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Missing package, lying mailman.
February 6, 2008 11:30 AM   Subscribe

My mail carrier is lying to me about a delivery.

I ordered a new fuel pump from an ebay seller with 99.9% good feedback and they sent it to me via USPS priority mail. I kept a watch on the tracking information and it showed as delivered on Monday. The package never arrived. I know it wasn't delivered because I'm here throughout the day, everyday (I work at home).
When I called the post office yesterday, the manager told me she would ask the carrier about it and call me back. Well, she didn't so I called this morning and talked to the carrier himself who swears up and down that he rang my doorbell and left it on my (semi-enclosed) porch. Hah. After some weird and nonsensical replies like: "I'll go pick it up and you can get it from the post office". He just started saying "Well it's your word against mine.". So the super there is once again supposed to call me back. I don't have very high hopes for this and no, the seller didn't offer insured shipping.
I've already sent a complaint to the Postal Inspector, though I doubt this will receive any attention there either. What else can I do? Why is this guy lying about it and what the **** would he want with a fuel pump to a 4wd sentra anyway?
I should probably mention that when I'm expecting a package, I'm fairly obsessive about poking my head out the door to look for it throughout the day.
posted by IronLizard to Shopping (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
It sounds like he (at the least) isn't handling it well, and may have in fact stolen it, but are you completely sure that nobody else could have taken it from your porch?
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 11:34 AM on February 6, 2008


Oh and I just got in contact with the seller and they're going to contact the post office too. Not sure what else they can do.
posted by IronLizard at 11:39 AM on February 6, 2008


No one on Monday or Tuesday rang my doorbell. It's possible that he's only lying about that part and did leave it, but someone would have had to show up right behind him and snagged it.
posted by IronLizard at 11:40 AM on February 6, 2008


Any chance the carrier just delivered it to the wrong address, and that person in turn is wondering why he's received a fuel pump for a 4WD Sentra? Any chance it was delivered to a commercial address, which would be a lot more likely to just return to sender, or something else unhelpful, rather than arrange to have it delivered to the right address?

This used to happen to me with UPS a lot. My address was 133 x street, and they kept delivering packages to 133 y street, which was an office building, and they would just blithely return the packages to the sender, which caused me no end of headaches.
posted by autojack at 11:41 AM on February 6, 2008


One data point: I had a package show as "delivered" on the USPS website that didn't show up until a day later. I think this was because the delivery woman held it for me in her truck for a day b/c she knew I was out of town (my mailbox was full).

If he said "I'll go pick it up and you can get it from the post office" it sounds like your package is somewhere it shouldn't be, but that it may appear miraculously on your doorstep in a few days.
posted by Eringatang at 11:48 AM on February 6, 2008


No one on Monday or Tuesday rang my doorbell. It's possible that he's only lying about that part and did leave it, but someone would have had to show up right behind him and snagged it.

This has happened to me, my neighbor saw it all from her window . . . mail person delivers a package on my doorstep. Mail person leaves. A car that was following the mail truck, stops at my house, someone jumps out of the car and grabs the package from my porch and takes off following the mail truck again. Great way to get free Christmas gifts intended for small children.

(and make sure your doorbell is in tip top working order)
posted by Sassyfras at 11:54 AM on February 6, 2008


I highly doubt a mail carrier would steal mail. Not only will he lose his job, its a felony.

Sometimes my mailman doesnt ring the doorbell. Not sure if he pressed it and it didn't ring, or decided not to. Was it an early delivery, do you have a barking dog?
posted by mphuie at 12:06 PM on February 6, 2008


I have also had packages on at least two occasions listed as "delivered" in the USPS tracking info when they were definitely not. I live in an apartment building with a doorman, so they were not lost, stolen, or held by the mailman. All showed up a day or two later with no signs of having been first mis-delivered elsewhere.

I'm not sure what to make of the carrier's replies. Is he likely to remember dropping off the package, or could he be confused? My advice at this point would be to wait another day and see if it shows up.
posted by metric space at 12:09 PM on February 6, 2008


If you aren't afraid of annoying the seller, you will be able to get your money back. File a PayPal "Item not received" dispute. If the seller did not send with signature confirmation, they'll automatically lose (technically, delivery confirmation is not sufficient proof of delivery, unless that changed). If that fails, file a chargeback with your credit card. Yes, PayPal supposedly says you can't do that, but there's nothing stopping you (just tell your credit card company you didn't receive an item as described).

The fact that the seller doesn't offer insured shipping doesn't matter - if you use a credit card, they are responsible for delivering the item you ordered. If you didn't use a credit card, PayPal's dispute resolution should go in your favor.
posted by saeculorum at 12:36 PM on February 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


IronLizard: After some weird and nonsensical replies like: "I'll go pick it up and you can get it from the post office". He just started saying "Well it's your word against mine."

I'm just thinking out loud here: postal work is a rough job, one that is, as I hear it, fraught with bad management, shoddy scheduling, and perks for 'good ol' boys' based on who you know. Postal workers are very often harried and nervous, especially about whether they've screwed something up royally. He's probably just squirrely because of that.

I agree with those above who feel that it's unlikely that he stole the package. It's more likely that this was a case of negligence; hopefully this negligence can be averted.
posted by koeselitz at 12:55 PM on February 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I highly doubt a mail carrier would steal mail. Not only will he lose his job, its a felony.

