Depending on the size and fragility of your order, we deliver either by Startrack Express or Australia Post. If the parcel contains a snath (scythe handle for those not into scything), it is too long to be sent by Australia Post so we send it by courier. We have found that Australia Post has an extremely good track record for delivery of fragile items, i.e. crockpots, without breakage. This is the reason we no longer send customers pallet loads of crockpots. We once sent 3 large crockpots up to Brisbane on a pallet, and Star Track Express managed to break 2 of them. As Star Track won’t pay insurance out on fragile items, we covered the breakage at our own cost. Too many of those incidents is a very good way of going out of business. Our 25L crockpot we now only sell to customers who are willing to travel to our farm to pick it up. It is too large for Australia Post.
We live 40 km out of town. To keep our costs down, we only go to town once a week, on a Friday, so Friday is the day we take all our orders to the courier.
We understand that you might have forgotten an important birthday or that Christmas has come around earlier than you expected and where possible we will make sure your parcel is sent out the week you ordered it. In the lead up to Christmas, we may even go to town a couple of times a week. But living 40 km out of town with 10 km of gravel road and a farm to run as well as our business, we can’t afford to make special trips.
If your order is being sent by Star Track Express, you will be asked to provide us with a real address. If you insist on having product delivered to your local post office, the courier charges us an additional fee of around $10 (as of November, 2016), which we will need to pass on to you. If you are not at home when the courier arrives, they will leave you a note to pick the parcel up from their depot. If that depot is a long way from where you live, you might prefer to give us a business address instead, for example your place of work or a friendly local shop, where you can be guaranteed that someone is there during business hours. You can give permission for the courier to leave the parcel in a secure place at your address, but that is at your own risk. If the courier is given no special instructions about delivery, they will keep attempting delivery until they have succeeded in meeting up with the person they have to deliver to – and each failed delivery is charged to us at about $15. We don’t want to have to charge you extra so please please give us delivery instructions.
As soon as the parcels are packaged and ready to go, we print out a Dispatch Summary for Star Track Express. This automatically sends you an email (if you have given us an email address) to let you know that the parcel is on its way. The email will also give you the consignment number for your parcel so you can track its progress on the website.
Australia Post tracks parcels now by default. You will receive a tracking advice. Crockpots will be sent as individual items. Again, this reduces the chance of breakages. Our items sent through Australia Post are insured. If a breakage occurs (Australia Post is pretty good, but occasionally it happens), you will need to take the broken item to your local Australia Post Office and fill out a form.
Due to either the fragility of our products (crockpots) or the odd shape of others (scythes), we make all of our own boxes. To cover the labour costs of making boxes plus the cardboard and other materials required, we charge one handling fee of $10 per order. This also covers insurance that is not otherwise covered by Star Track Express or Australia Post. If the item you order is small enough, we will send it in an Australia Post satchel, in which case no handling fee will be charged.
If you live outside Australia, we will only sell you an item under special circumstances. Firstly, we won’t sell you a snath. Shipping costs make it prohibitive. We will sell you a blade and/or sharpening gear, but only if those items are not available in your own country. And again, we will have to individually calculate your shipping cost. Crockpots we worry about because the further an item travels, the more hands it goes through and the more likely it will meet with a clumsy or disgruntled employee who damages the pot.
Breakages in Transit
Unfortunately, we do have occasional breakages in transit with our ceramic items (not with scythes – they are way too robust). We can have months without breakages then 2 breakages in a week. Why? Who knows? We pack all of our crockpots the same way. Maybe it is the phase of the moon. The procedure for you the customer is always the same: let us know that the crockpot was broken in transit, then take the broken crockpot in its original packaging (this is very important) back to Australia Post and fill out a claim form. We would like to be able to do this job for you, but we can’t because you are the one taking delivery. Australia Post will then make an assessment of whether to pay us for the breakage. Mostly Australia Post say they’ve been very well packed and pay for the breakage. Every so often they’ll say the crockpots are not properly packed and refuse to pay. It depends on the person making the assessment. It might take weeks for Australia Post to decide. However, in the meantime, we will have packed and sent a new one to you. If a customer isn’t willing to take the broken crockpot and its packaging back to Australia Post and fill out a form, then we are really sorry, but we can’t send you a replacement item because we have no chance of claiming insurance.
Lost Items in Transit
Yes, both Star Track Express and Australia Post have managed to lose items in transit, but it has happened very very rarely. They both have very good track records in not losing items. However, we suggest that you keep an eye on the tracking advice you are given and if you are at all concerned, contact the courier or Australia Post, depending on which one it was sent with. If you get no joy with them, contact us. We’ll get our account manager onto the case.
No matter how carefully we plan our stock levels, occasionally we run out of stock. If it is a scythe blade or sharpening tool, it’s not a big issue. We can bring special orders in from Europe by airmail so lead time is generally only 2 or 3 weeks. However, if it is a crockpot or a snath, things get a bit trickier. These have to be sent out by ship and we wait for a large order to keep transport costs down. There may therefore be a significant wait for particular sizes of crockpots or snaths although we always have some in stock.