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Hey A_B, I need some help with a weird situation. Several years ago (2004 or 2005), I sold some fur to someone on LJ. She paid with $65 and a jar of Marmite mailed from the UK, I believe. I recall packing up the fur in plastic bags and then boxing it up and giving it to my husband to mail. He's good about mailing things when I ask and he's positive that he mailed it. He mails all of my outgoing packages. So I assumed everything was good since I had never heard a complaint.

Just last year (2011), I received an email from the person telling me that they never received the fur.

I have no idea why they waited so many years to tell me there was a problem. If you buy an item and it never arrives, do you wait 5+ years to contact the seller? I can't even wrap my head around that. But I was polite and apologetic and willing to work something out.

Obviously I don't have the shipping receipt or anything as proof since it has been years and years and we have moved twice in that time. I don't have anymore of the fur that she bought either.

I talked to some friends and asked how I should handle this. Most said that she really didn't have a leg to stand on and I didn't owe her anything more especially since it took her years to let me know the box supposedly never arrived. Many suggested I tell her 'tough luck' and move on or if I wanted to make her happy, I could offer a partial refund. I opted for the partial refund.

On April 27th 2011, I emailed her and proposed a partial refund.

"Date: Wed, 27 Apr 2011 17:33:53 -0700
Subject: Re: Fur has never arrived
From: lilywhitemm@gmail.com
To: ************@hotmail.com

would you be willing to accept a partial refund?
ive been thinking on this most of the day and i feel its unfair for me to be out the fur and the full $65. i also feel that its unfair for you to have no fur and be out the full amount you sent.
if youd be agreeable to a partial refund, i can send a little money your way tomorrow probably.
please let me know what you think."

I never got a response back from her. Today, she emailed me this:

"I've waited patiently for you to come up with some sort of refund or even some sort of contact regarding this.
Its been along time yes but you still haven't done anything to fix the situation.

If the items had been posted, then you should have informed me and as you didn't i can only assume they were never posted.
Because they never arrived.

I have send a paypal invoice to this address as i have still not heard from you.

If I do not hear from you with the next week i will posting this onto artists_beware on live journal.

I've also sent this to you as an FA note to make sure you have it.

apologies for the curt reply but after this long i just want closure."

If she wanted closure so badly, a response to my offer of a partial refund would have been nice.
Frankly, I'm starting to suspect something else is going on here. I don't know if the box of fur arrived or not (she claims it didn't but my husband definitely mailed it) but the waiting years and years to say, 'Hey, I never got my stuff. I'd like money now.' seems....odd.
She sent me a Paypal invoice for the full amount ($65).

I *was* willing to send a partial refund, she never replied.
This whole situation feels wrong. It just seems fishy.

After being ignored for a year, then given attitude, threatened, and sent an invoice after I was nothing but polite and willing to work with her, I'm not feeling as generous about working this out now.

So what should I do? Thanks for any help you can provide.
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( 67 comments — Leave a comment )
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Mar. 30th, 2012 08:58 pm (UTC)
Call me a jerk, but I'd tell her that she isn't getting anything since she waited so long to get with you about a shipping error.

In the future, make sure you scan or keep a book of ALL of your shipping receipts/tracking slips.

Edited at 2012-03-30 08:58 pm (UTC)
Mar. 30th, 2012 11:37 pm (UTC)

And I think I'm going to start doing that too. I usually keep my receipts for a few months after I ship things and I've been getting tracking on everything and keeping those stubs as well. I figured if anyone had problems, they would contact me within a year to complain.

Apparently that is not the case, so I'm going to start stapling every tracking stub to the receipt it belongs to and keeping them together in a folder. Forever. :|
(no subject) - onesteptwo - Mar. 31st, 2012 06:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - starcharmer - Mar. 31st, 2012 06:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - onesteptwo - Mar. 31st, 2012 11:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 30th, 2012 09:01 pm (UTC)
You owe her nothing.. asking for a full refund after so many years is ridiculous. She should have contacted you within months of shipment. It doesn't take years to receive fur shipped to you.
Mar. 30th, 2012 09:04 pm (UTC)
I agree with this
(no subject) - zanazibar - Mar. 30th, 2012 09:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - grygon - Mar. 30th, 2012 09:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mistresswolf - Mar. 31st, 2012 12:06 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 30th, 2012 09:05 pm (UTC)
She should have contacted you immediately upon not receiving the fur. The fact she waited five years to let you know is ridiculous. If she had wanted closure so badly, she would have contacted much sooner than this.

The fact you were willing to offer her a partial refund speaks highly of you. I would not give her the $65.00 at all.
Mar. 30th, 2012 09:06 pm (UTC)
I'm on board with giving her nothing. I just got a pair of swim trunks in the mail and I get a whole 45 days to return them (un used of course) if I don't want them or I'm out of luck. A full refund after 5 years and you don't even have the item returned to you? No way.
And also agreeing with the above that you need to keep a record of what gets shipped out and when. That way, if the customer doesn't pay for tracking or delivery confirmation you can at least prove that you did ship it.
Mar. 30th, 2012 09:08 pm (UTC)
5+ YEARS to contact you? Yea no. Something ain't right with that.
Mar. 30th, 2012 09:10 pm (UTC)
Nope. Cancel the invoice, ignore it, call paypal, whatever you want to do, but don't give her any money. The onus is on her to make contact with you in a timely manner. She did not, and you do not owe her a thing.

In fact, she's more than welcomed to post her story here, too, and I'd tell her the same thing.
Mar. 30th, 2012 09:10 pm (UTC)
Yeah, she has no leg to stand on.

