Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Postal System=Fail

A photo of 'damaged or lost' packages tossed in a pile at the Mail Recovery Center. None of these made it to destination. Good luck trying to get a worker to dig for your missing package!
* Note unclaimed packages will be auctioned!  

With the rising cost of delivery, I've notice many businesses are turning away from UPS and using USPS i.e. Amazon. Unfortunately, I've had to do this myself because shipping a single book UPS cost more than the book! New restrictions on flat rate shipping has me opting to use media mail. Although, this is a cost effective method, it is slower than slow. Media mail can take up to 10 days within the U.S.  There are also restrictions. It can only include a book. Nothing else is suppose to be included in the package such as bookmarks, cards or promotional swag. This certainly puts a damper on my book giveaways and what I want to include in winner packages.

I've personally won books and other items from giveaways that have never arrived. I wondered if it was the sender or the delivery system. Because of my own experience as a book blogger, I now save all winning emails, notify when a package is shipped and I also send an email whenever I receive a gift, ARC or any other promotional items. If you don't hear from me, it means I have not received the package. Of course, once in a great while I have a brain melt and 'think' I sent a notification. I'm really trying to make certain I keep on top of this so hopefully the communication will stay current and accurate.

Recently, I ordered photoshop from a huge dealer. It is now day 10 and the package or delivery slip has yet to arrive. After speaking with the company, they've chalked it up to 'lost' and will submit an insurance claim and re-send another photoshop. I was informed this happens all the time. If a package is 'damaged' in route, the USPS simply tosses it out with no notification. They assume it is insured and the sender will be reimbursed. I was astounded. This got me thinking, have books I shipped via USPS been tossed due to damage? What if we think the gifts we ship are making it, but they really aren't? That's embarrassing because it looks like we hosted a bunk giveaway! I do not typically insure a book package.  So, I ask this question:

Do you insure book packages that you send either as an author or book blogger?

Please, if you win any of my book blog giveaways, send a follow up email letting me know you received the package. Just something short and quick "I got it!" is enough. I will always send a notification email stating when the package was sent or when the order was placed (via Amazon ect.).  Since Amazon is using USPS, don't assume orders placed will actually make to their destination! I try to  be very prompt about announcing, sending and filling orders. A long delay means something is amiss in the postal world and I'd be happy to look into it or promptly send out another package. It's important that everyone who is expecting a package receive it!

So what do you do? I looked up some advice and found this article.  I read through the steps.  Although, it outlines what to do if a package is 'lost' -- the realistic implement and success of taking this approach seems glum.
How to Find Lost USPS Packages


  1. I have a feeling that some of my "lost" books that were mailed to me in early December from The Book Depository may be in a pile like your photo Charlie... So far have had to request 2 replacement books that I ordered from them back during the holidays as they never made it to me and yet books sent the same day did!

    USPS is overwhelmed but still, it makes it nerve wracking to mail anything anymore....

  2. I've been running an on-line used book store for about 5 years. I've mailed many hundreds of books all over the US and to tons of various countries. I have not had one single book go missing. Sometimes the book takes a holiday before it gets to the person, but it always arrives. I think that alot of these companies just don't mail the item or lose the order and blame USPS. A few weeks ago I ordered an item on line and when I got the "your item has been shipped" e-mail - the company gave me a tracking number. I used it and found that the item wasn't even taken to the post office until 10 days after they told me they shipped it.....I don't like being lied to! I'm not saying that packages don't get lost, but I think it happens far less frequently that people think it does!

  3. The Book Depository does seem to take forever to get books to their destination. I won a giveaway in November and still haven't recieved that book. I think that's the blogger not usps. I emailed them in January and they still hadn't mailed it. Unfortunanely, many of my Christmas cards were ripped open when I got them this year. Thanks for this post!

  4. Thank you for this post. I'm dealing with this issue right now on some packages that I should have received over a month ago. I'm seriously thinking it's blogger issues and not the USPS.

    On a shipping note, on ANY package I send out ~ I ALWAYS be sure that on the INSIDE there is a slip of paper, card, or label that has BOTH my return address and the receipient's name and address clearly specified. That way if the label on the outside is missing or illegible, they can open the package and still get it to its destination ~ even late.

    I've had very good results with shipping with USPS, especially since using this method.

    Have a great one!

  5. Hey I think I see the package I lost in the mail a few months ago on top of that pile lol...

    I mail out books at times and I usually have a good experience with the post office. However a few months ago I was waiting for a book that I ordered and I waited and waited and contact the company and checked the shipping number and it kept telling me its in route..

    Finally it arrived half torn up and the address label half there.. the book was not damaged and thank goodness it wasn't missing...

  6. I reported a lost item to the usps and filed a report with their office but they never got back to me. They ship all items off to auction. I think it's useless to report it to usps since you most likely will not get your item back, even if you file a report. They don't help you. They just don't look for the stuff even if you know the exact sorting center it went through.

  7. A book I recently sent to a friend never made it. She got the envelope with my note in it but not the book. We were both so frustrated because it was an ARC that she was really wanting to read.

    Several years ago my brother in law never received a gift we sent him while on vacation. We got the corner of the envelope that had our return address on it back but the rest of the package was apparently destroyed. I've been nervous about shipping things ever since!