Today I returned all three of the BiuBiu dresses that I wrote about on Monday and Tuesday.  I know from your comments that you can understand my returning the Town and Ponti dresses, but what about the plum Madison?

Sadly, it was the Madison’s polyester lining that sealed its fate in the box I mailed today.  You can’t tell from Monday’s and Tuesday’s photos, but sweat was trickling down my back, and that one detail would undermine any sense of confidence that a perfectly fitting garment could give me.

It’s a major challenge for a clothing manufacturer to find breathable, affordable lining.  My favorite silk dress from Ann Taylor drives me crazy for the same reason I returned the BiuBiu Madison–polyester lining that makes me feel wilted.  So until a better lining becomes available, I’ll stick with BiuBiu garments that don’t have any.  Because I definitely plan to order from BiuBiu again, especially

  • after seeing how great Holly looks in her new Porto top over at The Full Figured Chest; and
  • learning how to order from BiuBiu.

Keep reading for what I learned about the process of ordering from and returning these dresses to Poland.  (This is basically user feedback on what BiuBiu’s website is doing right and how it can improve, so hopefully some of these tips will be irrelevant by the time you place your order.)

Finding my size and adding products to my shopping cart was extremely easy.  It was at checkout that I ran into some challenges.

First, I couldn’t find an option for delivery to the U.S.–only for Poland and Europe.  I entered my address two different times using two different options before I finally received a third option:  Postal Service – USA Canada.  In the screen shot below, you can see this in the white space under the last item in my cart.  (I think you can click on each screen shot to make it larger.)

It was only when this screen came up that I learned that delivery time would take 7-21 days (see the third item under “order summary” in this screen shot).   I couldn’t find this information elsewhere on the website.  Same with cost of delivery.  Below you can see that delivery for three dresses came to US$44.83.

Finally I was ready to click “pay order” in the screen shot below.

This sent me to the page of a company called “Dotpay”.   I used my Campbell & Kate Visa card first but received an email from Dotpay saying that my payment had “not been accepted due to the lack of authorisation of credit card or bank account”.  So I tried again with my personal Mastercard and received an email from Dotpay saying that my transaction had been accepted for payment.  (I later discovered that Mastercard had also charged me a $6.91 foreign transaction fee.)

I placed my order on December 1 and received an email from BiuBiu later that day saying my order was “in process”.  On December 5, I received an email from BiuBiu saying that my order had been released, and on December 15, this arrived.  I was glad it came before I left for Florida. Immediately after placing my order, I’d sent BiuBiu an email asking them to ship it to Florida instead, but they never responded.

I was pleased with the quality of what I received.  Only the Town dress had a few glitches:  (1) part of the lining had accidentally been sewn into the interfacing for the zippper, making it impossible to put on at first, but I was easily able to remove the stitches that caused this problem without damaging the dress; and (2) where the fabric was especially thick, the zipper was extremely difficult to zip up.  Oh, and (3) the polyester lining in the Town and Madison dresses that you already know about that.

BiuBiu gives you 14 days to return your purchases, so I got in just under the wire today.  Now comes the insecure part:  will they receive my return? 

  1. Foreign addresses worry me, and this one was no exception since the address that BiuBiu provides for returns doesn’t even include the country Poland!  I added it and “BiuBiu Returns” to the recipient section of my package to them.
  2. I used 1st Class Mail International Parcel for $32.87 because the only way to get delivery confirmation would be Global Express for $175.  Now I’m kicking myself for not going with Express Mail International, because for $47.05, I would have received $100 insurance and tracking ability (but not delivery confirmation).

Will I receive my refund easily?  I filled out the return form, but BiuBiu says to give either the PayPal account that you used to pay with (I used Mastercard and Dotpay!) or a bank account where the refund will be deposited directly.  I gave a PayPal account.

Finally, my cost-benefit analysis centers around shipping costs.  I am delighted with BiuBiu’s clothes, but in the future I will be certain to include at least one item in my order that I’m 98% sure I will keep.  That’s the only way for the shipping to the U.S.  and back to Poland, plus the foreign transaction fee, to be worthwhile (the total came to $84.61 in case you’re too tired to do the math).

Now for a few miscellaneous musings about international shipping:

  • I wonder if TNT would have confirmed receipt and been more affordable? I have an account with them but was too lazy to call for a quote and arrange for a pickup while on vacation.  I hope I don’t regret this!
  • Keeping the weight under 4 pounds made a big difference in price. Because my package weighed 3 pounds, 14.4 ounces, it was able to go as a “gift”, according to the super helpful man at the post office (I have NEVER had a postal worker go the extra mile for me in NYC like this man did for me in West Palm Beach this afternoon).
  • When it comes to international shipping, weight counts for more than size and shape of box, and the USPS international envelopes would have been far too small for my 3 dresses.  It’s worth looking into packaging similar to what BiuBiu originally sent my dresses in.