Shipping Problems

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Always insure your quilt when you ship it

What are you willing to lose? A few dollars in insurance or your treasured quilt? Remember, you will need a certified appraisal to back up your stated value if the package is lost or damaged. Be sure to check any limitations on what you can insure. Some shippers place limits on what you can insure artwork for. Be sure to read the fine print. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Some companies may leave packages on your doorstep

In July 2009 I emailed one well-known company and asked, "Can you please tell me where I will find your delivery policy regarding when you will leave a package if no one is available, and when you will leave a delivery notice?"

The shipping company responded, "Thank you for your question. In order for [company name] to release a shipment without obtaining a signature, the delivery address must be either a single-family dwelling or multiple family dwelling with a private entrance. [Company name] will not release packages that are shipped to commercial addresses or apartment / condominium complexes. In addition, our drivers cannot release certain high-risk shipments or packages requiring an adult signature at delivery. The decision on whether or not to release a shipment is ultimately up to the driver’s best discretion. The goal is to deliver shipments in a safe area, away from public view, and protected from the weather."

Require a signature for delivery

Be sure to check the box on the shipping label that says you require an adult signature for the package to be delivered. If you do not check this box, the shipping company could deliver your package without a signature and leave it unattended in areas that are deemed to be "safe" by the company. When you require a signature, most companies attempt to deliver several days in a row if necessary. If there is still no one to accept the package after several attempts then the package may be returned to the sender.

Most companies offer multiple ways to track a package

If your package was assigned a tracking number, you may be able to track a package by placing a phone call, by email, or by accessing your company’s website. Most companies let you input your tracking number, and find out where your package was last scanned.

Just because there is activity on your tracking number, it doesn’t necessarily mean the package was physically scanned

Different companies may have different policies on how they conduct scans. Most companies employ physical scans where they actually hold a scanner over your package and scan the bar code. At least one company also uses logical scans or derived scans. When packages are placed into an air container or onto a truck, they are physically scanned. Then, as the shipment progresses, only the container or truck is scanned and all of the tracking information for the contents are updated accordingly. It is possible for this scan to be faulty for a particular package if it is scanned and then moved to another container or truck, but it doesn’t get rescanned properly.

If a package is not delivered in a timely manner, you may be able to have a tracer placed on the item

Usually, the person who shipped the package has to place the tracer, even if you are the owner of the contents. A tracer will most likely be active for limited number days.

If you are not satisfied with the help you have received, you can ask to talk to a supervisor

A supervisor has more authority to help you if the regular operator can not. Sometimes the supervisor can resolve your problem.

If the situation is still not resolved, you can ask for a call from your account executive

For at least one shipping company, each region of the country has account executives who will deal directly with you on a personal basis. It may take a day or so before they call you back. Be sure to get a name and a direct phone number and call back, Call Back, CALL BACK. Try to be friendly and pleasant. It’s not their fault the package was lost. They’re trying to help you find it. Ask them who you can send a written complaint to. Write it, send it, and call them too. The more people on your side the better.

If a shipping label becomes damaged, the box is opened and all undelivered items are sent to overgoods warehouses

For at least one shipping company, when a package is damaged the description of the item is entered into a national database. Your account executive can request the overgoods warehouse personnel to search the database using your detailed description. Personal items are held a limited number of months. Commercial items (something you could buy in a store) that are less than a certain value are kept less that two weeks.

If your package is unrecoverable, you may have to submit a claims form

If you have to submit a claim, you must do it within certain amount of time from the original expected delivery date. Without a written appraisal it may be difficult to establish a value for your quilt. If your quilt is unrecoverable and you do not have an appraisal, you will have to make and submit an invoice for the materials only. They will not pay for labor or sentimental value.

In rare instances, the shipping company may suspect a theft

If your shipping company suspects that an employee has stolen an item, there is usually a certain department which will takes over and investigate.