The mail carrier on my route was caught stealing. She was under suspicion because things that had been ordered didn't arrive (including a package for me), and then she was caught with some kid's graduation check. Kind of pathetic, really.

That's not to say your carrier stole your package. He could have delivered it to the wrong place by accident, etc.
posted by PatoPata at 12:55 PM on February 6, 2008


Was it an early delivery, do you have a barking dog?

No and no. Doorbell works great, the maintenance guy just came by and rang it. I have UPS and Fedex bringing mail here every week, they have no problem with the doorbell.


If you aren't afraid of annoying the seller, you will be able to get your money back. File a PayPal "Item not received" dispute.

I'm not afraid to annoy them, but I don't much like the idea of charging them for the USPS problem. Though I see the point about signature delivery and I can ill afford another hundred fifty for this mess, so it's tempting. The seller did offer me a steep discount on another one, until they figured out they didn't have another one. Other problem, Paypal charged my account through ach (verified, ect) not a credit card.
posted by IronLizard at 1:00 PM on February 6, 2008


I highly doubt a mail carrier would steal mail. Not only will he lose his job, its a felony.

I take it you've never mailed any packages to East St. Louis. It's so bad at that station we wait until our relatives come to visit before giving them gifts. Or we ship UPS.
posted by Atom12 at 1:01 PM on February 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


It was stupid of the seller not to require the package be insured. Insurance protects the seller much more than the buyer. You can likely get your money back if you file a complaint with PayPal, and if that doesn't work file a chargeback with your credit card company.
posted by aerotive at 1:13 PM on February 6, 2008


I highly doubt a mail carrier would steal mail. Not only will he lose his job, its a felony.

Happened to two packages I sent to my parents. They live in a rural area and it was well known that you never sent a package to anyone via the company you ordered it from. The label on the outside might just pique his interest. Unfortunately, we did not know that when mom and dad moved in.

The postman that bid to service the place where they live was removed from the route a few years ago for "improper handling". This was after about 8 years, mind you. The woman who bid to replaced him is-- ta da-- his girlfriend.

Moral: Don't expect the Postmaster General to do anything. Either go through PayPal or your CC company.
posted by oflinkey at 2:25 PM on February 6, 2008


Delivery confirmation is including with priority shipping, which is how you were able to track the package online. I'm pretty sure a signature is required for delivery confirmation, and if no one is home they leave a little slip saying that they attempted to delivery the package. You should bring up this point to the post office.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:40 PM on February 6, 2008


I've already sent a complaint to the Postal Inspector, though I doubt this will receive any attention there either.

You might be surprised. Both my parents were former postal employees so I got a lot of exposure to the culture. Postal Inspectors tend to take missing mail cases and possible thefts fairly seriously, although you might not hear if something is done about it. Keep in mind that unlike a business, the USPS still operates very much like a government institution...you've just created a paper record that will stick with that office and possibly even the carrier..PI's will sneak up into the secret catwalk (common for larger post offices, a hidden catwalk near the ceiling that has 1 way windows a PI can look out of to observe employees casing/moving mail etc...later replaced with cameras I'd assume..its been awhile) as well as follow/keep tabs on carriers on the street doing their rounds.

For best results though, since you are dealing with a beurocratic process, keep up with the case and call in once a week or so. It'll be a pain on your part, but atleast you'll make sure they did what they could to determine what could have happened. If you're lucky you'll get a postal inspector that's really good at narrowing it down.
posted by samsara at 4:10 PM on February 6, 2008


samsara: I'd just love to say that I love the image of Postal Inspectors having secret catwalks.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 4:31 PM on February 6, 2008


Hah, well here's an example of what they look like (in the background with dark tint windows...most of the ones I've seen were up a bit higher but I think on a functional level it's a pretty standard structure for most larger post offices out there)
posted by samsara at 4:57 PM on February 6, 2008


You have my deepest sympathies. Last year we went on vacation and filed a hold with the post office. We picked up our mail from the PO without a problem at the end of the vacation, but a few days later realized that a package we weren't expecting had been shipped and marked as "delivered" but of course we didn't get the package or a package slip when we picked up the rest of our mail. To make a long story short, we went through TWO MONTHS of back and forth with the postman, a lot of back and forth between him and us and the carrier, who was always 'out sick' or 'off today' or 'not available right now.' We got NO answers, kept getting bounced to higher people who didn't seem inclined to help, and were eventually told that they couldn't do anything because too much time had passed. Even though we contacted them within two days of realizing the package was missing.

All of which is to say, the USPS sucks. It's a bureaucratic nightmare that I don't wish on anyone. Your best hope is that the package will mysteriously show up today or tomorrow.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 5:35 PM on February 6, 2008


Thank you, I think I'll keep pestering them. From what I gathered the inspectors were already there yesterday when I called at 4:30 (that was quick!). I also contacted the seller again and let them know that they should file a claim according to the USPS site. If all else fails I'll go the paypal route.
posted by IronLizard at 5:21 AM on February 7, 2008


I'm pretty sure a signature is required for delivery confirmation

A signature is required for signature confirmation. A signature is not required for delivery confirmation.
posted by oaf at 3:45 PM on February 7, 2008


They have nothing helpful to tell me. I was directed to consumer affairs, who told me they were calling the post office themselves and would be calling me back. Apparently the USPS's tracking/delivery confirmation isn't worth a damn.

Thanks for all of your answers.
posted by IronLizard at 10:39 AM on February 8, 2008


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