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Newsletter Article: Shipping 101

Shipping 101

 Canada Post

We use Canada Post as our exclusive shipping service. We do this for several reasons:

  1. Canada Post has extremely competitive shipping rates, usually the lowest.
  2. If we used a courier shipping service such as UPS or FEDEX for shipments outside of Canada customers would get charged a heavy courier brokerage fee to move the package across the international border. Canada Post does not charge a brokerage fee.
  3. Canada Post is competitive on delivery speeds.

Tracking Numbers.

We only offer Canada Post shipping services that have a tracking number.  Canada Post does offer a low priced, non-tracked package service; however, we tried offering that service for several months and it did not work as our customers demand to be able to track their packages. Now we only offer Canada Post options that have a tracking service.

All of Canada Post’s tracking numbers are international tracking numbers so you can look up the tracking number on Canada Post or ANY OTHER tracking service.  For example, the Canada Post tracking number on a package being delivered to the U.S. can be looked up on the United States Postal Service (USPS) tracking page on their website.

International Shipments.

All of our international shipments leave Canada by air service.  Since we are located on the east coast of Canada, our international packages fly out of the Montreal International Airport arriving in the designated international airport for the country the package is being shipped to.

Once the package arrives to its destination country, it processes through customs.  Once it passes customs, the package is turned over to the country’s national postal service for in-country delivery.  For example, all packages headed to the U.S. arrive at John F. Kendy (JFK) airport in New York.  Once through customs, the package is received by the United States Postal Service (USPS) at their Jamaica N.Y. postal distribution center just outside of JFK airport.  The package is then in the USPS system and is delivered to its final destination by USPS.

US Shipment Confusion

As noted above, all of our U.S. shipments fly into JFK and are received at the USPS distribution center in Jamacia N.Y. This tends to be confusing for many customers.  When they look up the tracking information as it will say, “Package arrived USJFKA.”   We recently had a customer who thought “USJFKA” was a foreign country!  Similarly, many people think their package has been sent to the country of Jamacia when they see in tracking, “Arrived Jamaica distribution center N.Y.”  

Shipping Costs. 

Our order system is integrated with Canada Post’s commercial rate postal system.  Once you fill your cart and proceed to the address section of the checkout process, the system gives you the available Canada Post shipping options.  You select the rate you desire.  We DO NOT add any extra charges (e.g., handling or package material) to the Canada Post price.  To learn more about Canada Post’s commercial postal rates please see Canada Post commercial rates 

Combining Shipping

Many customers make multiple orders and then want us to combine those orders into one order to save on shipping rates.  There are a couple of things to know about combining shipments. 

  • Try and make your order all in one order verses multiple orders.
  • If you need to add to an existing order, it is best to contact us by phone so a customer service representative can add the item you want to the existing order, avoiding you creating a second order with additional shipping charges.
  • Canada Post, unlike many other postal systems primarily charges commercial postal rates by weight not size. So, unless your package is very lightweight (less than a pound / 500 grams) there is minimal postal rate savings by combining packages.
  • We ship very quickly so if you left something out of your order contact us immediately. If the package is already shipped, there is nothing we can do.
  • If you already have multiple orders in our system, our packers will automatically combine the orders IF THEY HAVE TIME to go through the administrative steps to do so. On a busy packing day, they may not have time to go through the package combination process.

When Things Do Not Go as Planned.

97% of our packages arrive on the time and without issues. But as with everything, things can go wrong.  Below is a list of the common scenarios that cause package delays in the order of the most common to the least common scenario:

  1. The air shipping container the package is shipped in is identified by customs for further scrutiny at the arrival airport.
  2. The delivery country’s custom or postal system holds the package for collection of customs, taxes, or other fees. Note: this does not happen with packages delivered to the U.S. because of trade agreements between the U.S. and Canada.
  3. The package is mis-routed by the in-country postal service.
  4. The package is mis-routed to the wrong country by Canada Post.
  5. The package is delivered to the wrong final destination by the in-country postal service.
  6. The package is delayed in-route by an unidentified reason.
  7. The package was determined to be non-deliverable to the destination address and is returned to sender (us).

When any of these scenarios happen, we work with the customer to ensure their package is delivered to them.  Of note, the percent of our packages that are lost, never to be recovered is extremely low, at .0002% of all packages we have shipped in the last three years. This super low lost rate is due to having every package tracked with an international tracking number.  Unfortunately, when a package is overdue many customers first thought is that the package is lost, when the package is most likely only delayed.

Solving Shipping Issues.

Once a package leaves our shop and is turned over to Canada Post we have no ability to influence the package at that point.  We cannot stop or change the delivery in any way.  We just have to let the postal delivery system run its course. 

99% of the time if a package is delayed, time will solve the issue and the package will be delivered.  For unusually long delays, we work with customers to solve the issue.  In serious cases we may even ship a new package out, but then the customer must refuse acceptance of the original package when it finally arrives for delivery, that way the original package is returned to us.

For mis-delivered packages, the customer coordinates with their local postal service which almost always can track the package to the mis-delivered address and recover the package.

For the rare occasion when a package is truly lost, we send out a new duplicate package.

May your packages never be delayed!