View Full Version : CANADIANS - please help me sort out these shipping costs!!

12-12-2003, 01:25 PM
Ack, I am having a major headache with my local po. It's basically a country gas station with minimum wage employees that change often.

When I first started on ebay, the guy at the po told me you couldn't insure regular parcels. So I was shipping expresspost, which I charge $9 to the usa, and $5 to canada. This just about exactly covers the actual shipping cost, with a few pennies in for packing ect.

Now, I have a couple of customers who were paying the regular mail rate, and throwing in a buck or two for insurance. So I go back to the po and now they tell me $100 insurance costs $1. No problem. But they don't know what the insurance covers. And all I get is a cash register receipt that doesn't show the value of the item I'm shipping. So the guy at the po tells me he assumes insurance doesn't cover loss, because if the parcel is lost canada post has no way of knowing if it was insured.

So I've made up my mind I will only ship expresspost from now on. If someone doesn't like the cost they don't have to bid. I'd just like to know what insurance in canada DOES cover, and if I should be getting a decent receipt, ect. Because I have one customer in particular who has blocked all my emails and keeps paying me the wrong postage. I have sent letters along with her items and she ignores them. She just keeps on bidding and I have never communicated with her! I think I will add a line in my auctions that if you don't send the full amount for expresspost, I am sending the item regular mail!

12-12-2003, 02:10 PM
Hi Kiwi, I completely sympathize with you and I can see why you are frustrated. Here is my understanding: With both Xpresspost and Expedite Ground you get free tracking & insurance for up to $100.00 - after 100 it is an extra dollar for every additional 100 dollars. This covers loss, damage, etc and paintings are definitely insurable. They should be providing you not only with a cash receipt but also the official form requiring your address, the recipient's address, contents of the package, customs info, tracking # etc, for both Xpresspost & Expedite ground methods. You will not get this form if you ship via regular ground or airmail. If you send something via airmail or regular the only way to get insurance on these I believe is to have them registered which is I think $7 or $9 extra so there isn't much point.

With my auctions in my shipping section I state clearly they have 2 choices, either Xpresspost or Expedite Ground - I give them the different prices and also the amount of time they can expect to wait for shipping, and mention they both include insurance & tracking. I also write this in the instructions they get when they have won the painting so they can decide which option they want. Most people pick the expedite, but I like having both options. I feel that by detailing it very clearly I am covering my butt and I won't get people leaving feedback saying "slow shipping" if they picked the expedite option since I clearly state it may take 2-3 weeks. The only time they don't get an option is when I am shipping something small like a 5x7 that can't be shipped by the above 2 options. Then I just cross my fingers send it via airmail and hope for the best. I absolutely will not send a larger painting without tracking & insurance because some people don't tell you when they get the painting and I can't stand not knowing what has happened with it. That drives me nuts!!!

My own personal pet peeve is with the tracking on the expedite ground - they don't seem to care about inputing the info on time and I will often find that it is a week after the person gets the package before the info is put into the system. However, they seem to be much better with this for the expresspost. I would love to send everything Xpresspost but with the Cdn. dollar doing much better it has gotten much more expensive to send it this way and I was worried I may lose potential customers because of this. What do you think?

Sorry for such a long message...it feels good to be able to discuss this sticky shipping business. I hope this made sense and if it doesn't feel free to ask me to clarify! Best of luck to you.

12-12-2003, 03:46 PM
^^^What bluepelican said^^^

12-12-2003, 06:15 PM
Boy can I sympathize. Trying to get a straight answer from the post office can be an exercise in futility. You can get different answers from different post offices, and from different employees!

There are different options whether you’re shipping within Canada, or to the US. In Canada you have the option of either Regular Parcel or Xpresspost. Regular parcel offers insurance as an option - up to $100 is included if delivery confirmation is purchased (additional insurance can be purchased); Xpresspost includes insurance up to $100 in the cost (additional insurance can be purchased), as well as guaranteed on-time delivery, and delivery confirmation. Expedited Parcel within Canada is only available for businesses.

To the US the options are Small Packet (airmail or surface mail), Expedited Parcel, or Xpresspost. Small Packet is for small items and it is inexpensive, but offers no insurance (and how frustrating is it to find that it can actually be considerably cheaper to send a small item to a faraway point in the US than just around the corner since there is no small packet option within Canada!). Expedited Parcel is a good middle ground – it is reasonably priced and includes insurance and delivery confirmation, but delivery times can vary (they estimate 6-9 business days, but I’ve had things take much longer). Xpresspost includes insurance and delivery confirmation and guaranteed delivery in 5-6 business days.

Insurance covers loss or damage, but you must wait at least 30 days before contacting them regarding loss, and they will make you wait a full 6 weeks before you can file a claim.

None of these options actually include ‘tracking’ as an option, such as you would find with Fed Ex or other courier where progress is tracked each step of the way from departure to destination. Although their website calls the feature 'track a package', Canada Post’s ‘tracking’ is simply delivery confirmation. You can see online that the item has been sent, and you can see when it has been delivered, but there is no way to find out where it is in between. Also, not every post office has a scanner and if you send the package from one that does not have a scanner it will not be entered into the system until it ends up at the destination post office where it will be scanned as having arrived (assuming that post office has a scanner).

Small paintings CAN be sent by either Xpresspost or Expedited Parcel, they just need to be packaged properly. I have sent some 5” x 7” paintings this way and it is fine as long as they are sent in a box which meets the minimum dimensions (mainly the thickness I believe). It was frustrating when I was sending some small paintings that could easily be popped in a bubble envelope. For those who wanted them sent via Xpresspost or Expedited Parcel I had to hunt for boxes to fit them without being too big.

Hope this helps.

Madigan Bearded Collies & Wyndian Canine Art (http://home.achilles.net/~madigan/)

12-12-2003, 08:52 PM
Ok guys, thanks for the info. I am sticking with expresspost. For the sizes I send out, I can fit them in the po's envelopes. It is actually cheaper for me to send something expresspost within canada than regular package without insurance! Five bucks within canada is reasonable. As is $9 to the states, especially since some of my customers buy three or more items at a time and combine shipping.

I think our canada post employees leave a lot to be desired. Especially where I live - I have to show the employees in the store where their envelopes and labels are kept.:rolleyes:

12-13-2003, 01:21 AM
I used to always use Express Post because of the tracking number. I have now discovered that with insurance you also get a tracking number. So within Canada it's parcel post with insurance, but in the States, it has to be Expedited Parcel Post in order to have the insurance also. Either way, it's very reasonable. In my auctions, I give buyers the choice between parcel post and express post. since I've started doing that, they've all chosen parcel post. So if it takes a long time, I am able to say that it was their choice to use parcel post instead of express post. In any event, I always include insurance and a tracking number. It's the only way just in case something goes wrong.

12-13-2003, 12:35 PM
thanks Suzette, but that would only work if the po workers know how to do it. They've sworn up and down that any kind of receipt is unecessary for an insured package, never mind some kind of tracking number! I'll have to wait till I move back to the city and go to a "real" post office.

12-13-2003, 06:52 PM
Originally posted by kiwicockatoo
thanks Suzette, but that would only work if the po workers know how to do it. They've sworn up and down that any kind of receipt is unecessary for an insured package, never mind some kind of tracking number! I'll have to wait till I move back to the city and go to a "real" post office.

How can you ever put in a claim if you don't have a receipt that you 1) shipped the painting and 2) had it insured. It's very obvious that these folks don't quite know what they're doing.
Good luck dealing with these people!!