Question about USPS, Customs, and the CP

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squigglz

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(I'm assuming this is the appropriate forum since I've seen several threads about shipping here.)

I have a friend who orders soap from me often-not because he goes through it quickly, but because he's had the worst luck. It's especially a shame since he lives in Canada and shipping there is pretty high.

First order: His roommate ate the soap. Ate it. I know it smelled exactly like chocolate cake, but... wow

Second order: His roommate... well, he didn't eat it this time, he did the opposite. Suffice to say, the soap was unusable once he was done.

And now this order, about which I am not at all happy and, in fact, am livid:

He bought two bars, a melt and pour and another bar of chocolate cake soap. He had them shipped to his mother's house to avoid the roommate problem. The MP was a gift, the cake soap was for himself. I wrapped everything up in bubble wrap, put it in a padded envelope along with a package of sample soaps, and sent it off.

It took two weeks to get there. And once it arrived...



The back. It had been scotch-taped shut and apparently stabbed?



This is how the soaps were 'packaged' when they arrived.

I'm livid. Someone along the line (either USPS, Customs, or the CP) opened the package, unwrapped everything, stole the sample soaps (which I don't understand, the samples were just tiny 'thank you' soaps that were maybe .5oz each of MP), threw the two main soaps into a ziplock (after apparently breaking the cake soap (the one in the brown paper, he confirmed it was broken), threw it back into the package, and tried to be all 'lol this is how it was sent'

I'm lucky that he's a friend and understands that someone else pulled this, but what if it had been a customer I don't know?

I am beyond furious. Is there anything I can do? It's pretty clearly mail fraud, but I have no idea how to go about figuring this out.

Thank you for any and all help and advice on this.
 

Genny

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Honestly that's a common thing that happens with customs. I hear things like that all the time in groups/forums from people that live in Canada & other places. That's one of the reasons I don't ship out of the country.

Did you properly fill out all customs forms? They can/will open the mail if forms are not properly filled out & easy to read.

Also, I'm trying to figure out exactly what your friend's roommate did the second time. What's the opposite of eating soap?
 

squigglz

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Honestly that's a common thing that happens with customs. I hear things like that all the time in groups/forums from people that live in Canada & other places. That's one of the reasons I don't ship out of the country.

Did you properly fill out all customs forms? They can/will open the mail if forms are not properly filled out & easy to read.

Also, I'm trying to figure out exactly what your friend's roommate did the second time. What's the opposite of eating soap?
I did, and I had them double checked by my postal people.

Also, he vomited on the soap.
 

Shannon_m

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This guy's roommate is a strange dude. Sorry this happened to you, I'm curious now how my package to Canada will fair... now I'm worried.
 

BotanicalWitch

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I am w/ you Genny I am tryna figure what is the opposite of ate lol? And I can believe he ate the soap Period!! after the 1st bite you would think he would notice it doesn't actually taste like cake (I think your friend may need a new roommate something just not right w/ him lol):shifty:
 

squigglz

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This guy's roommate is a strange dude. Sorry this happened to you, I'm curious now how my package to Canada will fair... now I'm worried.
To be fair, the rest of the packages got there just fine, it was only this one-this was the third time he'd ordered from me.

BotanicalWitch said:
I am w/ you Genny I am tryna figure what is the opposite of ate lol? And I can believe he ate the soap Period!! after the 1st bite you would think he would notice it doesn't actually taste like cake (I think your friend may need a new roommate something just not right w/ him lol):shifty:
I replied to Genny on that, lul. And yeah, he spent most of the night throwing up, apparently, after he ate it. I need to put a 'not food' label on that soap, haha!
 

melstan775

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I have noticed with our mail it has been open quite a bit. Especially important documents like drivers license renewals have been taped shut. Someone is going through the mail for sure. I just don't know how you would prove it. Crappy they stole the samples. :(
 

bodhi

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No comment about the roomate, lol. That sucks the mail was opened and part stolen! I wonder if a call to customs would at least put someone on the lookout for theifs in their departments. We had a problem with our mail being opened a while ago and after calling USPS, we suddenly had a new carrier. Not sure what happened to the old one, but with the new carrier, there was no longer any opened mail. hmmm... :)
 

Miz Jenny

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We ship to, and receive from, the US, including soap, without problems. Boxes & envelopes. The problem is US Customs. Canada Poste is slow but pretty reliable. The only probes we've & had was a rural mail carrier. When Canada Poste had to reimburse for my allergy serum that sat in a dead mailbox for 2 weeks in hot summer sun, we got a new carrier.
 

misskat22

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I'm in Canada and have had packages arrive like that. I try really hard not to order from the US for that reason. When I ship to the US I always mark on it that it's a gift, and clearly state what's in the package, I also try to send in boxes if possible. Perhaps a small flat rate box would be a better option? As far as recourse with the post office..I don't think there's much you can do about it.
 

Lindy

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Huh - I too am in Canada and not had any problems other than it takes forever to get anything from the US and shipping from the States is nuts! I can ship to my US customers for half what it costs to get something coming this way....
 

DeeAnna

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I might be really off base here, so please take my observations with a grain of salt.

Two really important questions -- Is the package in the photo the original padded envelope you used to ship the soap? I see the protective strip on the flap has been removed, so did you use that adhesive strip to secure the flap?

If "yes" to both questions, then here is the story I see:

If the flap had been properly adhered to the adhesive, that flap should look like it had been through a war if a person tried to open the flap. I do not see any significant damage to the inside of the open flap which tells me the flap was not properly secured at the time the shipment was packaged. The adhesive on padded mailers is tenacious stuff in my experience, and the customer should not be able to open the flap without a struggle.

If this is the case, the problem with this order was not that the package was opened and rifled by someone. The flap opened on its own during transit, and your product and samples fell out. Since the samples were smaller, they were probably lost in the shuffle. The main soaps were saved by a thoughtful postal employee who took the time to repackage your soap in a zip bag and securely fasten the flap shut with tape.

The adhesive is pressure sensitive and tends to adhere better at warmer temperatures, so it's important to press the flap shut with firm pressure, especially if the room temperature is a bit on the cool side. If there is any tiny shred of doubt in my mind that the package adhesive is not working properly, I will also tape the package shut with a high quality packaging tape. I use 3M #375, which is rated for excellent adhesion at a wide range of temperatures.

We ship hundreds of packages each year via USPS Priority Mail, UPS ground, and truck. Our packages weigh anywhere from 2 ounces to 50 pounds each. A fair number go to Canada and other countries. Damage and loss can and does happen -- but in my experience, it happens with all shippers, not just USPS. That is one reason why I package more thoroughly and carefully than I see many of the bigger companies doing.

The issue with international shipping is the exorbitant brokerage fees charged by UPS, FedEx, etc. I have had orders shipped UPS where the brokerage fees far exceeded the cost of the original order + shipping combined. USPS does not charge brokerage fees, so it is considerably less expensive to ship USPS international for smaller orders.

YMMV, of course. --DeeAnna

Edit -- I can't speak to the tear and broken soap -- it looks like an impact damage to me. You have good reason to be unhappy about that. I would second the suggestion to use a small flat-rate box.

As far as shipping international orders as "gifts", I know that is done a lot, but my point of view on this issue is different. If the shipment is ~not~ a gift, I will not take that risk. I have a lot to lose, since it was my choice to defraud, while my customer risks nothing.
 
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