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I'm not disclosing the artist's name yet until I have a clearer idea of what to expect from the situation's resolution.
I will update and/or post the artist's handle if necessary as the situation progresses. For now this is just for advice.

In April, I ordered a product from [an artist who makes high quality handmade things marketed to furries.] This product was not handmade and part of a batch. They have a very good reputation. In their disclaimers they note that they are a 1 person army, so to be patient as packing can even take a few weeks. I was fine with this -- It was a stuffed animal, I could wait.

I received a shipping e-mail on the 25th of May with a tracking number, which I did not see until sometime early June. It stated that the item had been collected to ship out to me on the 8th of May. Why it took until the 25th for this information to get to me was anyone's guess. I checked the number in the tracker and it confirmed the item had been received for shipping on the 8th, but nothing further.

Weird, I thought. But, packages from the US to the UK can take a long time. So I waited another week. Nothing.
I tried the number in the tracker again. No further information.

I called the Royal Mail and Parcelforce to be absolutely sure if this parcel had crossed the border. No one had any records of it so I turned my attentions to the USPS, who told me they had no further information on the parcel.

So I send an e-mail stating all of this, requesting they chase it up from their end. I say that if the parcel fails to be found, I will have to ask for a refund or replacement, replacement preferred.

A few days ago I got an e-mail saying they'll try chasing it up, but they won't replace or refund me.
I'm livid.

I feel like I have waited over a month, been very patient, liased with a bunch of people and am now being told that I have paid the better part of a hundred dollars for the privilege.

I feel like they owe me either what I paid, or what I paid for. Nothing more, but certainly nothing less. I understand that this situation is nobody's fault but outright telling me they won't replace or refund me has got my back up like nobody's business.

I haven't gone totally public with this yet as I am giving them a few more days to respond, but after that I'm going to have to blow up, and I don't want to. I'm an artist too. I work freelance too. I know what it's like, but I also don't want to have shelled out for jack.

What should I do? If I don't hear back from them, what do I say?

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( 39 comments — Leave a comment )
oceandezignz
Jun. 20th, 2014 07:08 pm (UTC)
If you paid via Paypal, I'd contact them as soon as possible, with the evidence that the package was lost via transit (or just never existed somehow) and that the seller is not working with you for resolution.
gaturguts
Jun. 20th, 2014 07:11 pm (UTC)
Did your package not have shipping insurance? :x
bateleureagle
Jun. 20th, 2014 08:40 pm (UTC)
I was never asked about that. I would not have declined to pay for it if it were offered to me.
I also thought that Priority Special Deliveries have an 'in-built' $50 insurance?
gaturguts
Jun. 20th, 2014 09:04 pm (UTC)
I believe so, but I'm pretty sure you can always purchase higher insurance on those (which you should because it costs under $5 to do it).
The seller should have mentioned your product was insured, though. Ask about it?
nambroth
Jun. 21st, 2014 04:16 pm (UTC)
For the record, shipping internationally with insurance is more than $5 extra, and can be really spendy! And sometimes a headache.

(Within the USA it is usually less than $5 though, you are correct)
jakejynx
Jun. 20th, 2014 11:20 pm (UTC)
Yes, priority packages always have idemnity. Off the top of my head, domestic is always $50 max, but I BELIEVE international can go higher than that, and it seems to depend on the value of the item.
adzuki
Jun. 20th, 2014 07:18 pm (UTC)
I agree with the above. Not offering refund or replacement is really bad especially since it seems like a shipping issue. Wouldn't the item be insured so the seller isnt completely out?
breakspire
Jun. 20th, 2014 07:34 pm (UTC)
It's the seller's responsibility to either offer insurance on their packages or prepare to pay out of pocket to resend another item or refund. I personally dont insure packages because filing a claim is like throwing the claim into a black hole, so I refund/resend.

The only way it would be okay for them not to compensate you is if they asked if you'd like insurance and you declined, then the risk would be on you.
bateleureagle
Jun. 20th, 2014 08:40 pm (UTC)
I was definitely not asked if I wanted insurance. I'd have paid the extra few dollars for it.
jakejynx
Jun. 20th, 2014 11:23 pm (UTC)
I think claims are worth it. We had to file one recently for an item that was damaged in shipping. It took about two weeks, but they sent us a check without any further hassle or questions.

