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42 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Firstly, I want to say that this is my personal experience with, and I am trying to be as unbiased as possible. I have never dealt with customcougars before, and probably never will again. I only dealt with customcougars because they offered me what I wanted for reasonable prices, and forums such as these praised James for good service.

Secondly, I want to say that I am not trying to start a flame war. I will not respond to any posts that will lead this discussion in that manner.

My Experience with CustomCougars, DOCUMENTED (note that comments written with a >> indent are original and have not been changed):

My first contact with customcougars was with respect to shipping quotes and the following items:

> >>>I would like the following items:
> >>>OMP Brake Kit (399)
> >>>Extra Pads (~70)
> >>>Sway Bar (105)
> >>>Water Pump (100)
> >>>Dual Exhaust (473).

He replied, saying it was too heavy. Fine! I don't need a break kit... His reply was:

>> You are correct it would make a difference because of the Brake
>> Kit. The Brake Kit weighs about 45-55lbs in shipping (two boxes). The
>> exhaust kit with the water pump and sway bar is 45-50lbs. Shipping cost is
>> $350 by US Postal Service Express Mail with Tracking. Item would take about
>> 7-10 days to arrive.

Cool! I was happy with that. However, I did change my mind and order an ADDITIONAL AEM Intake. I checked the online shipping quotation system and costs in shipping did not change with additional weight of the intake.

So I paid the balance. In fact, I sent James an additional $10 to cover insurance (on top of all other costs and despite the fact that his policy is to include insurance costs in shipping quotes).

The primitive shopping cart at customcougars did not allow for the additional payment to allow for international shipping. So I paid that in another transaction. I asked CustomCougars to confirm that full payment had been made. They never did so.

Complete payment was made on 20th August 2003.

THEN, I received another email 6 days later:
> >
> >
> > As mentioned, the total due on Shipping to Australia was $350
> > an e-mail
> > dated June 30th 2003. We took into account the US Shipping. If you
> > can pay the additional $70 shipping, I can get the order processed
> > for you. At this
> > time the items should be ready to ship by Friday except the AEM
> > Intake.
> > Thanks
> > James

WHAT?!?!? You mean, after you quoted me $350 for shipping you want MORE!? I always thought that if a huge mistake like that was made, the company involved should cover the cost. At least, if it was an ethical company.

That was ludicrous. I demanded an explanation. The stance of customcougars was (dated 27 August 2003):

>> When our company calculates International Shipping, we calculate it with US
>> Shipping as the base line then the rest is Overseas shipping. The total by
>> UPS To ship the package you are requesting in a dimensional box is costing
>> is $420.00. If you wish for us to refund your order, we can. At this time
>> your order will be ready to ship early next week via UPS

What?! Did that make sense to ANYBODY? HIS original quote was to use USPS, and then he switches to UPS? Not to mention the fact that I orignally asked for shipping to Australia and not anywhere else.

Anyway, I wrote an email to customcougars to explain their situation. They never did. That is the second ignored email. How is that for customer service?

I paid the extra $70 in shipping anyway... since my order was ready to be shipped...

WRONG! On 2 September, 2003 I wrote:

>> The balance was paid last week. Can you tell me when the order will be
>> processed?

CustomCougars reply (3 September 2003):
>> Order will be processed and ready to ship Overseas by Monday. Once
>> shipped, I cannot control the time frame

So I waited till 8 September 2003 for them to ship the items. But they never take the initiative to contact you.

So I replied on the 9th Sep, wanting a transaction number. Their reply:
>> Order was processed last Friday, Sept 6th. Item should be shipping
>> today/tomorrow

That means that my order was shipped, right? Guess it was too much asking for a tracking/consignment number... In fact, the order hadn't been shipped yet.

CustomCougars(9th September):
>> As mentioned in my LAST e-mail, the item is scheduled for
>> shipping. Method of Shipping is going to be United States Postal Service.
>> As soon as it ships, we will forward you a tracking number. International
>> Shipments take a little longer than Domestic Shipments

Several things of note:
1) the item should have ALREADY been shipped
2) probably should aggravate your customers by using caps when they've already been waiting weeks and the original quote was for arrival in 10 days at most.
3) wasn't it UPS that you were gonna use? or is it USPS?? I dunno, cos they kept changing their mind.

18th September (CustomCougars):
>> Item was returned due to missing your daytime phone number. Please respond
>> with your daytime phone number

At no time was I EVER asked for a telephone number. I thought these guys had their services down pat - and knew exactly what to do. According to James, he filled stacks of International orders and even knew that his parts would fit my Aussie cougar. So why did they not ask for my telephone number in advance? They were experienced in filling international orders and should have anticipated that - not make me wait anther two weeks.

