Saturday, 23 March 2013

Taobao order and TaobaoRing review - Part 2

In part one I briefly described how to use the Taobao shopping service Taobaoring. In this post I shall give a more detailed review of my order and the individual items received with pictures.
Overview of my order:
  • 21st February 2013 - Opened a Taobaoring account and placed an order. I leave a message in the "Memo and Leave a Message" section asking if they can mark the package as 'gift' and to the value of 250 ¥.
  • 22nd February - "Awaiting Confirmation" stage. This is when TBR contacts the sellers individually to see if the item is available. A few of my items have been confirmed, TBR informs me that one of my items is not available so I change it. 
  • 26th February - Still only a few items have been confirmed available so I email Taobaoring. They reply on the same day and the rest of the items get confirmed as "Available". They also reply to my message saying they can mark down my package.
  • 28th February - TBR email me saying my items have been confirmed available and send invoice for first payment (Item cost 661.99 ¥ + Domestic delivery fee 135 ¥ + Service fee 63.7592 ¥) Total: 860.74 ¥ (about £92). I pay the invoice. Later I log into TBR to find out that the Green jumper is not in stock and the Totoro purse is not available. TBR left a message on my order asking if I would like to change the colour of the jumper and suggest an alternate Totoro purse. I can't reply to the messages on the TBR website so I email them saying I would like to change the jumper to Navy and that I would like to cancel the Totoro purse and get a different item instead.
  • 1st March - I haven't received a reply so I email again, at this point I'm quite worried so I copy and paste the email into the "Memo and Leave a Message" section of my order page.
  • 2nd March - Still no reply to my emails but when I log in to my TBR account I discover that they have replied to my message that I left in the "Memo and Leave a Message" section. They confirm that they have cancelled the Totoro purse and changed it to the watch and that they have purchased the Navy jumper instead of the green one.
  • 7th March - Most of my items have arrived at the TBR warehouse apart from 2 >_<
  • 8th March - I log into my account to find that my final 2 items have arrived or so I believe. There is no way to tell if the watch (what I bought instead of the sold out Totoro purse) had arrived yet. I have not received any message or second shipping invoice from TBR.
  • 9th March  - Still no second second payment invoice or update on my items. There is just a dash (-) where it says next step. I email TBR enquiring if the watch has also arrived and that I have not received the shipping invoice.
  • 11th March - I log in to find that there is still no second payment invoice but TBR have taken proof pictures of all my items. I send them another email stating that I haven't received an invoice even though all my items have arrived.
  • 12th March - I log on to my account in the early hours to discover that there is an update and request for payment (again this is not sent to my email, you have to log on to your TBR account to find out any updates.)  The international shipping cost was $66.67 about £45 for 2600g by Airmail (;_; *cries*). They did not leave a breakdown of costs i.e. they made no reference to how much was added (the difference of the purse that was cancelled and the watch). I didn't want to prolong the process further and they were not replying to any of my emails so I paid the invoice and waited patiently for an update about my items being shipped. Their website says shipping is done within 12 hours of invoice being paid but to be honest I'm starting to feel sceptical about the claims they make on their website.
  • 13th March - My items still say 'Await Shipping' I decided to use the shipping fee calculator on TBR to break down the costs: I used Airmail so it was 355.05 CNY / $57.52 There is a customs declaration fee of 8 CNY for Airmail, SAL and surface packages according to TBR. The Total cost of the watch + domestic delivery was 81 CNY minus the total cost of the purses + domestic delivery 42.12 CNY = 38.88 CNY. The total is 401.93 CNY / $64.68 + Paypal domestic fee rate of 3.4 + $.30 = Grand Total of $67.27. So the shipping was correctly calculated give or take $1. If TBR had provided this break down of second invoice in a message or on the actual Paypal invoice it would have been quite helpful.
  • 14th March - I decided to email TBR to find out if they had shipped my items. I get a reply from James telling me my tracking number so I log in to my account to find it has been updated to 'Shipping' status. The column that says 'Next Step' now has a drop down list of 2 actions, 'Tracking' and 'Received'. On the tracking page, the shipment method (Airmail) and tracking number are clearly shown but the official tracking website is directed to the EMS website so I don't think it would work for tracking Airmail. On the 'Tracking Skills' page there are links to all the relevant postal tracking pages, so I click on the one for Airmail/SAL/Surface and search for my parcel. No items are found so I guess I have to wait a couple of days for it to update.
  • 16th March - Its been a few days since TBR have sent out my package so I decide to track it on the Arimail tracking page but no luck. Instead I use track-trace since it seems to work every time I track packages from Japan.There was no item found on the Airmail site but my package was found on the EMS tracking page >_> So I'm guessing TBR sent my package via EMS even though I clearly requested Airmail and I believe they charged me for Airmail but I have no idea now. I really hope they have fulfilled my request to mark down my package or I'll be in for another customs charge - Oh joy! EMS is thankfully easier to track than Airmail so I can keep up with my packages whereabouts using the tracking website or even the UK Parcelforce website.
  • 21st March - According to the Parcelforce website my package is is "Awaiting Customs Clearance" >.< and it has been so since the 18th. This is a reason why I'm not too keen on using EMS because packages are usually stuck in customs for a while even if no charges are occurred. I find Airmail a lot quicker and more convenient (the depot is very close to where I live) but if you don't happen to live in the UK then I'm sure the EMS service is exactly what it says it is - Express! 
  • 22nd March - My items finally arrive!! A little over 4 weeks after I placed my order.The items are individually wrapped and the box is very sturdy. 

