I was a little hesitant to write this post, because frankly I’m a little embarrassed about the whole thing. It was expensive, time consuming, and completely avoidable. So I have chosen to look at this as an expensive, time consuming, avoidable learning opportunity. A teachable moment for myself.
You may recall, way back at the beginning of December, I wrote a review of the Therafit Shoe and hosted a giveaway for a chance to win a free pair. I love my Therafit shoes (I still wear them to work everyday), and I was happy for the chance to give away a pair. So excited in fact, that I forgot some of the basics of giveaways (I was kind of new to this). Number one on the list (at least for me, now), is the Terms and Conditions portion of the giveaway. Pinpointing it even closer, eligibility. Like the rookie that I was, I didn’t create any terms and conditions, and when someone asked about Canadians’ eligibility, I said, “sure, why not?” Mistake number one.
When Tina from Calgary won the giveaway, I was excited. She sent me her address (at her parent’s in Alberta) and chose the Red Therafit shoes (the ones I would have chosen if I didn’t need a more neutral color to wear to work).
That was when I found out that the contest was meant only for the United States. Oops! Well, no problem, just ship the shoes to me, and will forward them on to Tina. Easy! Um, no.
Oh, the first part was easy. The shipment from Therafit arrived within a week. The next day, I took the package to the nearest UPS store. And discovered why many companies don’t ship to Canada.
First of all, the cost. Just a little short of $40. What? For a two pound package, valued at about $100? (Tina offered to help with shipping costs, but I turned her down. This was my teachable moment.)
I was committed to getting Tina her shoes. I paid the shipping charges, sent her the tracking number, made the assumption that she’d receive her shoes in a few days (mistake number two), and managed to misplace the shipping receipt (mistake number three).
I watched the package’s progress on UPS.com for the next 10 days. I originally shipped on December 24 (not the best timing for quick shipping under any circumstances). After about two weeks (not the five days I was told when I shipped), the shoes were scheduled to be delivered. Hurray! I forgot about it for a couple days, then checked back to see that the package was “unable to be delivered,” on its original date, which was a Friday, but would be delivered the following Monday. In the meantime, I received an email from Tina, asking how I shipped the shoes. I’m sure that, not really knowing me, she was doubting the existence of her Therafit shoes.
When I checked that same day, the tracking results said, “Delivered” along with a code that ended with the word REAR. Later that same day, January 9, Tina emailed to tell me not to worry. The driver had the address transposed, but the package was at a UPS office about an hour away. She should have the shoes by Friday, January 13.
For the next two weeks, Tina communicated a situation that would have been funny if it wasn’t happening to us. UPS had the package, they didn’t have the package. They would deliver the shoes to her work, then they didn’t (the original address was her parent’s home in Alberta, so that someone would be home when the delivery came). Then she told me that they couldn’t find the package, would I call, as the original shipper, to see what I could do? This was January 24. A month to the day since I shipped the shoes.
I called UPS, and after being bounced around a little bit, I found out…nothing. I was speaking to the International Customer Service, they couldn’t find the package, weren’t sure where it was. When I told them that there had been some talk about sending it back, they told be to call the Palm Springs UPS Center. Fine, I said, and hung up. Only problem, apparently the Palm Springs Center does not have a telephone (or doesn’t want us, the public, to know what it is), and the only contact number is the general UPS phone number. Which immediately switched me back to the International customer service, where I had to explain the story to yet another person. If this long explanation is confusing you, you have a good idea of how I felt.
When I finally spoke to a fairly intelligent rep at UPS, she opened an inquiry, the first step in the process of recovering the value of a lost package. They would call me on Monday, January 28, to follow up. Before I heard from UPS on Monday, though, I received a message from my local UPS store…my package had been returned. What did I want to do with it?
Before I called back, I called UPS. They told me to go ahead and ship the package back to Canada. They would reimburse me what I spent on shipping, did I have the receipt? Um, no, remember mistake number three? So they would reimburse me about $20. Not sure where they pulled that number from, but without a receipt I was SOL.
I shipped the package back that afternoon. Another $40. If you’re doing the math, I’ve spent $80 with the promise of a $20 refund. Yes, that’s why I’m calling it an expensive lesson. An hour after I shipped, I got an email from Tina..don’t send it to the original address. That’s my parent’s house and they won’t be there. Oops!
Fortunately, Tina was able to get her sister to be on the lookout, and on February 8 I got this tweet:
We’re not through yet.
It was another 10 days, waiting for a sick sister to recover, then finally I heard from Tina again:
— TinaFab (@crantina) February 18, 2013
February 18, 2013, 56 days after shipping, Tina finally had her hands on her Therafit shoes.
I put my new $60 knowledge to use at my very next giveaway. If the company does not ship to Canada, I’m sorry, but you, my dear Canadian friends are not eligible for my giveaway.
So, have you made a similar mistake (don’t tell me I’m the only one!)? How much did it cost you?
By the way, I have no regrets about this. Tina is a lovely woman, I’m happy that she won the Therafit shoes. I only hope she loves them as much as I do!
Edit: Tina has written her own post about her experience. Check it out!