Poste Italiane

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l0qii
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Poste Italiane

Post by l0qii » Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:02 pm

I recently received a claim from a buyer in Italy that a piece of registered mail was tampered with by the Poste Italiane and their card was removed. What they received was my envelope with a tear down one side and nothing inside.

They say that the Poste told them it is useless to file a claim because he can not prove that there was something inside or that he never received it. He also sent me a scan of the envelope, which I notice has a second sticker added in Italy with a NEW tracking number. Is this standard practice? It was my understanding that a registered letter is signed for by all couriers who handle it, so isn't there some accountability there? If not, what's the sense in wasting $8 to send a registered letter at all?

I have never seen this happen with registered mail before in any country, including Singapore, Malaysia or Brazil, which are notorious for corrupt mail service. What are the chances this guy is telling the truth? Is there anyone in Italy that can explain the postal situation there a little better to me? Is there really no accountability?

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ende73
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Post by ende73 » Thu Nov 30, 2006 7:22 pm

Hello, sorry to hear you have to go through this hassle.

Unfortunately your buyer is probably telling the truth.

Poste Italiane notoriously sucks badly, and is by far the worst Postal system on the planet (far behind the other countries you mentioned).

Vanishing or mishandled envelopes and packages are absolutely not unheard of, as well as stolen contents.

Poste Italiane has a very easy task in dealing with this since claims can only be filed from the sender of the envelope abroad. All we can do here is go to the police in extreme situations, and here comes the best part: even when an employee is actually caught stealing (maybe some of you heard of all the cases involving airport personnel) it is highly unlikely they're going to lose their job ! =D>
This is due to our beautiful welfare state (European model), financed with taxation up to 60% of income, which protects labor at all costs (well, unless you're a young university graduate of course, in which case it is justified to keep you unemployed).

I confirm Poste Italiane stupidly attaches a new tracking number to envelopes once inside the country, adding to difficulties. I tried several times to obtain this "new" number starting from the original one, and it's an almost impossible task... about 99.9% of the kids at Poste's Call center (paid like $400 monthly) don't even have a vague clue of what I talk about when these circumstances occur.

To sum it up, I have really no advice on how to deal with our postal system. The only thing I can suggest is using FedEx (but watch out for customs implications) for purchases above $300.

Have I been too harsh?

No, it's the truth.

EDIT: Typos, my opinion stands

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Post by savagebtings » Thu Nov 30, 2006 7:55 pm

Yep,thats all correct and more.The Italian postal service(lol)is teh SuXoRs.
Luckily,the Italians know this,so they dont get too angry with me when something from ebay doesnt turn up.Generally,if it does get delivered,it takes 3 or 4 weeks(from the UK).
Ive had the "remove cards from envelope and deliver empty envelope"two or three times,but what can you do?
A dealer friend of mine reckons the postmen feel the envelopes,and if it feels like a credit card,they take it.Not sure how they mistake a toploader for a credit card though.Ive taken to writing my name and address on the back of the envelope(in large letters)so they can see the mail isnt from the bank,and hopefully they leave it alone.It seems to be a little better since i started doing that...:)

Craig.

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Post by l0qii » Thu Nov 30, 2006 8:26 pm

Thanks both for your replies. This is as I suspected. The buyer also mentioned that it is the sender who must file a claim. In that case, is it possible for me to file a claim even though I am not from Italy? If I can file a form, where can I get this form?

The loophole I am seeing is that as long as the envelope itself is delivered, the contents do not matter.

I did hear recently in the news of "reform" within the Poste Italiane. Does anyone have more information on that, just to feed my curiosity? Do you think that will make any difference in service?

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Dr. Doom
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Post by Dr. Doom » Thu Nov 30, 2006 10:45 pm

this is the mayor reason why most ebay sellers won't ship to Italy
I am many!

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Post by Mr.C » Fri Dec 01, 2006 3:32 am

Dr. Doom wrote:this is the mayor reason why most ebay sellers won't ship to Italy
Yep.

Strangely, i've had zero problems with italy so far. I must be really lucky.

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Post by Volcanon » Fri Dec 01, 2006 3:38 pm

So basically somebody is screwed even if they pay for registered? I'm going to refuse to ship to italy on my ebay auctions from now on then.

