Help me recover my lost package sent to me here in China from USA
June 26, 2013 10:10 AM   Subscribe

My SO sent me a package via USPS (and it is EMS on this end) on June 17, from Ohio. I can include the tracking number if that would be helpful but the tracking website's latest information says "Processed Through Sort Facility June 18, 2013, 10:29 pm ISC CHICAGO IL (USPS) PO to Addressee" Inside the package were just some inexpensive gifts, nothing that I think would get stuck at the border. Is my package lost? What steps can I (or the sender) take to recover it? any advice would be much apreciated
posted by denimchair to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total)
Have you contacted USPS customer service with the tracking number? There's information specific to lost packages on the "Get Answers" tab.
posted by juliplease at 10:16 AM on June 26, 2013

I have sent packages to friends in Australia several times through the USPS. This is the exact tracking message that stays up until its delivered weeks later. It's never been updated for me, and the package has never been lost. It's only been 9 days, so I wouldn't worry yet. My packages to Australia have taken anywhere from two weeks to a month to be delivered. Once it's out of US hands, it can take forever! There is a number on the USPS website you can call and they can start tracking it down if you think it's lost. Hope this helps!
posted by fresh-rn at 10:21 AM on June 26, 2013

USPS tracking tends to only provide updates for the last place the piece of mail was scanned; sometimes a week or more can go by before you get an update. I wouldn't worry too much about that. "ISC" stands for International Service Center, so it's very likely your package flew okay from Chicago.

Once it gets to China, I'm not sure. It may be held for customs, and that can take a few weeks even if there's nothing suspect about the package. If you're worried, it's definitely worth calling USPS customer service to find out more.

A week and a half isn't long at all for international shipments. I bet you'll get it sooner than you think!
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:25 AM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

During the annual Secret Quonsar gift exchange, I believe there has always been a challenge with parcels posted via USPS to the Rest of the World. Fwiw, ten days is not too late to consider it on the way and not lost.
posted by infini at 10:28 AM on June 26, 2013

Having ordered stuff from China once, which I realize is the opposite direction, I'd give it at *least* two weeks, possibly three. And the tracking definitely went very dead in the middle.
posted by Sequence at 10:36 AM on June 26, 2013

Response by poster: that it was sent via usps express mail international, 3-5 business days expected
posted by denimchair at 10:42 AM on June 26, 2013

Probably stuck in customs. I have had stuff take weeks to get through sometimes.
posted by Slinga at 11:07 AM on June 26, 2013

Yeah it's just stuck in Customs. I've had this happen where the tracking status even said "cleared through Customs" but the package sat there for days (lonely and cold, sad package) waiting for someone to pick it up and put it back into the system.

If you look at the fine print on the Express Mail International mailing label, the "3-5 business days expected" excludes Customs processing time. It sucks, I know. But chances are, the package will arrive - just give it more time.
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:54 PM on June 26, 2013

So I have no idea how this works for China. But I'm in Canada, and when packages from USPS get "processed through the sort facility" they are then handed off to the local post service (so, for me, Canada Post). I can then go use my USPS tracking number on the Canada Post website.

Have you tried using your number on whatever the Chinese equivalent of Canada Post / USPS is?
posted by AmandaA at 12:55 PM on June 26, 2013

this is probably not what you want to hear but i have "lost" several packages through USPS, even with tracking. in one case it says it was delivered when it was most certainly not (USPS claims it may have been stolen by a neighbor but that's doubtful), another time a box had been opened with parts removed and then resealed, and yet another it said in transit for eternity and never arrived at all. nothing can really describe the level of my anger at this incidences.

what you have to do when several weeks/months have passed is fill out a lost package claim, describe every single item that was in the box, and cross your fingers. the explanation i received was that "sometimes when boxes get thrown around they explode" - ie mishandling of packages will open them and these scattered items are put somewhere else (lost and found?) since they cannot be mailed without packing. i never did get my items, and i never did get any response back even though i followed up multiple times. i do not ship with USPS anymore.
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 3:00 PM on June 26, 2013

Stuck in customs is most likely. I had packages take weeks to reach me in China. China Post is also not the greatest, so plenty of lag.
posted by arcticseal at 8:45 PM on June 26, 2013

This is the reason I never use USPS for international shipments. If you use FedEx, UPS, or DHL, you will have tracking scans for every stop along the way to the final destination. With USPS outbound, I've never seen a scan beyond the US port of export. I've been using FedEx for many years and among thousands of shipments I think there has been only one or two times that an inbound or outbound international package went missing. Not long ago there was a similar question to yours on AskMeFi. USPS/EMS packages seem to get lost or delayed with too much frequency. The cost savings of USPS/EMS isn't worth the risk.
posted by Dansaman at 11:29 PM on June 26, 2013

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