International shipping
May 8, 2006 10:33 PM   Subscribe

I shipped something to Nigeria through USPS and it didn't get there. I told them I wanted to insure it for $300 (it was a PS2) and paid $60 to insure and ship it but my reciept says it's only insured for $50. Is there anything I can do?

I told the person at the post office that I was shipping something that was worth $300. I was supposed to recieve the payment through Worldpay but I never got it because they never got the package. I was unable to get actual confirmation because that would have been $50 more. Is it possible that the person did get it and is just screwing me over? I need that money!
posted by joshuak to Work & Money (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Of course it's possible. In fact, it's more than likely, which is why so many auctions on eBay and listings on craigslist say that they refuse to ship to Nigeria. It's a scam.
posted by dobbs at 10:46 PM on May 8, 2006

joshuak, I'm really sorry to tell you this, but dobbs is probably right. They almost certainly did receive the PS2, and they have in fact screwed you over.
posted by The Monkey at 11:03 PM on May 8, 2006

Damn, guy. Don't ship things to Nigeria! The international headquarters of scamming has snared another victim.
posted by evariste at 11:09 PM on May 8, 2006

Why does your receipt only say it's insured for $50? That doesn't make any sense. The receipt they print out when you pay for insurance should say the exact amount you paid.

Anyway, it's very difficult to collect on insurance from the USPS without the active cooperation of the recipient, which will not be forthcoming. You're not even gonna get the fifty.
posted by evariste at 11:11 PM on May 8, 2006

Unfortunately, there's nothing you can do. NEVER ship any auction item w/o actually receiving a payment. Unless you see the payment in your paypal account OR cash a check you got received, don't mail anything out. I'm sorry that you had to find out the hard way. Even the name Worldpay sounds like a scam.

If this was through ebay, report the seller and at the very least, get your final value credit back.
posted by special-k at 11:17 PM on May 8, 2006

Worldpay is actually pretty legit, but still. Don't ship things to people without receiving money first.
posted by evariste at 11:30 PM on May 8, 2006

I believe, based on your profile, that you are under 18.

This may be your saving grace.

Your parent can complain to eBay that you went on there illegally (you have to be 18 to be on there, I believe.)

In high school we used to do this with Columbia House records.

But, to reiterate what people already said:

- don't ship until someone pays.
- don't ship internationally until you really know what you're doing.

You just lost a PlayStation, I think.
posted by k8t at 2:53 AM on May 9, 2006

You shipped something to Nigeria?

I'm highly curious. Was this an ebay auction? A Craigslist ad? How did someone in Nigeria decide they had to buy a PS2 from SoCal? Were you unaware that Nigeria is full of scammers? I want to know how this transaction even happened in the first place.
posted by pieoverdone at 2:54 AM on May 9, 2006

pieoverdone-one of the tags is "ebay".
posted by evariste at 3:05 AM on May 9, 2006

The way it happens is that eBay allows Nigerians who registered that very day to bid on and end dozens of auctions worth thousands of dollars. It takes eBay about 24 hours to close down one of these fraudulent accounts after one of the sellers figures it out and complains. In the meantime, probably one of the dozens of people whose auctions the scammer ended has been duped into sending them an expensive piece of equipment for free. joshuak looks like the latest unfortunate victim...

I've had too many auctions ended by Nigerians and Russians and I find the whole thing infuriating. eBay has a lot to answer for in allowing this kind of scamming to go on day after day. When a seller indicates that they only want to ship to the US, people from Nigerian and Russian IP addresses who registered that very day and don't have confirmed Paypal accounts shouldn't be allowed to bid on high-value auctions.
posted by evariste at 3:09 AM on May 9, 2006

Evar, but what about the legit Nigerian and Russian eBay users?
posted by k8t at 3:22 AM on May 9, 2006

hee .. i don't know about the rest of you guys, but i for one am in love with the adventures of joshuak. keep posting man!

