Hopefully this is not indicative of the upcoming holiday season:
Out of the 8 packages I shipped over the past 10 days, here is the story of 6:
1) UPS: Following up on an item I shipped UPS, the driver put in that the tracking info that the receiver was not available and it was an unsecure location. I emailed the buyer and she told me she had a package stolen about 6 months ago. She gave me alternate shipping address and by the time I got back to the UPS website, which was only about 10 minutes, the package said it could not be rerouted and was being sent back to sender.
Problem is the address they were sending to was not the shipped from address, but a residential address 50 miles away from me, the return shipping on the label. Tried to explain to the rep that the package is on its way to a residence that drivers can't get in and out of due to long, heavily wooded driveway and no space to back a truck up in and it needed to be rerouted back to the shipper's "ship from" location on the label. They said it could not be rerouted.
The day it was due to be delivered to the wrong address, I checked and driver noted that it was undeliverable and was being sent back to return address on the label. That would be my address, the shipper, of which I had asked the rep to reroute it to in the beginning.
So far, this poor box has had 5 attempted deliveries, in 2 different states and with all that being said, this is a large glass platter. I wonder if it will make it back to me in one piece??
2) UPS: Another piece of glass that was so overpacked, I lost money on shipping but that was OK since I had a bit built into the handling charges, so it was only a couple dollars. The box was a New 14x14x14 200# ECT, item wrapped in bubble and peanuts. Buyer told me it was received broken, the box had a "dent" but "not too bad" and sent pictures of a shattered cake stand. Waiting for a refund from UPS.
3) UPS: Used eBay shipping to create 2 labels for a UPS item that had to ship in 2 packages. eBay shipping gave me two different label tracking numbers. One box delivered and the other never scanned from the point I dropped it at the UPS store. 11 days after, buyer placed an issue with eBay. Called eBay to see how this was going to be handled since UPS put in a tracking "Incident/Exception." eBay was pretty good on this one BUT here I am 8 days later and still no box found.
This item is a lamp that had to be shipped in 2 boxes. Buyer has 1/2 of a lamp. UPS sent me a claims notice but when I go to file it, the website refused and said a claim was already issued. I have sent my rep an inquiry on this and am waiting for an answer.
Yesterday, the UPS rep said they were going to physically check the lost and found area and needed a picture of what they were looking for. Today is the last day and I need to work with this buyer to find out what he wants to do. He has been very considerate so far.
4) USPS; Checked tracking this morning on USPS package and there has been an attempted delivery 2 times on a small package. I contacted the buyer with the updated info so hopefully they will contact the postal service in their area.
5) USPS: One more small USPS package that is also on its 2nd attempt to be delivered. I contacted the buyer and added them to the tracking updates from USPS. I hope this one gets caught in time.
6) USPS: Small item, wrapped in bubble and peanuts, again in a 12x12x12 200# ECT box new. Item was only 8" long x 3" diameter and had plenty of room for space when packed at an angle. Arrived broken. Placed a claim with USPS. They eventually got hold of the buyer and had him bring the box to them. Thankfully he kept all the packaging materials. He contacted me to say they accepted responsibility and are issuing a refund to me.
Just to note to all shippers: It appears that UPS and USPS will not be leaving packages as in the past. I do not use FEDEX (yet). The reasons being stated on line are "unsecure locations." There is too much theft going on and drivers are unwilling to take any chances as they are ultimately responsible.
So if you are shipping, the best thing to do (at least for me) is to not depend on just the tracking number to be sent to the buyer thru eBay.
These are my suggestions (others may already be doing this but for those of us that have never had issues in the past, this is really going to help):
1) Automatically add yourself and the buyer to tracking updates thru the carrier website, not eBay.
2) Buyer says not received 30+ days down the road.
3) It is your record to be used with eBay since it will show all the steps taken to either deliver or return a package to you and can help to avoid defects since you have proof.
4) I am urging all buyers that if they have an office or business location that I can ship to, that is the safest way to avoid any of the above.
5) If the buyer knows they will not be around to accept a package and they want it left at their house, they should leave a note for the delivery person, sign it and date it so the driver has a record to fall back on if the package goes missing. (learned this from FEDEX).
So, just a heads up for the holiday season for all ecommerce sellers!