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Not a 'beware' but a query.

A customer emailed to ask where their stuff is and I checked the tracking number. It was reported as 'delivered and received' over 2 weeks ago. But the customer has NOT received the box nor any 'we tried to deliver' message.

The item in question is a physical piece of 3D art. I cannot just 'print off' another copy to send. I would have to totally remake it. Which of course takes time and materials out of my pocket. Yet right now I have the money from the lost item plus photos in my gallery, and the customer has nothing. That doesn't seem terribly fair either :/

Gong on the assumption the customer is NOT lying (because I do not believe they are), what do we do now? Are there steps towards finding this box that we can take? If not, what is a reasonable compromise?

Edit: No, I did not ask for signature conformation. Though after this I will certainly be adding it as an option/requiring it in the future.

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( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 12th, 2009 01:53 am (UTC)
The sad thing is that often when that happens it means neighbors or prowlers stole the package off the porch. It happens in my neighborhood, it happened to my friends, who's neighbors were trash and were just...looking for stuff to take. Once they find that it's personal and not what they wanted they'll just toss it instead of returning it to the porch. I'm sorry to say that could have happened. I'm not sure of how to work it out though but just a warning as to what may have happened :(
Jun. 12th, 2009 01:58 am (UTC)
Does the customer live in a populated area, like a city? Chances are, someone stole it. It happens ALL THE TIME. Back when I lived in an apartment, if you left a crappy pair of shoes outside, they'd be gone the next day. Maybe you could do a smaller scale commission? It looks like you do costumes, so if the customer ordered a whole suit, you could do a partial to make up for the loss.

Edited at 2009-06-12 02:00 am (UTC)
Jun. 12th, 2009 02:52 am (UTC)
Unfortunately, if it was stolen, there is little you can do. If you have a receipt from the post office and/or any other proof you actually sent it, it's out of your hands, so you're not under any obligation to compromise.

If you do want to compromise, you can always offer a partial refund so it's not your loss either.
Jun. 12th, 2009 02:53 am (UTC)
Customers have to understand that when using post (ie. snail mail) there is a risk of this type of thing happening. You aren't OBLIGED to do anything about it but as illbeyournoise suggested, you could always do a smaller scale model as a gesture of goodwill. If nothing else, it will help your commissioner to see that you're not at fault, and will keep your name good and clean. :)

In future, it might be a good idea to send via recorded delivery... signiture, postal insurance, the full works (even if it costs extra, its worth it if it avoids this type of thing happening again). Also, if you didn't already do this, discuss the posting process with the customer in detail... put "if undelivered return to:" and your own address on the back of the box so that the postal service can send it back to you if the item is uncollected... ask the customer to put a sign on their door with delivery instruction in case they're out... that type of thing.
Jun. 12th, 2009 03:11 am (UTC)
Okay, this is only like ... wild conjecture, but there was a person posted here before that would tell people that mail was lost and the post office actually DID deliver it. The person who sent it even called and talked to the lady who did the route and she said it wasn't the first time this has happened.

I remember this person lived in Florida, I believe. I hope it's not the same person or someone pulling a similar prank. You could call their post office and ask if the mail delivery person is in the building to chat to?
Jun. 12th, 2009 11:13 am (UTC)
That's exactly what I was thinking when I read this!
Jun. 12th, 2009 03:49 pm (UTC)
Good to know I'm not the only one that thought this instantly upon reading this entry!
Jun. 12th, 2009 03:24 am (UTC)
They should check with neighbors whether the item was delivered to the wrong house. I get this all the time - something about my address is innately transposable and people or packages destined for my neighbor's house down the street instead end up at mine, and vise-versa. One time for some reason instead of bringing the package to me immediately they waited a couple of weeks until they happened to spot me as I was walking to the grocery store. Go figure.

Hey, which reminds me, did those MyVu specs ever arrive?
Jun. 12th, 2009 07:02 am (UTC)
I did. Took me a while to figure out how to test them given I have nothing to watch on them and no way to power them. Finally had to get instruction off the 'net to decode what all the lights and flashing meant.

