Shipping Problems, Solutions, & Changes

Fiddleback Outpost

Fiddleback Forge Knives & Fiddleback Outpost Gear
Joined
Apr 29, 2016
Messages
627
Problem

Dating back to the start of COVID, the past year has been full of challenges for many of us. Here at Fiddleback, we’ve managed to keep most things rolling right along through the setbacks without much change to our overall business or our ability to deliver great products to our customers.

However, one of those challenges has been increasingly difficult to overcome…as it is completely out of our control…and that challenge is shipping.

On January 4th, 10 knives from Fiddleback Forge were “lost” in shipping. That is 10 unique handmade items that potentially will never see their intended forever home.

Solution

After talking it over with Andy, one thing is for sure. We can’t let our customers take the hit for this problem. So we are going to offer the affected customers an option to either have their knives remade with similar materials (if possible) or offer them a full refund. Of course, we are putting trust in our customers that if their knife is delivered after we do this, that they will either pay for it again or return it to us (at our cost to ship). We trust our customers and want to continue to prove we deserve their trust too. We’ve always stood behind our products and our customers, and even with something like this…we’ll continue to do it. It’s the right thing to do.

If you were affected by the January 4th shipping debacle, we will be sending you a direct email to see which solution works best for you. If you don't see that email soon, feel free to email us at [email protected]

Changes

Another thing we also know for sure is that we can’t allow this to occur again, so we are doing away with First Class Mail option for Fiddleback Forge. There is no built-in insurance for First Class Mail at all…therefore, we have no way of recovering any loss. Also, because USPS knows that they are not on the hook for any of the money lost, they treat First Class Mail as a second class citizen. As is proved in this case since all Priority Mail that day made it, First Class was allowed to sit somewhere unprocessed.

An unfortunate side effect of that change is that there will no longer be a free shipping option for Fiddleback Forge and we are ONLY offering USPS Priority Mail and UPS.

We’ve tried for years to keep a method in place for Free Shipping, but with prices increasing again this year…along with the most recent issues…we can’t continue to do it. We have to be more prudent and put the emphasis on reliability of shipping. The good news is, we have REALLY good shipping rates compared to most…so that helps us keep those costs down for customers. And with the recent addition of UPS to our available choices, each customer should be able to find a reliable method to get their product faster than the free option offered.

PO Box shippers: your only choice is USPS Priority Mail since UPS can’t deliver to a PO Box.

California customers: we will continue to mandate Signature Required on all shipments due to having so many issues with things being delivered to incorrect addresses, as well as package thefts after delivery in California. It costs a couple of bucks more, but it’s worth knowing it got to the correct person’s hands!

International Customers: will be limited to UPS ONLY for the near future due to USPS losing a tremendous number of International packages in recent months…luckily all knives are accounted for, but we see patterns over at Fiddleback Outpost on this issue enough to institute the changes until we see the reliability return for USPS.
 

ndmiller

Platinum Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2015
Messages
1,613
Related to shipping and good/bizarre service, I've received a few items in the last nine months of pandemic shipping, where I've received a duplicate a week later (1 Amazon, 1 DSW, 1 Firearm related).

Amazon believed the item wasn't delivered even though I told them it was, they refunded my money and told me to keep both for my trouble. Makes no sense.

DSW cancelled the first order (I had already received) and sent another refusing a return because I hadn't paid for the first one (it was cancelled). I could not get them to take either pair back even though I clearly paid nothing and had 2 pair of shoes....Customer Service Stupidity.

Firearm related was a high end AR Upper and I even called before the second one was sent to say USPS says it's not delivered (to this day not delivered) but I have it in my possession. Customer service refused to believe me and sent a second upper. They finally agreed to take one back and not refund me on the first one.....Just bizarre.

