How do I know my order is secure?
We use the same state of the art encryption (SSL) that is used by some of the largest retailers to ensure your safety, and our website is hosted by a respected, professional company that also uses the latest technology for their servers. UniteU hosts many large retailers with revenues many times the size of ours and has had no problems in the past. In addition, most credit card companies limit your liability for online purchases (generally to $50).
When will my order ship?
Most in-stock orders are shipped within 48 hours, and often the same day! On engraved purchases, we ask that you add one business day. But please call us toll-free at 1-888-851-9088 if you need something shipped even more quickly, and we'll do anything we possibly can to rush your order at no charge. Also call if you would like your order shipped air and we'd be happy to give you a guaranteed delivery date.
Will I be notified when my order ships?
If you have supplied us with a valid email (and your spam filter does not block us) you should get an emailed tracking number when your order ships. If you do not receive this tracking number within 3 business days, feel free to contact us. Earthlink subscribers or other email programs that require us to fill out a form will not get the email unless they set up their program to accept mail from email@example.com. Sorry, but we're a well oiled machine and filling out all those forms would require skipping meals!
Will there be an invoice in the box?
Because many of our products are gifts, we do not put an invoice in the box showing price, only a packing slip and (if you choose) a gift card. The emailed order acknowledgement you receive after ordering has the total cost of the order on it and can be printed if you need a receipt. If you forget, please email us and we'd be happy to send you one!
Why do personalized signs take two to three weeks?
While our personalized wood signs are works of art, the people who make them are not actually working on your sign for three weeks. At any time of the year, and particularly as the holiday season nears, we have a "backlog" of orders for these popular gifts. Otherwise if our trained sign makers completely caught up on orders, we would be paying them to be idle or worse yet, having to give them unpaid time off. Our trained workers would leave if their hours were cut (leaving us to train new workers constantly), and prices would have to be raised without a guaranteed flow of orders each day.
What if my engraving is wrong?
While we make every effort to minimize mistakes, humans (and unfortunately we are) have a nasty habit of occasionally screwing up! Please call or add special instructions in the comment box of your order if necessary and we'll call or email you if we're unsure of your personalization order. If we make the mistake, we will rush you a correct replacement at no charge to you. If the mistake is yours, we will either significantly discount the replacement or in some instances (nameplates) will give you the correct replacement free of charge! On many bells, we can re-engrave the other side of the bell and "flip" the bell so that the incorrect engraving faces the wall and is not noticeable. We'll do the correction for free if you elect this method and you will only pay to ship to us (we'll get the return shipping)!
Can I engrave more than two lines?
You might notice that some of our items show more than two lines of personalization, but have boxes only showing two lines. At this time all of our online engraving boxes are set up to accept two lines of personalization, but if you see more than that on the sample we can probably do that for the same price. You can either make a note in the customer comment section when placing your order, or phone your order to 1-888-851-9088. If we have any questions, we will call or email you.
Can I fax in my order?
If you prefer to fax in your order, please fill out this form and fax it to 1-919-336-3157.
Do you ship to APO boxes?
Yes, we gladly ship via the U.S. Postal Service to our military customers with APO boxes and at the same prices we quote for U.S. shipping.
Can you ship to foreign countries?
We have shipped our product to many different countries, and often take orders from our neighbor to the north, Canada. As these orders are not a large percentage of our total orders, setting up separate shipping charts for each country would be cost prohibitive at this time. Most (not all) items can be shipped, but if you would like a shipping quote you can call us (1-919-336-3154) or email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a quote. Orders can be phoned in or you can print and fax your order. We highly discourage sending us credit card information through emails, as that information is not secure.
What is your return policy?
Order with confidence, as we offer a 30-day money back guarantee on all items we sell, and for Christmas gifts purchased in November or December, we offer full returns for up to 30 days after Christmas! If you're not happy with your purchase for any reason, just call 1-888-851-9088 (toll-free), and we'll give you instructions on how to return your item for a full refund (minus shipping). Unfortunately, on personalized items such as engraved bells and personalized signs, we cannot offer a refund if the mistake was made by the customer, so please double check when ordering! We will replace, at no charge, items that are personalized incorrectly by us.
What if my product arrives damaged?
While we package well and consider ourselves dang near perfect, unfortunately the gremlins at UPS or the postal service occasionally manage to trip us up. If that happens, please keep the item in its original packaging and contact us. If you want a replacement, we will send one out immediately at our cost, or we will refund your total purchase price (including shipping) if you prefer.
A Simpler Time does not share your information with ANY third parties! The only email or mail special offerings you will receive will be from us and only if you opt-in to receive these offerings. If at any time you receive an unwanted email from us, just reply to that email with "unsubscribe" in the subject box, and we will remove your name from future mailings.
Will my sign fade if put outside?
Well, we hate to be wishy-washy about our answer, but it depends. Our signs are made by many different companies, with very different methods, on very different kinds of substrates. Without getting too detailed, some companies use heat to make an image, some print right on the wood or metal, some use coatings, a few are hand painted and others are even made of baked enamel (which is how many antiques were made, but is being phased out because of EPA lead concerns).
In reality, no sign is totally impervious to the effects of sunlight and UV rays. As we tell customers who call, if a paint had been devised that could hold up forever when facing constant weather exposure, we’d all use it to paint our decks…and just once!
On our less expensive signs, which start at under $9, we just don’t recommend hanging them outdoors. While they are great looking signs and a bargain even at a much higher price, they are basically printed on metal and do not feature fade resistant inks or any UV coating. High quality fade resistant inks are very expensive, and while these signs under $10 will hold up well indoors, all bets are off in direct sunlight. We are currently conducting an experiment on whether UV protectant spray will inhibit fading of these less expensive signs and will post results at a later date.
Some of our more expensive metal signs (around $20 and up) are made using sublimation, which basically involves transferring an image using very high heat and then coating it. This makes the sign more expensive to make---as it’s slower and involves more hands-on labor---but it also creates an image that is more fade resistant (not fade proof).
On most of our more expensive wood and metal personalized signs (those costing $65 and up), while the image is printed right on the metal or wood----much like the under $10 versions----at these prices better and much more expensive inks are used. Again, while any sign left in the elements year round will eventually age and fade, these will hold up longer and are primarily suitable for covered outdoor locations.
In the past we’ve recommended that customers buying a personalized sign to put outdoors should select metal when they can, as it seems to do a little better than wood. In general, these signs seem to hold up fairly well in the elements, and if they fade or weather slightly? Well, they’re supposed to look like antique signs anyway!
We are conducting fade testing in high sunlight areas for most of our popular signs currently, using control signs with no coatings and others sprayed with UV inhibiting products that can normally be found at home centers. In the photo below, the sign on the right was sprayed with a liberal coating of UV protectant spray, and the one on the left was untreated. Keep in mind that this is one of our most inexpensive signs---one designed to be used indoors---and that these signs were left on an exposed south facing porch exposed to hot North Carolina sun for a few months. It’s apparent that the UV coating does help prevent fading and discoloration, even on our least expensive sign. Still, we recommend not hanging any sign in full sun if you want it to look like new for long.
If you’re interested in using signs to line an outdoor fence or garage, keep in mind that all companies selling these online face the same issues. Many might tell you their images won’t fade, especially if they think it will make the sale. But we’ve been selling online for 13 years (which makes us a dinosaur in this industry), and we hope to be in business for the long haul. We’d rather lose a sale up front than have you not trust (or buy) from us in the future.