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Vintage pens-Handmade books-Silly statements

Unhappy Customer

Posted by Dirck on 13 March, 2013

This is probably the sort of thing one should not air publicly.  However, I name no names, I ignite no bridges not already merrily ablaze, and I claim the internet’s privilege of self-absorbed whining.  Stand clear of the vent, folks; he’s about to blow some steam.

I sell stuff on Etsy, in lieu of having some sort of ecommerce thing established on my own site.  I’m a very small fish, it’s convenient, and it lacks the pace of auction sites while presenting one’s wares to a global market.  I’d set myself up there with a notion of flogging not pens but craft-bound books… back when I hadn’t realized just how impossible doing anything with books was in a son-inclusive world.  However, they admit vintage items with a very broad definition of “vintage”, charge little in the way of fees, so I’m a happy guy.

Late last year I got a hit on a Parker Arrow I considered excess to requirements from a chap in Russia.  Attached to the order was a note (which I will put in a different colour and fake comic-opera accent to keep the conversation straight as it develops): To be sending tracking number also.

I can do that, say I, but it costs a lot more than the basic Small Packet International Air postage that I generally rely on and to date haven’t had a problem with.  Here is a link to Canada Post, so you may see for yourself that the least expensive form of tracked shipping is actually pretty expensive.  I leave it up to you what you want to do, but the shipping costs are on you.

OK.  Choose Small Packet Air and hope for the best.

I send the pen, I send a note about sending the pen, and weeks pass.  Then I get another note, in mid-January– Is no pen yet!  Maybe you give me Canada Post tracking number now?

But there is no tracking number.  Here’s a suggestion; leave it until February 1, and if it hasn’t shown up by then, we’ll say it’s officially lost, and do something to keep the loss distributed between the interested parties; I’ll refund half the amount paid, including the shipping, and that way we’re both out a pen and half the money on the transaction.  Balanced.

February shambles upon us, and I am told there is no pen.  Post office tells me, if have Canada Post parcel number, they can seek.  Which is great, but there is no number.  Since you didn’t object to the previous suggestion, here is half the money you sent me.  I wish it could be otherwise (because, frankly, I’d rather have either all the money or the pen).

And then, we get this, just this past week (and this is almost unedited): Parcel with boots with shipped on Dec 11, 2012 arrived today!  Guys who sent me it check with the Canada Post where the parcel and how many days to wait until the application for the loss.   Shipping method was the same like with you.  Why it seems to me that you either do not send a pen or too lazy to reach the postal office?

Now… I didn’t respond to this until I’d had time to step into the post office again and make absolutely sure I wasn’t missing something.  Which, as it happens, I was not.  Charitably, I will assume that Russian fellow’s boot senders were using the similarly named International Parcel Air service, which has tracking, insurance and about thrice the cost.  I am, I’ll admit, right at the end of my charity rope, since there’s that accusation of either negligence or outright fraud right at the end.  Counter-accusation is possible, of course, and if the devil upon my left shoulder has it right and there’s a Russian criminal mastermind even now writing grim things in Cyrillic with a Parker Arrow, he’s ahead by half of what he paid for the thing.  But that’s where it lies.

The lesson I take from this; make it absolutely clear that the responsibility for choosing between tracking or cheap shipping, and all the consequences flowing from that, rest with the buyer.  I’m unwilling to entertain this sort of nonsense in the future.  I’d still rather have an(other) content pen buyer at the far end of one of my transactions than one who is, perhaps, simmering with the sense of having been done in the eye by some dirty foreigner, but if I have to have the latter in my world, they should at least have a completely clear sense that they’re the ones who handed  me the stick.

Today’s pen (the fruit, I note, of a perfectly civil international Etsy transaction): Sheaffer Sovereign Snorkel
Today’s ink: Herbin’s Bleu Myosotis



2 Responses to “Unhappy Customer”

  1. Maja said

    I think your buyer understood that “more expensive shipping option = more secure shipping option” but didn’t want to shell out the dollars (or rubles) for it. Not your fault for the parcel’s disappearance, and you tried to make amends. Chalk one up to experience….

  2. […] there’s plenty of people that will start to grouse about being ripped off.  After my little Russian interlude, I find I hesitate to deal with such […]

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