I remember waiting on our first 3 containers of about 300,000 pounds of cast iron plates. My wife & I took out savings to start production in June in hopes there would still be a demand for them in September.
We decided to start accepting pre orders in September to see if we could place more orders with our manufacturer. The demand was high.
Needless to say the first 3 containers were a month late. From September, we were told the first week of October, then the 2nd, and finally arrived the 3rd.
Thankfully we shipped 4,000-5,000 packages from that order by months end. The next container was also a month delayed, but came in mid November. By this time we were a month behind on orders even after shipping out the next load. Cancellations kept piling up, which is fine, but there's a sunken Ad cost to make a sale (about 10%), which you don't get back.
This is where the real trouble started. About 500 packages were allegedly picked up from the warehouse but were never scanned in by UPS at the HUB. Where did they go? We were told many excuses, mainly holiday & pandemic yada yada. We decided to retain counsel to explore the issue, as well as ship exclusively with FedEx (twice as expensive) since they told us they scan in packages at the warehouse.
The system was also fulfilling orders out-of-order. Mainly due to faulty inventory counts and extremely high demand for 10's. Fixing these issues just caused further delays that became more difficult to explain to customers.
December turned into a gridlock. We were expecting our biggest shipment yet, that would truly catch us up. But it never came off the boat until mid January.
To make things worse Fedex decided to stop picking up our loads in December. Why? Apparently the quantity went over the fulfillment centers contract, and they couldn't handle it during the holidays. It was infuriating.
1,000's of customers also received tracking numbers that didn't move for weeks, causing chargebacks & refunds for orders that wouldn't be able to be pulled because they were buried amongst dozens of pallets awaiting pickup.
Our employees kept quitting because they got tired of getting cussed out by angry customers.
It was clear then we should have never accepted pre orders. It was hubris that ever made us think we'd catch up. I thought by pushing forward we'd establish a respectable brand. But the shipping delays were too severe & we didn't have a dependable infrastructure.
Payment processors kept freezing us, as negative reviews mounted. The last straw came when an overdue load was put under covid quarantine at the port of Oakland.
We decided to mass refund every unfulfilled order that we couldn't ship by months end, and close down the site.
We will spend the next few months digging through orders, trying to sort out individuals who didn't receive a refund due to accounts being frozen, and orders that were part of the group that got tracking numbers that were never scanned in.
I'd like to apologize for wasting anyones time who waited for their order, but was unable to receive it. We will automatically be approving any disputes or chargebacks as they come in.
Vincent & Monika. Founders of AD4M.
The first place that comes to mind would be Rogue Fitness. They're often out of stock so I would also recommend looking at York Barbell, Zion Fitness, Barbell Standard, and Titan Fitness as more affordable, and IN STOCK options.
Those are 6 quality brands I know you can count on.
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