A number of my friends and family in the U.S. have come down with the dreaded viral infection going around now for the past 2 years. Although we keep in touch regularly with text messages and an occasional phone call, there’s nothing like sending a handwritten sentiment to brighten someone’s day.
With the Mexican mail system being what it is, I had all but given up on sending cards. However, if you remember, last December, I discovered Signed cards and I can send cards once again. The trick is, Signed cards sends the cards from the U.S., completely bypassing Correos de Mexico. And I can still personalize the cards since it’s merely a matter of uploading a picture of my message which Signed cards will print out for me.
Anyway, it’s a nice thing to be able to use. AND since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, it’s yet another opportunity for you to send some personalized love through the mail and make someone’s day. If you are interested, check out the Signed cards site.
Recently, I discovered SignedCards.com and as it’s a service that will appeal to ex-pats in Mexico, I thought I’d share today. With SignedCards you can choose a card for a whole slew of occasions, and add your personalized commentary which will appear in YOUR handwriting. SignedCards then sends the card to anywhere in the U.S. or Canada via first class mail.
Each card costs $7.99 and includes postage. Since greeting cards can range from $4 to $9 and you don’t have to leave the delivery to the whims of the Mexican postal service, it’s not a bad deal. Plus, did I mention, that it has your own handwritten message?
After I sent my cards, I received a flurry of emails checking that I was satisfied with the procedure and that the recipient was happy with the card. Talk about personalized service!
SignedCards delivers anywhere in the US or Canada and accepts Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, and Amazon Pay. Currently, there are 51 occasions, 52 holidays, and 42 special messages in a 30,000 card selection. For Christmas alone, there are 536 cards, 312 Season’s Greetings or Happy Holidays messages, and 30 for Hanukkah.
The cards are designed by independent artists and they are always looking for more. So if you have an artistic flair and want to make a little extra money, you should check out the application process for cardmakers.
The founder shared with me that as a former Marine, his family found it difficult to get cards delivered for special occasions while living abroad. Not only was it nearly impossible to find English language cards in some countries, but the local postal system was often hit or miss when it came to international deliveries. Thus, SignedCards was born!
So how exactly does this work? It’s not complicated at all. First, you write your message on an unlined piece of paper then take a picture of it, uploading it to the site. It is then transferred to the card you have selected and printed. Each envelope is hand-addressed with a first-class stamp and mailed at the local post office.
How reliable is this service? Well, Trustpilot has the business rated at 4.9.
The company guarantees delivery on or before the day promised or they will refund your purchase price and, if your card is more than one day late, they will send a replacement card by expedited delivery at their expense.
SignedCards prides itself on superior, “white glove” customer service. Every card is visually inspected to ensure printing is perfect and the handwritten note and signature are crisp and clear. Email support is available during business hours and response times are less than 60 minutes. So if you have a hankering for some handwritten sentiments this holiday season and know better than to rely on the Mexican postal service for delivery, then I recommend SignedCards!
Shipping to and within Mexico has always been a walk on the wild side, but our latest experience really takes the cake. Remember how several months ago I was finally able to set up a teen account for my son through Capital One 360? Everything seemed fine. His debit card arrived at my friend’s house (our US shipping address) and she dropped it in the mail specifying International Priority. We waited. And waited. And waited some more. Two months later, it still had not arrived.
My son called Capital One and requested a second card, which arrived in Tennessee in about a week. Since my new bank card was due to arrive any day now, we waited on sending out the package. This time, my friend and I decided to give Fed-ex a try. Fed-ex has a Dollar General service there where you can drop off a package at Dollar General and it will get picked up by a Fed-ex courier. The website doesn’t specify that only certain Dollar General stores accept international packages. So finding a store was a little more difficult than heading to the one down the street from my friend’s house, but the mission was accomplished. I received an email from Fed-ex saying the package had been picked up and was en route to its destination.
Meanwhile, back in Mexico, I ordered a new headset for my online classes from Amazon but was seriously disappointed with the quality of the microphone for what I paid for it. I wrote a negative review warning other potential buyers to stay away from this model and requested a refund. Amazon sent me the shipping labels all ready to print out. Of course, I had to download them to a USB stick and go to town to print out the forms. The woman at the papeleria printed everything out, however the bar code was enormous. It was literally the size of the sheet of paper. DHL would have to get out the BIG scanner to boop that code. So I tried again. I resized all the images so they would print out on three pages, then headed out to another papeleria. Success!
I followed the directions for which documents to attach where, and which to include in the package. Then I went to the local DHL office to drop off the goods. It was quick and painless, well, besides the three separate trips to town. A few days later I received my refund from Amazon and ordered a different headset, which ought to be here later this month.
When I got home from the trip to DHL, I thought I’d check the status of the bank cards through the Fed-ex tracking number. The package hadn’t left Tennessee yet. Well, that wasn’t a problem. Then I looked again. The shipping address was Moroleon, GT GT. That didn’t seem right. It should have read Moroleon, GTO MX. I called my friend who called Fed-ex. Yep. It was being routed to Guatemala. OMG! NO!