fwiw, i concur, you have been bent over the barrel this time.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 3:42 AM on May 9, 2006

Umm... you paid more for your insurance than the actual value of the insurance you got? (ie you paid $60 to get $50 worth of insurance) Oh wait, that was to ship AND insure. Well, here is basically what you can get:

1) $50 back from USPS, which almost but not quite covers your shipping costs returned.
2) Nothing else. You should have checked the receipt before leaving the post office - anything you said at the time is all hearsay, the only proof you have is what is on that receipt. Since you didn't shell out for delivery confirmation, you have no way to determine whether or not it actually ever arrived. The best you can do is to go to whomever you did the sale through (ebay, whatever) and put a mark on this guy's account saying that he never paid. But chances are pretty good that his account has already been abandoned. Harsh lessons indeed.
posted by antifuse at 4:14 AM on May 9, 2006

A PS2 isn't worth $300.
posted by EarBucket at 4:16 AM on May 9, 2006

To address the unasked part of your question (why your PS2 was insured for $50 when you wanted to insure it for $300) - it's probably because you're not allowed to insure things for more than they're worth. You can buy a brand new PS2 for $130. If someone were willing to insure it for $300, you could make a tidy profit buying PS2s for $130 and shipping them to non-existent addresses (or better yet, Nigeria), collecting the insurance and pocketing the $170 difference. Yeah, $50 seems low even for a used model. The guy at the post office (if he even heard $300) probably changed it to $50, because you did have to list it as a Playstation in the "items shipped" box on the shipping form, right?

1) Collect the money first
2) Don't ship to Nigeria
3) Check your receipt
4) Profit!

Sorry you got screwed.
posted by zanni at 4:24 AM on May 9, 2006

From the USPS website:

Items you send with Registered Mail are placed under tight security from the point of mailing to the point of delivery, and insured up to $25,000 against loss or damage. And you can verify the date and time of delivery and the delivery attempts online. Registered Mail to Canada is subject to a $1,000 indemnity limit. To all other foreign countries, the indemnity limit is currently $40.45.

Sorry about the loss of your PS2.
posted by Roger Dodger at 6:14 AM on May 9, 2006

Roger Dodger: I think you may be reading the wrong place on the USPS website. Using their international postage calculator page, a package of 15 lbs includes $106.26 of automatic indemnity coverage. And you can buy upto $205 of coverage for $4.85 total.

This makes a total of $66.25 for a 15 lb package to Nigeria with Airmail Parcel Post and return receipt, with the extra insurance being only $4.85 (with is $311.26 total of insurance).

To help answer the question, even if you ended up buying only $50 in additional insurance, you may have about $100 of automatic insurance if you used Airmail Parcel Post.

Any more details you can include, might be helpful. Or you can try asking the post office.
posted by skynxnex at 8:12 AM on May 9, 2006

Response by poster: Trust me, I've learned my lesson.
Maybe I can tell Worldpay or something.
posted by joshuak at 10:54 AM on May 9, 2006

Just to re-iterate what everyone else is saying, because it is incredibly important:

Don't sell to Nigeria. Ever. Nigerian bids on eBay are scammers.
posted by Mwongozi at 11:48 AM on May 9, 2006

You know, it is possible that some from Nigeria might want to buy something on ebay some day. You should make sure that everything is legit before you ship anything to anyone but there's no reason to boycott an entire country just because it doesn’t have a functioning legal system.
posted by delmoi at 12:14 PM on May 9, 2006

Yeah, I think the biggest lesson here is, "don't ship to an eBay buyer until you have the payment."
posted by jtron at 1:57 PM on May 9, 2006

there's no reason to boycott an entire country just because it doesn’t have a functioning legal system

...actually, that's exactly why someone should boycott an entire country.
posted by aramaic at 3:52 PM on May 9, 2006

I think you could argue Nigeria has a functioning legal system, but they don't waste its resources on greedy foreigners who get taken by con artists.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 3:04 AM on May 10, 2006

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