My Feud with the Post Office

mailtruckI’m so unhappy with the United States Postal Service that I feel the need to vent.  Generally, I’ve never had problems with the delivery service before, at least none that I’m aware of.   But in the last three months they’ve lost three  packages mailed to me.  All three were mailed priority – one from the eastern side of the country and two from the western side.  To me, that means it’s not a problem with those post offices, but with one closer to me.  Surprisingly, all three packages contained the same thing – books.  There are some things that can be lost, but my books aren’t one of them!

When I contacted the post office after the second incident, I received very little information.  However, the lady I spoke with told me that my local office was under investigation for high losses.  When I realized the third package was lost, I was floored.  I couldn’t imagine the utter incompetence that would allow them to lose three packages within such a short period of time.  I just can’t fathom how much mail is out there that’s misplaced or stolen, if I’ve personally lost three recently. 

When I contacted the Office of Consumer Affairs in Atlanta, I again got very little information.  She took my information and told me that it would be unlikely that I would hear anything.  The more I thought about it the angrier I became.  After doing some online research at the U.S. Post Office, I realized that I was supposed to be given a claim number and other information should have been taken.  Needless to say, I called back.  I ended up waiting for one hour and twenty-nine minutes on hold before I actually got to talk to a real life human being who basically said they couldn’t help me.   So after one complaint filed over the phone and two filed online (one for the incredibly long wait period), I still have no answers and don’t feel like anything is being done. 

If I could completely avoid the postal service, I would, but unfortunately I can’t, despite online bill paying and other options.  You pay a rate to have something delivered.  Then, you pay more to have it shipped faster.  In addition to that, you have to pay even more to have it shipped more securely.  After all that, there’s no guarantee that you’ll even get the package and there’s very little recourse in the event something is lost.  How is this good business?

16 thoughts on “My Feud with the Post Office

  1. Pam P

    Best place to complain if you think there’s a problem at your local PO, and especially because a worker told you that about high losses (which I would include in complaint), is through the Postal Inspector. You can do that online here.

    They take these things seriously, particularly if there’s suspicion that a postal employee might be involved, or when they see patterns. An online in friend in Ohio recently complained about the same thing in our group, also saying an employee told her they were under investigation.

  2. Karen W.

    WOW…incredible they can get away with acting like that. Of course, it IS a government job. :) It sounds like your mail person doesn’t like delivering heavy book boxes and manages to “lose” them. I hope you’ll get SOME kind of satisfaction eventually.

  3. Quilt Lady

    I have had a lot of things come up missing from the post office myself, either that or they where never sent. I had a book show up in my mail box that had been post marked three months before it showed up at my house. Figure that one out for me. It took it three months to move from Texas to KY I have never figured that one out.

  4. MaryK

    We’ve had several things lost in the mail. On one, the seller had used delivery confirmation and delivery was confirmed, but it wasn’t delivered to us. I recently had a book lost in the mail. The envelope arrived empty with the end torn open! I complained in person and they took a report but I haven’t heard anything from them. It was a rare book that I happened to find on PaperBackSwap. I was not happy.

  5. Linda

    First, let’s make this clear. I have worked for the PO for 25 years in a variety of settings and positions. I have, as they say, been around. So let me offer you the inside OPINION of the problems. The Postal Service is a dying enterprise that has unfortunately done little to save and more to destroy itself in the last few years. Instead of hiring permanent employees who must take an exam requiring skill they now hire just anyone off the street and pay them substantially less than the permanent employee that they work next to. And let’s face it, most people who know they are taking a temporary job don’t care about the safety , security and sanctity of the mail that the long term employees do. Also, the PO has put so many “excuse” programs in place ( race color creed, etc.) that you can do just about anything as an employee and find a program that will defend your actions. So do I see your situation improving? No. But do I think that the alternative mailing options are better? No also, because I have many friends who work there and they experience the same problems. All I can do is apologize from the thousands of dedicated employees who do still work for The PO for the thousands of idiots that they keep hiring (and promoting). My retirement is near and I am relatively young. I thought to grow old and die with this company but can’t count the days fast enough until I can go. And with me will be the other caring employees. No rewards for us. One last note though. When purchasing anything by mail- where this is an option- write the name of the article shipped on the inside of the wrapper. The packages are often ripped open in machinery and we have no way to match the content with the wrapper. We are not allowed to guess and your item goes to the lost and found. ( Your local LARGE mail processing facility is the place to call (lost & found dept.) when an item does not show up) But again it is the luck of the draw whether you will get an employee who cares.

  6. maggie b.

    In fairness, the PO office no longer receives money from the federal government. That information is covered here :–breakout-in-notes-

    Like most, they did not see email coming. Email and the telephone have meant that the post office has now lost the majority of the share they had in personal communication. For myself, I only send birthday cards.
    Most people have even started saving on things like Christmas cards.

