Hi All. Last December, I sent an 6 ounce overnight package to a
customer in Texas, using his account, at his request. This week I
received a bill for $67 plus $22 for "rebilling". Apparently the
customer had not paid and now they were coming after me. I was hot
but reasonable to several FedEx representatives over the phone, but
was told it would go to collection if I didn't pay. I've never had an
account with them. I finally reached my customer who gave me a
shifty-sounding promise to take care of it. I called FedEx back to
report that conversation, and again had to get hot, but reasonable. I
was finally told they would write it off and I could forget it.
I asked if the original bill had gone to collection, or whether the
account was still active. No comment. They were perhaps willing to
come after me with bigger guns than they trained on the original
deadbeat. I don't actually think I had any liability to begin with.
So, even though FedEx ultimately did the right thing by me, they
really pissed me off in the process and left a sour taste that will
be good for UPS. And I probably won't ship again using a customer's
account. Another brick in the cynical wall.
I am not at all fond of FedEx. And I will only ship when the customer
pays full price including shipping up front. Insurance is optional
and they choose it or not and pay it if chosen.
Something to keep in mind when shipping: stealing packages from Fed
Ex, UPS and other private carriers is theft. Stealing from the US
Post Office is a Federal offense. Apparently, the USPS is the safest
way to ship - and nothing goes out uninsured irrespective of whether
the client wants it or not.
The post office is the most irresponsible business out there. They
operate with the immunity of a government institution yet they are
privatized. I won't trust costume jewelry to USPS much less anything
worth real money. The post office takes no responsibility for lost
packages and is incredible unreliable. I have been shipping multiple
packages everyday for over 12 years now and all I can say is don't
trust the post office. It cost nothing more to send a package with a
The post office takes no responsibility for lost packages and is
I've shipped hundreds of USPS small flat rate boxes, and only one
went missing. When my claim was denied, I decided to self-insure. I
still collect the fee, but I don't buy the insurance. My boxes now
do not say "Insured" on them, a security plus in my book. And I
haven't had to pay out yet! That's reliable enough for me. And I'm
way ahead financially.
I've had no real problems with either the USPS or UPS, although I
currently tend to use UPS as the local post office tends to be on
slow side. FedEx, on the other hand... I haven't sent things with
them but I've had a huge problem getting them to actually deliver
things to my current apartment. I've had a number of things recorded
as delivered that I've never received or recorded as attempted but
not at home when I was home & nobody came to my apartment. I've had
them leave the "sorry we missed you" tag on my door right next to my
note directing them to leave the package with the building rental
office. Because of that, I have everything I order delivered to the
office at school.
Artist, Metalsmith, Chaos Magnet
With deference to Brian Nelson's experience, I use USPS registered,
insured mail all the time with consistent and reliable results.
Ganoksin/Orchid readers may be interested in a recent program
sponsored by the SNAG Professional Development Seminar about
The PDS had shipping for 3 hours covering a wide rage
from shipping jewelry from precious materials, cost comparisons to
shipping large sculpture.
Stay tuned as the PowerPoint lectures will be posted online with
All of the PowerPoints and handouts from this program will be
available at two locations.
Successful shipping starts with careful preparation. The first
presentation is Packing One of a Kind Work for Shipping with a
SNAG Professional Development Seminar page.
Professional Development Seminar on my website:
Successful shipping starts with careful preparation. Here is a link
to the four page PDF handout. http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep7z9i
Seven presentations will we posted over the next couple of weeks for
all to view this resource. Stay tuned to SNAG Riveting News or ASK
Harriete for updates.
"Shipping connects our studios to the world."
Harriete Estel Berman
I started using the Priority Mail flat rate boxes almost exclusively
shortly after moving out of the city three years ago. I had been
using UPS, and had daily pickup service, but I got tired of paying up
the wazoo for the shipping costs of heavy boxes and weekly service
charges and daily pickup, and them taking $600 out of my account
because of a typo I made on weight. Then, I started dropping little
packages off in a UPS drop box in town, and half the time they
botched the charges up badly, so I stopped using them.
