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  1. #1
    First-graft Pearl
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    Default Buyer and Seller Responsibilities Regarding Shipping

    Hi all,

    I was just hoping maybe I could get some clarification about the expectations of this community of pearl lovers, buyers and sellers alike, when it comes to responsibility of the buyer and the seller in the event that the goods are lost by the carrier. With the variety of business types using shipping services from all over the world represented on this thread, what are your thoughts on the matter? What are your experiences?

    I recently made a relatively large purchase of a lot of pearls from which I was to select the ones I liked. I had paid for all of the pearls in advance with good faith that the seller would accept returns of the pearls I did not like. Unfortunately the entire shipment was lost by the mail carrier on its way TO me. I was not offered any particular shipping options, just that the seller suggested signature confirmation which I agreed to. Come to find out, the seller had not placed insurance on the package other than the automatic $50 that came with the shipping service- not that I could file a claim for it because I was not the shipper.

    When I contacted the seller, they expressed that once the package was dropped off at USPS, it was not longer their responsibility and was "out of [their] hands". I was shocked because at least in my experience as a buyer, especially of online goods, the seller is responsible for making sure the goods reach the buyer. In the event of a carrier mishap, it is up to the seller to absorb the costs and file the claim (and add the necessary insurance)- so if an item gets lost, the seller issues a refund, then files a claim with the carrier to recover to costs.

    Apparently, this is not a universal belief in the world of online commerce? Shipment and delivery are very different things. I am feeling very disillusioned about it because in my experience I have always had very secure transactions with online retailers that have a system in place to compensate the buyer in the event of non-delivery. Because at the end of the day a buyer cannot pay for what s/he didn't receive, can s/he? At least that was what I had thought until this debacle....

    So I ask you PG-ers, buyers and sellers alike, is there no consensus of who has to suffer when a carrier fails? (I was under the impression that as a seller, you are enlisting the services of a third party to deliver your goods, you are technically responsible for this third party. Just like everyone else you hire to complete your job.)

    What are your expectations when it comes to the perils of purchasing online?

  2. #2
    Pearlista Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert GemGeek's Avatar
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    If you purchased on eBay - forget it. I have gone above and beyond to get the seller to let me pay for insurance whenever the dollar amount is significant and I have refused to purchase otherwise. They don't want the hassle if it goes astray. I am really sorry to hear about your trouble. Maybe it will still show up.

  3. #3
    Third-graft Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert ckrickett's Avatar
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    How did you pay? Was it paypal, a CC, bank wire? In some cases you can get your money back if you can prove you didn't receive them and there was negligence on the sellers side. Be aware that if you can get your money back it can take several weeks or several months depending on the amount.

  4. #4
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert waimeamomi's Avatar
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    Default

    I won't ship without insurance. Period. I charge it to the recipient and it is part of shipping costs. If you were buying on memo (look then return, you should pay for shipping and insurance. When I buy on memo I pay for insurance on the return, even if it's not required. I wouldn't purchase without insurance and I'm not going to ship without it.
    Sheryl

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/mkmPearls
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    ?All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster's autobiography? Frederico Fellini
    Momi means pearl in Hawaiian!

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    It's almost always the seller's responsibility, not yours. You never took receipt of the goods. You paid for something you did not receive. If you paid via credit card, it's a simple telephone call to your credit card provider. Paypal would be simple as well. It's always the sellers responsibility to get the goods to you.

    If you paid by check, money order or bank wire, it will be more difficult and you might lose. If you didn't agree to FOB origin, the vendor should still be responsible, but it could be hard to force collection. Then again, if the vendor is an online dealer ... you are here for a reason.

  6. #6
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    The seller is responsible to get it to you, not just to ship it.

    Insurance is for the seller's benefit, not yours-- it enables the seller to get a refund from the carrier if the item is broken or lost en route to you, so that after he refunds you, he can get a refund himself by filing an insurance claim.

    If you paid by PayPal, open a case for "item not received." You will be told how long you have to escalate the claim, and in the meantime you are supposed to try to work it out with the seller. Don't miss your deadlines!

    Escalating means you have given up efforts to resolve the problem and you're turning the resolution of the case over to PayPal. After you escalate, PayPal will give the seller 10 days to reply to the case. Unless the seller can prove receipt with a delivery confirmation showing delivery to your zip code (or signature confirmation if the value is over $250), PayPal will make the seller refund you. This is why sellers who accept PayPal should always be sure they purchase delivery/signature confirmation.

    If the confirmation number shows delivery to your zip code but you didn't get it, it is no longer the seller's problem. In that case you'd need to check with the carrier, with your neighbors etc.

    If you paid by credit card, file a claim for non-receipt with your credit card.

  7. #7
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    Khanzy, so sorry to hear this is happening to you! Of course, there is always the possibility the package will still show up. But I do agree with the advice to file a claim with paypal or credit card if possible. As a seller, I have on occasion called the buyers post office. If there is tracking on the package, it will be automatically scanned a number of times in its journey.

