Somewhere between CA and the UK…

Consider this my day of rants. I’m kinda crabby tonight.

So, I’ve been selling a fair number of things on eBay lately (my feedback is now up to 134!) “Whoop dee doo,” I hear you saying. Anyway, that’s not really the point. So far I’ve shipped virtually everything via the US Postal Service. I’ve actually started to like & appreciate the postal service, surprise surprise! Our postman at our house is very friendly and goes out of his way to help us out, the USPS provides free shipping boxes for Priority Mail, and in general the whole operation is pretty smooth. When combined with printing shipping labels via PayPal it makes things a piece of cake.

That is, until the USPS loses one of your packages.

I sold my sister’s old Nike MP3 player to a lovely woman named Judy in the UK about a month ago. I sent it via USPS Global Priority Mail – $15.00 for shipping! I had the official box, printed the official customs form, and off it went with our postman. A month goes by and I get an email from Judy. The note goes something like this:

“Hi, I haven’t received the MP3 player yet. When I checked the tracking number online it says you mailed it from Michigan. But I thought you live in California?”

Hmm, I think. That’s odd. So I look, and yes, it actually says that the USPS accepted my package in Michigan. Thinking this is all a simple mistake I call the USPS customer service line. I give the guy a brief description of what had happened and – almost before I finish – he says:

“I’m sorry, USPS Global Priority Mail is not trackable or traceable. There is nothing I can do to help you. If your package is lost, there is no way for me or anyone else to find it. (pause) Sometimes we issue duplicate tracking numbers so that might be why it shows as being picked up in Michigan.”

I ask “Seriously? So I have a tracking number but someone else also used it so you can’t figure out where mine is?”

The response: “Yes, there is no way to track your package. The only thing you can do is call the San Francisco Department of Consumer Affairs and lodge a complaint. But you can’t get your package back and they can’t issue a refund. Would you like the number?”

I don’t think I’ve ever been told to call and complain to a government agency so quickly. Good grief! No apologies, no explanations. ARRRRGH! What sort of genius designs a tracking system that issues duplicate tracking numbers??  So, it looks like I have to eat the entire cost. I refunded poor Judy her payment (she has no way to know whether I actually shipped it or not, and I’d like to avoid a negative feedback) but have no recourse with the USPS. That’ll teach me to buy insurance – I actually assumed USPS Global Priority Mail was like USPS Domestic Priority Mail – but you know what they say about assumptions…


~ by Nathan on February 6, 2007.

One Response to “Somewhere between CA and the UK…”

  1. Just experinced the very same thing – My package being sent in april 19 from NYC to Greenland shows up as being sent from ANTIOCH, IL and delivered in CANADA FEBRUARY 19, 2007 …

    And to think I acctually asked for USPS being used because I thought this would be the most secure way of tracking my package!!!

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