Charging for lost repairs

Hello everyone,

about a month ago one of my accounts sent back a bracelet for a
repair. I fixed it and sent it out regular mail. Yesterday she
called saying she never got it and asked that I send another one. I
asked her to double check but I said I would send out another one
anyway. I am not sure what to do in the future because not only do I
not charge for repairs, I also do not charge to ship it back. I send
it regular mail because it is much cheaper than if I were to track
it. I have never had a problem with this in the past, but now I am
out the $ for the bracelet ($50) plus the shipping the first time
around and now I have to pay for tracking on the new package. I was
wondering how other designers handle situations like this. Is it the
responsibility of the designer or the recipient if something gets
lost in the mail AND should I charge for repairs and shipping the
object back? I am very frusturated about this. I am sure some of you
out there have had a similar situation and I need your advice!!
Thanks guys.


First of all, everyone charges for shipping. Whether it’s cheap or
not everyone charges you for shipping a product to you. Even when
someone says it’s free shipping it’s not. They are just adding the
price into the cost of the piece (effectively). So yes you should
absolutely charge for shipping. Secondly, you’re shipping a high
value product and it should all go out insured. And yes, you, as the
shipper are responsible. It is the shipper’s responsibility to
properly pack, send and insure a package. If it’s lost the shipper
gets reimbursed, not the recipient.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140


called saying she never got it and asked that I send another one. I
asked her to double check but I said I would send out another one

It is not expensive to insure a package and it saves
questioning/hurt over what is going on. Right now at this moment
would you pay 2 bucks to not be feeling what your feeling.


I require everything sent to me to be sent certified or registered
with a return receipt. They then have my signature that I have
received the piece. I send everything out certified or registered
with a return receipt so that I have their signature that they
received the piece. In the meantime everything is insured both ways.
The fees for all of this are built into the repair price or the sale
price of a piece I am shipping. It is the cost of doing business!
Anything less is only leaving yourself open for loss and or
liability issues. It is called professionalism.

Bill Churlik

I tend to ship everything UPS so I can track it and it is
automatically insured for at least $100. It normally runs between $
6- $10 for an average size box and I have the ability to track it
easily. The extra couple dollars is worth the peace of mind. The
condition of the piece and why it broke determines whether or not I
charge for a repair. I try to stand by my work and be fair to myself
and the customer but I don’t take responsibility for people that take
very poor care of their jewelry. It’s a judgement call for me.



when repairs are sent to me i always insure and do return
receipt…shipping inexpensive goods i just insure,all pkgs can be
traced to some extent,i charge shipping and insurance to
customer…i don’t know of any company that picks up the shipping
charges for me…if you do’nt charge for repairs then you should
at the very least charge for shipping…why do’nt you charge for
repairs? just curious

lisa mcconnell

In the case of a repaired piece lost in the mail–

First, chances are it will eventually turn up. Let’s hope your
"account" is honest enough, and on top of things enough, to let you
know. (A book I ordered in early December just turned up in my
mail-- long after the order was credited back to me.)

More to the point-- when you send things uninsured, you are
"self-insuring". In a professional practices seminar, Barbara
Heinrich described that she does this with all parcels up to a
certain value. The difference is, she puts the savings into a
special accound. Any losses also come out of this account. I guess,
other than making accounting a lot easier, what this does is ease
the sting of losses by making it clear that you are saving money
overall by not paying for insurance.

As for charging for repairs, if it is because of a defect (or
possible defect), then. of course you should not charge. If it is
demonstrably from abuse, well, that’s a tougher call. I think that
the largest single difference for the customer in dealing with one
of us instead of a mass-producer or importer is personal service.
From all the postings here, I’ve concluded that we need to build
enough “air” into our prices to be able to give excellent service,
including no-questions-asked repairs. It seems likely to me that
this helps a great deal in creating the aura of “class” around us,
and builds trust. The short-term loss is, one assumes, more than
made up overall. We hope.


I used to have the ocassional shipment turn up “missing.” I got
clever and added delivery confirmation to ALL my shipments, no matter
how small. I don’t know if this prompted the post office to take
better care with my items, or if it dissuaded dishonest customers
from lying (I like to believe the first) but I haven’t had a single
“lost” item in the years since adding that little green barcode to

I ship everything Priority Mail and the delivery confirmation is
only $0.50 more. No one seems upset at paying $5 total for shipping.

