Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Losing A Battle With the USPS.

Recently, I ordered a jacket and sweater from Woman Within, in case it gets cold enough to need one or the other of them this winter.

A few days later, I got an e-mail from them saying, "Your order has shipped!", followed a couple of days later by the news, "Your order has been delivered!" This was followed a day later by another e-mail asking, "How do you like your order?"

The only problem was I hadn't received the merchandise. So, I tried the tracking it and found out that the package had indeed been delivered to the local post office, which is about a block from my mailbox.  So, where was it?

I called the post office and spoke to a gentleman. Let's call him, oh, Ken.  I explained that carrier - let's call her, oh, something unprintable - had apparently put my packages in the wrong box.  Since I live in an apartment complex, the mail comes to boxes located in mail kiosks dotting the property. There are also lockers for larger packages.  The carrier puts the boxes in a locker and the key in the mailbox.  Except, in my case, she must have put the key and/or the package somewhere else.  Either that, or the package never left the post office and is hidden from sight, never to be seen again.

Anyhoo, the first time I called, Ken said he'd have to ask the carrier about the package, and then he'd get back to me the next day.  Now, this wasn't my first rodeo with the USPS, so I agreed and the next afternoon, when he hadn't called me back, I called him again.  "Well, the carrier doesn't know what happened to your package. She said she'd try to find out where it went, and I'll get back to you tomorrow."  Strike two.  The next afternoon, when he hadn't called me, I called him again. "I don't know what to tell you.  I guess it's lost." I imagined him making handwashing motions not unlike Lady Macbeth.

He may have been through with me, but I wasn't through with him, so I said, "OK, what is the next step, Kenn?  Should I fill out a claim for reimbursement for the package?"  He said,"Oh, no, we don't have any responsibility for your package.  You'll have to call Woman Within .  The only way we can reimburse you for a lost package is if it was insured.  I was getting a bit testy, by then, so I said, "Ken, let me see if I understand you.  The package arrived at your facility last Saturday.  You accepted it and scanned it in. Then, you lost it, and you don't have any responsibility for the actions of your carrier or your facility?  "Nope," he said, rather happily, I thought.

With no other recourse, I called  Woman Within Customer Service.  They weren't surprised, apparently.  They offered me the option of crediting my card and cancelling the order, or giving me credit and re-ordering the merchandise  I told the nice lady that I still wanted the merchandise and she said order it for me and I wouldn't be charged for shipping.  I thanked her and told her I still didn't think Woman Within should be held responsible for the USPS's actions, but I appreciated the fact that they stepped up and made things right with me.  She told me they were used to it. 

Used to letting the USPS get away with shoddy service?  Oh, no they don't, I thought. So,  I decided to file a formal claim with the office of the Postmaster General. "That'll show em," I told myself with satisfaction.  Then, I tried to find some way to submit a complaint.  They gave me a list of things I was allowed to complain about, but losing mail and packages wasn't one of them.  I never did find any way to get through the red tape, which I should have figured on from the first.

So, I lost that skirmish, but Woman Within came to the rescue, thank goodness. I don't know if I'll get this shipment, either, although I have received another cheerfully optimistic e-mail proclaiming, "Your order has shipped!" 

And, wouldn't you know it, adding insult to injury, they lost my water bill. So, I had to call the Water Department, etc., etc., etc. 

Stay tuned.


L.J. Diva said...

That sucks! Although did you go from box to box or knock on doors to see if it had been put in anyone else's box?

Meryl Baer said...

It is a shame the retailer has to take the loss because USPS screwed up and won't take responsibility. In the long run we all pay for their ineptitude with higher prices.

Olga said...

Good grief. That is just wrong. Must be nice, though, to work at a place where you don't have to worry about making mistakes because there will be no consequence. Seems like that would take a lot of pressure off so way is there an expression about "going postal?'

Betty said...

Lady Jewels Diva: You haven't seen my neighbors. I am confident that if I went door-to-door, asking if anyone got my package by mistake, everyone in the complex would deny any knowledge of it. I wouldn't count on any of my "neighbors" being, er, honest.

Meryl: I would love to deny any responsibility for a lot of things, wouldn't you?

Olga: I think the saying refers to postal employees, but I don't know what kind of stress they are under. I think "going postal" should mean USPS customers.

Peruby said...

My sister works for the post office (as did my brother). I hear my sister complaining about her co-workers all the time - how inept they are and they don't follow protocol.

I may run this one by her to see if there is a form that can be filled out and what the procedure is.

She was a school teacher and is a stickler for correct protocol and making things right.

Did I mention that her life at the Post office is a living hell? I don't know how she puts up with all the lazy people there.

Betty said...

Peruby: I think it is the attitude that is being displayed by the post office employees that irritates me the most. They are simply not interested in doing anything for the customers.

chlost said...

Our carriers are generally good. But last year a watched as a vehicle came up to my rural mailbox, took out the mail and drove away. There was a sympathy card in which I had foolishly placed a $20 bill. I called the postmaster. He was totally uninterested, and wouldn't even take a report. Of course, the card was never received, and I ended up sending another. That one arrived safely. Now we never mail anything from our mailbox,

Betty said...

Chlost: I haven't tried to put a letter (back in snail mail days)in our "outgoing mail" box. A few days later I saw a young girl, maybe 10 or 11, standing at the box with her arm in it up to her armpit, trying to get mail out of it. I haven't put anything in that box since.