PDA

View Full Version : what would you do?



Tudorp
08-24-2012, 07:04 AM
I am just wondering, even though I already know what I plan to do. It's what I feel is the right thing to do.

Problem: I made two ukuleles, one Aphid, and one Ladybug for a guy in Asia. He has been very patient in waiting for these to be built, and pre-paid for them some time ago, before I even started the builds. Very nice guy, and very pleasant. I finished his builds and shipped them out. They were tracked up until they left the United States, but that is where the trail ended. They are MIA, with no trace beyond our boarder. No insurance. At this point, I am not optimistic and fear the worst. Them being MIA is of no fault on either side. They simply vanished. I fear stopped by customs outside of the US, or simply lost or stolen.

Being the builder/shipper, what would you do?

My builds have been scarce due to my shop being in limbo for the past year, as well as health issues. Suffering a mild stroke, still have use of my right arm/hand, but it is challenging. I can still build, but it is very labor intensive and takes longer due to having to really concentrate on what my hands are doing. Since my stroke, I have to really concentrate on what my hands articulate, with every move. Like I said, can be done, and I am not letting the stroke keep me from doing what I want to do, but, it is more a challenge these days.

I want to build this guy two more at my own expense and labor. I think it's the right thing to do.

bazmaz
08-24-2012, 07:06 AM
I think you do owe him either the ukes or a refund. He may however accept the refund if he understands how difficult it would be for you to start on new builds?

SailingUke
08-24-2012, 07:14 AM
I agree, I would send him the proof of shipment so he can see you actually shipped them.
I would guess he would understand about your health issues and gladly accept a refund.
We will all vouch for you as a stand-up guy.
Hope you continue to recover, you are missed here on the forum.

Tudorp
08-24-2012, 07:19 AM
I agree. But, I want to build him the ukes. He was really wanting them, and looking forward to them. He has been very understanding, and pleasant though all of this. I don't think he thinks that they wern't shipped. He is confident of that. But man, I am sick that he is disapointed because they are missing. If he wanted a refund I would do that as well, even though in my current financial position it would be tough, but he paid up and it is rightfully owed him. But, again, I don't care how difficult it might be, but I would like to see him have the ukes he has been patently waiting for.

hoosierhiver
08-24-2012, 07:20 AM
1)How did you ship them?, if they went via post office there should be a customs tracking number on your receipt.

2) How long has it been? Some countries take longer to process international parcels.

3) Tell him to check the local post office, they might be sitting there waiting for him to come pay duty.

vanflynn
08-24-2012, 07:22 AM
Were they insured?

Tudorp
08-24-2012, 07:26 AM
I sent them regular international mail. The PO on his side said it could take 10-12 weeks. I never had anything take that long, but he said he'll wait to see if they show up. They been missing now for over a month so, there is time I reckon, but it still bugs me there is no information as to where they might be. I should have sent them certified, but my wife didn't know, and she is the one that took them to the PO and just shipped them regular international parcel. No tracking, no nothing. Not her fault, she just didn't know either. I generally like to ship USPS priority, or International priority which would have come with tracking info.

hoosierhiver
08-24-2012, 07:47 AM
If you've got the post office receipt, it will have the customs tracking number on it regardless of how you sent it. First class mail can take a lot longer than priority, the post office is trying to save money and they sometimes "bundle" first class international packages and this slows everything down. What country did it go to?

Tudorp
08-24-2012, 07:52 AM
Thailand. I need to do some more investigating. The PO told me it left congus, but that is as far as they can check it. I'm just preparing for the worst, and going to start a couple builds. If they show up, the builds can go to someone else. If not, at least I will have something in the pipeline for him. I've only had one parcel before get lost (not uke related) sent to South America, but have heard horror stories.

hoosierhiver
08-24-2012, 08:18 AM
Be sure to have him check with his local post office.

mm stan
08-24-2012, 08:21 AM
sometimes they take longer Tony, be patient on international shipping..just let him know, that's the main thing
sometimes the 5 bucks insurance is well worth it...you know I had a couple packages that after it left the sending
state post office, the tracking said nothing for 2 weeks and a day before the confirmed date it said arrived in
honolulu..not sure why they are not updating their tracking and confirmation..makes you worry, but it could be
because of cutbacks in the postal service..

Tudorp
08-24-2012, 08:29 AM
It might be just my inhearant OCD (never diagnosed, but my mother is OCD, and I have some of the traits when it comes to details lol.). But it really gets under my skin when someone depends on me for something, and they end up being disappointed.. I hate letting someone down when they put trust in me.

hoosierhiver
08-24-2012, 08:46 AM
We sometimes get a customer who doesn't want to pay anymore than necessary for postage, but sending international parcels by first class can take too long. Once took 6 weeks for a package to get to Australia, the post office told me not to worry beacuse they "bundle" first class to save money. I relayed this to the customer, but after 5+ weeks the customer was so irate I had to send a replacement. He got the original parcel a couple days after I sent the replacement.

bazmaz
08-24-2012, 09:07 AM
Tudorp - if they genuinely do go missing though (and I do think, wait a little longer yet) then the decision on what happens not is his not yours.

