Monday, January 14, 2013

Online Shopping Review - Hancock's of Paducah

I'm an avid online shopper. No one favorite shop--I like to spread my money around. I thought you might like to take advantage of my shopping experience this year to help you choose where you'll spend your mad fabric money.

Let's start with Hancocks of Paducah, as that was my first online shop of 2013.

I know that people RAVE about this shop when they go to the Paducah quilt show. Never been to the shop, but I'm pretty lukewarm on the online company.

To begin, I did have a question when I started out, and that was do they ever offer free shipping codes (after I saw how much their shipping was), and would there be one offered anytime soon. Okay, yes, I did search for internet coupons (nothing worked), and I do know that you can email most every other retailer and they will reduce or waive the shipping charge in order to gain a new customer, so it was worth a try. Waste of time...literally. I sent them an email on January 3rd and it wasn't answered until January 7th, and the answer was just a short 'no, we don't have any free shipping codes or offers at this time'.

I'm not a fan of their shipping charges. They're based on the amount you spend. A $30 order will cost $7.95 to ship...that's just about a 26% upcharge. I found myself adding another $19 to my order  to get the most mileage out of that charge (i.e., orders between $30 and $50 ship for that same $7.95), and then the lightbulb went on that told me that what I was doing was probably what H of P expected me to be doing with this shipping methodology--duh!, so I deleted all the extra stuff out of my cart and told myself to just order for what I started out with. Of course, in the end, I did add unnecessary fabric to my order. I just couldn't get away from the notion that I had to be at the top of the range to make the shipping appear more palatable. (I'm a fool, I know)

I placed the order on January 7th. Today is January 14th, and I have yet to receive my order. I did receive an email on January 9th advising me that one of the items was backordered. (Okay, no said right on the website where I ordered it that the item was a pre-order, so no big revelation there, though I'm confused with it being called a back-order with a note that if it doesn't come back in it will be cancelled. Was their website listing incorrect?)
As I've received no shipping confirmation, I went online to check on my order status. On their website it says the order shipped today, but the link to the tracking number assigned to it shows that it is not in Fed Ex's system yet, so maybe it was packed but it's most definitely not 'shipped'. (or labeled or scanned for FedEx).

I live in Maryland--not that far away, so considering I can get UPS shipments from other farther away shops in 2-3 days ground shipping, one can only hope my order arrives by Friday....2 weeks and 2 days after I began the order process (with my question).

Bottom line...if you don't want to wait days for a response from customer service...if you don't want to wait 2 weeks for your order to arrive....and if you don't want to spend almost 30% of what you spent on fabric to ship it 2 states away, then you probably don't want to order from Hancocks of Paducah.

It's nice they have such a comprehensive catalog that they will send you, but I'm used to dealing with dozens of other online fabric sellers that are responsive, ship the day the order comes in, and ship for free. While Hancock's of Paducah's claim to fame is as a great walk in store if you're at the Paducah AQS show, they've got nothing going for them in the online sales arena,

While I can't say that I won't ever order from them again, I will say that they're no longer on my 'short list'. A free shipping code, a great sale price, and not caring if it takes 3 weeks to receive an order could convince me to give them another try, but for now, there are far too many online fabric sellers out there jockeying for customers to make me want to give Hancocks of Paducah a second chance.

How do I rate Hancocks of Paducah?


  1. This was very good information and I appreciate the review! I have wondered about shopping at HofP but as you said the shipping is crazy and I live in Canada so it is so much worse! Do you have any referrals for great places to spend my fabric money? I would love to hear if you do. Thanks!

  2. Oh, that's a bad experience. I have to say, though, that I've shopped with them for years and have pretty much always been happy. This last time which was right after Christmas there was a free shipping or 20% off code and I got amazing sale prices. One of my fabrics had a big snag down it and was unusable for the swap I bought it for, so I emailed them and they shipped a replacement for free and it was more expensive than the original fabric I bought. So I would maybe give them a second chance. There are rarely coupon codes or free shipping but every once in a while a good one comes along. I do love some other online shops--1 Choice 4 Quilting, Quilt Taffy, and The Intrepid Thread are my favorites.

  3. I have had mixed experiences with Hancocks- While I have loved their fabrics and the ability to buy name brand fabrics on their web sale fabric racks for great prices( by Canadian standards) the shipping costs have become fairly prohibitive to Western Canada. I have ordered from them a few times and while not particularly speedy the time hasn't been outrageous. However, I did get burned one time on the shipping right after the shipping costs went up a couple of years ago. I had placed a large order ( about 180 dollars and was told the shipping would be around 40 dollars. I gulped but agreed to pay the shipping as I had specifically ordered some batiks that I could not readily buy here for close to the same price. Imagine my chagrin when they charged me another 20 dollars when the package arrived at my door !!! Nearly 60 dollars in shipping seemed excessive to me... I did call them and they were nice enough on the phone but couldn't do anything for me because that was how much it cost to send it to me. Their shipping rates were set by Canada Post. I was even more annoyed because I had called them to check about shipping and free shipping ( this large order would have qualified even to Canada with a shipping coupon) and the customer service said they didn't know when they would be available again(that was on a Thursday)and on the following Monday there was a free shipping coupon that was offered on my email.. OF course it was not useable for previously ordered items and my order had already been shipped out. Had I not really wanted the items for a specific project I might have refused the package or just sent it back to them.It has colored my attitude about buying from them. There websales are good prices and I have some fabrics in my stash that would not be there without some of the great deals available in their websales .
    I do still receive their newsletters on email but I don't check the websales much unless their is the free shipping code is available. It has to be a substantial order( over 100 dollars ) to qualify for Canada.
    There are other places that have nice fabrics( like Fat quarter Shop) and Connecting Threads that has great prices on books,notions - especially batting that I buy from because the shipping is more reasonable.There is also a place in Toronto called Sew Sisters Shop that I have ordered from there clearance page. I don't order from Keepsake quilting either because of the shipping costs- it is just too expensive unfortunately. It is certainly more complicated to get it to me but should not be so prohibitive in cost.
    Regards from Alberta, Anna

  4. I ordered my fabric on 15th February. It's now the 18th March and I have still not received it. It took them a week to dispatach can any recommend a good company.

  5. I've got a new one re: Hancocks of Paducah. I placed an order where the shipping & handling was $7.95. However, 1/2 of the order was "backordered" and then cancelled. I received the 1st 4 items which totaled $24.88 bu was charged $7.95 postage & handling. However, this was for the entire order, including items that were cancelled! If the other half of the order actually shipped and was included in these charges, I would have been ok with it. However, if they cancelled 1/2 of the order, then THEY should automatically adjust the shipping prices or email me about how I would like to handle it. But they do nothing UNLESS the customer calls and requests a refund or requests additional items to replace the out of stock items. So if I had not called, they would have kept the $2. Granted, not a lot of money, but if multiplied by hundreds or thousands of orders, this is a lot of money! Very disappointed in their handling of this situation. Be sure to check your invoices and pay only what you must.

    1. I had the same happen to me. I ordered from Australia (30% of order value as shipping cost) and the total shipping cost was added to the first despatch with other items back-ordered. Then a substantial proportion of the order was cancelled. It was only when I mentioned this for a subsequent order that an appropriate adjustment was made. I believe only the relevant shipping cost shoudl be added to each despatch.


I appreciate and look forward to your comments. Thanks for reading. Happy quilting!