Long story short, good choices abound from the FF team and USPS sucks.
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2020
Messages
10
I'm sorry, but this doesn't surprise me at all. What the USPS doesn't lose, the employee's steal. This is not my Father's USPS. I'm not saying all employee's are thieves, but there is a segment of the employee's that supplement their already very good salary with thievery. It why they have constant oversight by Postal Inspectors and cameras.. I guess we can't expect to get much for our $25M.

b/r

RB
 

warrenwrench

Basic Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2014
Messages
523
Mine is one of the MIA blades, been fighting with everyone trying to get it resolved. I have started two cases with USPS because they closed the first with no resolution, said they couldn't leave it open it would look bad. Started another case that is supposed to be escalated. I have so much time involved in trying to get my blade, it's BS. I can only hope FF can make something good happen. The E-mail I received today on this subject gave me a little hope. The people at the Buford PO are real awful people to talk to. I put that nicely.
 

B Griffin

Gold Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2007
Messages
18,575
Problem.... because USPS knows that they are not on the hook for any of the money lost, they treat First Class Mail as a second class citizen. As is proved in this case since all Priority Mail that day made it, First Class was allowed to sit somewhere unprocessed.

Yep. 13 years ago I sold a knife on the exchange here on BF and forgot to add the extra insurance because i was in a hurry and didn't want to spend the other couple of bucks that day either. Luckily when they lost that one I was only out a $30 difference I had to make up out of pocket. But I've never forgotten that $30 lesson.

Since then, I have always remembered to pay the extra extortion fee to ensure ensure I at least didn't lose any large amounts of money in the future. Out the two-thousand or so packages of knives and gear I've shipped since that day, the insurance was only ever necessary twice. But both times it would have been more than $400 out of pocket versus the $10 or so I had spent on insurance for each of them, at a time when losing $400 would have been life altering for me.

I've since quit using the USPS at all for personal shipping for several reasons
 

Fiddleback Outpost

Fiddleback Forge Knives & Fiddleback Outpost Gear
Joined
Apr 29, 2016
Messages
627
OK, so the great news is...all but ONE of the knives have been accounted for at this point. We have one still in transit that IS tracking...and the last one is in the wind still with no tracking update. However, based on what we're seeing, I'm confident it will show up by Monday! Only 4 total packages out of the 91 originally lost are not tracking at this point.

I can't tell you how amazed I still am at how great our customers are to work with. Everyone on the Fiddleback Forge side of this mess has been very understanding and patient...making a stressful situation much easier to deal with. Thank you all!

I've learned alot more about methods used by USPS in this past month that I wasn't aware of before. Like how the "scan" in the Buford, GA hub doesn't actually occur until it's scanned IN at the next hub...it uses the information on when the SEMI TRAILER visited that dock. In other words, they don't actually scan it when it leaves, they never touch the individual packages before they leave...and they have no idea what is actually on the truck when it leaves a local post office headed to the hub. So if the destination doesn't scan it upon arrival (common these days)...BOTH scans never happen. In this case it was Memphis that scanned some when they finally cleared the trailer sitting in their parking lot...after it was wrongfully routed there as "media mail". And since humans sort all the mail...the scans aren't necessary for items to keep moving packages...so when they need to cut corners, they just don't scan anything.

It's really a miracle in the 5 years Outpost has been in business...I can count on one hand how many knives have been lost by USPS in that time...and that's with several fingers left after the count. They've been really reliable over the years for the most part...just since COVID they've lost their minds.

I have a 14 year old Single Malt that I will be busting out as soon as that last one gets delivered!

Those 10 knives were all mine. Please send me a paypal.

Btw, the big brown truck does it right on shipping.

UPS is like anything...it depends on the area. Some people have issues with them too. They're great here...unlike FedEx, they're terrible.

Mine is one of the MIA blades, been fighting with everyone trying to get it resolved. I have started two cases with USPS because they closed the first with no resolution, said they couldn't leave it open it would look bad. Started another case that is supposed to be escalated. I have so much time involved in trying to get my blade, it's BS. I can only hope FF can make something good happen. The E-mail I received today on this subject gave me a little hope. The people at the Buford PO are real awful people to talk to. I put that nicely.

Looks like yours delivered a short while ago!!!

Since then, I have always remembered to pay the extra extortion fee to ensure ensure I at least didn't lose any large amounts of money in the future.

Insurance through USPS is garbage...the few times we've had to collect, they find excuses not to pay the claim even when the claim is obvious...and that's after you jump through hoops. We use a 3rd party insurer...when we use it.
 

