I wouldn't assume that they actually didn't get it. I had one the other day... Said delivered. Guy said it wasn't. I could tell he was telling the truth. It was a small town, so he went to his PO and I also called them. The PM there said he'd check into it... Carrier told the guy she'd check into it and acted like she knew what the deal was. That day it magically showed up at his door... No knock or anything. Obviously she left it at the wrong house.
I've only had this happen a couple of times. Ultimately, I've always looked at it as the customer's issue to resolve, not ours. With that being said, I'm always open to negotiating a win-win with the customer, normally by giving them the products at cost.
So if the customer paid $50 for the 1st item with a cost of $35 I might give him the second item for $20, with them paying the shipping (this way the entire 2 transaction is basically break even- our costs are $70 and he paid $70).
For the scammers this may admittedly be letting them win so to speak. Assuming the customer truly didn't receive the item though, the customer is normally appreciative of the offer and walks away with cynicism of the post office/society rather than leaving you with a chargeback or negative feedback.
Thing is that signature required costs another $2+ dollars, and customers really balk at it, even the ones who place a big order. Also, they don't want to go down to the post office to collect it. and I don't blame them, since I've had to wait in line for 20 minutes to get a package myself. Some people have to go on their lunch or even leave work early to do that.
When the status shows delivered, I ask the customer to look around their house for the item or ask anyone they live with if they brought it in and forgot to say. Sometimes people with roommates will not get something and the roommate has it. Sometimes the carrier puts a package in a weird place. Worst is that the post office allows a carrier to leave a package with delivery confirmation in a "secure area," but this includes a mail room in an apartment building that only the tenants can get into. Thing is, some tenants will steal other tenants' mail if it is a package lying around. I have heard this often enough to believe it. People tell me this usually when they want the thing delivered to their work.
If the customer says no luck with checking into it at home, I ask them to talk to the carrier. Usually it turns out it was misdelivered. If the carrier says they left it or they can't get hold of the carrier, I call the delivering post office myself. Usually it turns up after that. But if it doesn't, I refund the person and tell them I cannot ship anything further to them because their address is not secure for mail delivery and that they should get a po box.
Thank you for the posts. A couple months ago someone called and said their package showed delivered but it was not there. She was at work and her mother was at home. The customer had already did all of my suggestions. Check with neighbors, check in the bushes, etc.. This kinda raised a flag for me. She then inquired if she would be refunded.
I told her it was our policy to not refund or reship it the package shows it was delivered. She was mad requested to speak with a manager. I told her I would have one of the owners call her back.
A few days later I agreed to resend the package with signature confirmation. I also told her to speak with the carrier when the second package is delivered and find out where the first package was at.
I never heard anything back from her. I emailed her a few times wanting to follow up. I feel she duped me into sending a second package or trying to get money back.
I just don't think it is fair for the company to resend or refund when a package is lost or stolen. At what point does the company finally relinquish responsibility? I realize this is the cost of doing business. I just don't understand why people would lie and try to cheat for something like this.
People do this because they are immature and stupid. I don't think every single one of them can be screened out, but I have certainly modified what I sell to decrease the numbers of this type of customer. I have dropped some items and rewritten text so they won't be attracted to my site. It has worked.
I think most of the time when people say they didn't get, they actually didn't get it in some way. They aren't lying, just can't find it.
And the thing is if you dont refund or reship, they do a chargeback. We had proof of delivery, a signed proof of delivery from UPS. Customer said that wasnt their signature. UPS researched and gave us a written statement saying it was delivered and signed for by the home owner and shown some sig from a deed or something that matched this signature. Guess what? We still lost the chargeback. All a customer has to do is say they didnt get it and bam, its free for them.
I think it all depends on what you're selling, the value, and what your customers are like. I agree that for a lot of people, it's not worth doing the signature. I think it's important to look at the big picture... It's easy to get hung up on the problems, but it's not a good idea to base all your policies on the more rare occurrences, because you're potentially doing more damage in the long run. I'd rather suck it up and pay for a redeliver once in a while, than potentially tick off countless people by making them go to the PO. I think having some situations where you have to chalk it up is just part of the biz.
I just had this very thing happen, from the consumer's side.
I purchased something from an eBay seller in late February, and when it still hadn't arrived after five weeks, I finally contacted the seller. She said she'd check into it, and yesterday she refunded all my money, no questions asked.
It was refreshing after some of the comments in this thread!
For something like an irreplaceable heirloom I'd prefer to deliver it in person.
However, for the sake of discussion, if I had sent something and it hadn't arrived after five weeks ... or even five days, depending on what kind of shipping I had chosen ... I'd be raising major questions with the carrier.
I have never shipped anything commercially, only received things as a shopper, and while problems are rare things do "go missing" sometimes.
In my location, the post office is by far the most secure way to receive things.
What's funny, is that with me it always seems like extremes... You get the people who freak out just 4 days in, because the tracking hasn't updated since it left and they're 100% convinced it's lost. Or you get the people who don't make a peep for over a month, so by then it's almost too late to do anything. My stuff is usually long, so it's easy to remember if you try to track it down. But not over a month later.
But you can get totally different results going by what it is and who you use. I had long materials delivered by FedEx to me, and I was surprised at how good they looked when they got here. Did the same thing a second time, and once again they looked great. They used UPS the third time... same items, same packaging... and it looked like it had been through a war.
you get the people who don't make a peep for over a month
If an item has to go through customs, delivery really does take weeks sometimes, so some customers would think it perfectly reasonable to be patient for three or four weeks before starting to raise questions.
The time from shipment to receipt can vary hugely if customs are involved. Shipped from the same source in New York to my small town in Canada, I've had packages reach me in as little as 36 hours, or take more than six weeks.
Things sent to the USA can spend "lost in officialdom" time ( I had a parcel spend 6 months in the "incoming customs, what's in the package, we'll wait and see if it sprouts leaves or decays, or breeds zone" ) due to "homeland security" ..that hardly anyone in the USA appears to be aware of..
US customs could just send the end customer a notice saying ..."we are holding your consignment, it has been shipped, we'll forward it to you , when we are done" ..but they don't..
So the customer in the USA, thinks that it was never sent..
Yeah, I was mainly talking about domestic stuff. I've found Japan to be the best with postal. Those guys got their s*** together over there. I sent something there priority the other day, and it was delivered in 5 days. Normally a 12 day service, minimum.
Yes, I have had things in the past held up in customs for a very long time. Once I had a bunch of frankincense shipped from Oman. It got stuck in Customs, which wanted to know the name of the manufacturer. I told them the name of the biz I'd bought it from. No, they wanted the manufacturer. I said no one manufactures it. It's harvested from a tree by peasants who sell it in the souk and the business buys it and sells it to me. They insisted they wanted the name of the manufacturer. I said, "God." After 2 more days, they decided that was good enough. I finally gave up on trying to import stuff from Oman, though.
I stopped shipping USPS because of this issue. We ship about 1000 packages a month and it was happening about 4-5 times a week. Im having much better success with Fedex. For international I switched to DHL, which is 100 times more reliable then USPS. I was lucky to find a good 3rd party shipping company that gave me rates that were very competitive to USPS, otherwise I would have probably been forced to stay with USPS because of their prices.
The 3rd party I'm using did not require me to do a certain volume. I have not heard of DHL being bought out. I know a couple years ago they pulled out of the domestic market to so they could focus on just international.
Ecomm, if you could PM me that 3rd party, I'd like to look into that. I have some countries where the length limit is too great for postal. So if I could get close to the postal prices and have a longer length limit with DHL, I could maybe do that.