I had someone buy something from me at a military base overseas. She purchased the item with parcel post. Since the item isn't expensive, I didn't ask for signature confirmation or insurance.
It has now been 35 days since I sent the item and she has still not received it. Last week she contacted me about this, so I contacted USPS. They told me that over seas parcel post takes an average of 30-45 days for delivery. I relayed this information to my buyer, who just opened up a paypal dispute because she hasn't received the item.
I replied to her that she has to wait 10 more days before USPS will even begin looking for the package. I included the tracking info, etc.
My hands are tied...I think.
Is there anything else I can do? I dont want to refund her and then 10 days later have her receive the item for free!
Signature Confirmation is not available for APO, and actually Delivery Confirmation doesn't seem to work either. I have never had a package sent to APO scan as delivered when using DC (though the people were honest and left me positive feedback so I knew they received it).
I'll be interested to hear how PayPal deals with claims from APO buyers since there never appears to be good online tracking in these cases.
And yeah, I've heard Parcel Post takes a gazillion years with APO, so next time use First Class or Priority -- it's worth the extra money for your buyer to get the item fast.
I just had my first apo/fpo sale. I had a bit of address confusion and while I was waiting to here back from the buyer, I researched in the Answer Center. I realize this might not help you now, but for the future this is what I've learned. Parcel post to the military can take forever. Always send Priority. I ended upgrading my PP to Priority (at my expense), for my own peace of mind. You need one, in case a claim has to be filed, but know that delivery confirmations only let you know when it is delivered to the military, not when it reaches its final destination. I asked my buyer to let me know when it arrived, he said sure thing, but he's not expecting it for 2-3 weeks (Priority). I also insured it, apo/fpo shipments are damaged or lost a lot. Someone joked with me about you never know if its rolling around on a ship or plane with tanks, and there's always the parachute drop delivery.
Also, go overboard with the packaging (because of possible damage). I really double packed mine, and included a packing slip with shipping info securely taped under plastic on the inside package, in case something happens to the outside box.
Can't be sure, but I think my package is going to a ship somewhere, and when you think about it, how often do they do mail runs to ships.
I have seen a lot of listings lately stating no shipment to apo/fpo. I personally think it's appalling, can't bring myself to bid on those, and at the same time I sort of understand. Yeah it's a bit of a hassle, but I've never served and don't know anyone who has, but if a little extra effort with the post office is all that is asked of me, I'll try my best. Sorry, I'm off my soapbox now. Couldn't help it.
It's possible your buyer has only received Priority shipments and has no experience with parcel post and has no idea how long it really takes. It seems a lot of sellers automatically upgrade to priority (for apo/fpo). Have you tried posting your problem in the answer center, shipping? I really got some good advice and pretty fast.
Please let us know what happens and good luck to you.
I'm currently living on a military base overseas so here's the standard waiting period for mails:
Priority 7-10 days
First Class also 7-10 days
Parcel Post 6-8 weeks, sometimes well over 2 months
Delivery confirmation and Insurance both work for APO/FPO shipping. If something was sent with delivery confirmation then we have to personally pick it up from the post office to sign for it.
Your buyer should know how this work so to open a claim against you after just 35 days is being kinda unreasonable. Please just email and reassure her that it will arrive eventually but just be patient.
She did not escalate it right? She is probably filing the complaint because she has to file within 45 days to be covered by PP.
I do this, just in case, the package doesn't arrive-- that way.. I am covered by PP.
I also agree with Kannewguy, DC and Insurance does work for APO/FPO address. Actually, if you filled out a Customs Form.. the white one, not the small green one. There is a bar code on top of that white Customs Form and the alphanumeric characters, below the bar code, should also work as a tracking (sometimes it works for me, when the Postal Clerk scans that on the sender's end).. enter the alphanum on usps' tracking box on their website.
I also want to add that Express Shipping is also available for FPO/APO addresses... as I've received packages sent that way from the US. It takes approx 5-7 business days (sometimes sooner!).
The buyer wanted the insurance number so she could put in a claim with the post office. I had made a mistake and stated in my listing that insurance was included with shipping. The shipping was free for her and decided not to buy insurance because the item wasn't over $50. Its my mistake for saying that there was insurance in the listing. I gave her a full refund and asked her to contact me if the item arrives and that I trust she will pay me when it does.
She gave me positive feedback and seems very trustworthy. A military wife with 2 kids doesn't sound like the kind of person that will try to rip me off.
Even though its annoying, I think I did the right thing.
delivery confirmation does work, i just sold something to an APO and i paid for priority with delivery confirmation. it actually got there (in belgium) in like 3 days, as before the week was up she left positive feedback and i checked USPS tracking and saw the progression.
anyhow, hopefully it gets to her and she pays you back.
I think you did the right thing, I know I lost $ on my first apo/fpo, an extra $20 or so for priority and insurance (large, heavy pkg.), not to mention the extra packing material, but I know I did everything possible. I feel I learned at my expense, not the buyer's. Also, I'm not sure if anyone mentioned it, but the PO has flat rate military priority boxes at a discount. Although this item wouldn't fit, I'm going to keep a few around for the future. Best wishes to you, Leeleerae.
Hmmm...thats a good idea. Maybe I will write in my auctions that that anyone with and APO/AFO address should contact me first so that we can figure out the best way to ship an item and if it will fit in an APO flat rate box.