I wanted to try them in my targ but they do not accept the set up there for whatever reason.
Jun. 13th, 2009 04:42 am (UTC)
That happened to me often back in Minnesota—there was a 601 East and a 601 West on my block, so we got 601 West's mail and the other way around.

One number off in the address might have misdirected the package to a neighbor—or once, in my mom's case, to a street address with one different number, the same city...and different name and zip code. Looking for any similar addresses to yours and politely asking hey, did you get a package from (name) might be in order.
Jun. 12th, 2009 03:58 am (UTC)
Is your client living in an apartment, by chance? Packages that don't fit into the mailboxes are generally left at the office if that's the case.
(no subject) - fenris_lorsrai - Jun. 12th, 2009 04:00 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 12th, 2009 05:47 am (UTC)
I live in an apartment with high theft. Street Urchins used to come by into my open foyer mailroom and steal anything they wanted. Rx Drugs, magazines, boxes... We get signature required. Doesn't always work (like my new laptop was left outside with a forged signature.)
Stealing mail in the US is illegeal, but unless I know WHO stole it, I can't really press charges.

All I can do, as the buyer with no item, is go back to the shipper/seller and say I never got it, and want a refund/replacement. Which would be a loss for you as the seller, but the sellers can ding UPS/other carrier to recover SOME of the value of the theft.

We had a medical mask stolen, and since UPS didn't get a signature, they were faulted for the loss and the medical supply recovered some of the mask's value from UPS carrier.

Or with my laptop. The forged signature, should my laptop have been stolen, could get them to replace the laptop.

I wish you the best on this. If they can prove they didn't sign for the box, maybe the carrier can replace the item (or reimburse you to remake it)

You make some truly amazing things and I'd hate to see them stolen/thrown out.

I think signature required is around USD$4 extra. Not a LOT extra, but it may save you future hassles.
Jun. 12th, 2009 06:13 am (UTC)
it was stolen. have her contact the local PO and file a report about it. also call her PO branch and ask about it- sometimes the damn PO employees are the one stealing shit and they "oops" find it in the back on the wrong shelf "magically" when they get a call.

from now on do get tracking. BUT that won't stop theft- one of my stolen packages had tracking and still disapeared.

i had 4 or 5 packages and LETTERS of mine (both that i was sending and trying to recieve) just disapear from my local branch. stopped using them, and suddenly started to recieve all my important, irreplaceable mail again. i hate that branch.

do tracking AND signature confirmation. it costs more, but for one of a kind artwork that can't be copied it better be wortht he extra cost to your clients. also ask them if they are sure that the shipping address is secure... is someone there during the day to recieve mail IN PERSON and if not, is there a business or something of a family member it can be sent to.

i have all my important mail sent to my sister's work place after those 5 packages/letters (gift cards) disapeared.
Jun. 12th, 2009 06:15 am (UTC)
meant to add: do tracking AND signature confirmation AND insurance for the irreplaceable stuff.

also... brown. can't go wrong with brown. i have NEVER had any problems with UPS. they cost more, but do stress to your clients that they are more trustworthy and professional than the usps.
Jun. 12th, 2009 06:59 am (UTC)
Eh.. UPS doesn't have a good rep in Canada. For the amount of flak they get over misplacing/destroying packages it's probably not worth it to me to go so far out of my way to send stuff that way.

I can check about collecting insurance but given it was accepted at the destination there's probably nothing they'll give me.
Jun. 12th, 2009 07:04 am (UTC)
hmm... guess we're lucky then. i've never heard complaints about them down here, locally (my town) or anyone i've ever sent stuff to with them.

yeah, you can't collect insurance now unless you had it for this specific package and it is reported stolen. but for the future... do all 3 (insurance, tracking, AND signature confirmation) on this stuff that can't be replaced.

do you have other services like Fed Ex? there are other businesses to use other than UPS. ask around for your area. some are even private and only exist in one town (like a mom/pop delivery service).
Jun. 12th, 2009 07:11 am (UTC)
Oh there's plenty. Purolater and such. But really Canada Post/USPS isn't that bad - no worse than any other shipping company. I mean just yesterday FedEx left a package abandoned on my doorstep.

