Ladies be careful

Purse TheivesLadies be careful! I had my bag snatched from under my seat in a popular cafe near the station today. Luckily another girl realized what was going on and yelled at them so they dropped it and ran but it was a near miss. The staff told me it happens all the time in there. My daughter has also been pick-pocketed twice in the area around the station. I know this kind of thing happens in all big cities but I’m always really careful and it still happened to me!! Be on your guard and stay safe!

A description of the men is:  One older guy…short with glasses and one taller guy with a blue rucksack. Filipinos posing as tourists. One purposely dropped his glasses and when I didn’t pick them up (I was holding my friend’s baby at the time) he distracted me by asking directions to “Santa Maria”. In the meantime the other guy put his arm under the back of my chair and snatched my bag.

You need to be aware of your surroundings and where your purse is located.  They used the fact I had a baby in my arms to do this ruse.  There have been a few more incidents with an old couple and another friend.  All within the same area of Santa Maria Novella and shops in that area.  by Anonymous

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I was jumped / mugged and robbed earlier today

Watch your wallets and phones

So there is a way out for my children. I wonder if we need to do it in those two years or wait until older. The thing that annoys me the most is that the US wants our information about our income abroad yet the US does not give it’s citizens living abroad any of the benefits of being a US citizen.  Where is my national healthcare? I am a US citizen and when I visit home to see family I have no insurance because I have a pre existing condition.  Really of course more and more normal middle class living overseas, for reasons such as their husband is here, are turning in their Citizenship to the US, that is because we get nothing from the US for being a citizen.  This is surely not the way to get those that are embezzling money overseas, but it is a way for those citizens living abroad to be more and more not happy with their home country and wondering why we hold onto our citizenship. Maybe instead of shoving us further and further away you should figure away to really include us as citizens that love our home country and should continue staying with our home country. You are keeping immigrants that cross over the boarders but yet you are driving your own nationally born citizens that have even lived there for years away because of a small percentage of people embezzling money overseas.  I am talking about the amounts of people not the amounts of money.  There has to be another way.

Americans Abroad Top Annual Record for Turning in Passports

The number of Americans renouncing U.S. citizenship increased 37 percent in the three months through December and the annual total reached a record level, data published Tuesday showed.

The trend likely is accelerating because of a 2010 law that gives the Internal Revenue Service unprecedented access to U.S. citizens’ foreign bank accounts, said Stephen Flott, an attorney at Flott & Co. P.C. in Arlington, Virginia, whose clients include expatriates. The U.S. is the only country within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that taxes citizens wherever they reside.

“If they have no real desire to work or live here, then the question for them is: What’s the point?” Flott said. “For those who feel no real affinity to the U.S., it’s a no- brainer.” read more……

What do you do with your children?

I am wondering what you do with your children when school is out and you have to work. 

work children

summerI know a few things moms do here.  Some send to Nonni (Grandparents).  Some send to Summer camps/schools.  Some take off work using vacation time and other times they can use.  But what do you do? Comment below and let us know what you do.  This is a tough situation for many with children and of course need to work.

Child Safety Class Date Confirmed

emergencyOur child safety class held in English will be on Saturday April 18 time 10-12 at Istituto Prosperius (Viale Fratelli Rossellli 62). Please bring a donation of 15 euros per person for ENGERA non profit organization, the charity we are supporting.

A few details–if you are driving, there is some limited parking available behind the building (access behind number 60) or paid parking nearby in the Porta al Prato parking lot.

There will be room for strollers, and stair free access through the back door (off the parking lot).  From both the front and the back door, just follow the signs marked “Child Safety Class.”

There will be a quiet space available to feed and change babies and washrooms on site. 

Any questions before signing up you can contact
Kim  infotiscali@firenzemoms4moms.net
Sarah McLean skmclean@gmail.com

Sign up now

Essential Oils Group

lemon oilBecause many mom in the Network had shown an interest in using essential oils, Clinton has set up a group.  This group is set up for those that are interested in learning and discussing about the use of natural oils in your daily life. These oils are used for many things throughout your life that help benefit the health of your family.  For example diffusing various different oils to help with good sleep, relaxing, concentrating while doing homework. Lavender can be used for scratches, skinned knees and burns. Tea Tree is very helpful in preventing LICE. You can also use lemon essential oil for cleaning. If you are at all interested in integrating Essential Oils into your family life or just want to learn more about them then sign up with this group.  Even if you already use them join this great group alternative ways to stay healthy.  Organizer: Clinton Gene Healey-Magherini

Meeting times will be sent to those that sign up with the group.

