Here's the full story of why my iPod was over a month late. The beginning part of my story is the same as everyone's - everything went smoothly up through STV, with about a week - two weeks in between each advance. Typical, typical, and like most Gratis newbies, I was worried at each step.
Well, I did the trick where you search DHL by reference using your iPod reference number - and before long, a shipment popped up on DHL! My freeiPod.com account status wasn't upgraded to SHIPPED yet, but DHL said it was estimated delivery of 4/18/05 (though it hadn't been picked up for delivery yet). Woo!
But as the days passed, the DHL info wasn't to having been picked up yet. DHL told me that as soon as the package went out from the shipper, eFulfillment, my account would be updated - but so far, nothing.
Then, my iPod status changed to SHIPPED. Yet, DHL swore it hadn't shipped.
So after waiting a week, i sent a letter through the freeipods.com customer service contact box. I got a form letter saying they "couldn't say when exactly it would arrive." I sent another few letters, but no response other than "someone with customer service will get back to you."
Two weeks later, my iPod hadn't shipped, though my status still said SHIPPED. So I did two things to fix the problem.
First, I email=ed the efulfillment help desk at firstname.lastname@example.org@efulfillmentservice.comed the efulfillment help desk at email@example.com@efulfillmentservice.com/email, even though I believe Gratis doesn't want us bothering them.
Also, I received an email from a guy at Gratis asking if I wanted to be in a freeipods.com commercial they were shooting in New York. I said sure, though first i'd really like to actually get a free ipod.
At this point, both Gratis and efulfillment jumped to work to figure out what went wrong. It turned out that there had been a mix-up, and efulfillment had released several tracking numbers prior to their having been shipped (it seems that they then forgot about those tracking numbers).
They shipped out a new ipod in less than a week, and I've got it on my desk now.
Anyway, overall great experience, with the only major problem being that their site-based customer service contact is absolute crap (i never received a response to any of my letters). If you get into a situation where it looks like there's been a mess up, dont wait around - either contact Gratis or eFulfillment directly.
And the proof
And I'm out.