Curio City Online's Shipping & Returns Policy

Shipping & Returns


Holiday Shipping and Other Delays

Our normal 48-hour turnaround time will be delayed by one day on these postal holidays:

  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving Day

Severe weather and other states of emergency also cause occasional shipping delays. Always check our News page if you are in a hurry to receive your order.

Shipping Charges

We calculate delivery charges from real-time lookup tables provided by UPS and the United States Postal Service (USPS). We endeavor to charge you our actual shipping cost, based upon the expected parcel weight and size. We add a very small handling fee (currently 65 cents) to cover our packaging costs.
Shipping is our single biggest cost of doing business. Very large shippers can negotiate special bulk rates with preferred carriers, but mom-and-pop shops like us pay the same retail price that you pay to mail something. Many companies inflate their regular prices by 15-20% to offer "free" shipping. We prefer to keep our prices honest, let you pick your preferred carrier, and show you the real price of shipping. 

Expected Transit Times

According to UPS and the USPS, you can plan on the following transit times. Remember to add one business day for us to process and ship your order! A Next-Day Air order received after 2 pm EST on Thursday will not reach you until the following Monday (because we can't ship it until Friday and UPS doesn't deliver on Saturdays).

In July 2013 the USPS started displaying shipping estimates along with the rates for various service. Those estimates are based on the distance between your zip code and ours plus their usual time in transit. They don't include any time for us to pack your order, nor are they guaranteed. We can't control the estimates that they display, and they are frequently wrong during holiday weeks.

Express Mail: 1 - 2 days, guaranteed.*
Priority Mail: 2 - 3 days. Usually your best option
First Class Mail: 2 - 4 days, restricted to parcels under 13 ounces (370 grams)
UPS Ground: 1 - 5 business days (the farther you get from the New England, the longer it takes). Includes package tracking. Weekdays only.
UPS 2nd Day Air: 2 weekdays, guaranteed**
UPS Next Day Air: Next weekday, guaranteed**

*To discover the guaranteed transit time for Express Mail, go here. Select "package". Enter 02184 for the sender's zip code. The "shipping time" will be 5 PM EST tomorrow (weekdays only). If our same-day shipping policy is in effect (see the top of this page), your package might ship on the same day that you place your order. Generally speaking, Express Mail takes one weekday for destinations east of the Mississippi and two weekdays for points west.

**See the next section for conditions of the carrier's delivery guarantees.

"Days" means Monday through Friday. Although we're really fast, we do need a little time to  process your order -- start counting from tomorrow when you are estimating delivery times. UPS doesn't deliver on weekends or to post office boxes. The farther you are from the East Coast of the US, the more likely it is for your package to take a little longer to get there. Severe weather and natural disasters often impose shipping delays. Monday postal holidays routinely delay shipping for one day.

The times listed above are guidelines, not guarantees. Only Express Mail and UPS air services are guaranteed, and even those guarantees are suspended during the week of Christmas (see next section) and in case of severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest, zombie invasions, etc.

Remember that UPS doesn't deliver on Saturdays. Sometimes an order placed near the end of the week will take longer than you'd think to get there. A 2nd-Day Air order received on Thursday afternoon, for example, won't reach you until the next Tuesday. Priority Mail would be just as quick and much cheaper. 

Some things that we sell might have special shipping restrictions. If we need to ship by some method other than the one you choose, we will e-mail you.


About Premium Shipping Guarantees

UPS 2nd Day Air, UPS Next Day Air, and Express Mail all guarantee delivery within a particular amount of time. Remember that we need a day to process and pack your order before you start counting the days in transit. Remember, too, that neither carrier counts Sundays or holidays, and UPS does not count Saturdays. Sometimes premium shipping takes longer than you would expect. For example: If you order 2nd Day Air on a Thursday, we ship your order on Friday, and UPS won't deliver it until Tuesday. In this example, Priority Mail would arrive at the same time because the USPS works on Saturdays.

(To discover when an Express Mail package will arrive, go to this USPS page. Enter a weight of 5 pounds. Enter 02184 for the "From" zip code, and the next non-holiday weekday for the shipping date. Enter 5 PM for the shipping time. The next page will display the guaranteed arrival time for Express Mail.)

