Missing eBay package
August 29, 2006 5:43 PM   Subscribe

My boss purchased a rather pricey item on eBay and we have not received it. She did not request signature confirmation or shipping insurance. She did receive a USPS tracking number and, according to that number, it's already been delivered... 'cept, you know, it hasn't been. Are we SOL?
posted by brundlefly to Computers & Internet (17 answers total)
In my experience, it's best to talk to USPS about this. If USPS says that it's delivered and you don't have it, chances are that it was USPS' fault, or they were involved somehow.
posted by rossination at 5:49 PM on August 29, 2006

This exact same thing happened to me. I ordered a graduation gift, it was supposedly delivered by USPS with a tracking number saying it had been delivered, but it was nowhere to be found. Someone at my company's shipping said this happens often: The USPS says it's been delivered while it's actually stuck in a post office somewhere. I gave up. Three months later the item was delivered - damaged. Of course, by then it had been too late to return it to the sender, since they only allowed returns for 30 days. It was also a little too late to give as a graduation gift.

The guys in shipping have advised never to use USPS for this reason.
posted by Lillitatiana at 6:00 PM on August 29, 2006

Is the shipping address that corresponds with the tracking number correct? Could someone else at the address have accepted the package? In my experience, it's usually NOT USPS's fault.
posted by desuetude at 6:01 PM on August 29, 2006

Response by poster: I've been talking with USPS. It's really ridiculous. I've given them all the info twice, despite having a "case number." Not getting anywhere.
posted by brundlefly at 6:08 PM on August 29, 2006

Yeah same thing has happened to me. Luckily, it wasn't a very expensive item. I never received it.

From my experience, the USPS was not very interested in helping me receive my package. What a joke.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 6:18 PM on August 29, 2006

I heartily disagree with desuetude... USPS (and UPS) has been horrible for shipping packages. I've had mail delivered to neighbors, once while living in a house with the number CLEAR on the front of the house, and once in an apartment, where I was in 11A, and the person delivered it to 11 (11A was up the stairs, again, clearly visible if they had bothered to look).

Unfortunately, the only thing you can do is talk with USPS, sorry!
posted by hatsix at 6:23 PM on August 29, 2006

I can't help but chime in here. I've bought and sold on eBay to the tune of 2500 feedbacks and have never lost a piece that I have either purchased - or an item I have sent out. Never. I have always used the USPS. That may be hard to believe - but that's the honest truth. On a related note, it still amazes me that for thirty nine cents you can put an envelope in a blue box in Southern California and it be at some rural address in Maine in just a few days. I know it's popular to bash the USPS, but that's my .02.

posted by Gerard Sorme at 6:26 PM on August 29, 2006

i ordered a menorah. it was delivered to 'the box' december 15th. No one knows what the box is. I emailed. I called. I went up there. I talked to my mailman. I still have no menorah.

Sorry for your luck.
posted by nadawi at 6:32 PM on August 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

Did you pay with PayPal and used a confirmed address? PayPal may have a procedure for this sort of thing (money sent, delivery confirmed but no package received).

Was the pricey item insured? If it was lost USPS might cover it, but of course you'll have to insist you didn't receive it. Get paperwork for everything. Good luck!
posted by ostranenie at 6:58 PM on August 29, 2006

Youre SOL. You cant blame the sender as they did everything they were supposed to do. You can be an ass like some people say and do a paypal dispute but your beef is UPS.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:53 PM on August 29, 2006

Check the seller's feedback and history, anything unusual?
This might be a scam. How much $$?

It is the seller's responsibility to ship safely, especially expensive items.

If paid with PayPal, read their Buyer Protection Policy, especially with regard to signatures required for higher dollar transactions.
If a credit-card was used, contact them.
Check? Stop payment... Cash = SOL

Was the correct address given to the seller? A surprising number of people don't know their actual postal address = SOL
posted by Fins at 8:02 PM on August 29, 2006

I lost something a while back by having it delivered to work: Somebody signed for it, and then stuck it under their desk and forgot about it. Have you tried quizzing people around you?

eBay:70+ feedback(3/4 on sales), use USPS whenever possible.
USPS dealings: one package missing, one delivered very damaged (Though I've got my suspicions on that one, and it might have been canadian mail), and one that showed up 25 days late.
posted by Orb2069 at 8:08 PM on August 29, 2006

Do you know your mailman (letter carrier)? Talk to him/her. Letting them know you are expecting something that should have already been delivered may help. Maybe it is still at the Post Office. Especially if it was a larger package.
posted by Gungho at 8:09 PM on August 29, 2006

I've been buying and selling on eBay since 1997 and I've had only a few lost packages. I can't prove it, but I'd say the majority of those were from people that saw I wasn't using tracking on the package and claimed it was lost to get a refund.

Since I started using tracking four or five years ago, I've had only one lost package complaint. Entering the tracking number told me the package was delivered, so I figured it was yet another scam. I emailed the buyer and told her the package had been delivered. She went to her local post office and they told her that the package didn't fit in her post office box so they left her a pickup notice (which she lost among her other mail) and put the package on hold for her.

I'd do as others have said. Approach your local post office first and see if they can track down the package. Perhaps they have it. Then, go to Paypal and make a claim.

I hate to say it, but your boss's first mistake was buying an expensive item on eBay. That site is overwhelmed with fraud and deceit that I'd never in a million years buy something expensive like a laptop or iPod there. IWhen you say "expensive," my first thought is always that the buyer is pulling a scam of some kind.

The second mistake was not getting insurance on that expensive item. I'm afraid that even with regular delivery confirmation, there isn't much the Post Office will do without insurance.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:15 PM on August 29, 2006

I lost a package in a similar fashion. Since the seller never offered insurance or signature confirmation, it was their problem. I opened a paypal dispute and they reimbursed me $250 of the $375 or so.
posted by milinar at 8:26 PM on August 29, 2006

Tell the Postal Police (separate office) that you suspect you have drug dealer neighbors and your packages sometimes disappear on your route and you suspect the carrier may be "losing" packages as the carrier hangs with this neighbor a lot. They'll investigate your tracking number, the carrier will come out clean and the added attention may find your package. I know it's semi-evil but sometimes you need to get a buracracy's attention. Also you'll have to move since all your future mail will disappear and the cops will want you for a false report - but you might get the package!
posted by Kensational at 6:48 AM on August 30, 2006

You're likely SOL. If possible escalate the issue to your postmaster, but...

My last local post office was horrible. Lost and misdirected mail and packages (Was a good way to meet my neighbors though. At least twice a week we'd have to exchange mail.) Three times I had a vacation hold not 'hold', and another time I had it work (no mail was delivered) but when I went to pick it up at the post office, they couldn't find it. I ended up getting it in my box 6 weeks later. They also delivered things by just setting them near my mail box (and then having them get stolen). Two months ago I moved and, despite filling out two change of address forms have yet to get any forwarded mail. Any time I complained I got the same story about there being a "new guy" on my route.

Though in general I've had better luck with the USPS than UPS who once applied my signature to a neighbors package (Which I did not agree too. Or even know about) that subsequently went missing. Now my (former) neighbor thinks I'm a cheap lying thief and my complaints to UPS went nowhere. So even signature delivery can be screwed up by a negligent employee.

Never had any trouble with FedEx.
posted by Ookseer at 5:13 AM on August 31, 2006

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