Up until now I’ve been using the U.S. post office to ship all of my eBay packages. I bought a cheap postal scale from eBay and I’ve been using it in combination with PayPal to ship packages without having to wait in line. So far I’ve shipped about 10 items this way.
But last week I received an email from an eBay buyer who never received the item she purchased. I logged into my PayPal account, typed in the delivery confirmation number, and sure enough found that the item had not arrived. I asked the buyer to wait a couple more days, but when the status didn’t change I called the post office to find out what happened.
First, I called the 1-800 number and was informed by a very pleasant postal employee that my package had “fallen off the grid.” He asked me all sorts of questions, which lead me to describe what was in the envelope, how much the item was worth, where the package was going, and what the package looked like. Then he informed me that I’d receive a call from my local post office after they spent some time researching the issue.
An hour later I received a call from another very nice postal worker who informed me that the package had left my local post office and was never seen again. By the way, this is essentially what I found when I typed the tracking number into usps.com. She asked me to try to track the package myself by calling the post office corresponding to the buyer’s address. I was a bit surprised that the post office would ask me to call another post office. I assumed that one postal worker would call another to find the package, but when I mentioned this to the postal worker she just laughed. The woman directed me back to the 1-800 number, rather than provide the number to the post office I needed to contact.
So I called the 1-800 number and received the phone number of the post office where the package should have been delivered. The postal worker entered the tracking number I gave him and said “yup it never got here.” I asked if he could look around the post office to see if it had gotten stuck in the wrong bin or something. He laughed and said if the computer says it never got here than it never got here. He then gave me the number of a claims department. I called and the number rang and rang. No one picked up and I couldn’t leave a voice mail. I tried calling for three days.
Today I gave up. Because the item wasn’t insured the post office wouldn’t allow me to file a claim. Even if they won’t give me the value of the item, I assumed they would give me a refund the price of shipping. Nope. No such luck. So I refunded the eBay buyer the full amount and sucked up the loss of the item and the shipping.
Next time. I think I’ll ship UPS.