Sign up here

Women Supporting Women Event

WSWposter2015_eng_WEB

The Horror with Amazon and Third Party Vendors

amazoncoukAmazon, a well known company, that many of us expats use to get packages for favorites from home, to send gifts to our relatives all over the world, and even to have the ability to order online with a large selection of items ranging from clothes, to kitchen wares, to even household paper goods.  Amazon.it has pick up recently over the past few years to offer a larger selection but before that Amazon.co.uk was the selection to cover things we needed in Europe.  Neither is as big as Amazon.com but the company is definitely picking up and expanding.  They even are possibly starting up a drone delivery system which if it was in place maybe I would not be telling you this horror story of a battle I am in between a third party vendor at Amazon and their supposedly A-toZ Guarantee Claim section for handling disputes between buyers and third party vendors.

As my story begins with the usual, I have a health condition that causes me to not be able to go out shopping for long hours getting gifts for my children.  So I rely a lot on online shops to handle my Christmas gifts. I could probably be a share holder with Amazon, because of the amount of purchases I  make through them.  The reason I have always used Amazon was because of the quick deliveries, friendly customer support, easy returns, and appropriately handling disputes or complaints.  I mean just recently I was able to contact Amazon.it in English to file a warranty on a cell phone I purchased 1 year ago that completely died.  I provided all the documents and they so nicely sent SDA to my door the next day to pick up the dead phone.  They mentioned that my phone was discontinued and they did not have a replacement so they would credit me a full refund.  Which was great because then I was able to purchase a replacement phone through them.  We even had a credit card issue because a year ago it was a different card which had been closed and they so kindly explained how to go about getting the reimbursement to the new card through the bank.  Within 4 days I was able to ship the phone back, get the credit and get a replacement phone all during the week between Christmas and New Years.  This is unreal in Italy but it happened. Amazon.it Customer service was wonderful and polite and answered all my questions in English never the less.

As I said I ordered my gifts from Amazon for Christmas.  I ordered all on December 1st so that it had plenty of time to arrive by Christmas.  I used both Amazon.it and Amazon.co.uk, but I do check where the seller is located even with shipping from Amazon sometimes the package is coming from either Germany, UK or even US.  That in mind giving 24 days to get to my house for Christmas should be plenty of time even though it is a busy time of the year.  Most of my packages arrived some cutting it close to the wire.  There were 3 that were still not here by the 23rd of December.  One vendor so nicely contacted me through email saying the package had shipped but would not make it here by Christmas and they were very sorry.  I thought Ok and waited until this week to contact them again mentioning that it still did not arrive, where they so kindly apologized and reimbursed me for the item.   As of today it still has not arrived. Another item I contacted the vendor where they responded

We totally understand your situation. If the shirts do not “show up” within 4 days we will cancel the order and refund your money. Then it is most likely that the shipment was lost during the process. We are very sorry for the inconvenience that may have caused. Kind Regards,

 

Those shirts did arrive on the 24th so good to go and no problems.  That T-shirt company is buXsbaum a third party vendor on Amazon.co.uk  This item had a delivery estimate of December 05, 2014 – Thursday, December 11, 2014. Now I know these are estimates but there has to be a cut off as to when a package should finally arrive at the buyers house. I mention this vendor because as you can see they were very respectful and reasonable.  The package did arrive so we did not have to pursue any further disputes with this company.

That leaves the last one, a Minecraft Creeper T-shirt ordered from the third party vendor again through Amazon.co.uk called Trenz Shirt Company INCI contacted them like I did with the other T-shirt company on December 16th wondering if the package was going to get to my house before Christmas. This one had a tracking number for the USPS (United States Postal Service) and according to that tracking system this package has been all over the place by this date. Mind you the shop is located Loganville, Ga USA.  The package labeled on the USPS tracking system was stated as an International Letter (this is a T-shirt not a letter) went from:

1 Pre-Shipment Info Sent to USPS December 3, 2014
2 Arrived at USPS Facility MIAMI, FL 33112 December 10, 2014 9:43 am
3 Arrived at Sort Facility ISC NEW YORK NY(USPS) December 10, 2014 11:17 am
4 Departed USPS Facility MIAMI, FL 33112 December 10, 2014 11:17 am
5 Processed Through Sort Facility ISC NEW YORK NY(USPS) December 10, 2014 1:35 pm
6 Arrived Miami, UNITED STATES December 11, 2014 12:54 pm
7 Departed Miami, UNITED STATES December 11, 2014 5:37 pm
8 Departed Milan, ITALY December 13, 2014 8:12 am
9 Departed Frankfurt, GERMANY December 13, 2014 5:38 pm
10 Departed Frankfurt, GERMANY December 15, 2014 4:58 pm
11 Departed Vienna, AUSTRIA December 16, 2014 7:12 am
12 Departed Milan, ITALY December 16, 2014 9:59 am
13 Processed Through Sort Facility ITALY December 18, 2014 2:45 pm
14 Customs Clearance ITALY December 18, 2014 6:43 pm
15 Customs clearance processing complete ITALY December 30, 2014 4:08 pm
16 Addressee not available – Addressee advised to pick up the item ITALY December 31, 2014 4:02 pm ????