If sending stuff out, it's obviously better to just go ahead and refund or resend the item and then wait for the refund from the post office, but it's not too hard to file the claims. And priority has automatic indemnity of $50, so even if you didn't get insurance, you can still file.
cyiakanami
Jun. 20th, 2014 08:07 pm (UTC)
It sounds like the buyer printed up a shipping receipt that registered with the parcel but never dropped the parcel off.
I've noticed this at least with usps when ordering things that I'll get an e-mail notification with my tracking number the day they print out my shipping label. But then notice that the next day it'll show the actual confirmation of the postal office receiving and logging in the package to their system to ship.

I'd contact paypal like Ocean said and let them know you're package never arrived and the seller is unwilling to compensate the loss.
bateleureagle
Jun. 20th, 2014 08:41 pm (UTC)
Even if it's been over 35 days?
cyiakanami
Jun. 20th, 2014 08:43 pm (UTC)
Mhm. The shipping label can sit for basically forever until the postal office gets the package. You have 45 days to dispute the charge on paypal so I'd call em.
celestinaketzia
Jun. 20th, 2014 09:19 pm (UTC)
Even then you can do that, drop it off, and have it sit in goodness knows where. I had a priority 2-day mail printed out and dropped off in the postal worker's hands and it flat out disappeared for a month. It sat at the "acceptance" status, and I was very close to filing a claim for insurance. Then suddenly it appeared and was delivered in the promised 2 days.
germanchoclates
Jun. 20th, 2014 09:28 pm (UTC)
I actually had something in the same realm as this happen with a textbook I rented for a class. I brought it to the post office and the lady there said to just leave it there and she'd get it, to which I said I needed a receipt. Which thank god I did because 15 days later I got a charge for not returning the textbook. I called Amazon and gave them the information off the receipt. The parcel never left the original post office and Amazon said that because I had dropped it off and had proof I had done my end of the bargain they would deal with the USPS for me. I never did figure out if Amazon tracked the package down or not, but thank god for receipts and that sweet representative who handled it all for me.
rahnt
Jun. 24th, 2014 01:25 pm (UTC)
Little irrelevant to the topic but wanted to drop in to say Amazon have one of the most amazing customer services I have ever dealt with. My Kindle broke and was still under warranty and I called them up and the guy was so lovely and patient and I got a brand new one sent out the next day!
nambroth
Jun. 21st, 2014 04:18 pm (UTC)
Yes! It can sit and go NOWHERE until they scan it the first time. Then they can better pinpoint it. I always try to physically take valuable items to the post office, and make them scan it when they get it, so the first 'record' of them getting the package is established electronically.
bateleureagle
Jun. 20th, 2014 09:40 pm (UTC)
Hmm. The initial purchase happened in April, though. I think that's beyond the 'statute of limitations.'
jakejynx
Jun. 20th, 2014 11:34 pm (UTC)
It's pushing it, but you may still be able to file a claim. Go ahead and call paypal ASAP.

ETA: A lot of people are nervous about calling places, but paypal is pretty awesome about phone calls. It's best to talk to someone directly.

Edited at 2014-06-20 11:36 pm (UTC)
breakspire
Jun. 20th, 2014 11:32 pm (UTC)
seconding this

OP, when you check the tracking this usually looks like "electronic notification received" when the label is made, and "acceptance at post office" when the package is dropped off

if the package was actually shipped out on 5/25, I'd say it's very likely to still reach you soon

if all the tracking says is "electronic notification received" on the 8th, then they haven't dropped it off
snobahr
Jun. 20th, 2014 08:49 pm (UTC)
This is going to sound harsh, but if the seller doesn't pony up an actual replacement or refund, not only should you out them here, but also file Mail Fraud, both in the US (which the link is for), and with the Royal Mail. And report them to PayPal, as well, because, hey. Fraud is Bad, mmmkay?

