Monday, January 27, 2014

8 Reasons USPS Might Have Lost Your Package

Last month, I used USPS Parcel Select to send a large 25lb package from Atlanta to Florida. I knew it would take longer than Priority mail, and this was on the heels of the gigantic holiday backlog where USPS was overwhelmed with packages. After a few days, I checked the tracking info and saw that the package was in Memphis. Ok, why did it go 400 miles in the opposite direction? It was supposed to go South but it went West.

We have a couple of very knowledgeable and helpful USPS employees in my Facebook group who explained what goes on when packages go missing or are re-routed in weird ways. This info might be helpful to sellers left scratching their heads when a package is off the radar.

1. Human error. Package gets put on the wrong truck. Bad addresses. Illegible addresses. No return address on the package. Always put your return address!

2. I have had a couple of packages this week that I could not scan as Arrived At Unit (Post Office) because the tracking bar-code and printed tracking number were destroyed. Those packages were delivered but the scans will never show it.

3. The address label was not taped securely on the box. If it gets separated with no packing slip inside, it is gone. I don't know where it is sent. My office sends our undeliverable letters to Atlanta. I sent three cards today. The families had moved and the senders did not use any return addresses. The senders will blame the po for stealing their card and/or the contents. We are not allowed to open anything to see if there is an address inside. I would be fired if I opened someone's mail....unless I am checking a Media Mail package. You would not believe the stuff people ship as media. We recently had a huge box that was shipped as media. It was potato chips. We shipped it to the addressee as Postage Due. Books do not rattle or make funny sounds with you shake them. Jigsaw puzzles are not medial mail.

4. The volume of packages in December was the heaviest our office has ever had. A normal day will have between 150 and 250 packages for 4 rural routes and 4 to 20 packages for the po box section. Before Christmas, we delivered 803 packages in one day. They carriers were delivering in the dark. UPS and FedEX took a beating in the news media for late packages. Don't wait until the last minute to order a child's Christmas present. It may or may not make it in time.

5. Traffic accidents. Every time I see a news story or photo of an accident involving a tractor trailer from USPS, UPS or FedEx, I wonder how many packages were lost or destroyed. Airplanes carry packages too. Weather is a huge reason at this time of year. BRRRR. It is cold outside today... Happy we did not get any snow.

6. We have also switched to wireless for the scanners. I think the bugs are still being worked out. The carriers have to link a cell phone to the scanner so the tracking info will be in real time

7.  Don't use tampon boxes to ship stuff to your customer! Just saying... Or used pizza boxes, grease stains and all.

8. I almost forgot theft. There are people following the trucks as they deliver packages. The driver leaves the package on the porch and someone steals it after he drives away. Those scans would show delivered.

And a few words from our trusted Postal employee:

"I am proud to work for the US Postal Service. I am more than happy to help anyone if I can. I have been working some long days since November. The volume is finally returning to normal. Hopefully the delivery delays will stop. You can call 1-800-ASK-USPS and open a case for your damaged or missing packages. If that does not work to your satisfaction, contact Consumer Affairs.

Working where I do is the main reason I started selling online on eBay, then Amazon. I have the best of both worlds! I met some wonderful eBay sellers when they stopped by my post office to mail their packages. Now I help them. It makes me feel so good when a customer walks in and tells me that they are so glad that I am working the counter because they have a question or a problem. I don't know all of the answers. But I know how to find them. Check the blogs or Google it."

Thank you to our Post Office Goddess for taking the time to share this information and helping to educate us. It is good to know what may happen once the package leaves our mailbox.

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1 comment:

Wendy said...

We have been selling online since 2005 and it has never been this bad for complaints about late deliveries via USPS 1st Class and Priority. Lost quite a few customers and revenue over the last 3 months. It is very frustrating but understand that weather is a huge factor. Just a little confusing how a package going from FL to TX ends up in CA and many others that are just not making sense.