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I need a bit of help, and I thought this com would be best to ask.

A while ago, I had a transaction with a customer, and they purchased a mouse head from me. After making this "custom costume" as labeled with customs, he approved the product, and it was shipped from California to Canada. I had it on rush with FedEx, and it got there on time. Earlier than expected, actually. It was used at a convention, and the customer is actually quite happy with it. There were some edits to be made, however, and the head was sent back along with the paws and tail that went with it.

I completed the edits, packed everything up, and took them down to USPS, which I prefer to FedEx or anyone else. I've never had a problem with them before. Paid for five-day, and all was well. I watched the lady pick up the box and put it in her truck! This was on 3/31/2010. I wanted him to have it by middle of last week so he had it for the next convention, which is now over.

He has yet to get it. It's been two weeks.

He and I have agreed to wait until Monday the 19th to see what happens. It could just be stuck in customs. This is what I'm hoping. If not, I'm not sure what to do.

This is where I need your help. Ideas on what to do if he doesn't get his original head.

I would give him a refund, if I could. His head and paws were at cost of materials only, therefore, I don't have money to refund him, as ALL of it went to making the item in the first place. So it's not a matter of spending money before the commission was done. The commission made me no money, actually I lost money shipping it to him (I cover all shipping fees on my part, and ask for half of the shipping if it's out of the continental US.) Also, he had it at one point, and was sent to me for free repairs. But if a refund is agreed on or proper, I can find a way to do so.

Another option I can think of is making him a new head. I can do this, it'll just take me a while. I'm sure he's understanding, but I personally think this is unfair to him. The reason it'll take me a long time is that I'm working on four OTHER heads right now, and have fallen WAY behind in my fursuit commissions. He's been a good customer for me, I'd hate to short-stick him with putting his replacement at the end of the list. But it can be done.

Does anyone have any other suggestions that I can add to my list to present him if the box with his partial doesn't come in the mail by Monday?

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( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
antoj
Apr. 15th, 2010 03:53 am (UTC)
I don't really have much to offer in suggestion to the commission... but it's not really your fault if it gets lost in the mail is it?

On that note though, USPS can sometimes take ridiculously long time for *no reason*. I work in a contract unit and have had people tell me things they ship *in the states* can take over two weeks. I mean, I don't really know if it's true or not since my personal experiences have only been good ones, but yeah.

Did you get a customs number on it you could try running?
msmanuscript
Apr. 15th, 2010 04:00 am (UTC)
It's not my fault, this is true. I still don't like leaving a customer without a product because of the mail. Not the stamp I want to have on my name for future commissioners to see, you know?

But no, I don't have a customs number. I didn't realize you could get a customs number. I don't have a tracking number, as my office doesn't have a bar-code scanner. So there's no tracking. We've been trying to get one, though. I just hope it goes through quickly.
antoj
Apr. 15th, 2010 04:09 am (UTC)
Yea, I understand what you mean. I think it's still a bit unfair though. D: I hope it shows up.

And no customs number? Didn't it need a customs form? I mean, you said it was going to Canada right? I know some of the older customs forms didn't provide the customers with the number but they still technically have them.
msmanuscript
Apr. 15th, 2010 04:12 am (UTC)
OH! Um, good question. I didn't even think of that. I'll have to take a look at the form and see what I can do with that. See if there's one on it. If there is one, that'd be great! See what's going on with it there. Thank you, that could be a huge help!
antoj
Apr. 15th, 2010 04:17 am (UTC)
Yea! There should be one anyway, near the bar code on the bit of slip they gave you back. :D

Good luck! I hope you get it sorted out.
shukivengeance
Apr. 15th, 2010 04:01 am (UTC)
Do you have a tracking order or anything for the package?
msmanuscript
Apr. 15th, 2010 04:10 am (UTC)
No I do not. My USPS office does not have a bar-code scanner, and does not offer them. We're hoping they get one soon. If they don't have one by the next head, I'm finding a new office.
hybrid_xisha
Apr. 15th, 2010 06:30 pm (UTC)
(Comment edited to fix a half-sentence that made no darn sense.)

Wow, what the heck? How do they NOT have one? I once stopped at a tiny post office in the middle of nowhere with only one employee and NO mail routes (PO boxes and retail office only), and they had a scanner. Hell, I even shipped packages to Europe and Asia from there, WITH tracking. I worked for the USPS until 2008, and scanners are *supposed* to be standard issue for the USPS--there's not supposed to be an office that doesn't have them.

But even if they don't have a scanner and have some previously unheard-of legitimate reason for not having one, entering tracking codes for packages is as simple as inputting the numbers manually online. Every postal worker has had to do that at some point when the bar code is damaged and won't scan. Again, all post offices are *supposed* to have online access. Standard issue!

The USPS could track stuff before we got scanners, and before USPS.com existed. There shouldn't be any reason why your office CAN'T provide that service. Is your office run by crooks or frequently robbed of all electronic equipment or something? =O_o=

If you don't already have one, I definitely recommend getting an account at USPS.com. Almost anything you can do at a fully-equipped post office, you can do online. Lots of people ship their domestic and international packages, with tracking, from home, using USPS.com and the carrier pickup option.

