Monday, February 18, 2013

Keeping Accurate Records

An issue happened today that sparked this post. Me and my girlfriend run a small supply shop on Etsy. (Magpie Lane Supplies on Etsy) We do it to help offset the price when we buy in bulk. We ship to people everywhere in the world. Today someone opened a case saying that they had not received their item that they purchased in December. They reside in India.

Now we keep pretty good records, though I am not as organized as I should be. I generally make it a point to add shipping notification on every item I ship as well as the tracking number. I must have been out of customs forms and got one at the library because I marked the item as shipped but did not provide a tracking number. *Hint: You should always add a tracking number.

Fortunately, I keep receipts for any packages that I ship outside of the US, I always have. I was able to enter the number into the claim. I am not sure what is going to happen with this because there is no way to track an item sent out of the US First Class Mail. It may be I end up refunding the money. I do have proof that I shipped the item and proof that it was in the US for a time.

The point of the matter is you should keep detailed records of all kinds including records of shipping. I plan to put a tracking number into the Etsy system on every order from now on just to be safe.  Keeping accurate records can save you money.


  1. Well, good luck on that one. I sent a pair of earrings to the UK in late October of last year, via USPS. It was sent Priority Int'l mail, insured (tracking number included).

    It never arrived, nor was it returned.

    I have provided all the documentation to USPS, including color photos, original Etsy page, PayPal receipt of funds, PayPal and Etsy fees, correspondence between myself and my customer. I'm presently waiting on yet another form so I can jump through some more hoops.

    I can't even get reimbursed the postal fees, about $17. So not only am I out the money for the earrings, but also all the fees for the original transaction fees to both Etsy and PayPal, but also the fee for reimbursing the customer via PayPal, and the listing fees. So altogether, not counting any profit I would have made, I lost close to $50 out of my pocket.

    USPS does not go out of their way to pay out for insured items, and with their red ink and tight budget, they make it as difficult as possible for you to be reimbursed. That was admitted to me by our own local postmaster, whom I happen to know personally.

    Wishing you luck, man. I hope it wasn't expensive.

  2. You are absolutely right about record keeping.
    There are no tracking numbers for international first class shippings. But there should be a LN number which is the customs number. With that, your customer in India can check with their customs whether the package is still in customs - it is a possibility and worth the try.