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Vol.2 - No.

Buying On-Line and Shipping

This month I am going to deviate a bit from the usual topics relating to satellite TV to discuss something that has an effect on almost everyone - buying products on-line and shipping problems.

The internet has greatly changed the way business is conducted.  Prior to the internet, most purchases were made locally from retailers with unique or hard-to-get items purchased from mail order catalogs. The internet has changed that dramatically, making it much easier for small businesses to sell and ship their products virtually all over the world.

With this new freedom comes another set of problems -- how to ship the product with a minimum of loss or damage.  Since starting our own business about 5 years ago we have shipped thousands of orders with very little loss or damage -- until this month.  We shipped an order by USPS Parcel Post to a customer in Nebraska on May 3rd.  The customer contacted me on the 13th to alert me that it had not yet arrived and he was concerned because he had read an article in the newspaper about a fire in a mail truck.  The package was finally delivered on the 19th and yes, it had been in the fire.  (See photos below.)  

When we set up the shopping cart for our website there was no provision for adding insurance to shipments by USPS so this shipment was not insured and nothing could be collected from the Post Office.  We immediately replaced the order for our customer at no charge, and then set out to improve our shopping cart. 

We have been having some problems with the Parcel Post shipping option as it has the lowest priority with the Post Office.  Deliveries often take 10 days or more (even without a fire).  We have decided to eliminate Parcel Post as a shipping option to prevent these long delays.  Our UPS Ground service option is generally only a few dollars more than Parcel Post and the shipments are insured.

We have also added an option to add shipping insurance to any USPS Express Mail or Priority Mail shipment for only $1.50 additional.  Then, in the event of a mishap, the shipment is covered.

The lesson here is to make sure your on-line purchases are insured against loss or damage when shipped.  Generally, shipments by UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc. are automatically insured for $100 and anything additional is extra cost.  We insure all UPS and FedEx shipments for the full replacement value.  USPS is another matter.  With the Post Office insurance is generally NOT included (except certain International shipments) but may be purchased separately.

We hope these changes make your shopping experience with us easy and hassle-free.  Take a look at the photos below to see what could happen.

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