Oddly enough, this happened to me recently too. Years ago, I vaguely remember trading plush for suitmaking supplies or something with this guy. I remember a lot of delays on his half, but I got the plush, and I sent out my half and assumed he got it, but then this past year, like five years or more since the original trade agreement, he said he never got the package. o_O; It was so long ago I don't even have a record of what I was even sending him, I basically had to tell him "sorry, it's been way too long for me to do anything about it, I barely even remember anything about the trade". So random and out of left field.

It sounds to me and my paranoid mind that this lady has fallen upon hard times and is looking for ways to get money quick. Even if the package never DID arrive and she was just being too nice about not saying anything for years, that's still way too long to not say anything about it, and even if the package being lost isn't her fault, it's her loss now.
Mar. 31st, 2012 06:36 pm (UTC)
Agreed completely.
Mar. 30th, 2012 09:17 pm (UTC)
Well, it's possible the email you sent in April '11 went to her junkmail/trash folder. I have that happen occasionally, even on active conversations. Somewhat annoying, so I've made a habit to check those folders when expecting replies.

Beyond that, waiting 5 years to contact someone about non delivery? I would be less than sympathetic. We all have occasions when time gets away from us but this is ridiculous.

I would reply I was sorry she didn't receive the fur but unfortunately waited far too long to contact you about it. Include your reply from April '11 (with timestamp, or roward it) in the new reply as proof you did respond last year.
Mar. 30th, 2012 10:17 pm (UTC)
But doesn't junk/trash auto empty after 30 days?
(no subject) - syrusb - Mar. 30th, 2012 10:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 30th, 2012 09:23 pm (UTC)
In all honesty it sounds almost like she was just looking for a source of money or something, she should have contacted you years ago.

You offered her a partial refund which was more than you would be required in the first place, and she didn't even respond to that. Now it just seems like she's trying to guilt and scare the money out of you. I'd say you don't owe her a thing off of reading this.

Just to be sure, do you have screen shots of the emails she sent you and the emails you sent back to her regarding this?
Mar. 30th, 2012 09:28 pm (UTC)
I can get screenshots when I get home. Its no problem. I have the emails saved.
(no subject) - chronidu - Mar. 30th, 2012 09:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 30th, 2012 09:27 pm (UTC)
In her last response she claims that she was never told the item was sent, if that's true then it's the only thing I could criticise your professionalism for. Letting people know their item has been sent and giving them a tracking number is important.
Otherwise I think you handled it well by responding promptly and offering a partial refund. It's more than she's entitled to after such a length of time.

As others have said, there is no way that Amazon, or any retailer, would take a claim like this seriously after so long so I second the suggestion to tell her she's out of luck.
Mar. 30th, 2012 09:56 pm (UTC)
Even so, you'd think she would have inquired after a week or two about if her item was shipped or not, not five years.
(no subject) - shukivengeance - Mar. 30th, 2012 10:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - otherscape - Mar. 30th, 2012 11:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - banrai - Mar. 30th, 2012 10:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shukivengeance - Mar. 30th, 2012 10:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mistresswolf - Mar. 31st, 2012 12:15 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - banrai - Mar. 31st, 2012 12:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - banrai - Mar. 31st, 2012 12:17 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wolf_goat - Apr. 1st, 2012 04:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ljmydayaway - Mar. 31st, 2012 02:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nambroth - Mar. 31st, 2012 02:39 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - crssafox - Mar. 31st, 2012 08:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hellebore - Mar. 30th, 2012 10:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 30th, 2012 09:28 pm (UTC)
Agreed with others. Tell her no and that she has had years now to contact you. At this point it's her problem, not yours.
Mar. 30th, 2012 09:32 pm (UTC)
Tell her tough luck. The time to speak up has long since expired. Was there any safety on the package, like a tracking number, confirmation, or insurance? Has the person shown activity online (art, journals, forums, auctions) within those five years, proof of having Internet and just not contacting you? You're offer was more than fair, but the buyer's decision to threaten an A_B shows that she isn't looking for fairness, but rather intimidation.

..for what it's worth, I can vouch for Harli's honesty and commitment towards paying customers.
Mar. 30th, 2012 09:35 pm (UTC)
This is why I state in my TOS that once it's left my hands, I'm not responsible for anything lost in the mail.

waiting 5 years to contact you for a refund is ridiculous. I'd tell her she's outta luck!
Mar. 30th, 2012 09:45 pm (UTC)
Dear [Name], While I apologise if you never received the fur that was sent FIVE YEARS AGO, I'm curious as to why you waited FIVE YEARS to contact me about it. You ignored my offer of a partial refund, dated [whenever], and sent an invoice for a transaction that was completed in good faith FIVE YEARS AGO. I'm sorry that you're now dissatisfied with me FIVE YEARS after the fact.

Edited to ask: Did you get the marmite?

Edited at 2012-03-30 09:47 pm (UTC)

Mar. 30th, 2012 09:55 pm (UTC)
I did, yes.
Mar. 30th, 2012 09:52 pm (UTC)
Agreeing with everyone else who posted here, I wouldn't do a thing. If she waited for 5 years to get in contact with you, and even when you sent her an e-mail offering a partial refund, states that you have done nothing...yea, she's out of luck.

If she can't go out of her way to get in contact with you and say, "Hey, package never arrived!" then she has no space to demand results asap from you, honestly how I see it. :\

This screams all sorts of fishy business to me.

Hang in there, and be sure to keep copies of her e-mails incase anything pops up, as well any possible old records like the paypal receipt from the first transaction, things like that if it ever comes to her posting here, or trying to file a dispute with paypal.
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