COVID-19 Delays

We're trying to get your parcel to you but...

The following mostly applies to customers from the USA. 

We wish to address the multitude of emails we are getting on a daily basis about delayed parcels.

If you placed an order from us from mid-March through April 23rd, there's like a 95% chance your parcel was seriously delayed, and a pretty good chance you still don't have it.  

Why?

You probably already have a good idea this might be COVID-19 related, and unfortunately it definiely is.  Commercial mail is mosly carried on commercial airlines.  As a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic, most flights that carry passengers and mail have stopped flying. According to this US State Department email we received the other day:

Reduction in International Flights   

International flights are currently available in Japan, but service continues to diminish.  Only five percent of pre-COVID capacity between Japan and the United States (including Guam) remains in service, and further reductions are scheduled.  Direct flights between the United States and Japan are currently only available from Tokyo’s Narita and Haneda airports. 

While that was going on, Japan Post continued to accept our parcels, we were not aware they would be sitting on them letting them pile up. The situation got so bad that on April 24th they outright stopped all shipments, by all shipping methods including Express Mail, to the United States.

What's the status of my parcel?

If you placed an order from us from mid-March through April 23rd, there's like a 95% chance your parcel was seriously delayed. How delayed it will be depends on the shipping method used.

My parcel tracking shows no movement after Iwaki Japan, where is it?

It might be in Japan, it might have left Japan, it might be in a postal storage facility in Tokyo, or it might be on the way to your country or even in your country by now. The reason we don't really know for sure is because we have some customers finally receiving their parcels even though it shows no movement online. The whole international postal situation in Japan is in chaos at the moment. It's not just our company, other Japan based tea merchants are facing the same  situation. We know of at least two who have quit to wait it out.

Are they going to deliver it or what?!

If it was shipped by ePacket "Light", they have already returned most of those to us. We have refunded most of those orders already. We will never ship by ePacket "Light" or small packets again.

If it was shipped by regular 1st class ePacket (not "Light") or small packets, they are telling us they intend to deliver those but it will take an extended amount of time, we have no idea what "extended" means. They say they intend to deliver those regardless.  You will get it eventually, but as to exactly "when", we don't know. What we would really like to do is get it back, but we can't.

If it was shipped by EMS Express Mail, they seem to be giving those parcels priority. Some of those have already been delivered, but many from mid-April still have not. They say they intend to deliver those regardless.  You will get it eventually, but as to exactly "when", we don't know. However, we expect if you used EMS then you should get it pretty soon.

Am I going to lose my money on my purchase? 

No. We have been operating this business now for 21 years now in a completely fair and honorable way, are fully committed to delivering either your tea, giving you a refund, or giving you credit.  You are not going to lose monetarily on your order, but we do realize you will have been inconvenienced and we apologize for that. If your tea is not eventually delivered, we will refund it. We do ask, however, that you help us weather this unprecedented event out by waiting a bit longer before requesting a refund.

How do you plan to resolve this?

The COVID-19/no cargo flights situation has really put us between a rock and a hard place, frankly.  Not only was postal shipping banned to 157+ countries, but we could never have anticipated they would hold these parcels for so long as they have been doing.

Step 1 - Resume shipping ASAP.   As of today, we resume shipping to the USA by way of FedEx - they have their own planes. It's a bit more expensive, but in some cases if you order multiple teas it actually comes out about the same as EMS.    We plan to send to other countries like Australia and Canada as soon as we resolve the complex documents required for food imports into those countries.

Step 2 - What can we do for those who ordered and have stuck parcels? Here's what we will do...

For anyone who ordered between mid-March and April 24th who was forced to wait it out, provided that you do not request a refund or do a chargeback at this time, we will be offering a very steep (probably 50% off) discount coupon for a future order once the situation finally resolves itself. Of course if the tea never arrives, or if it is returned to us, then we will still give you a complete refund or credit, regardless.

Your continued extended patience is greatly appreciated, and we wish to say that when this bad dream of COVID-19 has passed, we will remember those who stuck it out with us.

So to reiterate, if you placed an order from mid-March through April 24th and it was delayed (most of those are), we again ask for your extended patience in receiving the parcel. Anyone from that time frame who receives a delayed order will be eligable for our deep discount "thank you" coupon after this situation finally resolves itself. We have your order on record, we will reach out to you, or you may contact us later for said discount.  And if your order is returned to us in the meantime, we will refund it automatically.

We thank you for your understanding.