Edited at 2010-04-15 06:31 pm (UTC)
msmanuscript
Apr. 16th, 2010 05:02 am (UTC)
First, I had no idea that scanners were supposed to be standard at all offices. I'm going to ask them about that when I see them again. If it's standard, and they don't have one, maybe we can find a way to get one! I'd hate to have to find a new office, they are so very far away on foot with a 15x15x14 package...

Second, I'll have to get an account. I was unaware that you could do that with USPS. This will be a HUGE help!
hybrid_xisha
Apr. 16th, 2010 06:03 pm (UTC)
I had to go through employee training twice because I transferred to an office in another state, and both times we got the "all offices are equipped with bar code readers and computer access to USPS.com, in order to assure the greatest variety and quality of service to our customers" spiel.

I've no clue what they might tell you, but if they DO have a "previously unheard-of legitimate reason for not having one" I'd be keen to hear it just for curiosity's sake! The only reason I can think of for not being online or not having scanners is if the office is so far down the list that the USPS just hasn't gotten to them yet and doesn't give them sufficient funding like other offices received. Which would be pretty awful for them, 'cause I'm sure you're not the only person who wants more service options and is thinking of taking business elsewhere.
claytonzjones
Apr. 17th, 2010 01:45 am (UTC)
The store that you use could also just be an "authorized dealer". Sort of a middle man between you and USPS. That is another thing that could explain that they don't have a scanner. I know that UPS and FedEx definitely have those.
hybrid_xisha
Apr. 17th, 2010 02:35 am (UTC)
Icon!! :D

I thought about that as well after I posted here. Now that the USPS is trying to cut costs by branching, there's quite a few reasons for inconsistencies in service offered. Money saved for the USPS = bad news for the customers. :/
stormslegacy
Apr. 24th, 2010 06:04 am (UTC)
Out of curiousity, is it in a rural community? We have some areas in the "hilltown" parts of New England that don't have much by way of access to the internet because of the lack of infrastructure and the mountains, which create black spots in everything from satellite cable to cellular service. I live near such a black spot, it's rather ridiculous as the only internet available just the town over is crappy dial-up--this includes all the businesses etc. I'm lucky enough to live along the highway which has a DSL line due to the local university.
msmanuscript
Apr. 24th, 2010 07:20 am (UTC)
Actually, no. I'm smack in the middle California's "Garden Grove, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Westminster, Huntington Beach" area. It's a good two hour drive on the 91 to reach any rural at all. So, being without a scanner is weird.
beetlecat
Apr. 15th, 2010 04:08 am (UTC)
This is a difficult matter since the shipping company is not anyone's fault. And with a sculpture like a 'suit you can't just print off and send a copy unfortunately.

Firstly, You should *always* have a tracking number and you should ask for insurance. This negates most shipping issue right off.

Once the deadline passes for a package being lost (does 5 day include delivery guarantee? Otherwise it might be more like 3 months before you can claim) then you will have to fight it out with USPS and let them track it down. If they cannot then you may still be able to get some $ out of them. I don't know - all my dealing have been with Canada post so I cannot help with the specifics.

As far as reimbursement, there are no 'established' protocols. What it comes down to is what you and the customer both feel the most comfortable with.
msmanuscript
Apr. 15th, 2010 04:17 am (UTC)
Yeah, if my office doesn't get a bar-code scanner by the next head I send out, I'm finding a new post office. I honestly don't know if the five day included a guarantee. If it was within the US I'd say yes, as it does. But to Canada, I don't know if it did or didn't. I just know that it had huge stickers all over it and FIVE DAY, 3/31/10 on it.

But yeah, new post office next time, WITH a tracking number.
antoj
Apr. 15th, 2010 04:18 am (UTC)
Ahh USPS isn't guaranteed service... and for international we usually quote 1-2 weeks, but occasionally it takes longer than that.

The only that is guaranteed is express mail, but it's also way more expensive.
pariahsdream
Apr. 15th, 2010 05:33 am (UTC)
Just so you know, customs in Canada can be odd sometimes. My friend owns a BJD company and her shipments can come in with no problem from China sometimes and then others it's two weeks easy for them to hold them up. So there could be some of that going on as well.
vulgar_toshiya
Apr. 15th, 2010 05:49 am (UTC)
I recently shipped two manga to Canada via USPS. The label number was also the tracking number, and it was on both the receipt and the paper itself. Additionally, there was a 1 800 number on the paper that says "For Pickup or Tracking". I'm sure you can call your local branch and see if they can provide any information.
epiceternity
Apr. 15th, 2010 03:24 pm (UTC)
One thing I found out recently about shipping from UK to Canada is that they need the return address to be on the top left of the side the address is on.
When I posted my item out, my return address was on the side as I normally do it. The lady at the PO said it needed to be by the address otherwise the Canada PO won't deliver it.

Apparently around Christmas there was a lot of UK to Canada post that never arrived and it turned out it was all sitting at the Canada depot and hadn't been delivered due to the placement of the return address. Sounds crazy but there you go.

I don't know if it's the same for posting US to Canada but its the only thing that may be vaguely helpful I can add.
snobahr
Apr. 15th, 2010 04:04 pm (UTC)
In the US, it's standard for the return address to be in the upper left corner, either of the label with the ship-to address on it, or on the box itself on the same face with the ship-to address.
beetlecat
Apr. 15th, 2010 07:59 pm (UTC)
Aye, Canada too. Parcels are formatted just like a letter.

For that matter, I've received mail from all over the world and can't recall ever getting one that was contrary to this standard.
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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