I, too, don’t charge the customer for repairs or for shipping of
repaired items. But I STILL put that delivery confirmation on the
package. It’s $5 out of my pocket, but it happens infrequently
enough that I’m content to absorb the cost.

Delivery confirmation is your friend! And now that I’m planning to
switch to one of the auto-postage services (like or some
such) the confirmation will be free. Yay!

Spider (it’s the little things that make you smile)

Hi Laura,

one of my accounts sent back a bracelet for a repair. I fixed it
and sent it out regular mail. Yesterday she called saying she
never got it" 

Options are limited:

  • alienate a client who may already be an excellent and repeat
    customer, or who could be if you provide good service such as
    replacing the missing item without further questioning her about the
    missing item as questioning her amounts to assuming she is the
    problem and dishonest, and ship using a ‘signature required’ method
    for you security.

  • hope not to alienate the client, ship without further question and
    use a ‘signature required’ method for her security and peace of mind.

Regardless, this is now your problem, you had in your possession
something which she bought and paid for, had the misfortune of
damaging, trusted you with its repair and now you owe her a bracelet
because you cannot prove that she has the original back in her
possession. Unfortunately once it left your hands for the second time
you allowed yourself to be victimized by the postal system or an
unscrupulous client. You know now that you cannot really afford to
take chances like this because the theft could be occurring and
others may occur because someone in the postal system has figured out
what you are shipping or you may have the misfortune of encountering
other unethical clients.

Advice is that in the future you ship all items using a tracking
number and/or signature required method.

I know that for us, this is more expensive shipping by at least
three times, but our clients like the speed at which their Xpress
package arrives, and I like the added security. Cost is not an issue
where client satisfaction is concerned and no, we don’t charge for
the majority of the few repairs we have ever had to do on the pieces
we make. BTW never add “Jewelry” to the return address as in ‘Laura’s
Jewelry Designs’, just use your name as it is less likely to ID the
package contents to a would-be thief.

Good luck.

and now for something completely different… jewelry
Cynthia & David Ryder

The reason insurance companies make money is that it’s a waste if you
don’t need it,but when you do it’s worth every cent. Shipping with
the “neither wind nor rain—” USPO has deteriorated to the point
that their contract haulers lose or damage shipments regularly.I
prefer UPS which also provides minimum insurance. Saving money is
good skimping is often bad. I grew up during the 1930’s when skimping
was a way of life.


I ship everything Priority Mail and the delivery confirmation is
only $0.50 more. No one seems upset at paying $5 total for

The post office offers discounts for creating shipping labels online
( For Priority Mail with a online label the delivery
confirmation is free. With Express Mail the price is discounted.



I ship ONLY via Fedex – so I can conveniently ship online; track
the shipment; even create and fax a shipping label (under my own
insurance) to my client to return an item to me. It is the
responsibility of the shipper to make sure the piece is properly
packaged and insured.

As far as charging for repairs of our own merchandise, we always
charge to cover the cost of the repair and shipping, unless it is our
error or oversight – then we appropriately do the work and ship at
no charge.


Hi Gang,


For folks in the US, depending on how many things you ship using the
Post Office, you may find using a service such a a great
time & money saver for domestic shipments. This company provides an
online service for printing shipping labels on plain paper or sticky
back labels. The postage can also be printed on the label. It’s
possible to use just about any service the Post Office provides. One
nice thing is that if the item is sent Priority Mail, Delivery
Confirmation is included at no extra charge. The only thing required
is a scale that will accurately weigh pkgs. Pkgs. can be insured for
less than the USPS charges & claims are settled faster (so they say).

You can also use the USPS website,, to print shipping
labels. These can also have the postage printed on them. It’s also
possible to use any of the services normally available at the post

I’ve been using the site for mailing for several years &
am very satisfied with it’s performance.

You can get your Priority envelopes & boxes FREE by signing on to
the site & ordering them under the shipping supplies
section. You’ll need to order them in the quantities listed, but
they’re FREE & delivered to your door!

Usual disclaimers, just a very satisfied user of both services.


I send everything out certified or registered with a return receipt
so that I have their signature that they received the piece 

This is a good idea, but if you’re doing it for the first time, make
sure your post office knows what they’re doing. Instead of sending
the receipt along with the mail, they (the local postoffice) sent it
to me the next day!

Judy Bjorkman