Bad catologue experience

I am looking for a good catalogue to buy my supplies. I recently
had a horrible experience with the Gesswein company. I ordered a
number of things, few hundred dollars worth, including pickle. My
package was shipped ground and when I received it the entire pickle
container was open- seal broke and all- and had spilled over all of
my purchases and was leaking out of the box. They were not very
helpful when I spoke to them about the incident and suggested I mail
the package back to them-foot the bill- and receive =93store credit=94=
Then they would recharge my card and only lift the other charge when
everything was returned to them in tack. This did not seem like
good business practices to me. Is this a common practice? Or
because I sound like a young girl on the phone? (I have graduated
from college and am in the process of starting my own company.) In
the end I cancelled my order and am finding things here and there.
I have dealt with Rio in the past, but their prices seem a little
high. Do you know of any other companies that are reliable and
customer friendly. Thanks in advance. - Janine

Try Thunderbird Supply in Albuquerque NM We have ordered from them
for the last almost 15 years, and do not have that kind of a problem.

Janine, I have always been pleased with Rio Grande and Stuller
(800-877-7777). I have found very little difference in pricing, but
you need to realize that excellent service and very “open” return
policies cost a little more. And are well worth it, IMO.

Always check incoming packages closely. It’s not a bad idea to make
the delivwery person wait while you open it. There are legal
reasons involved that make it much easier to get a claim paid. Make
it the carrier’s fault. I never sign for a package with a broken
seal or obvious damage to the contents unless we open it in front of
the delivery person.


Wayne Emery

Hi Janine,

I’m sorry you had a bad experience. I don’t know the exact details
because it’s Friday night and I can’t check til Monday.

Unfortunately damages in shipment can occur. If you notice the
damage upon receipt, you should refuse the shipment. However
sometimes “hidden damage” occurs as it did, I suspect, in your case.
As the name implies, hidden damage is when the shipping container
appears to be in good condition but when you open it you find the
damaged goods inside.

Technically it is the policy of most, if not all, suppliers that the
receiver (you) call UPS and get an inspector to come out to your
shop to inspect the damage. That can take some time. In your case,
the person you spoke to probably assumed that might be adding salt
to the wound and simply asked you to return the package. In that
case, UPS is no longer responsible and Gesswein simply disposes of
the damages.

The customer service person you spoke to should have told you to let
us know how much the shipping cost was and we’d reimburse you or
credit you. So please email me and let me know the charge so I can
take care of that for you.

Since you paid for the original shipment by credit card, we are
obligated by law to credit your card and rebill you for the new
shipment when it goes out. If this is not done and any unforeseen
problems occur, it can make a real accounting mess on your credit
card and in our billing department. There is no confusion when you
can trace every transaction.

Our policy is to issue credit only when the merchandise is back in
our possession. Again, just a bookeeping nightmare if we were to
issue credit before we actually had the product back. And if the
damaged item is returned fairly soon, you usually see the credit and
the new charge appear on your card statement at the same time.

I’d like to personally apologize for all the trouble you had.
Gesswein is comprised of human beings and we are not perfect but we
try to be fair and honest with our customers. It’s important that
we explain our procedures so that no one is unhappy with our
service. I’m sorry we failed you in this case.

Best Regards,

Elaine Corwin
VP Technical Services
Gesswein Co. Inc. USA


You might try Metalliferous in New York City. They have everything
you would need except gold. The staff is friendly and helpful and
I’ve never had a problem with returning things that were damaged or
incorrect. Give them a try! Good luck!

Nina Leto
Lenina Hand-Crafted Jewelry

the best catalogue I have found is from Stuller, they are also great
with making customer happy and satisfied. This goes for all their
products from tools to settings.Give them a try and you will also
have merchandise the next day.

Hi Janine,

Sorry, but not surprised, to hear about your experience. I had a
similarly distasteful experience with this vendor on my first (and
last) order with them, and will never do business with them again. I
would encourage you to follow through on your decision to seek out
more responsive vendor. When enough people leave, and they’re
wondering where their business has gone, they will have an
opportunity to ponder the concept of customer service. Like you, I
“vote with my feet.”

Rio Grande is my primary vendor. I’m not happy having to frequently
do quality control for them, but at least they do understand
customer service. Yesterday I discovered one of ten toggle clasps I
ordered had two rings and no toggle. Not a big issue, but a pain in
the you-know-what, and an annoyance to have to send it back and get a
replacement. A big plus is that they have almost everything and they
are very efficient. I like the quality their milled products (sheet,
wire, etc.), and I’ve always been happy with their people. There is a
lot to be said for the efficiency and convenience of one-stop

As far as lower cost alternatives, I’ll throw out a few suggestions.
They won’t have everything Rio has, but what they do have will
probably save you some bucks… sometimes a lot of them!

Harbor Freight Tools - They just opened a retail store in my city!!!
Happy happy, joy joy!

MicroMark -

FDJ Tool - Thanks to Randy Smith in Dallas for this one!

Hope this gives you some options!

All the best,


Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

Hi Janine. My experience with Gesswien didn’t even get as far as an
order. Last summer I requested a catalog and eventually was sent a
’96-'97 issue. When I protested that surely there was a more recent
one, with newer products, different prices, etc. they said not to
worry, just call them whenever I needed to confirm a price. Now
really…how many hours in the day? So, beyond essentials
necessary to have accessories for their brand of ultrasonic, I
haven’t done further business with them.

