For A and her husband, Taobao was always going to be the way to go when it came to their new BTO. They were avid shoppers on the platform already for clothes and the prices that they could get on Taobao were just too irresistible.
“What we liked about Taobao was that we were able to even customise certain pieces of furniture in terms of the size to fit our place. So we ordered our sofa and table from Taobao which we were able to save quite a sum than if we were to purchase from brands in Singapore.”
There’s no question that the cost of some designer furniture can be stratospheric, and we can count on one hand the number of people who have bought a genuine Eames chair. Even so, it’s best to keep this warning in mind: Buy cheap, buy twice.
It’s advice that the couple wishes they heeded early on, as it was a complicated journey.
“The first issue came about when we received the furniture. The colour looked slightly off from the photos that we saw online, but that I could still deal with. The biggest problem was that the dimensions for the table was not what we requested for.
The table length was shorter, the width was shorter, and the height was lower as well. When we communicated this to the seller, they said that they checked but now that’s in Singapore they can’t do anything about it. We escalated the issue to Taobao, and thankfully they said they would get us the refund. Even so, disposal of such a big piece of furniture is not cheap and we had to wait for so long to just get a new piece from another vendor.”
A and her husband shared that the stress of back-and-forth communication, and just the logistics of it all was more trouble than it was worth. And it got worse, as the sofa started to peel at spots where it had the most use.
So for those looking to get products online, here’s what you need to know. If something is just an ornament, like an umbrella stand, it will probably last long enough. But cheap items subject to constant wear – such as sofas, rugs, or frequently opened cabinets – tend to need replacing after a short while. Probably the most common culprit here is cheap shelving; leave your books or items on it for any length of time, and you’ll see the shelves start to sag or bend into a U-shape (this is from using cheap laminates, or wood that isn’t properly treated/dried).