Shipping via USPS with Improper Zip Code
October 26, 2008 11:00 PM   Subscribe

Oops bought something on ebay, but gave them the wrong zipcode, product shipped via US Postal Service First Class Mail

It's been 3 weeks and on the ebay page it says it should take 2-5 days, I've tried contacting the seller, but he hasn't responded... what are my options can I contact the post office without a tracking #?
posted by matimer to Shopping (8 answers total)
Unless, there is a match for your exact address at that zip code - you should expect to receive it - sometime within the next 3 months. Those postal employees are good at figuring out misaddressed mail.
posted by bigmusic at 11:07 PM on October 26, 2008

"--Almost 25% of all mailpieces have something wrong with the address -- for instance, a missing apartment number or a wrong ZIP Code. Can some of those mailpieces get delivered, in spite of the incorrect address? Yes. But it costs the Postal Service time and money to do that." (emphasis added)

That said, 3 weeks does seem a little excessive. In my experience USPS won't do much without any sort of number, but perhaps you could contact the Post Offices in both your city and the seller's city and see if they keep track of misdirected mail? The may even be able to tell you how long incorrectly addressed mail should take to be delivered.
posted by niles at 11:09 PM on October 26, 2008

I'm sure it will eventually reach you, but if it's important that it arrive soon, you should try to be proactive like niles suggested.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:56 PM on October 26, 2008

The post office is very flexible with misaddressed mail. I've done this a couple of times, putting my office zip on things sent to the house, and it usually just shows up like normal, or the correct zip is written on the package.

It's an ongoing discussion with some friends about the minimal amount of addressing needed for the post office to deliver a letter. We've come to the agreement that you could write to Ernie Banks of Chicago Cubs fame by sending a letter to:

Ernie Banks
Wrigley Field

We have no way of testing this, but I bet that would get delivered.
posted by hwyengr at 12:43 AM on October 27, 2008

Three weeks is a long time, but I certainly wouldn't count it out.

Not too long ago my mom got a letter from Mexico with the address of exactly:

[Mom's name]
[Mom's Town], Iowa

No zip code, not even a street. The town is only 45,000 people or so, and she happens to have a unique name, but it was still very impressive the work they went through to deliver the mail.
posted by Ookseer at 1:29 AM on October 27, 2008

It's an ongoing discussion with some friends about the minimal amount of addressing needed for the post office to deliver a letter.

Point of reference, my first name and my zipcode or town will get mail to me.

I agree with the other posters, you should expect to get this package assuming that it was sent at all. Zip code corrections are something the post office does every day and it takes them a while but they do it.
posted by jessamyn at 4:57 AM on October 27, 2008

I've sent plenty of things to my mom using the incorrect zipcode for the last two years.
She finally told me I had been using the wrong one.
When I go through the mail at work, there are a few wrong addresses but they still make to us.

I think your issue may be that your seller is not communicating with you after three weeks of the auction ending and you having paid.

Check to see how they shipped your item (parcel post, media mail -- can take up to a month).

Post your question on the EBay support community (Buyer or Shipping Forum). Everyone is awesome over there. A few regulars work for the Post Office, too.
posted by KogeLiz at 8:47 PM on October 27, 2008

Do you know what zip code you used? If so, you may want to write to the Postmaster at that zip code and explain your situation.

It won't be hard to find out who the postmaster is, but you might get it there by simply addressing it to:

[zip code]

Good luck.
posted by mikewas at 2:31 PM on October 29, 2008

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