Yeah I always get insurance and tracking. But I guess I'll be adding signature to that as well.
Jun. 12th, 2009 06:25 am (UTC)
*shakes head* I'm not going to ask you for a refund or a partial refund.. or try to claim you didn't send it right or... anything. I know you did exactly what I paid for and sent it.. there's no fault on your end. It's.. Canada Post. It's their fault. They've smashed up a birthday gift I sent to my cousin last year.. so there isn't any reason they'd just up and lose another package. Canada post is just.. blah.

I love what you do. I love looking at your suits and ears and tails and paws and stuff. I think you have an amazing talent and there is no way on this planet I'd ever do anything to try and tarnish your rep.. if you're worried about that I mean.

So.. Artists Beware.. I am announcing that BeetleCat did nothing wrong in our transaction. Canada Post is at fault. I'm gonna call them tomorrow and try and figure out where my tail and ears are.. but I'm not expecting much. I'm just losing out in this situation, that's all.. I'll cut my losses and whatnot.

Thank you again, BeetleCat, for making the tail and ears. They really do look nice in the pictures.

Red Angel
Jun. 12th, 2009 06:55 am (UTC)
No, I'm not worried about what you thought or might do. I've just never come across this situation and wanted advice of how to proceed/stop it from happening again.

If there's any way to find it then I wanted to know before it got even later :) And indeed there's some valuable advice here for both of us.

It's too late/too many beers here right now for me to think, but we'll figure out a compromise - I can't leave you with nothing. Rights or not it's just not cool
Jun. 12th, 2009 07:01 am (UTC)
I'll be calling Canada Post as soon as I wake up tomorrow.. (usually around 1 or 2pm est) I'll email you right away to let you know what they say.

The address in my paypal is the address to my fathers store downtown. I have all my packages sent there instead of here because I live in an apartment building.. and like others have said here, I'm afraid to have things stolen.

My dad has gotten a couple of packages sent to me by eBay sellers over the past couple weeks.. but not the one from you.. so I don't know what happened. Maybe they forget to give my dad the delivery slip and it's still sitting in the post office downtown.. or it's already on it's way back to you as undelivered? >_< I'm gonna call Canada Post and the post office downtown tomorrow and see if they have any answers. Like I said.. I'll email you as soon as I find something out.

Jun. 12th, 2009 07:09 am (UTC)
... ask your dad to ask his coworkers. i can't tell you how many times my own sister, or her coworker, or the people upstairs (different business, same building) would open up mail that was actually MINE. thankfully, none of my stuff was stuff that they wanted so i always got it back.

so do ask your dad to ask his coworkers. and if they share a building with another business, go there and ask around as well. if canada post can't find it, and you can't find it via the coworkers/building, then call canda post back and file a report asap- they have a time limit for these things, i bet.
Jun. 12th, 2009 07:14 am (UTC)
My dad owns the business.. heh. He doesn't have coworkers.. he has employees. Er.. he has an employee. And she's my friend. She wouldn't pick anything up by accident cause she knows I have my mail sent there. But you might be right about the store next door. I'll check that avenue too.
Jun. 12th, 2009 02:18 pm (UTC)
Completelt OT, but I love this icon of yours. :)
Jun. 13th, 2009 06:42 am (UTC)
Thanks~ ^.^
Jun. 12th, 2009 09:04 pm (UTC)
For anything physical that is irreplaceable, I would definitely consider requiring insurance and signature confirmation in the future. Honestly I've had the best experience with USPS. UPS has left my packages in the rain (after tossing it over our fence!) and left signature required packages with neighbors while FedEx tends to just leave our stuff on the porch (though they do a great job with handling the packages, at least).

Hopefully there's just confusion at the workplace and this person is able to recover their package because once things say they've been delivered, you're usually SOL. :(
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )


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