These guarantees are not ironclad. They contain numerous exclusions, such as:

  • Disruptions in the air or ground transportation networks, such as weather phenomena and natural disasters
  • The unavailability or refusal of a person to accept delivery
  • Delays caused by the consignee
  • Acts of God
  • Public authorities acting with actual or apparent authority on the premises
  • Riots, strikes, and other labor disputes
  • Civil commotion
  • And all other circumstances beyond their control.

Additionally, UPS withdraws all delivery guarantees during the week of Christmas. As you can see, it's very difficult to collect a refund for a package delivered late. 

The carriers are the ones who extend the guarantees and who decide when to honor them. Therefore, Curio City cannot be liable if they fail to deliver on time. If your package arrives late, Curio City will file a claim with the carrier. If the carrier pays our claim, we will cheerfully refund your shipping charge. However, Curio City will not refund your shipping fee if the carrier denies our claim. In our experience, the USPS is more likely to deliver the service that they promise and to pay a refund if they fail to do so. UPS almost always finds a way to weasel out of their guarantees. If you absolutely need your package right away, we recommend that you choose Express Mail over a UPS air service.

Of course, Curio City will refund your shipping charge if the package is delivered late through some fault of ours.

Neither Curio City nor the carrier is liable for errors on your part, such as an incorrect or incomplete street address.

Premium shipping options are not available on those rare occasions when the real-time rate lookup routine fails. If the only shipping choice offered is "Standard shipping", we are using a locally stored rate table based upon your package's weight and destination. At such times you can't choose your carrier or method; we will ship your order via the quickest option covered by your shipping fee.   

When Packages Go Missing

It's very rare, but sometimes a box just vanishes. So we add delivery confirmation to all domestic USPS shipments. We give you that number at the time of shipment, either in your shipping notification email or in an email from, so that you will know when to expect delivery and can watch for your package. (UPS shipments include package tracking via "Package pirates" are a real thing, especially during the Christmas season. Don't let your package sit unattended in plain view.

After a package is confirmed delivered, or when you are notified of a delivery attempt, that package is no longer the responsibility of Curio City. We can't be held responsible for packages that are lost or stolen after they're confirmed delivered. Our ownership of that package ends when your carrier scans the label to prove that the package was left.

What can you do if your shipment is lost despite being confirmed delivered? The sooner you start to search, the more likely you are to find the package. First, ask anyone else in your household if they might have brought it in (you would be surprised how often this turns out to be true). If you live in a multifamily unit, it was probably stolen; ask your neighbors (even if you think one of them took it, they might return it out of guilt!). Second, check the area surrounding your mailbox or front door to see if the box or envelope might be in a concealed spot, like behind a bush or under a mat. Third, ask your carrier if s/he remembers where he or she left the box.

If none of those steps pan out, take your delivery confirmation number to your local post office and ask them to search for the box. Scanning errors are rare, but they do happen, especially during the Christmas season when volume is extremely high. Sometimes a postal carrier scans the label while the box is still on the truck, but neglects to take it to your door. In such cases the box will turn up either on the truck or in the loading area. To prevent future losses, make sure that your carrier knows where to leave packages securely (especially if you live in an apartment building). If you don't have a secure place to get packages, have your order sent to work, or to a neighbor. If you are shipping your order to somebody else, be sure to tell them that it's coming. As much as we hate to hear about packages that are stolen or lost after delivery, we can't do anything about them. Insurance does not protect you against theft after delivery.If you want to add an optional service, like signature confirmation, just e-mail us after you place your order, or put a note in the Comments box when you check out. We'll make arrangements before we send out your package. Special shipping arrangements might cost a dollar or two extra.

We insure all shipments valued at over $100 at our own expense, but insurance doesn't cover a package that's stolen after delivery. To cut down on those, we also add a signature requirement (again at our expense) on packages over $100 during November and December, when the thieves are working overtime to snatch unattended boxes. Shipments to PO boxes are exempt because that's a secure location.

If a domestic shipment is not confirmed delivered (or flagged as undeliverable) within 30 days from the ship date -- that is, if the shipment's whereabouts are unknown -- we file a claim with the carrier (see below for international shipments). They search the sending and receiving facilities. The results of this search determine what happens next. At least 95% of the time, a "lost" package turns up at the receiving post office. If it still cannot be found, Curio City will usually reship your missing order at our expense or refund your purchase (at our discretion).

UPS shipments follow a slightly different procedure. If your UPS package is confirmed delivered, but you didn't receive it, you can initiate a lost parcel claim on the UPS website. If your UPS package is not confirmed delivered, we will reship your order or refund your money and initiate the loss claim ourselves.