I responded immediately with a telephone number. No reply from customcougars. You'd expect that they'd send you an email to confirm the package had been shipped or something.

So, FIVE days later, on the 23 September I wrote:
>> It has been 5 weeks (!) since I first placed my order. Can you tell me
>> what the status of it is? Has it been sent? If so, what is the
>> tracking number?

So they responded in two lines (the next day, to their credit). The first line of the email was the carrier (UPS). The second line was the tracking number.

No apologies, no sympathies (not even a "hi"). Just a tracking number. You'd think they could apologize for something. I've just compiled a long list.

I received the items on the 6th October, a full 7 weeks after I placed the original order.

Was it a happy ending?? Not quite. I found that they in fact had only paid $350 for shipping, not the $420 they paid for. Further, was the package insured?? I don't think so!

So where did the extra $70 go? Where did my insurance money ($10) go?

Guess it was pocketed by CustomCougars.

Oh, and my muffler was not included in the package. But hey, thats another story. (You rock, TruBenz).

In summary, my experience with customcougars:
- had extremely bad customer service.
- was late.
- was overpriced.

Anyway, I was thinking about going to certain fair trading sites about this sort of behaviour. However, I decided to come here first, since his site is generally held in high regards. What are people's opinions, comments?

4,959 Posts
Well, before the response from James, i'd have to say the following...

First off, you contradict yourself when at the beginning of your post you say that offered you what you wanted for reasonable prices, but then one of your last points is that is overpriced.

Secondly, some of the lapse of communication in Sept. may have been due to James entering his car in several shows.

Third, i assume 99% of James' orders are domestic, so this won't dissuade anybody from ordering.

Fourth, we need Cliff's notes for this thread.

Premium Member
8,094 Posts
to ignernt and zalec regarding the "Fourth, we need Cliff's notes for this thread." and the "Im not reading all that" comments...

Zalec - then dont bother responding.
Ignernt - Nope.. we need members with an attention span of more than 8.5 seconds. :)

To DontAsk..
sorry to hear that.. some ppl love him... some ppl hate him... etc..

Rockin' Mom-mobile
8,010 Posts
He said he was asked to pay extra beyond first quoted for shipping to Aus. Then it gets there and he sees it didn't actually cost the extra, so he's mad.
He also expected it to be sent out sooner.
Also shipment got returned cause they didn't have his phone number and why didn't they ask for that.

I will just say, I once sent a t-shirt to Wayne in Aus. This was just a t-shirt mind you and I couldn't believe all the bending over backwards the USPS made me do. It took three trips to get them to finally take it.

But other then that you have to wait on James' reply.

1,790 Posts
DontAsk-- have you ever shipped internationally? I have and it takes a very long time to ship. I shipped a grill to Canada, and it took close to 10 weeks for Powerage to receive it. This is all due to USPS. And sometimes they shipping charges are outrageous. As far as the extra $70, boxes and packaging materials cost money, along with handling costs. It takes time and work to package such a huge box. I dont know what happened with the $10 for insurance, but i would have figures that insurance would have cost alot more than $10 for all the products you purchased.

James is also very busy with shows throughout the year and that is probably why you didnt get the response you wanted as fast as you wanted.

4,409 Posts
Thanks for the post. Glad to see our valued customers are including us in their first post on NECO..

You were quoted $350 for shipping from the USA to Australia correct? You only sent $280... That is why an Additional $70 was requested.

As you can see via that post which shows all payments sent by you to us within the last 365 days, you only paid $350 in shipping.

The package was originally going to be shipped UPS by Trubendz. However the item was too big to go UPS so the item was shipped by USPS. The complete quote that was given by Josh was $350 and thats what you were charged. Please bare in mind, just because a label on the box shows postage was only say $330, it does not mean that is the total for Shipping & Handling. Shipping and Handling includes shipping, boxes, packing material and in your case, Customs Forms.

I appologize if the item was not shipped with insurance. However in a situation like this, since there was supposed to be insurance for the value of the package and Josh did not add it, I would of taken care of any items that would of arrived damaged.

Furthermore, CustomCougars.Com has been found to be the leading source for International shipments of cougar parts. Usually the customers phone in during the duration of their order since misconceptions can happen from e-mails. However in this case, the misconception is you simply did not pay $420 in shipping, only $350 which was the inital quote.


