Because we are a small mother-daughter-only company, we cannot provide customer service by phone. The best way to reach us is via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also try to respond to all queries through our social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram. Our mailing address is The Mala Market, 2812B Vaulx Ln., Nashville, TN 37204
Important: We generally answer emails about lost or damaged shipments within 1 business day. If you have not heard from us within 2 business days, please check your spam or junk folder. Even if you initiated the email chain, our reply may end up in spam.
Shipping is very expensive (despite what Amazon would have us believe). And it is particularly expensive for heavier, bulky items such as bottled sauces that must be bubble-wrapped in padded boxes. The rates we charge for shipping are only a portion of the actual cost of shipping, and we subsidize the rest of the cost—particularly for shipments to the West Coast. We must charge the customer for a reasonable percentage of the actual cost of shipping because we do not build that cost into the price of the product. We prefer transparency on the true price of both product and shipping. Be assured that shipping is not a revenue line for us, but a rather large expense. So as much as it pains us to charge for it, we must.
We use UPS Ground for most shipments, especially for larger boxes and West Coast locations. We use USPS for some smaller orders and locations in the eastern half of the U.S. These services offer package tracking and also pay claims for lost or damaged shipments. Less expensive shipping classes do not offer tracking, making it impossible to locate missing packages. These are also the fastest reasonably priced shipping services, promising—but not guaranteeing—delivery in 1 to 3 business days for USPS Priority Mail and 1 to 5 days for UPS.
We strive to process and ship orders within 1 to 2 business days. However processing occasionally takes longer during peak order times—for example, when we send out a newsletter and everyone orders at once! After we ship your order, it generally takes another 2 to 3 business days for delivery. But large orders shipped via UPS can take up to 5 business days for delivery to the West Coast. See following entries for more details.
Carriers sometimes mark orders as delivered a day or two before they actually deliver them. If you have not received your shipment within one business day of the notice from us that it has been delivered, please contact the carrier to instigate a search. If they cannot locate it, let us know so that we can assist with a replacement and/or claim.
If we shipped your order via USPS:
Go here to read USPS guidance for lost shipments
Go here to send an email to USPS that instigates a search
If we shipped your order UPS:
Go here to file a claim. Just provide the basic information, and we will follow up with UPS to provide proof of purchase and other documentation. Filing a claim instigates the search process, and they do frequently find lost shipments as a result.
After you have filed the claim, please email us so we can follow up with UPS and replace your order.
If your shipment or individual product is damaged upon receipt, please take clear photos of the damage and email them to us at email@example.com within 7 days so that we can quickly assess the situation and provide a replacement. Please also retain the box and packaging until you hear from us about whether we will need it to file a claim for the damage.
Shipping costs for orders going to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are very difficult to accurately estimate at checkout. Please be aware that our store may miscalculate and overcharge you for shipping. If that occurs we will issue a refund for any overcharge upon shipment. On the rare occasion when the store significantly undercharges for shipping, we may have to issue an additional invoice for shipping. We will continue to search for a better solution.
We are a U.S.-based company but are happy to ship our spices and lighter-weight products internationally. Bottles are more expensive to ship and are at higher risk of damage over long hauls, but we pack them well and have not had many problems. We purchase additional insurance on international orders to mitigate the risk, so if your shipment is lost or damaged we will replace your order or refund you after the claim is paid. The insurer will not accept claims until 40 days after ship date.
Enter your address at checkout to see actual shipping cost. If you do not see your country, email us and we will add it, unless we have previously had issues with shipments there. Rates are unfortunately quite high, but out of our control. We use USPS for all international shipments, and your local postal service will make the delivery.
Customers are responsible for knowing what can and cannot be imported to their country. We cannot know the customs laws for every country, so there is inherently some risk with international shipping that the customer must bear. If your shipment is rejected at customs for any reason, either justified or unjustified, insurance will not cover this, nor will we.
Similarly, if you do not claim your shipment or if your local postal system/customs does not provide you notice to claim it, and it is returned to us, we will refund only for products and not for shipping cost.
Customers are also responsible for all local VAT and other taxes if applicable.
Please remember that international shipping takes weeks, not days. Packages can be held up anywhere along the line, and particularly at customs in your country. Check the tracking information we emailed you for the latest movement.
Like most small food companies, we typically do not accept returns or offer refunds, except in the case of damaged, defective or spoiled items. However, we want you to be happy with your purchase, so if you have any concerns or are not satisfied with your products, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org within 7 days of receiving your order. Where returns are possible, refunds will be issued for unopened product(s) only, not including shipping.
Please see each product page for details on provenance, manufacturing process and storage guidance for our products. In short, whole spices have a shelf life of approximately two years if stored in a cool place, and even longer if frozen. Most fermented sauces can be stored in a dark cupboard, but refrigeration will extend their shelf life.
Note: Chinese-made products usually have the production date stamped on the bottle or package. This is NOT the expiration date. We do not ship expiring products, but we are human and sometimes makes mistakes. If you have any questions, email us at email@example.com