The Fed-ex representative assured my friend that since it was still in Tennessee, it could be returned to her and she could reship it. The address on the package was correct. It seemed that the guy who booped the package with his scanner coded it incorrectly. Whew! Crisis averted.
The next day I checked the status of the package and saw that overnight it had gone to Miami. WHAT? I called my friend again. Her husband called Fed-ex and was directed to the International department. There he had an unproductive conversation with a representative named Manuel. There was no stopping the package now. It was flying to Guatemala whether it should be sent there or not.
So daily I checked the status and saw its successful arrival in Guatemala City. Surely now the package could be returned, I thought. But, it sat there, languishing, for several days. I tried calling Fed-ex. They referred me to the International department where I talked to a woman who told me to call later since she didn’t have access to any information about the package.
The next day, I called the International department again. This time, the computer spewed out the information that the package had gone through customs in Guatemala. The man took my contact and shipping information and said that it might be redirected to Mexico or it might be returned to Tennessee, he wasn’t sure which option he could arrange. I felt like some progress had been made with this phone call and waited anxiously for a confirmation email. I waited in vain.
I called the International department a third time. Another representative said that I needed a Fedex account number in order to have the package returned to the sender. The account number had to be created in the United State, not Mexico. Then with that number, I could call again and they could return the package.
My friend who shipped the package called Fedex the next day. I’m not sure exactly what was said, but no progress was made. So she went to the Fedex office because she wasn’t able to get a Fedex account number online. The person working there was able to set that up. She left and called Fedex again. The package was being redirected to Canada, so she went back to the Fedex office a second time. This time, she waited there until everything went through. A new tracking number was issued.
Meanwhile, I canceled my bank card and requested a new one. My card was declined at Amazon and if I were to risk it, probably be eaten by the ATM machine because the expiration date is this month. So, I was effectively without bank access for the time being. Ironically, the bank was sending my new card to my US mailing address via Fedex.
The package in Guatemala was still vital since it had my son’s second issued bank card and a book I wanted to read. I should have listened to my gut initially and had my card and my son’s card shipped separately. If we had at least one working card between us, we’d be fine since our accounts are linked.
The next morning, I anxiously checked the status of the rogue package. Now it was in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. WHAT? Ok. I thought maybe it was making its way to Mexico via Honduras. Then again, maybe TN for Tennessee had been coded for HN Honduras. I decided another call was in order.
This representative put me on hold while he checked into stuff. When he came back he said that the package was currently in Miami. I asked where it was headed. He said he couldn’t tell me. So my friend called Fedex from her end. Her representative said the package was being sent to Mexico via Honduras. Ok then.
That evening, the package arrived in Memphis, Tennessee. I had high hopes that it was just being returned to the sender, but that was false hope. Later that morning, the package was in Toluca, Mexico. I still couldn’t verify that it was actually being delivered to me and not just taking another random journey.
I checked the status periodically throughout the day. It languished in Toluca for about 24 hours. Then the status changed to “departed Cuautitlan Izcalli, EM (Estado de Mexico).” Its destination was unclear.
Eventually, the package status changed to Morelia, MI. Morelia is about 50 minutes from here. So it was going in the right direction anyway. Four hours later, it was finally delivered to my sister-in-law. She sent me a message and I scurried over there to pick it up.
Meanwhile, my friend received a $26 bill from Guatemalan customs. UGH! She was also charged the full shipping price for the package a second time, even though it was Fed-ex’s fault it got sent to the wrong country. Then she got a Mexican customs bill.
We both put in a claim for reimbursement for that. Fed-ex had slapped a new label over the old one. Careful peeling revealed “missort” which I took pictures of to help facilitate the claim. To date, we are still waiting on the results of the claim. At least one of the shipping destinations should be discounted, in my opinion.
Since I had already requested a new bank card, the card that was in this wayward package could not be activated. That meant a trip to the DHL office for my friend and another international shipment. My son’s card was all well and good and he finished the process for setting up his bank account that we began four months ago.
The DHL experience was completely different, although there were a few moments of panic at the end. DHL sent me a text as soon as they scanned the package with an estimated delivery date. They sent me another text when that delivery date changed, three days earlier than the estimate.
I double checked online on the new delivery date using the tracking number to see the status of the package and saw it had been delivered and signed for by an unknown person. PANIC PANIC! My sister-in-law who normally signs for the package wasn’t answering her phone. I sent my husband rushing to her house to see what was going on. The package was there, thank goodness! My nephew had signed for it because my sister-in-law had gone to the store. Probably his signature was illegible and the driver imputed his own name.
Whew! I had no problems activating my card online and am happy to see that I won’t need to go through this procedure again (barring lost or stolen cards) until 2025.