Vintage Volkswagens – Resolving Shipping Complaints

A fellow Volkswagener and I were reviewing some feedback for a major VW parts retailer and a repair shop. While everyone will make a mistake now and then, and while parts sometimes prematurely fail, the problem deserves a deeper consideration than just venting on a feedback forum.

As I reviewed the complaints, I found that there was a common denominator on the part of the user or buyer. The problem often stemmed from a casual purchase or even a lack of research before buying a product or securing a service. We could avoid many situations if we all would do our homework. I am sure that all of us have had experiences similar to some of mine where I just flat failed to research parts and services—beforehand– to see if they fit my needs!

Knowing what parts are available and comparing products from one company to the next, and origin of manufacture, very often will steer us in the correct direction so that a misstep can be avoided.

Understanding what service is required, comparing service providers and speaking with satisfied customers also can provide a pleasant VW experience.

So what happens in the case when we have done everything possible but still there has been a product failure or a service problem?

I noted that many of the registered complainants, in the feedback forum I visited, never honestly had tried to resolve the problem with the seller or the shop. In fact, the first line toward solving problems should be an honest look at the situation by both parties to see what can be done. Over the years, I have found that most providers of services and/or products are quite willing to mitigate damages by either revisiting the repair situation or by replacing faulty or malfunctioning parts. Generally speaking, the Law smiles upon this type of resolution.

But…not all complaints can be resolved so easily. They may require some compromise by both parties. Some situations are beyond the control of both providers of services and of parts. Sometimes providers must achieve resolution, first, with a manufacturer or first-party provider. This may take time. Patience often is required. We users must recognize that most providers do not want to hold up their customers–it does their business no good to do so. They will do their best to quickly resolve the situation. In such cases, it often is good for both parties to agree on some time-line for the resolution to take place.

Sometimes, there just is no resolution. What to do in such a case? If the issue does not involve a substantial amount of money or damage, I have found times when I just let it drop. If there is substantial money or damage involved, perhaps more involved measures will be required.

Perhaps communicating with a manufacturer one’s self… Perhaps even obtaining legal advice. But remember: obtaining legal services can be costly.

Try to mitigate damages while pressing for the best outcome.

In the case of a service provider or retailer who just will not cooperate, be sure that you don’t fall into the same situation again. Alert other persons carefully about poor service or faulty parts and so forth. It really doesn’t do much good to defame, although it probably gives us some satisfaction!

Here’s an example which happened to me recently. I sold a used brake fluid reservoir to a customer. I thought that I had reviewed the part sufficiently to have made certain that there were no cracks. I missed one. The customer messaged me that she had discovered a small leak. She wanted to pay for the shipping of a replacement. Well—it wasn’t her problem, was it. It was an error on my part. I immediately produced a replacement and
sent it on its way to the customer with an apology—and NO shipping fee. Apparently there was enough good will generated that the customer immediately ordered more parts from me. My customer was happy—I was happy (and more careful).

Remember:

  • 1. Keep all Purchase Receipts. A VW friend told me recently that he bought a starter with a 3-year warranty. He told me that he carefully filed the receipt so that in case of a failure he will have evidence of his purchase and warranty.
  • 2. Keep all Repair Receipts. If there is a question, a receipt often will be the first course of action. An important part of maintaining a History of your VW will be keeping Repair and Purchase Receipts.
  • 3. Upon opening a shipment, immediately review each part to be sure that it is complete and undamaged—from either the factory or the provider. Shipping firms and providers often have a time-limit on recourse.
  • Example: I received a shipment. As I opened the container, an 8-1/2 X 11 pink sheet with large print greeted me, alerting me to a 48 hour recourse limit for damage to contents, missing items or faulty products. There also was an indication of the procedure for the return of products, etc.
  • 4. When you find a good provider of parts and services, refer other vintage car owners to those. Give those businesses good reviews via the InterNet and directly to the businesses.
    Create good will and help to strengthen the good reputation of quality businesses.
  • Filing Claims with the United States Postal System

If you feel that you have a claim against the US Postal System, please see the following Link for information leading to a successful conclusion. Remember—Package items carefully. Insure packages which might contain valuable items or papers. Include Tracking on those parcels.

USPS claims

FEDEX claims

For claims with other shipping companies or agencies, do a specific search to learn how to file claims.

The old adage: “A stitch in time saves nine” is a good one to remember when packaging and shipping. I have seen people enter the Post Office carrying such poorly packaged items that I wonder how the package even made it to the facility!

Live smart with your Vintage Volkswagen!

Posted by Jay Salser

My wife, Neva, and I have been driving and working on VWs since 1976. In fact, we raised our family in these cars. Now, we are retired and enjoy VWs as a hobby. The ’67 Beetle always has been our favorite year. We own a '67 Beetle and a '68 Karmann Ghia.

