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Shipping to Italy - delays?

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I have many friends in Italy and they all strongly suggest I not send them any of my sewn items as they will never get them. I wanted to make my friend some table linens as a wedding gift for him and his new bride. I had read the what not to send but thought it was only for things people bought. It evidently goes for gifts as well. :-(

I did read one of the post offices near the earthquake was destroyed. They had said it would take weeks to get what mail they could from it for distribution. There were also looters around. This probably isn't very settling to hear.
Earlier this year a customer from Italy ordered two pairs of pasties. She said she needed them as soon as possible, and this being my first time shipping to that country I thought everything would go as usual.

I quickly had her order filled and shipped out. Now I'm expecting it to arrive in a couple of weeks since it's international. But instead she contacts me a month and some days later telling me that it never arrived.

Long story short, I suggested she check with the customs office. A paypal/etsy dispute was opened and then finally closed when the customer indeed went to their customs office, which had held the package so she would have to pay $20 to receive it.

Since then I've kind of shyed away from selling to Italy. Their postal service caused way too many headaches. x_x

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