 Now onto the items (click on the picture to go to item page):


Green cable knit cardigan
Price: 89 Yuan (£9.50)

Quality: 4.5/5
Colour more accurate in my second photo and accurate to stock photos. The material feels really soft and warm. The only problem is there are no washing/care instructions and it seems to crease quite easily. Its not too thick or too light so perfect for spring. As for the fit, I found the arm length was perfect and the overall fit was good but it didn't look right on the shoulders. I'm a UK size 8 on top for reference and it had a nice boyfriend cardigan type fit. 

Navy Cable knit jumper (initially wanted green)
Price: 115 Yuan (£12.28)

 Quality: 3.5/5
The colour was accurate to the stock photo and my second picture. I purchased the jumper from the same place as the green cardigan. The material is extremely thick and heavy, perfect for winter. There are no washing/care instructions. Also the jumper has quite a chemical smell, possibly due to long time storage.
As for the fit, its really comfortable and well fitting. The thick material makes it a big rigid so I can't really wear much underneath.

Lace Collar shirt (aparently a Cawaii replica)
Price: 75 Yuan (£8.00)

Quality: 3.5/5
The colour seems accurate to the stock photo although slightly more yellow. The material is 100% cotton according to the label and can only be dry cleaned (>.< hmm thats not gonna happen). The lace on the collar is intricate and beautiful like the stock photo but the neck area seems a lot larger therefore it sits lower than closer to the neck. The shirt has a loose fit and the sleeves can be rolled up and buttoned to 3/4 length. However the blue ribbon is not detachable.

Cherry hairclips
 Price: 3 Yuan (£0.32)
Quantity: 2 (£0.64) 

Quality: 1/5
For the price the poor quality is understandable, 1 of the clips broke immediately after I took it out of the packaging and started to peel away from the backing clip. I believe they are meant to be a replica of the Japanese store Katie's version, which costs 2,940 Yen (roughly £20.44). I wanted some clips to match my Emily Temple Cute jumperskirt, from my first photo you can see that they do quite well. I will probably super glue the other cherry back on >_> They accurately match the stock photos so can't complain about that.

Corduroy shirt dress
Price: 125 Yuan (£13.34)

Quality: 2/5
The most expensive item in my Taobao order and the one I'm most disappointed with. The colour is accurate to the stock photos but the material feels and looks faded and worn. When I opened the package the dress looked like it had been tried on and returned, half the buttons were undone and the dress was covered in lint. It fits well but the drop waist doesn't really suit me so this is going to be one of those 'at home wear' things.

