A Look at Reviews of this Popular Party and Craft Supplies Company

Oriental Trading Company has been a go-to supplier of party favors, arts and crafts, educational materials, and more for over 85 years. But how do real customers rate their experiences with this classic brand today? I decided to dig into reviews and see what people love—and don’t love—about the Oriental Trading Company.

Overall Ratings Reflect General Satisfaction

Scanning through reviews on sites like TrustPilot, ConsumerAffairs, and the Better Business Bureau, it seems most customers give Oriental Trading decently high overall ratings. On TrustPilot, Oriental Trading has a TrustScore of 4 out of 5 stars based on nearly 6,000 reviews. Their overall rating on ConsumerAffairs is 4.5 out of 5 stars from over 1,500 reviews. And the company has an A+ rating accredited by the BBB.

Clearly, Oriental Trading is pleasing a majority of its customers—likely thanks to its enormous selection, bulk pricing, and brand familiarity. But looking deeper into specific aspects of the shopping experience reveals some common pros and cons.

Quality of Products Earns Mixed Reviews

One of the biggest factors behind customer satisfaction is product quality. Reviews of Oriental Trading products are decidedly mixed when it comes to durability and appearance versus expectations.

Many customers remark that the quality meets expectations for the low prices, noting things like party favors don’t need to be fancy. As one ConsumerAffairs reviewer wrote, “If you want high quality, elegantly made party supplies, you’re looking in the wrong place.”

However, others are disappointed with flimsier or cheaper looking products than pictured. Some report items like plastic tableware snap or crack easily. Negative reviews frequently cite issues like items arriving broken, defective, misshapen, or with faded colors.

It seems with Oriental Trading—as with buying in bulk in general—there’s a tradeoff between price and quality. Shoppers have to set expectations accordingly.

Happy Customers Praise Prices, Variety and Nostalgia

Digging into positive Oriental Trading reviews, I found some common themes around why people love shopping here:

For bargain hunters not fussy about top-tier quality, Oriental Trading delivers on price, variety, and convenience.

Common Complaints Around Shipping Issues, Stock Problems

On the flip side, looking through lower rated and critical Oriental Trading reviews revealed some themes around where the company falls short for some customers:

While Oriental Trading has plenty of happy loyal customers, they could improve in these areas to provide better experiences for all.

Product Descriptions: Take with a Grain of Salt

One issue that comes up repeatedly in reviews is that actual products sometimes look or feel quite different from the photos and descriptions on Oriental Trading’s website.

Many reviewers warn to take product images with a grain of salt. Complaints of cheaper quality than pictured are very common, as are critiques that colors appear faded or details are different upon arrival.

It seems Oriental Trading depends heavily on product shots from manufacturers. But they don’t always accurately represent what arrives on your doorstep. I’d recommend considering the photos as general guides rather than gospel.

Website Navigation Needs Improvement

With over 40,000 products available from Oriental Trading, even the most loyal enthusiast will find the massive website challenging to effectively browse and search.

Many reviews complain the categorization system is convoluted and items are difficult to filter or find, even using the site’s search bar. Shoppers report frustration over complex menus and navigation.

Oriental Trading would do well to streamline and simplify their website design. This would improve the shopping experience and help customers more readily find beloved items from the vast catalog.

Returns and Exchanges: Check the Fine Print

The return and exchange policies for Oriental Trading offer a mix of pros and cons based on customer reviews:

On the plus side, returns are available within 90 days on most unused items, providing flexibility.

However, the return policy info also states that “due to health and sanitary reasons” all sales on things like costumes, makeup, and toys are final. Customers complain about being stuck with broken or incorrect items in these categories.

Oriental Trading also does not pay for return shipping. Customers must pay label costs which eats into any refunds.

The exchange process has similar limitations—with customers reporting denied or complicated exchange requests for certain categories.

Before ordering, read Oriental Trading’s fine print carefully. Returns may not be as seamless as expected.

Recommended for Parties and Education, Not Home Décor

Digging into customer reviews, themes emerged around Oriental Trading’s sweet spots versus weaknesses when it comes to types of items.

The overwhelming consensus is that Oriental Trading is a top choice for party supplies, favors, crafts, novelties, accessories, school materials, prizes, and similar categories. The prices and variety can’t be beat.

But many caution that home décor, furniture, or more “upscale” products are lower quality. The live plants also get poor reviews.

Stick with fun bargains for events and activities. For nicer home items, customers suggest looking elsewhere. Oriental Trading’s focus is on volume discounts and variety more than luxury goods.

Packages May Arrive Crushed or Damaged

Given many reviews complain of flimsy packaging and loosely packed boxes, it’s no surprise that a common critique involves boxes arriving crushed or items inside broken or damaged.

Some feel Oriental Trading prioritizes speed of fulfillment over packing care to meet high order volumes.

