Mar 8, 2008

Certified Mail Surcharge

Dear friends,

Now and again I have problems with pieces I've sent not arriving to their new home. I am happy though that only small pieces had this kind of problems but I must prevent a major damage happening some time with a lotto probability...

It is really a pity that these things like .... happen. I had one angel to Portugal and 2 brooches to the USA not arriving to the ladies who ordered them. It is also very difficult for me to handle this because I'm not the one to be blamed, I did the work and I pay my taxes and the buyers would expect me either to do the piece once more or to refund them the value of the piece. A 3 times loss for me: work, tax, money. The buyer loses only the money but this is hard enough too.

I've offered to return half of the value of the piece or give a voucher for the total for the next buy to the person who bought the last lost brooch.

The only sure thing is when the recipient must sign that he received the piece, do you all have this possibility in your countries with certified mail? If someone lives in a country that doesn't has this service, I would be happy to know this!

I now offer a 3,20US$ surcharge for a certified shipping that you can order together with your main order. I hope this will help you decide if you want to have this security or if you would like fate to decide the game... (I must confess that I'm a gambler in least for small objects, but then I have to carry the consecuences...)

Can I have a feedback from all of you who are willing to think about this theme?
It would be a great help because all of this web possibilities are so new...


  1. I know in Australia we have certified mail. I think it is a great idea Sara as it is obviously very difficult in these situations. Very difficult when you have made the art, paid the postage and then it goes missing. Puts you in a tough situation. Offering this certified mail option if a great idea.

  2. Hi Sara

    In Canada we have certified mail. Also, for a larger piece, it is better to ship with FedEx or one of the other courier companies, as they can be more reliable for loss of goods. One problem though is that almost nobody, except specialty art couriers will insure artwork that is more than a few hundred dollars. You could always check with a gallery in your part of the world to see who they use for shipping artwork across the pond. Hope this helps.



  3. Both the United States and Switzerland offer signature required options with the post, UPS, and FedEx. I would make certified mail a requirement where it is available. It is my experience that it is well worth the extra expense and I gladly pay it when I order from someone. So sorry you've had this experience, Sara.

  4. It is something that is offered here in the US as well. We use it from time to time. I don't know if I would use it or not. I really have not thought much about it until now. I Guess if it would make a difference but I don't know if it would make any difference with the loss of money or art. I don't think it insures value of the package just a way to see if you get it or not.

    If we are concerned about the value of an item we insure it through the mail. But than again it is such a pain to do all the paper work when something is lost that it seems hardly worth all the effort.

    We can get a receipt here in the US that has the postal code on it to show that something has been sent to that code but it only shows the code not the address.

    Sara I think it is up to the buyer to ask for what they feel they need. If it would help you to get some kind of proof that you sent it I feel that is all you need to do as the artist. That is just my opinion on this. Sorry for you complications. This seems beyond your control.

    Jill in Florida

  5. A single original piece can never be duplicated. I believe your offer of refunding half or a voucher on a new piece is very reasonable. However, to offer a surcharge at the recipient's cost and request is an excellent option particularly for more expensive pieces.
    I am sorry this has happened to you. My DH ships things all over the world through his web pages and he requires insurance or advises "buyer beware" he is *not* repsonsible.

    Rhode Island
    Both of my beautiful pieces arrived safely.

  6. Luckily I have never had this problem, sorry it happened to you. I think the surcharge is a good idea. It helps the buyer be responsible too, not just you.

  7. As a customer I would definitely prefer Certified Mail. It's such a pity when beautiful things diseaper. I am just now waiting for a fabric delivery from US, it was send almost 4 weeks ago. I am starting to get worried and this is for only 3 yards of fabric.

  8. hi Sara! as i am one of the buyers whose brooch never arrived i have to say that i think your idea of the surcharge is a reasonable solution. lucky for me, the brooch was not a huge monetary loss, however the idea that one of your beautiful pieces of artwork has disappeared is frustrating for both of us. as it is an original, sadly it can never be replaced.

    as with all of your artwork, should any of it disappear in the mail, it is too great a loss to put a price on...however, if i were one to buy one of your larger and more expensive pieces, it would give me comfort to know that at least i would be able to get the purchase price back without setting you back.

    a suggestion i have is that you may want to encourage buyers to purchase the Certified Mail Surcharge and list it on the description of the artwork on the individual listings.

  9. Here in the UK, you can have "signed for" deliveries, but there is no equivalent to sent packages abroad. the best you can do is keep the certificate of posting, which is just proving you send something out to an address. Sometimes you also would like a proof that it was not received...

    I think it's difficult to put a public disclaimer in a shop, because you don't want to put people off or give them the receipe for a refund. I think it's fair to have a voucher for 50 % of the value - for a next purchase, that way you don't get people trying to get some money back just because they've changed their minds.

  10. ** by the way I'm not accusing anybody of cheating, just considering all possibilities**

  11. Speaking from the UK... you can pay extra and get a tracking number.. you then go to the Royal Mail site and enter this no. and you can then see where your parcel is... I've used it when I ordered something from Germany and also to send some art work to the USA... it also means that the person at the other end can see where it is too...

  12. Ever notice how some things get better over time? I must say we mail 50 to 75 letters a week and USPS Certified Mail is improving. We like those USPS Certified Mail Envelopes that come with the electronic return receipt and signature. Our staff can processes our letters in recored time and track the letters from a web site. After 200 years... it had to get better.