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This isn't a beware, this is more of a what to do kind of post.

I shipped out a package to Arizona on Aug 10, priority mail. I also shipped out several other packages at the time, to different locations. I know priority mail isn't guaranteed, but my huge problem is -- my commissioner's parent (I worked along with the minor and the parent on this one, went very smoothly) emailed me to let me know that my tracking numbers were not working and the package didn't arrive (it should have been there by now). I insured the package for $300 against damage or loss, and tracked with delivery confirmation. I looked into the system and triple checked the numbers - both do not exist and are "not in the system" while the other packages that I shipped were either en route or delivered. 

As you might imagine, I am very freaked out right now, and I'm not sure what to do since there is no record of my package in the system at all. There isn't even any record of it being accepted at the post office, while there were for the other packages I sent. I still have all receipts, the stubs from the post office postmarked with date and time, paypal receipts to prove value, pictures of the item, everything I need for the claim.

What do I do? I don't want to wait to file a claim, but should I give it an extra day or two? I'm really, really worried since I have absolutely no idea where my package is right now. It could be sitting in the wet corner of a sorting facility for all I know, it could have been destroyed, it could have been opened and dumped out... heck, it could be on its way to Alaska for all I know.

Plus, I don't want my customer to be upset because her expensive costume is missing. What do I do? 


As suggested I hustled my butt over to the local post office. All the tracking was within their internal system, though the tracking for the confirmation and insurance were not available online. The package is currently at their local post office 0.5 mi from their house waiting to be picked up or rerouted for delivery if they have a change of address on file.

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( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 16th, 2011 03:35 pm (UTC)
Have you tried calling the post office directly and asking them what to do?
Aug. 16th, 2011 03:38 pm (UTC)
I second this. The very first thing I would do is go to the Post Office and ask them where my package is.

Take your other package stubs with you as well, in case they can look up by purchase.
Aug. 16th, 2011 03:42 pm (UTC)
Thirded. Definitely call or maybe even go there and ask.
Good luck, and I hope you find your package. :]
Aug. 16th, 2011 03:51 pm (UTC)
Also, have them go to their post office, or call.

USPS tracking is HIGHLY unreliable, and damn near worthless. Something I ordered was shipped Priority, with their "tracking," was shipped out and scanned in on July 20, was tracked until July 22 when it was at my post office, then it wasn't updated for 6 days, marked as undeliverable, and allegedly sent back to the seller. It arrived to me in early August. I would, before freaking out speak to a manager.
Aug. 16th, 2011 03:59 pm (UTC)
Fourthed. They'll be able to tell you what a reasonable time frame is for the tracking numbers. If it's getting unreasonable, they'll be the ones who can tell you what to do next.
Aug. 16th, 2011 06:25 pm (UTC)
Definitely agree with this. Take your receipts and go to the post office in person - I hate waiting on the phone.

It doesn't sound like the package has been destroyed or anything, but rather that it's a clerical error on the post office's behalf with the tracking numbers. I know it can take a few days for numbers to kick in and show any movement, but if the OP shipped it on the 10th, then the numbers were likely input incorrectly.
Aug. 16th, 2011 04:29 pm (UTC)
Run (don't walk) to the Post Office with your receipt for paying for the insurance, and the insurance and delivery confirmation numbers, and ask (demand, even) to know what happened to the package that you paid insurance on, and why isn't it in the system to check online? It's possible that someone at the Post Office saw the value you insured it for and did not enter it into the system so they could steal it for themselves. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to "pin" it onto whoever was supposed to enter it into the system when you shipped it.
Aug. 16th, 2011 05:12 pm (UTC)
Agreeing with what everyone else said. The first thing you should do is take all of your receipts/proof to the post office and sort it out with them. Sitting on the internet isn't gonna help. :P
Aug. 16th, 2011 05:26 pm (UTC)
Yeah - #1 ask the post office what's up
-- Make sure to ask at what point you can file for insurance
Also, I'm sure some will disagree with me but, if at some point the package is deemed well and truly lost, and you do file for insurance, it may take a while. I personally would refund or replace the items for the customer /before/ I collected the insurance, if doing so was going to take a while (more than a month). I don't see why there should be two parties waiting around when there can be just one.
Aug. 16th, 2011 05:36 pm (UTC)
To echo what everyone else has said, I recommend going in person to the post office with all your stubs, receipts, etc. Because you purchased the insurance, you've got more for your case and it's more likely that the post office will be willing to help you. In my case we didn't have that, but luckily our situation was resolved.

For the record, I don't recommend USPS's helpline one bit. You want something done, you go there in person. Hopefully if you're a frequent visitor to your local office, you may know one of the employees well and they'll be more helpful to you? You may want to advise your customers to go to their local post office with the tracking numbers to see if there's anything that can be done from that end.

As much as I've always liked Priority Mail, from now on anything that's not easily replaced or is worth more than $100 I'll be shipping through UPS. At least they'll own up to their mistakes and it's easier to file a claim with them if need be. I haven't lost anything with them yet.
Aug. 16th, 2011 05:44 pm (UTC)
From my experience with USPS, this is not much to worry about yet. Delivery Confirmation is not tracking. It's confirmation of delivery, and the service quality has gone way down with it. It'll enter the system when it's delivered or attempted. SOMETIMES things sent via USPS with Delivery Confirmation get a tracking like profile.. but that's when people enter it or scan it at major sort hubs. IF they do it. That, and the system doesn't update fast, it usually works on 6 to 12 hour cycles from what I was told.

The USPS doesn't really offer a good real-time live system. For that, go UPS or Fedex.
Aug. 16th, 2011 05:47 pm (UTC)
If the package was paid for and handed to a clerk in a post office, they're supposed to scan the codes -when payment is made-. So acceptance is always registered.

I don't do online postage very often because the package doesn't get scanned in sometimes.
Aug. 16th, 2011 05:57 pm (UTC)
That's how it works on Certified or Registered. Delivery Confirmation only is official on the final delivery. That said, yes, they do scan it, so they SHOULD have a record of it.

What they won't have is tracking information.

Aug. 16th, 2011 07:28 pm (UTC)
It's insured for $300 which comes with a tracking code.
Aug. 18th, 2011 05:53 pm (UTC)
This is partially why I use a shipping store for mailing all of my stuff. Sure they mark up the postage by a little bit (small flat rate is more like $6.50 or something instead of $5 but it includes delivery confirmation too) but they also input the customer's address directly into their computer system, and it auto generates the delivery confirmation number. Not only does the number get printed on my receipt, but I get an automatic e-mail once the USPS system picks up my package and confirms that tracking number as well. I am not a huge fan of having to fill out those little DC stickers and hoping the clerk will properly scan them...
(no subject) - fenris_lorsrai - Aug. 16th, 2011 06:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 16th, 2011 08:25 pm (UTC)
It's a huge oversized package and it's 0.5 mi from their home, so this is probably why it was not delivered or rerouted with change of address immediately.
Aug. 17th, 2011 02:36 am (UTC)
Glad it's resolved...I woulda freaked out too and woulda rang the post office in a blaze of unhappiness D8!
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )


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