I just got my order from http://www.taobaoring.com
, for those don't have time to read, here is the executive summary:
* good and reliable
* 8% service compare with most agent 10%
* no SAL shipping, but good reduction on EMS
* can use Western Union which gives a better rate than Paypal when over a few hundreds dollars.
* web site is well layout and design
* goods are well packed
Here's the details:
I got some teething problems registering with them, but the problem wasn't from them, it was because Apple MobileMe, now iCloud black listed the domain name, even e-mail as long as its contents had the string "www.taobaoring.com" would be sent to the black hole. I asked Apple to rectify the problem, surprisingly, Apple did change the spam settings on MobileMe mail server just for one account holder! But I've ready missed the activation email from taobaoring, to activate my account I need help from taobaoring, their online help is very helpful and they can communicate well in English (don't know how good is their American though
Ordering: just copy and paste the items' urls, easy.
Payment: I decided to try Western Union this time. It was o.k. until I need to verify my ID. Well, you better get your passport, finger print, DNA sample ready. I'm not surprise after recent scandal from HSBC ... (actually, you only need to scan the passport).
If you order a tong or more, I think you better instruct them just wrap up the whole tong, or if you prefer, they will take it apart and wrap up individual cake one by one.
Photos of the goods and ask you if it looks o.k.
Then second payment for shipping. I think they have 40% discount on EMS, but no SAL.
All in all, from ordering (1st payment) to cakes at home, just over 2 weeks which is rather good for me.
I also find out that there probably no easy way to directly buy from Taobao, even some vendor accept "credit card" (not the credit card as we know it). Well, it has to be registered with a bank in China. I asked Bank of China in the UK (I never set foot in the Bank of China before and that's another experience I don't think I will ever forget!), not even a credit card with them, it cannot be used on Taobao as it is a card from the UK branch ... I really don't know how people do it in HK, Macau or Taiwan. Could they use their credit card or there is some kind of special arrangement?