USPS hasn't lost a box or envelope in those three years, and the
flat rate boxes have no competition as far as getting a good deal on
heavy boxes. Free Tibet, save the post office, free your mind, free
Have you sent the small priority mail flat rate boxes outside the US
? I'm new to international shipping, and have heard that the small
boxes can disappear too easily? I do use them for all my domestic
shipping, and am very happy with them, but am unsure about whether
to use them internationally.
Elegant Insects Jewelry
My local post office as of about 6 months ago, says they no longer
insure any precious metals and/or jewelry items (some other valuable
items too ) going anywhere overseas, even just to North America
(Canada) About $35.00 will get 4 ounces there quickly, unless it is
lost or stolen. Then too bad for the shipper.
They even brought it up on their computer for me to read. I asked
them again last month if there were any changes and still no
insurance for oversea deliveries, express, priority or other mail. If
anyone knows differently, I am interested to hear.
If you are shipping jewelry, I hope you have outside insurance.
I have had many things go missing- one box arrived opened, resealed
and all the contents missing. Took months to get paid for the claim-
they said 2 things- one: you can insure fine jewelry, two: I
couldn't prove that I shipped anything in the box at all!!!!!!
I use ParcelPro- they are an insurer for the jewelry industry. Great
tracking, never had a problem with over-billing using UPS or Fed-ex.
And if the package goes missing for any amount of time they will
start tracking it immediately.
Amery Carriere Designs
have sent them to Ireland and Portugal with no problem, other than
filling out the customs forms. I love telling folk that I am sending
Have you sent the small priority mail flat rate boxes outside the
US ? I'm new to international shipping, and have heard that the
small boxes can disappear too easily? I do use them for all my
domestic shipping, and am very happy with them, but am unsure about
whether to use them internationally.
I've used the USPS Priority Mail free packaging boxes for about 20
years. I've sent packages all over the US & internationally with no
problems. I used Stamps.com for labels & postage. The person
receiving an international package paid the customs fee. Occasionally
I used usps.com click & ship but found it to be a little more
difficult than stamps.com. All the customs forms can be completed
online using either stamps.com or usps.com click & ship.
The Priority packaging can also be ordered online from usps.com.
Have you sent the small priority mail flat rate boxes outside the
I've sent at least 25 of these boxes internationally without a
problem, and sometimes they arrive amazingly fast. And since these
boxes are not insured, they perhaps appear not worth stealing.
Kudos for the Post Office! They are my heroes! Last week my mailwoman
[yeh, it still sticks on the tongue] came to my house to deliver a
super important document sent registered mail. If I had not been home
she would have stopped by my store again to see if I had shown up
In the past she has dropped a package for me at my Bank across the
street from my store. Then went back and got it when she saw me pull
up in my car. She has gone back to the package dept. at the P.O. on
a Saturday and rooted thru the delivery bin till she found the
package from Rio Grande which a colleague had failed to deliver. I
needed the contents to make a baby bracelet for a christening the
next day! Given a choice I always insist on the Post Office.
Last week my mailwoman [yeh, it still sticks on the tongue]
How about Mail Carrier, as it accurately describes both the men and
women who carry the mail?
I've just had my own bad experience this week with Fedex. I used them
to ship cross country from NY to the ACRE show in Las Vegas. Once at
the show I had to come to their defense (and my own) when the
convention shippers refused to let Fedex onto the show floor and to
my booth in order to ship my boxes home. I was told I must hand
carry the boxes (5 boxes up to 46 inches long and a total of 200
pounds) across the show floor, up the steps and into the Fedex
office. And I'm 5 foot 2 inches tall and over 60 years old! With the
help of the show director I was finally offered a reasonable
Fedex did ship my boxes home, charged to my recently opened account.
