In October 2009, I bought some pieces of talavera ceramics from Talavera Armando in Puebla at their factory store in El Parian at the corner of 6 Oriente and 6 Norte. (They operate at least six galleries in Puebla.) Av. 6 Norte is the street full of talavera vendors that Puebla is famous for. The quality from shop to shop varies, but I know that at the factory store Talavera Armando sells first quality DO4 pottery. I paid 1,500 pesos ($123USD at that time) to ship three plates, one soup bowl, and six tiles. A lot, you might say, but we had already packed our suitcases and knew they couldn’t take any more weight. We were willing to pay the price for good pack and ship.
Everything except the tiles arrived broken. The box, too small for the number and size of the pieces, was only half filled with peanuts, and the bubble wrap was one layer thick around each plate and not secured with packing tape. In the shipment, bubble wrap must have fallen away from the plates which bumped against each other to cause the breakage. I filed a claim with UPS and received the retail value of the broken pieces, amounting to $43. UPS would/did not reimburse for what I paid for shipping.
On this recent return trip to Puebla, I stopped by Talavera Armando and told one of the managers, Omar Rubi Navarrette, what happened. I showed them a photo of the too-small box, and asked them to reimburse me for the shipping cost. He said I should have phoned them and they would have filled another order. Then, he said they use PakMail and once they turn the order over them, it is out of their hands.
After an hour of discussing the customer service problem with a relative who was a fluent English speaker, they told me they would discuss the situation with PakMail, file a claim, ask for shipping reimbursement for me, and let me know if that was possible. I am still keeping my hopes up that Talavera Armando will make good and reimburse me or give me a store credit for the inferior quality of packing. I hope they understand that whoever they choose to pack and ship their ceramics is a reflection on their own quality of product and service.
I will write further about this to let the public know how this was resolved.
Meanwhile, not a single piece of the eight pieces of talavera I bought this week in Puebla, wrapped myself and packed in my suitcase, arrived broken! I insert a sturdy bamboo basket inside my suitcase. Pack my well-bubble-wrapped pieces into the basket so everything is snug and doesn’t wiggle. Cover the basket with a plastic bag full of bubble that I secure to the basket with heavy duty wrapping tape, and cover that with my down pillow or bag of dirty laundry.