  1. Very good info, Jay!

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  2. Very helpful, as I often have problems with FedEx.

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    1. Hello, Amy…thank you for taking time to comment! I guess that all of us have had to resolve a complaint at one time or another. This
      little article stems from some of my own experiences of buying, selling and shipping. I learned right away how to be resilient yet thoughtful regarding my customers! jay

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  3. Another insightful, and well articulated article from Jay Salser. I have been following your info for years.

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    1. Jim–your response makes our day here at 1967beetle.com! Our supreme desire is to provide USEFUL information to the ’67 Community. That makes all of our labors worth it! jay

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  4. ¿Cuántas veces a todos nos ha pasado esto? Un saludo a usted, Sr. Salser, por todo lo que escribe y comparte con nosotros.

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  5. También me gustaría dar las gracias a Jay Salser por ayudarme con mi Beetle del 68. Dios te bendiga, Salser.

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    1. Don Jose…Thank you so much for taking time to read our new article and then to comment. It is our constant hope that we can help others in the 1967 Beetle community with our own experiences.

      Don Jose–Muchas gracias por haber leido nuestro articulo–y, ademas, comentar sobre ello! Aqui, deseamos siempre compartir algito que pueda ayudar los de la Comunidad de 1967 y demas Vochos! Que Dios le de a usted y a los suyos buena salud y gozo de vida. jaime

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      1. Thank you both!

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  6. Detailed. This is what I expect from Jay and Eric.

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    1. Thank you, Gary!

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    2. Hello, Gary…There is SO MUCH to tell that it behooves us to get the word out to the ’67 Beetle Community so that we can knit an ever tighter bond amongst ourselves! Thanks for being a constant Reader! jay

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      1. Many years with Gary riding with us, JK.

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  7. I’ve always enjoyed Jay’s articles. Thank you for blessing us with another gem to learn.

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    1. Thanks for reading along with us, Henry.

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    2. Henry–Thank you for reading and staying with us! Someone asked me recently if there was anything more to add concerning the 1967 Beetle. I had to laugh because it seems that we’ve only scratched the surface. Just this week, I took time with a seasoned VW Engine Builder and Mechanic to discuss yet another area of the VW Engine! Wow! Another article in the making– because I am beginning to understand yet another important function tucked away inside these engines! jay

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  8. Sr. Jay Salser. Disfruté este artículo de lectura hoy. Vengo a ti desde Colombia. A menudo imprimimos artículos desde la computadora y los compartimos con otros amigos de VW.

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    1. Estimada Lectora, Mariana–Que sorpresa me has dado–te explico que hace mucho anos vivimos in Colombia por unos anos. Tenemos muchos recuerdos de tu Bello Pais. Es un honor que entre nuestros Lectores hay Colombianos. Te agradesco tu ayuda en compartir nuestros articulos a otros aficionados VW.

      Dear Reader, Mariana, of Colombia, South America–Thank you for spreading 1967beetle.com amongst Volkswagen enthusiasts there in Colombia. My wife and I hold Colombia dear to our hearts since we lived there for some years, many years ago. May the VW Community in Colombia continue to grow! jay

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    2. What an honor! Thank you for reading.

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  9. Dios lo bendiga, Sr. Salser. Somos muy pobres aquí, pero amamos nuestro viejo Volkswagen Tipo 1. Este sitio web Beetle de 1967 es muy conocido en esta área. Muchos han publicado sus historias y artículos de tecnología que ayudan a aquellos de nosotros que no tenemos fondos y necesitamos arreglar nuestros autos por nuestra cuenta. Espero viajar a los Estados Unidos algún día.

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    1. For those who cannot read Spanish, I will translate Mariana’s comment above: “May God bless you, Mr. Salser. We are very poor here but we love our old Type 1 Volkswagens. The WebSite, 1967beetle.com, is well known in this region (of Colombia, S. America). Your technical articles and histories (of Beetle owners) are made available to those of us who do not have available funds (to have others to work on our cars)–so that we ourselves maintain and repair our own cars. I hope, one day, to visit the USA.” My reply: Le agradicemos muchismo, Mariana, tus comentarios tan generosos! Por favor de pasar nuestos saludos a todos los Beetle Aficionados alli en Colombia. Que vivan los quienes son duenos de VWs! jaime

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  10. Very good info! Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Hello, Guy–It is good to hear from you! I hope that you folks are able to pass this Winter’s “offerings” and stay in good health and safety! “Winter” has just descended upon here in North Central Texas–we generally pass a fairly mild Winter. The next while is going to keep us scrambling to stay warm and safe from the predicted ice/snow event. Keep enjoying your Black 1967 Beetle! jay

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