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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Alsa Corporation: Store Review


Links checked 12/12/13

I intended to post franken polish pics & video clips today but until the computer finishes its check disk on my failing hard drive and I re-install my camera software, it's a no-go. Instead I'll post this store review.

If you don’t already know about the Alsa Corporation from previous entries, allow me to summarize.

The Alsa Corporation manufactures automotive paint, flakes and pigments among other things and many of these appear to be on the “cutting edge” of painting. While there are similar products on the market, a few are unique to Alsa. I don’t know how long the company has been established but they are located in California, USA and sell American made products- another point in their favor. Prices are reasonable when compared to the competition but what really sets them apart is the fact that they sell sample decks of their flakes as opposed to the traditional sample chip books.  To see what a sample deck is, go here.

I have one of these sample decks but I purchased mine from Pivco LLC for a few dollars less than Alsa’s price and I was so pleased with my purchase that I featured it on this blog. By the time I did though, Pivco was out of stock (until December 2011) and so I had to refer anyone that was interested to Alsa’s website. I had had no personal contact with the company at that point so I made no comments good or bad about them.

Update 4/25/12: Lynnae, one of my readers, has informed me that the sample deck can also be purchased from Terry's Auto Supply Inc. for $28.00, $7.25 for shipping. The sample deck is located here on the site.

Recently I had the opportunity to act as a “middle man” to order a couple sample decks for Kitties26 (More Nail Polish) and a friend of hers, the plan being of course to then mail them off to Australia myself. She had some problems with the checkout process and I think we all assumed it was because of the international shipping. I prefer email as a means of communication but to be sure that they sold to regular consumers, not just businesses, I actually called. The woman that answered was pleasant and sounded American, surprising in this age of Indian Customer Support. No offense to anyone but that’s a fact of life.

I placed the order online and paid them with PayPal but there was a problem processing it (I did not get order confirmation) so I had to contact them and chose email. A woman named Linda responded, immediately straightened out the problem and said she would send me confirmation “shortly”. I never got that email or anything further from Alsa, not even when I enquired a week later about the status of my order.  They didn’t answer the second email I sent three days after that but the next day the package arrived so it didn’t matter.

The sample decks were identical to mine but contained more flakes in each individual bag (perhaps that accounts for the slightly higher price) and they included a very classy high quality print catalogue. They shipped them via Fed Ex whereas mine from Pivco came UPS Ground but shipping costs and shipping time are comparable.

In the end, we all got what we wanted but I find the customer service email lacking and would suggest that if you decide to buy from them, call rather than email. Despite the quality of their products I get the impression that the Alsa Corporation is not a large company employee-wise. Their sample deck is the most cost effective way of trying out their flakes and I would still encourage people to do so but heed my warning about emailing. I am a bit antisocial so that was the best method of contact for me but not for the Alsa Corporation.

This won't deter me from ordering another sample deck for myself in the future because while my experience with Pivco LLC was a positive one, the Alsa Corporation sold me a fuller product, at least it appeared that way and I am a "more bang for your buck" kind of gal. And you just can't beat the huge variety of colors in the sample deck for the money. -MK

12/4/11: I have had great success with all of Alsa's flakes from the sample deck. By this point I'm sure that I have used the majority of them in various frankens and none of them have bled. I encourage you to purchase your own, it's well worth the cost.

6 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing!! I must order this set :)

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  2. I'm tempted to buy another myself, believe me.

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  3. Hi I just went to order this awesome sample set (thanks so much for posting about it!!), and found that the shipping price given during checkout is $15. I live in WA, so this just seems like an exorbitant amount for bags of glitter samples; I can't imagine they weigh enough for $15 worth of shipping! Is this on par with what you paid for shipping?

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    1. I paid $9 shipping in Sept 2011 to Pivco LLC for my Alsa sample deck. When I ordered two decks directly from Alsa for my Aussie friend the same month, they charged $12.61. Both shipping services were Ground, one Fed Ex, the other UPS. Hubby, who manages an Audio/Video tech shop, uses Ground services for shipping computer systems daily, says shipping has increased quite a bit since Sept. 2011 and added that the shipping charge is not based on weight only, its based on package dimensions as well. You'll probably find, as I did, that the box used (along with the inner air filled bags) was pretty big for something that could technically be shipped in a padded envelope.

      Shipping charges like this can be expected from most companies that sell related supplies because they all use Fed Ex or UPS Ground. Just as examples, SKS Bottle, TCP Global, Nailite, even my favorite company TKB Trading ship via Ground which makes placing a small $$$ order difficult so you might as well order more at one time to balance the cost.

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  4. I'd like to say a few things about Alsa. 1. Their website is not user-friendly and has incredibly clumsy navigation. I actually ended up on 2 different versions of the site in the same night! As a webmaster, I found this incredulous. 2. The checkout process is horrific, clumsy, outdated and redundant. 3. The "customer service" is not only harder to come by than Clarins 230, but when they made a $70 mistake - they did nothing to rectify it, gave me zero alternatives and have never answered my emails. I keep monitoring my CC statement since I have no clue what happened to the charge. 4. The items I have from my 1st purchase are still going strong and if you're lucky enough to get your items in a timely manner you'll see they are high quality. But as a girl who cut her teeth in retail customer service, went into management and now specializes in small business marketing, their lack of accountability and failure to communicate (yeah I said it) just can't be compensated by high quality. If you had to pick just 3 stores to buy from, who would they be. I do love me some TKB so far. Thanks for listening! ~ Renay from ShopRenay.com/PerfectionPromandBridal.com/DoctorBonilla.com *phew*

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    1. I had some issues with them but none as extreme as what you experienced, thankfully. Your story is a good warning to the rest of us who might be tempted by their products to look for alternatives.

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