They're not available in Cyprus, as far as we can tell, but it was three weeks before Christmas. And Tim said he didn't mind if they were late, which is just as well because we couldn't find any online stores that had them in stock. Perhaps they were a popular gift last year. But eventually we found some which said they would soon be in stock, at the Dolphin Music site in the UK.
So Richard placed the order, and had a confirmation email. A few days later they emailed him to tell him that our credit card is a British issued one, in sterling, but the address for it is in Cyprus. Yup, we know that. It appears to create a problem on many sites. It's generally solved by faxing a copy of a utility bill to them, so that's what he did. And assumed all was well.
A couple of days before Christmas, Richard had an email from Dolphin Music apologising that the headphones were still not in stock. So we told Tim, and he shrugged, and said that was OK.
About ten days ago, we realised that although the headphones had still not been shipped, our credit card was billed for them on December 5th, back when we made the order. That wasn't very impressive. Most sites don't bill cards until they're about to send out the parcel. But perhaps it happened because we were a new customer. Richard emailed them, anyway, and asked what was going on.
I also had a look on the site, and read the part that mentioned that packages were shipped by UPS, and had to be signed for. Thus we couldn't enter a PO Box address. Our credit card bills go to our PO Box address, so Richard had used that, not realising that we could have different shipping and billing addresses. But the parcel hadn't been shipped, so he edited the shipping address to give our street address.
He received an apologetic email a few days ago, saying that they hoped the headphones would be in stock within a week.
Then, a day or two afterwards, he received a dispatch note. The parcel had finally been sent! He had gone to the USA by then so he forwarded it to me, so that I could track it via the UPS website. I entered the tracking code given, and saw that the parcel had already sped through Europe, and was having its 'in-transit scan' at Larnaka.
So, on Friday, Tim and I made sure that one of us was always in the house, expecting the UPS van to call. Or, perhaps, to phone and find out exactly where our house was.
But nothing happened.
Then we realised that the address on the shipment email was the PO Box address.
Apparently, although we had changed our default shipping address, we hadn't changed the address to which we'd sent the parcel.
So, I thought, perhaps it would go to the PO Box as a registered letter, and I would be able to collect it on Monday.
Today, Richard received another email which he forwarded to me. It said:
THE RECEIVER'S ADDRESS IS INCOMPLETE. UPS IS ATTEMPTING TO OBTAIN THE ENTIRE ADDRESS AND COMPLETE THE DELIVERY.
Since they have our phone number, and Richard's mobile number, it should have been easy enough to phone us and find out our street address. But either Tim or I has been in all day, and Richard has his mobile with him, and we haven't heard from them.
Richard found me a phone number for UPS Larnaka. I phoned it - and there was no reply.
I looked on the UPS site again, and this time it said that although the parcel had its in-transit scan in Larnaka on Thursday, it was actually now in Nicosia.
So I found the Nicosia UPS number and rang that.
They probably don't work weekends. But I fail to see why they couldn't have phoned us yesterday.
I tried to register at the UPS site, since it said I could find out more information that way. Unfortunately, Cyprus is not one of the countries on the drop-down list for registering. And when I tried telling the home page that my country was Cyprus, the registering option disappeared altogether.
So Tim's Christmas present is now in some depot in Nicosia. Knowing how well (not) things are handled in Cyprus, I've no idea whether they will even be working, assuming we eventually get them. Of course, they could be sent to Paphos by Monday..
I expect UPS is remarkably efficient in every other country of the world.