    Agree with Sheryl, as a seller, I always ship with insurance and above a certain value, signature also.
    Pattye


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  8. #8
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert amti's Avatar
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    Gosh, I'm so sorry... I hope the package shows up! I purchase a lot online and almost every seller I have bought from uses tracking. If the tracking shows an item is delivered, then it becomes my problem. I have not had anything broken in a while, but when something did break, we paid for insurance (it was a laptop and we paid $30 for shipping, handling, and insurance per the seller) and the seller refunded our money because they forgot to buy the insurance and shipped in an unpadded box. Or rather, ebay/paypal forced the seller to return our money when we filed a claim. See if the seller shipped with tracking and see if the package can be located. And verify the address. I recently made a stupid mistake and had something shipped to my daughter 400 miles away, at her old college dorm address. I called the dorm, the university mail room, my daughter and managed to locate the package and have her get it. Good luck!

  9. #9
    Pearlista Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert GemGeek's Avatar
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    Look at all this great advice! Maybe it's not a dire situation after all.

  10. #10
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Whoever is sending the item is responsible for its safe arrival, and liable for the loss if it doesn't arrive safely.

    This means that if the buyer is returning merchandise, the buyer becomes the one responsible to insure and track it, or risk taking the loss.

  11. #11
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    If you don't get what you paid for that's a simple breach of contract. You have provided what is called consideration - money - so you have fulfilled your side of the deal. They have not supplied their consideration - the pearls.
    In Europe it is the seller's responsibility to get the goods to the buyer. No arrive = refund or replacement. That's the law here but may not be in the US.
    That's the only issue which concerns you. The seller's relationship with the shipper/claiming for loss - that is the shipper's problem. It is a separate contract between them and nothing to do with you. In law you are a third party in that contract (just like with car insurance), even if you pay for the insurance.

  12. #12
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    It's the same in the USA, Wendy.

  13. #13
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    All good advice. That said I've had packages from India take 2 months to arrive and the same with China. Sometimes it just wanders around the system for awhile ... or sits on the floor somewhere. It may show up yet. I'm sorry this happened to you as it's pretty frustrating. Best of luck !

  14. #14
    First-graft Pearl
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    Default

    Hi everyone,

    Thank you for the advice- this has been and is still an ongoing absolute nightmare... Here's the timeline of events. I can say that I am finding out all these rules from carriers, PayPal, and my bank that complicate things

    Dec 23 USPS notice left
    Dec 24 went to local USPS office, they couldn't find package
    Dec 26, 28, 30... Called USPS, they couldn't find package on multiple days. At this point I am pretty sure it's a lost package. Officially, USPS cannot declare a package lost on their tracking update until 30 days from the date the package was supposed to be shipped. In addition, if a notice is left, 14 days have to pass by until they "attempt" to return the lost item to the sender. So I was told that they would verbally corroborate if anyone called to investigate the lost package or provide letter if need be.
    Dec 26 I emailed the seller letting them know about the status of the package. I was incensed by the reply I received. Excellent customer service with choice comments like "If the post office lost the package while it was being delivered to you, that’s completely out of my hands." and "I upheld my side of the deal. I sent the pearls when they were supposed to be sent and the tracking proves this." They even ended their reply asking me to "let [them] know why you think this is [their] fault?". Needless to say, I had different expectations of the online buying-selling relationship so I felt betrayed.
    At this point, it was clear the seller did not see this as their responsibility and was not interested in issuing a refund, period, so I took it to PayPal. Which is a whole other post in itself...to be continued...

  15. #15
    First-graft Pearl
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    I filed a PayPal dispute/claim of non-delivery with the belief that Purchase Protection would reimburse me for my costs. The tracking status of the package at this point is "Notice left" but I provided the details as to USPS reporting rules and said they could call my local office to confirm this. 12/30 was the day I opened the claim with PayPal. As of today, I am still communicating with them because they closed my case on two different occasions. The first time, they apparently didn't read or confirm any of my statements about my package status or contact me for information, they just closed it on the premise of the original tracking status. I had to call them and send messages to several different PayPal customer service forms just to have them reopen the case. That is when they informed me that for purchases under $750 a notice left is all that is required to prove delivery, not signature confirmation- never mind that my package was originally sent with signature confirmation. They also informed me that they needed documentation and not just verbal confirmation that the package was lost from USPS (which is what they neglected to tell me before the CLOSED the case). As soon as I found out, the next day I called USPS to obtain that letter. And since I had been working with them back and forth since Dec 24, they knew exactly what was going on and I was able to pick up that letter the same day. I emailed a photo of it to my claims processing while I was still at the post office. That was yesterday afternoon.

    Can you guess my reaction upon waking up to see that my case has (once again) been closed, this time PayPal closed the case seemingly without reviewing any of the details, simply stating, "The seller has provided valid tracking information on the above case. As a result, your appeal can not be granted at this time. "

    !!!!

    "Tracking information", "notice left", "shipment", "dropping off the package at the carrier"... does not a delivery make!

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