Navy cherry tights
Price: 14.8 Yuan (£1.58)

Quality: 5/5
From the packaging I thought they had sent me the black version luckily I was wrong. The tights are extremely good quality and feature a woven cherry pattern throughout. The packaging says 280 Denier appearance, I didn't know you could get that much denier *^_^* It's more like 60 denier although on the mannequin stock photo it looks more like 40. The tights feel really soft and silky. The fitting is also great (for reference I am 5'6'' with ahem... larger thighs) 

Brown Lace tights
Price: 20 Yuan (£2.14)

 Quality: 4/5
The colour is accurate to stock pictures. The fit on the other is not so accurate, according to the shop the tights can fit from 150-170cm. Being 168cm I though it might be fine but it was not to be. The material is very delicate and it ripped when I tried to pull it up. Other than the fact it did not fit, the quality was very good and the rose detail was lovely.

Lace Ankle socks (Green, brick red, blue and black)
Price: 9.5 Yuan (£1)
Quantity: 4 (£4)

 Quality: 4/5
The colours are accurate to the stock photos. On first glance the socks are very thick and lace is very fine and delicate. I opened one pair to find some stitching that I couldn't remove by pulling as I thought it was a stray loose thread but it had been stitched along with the sock (the sock on the right-hand side, directly above photo). Other than that the socks were nice quality and look like they would withstand a couple of wears.

Alice in Wonderland brooch
Price: 58 Yuan (£6.19)

 Quality: 3.5/5
Looks exactly like the stock photo. I purchased this brooch to match my Emily Temple Cute 'Chess Print' jumperskirt. The brooch is mounted onto a piece of leather which is stuck onto a 2-way clip. It doesn't seem that sturdy so I might have to super-glue it to make sure it won't come apart. The seller also provided a little bookmark a a gift, it looked as though it had been opened and stuck back together but it was a nice gesture non-the-less.

Alice in Wonderland White Rabbit brooch
Price: 61.2 Yuan (£6.53)

Quality: 4.5/5
Looks exactly like the stock photo. It's on the pricer side for a Taobao item but it is very well made, a few of the jump rings are slightly opened otherwise I would have given it 5/5. It matches my Jane Marple jumperskirt really well ^_^ The wooden cut-out White Rabbit is very well made, even the watch chain has been cut out neatly. I understand that these wooden cut-out Alice in Wonderland type jewellery can also be found on Etsy for a reasonable price.

Grape headband
Price: 35.99 Yuan (£3.84)

Quality: 1.5/5
I wasn't really looking for a grape headband just thought I'd get it as it's from the same shop as the 'White Rabbit' brooch. The grapes look more shiny than the stock photos and the vine part doesn't look very realistic at all. the grapes are also much smaller. I might attach some flowers to it to create a headdress of some-sort.

Afternoon tea Mini watch
Price: 75 Yuan (£8)

 Quality: 5/5
When the Totoro purse was not available I decided to get this watch instead. It matches the stock photo accurately. I'm really happy with this watch as it's really cute and similar to those at Japanese shop Par Avion which retail at 9,345 Yen (Around £65) each. The little clay teapot and cakes are neatly painted.

My overall experience with Taobaoring:
Communication: 1/5 
I think Taobaoring replied to 2 out my 5 emails in total. They were extremely hard to reach even during office hours. When they did reply, they were polite and helpful. Apparently they are on QQ (a kind of messenger) but I have never seen them online. I knew they were reading my emails because they would always carry out the action i.e send me shipping invoice when I enquired about it.
Website:  2/5 
The website's cart system makes it extremely easy to use but the major downfall is that you cannot reply to any messages TBR leave thus have to resort to emailing them or using the box at the bottom for comment. There is no guarantee that they will see the message you leave there.
Efficiency: 2/5
They started off efficiently confirming my order then it sort of petered out and there was no word from them. I thought this could be due to the seller not confirming items with TBR but when I emailed them about it all the items suddenly became confirmed. Also when all my items had arrived in at the warehouse, it took a long time before they sent my shipping invoice. I had to email them again to ask about the shipping invoice.
Accuracy: 2/5
At the very beginning I asked TBR to mark my package down and they agreed but when my parcel arrived it had not been. Also they sent my parcel via EMS rather than Airmail which I had requested. I still don't know whether they charged me for EMS or added the difference between the watch and purse to the total.
Shipping: 2/5
They sent my package EMS rather than Airmail. I don't like using EMS, it's more expensive and takes a similar amount of time as Airmail due to customs.
Packaging: 5/5
Very sturdy and used bubble wrap to cover my items.
Overall: 2.5/5
When you order from Taobao you expect it to take a long time which it did, a little over 4 weeks so this is not the option if you are in a rush. The whole process is quite lengthy. I ordered straight after Chinese New Year so TBR probably had many orders to get through. I may use them again in the future if they improve their communication. I might try Bhiner next time.