Good luck to you.

jakejynx
Jun. 20th, 2014 11:48 pm (UTC)
I don't know that I would recommend going as far as reporting mail fraud. Chances are good this is not a fraud situation, and is more the seller just not wanting to take responsibility for a lost item.
jakejynx
Jun. 20th, 2014 11:31 pm (UTC)
If I were in this situation I would send another email, bluntly informing them that due to the fact that they (apparently) did not insure the item, they are culpable for the loss of it. Paypal will come down in your favor on this, bottom line. So I would give them the opportunity to refund or resend within X amount of time without having to go through paypal. I would likely also inform them that if they used priority insurance, they had automatic indemnity, so they can get part of the money back after the fact, at least.

If they didn't use priority (which would have been dangerous in itself--you should never use anything other than priority or express when shipping international), then well... they're pretty much out of luck, and it's not your problem.

Don't worry too much though. You'll get your money back if you used paypal, if nothing else.
breakspire
Jun. 20th, 2014 11:35 pm (UTC)
I ship USPS First Class International on a regular basis, it's not so bad... usually when I spring for Priority for the faster time it takes just as long as First Class anyways :/
jakejynx
Jun. 20th, 2014 11:43 pm (UTC)
I've only had packages come into problems when shipping first class, though I tend to ship much larger items that can't go first class anyway. Maybe I was a bit presumptuous to say that other methods shouldn't be used. I personally would not feel safe using it myself anymore, but that doesn't mean everyone else should feel the same.
kazeno_taka
Jun. 21st, 2014 02:09 am (UTC)
Just a heads-up for future orders - first class international mail no longer offers any tracking (unless you send it Registered). The barcode on the customs forms used to technically have a little bit of tracking in case it got lost (which the post office could use), but they discontinued that as of April or May because it was getting too expensive and complicated for the USPS and foreign post offices to keep track of (source: the post office worker I see multiple times a week). Priority International still includes tracking, I believe.

If you didn't get any sort of information until May 25th and the parcel was scheduled to ship May 8th, that very likely means the seller printed the electronic shipping info on the 8th, and didn't actually mail it until the 25th. In my experience, first-class packages from the U.S. can take up to 4 weeks (sometimes 5) to arrive in the U.K. I once had U.K. customs hold a Priority Express parcel for three weeks and it ended up being delivered to the customer too late for their event :(

From the shipping info, it sounds like the seller did ship the item, but if they originally offered a refund/replacement and now have rescinded that offer, that's pretty crappy. You could use that as proof if you wanted to file a Paypal dispute that the seller did offer a refund/replacement if it got lost. However, keep in mind that if they shipped it on the 25th, it's still not really 'late' due to the weird timeframes international shipments can take.

Since your package was Priority International, it has at least $50 insurance, unless you paid for more. If it really does end up lost, the seller is the one who needs to file the refund request, and then since it's international, they will need to refund you the money directly. If it's lost, they really have no excuse to at least refund you the automatic $50, since it's included. I hope this gets resolved :(



Edited at 2014-06-21 02:10 am (UTC)
breakspire
Jun. 21st, 2014 03:58 am (UTC)
?

actually, they added tracking to first class international to many countries in january of last year when they just about doubled prices, then added more countries this year. it doesn't always work when it reaches the other country, but it's been successful lately.

http://www.usps.com/eligible-countries.htm

hmm actually it looks like it's only if you purchase postage online
kazeno_taka
Jun. 21st, 2014 04:28 am (UTC)
Ah, you're right! I only print domestic postage and anything international I bring into the post office, which is why I don't get the tracking. I've heard mixed reviews about printing international shipping postage/labels, with a few friends having problems with stuff being returned as 'wrong label' or not being able to change certain fields on the customs form. I'm sure it's fine in most cases but I'm a bit shy to try it myself.
nambroth
Jun. 21st, 2014 04:21 pm (UTC)
Yes, it is only available if you do it online. Which I admittedly feel like a goof, because it has never worked for me and has been nothing but a headache the few times I've tried it, so I just don't offer it at this point. I'm sure some people have success, but it is... difficult.. for me so I don't mess with it any more.
(I have also encountered some really weird laws because I sell jewelry but that is really off topic)
bateleureagle
Jun. 21st, 2014 12:14 pm (UTC)
It was shipped out on the 8th of May. I only received the notification of such on the 25th -- The tracker details state that on the 8th of May the package was received and processed and sent through to the Int'l Dispatch Centre, but nothing further.