I think it's admirable you still want to build for him, particularly as it would be a struggle, but you need to ask the buyer. If he asks for a refund instead, then reckon you have to honour that.

haolejohn
08-24-2012, 09:49 AM
Tony. We have moved to Alaska and we sent boxes parcel post and priority from Georgia. I am still waiting on some of my parcel post boxes and it has been a month. I just received my classroom ukes yesterday. You did nothing wrong. If the man didn't want to buy insurance (not sure why no one would not) then you have proof that you sent it.

I understand wanting to do what is right but is what we think is right really right? LOL!!

I do like the start to rebuild but I wouldn't ship the replacement ukes until after a few months. 12 weeks is a long time but it took a month for boxes to arrive to me from within the USA (and longer since I am still waiting on boxes).

Tudorp
08-24-2012, 11:36 AM
Actually, he didn't pay for shipping. I covered it because he has been so patient in waiting for me to get them built. He has been a pleasure to talk with. Which is another reason I feel the need to go over and beyond. I can tell his is disappointed in thinking they may be lost, but has never spoke harshly towards me over it. He has always been pleasant.

I also agree that a specific resolution should be his choice. But, from his tone, he was really looking forward and hoping to get one of my Minis, which I feel honored that it would be so anticipated, and worthy of the wait he has already gone through while I got them built. I want to make it right however the outcome, but I also want him to have them because he was so axtious for them. I just hate that he has waited so long after pre-paying for them on the honor system, then they end up MIA.

Like I mentioned the wife didn't know, and she just dropped them off at the PO and shipped them to the address I had them addressed to. She just went through the motions, and didn't really know the logistics of sending anything to Asia. So technically, I dropped the ball. I don't feel I did anything wrong, but I still feel horrible because I feel I let someone down. It will work out in the end. But it doesn't make it any easier to think about. This is one reason I made a bad business man, because my ethics are honorable, and that just doesn't seem to pay the bills in today's world. But, that won't change me, and one reason I retired from business owner when I had my Graphics shop. It bothered me that other shops didn't appreciate that I gave people a good fair deal, and did things with quality and ethics in mind even over making money. Most other shops went for the bottom line, and I just didn't, and because I did business the way I did, gained a reputation of that, and people flocked to me, leaving the unethical businesses that didn't take the customer's concerns to heart. I was loved by the community and customers, but hated by the industry which caused me to leave the business owner world. I felt I would rather leave, than to change my ethics.

Hippie Dribble
08-24-2012, 11:36 AM
brother Tony, I had some tuners shipped from Thailand recently. They took 5 weeks regular mail. I had been very worried too that they were MIA but they did turn up. I would still be hopeful that they will arrive, especially if they indicated a possible 10-12 week time frame for delivery. If you build two more then this just shows the quality of man you are. In any case, I will guarantee a sale of the Aphid so that's one taken care of...

In any case brother, I wish you well love and improving health and will continue to pray over these things for you and your family. Blessings mate.

Tudorp
08-24-2012, 11:58 AM
Brudda Jon, as always, yo da man. I miss talking with you. I pray for you always as well for good health as well. Hope your doing well. I'm not worried about selling when I make more, but if you want one, you are on my list of ta-dos when I get back at it. In fact, I am also on that waiting list, lol.. I sold every one I built with the exception of #1. I been wanting to make me one as well. The #1 I plan to keep for ever, but it being my prototype, has some flaws I wouldn't sell because of. One was the mounting block not done correctly, and it caused a hairline crack at the neck to body area. barely noticeable, but I know it's there and it is still playable, and looks great in the wife's curio cabinet, lol.. Besides, it was the only one I made with ebony fretboard, & bridge. they all have ebony tuners, but all the others I built are rosewood fretboard and bridge. I do plan to make others with ebony, but ebony is a PITA to work with on this small of a scale, lol..

But hopefully, I can also stay on the ta-do list to build myself one of each. I don't even have a Ladybug of my own, hahhah..

hmgberg
08-24-2012, 12:24 PM
Hi Tony:

Listen to what Mike is recommending. The USPS cannot track a package once it leaves the states, but it can be tracked through the number on the customs form once it arrives in the destination country. Not too long ago a sent 2 packages to Belgium. One was sent about ten days after the other. They both took a long time to arrive, and the one I sent later arrived first, by about a week.

PhilUSAFRet
08-24-2012, 12:39 PM
I hope you didn't list them as aphid and ladybug on the shipping info sheet! LOL

Tudorp
08-24-2012, 12:45 PM
lol.. I had thought of that, and that it may cause a problem. Im not sure how anyone would feel about transporting insects to other countries..lol.. I did NOT mark them as Aphids and Ladybugs, lol.. Now that I think about it, I hope the Ladybug didn't eat the Aphid on the way. They are natural enemies. lol

stevepetergal
08-24-2012, 12:48 PM
Yes, it's probably premature to designate them "MIA".