In any case, you need to notify us that the package is missing within 30 days of your order. All sales are final after 30 days. This requirement is relaxed to 60 days during the Christmas season. 

If an international shipment is not confirmed delivered, we will attempt to follow the same procedure outlined above. Due to wide variations in recipient nations' delivery systems, we don't have a single policy for this contingency. (So far, it has only ever happened once since 2005!)

If your package was undeliverable, we will contact you for reshipping instructions after it's returned to us. Return-to-sender service is typically very slow, so please be patient. There might be an additional charge for shipping the order again if it was undeliverable because you gave us an invalid address. Of course, we'll reship for free if we made an error on your label. 

International Shipping

We'll ship your order anyplace the USPS or UPS will take it except for the high-risk countries listed at the end of this section. We will not use private couriers or freight consolidators because they are favored by thieves. We can refuse suspicious-looking orders without explanation (there's more information about fraud detection at the end of this section). Despite all of the warnings and details that you are about to read, international packages routinely reach their destinations quickly and safely. Be sure to enter your delivery information accurately and completely, and include your telephone number. Orders paid by Paypal must be from a "Non-USA Verified Account" and must ship to the address on your Paypal account.

In November 2012, the USPS relaxed its restrictions on shipping lithium "coin cell" batteries internationally to allow shipping a limited number of batteries that are installed in products. We can't ship replacement batteries internationally because they are not installed in products. Some individual countries will not accept packages containing batteries; we currently cannot ship any products containing batteries to Germany or Italy. Customers in those countries may still order our products, but we have to remove the batteries before shipping to you. Please consult this page to see your own country's restrictions.

Your government might require you to pay import duties, fees, taxes, tariffs, or other charges at the time of delivery. Such charges can be substantial, and they are not included in your shipping fee. Most countries exempt small purchases from tariffs (this exemption is just $20 in Canada, but can be as much as $1,000 in other countries). Some Canadian customers have complained of duties approaching 100% of the value of their merchandise, as well as a $5 or $8 handling fee imposed by Canada Post. We have no control over these charges and none of these fees are paid to us -- our shipping charge only covers postage. Please check with your own country's Customs department if you are concerned about import fees.  

Our shipping software will present you with the appropriate shipping choices and costs when you check out. The most common options for worldwide shipments are:

  • Express Mail International: 3 - 5 days, not available to all countries. Expensive!
  • Priority Mail International: 6 - 10 days, usually the best option.
  • First Class International: 10 - 20 days, only packages under 4 pounds (1.8 kg), not insured. 
  • UPS Standard: Many Canadian customers complain about the brokerage fees associated with this seemingly low cost service.
  • UPS Worldwide Expedited: 2 business days to Canada; 2-3 days to Mexico; 3-4 days to Europe; 4-5 days elsewhere. Expensive, and UPS collects Customs fees.
  • UPS Worldwide Express: 1-3 business days to more than 60 countries, very expensive.

"Days" only includes business days (Monday through Friday). We ship international orders within three business days. Customs delays can add as much as four weeks. This is unpredictable and beyond our control (but it doesn't happen very often).

To discover the cost of shipping, just add the items that you want to your shopping cart and use the Shipping Estimator there. If the Shipping Estimator does not recognize your postal code, proceed to the Checkout page and enter your complete shipping information. You can abandon the transaction after clicking the "Show Shipping Rates" button if the costs are more than you are willing to pay.

First Class International is the cheapest way to ship packages weighing less than 4 pounds (1.8 kg). Size restrictions prohibit us from shipping bird kites via First Class despite their light weight. First Class packages are not insured and cannot be traced if lost.

Priority Mail International, although expensive compared to First Class, is the best tradeoff between price, speed, and reliability. Priority packages can be tracked and delivery is guaranteed, subject to the following details:

The shipping notification email that we send you will include a Customs number for USPS orders (or a tracking number for UPS). You can also see these numbers by logging in to your Curio City account if you created one when you checked out. Your local Customs office can locate the package using the Customs ID number, or you can follow the UPS shipment at We cannot trace a package after it clears Customs and enters your country's delivery system. It's up to you to contact your country's Customs department if your package is delayed. International shipments are not considered lost until 60 days from the ship date. If your package is still missing after 60 days, we will ordinarily refund your money. We will not refund your purchase if you gave us an inaccurate or incomplete delivery address, if you did not provide your telephone number at the time of sale, or if the package was undeliverable due to some other error on your part.

