View Full Version : Lost painting

01-06-2004, 02:53 AM
:crying: It looks like one of my paintings might have got lost in the post. I mailed it to Westbrook, CT on the 16th December and the buyer hasn't received it yet. Yes, it was insured, but I don't altogether trust Royal Mail to pay out without a till receipt showing real value, more likely they'll offer to pay me for the materials and nothing more.

Am I (and the buyer) panicking too soon? I realise with Christmas mail there were sure to be backlogs, but 3 weeks when it usually takes up to 10 days?

Oh, one more thing, the buyer has an unconfirmed address. :(


01-06-2004, 05:51 AM
I don't know that I would panic just yet...it's a long time, but during the holiday season mail can get really backed up, especially if it's going internationally. Instead, it might be best to approach this systematically.

1. Can you track it? I'm not positive that is an option with all Royal Mail, but I vaguely recall reading something about that on their website. Unfortunately, when tracking is available, it's only available until the item leaves Royal Mail's possession. Still, it might be helpful to know if it ever made it to the USA and into the hands of the US Post Office.

2. Can you prove value? I've asked a few times about how value is proved, should there ever be a loss or damage of an insured item. Each time I got a different answer, so I don't think Royal Mail has a consistent system. I was told I would need to present a copy of my invoice or something supporting what the customer paid, but was also told that if I had something that supported what my retail prices are that I might be able to claim that. However, the maximum you can claim, is whatever insurance you paid for, of course. At any rate, no answer that I got said I could only claim material cost, so you shouldn't be out any money. I have no idea how long the claim process takes, but should it get to that stage, I imagine you would have to remiburse the customer and Royal Mail would eventually reimburse you.

3. At this stage I would try to give the buyer some assurance. Tell them that you are going to check with Royal Mail and find out what their procedures are. Let them know that while you are concerned, mail can get held up during the holidays on occassion and you will do your best to find out what happened to their artwork. Perhaps offer to paint a similar piece, should you need to put in a claim with the post office? This will assure them that they are still getting something for their money, whether the original piece turns up or not. I would not, however, send anything until a claim is in effect, as you don't want to end up paying to send 2 pieces to this customer.

Good luck and let us know what happens!

01-06-2004, 06:18 AM
How did you send it? First class, second, parcelforce? That will make a difference. I sent a first class large envelope after Christmas and it still took 3 or 4 days (working days, not counting holidays) to get there. So things are slow right now. Heck, my mail forwarding which they say to give them 5 working days for is starting nearly 20 working days later.

If you sent it recorded or similar you can have to tracked. If you sent it parcelforce you can also track it with the barcode/sticker number. Try that first. :)

By the way, I think today is only the 11th working day since you sent it. Don't count holidays or Saturdays.


01-06-2004, 06:52 AM
Jolie, thanks, I emailed the buyer saying something alot like that, not to panic yet, Christmas mail can be held up etc. I also sent an email to Royal Mail to find out what my next step is.

All I have to prove value is the email from Paypal, showing what the buyer paid.

I always send overseas using international signed for Airmail, insured up to the amount paid. Checking on www.royalmail.com shows that it has been passed over to the US postal system for delivery. This option is "trackable" through USPS.com but all it really does is tell you whether a parcel has been delivered. No sign on that site yet, though.

Tina, gosh you're right! I didn't work it out like that, but yes it's only 12 working days since I posted it. I did explain to the buyer that it would take longer because of holidays.

I'll keep my fingers crossed that it isn't lost! Painting another similar would be an option, but I could never make it identical. :(

Thanks for making me worry less!


01-06-2004, 07:12 AM

After Tina's brilliant observation, I would feel much better now. I hadn't thought of the small amount of working days since you posted it. When I send post to my sister in the USA it often takes a week or two, during normal conditions. The USPS is notoriously slow during Christmas, so it sounds like your package just go caught up in it. Do you know how long it has been since it was passed on to USPS?


01-06-2004, 07:41 AM
No, Jolie, I don't remember - I think it was before Christmas, though. It's surprising how many days Christmas and New Year ate up!


Lady Rando
01-06-2004, 07:45 AM
Ruth, I wouldn't start to panic yet. Tina is right, the holidays are slowing down all the mail. I'm wondering when you'll get your package from me? :)

01-06-2004, 07:51 AM
Not here YET, sure it won't be too long, though :) I still have to make room for Splat to have a safe, permanent home!


01-06-2004, 07:53 AM
I was expecting an ordinary airmailed letter from the US for days and days. When it was past any reasonable time for the letter to come I gave hope thinking it got lost.
Then all of a sudden there it was: 18 days later... and well before Christmas, too.... not a holiday season.

You can never know, I wouldn't give up hope yet.


01-06-2004, 08:32 PM
Don't give up hope. I had a painting go missing once. I put in a claim with the post office, gave them a copy of the auction and the Paypal transaction receipt. They accepted that and paid me out. In the meantime, I made a deal with my buyer to send her another similar painting or refund her money. She took the replacement painting and was very happy with it.

3 MONTHS LATER, the painting showed up. She emailed me that she wanted to keep it, so she paid for it again.

Where was that painting during those 3 months?? Who knows. But it did eventually show up.

01-07-2004, 02:44 AM
Ruth, I undestand the dilemma. But like everybody said, it will show up; Suzette's comment is encouraging, too.

If the painting has reached to the US, I think it's the Customs procedure which delays the delivery especially with the terrorist threats (Do you know that Air France fllights to LA were cancelled two days during the holidays? And the LA airport was under the maxium alert?) and also the holiday seasons...

Good luck!

01-15-2004, 05:42 AM
Still no sign of this painting :( I emailed the buyer and told him that if it doesn't arrive by this weekend I would either refund the full amount, or replace it with a similar painting. He chose to have the replacement, which is great. Now I have to battle with the post office, and of course paint the tulip again!


01-15-2004, 08:07 AM
Iím very sorry to hear about this Ruth. Itís nice to hear that the buyer chose a replacement though!

If itís any consolation, Iíve also had a similar situation over this time. I posted a large painting from the US to a gallery in the UK on the 19th of Des. Two days ago, when I was told it havenít arrived I ran to my USPS office and was told: Ďdonít worry it sometimes takes months, but always comes out Ė especially over this timeí ĎMonths?í the gallery is waiting!! Well, it arrived in London yesterday.
So I think it might very well still show up. The USPS also told me that certain packages are chosen to be searched by customs and this could also slow the process. (especially with the high security of the US these days)

Iím keeping my fingers crossed that your package shows up real soon. ;)

01-15-2004, 04:19 PM
True Story:

My friend shipped a painting from PA to Calgary Canada. It took over a month to get there, and this is on the same side of the ocean.

I hear Royal Mail is kind of slow, but the US mail isn't that bad. I hope it turns up somewhere.