When the boxes arrived they were quite squished, but still sealed.
Later I learned that some inner boxes were squished too, and 2 items
Disregarding the condition and damage, there is a bigger problem - a
charge, but NO statement, invoice, bill, nothing. Not on paper,
email, fax or online. After several long phone calls to Fedex, the
last one to their Bristol Cat department (a strange name for a
customer service department!), I was told that there is not a single
person or department in Fedex that can give me a statement about the
shipment, and no, there was nothing accompanying the boxes either. It
seems I am supposed to be glad the shipment arrived and pay the bill,
even though I suspect I was overcharged about $40. Their only comment
about the suspiciously large charge for the return compared to the
shipment to the show is that 2 different calculation methods might
have been used, one by weight and one by box dimensions. No
explanation as to if this actually occurred ow why it might have
happened, or an offer to recalculate using the same method for both.
Needless to say I did not ask Fedex for a quote on my next shipment
and will be cancelling my account with them. As far as the broken
items, Fedex does NOT insure your shipment. The dollar amounts you
provide are declarations of value which you can use to collect
damages from your own insurance company, but not from Fedex.
Fortunately the broken items were of more emotional value than
White Branch Designs
I've heard nightmares about shipping lg shipments (ie: freight) via
ups or fed-ex.
I use service by air- that's all they do, they are reliable &
inexpensive. Best to palatte your shipment.
I think if we all talked about our shipping/mailing experiences it
would likely be divided between the 3 big ones (USPS, UPS and FedEx)
as to which is "worst" or the "best", or has the worst customer
service. We have used FedEx for years and ParcelPro for the insurance
and have been extremely pleased. They have never lost a package
(maybe a few delayed over all these years, but that's all) and when
we have had issues we generally have had pretty good experiences with
customer service or dealing with our rep. Due to problems we have had
having things delivered to us, we did not want to use UPS. And the
only package ever lost was via USPS (mailed to Canada per client's
request). I guess my point is some here have not had a good
experience with FedEx but probably just as many, if not more, are
well pleased...same with UPS and USPS. And once you make the change
from FedEx (or whichever one you are using now) you will be happy
with the next one until it screws up. Though I would like it to all
go perfectly I am realistic enough to know it always won't....what I
look for is how it is handled when there is a problem...and so far
FedEx wins for me.
And it is our responsibility to know the limitations in terms of
insurance, where will ship to, billing, etc. For instance ParcelPro
has a list of countries it will provide coverage for...not all
countries are covered...and some that are covered have extreme ($100)
restrictions for value...so our responsibility to check these things
Ok, off soapbox.
When I managed a Jewelry Studio, I needed to (re)organize
everything. Shipping was an issue, and I brought in USPS to
demonstrate what they offered. The area representative was thorough,
accessible and needed. Included in the complete packet of
and physically present at one onsite visit was a
representative of Stamps.com. Not sure if they have a tie in with
USPS. I did use USPS online for postage, including outside of the
USA, at times it was necessary to call USPS number listed for
assistance, it was not easy nor were some of the people inclined to
assist. That necessitated a call to the area representative. Aside
from small issues, it worked well.
We had a storefront USPS drop off across the street and used it. One
parcel did not arrive for far too long. When it did the customer
described it in a way we were totally unfamiliar with. There was an
investigation involving fraud and federal representatives. The place
was closed down never to reopen. The large sign above indicating
USPS was removed. Seems one individual there was slicing open
parcels, removing content and repacking it. In our case with
cooperation from the recipient, we were able to quickly determine
the parcel had been tampered with.
OTOH, via UPS, which charges additional for residential delivery,
which USPS does not, a shipped rolling mill was "delayed" upon
arriving, and another shipped in place of, when the original was
delivered clearly damaged, the handle was off. When it was shipped
back, the handle was not included. Bottom line mal-intent employees
are not the exclusive property of one shipper over the other. IMHO,
neither are mal-intent employers.