When Items Get Lost In The Post
This guide is to assist buyers and sellers dealing with an item lost in the post. Sadly some parcels and letters do go missing and here is how best to resolve that situation:
Buyer - you will be the one to discover that the item is likely to be lost in the post as it will fail to arrive with you. Having allowed a reasonable time for delivery, you should contact your seller to advise that the item has not arrived.
Seller - when your buyer advises that the item has not arrived you should email back as soon as you can to ask them to check with neighbours and their local sorting office. This applies to any parcel or package that is too large to fit through their letterbox or any Recorded Delivery item. If the postperson calls when someone is out, they are supposed to leave a card but they don't always do so. This card will advise if the parcel has been left with a neighbour or taken back to the local sorting office - in the absence of a card the buyer would need to make enquiries themselves.
Buyer - your seller should ask you to check whether your neighbour has taken a parcel in for you (and maybe signed for it) and also ring your local sorting office to see if it has been taken back there. Whether you have been asked to do this or not, it is a good idea as many parcels do turn up this way.
Buyer - if the parcel turns up with a neighbour or sorting office, you should let the seller know it has been found. If the parcel is not found in this way, again you need to email the seller to inform them.
Seller - when a buyer comes back to you with a further email to say they have still not found their parcel (or had it delivered late) you need to then start handling the matter yourself as it is the seller's responsibility to ensure delivery. If the item was sent Recorded Delivery, Special Delivery or by a courier, you should use your tracking number to trace the parcel. Most items can be tracked online. You may give the tracking number to your buyer if they ask for it or if you wish to increase their confidence in you (ie that you have sent the item) BUT make it clear that you are not asking them to deal with the matter. The tracking information will record whether the item is still in transit or whether it has been lost. Items sent by standard postal services (first class, second class and standard parcels) cannot be 'proved' to have been delivered.
Buyer - please allow your seller time to make enquiries on your behalf. Royal Mail will not declare a parcel (or letter) missing until 15 working days after it was sent. Some sellers will agree to refund within that time, some will refund you when they submit their claim to Royal Mail and some will insist on waiting until Royal Mail has reimbursed them. Remember that you have 45 days to submit a paypal claim, so it is worth hanging on as long as you can - provided you feel the seller is doing thier upmost to resolve the issue. Some seller will claim it is not up to them to pursue the matter and either offer to send you their proof of posting to take the matter up yourslef (it is possible for the buyer to make the claim) or wash their hands of it altogether. You will take their attitude into account when deciding whether or not you need to submit your paypal claim.
Seller - If tracking indicates that the item is lost or you have no tracking for the missing item, you have no option but to refund the buyer in full. You can make a claim for compensation from your Courier or Royal Mail, provided you have at least a proof of postage certificate. You will need to complete a form, available from any post office, and you can expect to wait up to 3 weeks to receive your refund. It is up to you to decide at what point you will refund your buyer - before submitting your claim, on submission or when you yourself receive your refund from the post office.
For those sellers whose terms and conditions state that they are not responsible for items that go missing in the post - YES YOU ARE!!