Daily Archives: June 27, 2011

Delivery confirmation, or not

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[Today’s run: rest day]

In mid-May I shipped a package to my Aunt in Colorado.

The US Postal Service has something called Priority Mail, which usually is a pretty good deal.

One reason it is a good deal is because they provide flat-rate shipping boxes.  All you have to do is get a box and put your stuff in it.  I can buy the postage online and print a label and the time in transit is usually about 3 days.  That’s pretty good.

And, if you buy online you get “delivery confirmation” which provides you with a tracking number.  Just like Federal Express… NOT.

Ok, so this package to Colorado never made it to Colorado.  I can go online to the tracking website and see that it was checked in at the Columbus, MS post office.  But after that it mysteriously disappeared.

Really, I am not rabidly unhappy that a package got lost.  The contents were not  of great value.  The part that I get somewhat steamed about is the false sense of security of this “track and confirm” feature.  After talking to various people trying to find my package, it turns out that Delivery Confirmation is only really tracked when it is delivered.  The tracking website does you no good in trying to track down the package if it goes awry.

The US Postal Service does have a real tracking delivery service, called Express Mail, which is in the same price category as Federal Express Overnight.   And that service includes real hand-off tracking  (or so I currently believe).  Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation is just so you can “prove” to someone that the post office delivered the package.  If they do.

Finally, the only refund you can get is the cost of the Delivery Confirmation feature, which is usually 60 cents.

So, even though they acknowledge that they received your package and that it made its way into  the Postal System, if they lose it, right under their own nose, they are not going to refund your postage or give you anything for the value of the contents.  To get reimbursed for the value of the contents you have to buy insurance.  I don’t know if there is a way to get a refund for the postage.

I’ve taken out my frustrations in a mild way on various customer service reps in the USPS by asking why Delivery Confirmation is sold as “tracking” and you are given a “tracking number” but there really isn’t any tracking.

(I think we should put these guys in charge of which doctor I get to see.  [not])

Jun 27, 2011
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