My initial order, minus the Magic Tea Party bolero.
The first thing I noticed was that the ordering system/checkout was different to how they describe it in the "how to order" section of the site. Basically, you add items to your cart and when you go to checkout it estimates the weight of your parcel for international shipping and adds the service fee. You also have to pay a percentage cost depending on your payment method. I used PayPal for the security and that adds an extra 4%. So basically, you pay all costs, including shipping from Yoybuy to you, upfront, unlike how their tutorial says you pay for the items first and then organise it into a parcel to be shipped and pay for that later. I'm sure if there is a discrepancy in what the actual postage cost is and what you are billed it is taken care of when the time comes to ship your package.
As far as ease of use goes, I thought Yoybuy was great. The site is very simple to use and though I didn't take advantage of this feature, there is live chat available to well, chat about items you're interested in. However, sometimes the add to cart function is a bit glitchy, and will add more of an item than you actually want and when you try and delete extras from you cart it's confusing so you may have to attempt adding something a few times before it add correctly. This was frustrating, but I still prefer it to filling out a spreadsheet!
Once I had placed my order, everything showed up in a neat list showing if it was processing, arrived or packed. There was a chat function for each item, which Amy [my...person, not sure if there's a proper word for shopping service employee] used to update me on any changes, which there were a few of which I'll go into now.
I placed my order on the 5th of June, then logged in on the 7th to check the status to find three new messages. Two were in regards to the shoes, telling me I needed to pay an extra 16CNY in shipping and that they would take five days to be made. I said that was all fine and was told I would pay the excess when the time came for my order to be shipped. The third message was regarding a skirt I had ordered, telling me that the seller was offline and that Amy would "contact continuously". I sent back: "That's okay. If you can't contact them by the time the shoes are ready can I cancel this skirt from the order?" The skirt was promptly removed from the order and I was refunded. I was a bit annoyed, but I could have been clearer in my message and also wasn't super in-love with the skirt so I didn't really mind. The refund [made up of the skirt price, it's domestic shipping and it's portion of international shipping and service fee] went to my Yoybuy account, from which you can withdraw money to PayPal, a credit card or other payment methods so it's not lost money. However, this was a miscommunication and so if you are using Yoybuy be very specific in messages.
On the 10th I checked my order and there was a message that Amy had received only four pairs of the harlequin socks instead of five and that she would refund the amount. I said that was fine and asked which pair it was, and she let me know. However, I didn't get the refund immediately, I actually got it when all the items were with Yoybuy and ready to ship. I had to pay a little more for the shoes's shipping and the refund was processed as I paid the extra.
As for shipping, there were several options [I don't remember all of them off the top of my head] but I chose EMS. It was marked as sent on the 13th [through my tracking didn't start updating until the 20th] and I received the gigantic box on Tuesday 24th. So it wasn't even three full weeks from placing my order to getting my items, which I think is a fantastic turnaround. I confirmed receipt of my package on the Yoybuy site and received some "Yoybuy points" which can be redeemed for credit to your account, which I thought was a nice touch.
All in all I was really happy with Yoybuy, the website was simple to use and all communication was prompt. However, it would pay to keep an eye on the totals you're paying, as I got confused with all the changes with my refunds [also, the weight of the parcel went down, then back up and I'm not sure if I was charged anything for the changes] and there is a chance I may have lost a few dollars by not keeping a close eye on things but I honestly don't know. So it may be a good idea to take screencaps of your order totals if you want to keep an eye on things as once there is a change you can't see the previous totals.
So, in actual conclusion I like Yoybuy. It's a straightforward, if imperfect, site to use and they are easily contactable in regards to your order. Their fees seemed comparable to other taobao shopping services and unless something goes wrong I'll be using them from here on out.