42 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
In response to ignernt:
1) I did not contradict myself. What I meant was that while advertise reasonable prices, but they made me pay ABOVE and BEYOND that after having given a shipping quote (+$70).
2) Yup, I understand that James goes to car shows and that is important for his business. However, I do not appreciate the late notice (24hrs or less usually) for him closing his web site and phone lines.
3) Maybe my order was an international order, but does that imply I deserve less customer service? Does that imply I am a second rate customer?
4) You do not have to read this thread. While I did write more than the average poster, I tried to document my problems with the view to be as objective as possible. Subsequently, my thread is longer than usual.

In reponse to tropiccougar01:
Granted, it MAY take a long time to ship, BUT you have to remember that the very first quote given to me says the items would ship in 5-10 DAYS!! THEN, when I prompted for a tracking number every few days I get "oh, we're about to process your order", "oh, we haven't processed your order yet, how about Monday?", "um, we've processed your order, but haven't shipped it yet...", "oh, its scheduled for shipping", etc (read the excerpts, above). If you give someone over $1000 of your money, you should expect some sort of progress. could have just been collecting everyone's money before disappearing forever. I just didn't know...

$10 insurance was more than enough to cover the value of the items shipped (>$800). Have a look for yourself at USPS.

In response to projectcougar:
No, I didn't send just $280 for shipping. I sent $350, and then another $70. If you read the details of the first transaction, I have given an itemised, summarised view of what I was doing:

>> I am finally in a position to complete my order.

>> Unfortunately, the paypal shopping cart does not allow extra money >> to be paid for shipping. Also, since the shopping cart incorrectly
>> assumed me to be in the US, the $855 quoted above is not accurate. >> The complete breakdown of costs are as follows:

>> AEM Polished Intake - $159
>> Dual Aluminized Borla Exhaust - $330
>> V6 WaterPump Metal Impeller - $99
>> Mintex AF Front Pads - $41
>> Mintex AF Rear Pads - $41
>> 21mm Rear Sway Bar - $105
>> Shipping - $350
>> Insurance for $800 - $10

>> Total - $1135

>> The balance owing, after this transaction, is $1135-$855=$280. This >> $280 will be paid in a separate paypal transaction.

[ NB: the $280 was paid in a separate transaction, looking at your own post]

>> Please note that I have also paid for INSURANCE. This insurance
>> estimate was taken from the USPS website.

>> Subsequently, I hope the above items will arrive in 7-10 days, and
>> tracked, as discussed.

>> Please send confirmation email when you have done the following:
>> - received payment
>> - shipped the items (please send the TRACKING number via email)

>> If you have any issues with anything, just deny the payments, and
>> we can work something out via email.

>> Thank you for your time, and I look forward to doing business with
>> you again.

Because paypal assumed that I was in the US, it automatically incorporates US shipping pricing. I simply deducted the price of US shipping from the Australian shipping pricing. The balance ($280) was paid in a separate paypal transaction. This was very clearly stated in the notes section of the paypal transaction.

For the record, I am not mad (I'm not like that), just very, very disappointed.

4,409 Posts
Dear Sir:

Paypal does not add US Shipping, my programming tells what shipping is. If you notice, it does not matter if you are US or International. You are given a total price with shipping then all International and HI orders are subject to additional charges. In your case, the additional charges, as sent in an e-mail were $350. However you misread the e-mail and only paid $280. Proof was posted in previous thread. I am sorry but there is nothing i can do for you with is order since you were quoted $350, you paid $280 then the additional $70 to make $350 and your items were shipped. I am sorry you are dissatisfied with the way your order was handled. One thing that we have learned at Cougar Parts Online is not to quote a delivery time for international orders. If you had any idea how hard it was to ship an item, much less 5 or 6, to Australia, you would understand why we could not reach your deadline of 5-10 days.


42 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This is a direct quote from your email (27 Aug 2003):

>> I have an AEM Instock that can be shipped at this time....

>> When our company calculates International Shipping, we calculate it with US
>> Shipping as the base line then the rest is Overseas shipping. The total by
>> UPS To ship the package you are requesting in a dimensional box is costing
>> is $420.00. If you wish for us to refund your order, we can. At this time
>> your order will be ready to ship early next week via UPS

[NOTE: $420]

>> Thanks

I got a quote from UPS for the exact dimensions and weight of the box you sent me. It came up $350 for expedited and $420 for express. Since the package was delivered to me expedited and not express, I would prefer to be paid back the difference.

