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Advice: USPS lost commission

Hi again!

I need a little help.

Long story short, was commissioned for a fursuit, made it, mailed it on August 25th and it hasn't been seen since August 30th. There is no update to the tracking or anything.
I filed a claim with USPS for the full amount (roughly ($2,200) with proof of the transactions and they offered to pay me $70. I don't even know where they pulled that number from, it doesn't even make sense with the insurance; I filed for an appeal.
Client says that they called their local post office and that an investigation has been opened.

I don't know what more I can do and I'm honestly scared. I haven't spent the money but USPS just lost an expensive, one-of-a-kind costume I can't exactly replicate and, ideally, would like to have them refund me in full for the item they lost.

If it comes to it, how do I go about out-of-pocket calculating a refund for my client? They already have the tail in their possession so I would subtract that from the total cost, but what about things like the cost of materials and such? Is it "cheap" to keep those funds?

Anything would be really helpful right now. I cannot afford to remake the costume again. The $70 USPS tried to offer me doesn't even cover the cost of the fabric.

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( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 15th, 2018 12:27 pm (UTC)
You mentioned insurance, do you still have the postage receipt / proof of postage?

I don't know anything about fursuits / the fur-suit business side of things but I'd imagine if you have both of those, just keep fighting it to be covered (if it covered the full amount). It's not your fault, it's the carrier's fault, and insurance is for this kind of thing.

Having said that I feel where you're coming from on the anxiety front, and I feel for the client as well because that's a lot of money to not receive anything.

Keep hounding the carrier and don't give in until they give you a satisfactory response. What does the insurance specifically cover? Full value, partial? Lost in transit? If it does cover full value, then it sounds like they are just looking for a way to get out of paying the whole amount, and I would imagine if you paid out for insurance on it, that would be covered. I would also probe them about how they came to the conclusion that the payout would be only $70? IME lots of people don't wanna make a fuss so sometimes bigger places will get away with stuff cos people generally take the path of least resistance. I could be wrong and there's another factor that is coming into play but to me, that's what it sounds like.

I hope you get a resolution to it!

Edited at 2018-09-15 12:29 pm (UTC)
Sep. 15th, 2018 01:47 pm (UTC)
I keep all of my shipping receipts for tax purposes, however I am currently away at college and won't be back at my parent's place until the 28th. I could ask one of them to take a picture of the receipt for me as proof if you think that would make any difference but I already have proof of the transactions and everything posted to the claim itself.

Insurance should be for the full amount, that said I cannot figure out for the life of me where they are getting this $70 number from. $70 worth of insurance? I thought insurance started at $200 and went up anyway?
Sep. 15th, 2018 01:04 pm (UTC)
As cknsausage said keep hounding the carrier. You insured the package and with documents about the business agreement you made with your client, you should prove that the suit is valued at $2200 because that is what your client paid. I would focus on that until you get a resolution from USPS.

You may want to prepare yourself for the other scenarios that could happen unfortunately. The customer is entitled to getting a suit or the money, even if this wasn't your fault. I do think though that given the circumstances, the customer might work something out with you, like an extended deadline so you can work on their suit while picking up some other business to compensate for the loss in income.

It is strange advice but I heard someone say that you can threaten to call your congressman if the USPS is not helping you out. USPS isn't a corporate entity so it may not exactly care about paying you back otherwise.
Sep. 15th, 2018 01:54 pm (UTC)
As stated I have provided proof of transactions.
I already called USPS twice about it and was lied to about even being able to file a claim to begin with. I could be reading their site wrong but you can file claims over the phone but cannot ask/conduct business regarding the claim over the phone, unlike, say, PayPal.

Also in the journal, I cannot remake this costume. Circumstances now are different than they were even a month ago; I do not have the room to remake some parts of this fursuit. I could ask about refunding for some of the parts (ex, feet) but it puts a horrible feeling in my stomach knowing I spent so much time on an item that I have to spend money and try to replicate all over again when I was so happy with the first result.

I'd really rather not blackmail USPS, haha.
(no subject) - cknsausage - Sep. 15th, 2018 02:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Sep. 15th, 2018 02:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 16th, 2018 03:40 am (UTC)
Walk into a post office with copies of all your insurance claim stuff and ask specifically for the post master.

Then tell that person what's going on and ask them what they can do to help you.

