Existing order information.

If you are reading this, chances are you have found your way here via a link on the 'contact us' page of the store, and are asking about an order that you have made with us.

A large number of emails we receive are asking about existing orders, and this will, I hope, serve to reduce the number of questions I have to answer while explaining in more detail than I can in a simple email.

#1, Where is my order? (Not yet shipped)

Please note that we ask for up to 2 weeks to process orders, as detailed in the terms and conditions, the FAQ and as agreed to in the checkbox clicked during the checkout process.

The reason we ask for this time is because I process and pack all orders myself, as well as answer all email questions. This is not my only job (I also teach English*), so my time is split between this store and teaching. Our space to keep stock is also quite limited, and we only keep enough on hand to satisfy the most commonly ordered items, and those items that are 'as is' and not subject to being made to specification/order.

In most cases, this does mean orders are accepted, processed and on their way within the 2 weeks we ask for. In cases where an item for an order takes longer to get in (in cases of rarely ordered items or when our on hand stock is exhausted) and I cannot get the order on it's way within the 2 week processing time, then I will upgrade the shipping method to get the order to you a little faster or in the case of EMS shipping, partially refund the shipping cost paid.

The '2 weeks' processing time does not cover those tools that are made to order, in particular most chisels, made to order saws and handplanes. The simplest way to explain this is that if a tool has selectable options, then it will be acquired as needed, to order. We don't keep stocks of these items as 'one of each' of the chisels, planes and saws that could be ordered runs to over 10,000 possible combinations and well over ¥100,000,000 in value. To the very best of our knowledge, nowhere in the world has enough stock (not even the makers of the tools, and they would reject an order of 'one of each' as ridiculous) to maintain 'one of each', and few places offer the opportunity to select options with a simple 'click'. Simply put, these tools are being made to order, for you. They take as long as they take (and we explain this in the tool listings) and we can't make them be made, for you, any faster than they take to be made up. Please do take advantage of the options to have your chisel, plane or saw made to your liking.

We operate more like a tool 'store' you would find here in Japan, not a large online store such as Amazon.com. If you need your order fast, please consider placing your order with a retailer that is set up to process orders quickly. I can't do it, not without making serious compromises to how we do things here. Sorry. 

*For quite some time teaching English has been more of a burden on my time than a blessing, but for a long time beforehand, this was not the case and the efforts of those who I teach to keep me 'in work' is not one I take lightly. My nature won't allow me to abandon those who have done their best to look after me, so I keep teaching English for as long as those classes exist. That I've not lost any classes for several years now (nor taken any more on, refusing all offers for several years without consideration) might go some way to explaining what I am like as a person. It is quite rare for an English class of the type I teach to continue for more than a few years, more so for longer than 5-7 years. Most of the classes I am still teaching are now have been continuous for 10 or more years. Anyone reading this who's actually taught English here in Japan may disregard this as impossible, as it is very unusual.

#2 Where is my order? (Parcel Shipped, but not yet received.)

This is another of the most common questions we get asked. Your order has been placed, it's now on it's way but has not yet arrived. Every order, when shipped, is followed by a delivery confirmation email. This delivery confirmation email has at a minimum a simple notice that your order is on it's way and an expected time of arrival. In addition, if you selected a shipping option that includes tracking, then the tracking information will be included along with a link to the relevant tracking website. This delivery confirmation email may also include a message about a refund of excess shipping (which I always refund) and any other notes about your order that you may need to know before it arrives.

Please note that the delivery time is expected, and in most cases proves to be accurate. Japan Post, who ships out all orders for us is extremely efficient and fast, and the overwhelming majority of parcels have left Japan within 24 hours, and arrive in the destination country within 72 hours. Even at the busiest times, parcels stay in Japan no longer than 72 hours.

Also know that we have shipped over 8000 parcels to every continent on Earth and almost every country. Of those 7000 parcels, I estimate that 10% take longer to arrive than the estimated shipping time. More often, the parcel arrives in less time than the estimate, the praise which you should please direct to your local Postal Service. 

Contrary to popular belief, we find that the post is overwhelmingly efficient and reliable, and get the parcel(s) to it's destination without any problems.

However, to help the parcel arrive without delay we also make sure all parcels are securely packed, thoroughly labelled and include all required paperwork and information to make sure the parcel works it way through the postal system here in Japan and wherever in the world it is going to. Going the extra step to make sure the packing is adequate does take time (again, proper packing takes time) it also means that once an order is shipped, it arrives safely and undamaged and doesn't need to be shipped twice, which takes more time than packing properly the first time. 

#3. Where is my order? (Parcel shipped, but not yet recived and ovedue according to the estimate.)

In the case that your order is overdue, the delay is almost always in the destination country. I would say always, but as efficient as Japan Post is, they are not infallible. We've never had them fail us in 6 years, but they might. One day**.

As such, the delay is almost certainly caused by the postal system in your country. If you ask us to 'find the parcel', then at the very least this can take several days as the request goes from me to my local post office, to the head office, to the head office of the overseas postal company and on to the destinaton post office. This is a long chain, and the end of which is far closer to you than it is to me. I can ask, it will take some time. If you ask your local Post Office, you will get an answer a lot faster and most likely, a far better answer than I can give you after the information has come back through the chain and being translated twice.

If you selected a shipping option that includes tracking, then the tracking number provided should work with your local Post Office website tracking tool, and the most up to date information will be there. 

If you did not select a shipping option that includes tracking, then I can ask about the parcel from here, but there is a good chance I will not be able to find out anything about it, it will take several days to get an answer (which will be "sorry, we don't know") and again, you will get a far better answer from your local post office in far, far less time.

In short, if you selected tracking, it's easy to find your parcel. If you did not select tracking (it costs extra, we're sensitive to additional costs so it's purely optional!) then you have a much better chance of finding it and a lot faster than we can. Please understand this before asking about a delayed parcel.

**Japan Post, contrary to many postal systems around the world is a semi-private company, and regularly operates at a profit as well as being one of the world's largest companies (13th largest in 2013). As such, their systems are very up to date and due to the large population of Japan in a relatively small area, the system they use is incredibly efficient and fast, with most domestic parcels able to be shipped within 24 hours to anywhere in the country. The relatively short distance between our location in Kagawa and Kansai airport where all parcels are dispatched from normally occurs the morning after we hand them over the Japan Post, i.e; within 18 hours. To have any complaint about the post here in Japan is almost unheard of, and we do recieve multiple deliveries of regular post every week day, with one visit on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. As good as Japan Post are, their abilities do not extend overseas, so once a parcel leaves Japan, it becomes subject to the postal system in your country and there's not a lot we can do from here.

 I do sincerely hope this explains some things, and if not puts your mind at ease, at least lets you know how things operate here. While this store, Tools from Japan, is not fast, we do try to make sure that what we do is of the highest quality in terms of getting parcels to their destination safely and without damage or defects.

Stuart Tierney, toolsfromjapan.com.

October, 2015.

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