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devil duck


So about six months ago, shalmestere ordered some CD's from amazon.de (having been unable to find them on the US catalog). Time passed. We got an automated message in German, which seemed to indicate that the package had shipped. Time passed. We tried to track the package, using the Web site's "Wo ist meine Bestellung?" link, but it kept asking for information we didn't have, like European Credit numbers; shalmestere's passwords kept not working, and eventually we got in touch with a human. Writing in my poor German, we explained the situation, and were told (after several iterations back and forth) that shalmestere had somehow managed to create three different accounts with the same userid, hence the password confusion. At length I appended to one e-mail "Koennen wir bitte auf Englisch correspondieren? Ihres Englisch ist wahrscheinlich besser als meine Deutsch," and got back an e-mail in flawless English, from somebody with an Indo-Pak name. Meanwhile, shalmestere had found the same CD's from a different seller, ordered them, and they arrived. We told amazon.de that we no longer needed the CD's, and were told to simply return the package when it arrived.

The CD's actually arrived in June, over five months after they were ordered. They also arrived the day before we were leaving for some kind of trip, so we didn't take them to the post office immediately. This weekend we decided it really was time to return them. shalmestere said there should be a return label inside the package, so I opened it, found there was not a return label, and re-sealed the package. I took it to the post office this morning and waited in line; there were three or four clerks behind the counter, of whom frequently none was actually serving a customer. But eventually I got to the front of the line.

The post office clerk explained that since the package had been opened, I would have to pay the postage to return it. "How do you want to send it? Priority mail?" I thought "Sure, Priority Mail is about the same price as any other way to send a small package," and agreed. She handed me a Priority Mail label and told me to go fill it out, then cut in the front of the line to continue the transaction.

When I did, I got a different clerk, who punched in the codes for Germany and said "That'll be $20.00."

"Twenty dollars? That's almost as much as they cost to buy! Is there a cheaper way?"

"Sure, first class. That'll be $10.40."

"OK, let's do that."

"You have to take off the Priority Mail label."

"Can you give me the right kind of label, so I can just put it over this one?"

"We don't have a label for that. You have to take off the Priority Mail label and write the address on the box. Then come back and go to the front of the line."

So I stepped away again. I wasn't convinced that I could take off the Priority Mail label without tearing up the cardboard box, so I carefully tore off the strip at the top that said "Priority Mail" and came back to the window.

"No, you have to take off the Priority Mail label."

"I took off the part that says 'Priority Mail'."

"No, you have to take off the Priority Mail label. It says Priority Mail all over."

"Where does it say Priority Mail? I took that part off."

She pointed, and lo! there was indeed an almost-invisible "Priority Mail" watermark all over the label.

"OK, do you have a label I can put over this one?"

"We can sell you a label for one dollar ninety eight cent." I walked out angrily, then decided it would still be less hassle to try to peel the labels off and write the address on the box than to walk all the way home or buy yet more mailing labels. I came back in, carefully peeled off the labels, trying with mixed success to avoid peeling off the cardboard box, carefully wrote the address, trying with mixed success to avoid puncturing the weakened cardboard with my ball-point pen, and returned to the counter, where I got a different clerk.

"You have to write your address in the top-left corner. Then come back and go to the front of the line."

So I stepped away again, wrote a return address, and waited for a clerk for a fifth time.

"Oh, this is going to Germany? I didn't realize that. You have to fill out a customs declaration."

So I stepped away again, filled out the customs declaration, and waited for a clerk for a sixth time.

Which appeared to be the charm; the pestilential package is now in the hands of the Post Office. Whether it ever gets to amazon.de, and whether we ever get a credit for the order placed back in January, is less certain.

Comments

Meanwhile, [info] shalmestere had found the same

CD's from a different seller, ordered them, and they arrived. We told

amazon.de that we no longer needed the CD's, and were told to simply

return the package when it arrived.

Ummm...no, that's not correct. I did *not* re-order the CDs from a different vendor; Amazon.de declared the original order lost and sent a replacement--which is what you just paid 20 clams to send back to Deutschland. ::sigh:: I should have shown the the e-mail from them before you took the package to the PO :-/

I stands corrected

Fortunately, I only spent 10.40 clams to send it back to Deutschland; whether Amazon will count that as "the least expensive mail method" and reimburse us for the postage, I don't know.
Not a big fan of USPS...not that the alternatives tend to be great for one reason or another, either :/

At least I'm getting mail in PA...those two weeks without mail in NY (when they thought I had moved, of their own imagination, before I had put in a Change of Address form)...that wasn't pleasant. Caused more than a couple problems.

Sympathy Card From Heinrich Schnibble

Mein Gotterdammerungengeschmutzig und dummkopfdinksbumpsundscheisse