OPINION: the U.S. Mint May Have Just Lost a Customer (me)

I’ve ordered United States mint proof coin sets as gifts for family members for a great many years without experiencing any shipping problems until this year.

These coin sets have changed over the years with more coins added and the price consistently going up accordingly. I think they cost about $15.00 when I began purchasing them many years ago; they have more than tripled in cost in the intervening years.

Previously, the four coin sets I purchased were always boxed for shipping with two coin sets on top of the other two, in a shipping box correctly sized so that the four coin sets could be slipped in and stay secure in the box. This year, the U.S. Mint chose to send the four proof sets in a rather shallow rectangular box. The layers: Crumpled, fairly thick brown paper on the bottom of the box; three proof coin sets side by side on top of that; the fourth coin set all by itself on top of those three coin sets, and then a thinner layer of brown paper on the very top.

This method of packing by the Mint resulted in too much contents for the depth of the box. Two of the presentation gift boxes arrived torn and required a return for replacement – I chose to keep the other two sets.

Return shipping directions: Cut out a label from the packing slip and tape it on the box for a return, along with insuring the package. Return postage was not prepaid. When I called the Mint to find out if I had to pay return shipping, the customer rep said that she would note that I had called and inquired, and would record that a credit for return shipping and insurance would be made because I had called. Replacement time will be six weeks.

That means if you don’t ask, you pay. The return postage fee (parcel post, cheapest rate) was $5.89, and the insurance was $2.30. Add to that the time spent on calling the Mint, boxing up the return, making a special six mile trip to the post office to meet the seven day return deadline, and not having the two items for Christmas gifts, and you come up with one disillusioned customer.

Given the increasing cost of these sets almost every year and this snafu, I’m going to evaluate a continuation of these gifts and may choose to give money instead. I like traditions, but some traditions do run their course.

See: A Baby’s Gift that Will Last a Lifetime

Source: Personal opinion; http://www.govmint.com/item/2011-US-Proof-Set/181623/

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