Shipping frustrations and new policies forthcoming...

When my shop re-opens in the new year, I have made the difficult decision to no longer offer shipping to any international destination - outside of Canada or USA - without charging for insured/traceable shipping! While it is very expensive for my customers (more than the cost of a journal!) and will most likely discourage them from purchasing from me, I feel that I have no recourse. To me, this is sad, because I have been blessed with so many excellent experiences with the majority of my international customers.

I ship all of my packages via Airmail, since it's the most economical for my international customers. However, it does NOT including tracking, insurance, or on-time delivery. I make sure I notify all of my customers of this fact, in case they would prefer to cancel their order and not take the risk, or wish to upgrade to a guaranteed form of shipping. CanadaPost estimates the amount of time it takes for Airmail to deliver a package to a certain destination, however, on-time delivery is not guaranteed. Delays during the holidays are particularly prone to occur.

Despite the fact this information is clearly listed in my Shop Policies, I've had to deal with a few international customers opening Paypal cases against me for a full refund of their purchase, due to delays in delivery, assuming their packages are lost in the mail. What upsets me is that the clearly stated policies of a small business online shop are deemed irrelevant if a customer files a Paypal claim. The seller is, basically, left helpless.

Such was the case, recently. A customer from another country purchased a journal from me. I shipped it via Airmail, as I always do. I notified the customer of the estimated delivery time offered by CanadaPost, and also forewarned there may be delays at customs due to the holiday season. Fine. Sure enough this customer opens a Paypal claim/case, stating they feel their journal was 'lost in the mail', despite the fact it's still within the time frame CanadaPost has estimated it to arrive to that international destination. Paypal will most likely side with the customer, who says they have not received their item. I do not doubt that it has not yet arrived, but shouldn't a customer who has been told of the Shipping Policies of my store, be responsible for that fact? Or am I just being naive? The fact it's all stated in my Shop Policies seems to make no difference. It doesn't seem to be a binding agreement in Paypal's eyes - even though I state that a purchase from my shop is a binding agreement to those policies. I encourage all my customers to read and understand them PRIOR to purchase. Most, I'm sure, do not. So sometimes I wonder why I even bother having them there.

In fact, Paypal has already docked my account for the amount I received for the product (saying it's "on hold" until the case is decided). So... I'm out of a journal and the time, material, and money I spent to create it. The journal will most likely still be delivered eventually and so the customer will have a free journal! In any case like this, the seller is at the mercy of the buyer's honesty (or lack thereof). I am hoping they will still remit payment, should the journal happen to arrive, which it most likely will.

Thankfully, this has not happened often...but when it does, it really upsets me. So it's definitely time to do something about it. It's either NO shipping outside of Canada/USA -OR- extremely high prices to ensure tracking and insurance to international destinations. Either way, I lose... and my international customers too.

I feel badly, because the majority of my international customers have been great, recognizing the risks of shipping across borders. As is most always the case, a few have to spoil it for the rest. :(

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