In looking at this tracking of my package I would already say something is not right with their system.  How can a package be in Miami and New York at the same time? Why would it go from US to Milan then to Germany, Austria then back to Milan?  Okay fine. When I contacted Trenz Shirt Company on the 16th I wrote:

I am hoping this arrives. By looking at the USPS site tracking I have seen that it has gone to Milan then Germany then Austria back to Milan again.  It is on track to Firenze correct?

They so kindly responded,

It looks like they may have misscanned. Its in Italy. I will watch the tracking though.

I figured okay they are looking into it and maybe we will get it by Christmas. Still it did not arrive so on December 23rd I contacted them again:

I am still waiting for this and of course still hoping to get it by tomorrow, but not sure if it will even show up.
Do you have any way to find out where this is? From the tracking number I see it finally cleared customs on the 18th but I still have not received it.
Let me know thanks,

Their response:

It may be with local carrier. I see it cleared customs on the 18. I will try to contact USPS to see if I can get an exact location.

I have not heard back from the vendor so I contacted them again on December 27th because nothing had changed on this tracking system the USPS is using.

Just letting you know we did not receive this as of even today. I am still hoping to get it since my son very much wanted this shirt but do not know what to do as in how long to wait for asking for the reimbursement and if it will ever get here.

Their response to my message:

Ok. I am still awaiting response from USPS on this item.

I get the automatic email of the tracking system on this package on December 30th stating the same “Customs clearance processing complete ITALY December 30, 2014 4:08 pm”  Nothing new.  December 31st arrives I am home with the whole family all day we do not leave until 8pm at night. I was shocked to receive an email of the tracking system on January 1st stating “Addressee not available – Addressee advised to pick up the item ITALY December 31, 2014 4:02 pm”  There was no attempt of delivery and there was no slip put in the mail box stating that there was an “attempt of delivery/ avviso di ritiro” let alone where to pick up a package.

avviso_di_ritiroThis is not new if a package is attempted to be delivered the Poste Italiane puts a yellow card in your box saying that they attempted to deliver and if they are going to return the next day or if you need to pick up and the address of the post office. We live in big city there are probably 50 or more offices in Firenze.  Without having this slip I have no way of knowing what office this package is at, if it is even at an office since the system has been so fishy to begin with. But since I was home and no one came, I immediately messaged the seller.  Mind you the package was ordered December 1st, shipped December 3rd and it was January 1st and I still have not received this package.  I wrote

According to the tracking system it claims they tried to deliver to us yesterday at 4 pm but we were here and did not receive anything asking to pick up the package and do not even know the location to pick up the package. Just letting you know. Maybe they will try to deliver on the 2nd because of the holidays. We will see.  We paid EUR 32,00 where  19.06 EUR was shipping which took over a month to get to us. I am really starting to get frustrated and annoyed that we paid so much for shipping to get the package to us by Christmas  and still have not received this package.

The company responded ignoring the fact that it was now a month and no item has arrived:

It appears they will be trying again today

Where Trenz Shirt Company sees that they will try again today, I have no clue, because the last final entry on the tracking system was that they attempted and that it was being held for pickup.  The company did not acknowledge that it is taking too long for the package to arrive, they did not respond to the fact that now I was getting frustrated, they did not care that I paid a lot for shipping and that the package again did not arrive.  On January 2nd there was not another attempt to deliver and again no yellow slip saying where to pick up a package.  So at this point, it was time to file the claim through Amazon’s  A-to-z Guarantee that they set up to handle disputes from customers and third party vendors.  I felt okay maybe we will get somewhere.  January 3rd I wrote both an email to Trenz Shirt and Amazon A-toZ Guarantee stating that by this point I have not received the item I ordered and I would like it fully refunded.  Since January 3rd every day the messages were going back and forth me asking for a refund and them both Amazon and Trenz telling me to pick up the package at an unknown post office.  I mean really Amazon A-toZ should have told the company that it has been over a month and the package did not arrive that they should just reimburse the buyer instead of sending messages like:

We are writing to follow up with you concerning the A-to-z Guarantee claim filed for order 026-######-#######. The seller has supplied USPS tracking number LZ#########US, which shows that a delivery was attempted for this shipment on 31/12/2014. We ask that you contact the shipping company directly to arrange for the delivery of this merchandise. We ask that you confirm by replying to this message that this item has been received and the claim may be closed. Please note that if we do not receive a reply within 3 business days, we will assume the issue is resolved and your claim will be closed. We appreciate your cooperation with this request. Thank you for your assistance in this matter and for choosing Amazon.co.uk.

