Monday, February 14, 2011

Package Troubles

I hate it when a package takes more than two weeks to arrive.  Sometimes it is because the postal service is at fault, but more often, it is because the seller delayed mailing the package.

The media mail packages I mail out almost always arrive within four to seven days.  Most of my purchases arrive within that same time frame.  A few purchases take seven to ten days because the seller wrote the address on the package instead of typing it or using a computer-generated shipping label.  Very seldom does a package take more than 10 days to arrive.

It is a huge cause for concern once two weeks have passed, and I have not received a package.  I had two transactions from early January.  Two weeks later, I had received neither package. I wanted to inquire, but I didn't want to be one of those buyers who asks about a transaction and the package arrives the very next day.

I often have buyers get worried when seven days have passed and the package has not arrived.  I tell those buyers that the package will most likely arrive within the next one to two days.  Guess what?  The package almost always arrives the very next day.  So, I don't want to trouble a seller when most likely nothing is wrong.

In the case of my two January transactions, neither seller used PayPal shipping, and neither seller uploaded a delivery confirmation number. Neither seller contacted me to tell me that the package had shipped.  This is most frustrating because I have absolutely no way of judging whether I have cause to be concerned.  The result is that I am concerned because the sellers have given me no information.

What to do?  I usually wait until the three week mark to inquire about packages.  In the case of one of my packages, it showed up on the 15th or 16th day.  Surprise, surprise... the seller had only mailed the package seven days before it arrived. 

In that case, I was satisfied overall with the transaction but peeved that the seller was slow to ship and did not communicate that fact.  I don't mind if a seller has a delay in shipping so long as the seller lets me know.  That way, I won't be worried.

I don't want to destroy a seller's reputation, so there is no way I would leave one or two stars.  However, this seller did not deserve five stars on communication or shipping speed.  I decided to leave three stars on those two and five stars on the other two.  I don't even know if I did the right thing.  The feedback system is so unjust on eBay these days.

Now to the other transaction.  I have to admit that I got busy and forgot about it.  On day 25, I finally remembered that I had not received the package and needed to ask about it.  I contacted the seller.  I received a response just a few minutes later (nice!) stating that the package had been mailed on January 15.  The seller suspected that the package was lost and stated that I would receive a refund if I did not receive the package shortly.  The seller then refunded my money two days later.

I couldn't help but wonder why the seller didn't wait a little longer before refunding my money.  I checked the seller's feedback and noticed that the seller has a history of lost packages that had to be refunded.  It made me wonder why this seller has trouble with lost packages.

The day after the seller sent me the refund, the package finally arrived.  The package arrived on the 28th day.  I contacted the seller and paid for the purchase again.  I also let the seller know what caused the problem.  The seller had left old bar codes on the package.  The bar codes were on three sides of the package.


The old bar codes, even ones from UPS, get scanned by USPS and end up sending the package to the wrong city.  Never leave old bar codes on packages.  The seller did attempt to mark through the bar codes, but the only way this works is when the bar codes are completely covered.

I recall the last time I had a package take this long that the seller had left an old bar code on the package.  The old bar codes cause major problems.

Delivery confirmation is helpful to both the buyer and the seller.  In this case, we probably would have seen a record of the package's movement around the country and would have had an idea of what was going on.  Additionally, at the time the seller sent the refund, the package had to have already been at the Oklahoma City distribution center.  The seller would have realized that a refund was premature and that the package would arrive shortly.

Not only that, but delivery confirmation helps keep people honest.  I did not for a moment consider not reimbursing the seller, but I realized when the package arrived that I had the package and my money and that the seller did not know.  Think about that.  The seller would never had known if I had not told him and paid him back.  I could have had some free books.

No comments: