Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Let's Talk About Shipping

I'll be honest, I know nobody reads shop polices, the endlessly repeated shipping information at the bottom of each listing, or the shop announcement at the very top of every store.  You know what?  Half the time I don't either.  (Although you and I both should, there's usually some good stuff there including notices, special offers, and discount codes.)

But recently I've gotten some questions about shipping so lets grab a nice cuppa and give this topic some attention.  Then at least you can gloss over my shipping policies without feeling guilty about it. ;)

All about Shipping!

What Mail Class do you Ship?
  ***This one is important.  Read this.***
All packages are, by default, are shipped First Class USPS, without insurance and without delivery confirmation.  Why?  Because this allows me to keep shipping costs down for you and 99.99% of the time, this works just fine. However, this is important to keep in mind because with First Class USPS:
  • packages are not insured unless you convo me to add this as an option
  • packages cannot be tracked, unless you convo me to add Delivery Confirmation (and at that it doesn't track anything, it just tells me when/if it was delivered)
Selecting either of these options may require you to send addition funds.

First Class International Mail cannot be insured  and cannot be tracked and will require an upgrade to Global Priority Mail to invoke either of these options.  I can, generally, ship a package across the pond va First Class International for $8, which covers all my costs (see below) and the cost of postage.  Just to upgrade to Global Priority Mail (the cheapest class of mail that can be insured) will bring the cost of postage alone to over $20.  This is not even factoring in my costs, the costs of insurance, or the cost of tracking.  Now you're looking at a $25-$30 postage cost on pretty light package.  Heaven help you if you're importing Panacea's Salve by the vat (and some of you do).

If you live in the US and need the package faster, convo me and we can discuss shipping it via UPS overnight or 2 Day for an additional fee.

What is included in shipping costs?
My shipping prices are set to cover the cost of shipping, packaging materials, the monthly fee I pay for my print at home postage service, and a portion of the Etsy and PayPal fees incurred with each transaction.  The last order of boxes I made was $230 + $25 shipping to me.  Let me be the first person to say that there are few purchases as unsatisfying as empty boxes that you have to pay to have shipped to you.  ;) 

How do you set shipping costs?
I guess and modify from there. Thankfully the guessing stage was a few years ago, now I'm just tweaking as I go.  The way it works is that Etsy will let me set a rate to a loooooong list of countries for each item.  When you pick an item on Etsy it takes the highest shipping cost out of all those items as the base.  Then, for each additional item, it adds a secondary (lesser) shipping costs for each.  I do my very, very best to balance this as I go and check what my actual postage costs are against the one Etsy came up with, and I modify as necessary.  What this means is that sometimes a package might cost me less than I charged to ship, and sometimes it costs me more than what I charged to ship.  It's impossible for me to get it exact every time as postage costs vary by weight.  It it's close enough (within a dollar or so) we just roll with the difference.  Just know that if postage is a smidge more than what you paid, I will never ask you to make up the difference, but if postage is way under what I expected I will refund you the difference via PayPal. If shipping is off, that's my fault, not yours.

How fast/when do you ship?
Barring extraordinary circumstances I ship within two business days of receiving your order.  I pack orders very late in the evening on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday nights.  This means that parcels actually go out first thing in the morning on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You will be notified when your package has been shipped, and will also be told in advance if your package will take more than two business days to ship.

Lost Packages
I feel horrible and miserable each time something doesn't arrive where it should. I wish I had a magical army of faeries to carry your packages safely, directly and instantaneously to you.   But I don't.  I have to rely on human beings, and they, like I, am fallible. The bottom line is this: I am not responsible for lost packages. If your package is lost let me know and I will file an insurance claim on it *IF* you paid for insurance. Keep in mind that First Class International packages are NOT insured and may take up to 3 months to arrive if they are waylaid in Customs. If it's around Christmas/New Year's?  Ugh. :(

It is very, very rare something goes missing and is never returned to either me or the intended recipient. Over the course of almost 5,500 items this has happened only twice that I am aware of. If you choose not to insure a package, please keep in mind that once I send it I have no way to recover your losses if it never arrives or is very delayed. If you are concerned about this, please add insurance, delivery confirmation, or if you're not in the US, upgrade to International Priority Mail. I reserve the right to upgrade to these options if the value of a package is quite high. 

All sticks are shipped in soft Flannel bags inside boxes.  Pins and other jewelry may be shipped in boxes within padded envelopes.  Sample sizes of herbal products are shipped in padded envelopes, and upgrades to boxes happen with larger sizes.

Whew!  So, now that I have a fresh cuppa, any questions, comments or concerns?

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