So basically, the A-to-Z Guarantee Claim account manager believes the USPS tracking system (even with all the irregular places, dates, and times on it) that the item was attempted to be delivered (when I stated that it had not and that we did not receive a notification where to pick up). Then they want ME to contact the shipping company directly to arrange delivery (what the H_LL did I pay 19.06 EUR for shipping to get it by Christmas and now I have to find out where the package is?) On top of the fact that when you look to find any information on the USPS site for an international package, they only give the information to the person shipping not the person receiving.  The seller at this point should have reimbursed me the amount and filed a claim with the USPS to find the package and ship it back to the company or start a claim for a lost package.  I am not sure how they were able to write that the package was attempted  delivery, but that was just not true.  Amazon A-to-Z Guarantee Claim should have handled this by now instead of placing all that searching etc on the buyer.  Then they state “Please note that if we do not receive a reply within 3 business days, we will assume the issue is resolved and your claim will be closed.” I have sent replies only to get the same response that the supplier now says the tracking number giving for USPS is the tracking number for Poste Italiane (which it is not) and that the package is at FIRENZE GAVINANA INES  no address just a name. If you look up on the Poste Italiane site for the the office it does not come up.  It you take the name Gavinana that is 30 to 40 minutes opposite direction from where I live so not really the post office in my location (which is where packages are usually at for pick up if they tried to deliver at my house). I do not drive. Come on get real, why is it I have to fight for a package that is lost somewhere that was not delivered to my house and even if it was attempted (which it was not) on December 31st delivery it would have been 28 days since shipping that it took to even supposedly get to my house. Now I have to keep responding in these 3 days to keep the claim open or Amazon.co.uk is going to drop it saying it has been settled.  They have not put any input what so ever in this matter. They are not doing anything different then if I was handling it with the company directly.  This is all totally unacceptable customer service from both the t shirt company and Amazon.co.uk.

What Amazon.co.uk does give you now for disputes, if you choose to take it, is a credit to be used on Amazon.co.uk that they have no problem immediately giving me.  Why would I take a credit to order something that might not get to me like the package I am dealing with now?

At this point, I will not purchase anything more from Amazon.co.uk or Trenz Shirt Company again.  In fact I might just look for other alternatives to Amazon in general, if they are going to treat their customers, like I have been treated the past few days. I would advise you to do the same and if you do order from Amazon, be very aware of the third party vendors even if Amazon is shipping the item.  Amazon takes no responsibility in the actions of the third party vendor even though they have now more than two million third party sellers on their sites that made up 40% of their shipping for the year 2014. They also recently experienced a glitch between repricerexpress.com and Amazon.co.uk, where the third party vendors got hit hard when the glitch caused their products to go on sale for 1p. So using third party vendors on Amazon, Buyer Beware.

A follow up on this:  I did in the end have to take the credit because to protest with the credit card company with such a small amount would have been an hassle.  But I will always watch where the shipment is coming from and where I am buying from.  As long as you stay with Amazon itself you will be treated with respect and most likely get your package.

Related articles:

  1. Amazon shipped 5bn items in 2014, with 40% from third-party sellers
  2. Amazon sellers hit by nightmare before Christmas as glitch cuts prices to 1p
  3. Amazon refuses to compensate sellers for 1p price glitch

 

Integrating Essential Oils into your family life

photo oils.php

Have you heard of Essential Oils?  These oils are used for many things throughout your life that help benefit the health of your family.  For example diffusing various different oils to help with good sleep, relaxing, concentrating while doing homework. Lavender can be used for scratches, skinned knees and burns. Tea Tree is very helpful in preventing LICE. You can also use lemon essential oil for cleaning..and there is a wonderful oil blend called Thieves that we have started using to protect our immune system and fight colds etc. Basically we have cleaned out our medicine cabinets and have started replacing everything we can with oils – i personally have a reference guide that give an oil use for any illness you can think of – from warts to cancer. But best to leave the specifics for the class

If you are at all interested in integrating Essential Oils into your family life or just want to learn more about them then this is an online class that you do not want to miss. The class will take place online so your actual location does not matter- you only need to be on the internet. In order to receive an invite just PM me and I will “friend” you (if you aren’t my FB friend already) and I will send you the invite. It’s as simple as that. It is all taking place Sunday January 18th at 8pm Florence time… hope to see you there

Clinton Gene Healey-Magherini