Bmurray

Gold Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2012
Messages
6,913
I get all of mine scanned at the PO or by my postman. Get a receipt when it's scanned in. These should be scanned by your driver that picks them up. Way to valuable just to let the PO just wing it.
 

Aardvark

Basic Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2002
Messages
4,196
I ordered no knives, and I didn't get ANY of them.
Please inform me of their status.

"Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn't there
He wasn't there again today
I wish, I wish he'd go away..."
Antigonish, by Hughes Mearns

Very good, decisive reaction to what could have been a nasty customer relations/reimbursement issue.

Great followup in post #11, also.
 

B Griffin

Gold Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2007
Messages
18,575
UPS is like anything...it depends on the area. Some people have issues with them too. They're great here...unlike FedEx, they're terrible.

Fed Ex not so great here either. My ex works customer support for them, I've heard a few bad stories.

Insurance through USPS is garbage...the few times we've had to collect, they find excuses not to pay the claim even when the claim is obvious...and that's after you jump through hoops. We use a 3rd party insurer...when we use it.

Their service in general can be garbage sometimes. I was shipping a rare knife to a friend in Johannesburg S.A. from the PO in Iona Michigan. He had paid me $600 for the knife. I had filled out the customs form stating that value, and then went to add insurance. They would only let me insure the package for $175 with it going to South Africa and no more. So I asked for the package back and a new customs form and came back with it stated as worth $175. The clerk said "I thought you said it was worth $500?" I said it is until I hand it to you. You're the one saying it's only worth $175, because that's all you're going to pay me if you lose it, and there is no justifying my friend paying VAT on $425 more than you're willing to reimburse if you lose it. Thank God the knife made it. I haven't exactly been a big USPS fan since that day.
 

Fiddleback Outpost

Fiddleback Forge Knives & Fiddleback Outpost Gear
Joined
Apr 29, 2016
Messages
627
I get all of mine scanned at the PO or by my postman. Get a receipt when it's scanned in. These should be scanned by your driver that picks them up. Way to valuable just to let the PO just wing it.

All of our packages ARE scanned on pickup...but they show on tracking as "Acceptance Pending" since we use a "scan sheet" that summarizes all the packages into one barcode. But it doesn't appear to the customer to be in possession of USPS until they do an "Acceptance Scan" which doesn't occur until it's moved to the next location...if it's scanned at all. So if you ever see "Acceptance Pending"...USPS has it...in our case anyways.

Fiddleback Outpost Fiddleback Outpost Robert, I did receive my blade this evening. All is good. Thanks. E-mail reply sent.

Fantastic!!!

I ordered no knives, and I didn't get ANY of them.
Please inform me of their status.

"Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn't there
He wasn't there again today
I wish, I wish he'd go away..."
Antigonish, by Hughes Mearns

Very good, decisive reaction to what could have been a nasty customer relations/reimbursement issue.

Great followup in post #11, also.

I never get any either :(

Fed Ex not so great here either. My ex works customer support for them, I've heard a few bad stories.

Their service in general can be garbage sometimes. I was shipping a rare knife to a friend in Johannesburg S.A. ....

FedEx is awful here. They just leave our packages just inside our exterior door. No knock or anything. Our interior door is TEN FEET from there. They won't walk it in at all. And that is only IF they find the address at all. I won't even tell you the story of them delivering my brother's new iPhone to an abandoned house on another street. o_O

USPS International was so bad after COVID started, we had to stop using it. We would have packages sitting at the hub in Miami for a MONTH without moving. Then, they would do the same thing at a destination hub. I'm still tracking one stuck in Belgium 3 months ago. UPS, on the other hand, gets them there in 3-4 DAYS! Our Canadian customers are worst hit by this, their postage is now double the cost AND they now get hit with import fees. But it's better than not getting the package at all!
 

Fiddleback Outpost

Fiddleback Forge Knives & Fiddleback Outpost Gear
Joined
Apr 29, 2016
Messages
627
All packages from the Jan. 4th mishap have (finally!) been accounted for! Last knife is out for delivery today!

Thank you to everyone being so understanding and patient while we worked to get this resolved.
 
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