Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Internet yarn...behold the beauty, but beware!

I recently found an independent source for yarn online, which came about as a result of my recent enjoyment of making socks. I originally ordered from Julia's Yarn on her eBay store, but then discovered that she has stores on Etsy and also her own website, with some incredibly beautiful and very reasonably priced sock yarn. Just a couple of weeks ago, she was having a sale which allowed me to purchase enough yarn to make a dozen pairs of socks for the remarkable price of $36. I've been knitting it up and love how it's looking!

While I recommend this yarn and seller 100% (good customer service, fast shipping, great prices, beautiful yarn etc.) I have been reading that some people believe there is no place for this seller, who falls more into the mass produced/supplies category, in the handcrafted world of Etsy. While I can certainly understand that argument, up until the point when Etsy completely separates the handcrafted items from the supplies (including jewelry supplies, cardstock etc.) widely offered on the site, I don't know if it is fair for a store such as this to be singled-out and flagged for exile. I definitely sympathize with the indie yarn dyers who can't compete with more wholesale prices but I don't know if that's the fault of this seller or those who are in charge of Etsy and must regulate the site accordingly. Whether or not the seller belongs on Etsy, I will be purchasing from her again as I believe she has a good product.
Meanwhile, I was lurking around the forums on Ravelry and have been made aware of what is possibly the strangest tale of yarn woes ever heard. The story involves an indie yarn dyer, Mystical Creation Yarns (MCY), who used to sell on eBay and Etsy and based on the information that I have been reading seems to have faked her own death (at least online). It would seem that MCY started off as an amazing store offering beautiful hand-dyed yarn for great prices. However, as time went on, things went downhill. There are apparently hundreds of people who have purchased yarn from MCY and either never received it, ended up with something not at all like their order, or got a yarn that wasn't dye-set and would bleed. In the last few months, amidst a series of complaints to PayPal for refunds, the BBB and other organizations, some buyers started receiving e-mails from apparent family members related to the owner of MCY claiming that the owner is in hospital with leukemia. There was news of a fire sale for the yarn that was "sitting around" while she is in hospital, even though there were so many orders previously made that were not being fulfilled. As of last week, the owner apparently passed away - even though there are reports of people having seen or spoken with her in the last few days and it's widely believed that she has faked her own death in order to get out of her responsibilities. It's even been reported that she is creating a new online yarn store under a different name.

Fortunately, I never purchased yarn from this online seller but whether or not the death was "faked", I am horrified by the lack of consideration that this yarn seller had for her customers far before the reported illness. For the last couple of years, this person has been taking the money from people who just want to create with something beautiful and has stolen that money and turned it into an ugly fiasco. There are thousands of trustworthy online sellers out there and being ripped off by one can make buyers wary of buying from independent online stores.

My understanding is that at this time, MCY is being investigated by the FBI internet crimes division, who will surely get to the bottom of this. I am waiting with baited breath to hear of some resolution and will of course pass on any information that I gather! In the meantime, if you have been ripped off by this seller, I'm happy to put you in touch with someone from the MCY "support group" that has been forming on Ravelry who can tell you where to file the appropriate complaint forms.

1 comment:

idyll hands said...

*gasp* such drama!

I hate hearing things like that, it's hard to trust people sometimes. Thankfully, I've found a yarn and wool shop that is spectacular and I don't have to worry about bum sellers.