USPS insurance appeal?
November 21, 2011 5:15 PM   Subscribe

Appealing a claim denial from the USPS?

Background: sent an expensive item to a friend in Chicago that is damn near impossible to damage (long story, but it was a large tungsten block). Despite this, packed it in several inches of foam, and insured it for $1000 (mostly in case they lost it).

Well, the USPS abused the hell out of the package, and ended up breaking the corners off of it. Repair/replacement cost is way over $1000, but I figured I should at least get the $1000 from them. Filed claims documenting the packaging, the replacement value, etc online on October 13th. Checked on it's status every few days, and until November 15th, it was still "status pending". Never heard anything from the USPS.

On November 19th, I found from the recipient that the USPS had sent a letter, dated October 18th, but *not received by her in the mail until November 19th* that she needed to bring the item in for inspection, and if not completed in 30 days, they'd close the claim. Sure enough, my status is now "claim closed."

My local post office says the decision is not appealable. Searching the web, it appears I can file an appeal online, but there's no clear process, and the web links are broken. There is a postal mail address, however

Any advice other than writing a letter and document, document, document?
posted by kaszeta to Work & Money (6 answers total)
Call your congress critter's office and get them on the case. Call the actual station manager where it landed. (That might take a bit of doing, but you can probably find it.) The USPS will do anything to not admit guilt, but keep on them. The 800 # is sort of useless, but do it anyway as well as the online complaint form.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:25 PM on November 21, 2011

If you can track down the nearest bulk mail center to the recipient, see if you can contact the claims & inquiry department. They might be able to help, too.
posted by luckynerd at 7:18 PM on November 21, 2011

The USPS lies. Like dogs. I bought an item, had it shipped to me insured (it was a $400 item) and when it never arrived, they claimed that their responsibility ended when their carrier said it was delivered. Turns out that an insured item of that value *must* have signature verification - lo and behold, when I pressed the issue I discovered that my rotten neighbor signed for my item and didn't tell me he received it until I knocked on his door a month later.

What is the postmark on the decline letter? Is the date on the outside the same as the date on the letter itself?

The bottom line is, they will tell you anything they can to bury this without paying on the claim.
posted by brownrd at 7:57 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

As followup, mostly for others that might search for this...

I'm still getting the runaround, but managed to get the claim reopened. I got the complete runaround from the local USPS, the local bulk mail center (which happens to be nearby), and various phone numbers until I found the online number for the Accounting Department, 1-866-974-2733.

But yes, it appears they will do every underhanded trick to avoid paying. And sadly, the last guy I talked to at the number in St Louis said that's pretty normal.
posted by kaszeta at 10:17 AM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Not 100% sure on this, but Small Claims court?
posted by WizKid at 1:08 PM on November 22, 2011

WizKid, Federal District Court in DC would almost certainly have original jurisdiction here, and federal-law attorneys are going to eat up $1000 pretty quickly.
posted by dhartung at 8:58 AM on November 23, 2011

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