I ordered two huge lots of comics. I had done this before, and while they usually do a batch shipment to the US so we can save and use the USPS, these two would be much too heavy, so they had to send it straight from Japan. Fair enough. I'm aware that shipping will be over $100, due to both weight and a crappy exchange rate between the Yen and the Dollar.
I had them ship it out around Oct 20 via SAL shipping. It can be slow, but I could still track it, which I was fine with. They didn't send me a shipping invoice, so after about a week or two I emailed them about it and they simply told me the total, which ended up being about $162 (yowza). Whatever, I'm happy. But when I looked up the customs code to track the package, I noticed after Oct 24 it had stopped moving. It was stuck at JFK (Airport I'm guessing). I let it sit for a couple weeks, hoping that it just wasn't updated, and that I would receive my package anyway. No dice. Given the fact that I had no idea where said package was, I didn't pay the shipping right away.
I called USPS, and they refused to tell me anything since I was merely the receiver, and not the sender. The company would have to file a claim. Finally, I emailed them wondering where the package was. They said it was stuck in customs. Oh gee, thanks, I never would have guessed. They said I should take the tracking number to the post office and ask them about it. I did, and they gave me a number for customs, saying that they couldn't do anything. My boyfriend called them with me present, and they again refused to give us much information since we weren't the senders. What they DID tell us, however, was that the problem was with the shipping label on the package, either that it was illegible or there wasn't enough postage or the like. Of course, I was reeling because not only was it apparently their fault, but they were refusing to do much about it. My boyfriend advised me to just pay the shipping and see if that got the package moving at all. It was flawed logic, but really, I had to pay the shipping at some point, so I did. Nothing happened.
I emailed them demanding that they file a claim, and they said they would. Mind you, around this time I also had another package from an ebay seller in Japan get lost. He immediately filed a claim and I got my package about a week later. Awesome. I expected the same thing to happen here.
No such luck. Though they sent me a small form to fill out and send back that basically said, "No, I haven't received this package yet," I don't know what good that really did. Finally, in the middle of February, I posted on their customer forums asking anyone else if they had experienced something similar. I was getting no information from the manager, Nick, whom I was speaking with, unless I sought him out. He emailed me saying he deleted my post, and that they were going to put in a fullscale investigation to the post office, and that he would look into giving me some store credit. Awww, how nice. Finally, some customer service.
What he offered was a very complex solution that I had a hard time following, though my boyfriend said he understood. Whatever, that's good enough. Basically, they were going to credit my account for the amount of the items in the package, and then if the items came back I could buy them again or I could say "No I don't want them". Wait, why would I be going through all this trouble if I didn't want them? It made very little sense.
Then, a few days later, I checked the tracking number again via JapanPost. The past tracking info was eliminated, and now said that the package had been returned. O...K... I waited for them to email me, since it had returned to them basically the day I found this out. They did, and said that it was sent back due to "non-pick up". Well, when you live in MA, and you have no idea what the hell is going on, it's kind of hard to go to an airport in NY and get a package. Really, even if I went there, they wouldn't let me into the mail room I take it. They went on to say that if I should request it be shipped again.
Now here is probably where I acted hastily. The email was signed "SMJ Staff" and not "Nick". I should have emailed him first, but I resubmitted the shipping request, this time to my boyfriend's house in Rochester, since I'm packing to move, and I frankly don't trust the people remaining in this house not to mutilate the package if it came.
So, that brings us to last night. They told me it was sent out. Oh, thanks. And that I owed them $158. I was dumbfounded, and immediately emailed them back saying that I had already paid shipping the first time around, and that I would not pay again when it was their mistake that I didn't get it in the first place. They emailed me back today saying that it wasn't their fault, and that they had no control over it, since it was "non-pickup". Oh, and they sent it to my house again though I even put special instructions for them to ship it to this different address. Ahaha...
I'm waiting for my boyfriend to come home before I make any more rash decisions and so that I can decide what I'm going to do. I told my boyfriend before that I would be willing to pay half the shipping, but there' no way in hell I'm paying another $160, especially not until he phones me saying he's got it.
Edited to include some details I missed.