  1. Thank you very much for this review.. Is it possible to give the links to some items you bought? If not it's fine. But overall would you say that it's better than taobaospree?

    1. Hey Jane, if you click the first picture of each item (stock photo) it should take you to the shop page. Overall I would say my experience with Taobaospree was much better, they fulfilled all my requests.

    2. The shipping prices are very HIGH!!!! It seems 8% commision is only a small part of what they earn. The shipping is the main income. For 0,9 kg package you will have to pay at least 20 dollars! 🙂 Think twice before you order something

  2. Thanks for the review!
    I had actually placed an order with TBring a few days before you but after 2 weeks of no response I gave up and went with TaoBao spree who answered me immediately and was pretty good overall. Only thing is they tried to charge me twice for paypal fees but I looked through my invoice carefully and corrected them so they were totally okay with it. So yea as long as you make sure they don't overcharge you paypal fees they were pretty good! I'm waiting for my package to arrive so I can't comment on the items but I used EMS.

    Anyway seems like TBring isn't as good as they used to be. When I ordered from them last December they were prompt & responsive but after Chinese New Year it seems like their service took a nosedive.

    1. Thanks for reading my review ^_^
      TaobaoSpree are pretty good when it comes to replying to emails as general communication and order related updates are email based. Taobaoring on the other-hand communicate via their website which customers cannot message them on so have use both the website and email platform. I think this is where the confusion arises for TBR otherwise I think they are very trustworthy.

  3. Thanks for your review ! I'm currently ordering some things from taobao using TBR and it's passed 2 days and my order is still in the "Awaiting Confirmation" stage, and with what you've written I'm kind of worried.... so let's hope the best.

    1. Thanks (*^_^*)
      Don't worry, just email them and even if they don't reply just check your account and the items may become confirmed. TBR mainly use the website as their tool for communication so maybe leave a comment in the comment box at the bottom and they might read it. They are a trustworthy agent just takes awhile for things to get done unless you pester them.

  4. I believe TBR is back to normal now. After Chinese New Year, they told me they were moving their office and storage to a bigger place. That's why 2-3 week after the New Year, they were very slow processing order. However, in April, things seem to be normal again. I've placed 5 orders with them since April, and all emails are replied within 24 hours. So, I think you should give TBR a chance again :)

  5. love your review! i will do mine soon as i get my stuffs! you bought a lot of cute things! *________*


  6. Awesome! I really like what you've purchased. And the review was very thorough -- you really looked into every bits of the website.

    Packaging seems to be thoughtful.

    I would vouch for and they don't charge a service fee if you're in Australia.

  7. Thank you for sharing your experience.
    Could you tell me via what means you have paid the first payment and the second one?

  8. From someone who has tried to use taobaoring recently, it is horrible. Honestly, it's paying someone to add a headache.

    I added items to my cart on taobaoring, excited that this would be my first time using an agent. Normally I order things on my own, but my purchase was going to be a bit more expensive this time around. I figured this would be the best way to ensure there were no problems.

    However, my order was forgotten! Ignored, perhaps? Three simple trinkets that are selling fast, and I watched as one of them sold out after three days of waiting.

    Well, I chose to wait longer. Which was stupid on my part. I began sending messages explaining that these items seemed to be going fast.

    A week passed and I come online to find my order has sold out. Not half a day later, all my messages to taobaoring are returned stating that my order was sold out. Gee. Thanks. :(

    Not saying this happens to everyone. But if the item is important and you have a good gut feeling that the seller is decent, get it yourself. I did my research too late and heard of countless stories about the same thing happening to others. What's worse, I've heard of Taobaoring actually loosing orders. Or not using the current currency to add a few $$ to the order to pocket the money.

    Not to mention, there is no guarantee that they can get your refund. If your item gets lost in the mail, or sent back for whatever reason, they won't help.

    All your doing is paying someone to do something that you can easily do yourself. Take that money they will charge for their services and put it towards shipping.