They immediately flat out refused a refund or replacement upon my inquiry.
dinobutt
Jun. 21st, 2014 03:05 pm (UTC)
I could be wrong, but this sounds to me like it's held up in customs. I've done quite a bit of cross-border shipping since I live in the US and my family is in Canada, and my mom once sent me a package that got stuck at the border for a month. Tracking went dead just like what you described, and neither Canada Mail nor USPS could tell me anything about the status of the package until customs released it. We assumed it was lost and she sent another that showed up pretty quick, then I got the first one too shortly after.

The unfortunate thing about customs is once something is there, no one can do anything about it. A PayPal claim wouldn't be fair if they legitimately sent it out, and a shipping insurance claim likely won't go anywhere since it's not actually lost. All you can do is wait.
chronidu
Jun. 21st, 2014 05:42 pm (UTC)
Same I've mailed a bunch of stuff interntionally and more than once it took as much as 2 months to reach its destination because it sat around in customs for over a month. Oddly each time this happened it was when I shipped to Canada.

Also kind of agreeing with the second half and kind of startled at the severity of which people feel this is some sort of an 100% artist fault for which they should be paying everything for and get a beware about when it's an unfortunate occurrence that is literately completely out of their hands. On top of that insurance for international shipping can be really steep, a lot more than just a couple bucks.
breakspire
Jun. 21st, 2014 10:19 pm (UTC)
the buyer should always pay for shipping and insurance, so those prices shouldn't be an issue for the seller
chronidu
Jun. 22nd, 2014 05:15 am (UTC)
Yeah I def agree for international shipping of an item like this insurance should have definitely been offered if it wasn't included.
nambroth
Jun. 21st, 2014 04:25 pm (UTC)
Do I understand correctly-- it was indeed shipped, but right now is simply "missing" in the postal service somewhere? I read above that you paid for Priority International shipping.. I think that it does come with some coverage but I am not totally sure. If so, after enough time passes that it is clear that it is not simply stuck in limbo/customs somewhere, you can ask the artist to make the insurance claim, and then get a refund that way. It can take a long time to process, though!

For the record, I have had things I shipped from the US to the UK get stuck in sorting at the international dispatch facility (and then in customs) for 60 days before... with Priority shipping. It is no fun. :(
bateleureagle
Jun. 22nd, 2014 01:19 pm (UTC)
I have no doubt that the seller did actually ship the item -- It's just as you said, it's more than likely lost as there's no information in the tracker.

I will send them another e-mail.
sawblade5
Jun. 22nd, 2014 05:08 pm (UTC)
Paypal Time Limit for International Orders
Actually because this transaction is a International one you have 60 days instead of the normal 45 days to file a dispute with PayPal. So if you ordered at the end of April then you can still dispute. Otherwise if it's past that point and used a Credit Card then you can probably dispute it with your Crdeit Card company claiming you didn't receive the package, a credit card chargeback will force PayPal into notifying the seller that there's a dispute with the transaction and hold or charge them the amount of that transaction until evidence is provided that the seller has did their part in what looks like in this case so far they have not.
tiinasaurus
Jun. 28th, 2014 06:38 pm (UTC)
I'm assuming the artist you ordered from has outlined policies about shipping procedures and what they will and will not do for lost packages, since most of us do.

I'm also assuming you read them before putting down so much money on one of this artist's items. Could you tell us what the artists policies are regarding international orders and missing packages so we can get a better idea of what's going on?
metallik_hasse
Jul. 6th, 2014 01:27 am (UTC)
What country are you in? I know packages I send to Italy for example, get delayed nine times out of ten by the Italian post. Sometimes they 'disappear' there. :/
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