At the beginning of September I was commissioned by a book publisher from England to write a detailed 38 hotel listing for Sardinia, Italy. I was over the moon at being asked by such a global brand that I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Heck, I even did the happy dance all over the house for a few days as this project was my first real Freelance job, and I was ecstatic!! I’d like to thank The Travelbunny for recommending me. Holla Girl! Grazie.
I finished the job and handed in the project two days before the scheduled due date. It was imperative that my contract reach London in time, to get paid. I printed two identical contracts, signed both on the dotted line as asked, and headed to the Italian post office in my town. I inquired about a courier service and she told me the price – €35. I nearly had a coronary. Later, I asked in an Italian expat group – what the mainlanders pay for courier service to England and I was informed – €15. A staggering difference.
I asked the postal worker if there was a cheaper, still secure method to send these ever important documents to England, and she told me that I could send the documents via a Raccomandata Internazionale – an International registered letter, which I could follow with the tracking number on the receipt. The cost of the raccomandata was €7.00. A huge difference in price, and one that I could easily afford. I filled out the necessary documents and waited, and waited and waited.
For over a month I followed the tracking number online, to only find the documents forever stalled in Milan. I wrote about my plight in the super group Italian Reflections and someone mentioned I should tweet to the two different postal outlets – Royal Mail and Post Italian. So, I did.
A One day Twitter conversation with Royal Mail
ME: I’ve had important documents lost in your system, tracking number says it’s in London. Italy-UK should not take four weeks. Help!
RM: Can you please confirm tracking number.
ME: Yes, it’s XXXXI♥SARDINIAXXXX. I mailed it Nov. 2 from Sardinia, Italy.
RM: Thank you kindly. We received this item on the 07/11 but have no update since then. Can you provide the address you sent the item to please?
ME: Certainly. 1234 Book Publisher, London, United Kingdom. I appreciate your prompt reply & help. Thank you.
ME: Good morning, any luck with my documents?
RM: I’m sorry, we have no new information. If the item remains undelivered, I suggest an enquiry is started by the sender in Italy. Kind regards.
ME: Okay, thank you. I appreciate your prompt replies.
ME: I have taken your advice and contacted The Italian Post Office. They have confirmed the package is in the UK. This is your responsibility now, no?
RM: It is our responsibility to deliver, however due to the time that’s elapsed we’d ask the sender to make a claim at the point of posting.
ME: Thank you kindly.
RM: It’s been a pleasure. Happy Holidays.
Gosh, they are so wonderfully polite.
Three Four Six Seven Eight Nine Twelve Fourteen Sixteen day Twitter conversation with The Italian Post
ME: Good morning. I sent registered documents to London on 2 Nov. It arrived in London on 7. Nov. Royal Mail cannot track this package as it’s still in your system.
PI: Send tracking number.
ME: Ok. XXXXI♥SARDINIAXXXX. I sent the documents on 2 Nov. from My Town, Sardinia, Italy. I hope to resolve this soon.
PI: We will verify the tracking number soon.
PI: The tracking number states the documents left Italy 06/11/2013.
ME: Uh, yes, this I am aware of. Now, where are the documents?
24hrs later …
ME: Can you not offer me a better explanation? The documents are missing!
PI: Destination of the documents?
ME: United Kingdom.
PI: To verify this matter further we need more information: name, last name, address, destination address and phone number.
ME: Jennifer Avventura, 4321 Sardinia Lane, Sardinia, Italy. Book Publisher 1234 Book Publisher, London, United Kingdom. Phone number.
PI: We are doing the verification on case nº123456789. We will let you know as soon as possible.
PI: We are here for you.
ME: Good morning. Do you know where my documents are?
PI: We will verify this soon.
PI: About case nº123456789, tracking number XXXXI♥SARDINIAXXXX, our offices need more information: how much was the registered letter and what are the contents?
ME: It cost €7.00 and there are documents. Thank you.
PI: We have given your information to the area office to verify your registered letter. We will let you know as soon as possible.
ME: I hope to resolve this problem as soon as possible. Thanks.
PI: We will let you know after the office has verified your case number.
ME: Good morning. Do you have any news on my documents?
ME: Good morning. Do you have news on the whereabouts of my documents? Thank you.
PI: Hello. We can’t see the preceding messages from you, can you send tracking number, case number, address, destination address, phone number.
ME: XXXXI♥SARDINIAXXXX. Case nº123456789. Thanks.
PI: We are in contact with the English postal service to verify the whereabouts of your documents. When we have more information we will let you know.
ME: Thank you. I hope to resolve this soon.
El grande sigh …
ME: Good morning. Do you have any information on case nº123456789?
PI: Expect to be updated soon.
ME: Thank you.
PI: Should you need anything else, we remain at your disposition.
At my what?
ME: Good morning. How many days do I have to wait to hear something?
PI: We will let you know as soon as possible.
It seems asap means sixteen days in Italian.
ME: Good morning. Do you have news on my documents?
PI: Hello. Tracking and case numbers. We can’t see any of the preceding messages.
ME: XXXXI♥SARDINIAXXXX case nº123456789. Thank you.
PI: We will be with you shortly.
PI: Your documents are still in the process of the postal system. We will inform you as soon as possible. Have a nice day.
HAVE A NICE DAY? HAVE A NICE DAY? Say WHAT?
ME: Good morning, can you tell me where my documents are? Case nº123456789. I have waited for 6 weeks!
PI: The moment we know something we will let you know.
ME: I hope you can find these documents soon. I would like to resolve this problem as soon as possible.
PI: As soon as we are provided with more information, we will inform you right away. At this moment we ask for your patience.
PATIENCE? Really…oh, no they didn’t … wait! Oh, heck, yes they did!
ME: Why can’t you tell me where the documents are? Why do you need weeks to find them?
PI: We are waiting on the relevant checks from another department.
ME: How long do these checks take? The documents were sent on 2 Nov and I started this conversation with you on 4 Dec.
Another bottle of Cannonau? asked Husband. Oh, hell to the yes!
ME: Good morning. Do you have information about case nº123456789 e XXXXI♥SARDINIAXXXX. This has gone on for too long, if the documents are lost, tell me they are lost.
PI: We will verify this matter now. At the moment we have no new information.
ME: Why? How is it possible that you have no information? This is not right, do you even know what city the documents are in? I am not okay with this.
PI: The documents are still being screened, when this process is finished we will have more information on your case.
And so, after 2 weeks of constant Twittering it seemed my documents I sent to England on Nov. 2 are still in limbo, and who really knows if they will find it!
Until … the BIG surprise arrived in the mail on December 20th.
My second signed contract with the book publisher stating they have received my contract. A huge sigh of relief after seven weeks of baited anticipation, phew, they got my contract.
The rest, well, let’s just say I’ll be opening a bottle of Cannonau and writing all this down for future expats to enjoy.
ME: I would like to inform you that case nº123456789 has been resolved. The destination name received my documents two weeks ago! Thank you for your help.
PI: Please continue to follow us on Twitter.
ME: Hahaha. You’re so funny!
I’d love to hear your stories with the postal system in Italy, share them below.
- The Italian Post Office, Of Course (tuscantraveler.com)