art as a business

About a lost painting

I rarely write about mishaps because my focus is on beautiful and creative things, but this time I am going to share an experience for my colleagues (and not only).

The story in brief: I had an order from an international customer for an original painting 80 x 80 cm. To transport the painting to Spain I trusted (as I have done in the past) to Speedy. They lost the shipment somewhere along the way.

The story in details:

  • the painting was commissioned by my customers in Barcelona and I started working on it in September 2018
  • I finished it at the end of 2018, but I wanted to avoid the Christmas hustle so I decided to send it after the New Year
  • on January 11ththe local Speedy courier came to pick it up: with a travel abroad certificate and two invoices to the customer
  • a brief side note: for Bulgaria I have been using Econt for years (and I am very happy with their service) and I fill in my bills of landing by myself. I am IT literate. in order to fill the bill of landing for this shipment I had to do it through the Speedy’s website. my impression from this operation, which should be relatively easy, is that the website is ill-considered, complicated and absolutely users unfriendly. I put up with this with the idea that I don’t do it every day. I called the headquarters for help and I managed though frustrated.
  • a week passed. I began to worry as the shipment should have arrived by then. I wrote to the customers. nothing.
  • an odyssey started. I tried to connect with someone, anyone, who could help me to locate the shipment. two days of calls to the headquarters, an attempt to redirect me, all operators busy, press 1 if you want us to call you… hope-less.
  • another side note: it is such an embarrassment to explain to the customer that for two days you cannot contact the courier for information…
  • after the fifth attempt to connect I utilized all possible communication channels: I wrote to their FB page, on the website via web form, in a mail to the help desk (which is not on the website, but I had to dig it up from previous correspondence).
  • on January 22ndmy correspondence with the help desk started. from the International shipments requested a detail description of the shipment. thank God, I had taken pictures of the packaging stages. I told myself: ‘there’s no way they are not going to find it. it is almost 100 x 100 cm, with a bright red tape…’
  • on January 28thI received an email that the shipment could not be located and was declared lost?!?
  • the next day I consulted a lawyer and in response to a help desk email I sent the two invoices issued to the customer as proof for the painting value. I requested recompense of the value of these invoices plus the shipping fee.
  • on the February 1st, thank God, they paid this recompense.

Although I aim to stick to the facts only, I need to mention the emotional side of this story: to create something beautiful, to work on it for months, to invest your soul and labor, and materials, and to get the approval of the customer – this is a long and satisfying process. And when someone finally takes all this and due to irresponsibility, oversight and/ or indifference loses it (?!), is to say the least frustrating, disappointing and ultimately – sad.

I don’t have to say that from now on I would seriously consider whether to use the services of this company. I am amazed that nowadays with so many resources available to make your customer happy, there is such an unsatisfactory customer service. even if in time they find the shipment in some warehouse, I refuse to believe that it is normal part of the process to loose so much peace and time and energy.

P.S. an update from March 25th: all’s well that ends well. Eventually the painting was delivered to the customer (in the neighboring house without any signature that they had accepted it) in perfect condition.

The remarkable thing is that I learned for the receipt from the customer, not from the courier. If I haven’t visited my e-office to check the bills of landing (of a closed case!), I might not have found out at all. Dumbfounding customer service system…