Is My Letter Lost?
April 10, 2012 12:17 PM   Subscribe

I mailed a letter from DC eight days ago. As of today, the letter still hasn't arrived in Phoenix. Is it lost?

Last Monday (April 2nd) I mailed a check inside an envelope from my house in Washington, DC. It was being sent to my bank in Phoenix, AZ. I called the bank today and they said that they have not received it.

How likely it is that the letter is lost?

Should I put a stop-payment on the check or wait a few more days?
posted by Spurious to Work & Money (14 answers total)
That does seem longer than normal, but I still think there is a good chance it will arrive. Also, if you put a stop payment on the check, and it ends up arriving, you might get penalized by the receiving bank for trying to deposit an invalid item. I'd probably wait at least 2 weeks to be safe.
posted by dcjd at 12:21 PM on April 10, 2012

Well, if you mailed it after like 1 or 5pm (depending on your pickup) it wouldn't have gone out until Tuesday. Of the intervening time, one of those days was a Sunday, one was Good Friday, Passover was also last weekend, and it's only noon in Arizona so they might not have gotten today's mail yet. Plus if your bank is big it might take a day or two just to get it sorted to the right department or the relevant folks might be on vacation (again: Good Friday/Passover). I'd give it a few days.
posted by phoenixy at 12:22 PM on April 10, 2012

FYI it was the Easter holiday over the weekend, meaning there was an influx of mail and a reduction in postal services. I would give it until the end of the week.
posted by fuzzysoft at 12:22 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Did you send it certified mail? If so, you should have a receipt from the USPS, with a tracking number on it, which you can check on their website.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:26 PM on April 10, 2012

The bank might have the check already, but haven't processed it.
posted by empath at 12:26 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: @Blazecock Pileon: I didn't. I should have.
posted by Spurious at 12:26 PM on April 10, 2012

I would wait a few days - sometimes things take longer than expected to arrive, and sometimes things take a few days to get through the mailroom at large companies.
posted by insectosaurus at 12:30 PM on April 10, 2012

I generally get letters from Philadelphia to Seattle in about two to three days. It can take 5-7 business days to clear a check. In this glorious electronic age, it shouldn't, but it does. Probably on purpose. So if the check doesn't get processed by the end of the week, I'd put a stop on it and then resend by certified mail. It only costs another $1 or so. Annoying, but a little certainty is nice, and it gives you documentation in case the recipient claims they did not receive your letter.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:36 PM on April 10, 2012

I paid my city water bill once, mailing the payment plenty early and they said they received it late. So as a test, I mailed a letter to myself, dropping the envelope in the Post Office's mail slot. It arrived at my house a week later. The USPS isn't exactly known for hurrying.

Unless it's a really pressing issue, I'd give it another couple days.
posted by xedrik at 12:41 PM on April 10, 2012

I mailed a Very Important Envelope from Chicago to Phoenix last April, and it took over a week to get there. At the time, I wasn't sure if it was the generally slow mail service out of Chicago or if it was a problem on the Phoenix end, but it did eventually arrive.
posted by honeybee413 at 12:43 PM on April 10, 2012

I'd definitely wait the few days. I mail things more than the average person, and things just take a while. I sent something about 700 miles, and it took a good week. The USPS can get slow from time to time, and add in the holiday and there you go. Plus the bank. I'd wait until Saturday to get your freak out on. It's probably fine.
posted by cashman at 1:05 PM on April 10, 2012

In addition to be Easter, it's also tax season, so that extra load of stuff in the mail will really help slow things down.
posted by rtha at 1:16 PM on April 10, 2012

I do stuff from Phoenix/small towns in Arizona to DC all the time. The average amount of time is about six days, sometimes longer, even when there's no holidays in the middle. I wouldn't worry at all yet. That is just a very slow route.
posted by wending my way at 1:31 PM on April 10, 2012

This happened to me once--same deal, sending from Chicago to my bank in Phoenix--and it came in exactly two weeks later, so I would wait a few more days.
posted by besonders at 1:47 PM on April 10, 2012

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