SPECIFICALLY the post master. Do not bother talking to anyone else.
Sep. 16th, 2018 11:37 am (UTC)
I'll ask my husband's mom, she's a postmaster. I'll let you know how it goes.
Sep. 16th, 2018 09:17 pm (UTC)
Information Directly From a Post Master
This information is directly from my husband's mother, who is a Post Master in good standing:

"This is awful. The best thing is to be persistent. It doesn't say how much they insured it for. The very least the PO owes the insured value plus postage and fees. Some business have private insurance on items mailed. Like jewelry stores. Our insurance is limited in value unless sent registered or Express mail.
They can ask or contact their local postal consumer affairs office.
Continue complaining and pushing for reimbursement. Maybe even postal inspector."
Sep. 17th, 2018 06:36 am (UTC)
Ah this is crummy, sorry its happening! Just to clarify because it isn't noted in the OP, did you purchase insurance that covered the total value of the package when you shipped the item? You usually need to specifically ask for it "Hi yes I'd also like to insure this for $2200 etc" when you go to the post office to ship your package, and thats what's going to make all of the difference.

If so, don't bother with the phone, go straight to the post office! I've never had luck with them on the phone and they tend to be a lot more helpful in person.
Sep. 18th, 2018 07:04 am (UTC)
This is weird. Why would they only offer $70?

Did you insure it for the full $2200 amount? I've always had to ask for insurance for more expensive items- when I shipped fursuit parts, I had to specifically request that they insure them for the value of having new ones made, just in case Canada Post or USPS lost it in transit. It's usually $30-60 extra; it should be on your receipt, for basic insurance, or they gave you a separate slip for claim purposes for a higher amount, and (I think) the parcel has to be signed for. That's been my experience shipping from Canada to the US, and the experience of a couple maker pals I've got.

Basically, if they don't find it, your options are like... hounding USPS for the insured value, remaking the suit, or refunding your client. Crappy situation, hopefully they locate the parcel; with any luck, it just got routed to Miami or something, and they ain't found it yet. Fingers crossed it turns up!

Sep. 20th, 2018 01:34 am (UTC)
tbh, it might show up somewhere. Where did the tracking end? it may be at that location due to label slippage and such. I would call there as well.

last week I had a package returned to me that I shipped in 2017, so it CAN happen!
Sep. 20th, 2018 01:56 am (UTC)
Ahuh, I hope it shows up sooner than over a year later, the anxiety would kill me. @__@

The tracking ended a few miles north of where I shipped it from in Springfield, MA. I'll be in the area again next weekend so I'll be visiting the post office I mailed it from!
Sep. 20th, 2018 04:08 pm (UTC)
Update, the client says that USPS contacted them saying that the package was lost in a fire en route to Cincinnati. I did a bunch of Googling and nothing news-wise is coming up for this, let alone the tracking has not changed and there's been no movement on my claim.
Sep. 21st, 2018 01:30 am (UTC)
...i don't think i actually believe that. specially since your tracking shows nuthing

https://www.postaltimes.com/postal-vehicle-fires/ this lists the vehicle fires
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Sep. 21st, 2018 08:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Sep. 21st, 2018 11:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Sep. 21st, 2018 11:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Sep. 21st, 2018 11:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Sep. 22nd, 2018 12:01 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Sep. 22nd, 2018 12:04 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Sep. 22nd, 2018 12:07 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Sep. 22nd, 2018 12:12 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Sep. 22nd, 2018 12:15 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Sep. 22nd, 2018 12:20 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sillygosling - Sep. 22nd, 2018 02:34 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Sep. 22nd, 2018 02:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 22nd, 2018 02:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I think I've entered this tracking number/information into dead mail forms twice now but it doesn't hurt to add it to another :)
Sep. 22nd, 2018 11:35 pm (UTC)
As of this morning:
- Client was refunded.
- Started a Go Fund Me.
- Found out there WAS a fire and had this confirmed by two post offices in the client's state. Package may or may not be damaged. They don't know. No date was given for the fire. I should be finding out tentatively on Monday about the state of the package and if I will receive a refund or not.
- Was warned by said women on the other sides of the phone about... related things.

Will update this as it goes.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Sep. 26th, 2018 01:21 am (UTC) - Expand
( 36 comments — Leave a comment )


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