I apologize for the very LONG blog post, but I want to inform everyone out there of the screwy ways these companies do business!
USPS, the United States Postal Service, recently screwed me out of about $300 due to the too-quick reaction of Paypal and the lazy shipping carrier service.
So let me explain:
I sell stuff on eBay all the time, and usually I don't have a problem shipping with USPS. I use an online stamps company for shipping, which is cheaper than buying stamps from the post office. I also use an insurance company to insure all my USPS boxes and I do all of my packaging labor at home. I avoid standing in line at the post office at all costs. I'm lucky that the USPS office near my home is just a quick walk away and I know the usual employee by name. She has always told me to just drop off my packages at her desk and she would scan them all in bulk. That way, I can skip the line, drop off my packages, and get back to my daily business. Not only is she incredibly nice, but very helpful too!
Well, one day I sold my iPhone 5 to a nice person in Russia by the name of JimBob. He paid on time, was verified, and seemed legit by Paypal circumstances. He seemed to be a decent buyer on eBay, with a decent rating. Trust me, I snooped.
So I ship the package, insured, signature upon delivery, via USPS Priority Mail to Russia. I tell JimBob it'll arrive within 30 business days (which is about 45 days)- the time it takes for many international packages to arrive overseas. And this, BTW, is something I've learned from experience working at my day job for the past three years and shipping products overseas every day.
So JimBob can't wait, and since he doesn't see a change on the USPS website (which is also normal) he creates a dispute in Paypal saying that he never received his product. I'd be fine with it if it was over 30 BUSINESS days from the transaction, but it was closer to 20 DAYS.
I dispute the claim in Paypal, saying how long it normally takes and that I'll file a claim if it's lost after that normal time frame of 45 days. Well, Paypal takes that as me saying it's lost, so they refund him the money.
So for me to submit a claim to my insurance company, I have to prove it was shipped, prove the value, and prove the customer never received it. JimBob would have to sign an affidavit stating he didn't receive the package. Well, since JimBob already got his money back, he has no monetary reason to sign the affidavit other than to be honest.
So during the time frame that I'm waiting to file an insurance claim (and awaiting this signed affidavit), I decide to go ahead an add more funds to my Paypal balance. Because they decided to refund Kovin, they also debited my account into the negative. This pissed me off, extremely so, due to the fact that I should have been an accountant in another life. I keep track of my accounts daily, and I work hard to always keep everything in the 'good' status. Seeing a negative balance that could negatively affect me is very disconcerting. I tried to add funds to my account twice, to find out that neither transaction completed. For some reason both transactions failed, with no notification to me. No emails, no texts, no calls. Nothing. Thank god I check my account daily.
It turns out that they had limited my account, and in turn needed some 'more information' to ensure my security. Their website asked for my address, which I pasted in. But I just moved so my address was new, and I hadn't updated Paypal yet (because I had moved... the same day!) so Paypal re-limited my account and said my information was incorrect. At this point I was basically locked out of my account. Paypal sent me a collections letter soon after.
I checked my email, and found out they had attempted to send me a form to verify my identity. This form had asked for my full name, birthdate, SSN, credit card information, address, etc in an HTML webpage that wasn't directly associated with Paypal (and absolutely looked phishy).
I refused to fill out this strange form, and marked the emails as spam. I called them instead and was told, "Due to the recent security announcements by Edward Snowden, we have locked down and limited many accounts." While this makes absolutely no logical sense to me, I finally did get my account reinstated and back in the positive.
Back to the lost package, that may very well have never been lost.
It's finally time for me to claim insurance on the package, which I've done several times in the past and never had a problem with. Everything looked just fine and I included all the usual information on the claim, but they denied it because I had no "proof that the package was handed to a USPS shipping employee, such as a receipt of transaction". Well, since I just drop my packages off all the time, and the same woman always scans my packages, I assume they can track it down.
So I email USPS about the issue, saying here's the package, with "to" and "from" addresses, signature delivery, insured, tracking, etc. This was their answer to my concerns:
The reason the tracking has stopped is that the number you have, LN790326427US, is a customs label number, not a tracking number. Within the United States, we sometimes scan these items, but not always (in this case we did not), and they will usually not be scanned at all once they leave this country.
So it is unlikely that you will see any additional scans on this item, and you will not be able to track it to its destination. You would have to contact the addressee to find out when it is received. With international mail, sometimes items can take a while longer than expected to be delivered.
The problem is that the class of mail you chose, by agreement of the Universal Postal Union (an association of the post offices of countries around the world), is not a trackable or traceable service. Post offices around the world do not keep track of the millions of pieces of mail that are sent by this class of mail. So it is impossible.
So, you SOMETIMES scan international items, BUT NOT ALWAYS. I'm aware that they aren't scanned once they depart the US, obviously because they are delivered into the hands of another carrier, but really? Sometimes you scan them? When do you find the occasion to do so? Only when you've had a good lunch break? When something looks big and expensive? When you aren't being a lazy fucking asshole?
I'd have to contact the addressee to find out when it's received. At this point, JimBob stopped all communication with me. If he did receive the iPhone, not only did he get a sweet gadget, but he also got $300 back. What would ever make him even WANT to tell me he got the package? Nothing.
Post office don't keep track of millions of pieces of mail sent by USPS Priority. So it is impossible. I don't give a shit if the Russian postal service scanned it or not, all I needed was for your sorry ass to scan it at the post office, like normal, and do you fucking job right.
So in this perfect storm of a month, Paypal automatically refunded a customer $300 without listening to my case nor giving the shipment the correct amount of time to arrive, USPS stupidly didn't scan a package into their system, and my insurance company refused to continue my claim.
With the recent security issues in USPS and the problems I've had with Paypal in the past, I'm starting to wonder what other options we have? How else does one send a check in the mail for less than $1 or a package overseas without costing $100? The only option we have is USPS. When it comes to Paypal, you're forced to use Paypal to sell on eBay, and other sites don't get the same amount of traffic, so my sales wouldn't be as high. Both companies have a mini-monopoly going and they know it. They refuse to give good customer service when needed and in turn, have thousands of angry customers. Just try Googling "Paypal" or "USPS" and "Problem" in the same sentence. It's revolting.