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Delays & April/May boxes:
1. Priority Shipping (Japan Post)
2. Country Specific Delays
3. Returned & reshipped April and May boxes – When will my box arrive?
4. Can I cancel my April or May boxes?
What actions we’ve taken so far:
5. What happens with my prepaid subscription?
6. Surface Mail and DHL
What’s happening next:
7. Updates from August box 2020 onward
8. Converting Your Shipping Method
9. What happens after the COVID-19 shipping restrictions are lifted?
As you may know, these past few months we’ve been experiencing shipping issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Japan Post restricted international shipping for many countries around the world; then due to unpredictable and frequent changes in shipping availability, our shipping options have had to be updated multiple times.
We apologize for any confusion and inconvenience this may have caused and we hope for your understanding during these difficult times.
We’d like to use this blog as a comprehensive resource to answer any questions you may have about what actions we’ve taken up to this point in regards to shipping affected by COVID-19, where we’re heading from now, and information for customers with boxes that have yet to be delivered.
After Japan Post announced their first international shipping restrictions on April 1st 2020, we converted our subscribers to a new Priority Shipping option that continued to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic, with an estimated delivery time of 10-14 days (but no tracking option) as written on the official website of Japan Post. However, we unfortunately had to charge our subscribers ($3-$5 depending on the plan) to cover the additional shipping fees for this more expensive shipping method.
This shipping method helped us ship May and June boxes. However, Japan Post announced later that even boxes that were shipped through Priority Shipping have experienced delays depending on the postal services in the country of destination.
Despite COVID-19 restrictions that delayed some of our shipping and packaging operations, we have been able to ship out the majority of our boxes on schedule. Once our packages are picked up by Japan Post, they are on their way to their final destinations. However, there have been many instances in the past few months of packages arriving in the destination country, but being stuck in backup delays in the respective country’s postal system.
In particular, Canada Post and Royal Mail (UK) are severely backlogged domestically, and our packages unfortunately join that glut once reaching the destination country. Please see the relevant news releases from both postal services:
Royal Mail (UK) press release: https://www.royalmail.com/coronavirus
In addition, on Twitter you can view real-time updates based on customer experiences with the relevant postal service in your country. Some examples include:
Royal Mail (UK): https://twitter.com/search?q=royal%20mail&src=typed_query&f=live
USPS (USA): https://twitter.com/search?q=usps&src=typed_query&f=live
Due to the sudden shipping restrictions by Japan Post, a large number of mainly April and May boxes that we shipped from April on were returned to our warehouse. We did our best to reship these boxes as quickly as possible but because of Japan Post’s extreme backlog of packages, it took a while until they returned the boxes to our warehouse. The manual process necessary to receive, relabel and reship these boxes with the preferred shipping method added to this delay from Japan Post.
For those whose boxes were reshipped during this period, we estimate that your boxes will arrive within 60-90 days after shipping, depending on the shipping method and destination country’s postal service.
We truly apologize about the wait, but unfortunately we are not able to cancel any still undelivered April or May boxes as they are currently in transit and will be delivered.
Throughout the COVID-19 situation, we’ve had to charge a monthly shipping fee in order to ship the next box in your prepaid plan. Due to our new shipping situation starting from August’s box, we’ll continue to charge a monthly shipping fee until your subscription renews.
Your DHL shipping fee will be charged on the day we ship a box for you.
For new subscribers, you’ll see at checkout the new shipping fees included starting from August’s box.
On April 23rd, Japan Post announced the extension of shipping restrictions to the Priority Shipping method to some countries, including shipment to the USA.
We then came up with 2 alternative shipping options starting May 5th:
1) DHL Shipping Plan with tracking for $10.95 or $8.95 (estimated delivery time: 3-5 days after shipping).
2) Surface Mail Plan for your shipment at no charge (estimated delivery time 60-90 days after shipping due to COVID-19 related postal jams and no tracking service).
Using one of these options we shipped many of your June and July boxes and also some of the boxes that were returned to our warehouse.
We have an important announcement regarding international shipping:
From August’s box on we will be shipping the vast majority of our boxes only via DHL, removing the Surface Mail shipping option. As opposed to government postal services such as USPS, Canada Post and Royal Mail, the private courier DHL is not experiencing shipping delays and everyone is guaranteed to receive their box within 3-5 days after shipping.
We have received positive feedback from customers who have earlier opted for the DHL shipping option. Using DHL, subscribers are able to reliably track their box, which we feel is most important during these uncertain times. We hope to reduce the number of delayed boxes and uncertainty that comes with untrackable packages.
For certain countries that don’t support DHL shipping, we’ll be offering Japan Post Priority Shipping + Tracking. Whether your box ships with DHL or Japan Post, either service will cost $10.95.
Starting from our August box, our usual free shipping method (4-6 weeks shipping without tracking) will still be available only for select countries that cannot support DHL or Priority Shipping.
Please see our comprehensive Country List to check which shipping method your country falls under.
From August’s box on, we will be shipping most of our boxes through DHL or Japan Post Priority shipping + Tracking from the next box onwards. By doing this you will be able to track your box and receive it quickly and safely.
If you’d rather not pay the $8.95~$10.95 shipping fee you can select to skip your box and switch it for the next box available, once shipping resumes as usual.
The deadline to choose either of these options will be 6/30/2020 23:59 JST. If we don’t hear from you before this time, your box will be shipped by default (DHL or Japan Post Priority Shipping + tracking). Please head to the Customer Portal to make your choice.
Some of you may wonder what will happen once Japan Post lifts the current shipping restrictions that were caused by COVID-19.
We’re planning to continuously evaluate the different shipping methods and the status of Japan Post and select the most reliable courier available per location.
We will notify you in advance if there are any changes.
Throughout these past five years in business we’ve continuously been learning and growing in the process. And along with the rest of the subscription box community this is our first time experiencing the challenges of a pandemic. But we’ve gained so much new insight from this unprecedented situation that we’ll come out stronger than before.
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