It doesn’t seem to me that Rio’s prices are much higher, overall.
They have the largest, most complete selection of any others and are
the most efficient and easiest to deal with. They’ve never made a
mistake on my orders, I’ve never had anything not shipped properly or
packed well. In all, I am a satisfied customer of very long
standing. With three catalogs, it is hard to find an item they don’t

Continue to do business with those who treat you well. If it’s a
few dollars more over time that will be money well spent. How much
did you spend trying to put the Gesswein mess to rights? All
wasted. Best of luck in your new company.


Everything that this Gesswein representative says SOUNDS reasonable,
but I cannot help but wonder whether Elaine would have gotten this
apology if she hadn’t posted her MAJOR dissatisfaction on Orchid for
all of us to see.

I hope, also that the (slightly) improved AGTA procedures at Tucson
might have been a result of the dissatisfaction which was stated here
by several Orchidians.

Orchid Rules!
David Barzilay, Lord of the Rings

Hi , In My experience, all suppliers /catalog companies will have
some problems at some point . All companies are run by humans and we
all can make mistakes. Many times , it can be a communication error
or a company policy that must be followed by the returns clerk you
are dealing with. In all cases, if a package should arrive from any
company or business and it was shipped through UPS or Fed Ex and it
shows any sign of damage or leaking material, the driver must be told
immediately and the shipping company must be informed. At this
point, a claim may be made by either you, or the company that
shipped the items. After having informed the shipping company, then
you must inform the supplier so that they can process the claim. UPS
or Fed ex will most likely pick up and return the package free of
any shipping charge to the supplier . Usually, the catalog house will
inform the shipping company to pick up the damaged shipment after
the claim by you is made to the shipping company first and then to
the catalog house. This is pretty standard procedure.

If you don’t inform the shipping company and make a claim directly
to the catalog house, they have no proof that the damage was done in
shipping and cannot claim the damage with the shipping company
without a whole lot of arm twisting.

Having been in the business of jewelry manufacture for a lonnng
time, I have found that it is best to not burn your bridges with any
supplier as all of them have things to offer that the other does not
have. Over the course of time, you will see that they all make
mistakes in shipping and in customer comunications. Sometimes, it may
be neccessary to ask to speak to the manager of the company to
resolve something that the employee may not be able to do. Don’t
hesitate to do so ! It’s your Dollar !!!

Best wishes to all,
Daniel Grandi
We do casting ,finishing and a whole lot more for designers, stores and
people in the trade. Contact:

Hi all, just thought I would throw my 2=A2 in the pot.

I buy from Rio Grande and Indian Jeweler Supply, and with both I’m
happy with the prices and I get great service. I live in Albuquerque,
so I may be a bit biased but I think I’m just lucky. I’d also add,
IJS is great for findings and metals, stamps, and turquoise. Rio
Grande is where I go for tools, consumables besides metal, some
stones, and larger purchases. I’m not affiliated with either of these
companies, I just know where I like to shop. Also, if you ever get a
chance to go to Rio Grande in person it’s fun to dig through their
discount bin, couple weeks ago they had a 5 pound bag of S/S earring
posts for like $10 or something! Anyways good luck with your catalog
hunt =)

-Doug Harroun Albuquerque, NM

  Everything that this Gesswein representative says SOUNDS
reasonable, but I cannot help but wonder whether Elaine would have
gotten this apology if she hadn't posted her MAJOR dissatisfaction
on Orchid for all of us to see. 

Elaine is the “Gesswein representative”. Janine is the person who
was complaining.

This is a most unfair comment. I have been on this newsgroup a very
long time. I think those of you who know me know I try very hard to
be helpful and if you have a problem with a product, a procedure, or
an incident such as this one, you need only email or call me to get
it taken care of.

Janine’s post was the first I had heard about the problem. Whether
Janine had emailed me privately or telephoned me she would have
gotten the same response she got in my post.

Elaine Corwin VP Tech Services Gesswein Co. Inc. USA

Elaine, I agree that this whole thread is in poor taste. I have been
in the retail business for well over twenty years. I have purchased
from Gesswein and many, many others. I have always found your
company to be trouble free, both in terms of product, delivery and
service. In my own business, I have “dropped the ball” more than once
and I choose to allow for others to make human errors as wel l. I
have not dealt with ANY vendor over the years who has never made a
mistake, but I hardly would condemn them for it.

I suspect the complainer has not been in the business very long, or
is perhaps just young and inexperienced. Your reputat ion continues
to be good, as far as I am concerned.

Wayne Emery

Wow! Was I surprised by the negative reaction to Gesswein! Maybe
I’ve been incredibly lucky, but I’ve been ordering the majority of my
tools from them for about 15 years and have never had a bad
experience. Packages arrive overnight (I’m in nearby NY State) and in
good condition. Even more important, their customer service has been
great. I’ll occasionally ask to talk to someone in the tech dept.
before ordering a specific tool for the first time and they’re always
very helpful. Sometimes I’ll decide to return an item if it’s not
exactly what I want, and it’s taken care of just as Elaine posted in
her message. A couple years ago I purchased a Graver Max from them,
asking them a lot of questions before and after ordering it. Elaine
went out of her way to help, and I mean WAY beyond typical customer

Stuller’s another company with excellent customer service…and it’s
convenient to order the occasional tool/supplies needed when you’re
already calling them frequently with findings orders. Rio is great
for specialty items, but I did a comparison a couple years ago and
found them a little more expensive (admittedly, not a highly
scientific study!)

Had to add my 2 cents after just checking my e-mail for the
weekend…would have felt lousy if I didn’t write.