Your order cart DOES automatically add the shipping for US orders. Don't believe me? Go to customcougars, look at the Mintex Front Brake pads. It costs $41, right? When you add it to your paypal shopping cart, it defaults to $47.50. The $6.50 difference is the exact amount you quote for domestic shipping.

Mind you, the package was sent UPS and not USPS as you had originally suggested.

4,409 Posts
You keep answering your post and requests in every e-mail you post on here.... I have explained to you in every e-mail that International Orders are US Base Line Price + Difference for International Shipping. In regards to your order, based on the total amount of money paid, that is exactly what you were charged. I am sorry but I cannot continue to argue with you over a $70 shipping charge which was paid and used for your shipping. Our company is not here to make money off of shipping, including international orders. I would also suggest you please be advised that any price quotes you get from any UPS site, USPS.COM or FedEx do NOT include filling out Customs Forms, Packing materials to pass International Shipping Standards or Shipments via an Interline carrier.

Your order was shipped Via UPS by TruBendz on behalf of Cougar Parts Online. Your item was shipped as quoted of Order Price via our Paypal cart + International Shipping of $350.

Also please note we offered a FULL REFUND in two seperate e-mails as a show of customer satisfaction if needed.

For our Company, Cougar Parts Online to get the following items to your Australia Location, the cost is/was $1205 USD which was quoted during E-mail Communication.

AEM Intake - $159 Free Shipping
Dual Aluminized Borla Exhaust - $330 + $35 Shipping
V6 Water Pump with Metal Impeller - $99 + $15 Shipping
Mintex AF Pads - $41 + $6.50 Shipping
Mintex Rear Pads - $41 + $6.50 Shipping
21mm Rear Sway Bar - $105 + $17 Shipping

Total Price of Goods - $775
Total Price of Base Shipping - $80
Total Order Price - $855 - Paid Aug 20th

Quoted Shipping costs to Australia was $350 Additional to Total Order Price. (See E-mail)

If you would like to continue discuss the charges, feel free to contact us via our company e-mail at [email protected]. We cannot continue to decipher e-mail after e-mail for you.

4,959 Posts
First off, leave my severe ADD out of this Ov3n! :tongue: Believe it or not, i actually read the whole thread! ;) :rofl:

As for the response to my post from the originator...

1) Maybe you should edit your original post so it doesn't look like you contradict yourself
2) This is true, last year James seemed to be better at giving notice when he was going to be closed. However nobody else seemed to have a problem with that this year.
3) Pay attention, i said since most of James' customers are domestic that your post wouldn't dissuade anybody. i said nothing of you deserving less customer service.
4) You asked for opinions and comments did you not? In my opinion the post was extemely long, so i commented on that. If you don't want opinions or comments then don't ask for them.

188 Posts
hey guys,

hopefully after my post we can put this to rest for everyone involved. im just going to give my side of the story and even through my own company under the bus. If you have A.D.D. try and pay attention to this one, LOL. :) although for my story, i will use the cliff notes version, just because i dont have to much information regarding specific dates.

There once was a nut shell and " in a nut shell"... <----dont you like how i lead you all into suspense. :)

- james contacted me with a potential order to AUS and asked for a shipping quote.
- james said the customer was getting more parts and wanted to know if it could ship in one box.
- james asked for a re-quote on shipping.
- i estimated shipping prices. (keep in mind, i dont sell brakes, strut bars, etc, so i had to estimate)
- the price i quoted was $350.00

- payment from james was made within a week
- james then shipped me the "other parts" within the following week.
- we packed all the parts in one box within the 3rd week.
- then we hit a snag, the parts were originally going to ship USPS. but the box/weight was to big.
- in the 4th week, we had to "re-pack" into a new box and now ship UPS.
- finally the item was shipped.

- although i said, week 1, week 2, etc. im not 100% on these facts, im just estimating.
- our company DOES NOT ship international orders very often.
- UPS requires the phone number, this is why we needed it 1/2 way into the process. i think you can
slip by USPS without a phone number??
- the missing muffler... this wasnt really brought up before, but since the worms are open now, i will
comment on this. This was clearly our mistake! It should be noted, this was also clearly an accident.
Because of all the unpacking, re-packing, then unpacking, and the final re-pack... Somehow the muffler
was left out.
- final key note. we paid $344.50 to ship the box. which was darn near close to $350.00
- bonus key note (and food for thought). had we actually shipped the muffler, the weight would have
been higher, hence the shipping would have probably been more. LOL :)

- Dont Ask, is a decent guy. I dealt with him through several e-mails after the whole incident. We were
able to resolve the muffler issue in a nice and timely manner. I think all he is trying to do, is voice
his opinion about his experience. And you know what... i totally understand where he is coming from,
which is why i tryied my best to resolve everything the best i could.
- James (customcougars) is also a decent guy. I dont suspect any bad business from him. I think alot
of all these problems stemmed from a lack of communication. Had there been more communication,
this could have all be resolved easier. This is not to say that james is wrong, he just has a busy

OV3N, summed up the whole thing pretty well i think... QUOTE:
"this whole thing is just a phenominal misunderstanding..."