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Post by hammr7 » Fri Dec 01, 2006 4:49 pm

I have had more than a few experiences in Italy. In fact, I used to sell high-tech equipment in Europe. At one point things were so bad that I had to hand-deliver commission payments to my Italian distributor to keep them from getting "diverted" in the post. This was 15 to 20 years ago, when bank transfers were much rarer.

There are ways to minimize the chances of attracting attention. As noted above, single cards (or small groups) in top-loaders that can be felt through flimsy envelopes will attract attention. Bubble envelopes can also attract attention. Anything that has a higher listed value will attract attention.

For smaller value shipments I am more likely to put cards in penny sleeves and tape them between index cards to make it difficult to figure out what is being shipped. Using pressboard envelopes (like global priority envelopes from the US Post Office) also helps. If I have to list contents, I'll often go with some variation of "printed media" which can mean almost any kind of advertisement. I NEVER list "playing cards" since Italy has rules regulating the import of regular (poker) decks of cards, and I don't want to raise any flags. Or I'll list the contents as a personal letter. I'll even include a letter, referencing the included cards as samples of a new game.

There are other concerns. If the recipient is known locally as a big collector, or as someone who gets many valuable International posts, then the chances that any letter will be examined (opened) are increased. If you are sending a huge number of cards, or if the value is great, then it is better to find a private delivery service (DHL. FEDEX, UPS) and pay the higher rate. Just make sure that whomever you choose doesn't use the Italian Postal Service locally. I have even had recipients choose to pick up their shipments at the local depot of the private service and open the package / letter at the pickup and in the presence of the shipper's agent.

As my Italian distributor used to say, if the letter or package is valuable, then extreme paranoia is worth the effort.

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Post by l0qii » Fri Dec 01, 2006 5:17 pm

At first I tried to send Global Priority, but that service is not available to Italy, so I couldn't use that envelope. I put it in a regular envelope, registered mail, with 0 value and no customs form, because they aren't required for normal envelopes. So I took as many precautions as I thought possible. In the end it was probably the top loader that clued them in, although I use the slimmer Ultra-Pro Semi Rigid cards holders because they are less likely to jam machines.

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Post by tap4black » Mon Dec 04, 2006 7:40 pm

Saying the Italian postal system SUCKS is a gross understatement. My rule for selling to Italy any more is simple. The buyer can only pay via money order or bank transfer so I AM PROTECTED. If the seller cannot abide by these requirements then I do not want his business.

I have a total of 7 names on my blocked bidder list and 5 are from Italian customers that have mysteriously claimed to have not received their goods even though every single one of the packages has been sent via FedEX.

Amazingly, since I instituted this policy a couple years ago, I have not had a single case of a card going missing or a package being tampered with by the carrier. Makes you wonder if it is actually the postal system that is to blame.................

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Post by Royal Ass. » Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:20 pm

I have never shipped magic cards to italy. But I have sent a lot of letters and packages with gifts to my girlfriend and relatives, all who are living in Sicily. So far nothing has been lost or stolen. Often it will take about a month for a package to arrive, but in the end it finally arrives. I usually ship stuff packed into a bubble envelop.

Regardless of my luck, I never ship anything expensive, because I too don't trust the italian infrastructure (especially the sicilians ;-) )
Ci sono cose che succedono ai vivi non ai morti.

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Post by BillyThrill » Wed Dec 06, 2006 5:03 am

This is all news to me! I've shipped AND received cards through the Italian Post and had NO issues over the years. In fact, I've had rather pleasant experiences from 3+ years back to just earlier this week. I don't think I'll be excluding Italian bidders just this moment, probably since I am still attempting to retain my Powerseller status as a MTG seller (which will probably be going out the window if I don't jump on the X-mas rush NOW). If I get screwed in any Italian deals this month, I'll be sure to post here ASAP.

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Post by l0qii » Wed Dec 06, 2006 3:19 pm

In the past I've had plenty of success shipping to and from Italy. This is the first I've had registered mail tampered with anywhere. I will continue to ship to Italy, but will take extra steps to inform people of the hazards.

I've looked into using other services for shipping but they all cost a fortune. I rarely sell anything overseas that would be valuable enough to offset the cost of using anything other than regular mail service.

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