You say there's no fault on either side. That's true, but in my opinion whoever makes the decision to send the instruments without insurance is the one who should be SOL for the MIA.

In answer to your question, if I had decided against insurance, I'd duplicate the two instruments as best I could and offer them for free or refund the customer's investment. If the customer was responsible for the insurance,I'd offer the re-dos at some kind of friendly discount.

Lalz
08-24-2012, 02:00 PM
I second what the others are saying about waiting a bit longer. Some countries have extremely slow postal services. I once bought an instrument from Zimbabwe that also went missing for a long time. No way of tracking it. Then it showed up after 5 months in mint condition :)

Guitar2ukulele
08-24-2012, 02:21 PM
Tudorp, what worked for me is to track the packages on the destination country website. For instance, UK site Royal Mail takes over once it reaches the UK and provides more up to date information than usps. I don't know what or if thailand has a dedicated site but they should.

Plainsong
08-24-2012, 02:31 PM
Tudorp, what worked for me is to track the packages on the destination country website. For instance, UK site Royal Mail takes over once it reaches the UK and provides more up to date information than usps. I don't know what or if thailand has a dedicated site but they should.

Yes, this. Also if I read all this correctly, it's normal for their customs to take twelve weeks? And hasn't been less than a month? There's not nearly enough time to get worried just yet, which would explain why the customer is pleasant. It's just normal.

If they are indeed lost after a few more months, then it's up to buyer if he wants a refund or not. To protect yourself in the future, you could have a clause that states that if there isn't any insurance, then you're not responsible for items lost in the post. It doesn't sound like that's what you want to do, but it is an option to protect yourself.

UKEonomics
08-24-2012, 04:22 PM
Tudorp, you are a good man! Plain and simple.

I'm with everyone else...I'd wait it out a little longer. I've got a buddy that makes car shirts and ships them all over the place. He's had more than one occasion where a package has been held up in customs for months. Hang in there, bro!

mm stan
08-24-2012, 04:39 PM
We sometimes get a customer who doesn't want to pay anymore than necessary for postage, but sending international parcels by first class can take too long. Once took 6 weeks for a package to get to Australia, the post office told me not to worry beacuse they "bundle" first class to save money. I relayed this to the customer, but after 5+ weeks the customer was so irate I had to send a replacement. He got the original parcel a couple days after I sent the replacement.

All my flat rate boxes to Australia take 5-6 weeks...bundling eh...ah the cheapie HPO guys...

Teek
08-24-2012, 10:54 PM
I sold a uke to Hawaii, the buyer was too cheap to pay Priority, Parcel went on the boat I guess and took a week to even show that it was in the system (insured with Delivery Confirmation), then took three weeks to go to Honolulu area from Los Angeles, and he dinged me on my shipping ratings! I stayed in touch and kept tracking it for him and reporting it too.

So I concur with others posting; if the USPS says up to three months it may very well be that long.

Canoe Lady
08-25-2012, 05:46 AM
I wouldn't get too discouraged yet. I have shipped small packages to Hawaii that have taken almost a month....and that's not international. That's just from Wisconsin!

mm stan
08-25-2012, 09:45 AM
Yes I dont understand it...I just got a uke for 22.oo shipping to hawaii in less than 2 weeks from North Carolina, and a had fluke for 16.00 from tennesee for less time than that...
and then I had ukes go for double that rates take 5-6 weeks by boat... you see it gets sitting when it gets to the post office until they bundle up which can take weeks...then go by boat
I guess, You know what I learned, the most experienced shippers know something we don't...as I have noticed they get it here faster and way cheaper...maybe
it's how you do it too...who knows....

Kem
08-25-2012, 01:25 PM
I would just like to say that I've had parcels take a month to get to their destinations just within Canada. I really doubt you have anything to worry about; if it's been less than a month, the package is probably simply taking its own sweet time. Don't begin lamenting the loss of the ukes until the twelve weeks have passed.

joeybug
08-25-2012, 10:31 PM
I would just like to say that I've had parcels take a month to get to their destinations just within Canada. I really doubt you have anything to worry about; if it's been less than a month, the package is probably simply taking its own sweet time. Don't begin lamenting the loss of the ukes until the twelve weeks have passed.

:agree: with this totally.

Don't hit the panic button just yet, if the buyer isn't calling them MIA, and they said it would take up to 12 weeks, you should allow at least 14 weeks before you start to really worry. If you want to start building more just in case, that's your perogative and worse comes to worse, you have some extra to sell/keep.

Take care of yourself, Tudorp!

kirbo
08-25-2012, 10:54 PM
This is what I would do. I would start work on the replacement ukes. Take your time on them. I think the buyer would understand given your health issues. If after 12 weeks, there is still no sign of them, finish the replacements and resend them (this time with insurance). I have a feeling that they will turn up and so when they do, finish the replacements and sell/keep them.

It seems like you enjoy making them and you seem to be leaning this way. Of course, if you are unable to make the replacements (or don't want to), then refund the money. But give it at least 12 weeks.