    My postman told me that most of their revenues come from junk mail. Last year, with the economic down turn, a lot of companies either cut their junk mail advertising or went out of business.

    That doesn’t mean this should have happened. It shouldn’t. But it might explain a bit as to WHY it happens.

    maggie b.

  7. AAR Heather

    Thanks for all the advice.
    @ Pam P – that’s the site I ended up filing my report with. So far I gotten three return emails. They may not be able to locate the books, but it does make me feel somewhat better that I got a reply. If there were just a way to prevent it from happening again.

    @ Linda – I’m so sorry that the Post Office has declined that much. It’s very disheartening to work for a company that you were proud of at one time and then to see it gradually decline. I sincerely hope that things get better. Also, I’ll try the lost and found department.

    I still use the post office for many things. I would just like to feel secure that I’ll receive what I’m supposed to receive. And really, it’s decline is quite sad in terms of the history of American institutions.

  8. AAR Sandy

    In 2005, I ran the first AAR auction. I mailed out via media mail something like 70 packages to places around the United States. One third — that’s right — one third of those packages never arrived. The second time we ran the auction, priority mail shipping with delivery confirmation was built into the cost people paid for their items.

    One memorable story from the 2005 auction that Linda’s post perhaps gives some insight into: A package was damaged and somebody got a Willie Nelson CD instead of their books. I was just so baffled because there has NEVER, EVER BEEN A WILLIE NELSON CD IN MY HOUSE! I knew I didn’t do it!

    Around here in DC, the postal service has been beyond awful for years. I had SO MANY book packages lost — so very, very many. The ONLY way I have learned that things will arrive is if you pay extra for delivery confirmation. So far, anyway, that’s worked for me.

    Anything I need to know is going to arrive I send via UPS or Fed Ex.

    I use first class mail very infrequently. I mail packages very infrequently via USPS. And I agree with others, that is sad.

  9. xina

    I pity you. Whenever I don’t receive a book or whatever I’ve ordered after tracking the order and days go by, I think, well…it’s probably lost, and frankly, that has only happened once or twice to me. The fact that your mail has the potential for being lost really must make it worrisome for you! Our mail carrier is very reliable, but before she started we had a guy, for a short time, who would mix up all the mail around our neighborhood. He didn’t last long. We found out later that his reading ability was “limited”. I wonder how he landed the job as a mail carrier. odd.

  10. Jessica Scott

    Over here in Iraq, the mail is abysmal at best. I’ve gotten emails from folks who just had packages returned to them – packages they’ve mailed in February. I don’t hold the USPS responsible for the problems over here but back home, the best thing I ever did was buy a postal scale. No more waiting in the insane lines at our local post office to drop packages. It was truly one of the best investments I’ve made because time is my post precious asset.
    Jess Scott

  11. Ellie

    I’ve only had 3 problems I can recall over 3-4 years with hundreds of deliveries to me. The postal personnel are great! We live 5 miles from town, but they daily come to the house or workshop to pick up our online business shipping. Recently I noticed we had a bird nest in our real mail box at the road, goes to show how seldom it is used.

  12. AAR Heather

    Xina and Ellie: My personal mail carrier is great. I don’t really think that the problems stem from her at all, but rather somewhere higher up. I haven’t been able to ask her advice yet, simply because I haven’t been able to see her. To my knowledge, these are the only packages I’ve ever lost, which is why three over such a short period of time concerns me.

  13. Blythe

    On the whole, I’ve had relatively few problems with the mail. I’ve mailed hundreds of packages over the years, and I can literally count on one hand the number that didn’t get to their destination.

    Unfortunately, two of those were mailed to Heather. Do I think she has a dishonest postal employee in her neck of the woods? You bet I do. On the plus side, when I was complaining about it to my favorite CPU employee (when you mail as many packages as I do, you get to be close) she told me a hilarious story about a sting operation she was involved in to catch a stealing employee. Apparently it involved writing “TV” on a cardboard box to see if she would steal it…and she did.

  14. msaggie

    Heather, I am so sorry for your lost packages. In defence of the USPS (and to cheer Linda who is retiring soon from it), I have had very good service so far from the post office – as a member of BookMooch, I have sent out over 200 books (all received by their recipients whether within the US or abroad), and received over 300 books (sent to me in Maryland). The problem I suspect, as Blythe says, must be local at your end. I also note that AARSandy, who also lives in the DC Metro area, like me, has had problems with mail. Perhaps there are some USPS catchment areas which employ more “unreliable” folk than others, accounting for this problem? It’s sad, because if it goes on, less and less people will use USPS, and contribute to their already falling clientele. Perhaps Heather, you could mobilise all the other victims of unreceived mail in your local area, and form a group complaint – I think many people complaining together will increase the likelihood of their taking action.

  15. Sam

    Sorry to hear about your loss. I’ve has consistently good luck with them over the years. So much so that I sent a package valued at $875 with signature confirmation and no insurance. They say they didn’t get it and want a refund.

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