UPS international services are more likely to be subjected to import duties than USPS packages. Canadian customers have to pay UPS a brokerage fee that is not included in your shipping charge, and UPS will collect Customs duties on all shipments that are liable. After UPS delivers your parcel to your country's Customs office, local delivery is usually completed by your regular postal service. Our responsibility for UPS shipments ends when the package passes from UPS to your country's delivery service. UPS is sometimes the best choice for large, heavy parcels traveling great distances.

Due to the expense and labor involved in processing international shipments, all international sales are final -- no returns or exchanges except for damaged or defective merchandise, or lost packages as described in the preceding section. We will not refund your purchase if you refuse delivery for any reason, or if the package is undeliverable because you supplied an incorrect address. In these cases the package is treated as abandoned and everybody loses (except the carrier who keeps your merchandise!).

Finally, please be aware that most international sales are not fraudulent, but most fraudulent sales are international. For that reason, international orders have to pass strict automated fraud filters. You will not be able to check out if your computer's IP address, your bank's location, and your shipping address are in different countries. If your credit/debit card is rejected due to a high fraud score, you may pay with PayPal. We will cancel your sale and refund your payment if you submit multiple orders with different credit cards, or if it looks suspicious for any other reason. If you set off any warning bells we might hold your order for up to 10 days to ensure that your payment clears. See our Checkout Problems section for more information about security filtering.

Despite all of those warnings, rest assured that international shipments routinely reach their destinations in a timely manner with reasonable or no import duties assessed and we assume that you're honest unless you give us some reason to think otherwise. UPS Standard to Canada generated the most complaints, so we discontinued that option. 

We will refuse all transactions that fail our Fraud check or that look suspicious. We will not use private couriers or accept payment from non-standard processors. We might delay shipping your order for several days until your payment is verified. Sorry, but we cannot accept any orders from these high-risk countries: Egypt, Ghana, Indonesia, Lebanon, Macedonia, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Ukraine, Venezuela, or Vietnam.

Third-Party Shippers

Now that we're in clearance mode, we ship everything from our own warehouse. We no longer use third-party shippers.     

Returns Policy

All of our prices have been reduced to clearance levels because we plan to go out of business this December. Returns will only be accepted for damaged or defective products. Here are the details:

  • No returns will be accepted without prior authorization. You will not receive a refund, nor will we ship the merchandise back to you, if it just shows up here unexpectedly. If you return something without authorization you will lose both the merchandise and your shipping cost.
  • You must request authorization within 30 days of your order's ship date. All sales are final after 30 days. You need to provide your order number or equivalent proof of purchase.
  • We will be closing our bank accounts in January, so if you do get permission to return a defective item, we need to receive it promptly. We can't issue any refunds after we shut down our payment processing service.
  • Notify us immediately if your item was damaged in transit. We have a limited time to recover damages from the carrier.
  • Shipping charges are refundable both ways if your item was defective. If you return a functioning item to us, you won't get your shipping charges back.
  • If your product is covered under a manufacturer's warranty, you should file a claim with them. We'll give you the contact information.
  • We can only refund the same account that you originally charged.



Because we're closing the store in December, we aren't doing exchanges anymore.

Our Packaging

Curio City practices the "reduce - reuse - recycle" philosophy. We use as little packaging as we can to ensure that your order has a safe trip. We reuse shipping cartons and packing material whenever possible. Your carton might look like it's made a few trips before. It might even have another company's name on it. We hope that you'll save the box and send it off on another trip someday, or recycle it properly if it's not suitable for further use. We reuse almost everything that comes in, so we add almost no virgin materials to the waste stream.

Out of Stock Items

Our website is supposed to prevent you from putting anything that we don't have in your shopping cart. As we run out of products, we sometimes find inventory errors. If we do accidentally sell you something we don't have, we'll promptly refund the charge, including any tax or postage that we collected.

Privacy Policy

It's simple and brief: Your contact information won't go beyond Curio City and its parent company, Kraken Enterprises. We only ever use it to conduct business with you. We won't sell, rent, give, loan, share, or discuss your account information with anyone unless we are compelled to do so by law.

Our website uses cookies to function properly. We don't know exactly what that means, but we have to say it for the Europeans.



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