How To Order and Refunds/Returns
How to Order Aker Woods Products
Most of our products are made on a custom-order basis. That means we don't stock them. We create special products only after we get payment for them. We usually have a backlog of orders to finish, but we can give you an estimate of how long it will take to finish your order. Please keep in mind that several things can happen to delay completion of an order: mud or snow in the woods, logging equipment breakdowns, sawmill equipment breakdowns, kiln breakdowns, wet weather that delays air drying, planing equipment breakdowns, and all the things that can keep humans from being able to work on any given day.
We're always happy to talk to customers on the telephone. For price quotes and general information, call Alan Aker at 605-390-6515. 8-11 a.m. Mountain Time is when you're most likely to catch Alan by phone.
A better way to reach Alan is by email, using our contact form. Email is an especially good choice if you have a special order or need detailed information. Alan checks emails several times a day and catches up on emails before phone messages, so you'll get faster answers by email. The other advantage of email is that is gives everyone a written record of the dimensions, species, prices, and other details discussed. Another benefit of using email is that it gives us a chance to email back with digital photos of pieces we've made which are similar to what you're interested in. We've also used email to provide customers with digital photos of the wood in various stages of production so they can be sure they're getting what they wanted.
Some of our customers are uncertain if we ship to their location. We've shipped a variety of products to almost every state in the U.S. We can give you a delivered price, or a price at our location if you want to handle the shipping.
If you're mailing a check, the address is:
Aker Woods Company
14347 Mahaffey Drive
Piedmont, SD 57769
If you mail a check, please include your delivery address, contact phone number, and description of what you're ordering.
Our Refunds and Returns Policy
When we take your order, we owe you the wood you ordered, produced to the specifications you give us. If we deliver wood to you that doesn't meet the specifications you gave us or is damaged in shipping, we owe you a refund or free replacement. However, we're not the Home Depot, and we're not trying to be. We don't stock anything. When you order something from us, we make it just for you, and we don't issue refunds. If you change or cancel your order before we've shipped it, we will give you a full or partial refund, based on how much work we've done on it. We do not provide refunds for any of the following reasons:
Goods delivered later than the estimated delivery date we provide you. If you need a guaranteed delivery date, please let us know. We sometimes provide guaranteed delivery dates for no additional charge. Other times, a guaranteed delivery date will add to the cost of your order.
Goods which are the dimension you ordered, but turn out to be too large or small for you. We're responsible for making your piece to the dimensions you give us, and if you give us the wrong dimensions, it's not our fault. For almost all of our customers this goes without saying. For the rest of you, we beg you to go to Home Depot and buy something less unique. We'll all be happier.
Hand-peeled, rough-cut, and hand-planed goods which are not uniform in their dimensions. The whole point of ordering something like this is that there are variations in dimensions. On a hand-peeled post or log, the diameter even varies depending on which axis you measure, since every tree is somewhat oblong. Again, for more than 97% of our customers, this goes without saying. For the rest of you, you know where to go. Believe it or not, we've even had a customer demand a refund on wood which deviated 1/16" from the specification. If that's you, we recommend you give up on wood altogether. Even mass-produced lumber at Home Depot will fail your test. Consider building with metal or plastic.
Wood that has knots or check marks. At the risk of offending the 97%+ of our customers who know something about wood, we'll explain: Knots come from limbs. Trees can't grow without limbs. About those limbless trees you've seen used for stringing power lines: they're actually deceased trees that used to have limbs. If you look closely, you'll notice knots on them. Check marks are small cracks in wood beams and logs. Large beams and logs all check as they dry. If they haven't checked when you see them, they will later, as they finish drying. If you need wood free of knots and checks, please let us know. In small dimensions, we can accommodate you. In large dimensions, we can force most of the checking into one surface of the wood. Metal and plastic are free of knots and checks.
In case we haven't been clear, here are a few phrases and words which might help clarify our refund and return policy on goods produced to your specifications:
All sales are final.
If any of the statements listed below describe you, we encourage you to take your business elsewhere. We're in business both to make money and have fun, and you're liable to disappoint us on both scores:
"I'm offended by what I've read in the Aker Woods Refunds and Returns policy."
"I really do believe the customer is always right."
"I'm disappointed with more than half of the things I buy."
"Most of the companies I deal with are ripping me off."
"I'm uncomfortable ordering something that I can't return for a refund if I change my mind."
Why We Don't Take Credit Cards
It's not that we have anything against credit cards per se. We use them ourselves. It's because of what's called "chargeback abuse." Most people aren't even aware of it, but all credit cards allow you to "reverse" the charges or do a "chargeback". Most people would only do this if the merchandise they paid for with a credit card was never delivered, or was defective, but an increasing number of lying, thieving freeloaders have discovered you can lie about whether the merchandise was delivered or was faulty, keep the merchandise, and get all the money you paid for it credited back to your credit card. Merchants can contest these chargebacks, but in the three instances we've had chargebacks, we've learned the merchant is always wrong. For some reason, all three of our chargeback thieves have been in the New York City area.
That left us with a couple options:
1) Stop taking credit cards from New Yorkers? Nope. Over 90% of our New York area customers have been great to work with. We wouldn't treat them any differently than customers anywhere else.
2) Add a fee to credit card transactions that covers the cost of the chargeback thieves? It might be the best option in a profit-and-loss sense, but not the best option for us. Again, we don't like the idea of punishing others for the misdeeds of a few. But there's a deeper problem with this kind of strategy. Our business has matured beyond the point where all we care about is profits. It's how we spend a lot of our time every day, and we choose to make our work enjoyable as well as profitable. Our customers are not just dollars of profits to us, they're people who become part of our lives, if only for a short time. We want to relate to them as equals, with mutual trust and respect. We're not looking for a predator-prey relationship, whether we're the predator or the prey. Chargeback thieves introduce distrust and resentment into our relationships.
3) Stop taking credit cards. It's a no-brainer. We might lose a few sales and some profit, but the benefits are far greater: We'll have a few less lying, thieving freeloaders in our lives. We'll spend no more time deciphering our 8-page statement from our credit card acceptance company. We'll spend less time on the phone with the credit card acceptance company contesting all the little fees they slip in, just in case you're not paying attention. (Sure, we get most of them removed by calling and patiently listening to their automated menu and keying in our account number over and over again, but we'd rather be working or gardening or worshiping or reading or just relaxing.)