So, what should I do if a package doesn't arrive?

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ShirtSounds
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:27 pm

So, what should I do if a package doesn't arrive?

Post by ShirtSounds » Mon May 28, 2012 1:21 pm

On Etsy, I sold a lot of shirts ($62.00 worth) to a guy in Argentina in mid-April. I sent them via International First Class. A couple of weeks ago he sent me a message saying they haven't arrived.

He did seemingly pick out the shirts at random and, initially, wanted the transactions to be private, but, other than that, nothing seems to be too fishy. His English is very good and we've been communicating. He just seems genuinely concerned that they haven't arrived. He's not (yet) demanding money back, or being angry, or anything.

I went to my Post Office with the customs form number and they said they could only trace it to leaving Chicago, the day after I dropped it off, and once it leaves the country, they can't do anything about it.

I'm not exactly sure what I should do at this point. I can obviously prove I sent it out, so if I have to refund, that will suck. More importantly, though, I don't want to start requiring that foreign buyers must pay for tracking since that can be anywhere from $25.00-$70.00 extra and that would essentially stop me from selling overseas.

Has anyone ever sent anything out and had it take months to arrive? Are there any particular issues with Argentina? I've never had an issue like this before. I sold something on E Bay once and had to refund when it never showed up, only to have a muddy, ripped up section of the package arrive later with a message from the Post Office that they "found" this and I need to be more careful with packing (yeah, right).
oscar
Posts: 165
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:31 pm

Re: So, what should I do if a package doesn't arrive?

Post by oscar » Tue May 29, 2012 10:42 pm

I've had that happen once or twice. Basically I've just taken the loss because, as you said, I don't want to have to jack up the shipping prices and discourage overseas buyers. It sucks, but I just kind of had to look at it as a cost of doing business kind of thing. Time Travel Tees who is on the board here has mentioned an insurance thing he uses (shipsurance, or something?). It sounded good but I just haven't bothered to look into it yet. If he sees this maybe he can tell you here, or find his page on facebook and maybe he can let you know there.
oscar
Posts: 165
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:31 pm

Re: So, what should I do if a package doesn't arrive?

Post by oscar » Tue May 29, 2012 10:44 pm

Oh, but you will have to refund if the guy escalates it. You may as well do it before paypal just takes it from you whether you have it or not.
timetraveltees
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:47 pm

Re: So, what should I do if a package doesn't arrive?

Post by timetraveltees » Tue May 29, 2012 11:43 pm

There's a bunch of third party insurance companies that will insure things cheaper than USPS and even insure things that USPS won't, like first class international for instance. There's U-Pic, Shipsurance and the one I use is called ShipSaver and I think is still technically Shipsurance but I think it's owned by Inkfrog. It's pretty easy, it's just set up as an app on eBay and you can set it to auto purchase insurance for any shipment based on criteria or buy them one at a time. I have it set to auto-insure any international package that I print postage for. It's $1 per $100 insured. I tack the $1 onto my shipping charges and call it a day. I've only had to file a few claims but it's worked nicely and the stress of items not arriving is minimal. The only thing you have to worry about is customers getting testy and leaving negatives but I find that if you head it off at the pass and prove that you're going to make things right they'll be nice about it and won't leave a negative.

The only downside is that you're not able to file claims until 45 days after shipment which is way too long to ask any buyer to wait in my experience. But they don't prevent you from issuing refunds on your own before then and then using your refund receipt as proof. Just keep good records, shouldn't be difficult since everything is digital, but you'll need to know where to find your PayPal payment email and the shipping receipt email to send along for proof of the value of the item plus the proof that you actually shipped it. They have something saying that they require the buyer to file an affadavit and sign it saying that they never received it but I've found that if the dollar value is low enough they're satisfied with just proving that you've refunded the buyer. I think it'd be rare to have a buyer go along with a whole process and signing an affadavit. They just want their money back, they don't want to help you in general really.

But yeah, in any case, I'd implore anyone who is doing what we're doing to just sign up for this app and set auto purchase insurance for international shipments and then the stress goes away almost entirely. Granted, it's a lot to pay over the course of time for peace of mind. But like I said, I tack it onto my shipping charges and it all works out. Let me know if you have any questions. I don't work for them or anything obviously but I've dealt with them enough that I have a good sense of how it all works.

Oscar, get on that shit asap. No more excuses, wedding schmedding. Congrats though, bud
ShirtSounds
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:27 pm

Re: So, what should I do if a package doesn't arrive?

Post by ShirtSounds » Wed May 30, 2012 12:10 am

Thanks for the insurance advice. Though, I always take my international packages to the Post Office because A) it is only one block from my house and B) if I remember correctly, you can't print out postage via PayPal unless you have a special package/envelope. Is that still true? I'd like to learn more about shipping internationally from home. Everything else, I print out at home and drop it in the mailbox within minutes of the purchase.

It just sucks because he could be lying and have the shirts. If not, then it sucks because the Post Office lost my package. I double-checked his address. I did give him the customs form number, so maybe he can check on his side, since the Post Office can't trace it once it leaves the country.
timetraveltees
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:47 pm

Re: So, what should I do if a package doesn't arrive?

