Best Taobao Agent

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maitre_tea
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:54 am
Location: Washington, DC

Sun Sep 13, 2020 2:15 pm

It's been five years since I last ordered from Tao Bao, so I don't know how the landscape of Tao Bao agents has changed - I have ordered from Tao Bao Focus and it went well, but I'm wondering if there are better options out there.
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Balthazar
Posts: 286
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:04 am
Location: Oslo, Norway

Sun Sep 13, 2020 2:22 pm

I've been wondering the same. I have a package on the way with an order I made through "Superbuy", am satisfied with the service. But if there are other trustworthy agents out there that take a smaller cut I'd love to know. Particularly if there are agents with better bulk shipping prices.
maitre_tea
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:54 am
Location: Washington, DC

Sun Sep 13, 2020 2:46 pm

Balthazar wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 2:22 pm
I've been wondering the same. I have a package on the way with an order I made through "Superbuy", am satisfied with the service. But if there are other trustworthy agents out there that take a smaller cut I'd love to know. Particularly if there are agents with better bulk shipping prices.
From what I've seen Superbuy is pretty well-recommended. I looked over their website (https://www.superbuy.com/en/) and I didn't any information about any fees they charge - they don't seem to charge fees, but I kinda find that hard to believe, ha ha. Were the shipping rates and their response times seem reasonable?
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Balthazar
Posts: 286
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:04 am
Location: Oslo, Norway

Sun Sep 13, 2020 3:05 pm

My impression is that the fees are baked into the USD-prices of the products and shipping (Superbuy obviously pays in CNY, the customer is charged in USD). Not as unreasonable as I had feared though. But my next planned order will probably weigh a couple kilos, so shipping charges suddenly matter a lot more.

Response time to my one query was good (<24h) and the standard service included fairly detailed photos of the ordered item. The dashboard and navigation doesn't take too long to get used to.
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Darbotek
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2020 5:25 pm
Location: East Texas

Sun Sep 13, 2020 11:21 pm

I’m 100% Japanese tea now a days, but in my Chinese tea days I too used Superbuy. I was always very pleased with the service and how quickly they replied to questions. Quite a few orders and I only had one broken item show up. Didn’t take pictures of the box so I couldn’t make an insurance claim(box wasn’t really damaged anyway). Luckily it was a $15 tea boat so I didn’t lose much. I have it set aside for when I eventually take up kintsugi, it will be a great practice piece.
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Balthazar
Posts: 286
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:04 am
Location: Oslo, Norway

Mon Sep 14, 2020 12:50 pm

Just placed a relatively big order with Taobao Focus (some heicha for me and some Tong Ren Tang cold medicine, that we usually buy in China but won't be able to this year, for my wife...). Would've gone with Superbuy, but the page had a problem with some of the links (couldn't read them), and two items actually showed up as sold out although they were not.

So trying my luck with Taobao Focus. Also like that they charge a transparent rate of 10%, no magic currency conversions or anything like that. Will report back when the order is (hopefully) received.

Edit: On the flip side, Taobao Focus charges a flat rate domestic shipping fee of CNY 15 per shop you order from. Individually, that's not a lot of money of course. But it adds up when you buy from different sources. It's not like it would be hard for them to just charge whatever the shop(s) are charging (which is what Superbuy does). Which 99% of the time is CNY 0...
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Balthazar
Posts: 286
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:04 am
Location: Oslo, Norway

Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:33 pm

My impression of Taobao Focus has cooled a bit...

The customer service is less practical than Superbuy's, where all of your correspondence is stored in a message center and it's very easy to keep track of the history. With TBF you're limited to a live chat or e-mailing, and communicating though the latter is a bit of a mess as it seems they don't have a good system to keep track of earlier sent/received e-mails.

The above is relatively minor. What bugs me more is what appears to be a less than completely honest shipping practices. For items that weigh a total of 2 kg they're claiming a total shipping weight of 4.5 kg. I asked for a breakdown of the item weight, and they basically responded by saying that "if we make it lighter - chance of damage during delivery increases" - which is of course true, but 2.5 kilos of packaging for tea that basically only needs a box that won't break? Seems excessive to me. They also tagged on a shipping insurance fee of $25, which shouldn't be necessary with China EMS (correct me if I'm wrong) as items will be insured for their declared value unless we're talking really valuable stuff. In any case, they've agreed to remove this so long as I am aware that it's at my risk and if the parcel is lost "we will have to [rely on] delivery services and their solutions."

Another thing:
Balthazar wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 12:50 pm
Would've gone with Superbuy, but the page had a problem with some of the links (couldn't read them), and two items actually showed up as sold out although they were not.
The two items that showed up as sold out on Superbuy (but not TBF, and not when visiting the Taobao-page before placing the item in the shopping cart), were actually sold out. Superbuy somehow finds out about this automatically (I wonder if they have a script place the items in the shopping cart and check for messages about stock status, or something like that). TBF found out when they actually tried to make the order. So this is actually a plus for Superbuy.

The items were available from JD.com, though. Too bad TBF can't read JD.com-links (Superbuy can). To order from JD.com through TBF you need to ask through e-mail, which shouldn't be that much of a hassle but has been less than straightforward due to their previously mentioned lack of an overview of earlier sent/received e-mails. I corresponded with one customer service personnel yesterday, the one I communicated with today seems to know nothing about what I thought me and his colleague were in agreement about yesterday.

So long story short, based on this anecdotal experience, I'd rather go with Superbuy again next time around.
Rmt
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2020 11:53 am
Location: Northern Norway

Fri Sep 18, 2020 3:19 am

I've only used tbfocus, and have used it twice. Ended up using it because I couldn't find the objects/browse the stores effectively in the other agesnts I tried. Quite happy both times, but it has taken a while to get my packages. Agree that it's a bit hard to estimate shipping though. Then again, I've only ordered ceramics from tb, so I didn't object.
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