Dont Ask, i give my apologies for the way things turned out with the order.

Hopefully, there's no hard feelings guys,
if you were all here now, i would drink beers with all of you. :)

42 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Alright, ProjectCougar. We can take this post offline and discuss it further. However, I cannot refrain from making the following points:

- I wrote an email (7 August 2003) to you haggling the AGGREGATE price. This email clearly states what I was intending to pay in shipping ($350). Why was I told then that I was in err and had to ALSO pay the additional DOMESTIC shipping?
- The total cost was NEVER $1205. Please FORWARD me this email (as an attachment).
- You asked on ONE SINGLE occassion if I wanted a refund. It was the same email that you first told me about your Base Shipping + International rates. The reason why I went ahead was because I had already paid for exchange rate fees and didn't want to pay them again. Mind you, I did reply to that email, but you never responded.
- If the item cost $350 to send, where did the additional $70 go? There WAS space in the carton for a muffler... Trust me, I have sent large items internationally before... and especially from the US because of my work committments. I've never seen anything to do with customs duties to export goods. Again, I customs forms are free to fill in. Additionally, according to you, you only make money on selling items. In fact, you could probably AVOID paying sales taxes due to the exportation of goods!
- You have said in another post (too lazy to find now) that does not make money from postage, but from goods sold only. IF that were TRULY the case, isn't the right thing to do to to return the difference regardless of what was originally quoted? [NB: CC has NEVER quoted $1205 in aggregate for the cost of goods purchased]
- This is the first time that I've heard of any of these delays - and I still never heard it from ProjectCougar!. It would've have been very easy to say that my package was delayed due to whatever reason. I am not unreasonable. I don't understand why you neglected to tell me any of this. Being informed is much better than waiting for 5 weeks with "oh, your order is about to be sent..."

For TruBenz, I truly did not want to involve him in my dispute with projectcougar. He has only shown me exceptional assistance and I appreciate his help through this period.

388 Posts
I won't bash on CC but I had a similar incident. There was a break down in communication between Paypal and CC. Some how CC didn't get my address. All they got was my name, city, st, and zip. Weird thing is they never called or e-mailed me telling me this. 3 weeks later I call to find out what's going on with my wing. CC told me that it was shipped and returned b/c of no address. I said "what are you talking about". The guy on the phone preceded to tell me that if I wanted my wing I would have to pay and additional fee for them to ship it out again. I asked why had no one contacted me about the address, he had no comment. He said the only thing he could do is take an additional payment over the phone and then reship. I asked how do you ship out a package without an address, no comment. Believe me, I was hot. BUT what are you gonna do. I wanted my wing. So I payed the additional fee and I contacted pay-pal to see why was there a break down in communication, they told me that there wasn't a break down. He read off the entire name,address, everything to the T. Hmmmm something smells fishy ~~~~there is more to this story but this post is long enough~~~~ I have been on the board along time before I actually started to post. I thought my incident was "phenomenal misunderstanding" too , b/c everyone always said great things about CC and James. I've dealt with CC on several occasions afterwards without the slightest problem. In every business you are going to have a few snags along the way. All in all I think they are doing a great job. On a side note did anyone notice that

~phenominal is actually spelled phenomenal~

EDIT- FORGOT- O-Yeah I forgot mention that the wing had 3 different cracks in it once I finally got it.

4,409 Posts
DontAsk and I will be handling his issues off board, however all information on both parties has been presented...

Mr Brewer: I will gladly research your order for you. Upon pulling up my records on Paypal, I have a simple answer. Update your Paypal Confirmed Address.... Your Paypal address just has your Street Name and Apt number. It does not list the Numerical address. FedEx would not deliever to that address that you provided, that is why after a new address was provided, you were charged a redelivery fee.
In regards to your wing being broke, this was a very common problem with Razzi and I can assure you we did not say have a nice day with a broken wing. If you contacted us, I am positive the company did all we could to get you a new wing from Razzi.
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