats where i always ordered from but now i usually order from axners for laguna glaze and dry ingridients as they will use regional rate boxes for cheaper shipping and as of now have not found a happy solution to buying amaco  glazes.  

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Personally I don't have a problem with the subject matter and appreciate it being here. I've looked at BCS's site for their free info pages and recently recommended someone check out them out for reference, but I've yet to order anything from them. In my opinion bad customer service is a warning sign until money is in play, then it's unforgivable. I almost always read company review sites but as 1515 stated, they are usually filled with fake hired positive reviews. Sometimes it takes courage to voice obvious faults with well known companies, but it's the companies' responsibility to serve their customers well not the other way around. 

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