Several reviewers advise carefully inspecting and photographing packages on arrival and contacting customer service about any damage immediately. Apparently even loyal longtime customers deal with regular breakage due to weak packaging and shipping methods.

While Oriental Trading can’t prevent all transit mishaps, they could cut down on disappointments by improving protection and padding inside boxes.

Rare Recalls, But Some Safety Concerns Persist

In my research, I wasn’t able to find evidence of any major widespread recalls of Oriental Trading products for safety reasons. A few reviewers complain of lead in metallic costume jewelry, but this isn’t substantiated.

However, some customer reviews do raise concerns around potential safety issues, especially with low-cost toys and accessories. Reports of things like flimsy plastic, choking hazards, and skin reactions to cheap metals and materials come up occasionally.

Parents should carefully inspect any items from Oriental Trading before giving to small children. As a discount party retailer, they likely prioritize price over stringent safety specifications. Supervise young kids using toys or jewelry from them.

For classroom giveaways, make sure items meet school guidelines. Teachers may want to stick with Oriental Trading craft supplies over toys to be prudent.

Fixing Errors Depends on the Service Rep

Reviews of Oriental Trading’s customer service offer mixed opinions when it comes to fixing incorrect, damaged, or defective orders.

Some share glowing experiences getting issues promptly resolved with refunds or replacement items shipped out. They praise patient, dedicated service reps.

But just as many reviewers describe frustrating battles to get unsatisfactory orders corrected, citing denial of refunds and insistence that customers pay return shipping on incorrect items.

Outcomes seem to depend heavily on which customer service rep you get. For best results, contact them promptly with photo evidence of any mistakes and damage. Politely escalate if needed. Patience and persistence may be required.

Loyalty Program Perks Exist, But Confusing

Oriental Trading does offer a loyalty rewards program for frequent shoppers called Club O where you earn points towards discounts. However, multiple reviews complain the program is confusing and not clearly explained on their website.

The rewards tiers and points values change frequently, leaving customers unsure what benefits they actually receive. And points expire quickly if unused, further frustrating shoppers.

Many reviewers say Oriental Trading would do better promoting Club O transparently upfront and keeping the details simple and consistent. The current complex program with unclear perks delivers underwhelming value for most customers.

Technical Issues: Site Crashing and Payment Problems

Given the huge volume of web traffic Oriental Trading drives, it’s not surprising they battle some technical difficulties. Common issues mentioned in reviews include:

Oriental Trading’s IT infrastructure seems easily overwhelmed. Customer service reps arenot always able to resolve these technical problems quickly. More investment in robust site architecture and troubleshooting training could help.

Many Customers Come Back Year After Year

Despite some common complaints, a true sign of Oriental Trading’s customer satisfaction is that reviewers frequently mention returning year after year, even decades later. The nostalgia factor is strong!

Issues like flimsy packaging and cheap quality are fairly well known. Yet people accept the tradeoffs for amazing variety and bargain prices on fun party and craft supplies.

For all its imperfections, Oriental Trading clearly delivers on its core value proposition for most budget-conscious shoppers. They provide one-stop access to huge variety at prices that encourage creative projects and events.

As one CustomerAffairs reviewer aptly wrote: “You get exactly what you pay for. Cheap items in bulk.” For many loyal customers, that’s precisely Oriental Trading’s appeal.

Room for Improvement on Ethics and Sustainability

One final area I was curious about was Oriental Trading’s reputation regarding ethical business practices and sustainability efforts. These issues are top of mind for modern consumers.

Unfortunately, I found little information about Oriental Trading’s ethics or environmental impact. They don’t promote any major initiatives or progress reports in these areas.

A few reviewers comment that cheap toy and costume quality makes them question whether Oriental Trading sources from ethical manufacturers with fair labor practices. Others complain about excessive packaging waste.

Today’s shoppers want assurance that brands align with their values. Oriental Trading has an opportunity to improve transparency and invest more in ethical programs. This would likely bolster brand image and customer loyalty moving forward.

The Verdict: Perfect for Parties and Projects on a Budget

In the vast world of online shopping, it’s harder than ever for retailers to earn consistent loyalty and satisfaction. Yet for over 80 years, Oriental Trading Company has maintained its niche.

For shoppers seeking serious bulk bargains on party supplies, favors, crafts, teaching materials, and basic toys, Oriental Trading remains a beloved one-stop shop. Their selection and pricing are unrivaled in these fun product categories.

However, buyers should temper expectations around product quality, website glitches, and customer service. Some imperfections come with the territory when buying bargain-priced items in mass quantity. Patience and close inspection of orders is wise.

Oriental Trading also has room for improvement when it comes to ethical manufacturing and sustainability. But price remains the priority over prestige for most loyal customers.

With the right mindset, Oriental Trading is tough to beat for creatively stocking up on fun at a bargain. Just be sure you know what you’re getting into before clicking checkout!

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