Post by timetraveltees » Wed May 30, 2012 12:42 am

It's a gamble shipping any other method than Express which costs a fortune and even then I don't find the tracking to be terribly accurate and most times it doesn't even update to indicated that it was delivered when it actually was, thus negating the reason for tracking in the first place. In any case, you might be out of luck on this one but hopefully you can learn something from it.

I never ship anything at the post office, there's no reason to anymore. You can print and pay for postage through eBay, PayPal or even USPS if you want to. Although it's just easier to do it through eBay itself. Plus you don't have to waste time hand printing customs forms, you just fill them out when you're printing out the postage. You don't need any kind of special packaging for sending international unless you're shipping via priority or express, but even in that case all you have to do is grab a bunch of the free envelopes from your post office and use them whenever you need them. And you can ship priority or express in regular packages/envelopes too, but not if you want to use their flat rates. I am usually shipping at least 10 packages every morning, usually a few international and the rest domestic. I just dump them in the regular mailbox in front of the post office. This morning due to the long weekend and the holiday plus a large box order I had to ship, I brought a huge bag full of packages to ship. But I printed all the postage from home and just handed them off. Total time in the post office itself was less than a minute.

Definitely look into ShipSaver on eBay for insurance purposes and definitely stop wasting your time going to the post office and paying for postage there. You'll save yourself an incredible amount of time and energy, I promise.
ShirtSounds
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:27 pm

Re: So, what should I do if a package doesn't arrive?

Post by ShirtSounds » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:16 am

So, I printed out my first international label from home for a CD going to New Zealand. It was fairly easy, but a few things came up:

1. I can't just drop it in my mail box like I do with all of my other, smaller packages. It says I actually have to drop it off at the Post Office or schedule a carrier pick-up. For me, this kind of defeats the whole purpose of printing out my own label. I guess it saves time on the customs form and it looks to have some sort of tracking, but I'm a bit disappointed that I can't just drop it in my mailbox.

2. E Bay gives me the First Class International option for printing the label, but Paypal does not... they only offer Express and Priority and that is what requires the aforementioned customs envelope 2976-E. It seems odd that you can not select First Class International from the Paypal drop down menu. This also means I wouldn't be able to print an International label from an Etsy sale, unless I am totally missing something.

3. It says the package must be shipped on the same date that is printed on the label. That is fine and dandy, but it printed out yesterday's date for some idiotic reason. Are they still going to accept it when I drop it off tomorrow (which is actually today)? Why would it even do that? It clearly says I printed it on the 5th, but has the 4th as the mailing date. We shall see.

Overall, it will save a bit of time, but, like I said, I wish I could just put it in my mailbox.
timetraveltees
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:47 pm

Re: So, what should I do if a package doesn't arrive?

Post by timetraveltees » Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:45 am

I really don't think those rules are gospel. I've been putting international packages directly into any old mailbox for a couple years, we're talking many hundreds of packages and I've never had a problem or had one returned to me because I didn't follow their directions. I think they'd probably prefer you to take it inside but I don't think they really care. And whenever I used to do that because I thought I had to, they looked at me like I was an idiot and just directed me to the mail deposit inside the post office. So I think you shouldn't have a problem just dropping them in the mail. Same deal for the shipping date thing, I don't understand why it's a rule but I've never had a problem with it even if I print it out a day before and don't mail it till the next morning.

PayPal as far as I know of, doesn't have options for printing international labels through their site. In any case I've never needed to so I'm not sure if you can or not. I print them individually through eBay directly which in turn associates it with the insurance I talked about. It's super easy and aside from not being able to do them as a batch like you can domestic orders it's a million times better than physically even stepping foot in the post office, let alone filling out the customs forms by hand, waiting in line, etc. As for Etsy orders, I think that's a whole other issue unto itself. I've only sold a couple things on there and I always just ended up printing out the postage through usps.com and then insuring the order through ShipSurance individually through their site. It's a bit more work but I don't think there's an easy solution like there is on eBay. But like I said, better to have it insured and have to do a few minutes work on the computer than having to screw around at the post office.

Again, your mileage may vary on all of this but I find that it works for me and I literally spend zero time at the post office unless I have to drop off a huge box and even then it's 30 seconds total to hand it off.
crewneckconnect
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:48 pm

Re: So, what should I do if a package doesn't arrive?

Post by crewneckconnect » Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:03 am

ShirtSounds wrote:1. I can't just drop it in my mail box like I do with all of my other, smaller packages. It says I actually have to drop it off at the Post Office or schedule a carrier pick-up. For me, this kind of defeats the whole purpose of printing out my own label. I guess it saves time on the customs form and it looks to have some sort of tracking, but I'm a bit disappointed that I can't just drop it in my mailbox.
You can't put stamped mail in the box, but the printed shipping label isn't a stamp. I drop most my international (which I've cut back drasticly) orders in a blue box.

As for them tracking 1st class or priority packages...we're shit out of luck.
CRAZYBUBBA
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Re: So, what should I do if a package doesn't arrive?

Post by CRAZYBUBBA » Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:45 pm

crewneckconnect wrote: You can't put stamped mail in the box
Really? This sort of defeats the purpose of having the post boxes on every corner.
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