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  1. #1

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    Default filing a claim with the USPS, is it possible?

    I shipped a CD player to a guy and he says it arrived DOA. I used the CDP the day before so I know it was in working condition. Ok, i know it can be damaged in shipping.. sometimes damage can occur even if the box wasn't dropped or smashed in.

    Of course I insured a $30 CDP for $75 just in case. I always buy insurance for stuff I ship out. If the CDP doens't show any signs of physical damage outside. but it still doesn't work. how do I file a claim with the USPS for damage? When there is no visible damage? Will they just laugh at me when I try to file a claim or what?

    Anyone else have a similar story and what was the outcome?

    If this matters or not... i used stamps.com for the shipping costs.. with insurance. Item was well packed with lots of firm styrofoam on all sides, (not peanuts). It was first wrapped in three layers of bubble wrap. It was not poorly packed I'll tell you that much.

    I think and hope the guy is honest.. but I've told him to send it back to me.. and once I determine it's DOA and I can file a claim with USPS. I will refund his money + shipping costs.

    thoughts on this?

  2. #2

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    DOA SHOULD mean, it won't even power up. There's a big diff to me between DOA and "won't work". I've been shipping audio stuff for a lot of years. 2 incidents only. One was a cd player that Russ bought from me when the earth was still cooling. The plastic laser lens dislodged and was rattling around inside. The second was a Yamaha power amp that would power up, but not come on line. It work fine when it left here.

    Unless the package is obviously smashed, I think you're screwed either way.

  3. #3

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    GG, it sounds like the same thing. the guy says it won't play a CD.. so the lens probably got dislodged in shipping. no amount of package material can protect from that.

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    Make sure the buyer does not dispose of the shipping materials. USPS will most likely need to look at them.

    Since you dealt with stamps.com I was assume that you will have a better chance to make a claim.
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    good luck Al, don't give up with the first no answer, at least its not big bucks, but I would still give it my best shot.

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  6. #6
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    Like Ted said don't give up on the first no. . . I have experience with the PO turning down claims. You should have the buyer repack the CDP and double box it if possible. If it looks like the factory pack job they will be more open to the fact that they damaged it. Did you have them stamp it as fragile? That is a certain gotcha for you to make a claim that they dropped the box causing the damage.

  7. #7

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    the guy emailed me all day on saturday.. no biggie. I emailed him back. and surprise. no response now. I told him I would make good on it and as soon as I get the CD player back in my hands, i'll refund his money including his shipping costs.

    i'll give it a few days. see if I hear from him or not.

    Oh yeah. I have a good friend that works for USPS. So he can help me push the claim thru too. ;)

  8. #8

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    It is possible for the USPS to inspect the package at the buyer's location. You don't actually have to be involved. You go down and fill out the claim at your P.O., then they send the paperwork to the buyer. He takes the paperwork, and the item, packaged like you sent it to his P.O. If the P.O. inspector can see damage to the outside packaging, then they will usually sign off. If not, then the y won't pay out.

    I had an experience like this on a Turntable that was sent to me from Puerto Rico by USPS (since it is a territory, they use the same P.O.) It arrived damaged, mainly due to the seller's incompetent packaging (didn't remove the platter). Despite that, the P.O., could see damage to the outside packaging and confirmed the broken dust cover, tonearm, etc. I submitted an estimate for repair and ended up getting a majority of my money back and was able to keep and fix the turntable. The seller just had to go to his P.O and show proof of the sale value, etc. The P.O. sent me the paperwork and I took everything down to my local P.O. The whole process took a few months, but in the end it worked out just fine. My TT has a few minor cosmetic blemishes, but I was able to replace/repair the table for much cheaper than my estimate, so I ended up pocketing a large portion of it. Payoff for having a TT that is not cosmetically perfect.

  9. #9

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    Just keeping things in perspective, how much time/resources are you willing to devote to recover $30? Or is it just to prevent being 'taken advantage of' by either the USPS or the purchaser? 15 - 30 minutes of phone calls, emails or writing a letter might turn out to be beneficial.

    Some folks get intangible benefits from tracking down and taking care of things like this, so my perspective may be different.

    I got hosed years back by UPS on a claim. Box that my used Yamaha amp was shipped in had the corner crushed as though the box had been dropped from 6 feet plus (like off the back of the truck). They denied the claim, stating it was not packed properly - not enough tape on the box to prevent it from bursting and spilling the packing cushioning. Luckily, the damage was cosmetic only (broken hinges on access door), didn't affect function. They should have paid out about $50 for replacement of the hinges.

    15 years later, I would guess that I have steered at least $100,000.00 in shipping costs away from UPS and to Fedex, USPS, and DHL because of that decision. Every time I buy IT equipment from Dell, IBM, CDW, Insight, etc. I opt for 'anything other than UPS'.

    USPS in your case is a totally different beast. They don't really operate the same as a for-profit organization. Just like the other organizations, if there is no physical box damage, you are not likely to recover, IMO. But what happens as you chase the complaint up the management chain could be very different with them.

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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by danger boy View Post
    the guy emailed me all day on saturday.. no biggie. I emailed him back. and surprise. no response now. I told him I would make good on it and as soon as I get the CD player back in my hands, i'll refund his money including his shipping costs.

    i'll give it a few days. see if I hear from him or not.

    Oh yeah. I have a good friend that works for USPS. So he can help me push the claim thru too. ;)
    Good luck with that. I have a claim I turned in on the 1st of march this year and still havent heard a single word from them.

    REGARDS SNOW

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by snow View Post
    Good luck with that. I have a claim I turned in on the 1st of march this year and still havent heard a single word from them.

    REGARDS SNOW
    you need to go postal on their ass then. :p


    Still no word from my buyer.. yesterday he was all about wanting to know how I would resolve this, today nada. not a peep.

    He did ask me if I could refund his money and that he had no use for my CD player since it's not working and wants to ditch it??? I told him I have to have it in my hands before I'll refund his money.

  12. #12
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    I get the feeling that you won't be hearing from this goofy person again.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by danger boy View Post
    you need to go postal on their ass then. :p
    LOL. its kind of strange how it works with the insurance through the USPS. When you fill out the paperwork you will notice there is no address or ph# or web address to contact them, once it leaves your hands it goes into postal never never land:p Even when I asked the clerks how to contact them regarding this issue i was told they only sell the insurance. they have no idea who the actual insurance carrier is or how to contact them either. There is no doubt that they are at fault. The damage was pretty severe. This was a DVD player I had bought off a polkie in january of this year I think it was. I will try to post a few pics. here are a couple before. and a couple afterwards. note the box looks like it is now round, versus square. Like it had fell out of a moving vehicle. 3 out of 4 corners were beat on. and it doesnt work.

    REGARDS SNOW
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  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by snow View Post
    LOL. its kind of strange how it works with the insurance through the USPS. When you fill out the paperwork you will notice there is no address or ph# or web address to contact them, once it leaves your hands it goes into postal never never land:p Even when I asked the clerks how to contact them regarding this issue i was told they only sell the insurance. they have no idea who the actual insurance carrier is or how to contact them either. There is no doubt that they are at fault. The damage was pretty severe. This was a DVD player I had bought off a polkie in january of this year I think it was. I will try to post a few pics. here are a couple before. and a couple afterwards. note the box looks like it is now round, versus square. Like it had fell out of a moving vehicle. 3 out of 4 corners were beat on. and it doesnt work.

    REGARDS SNOW
    Snow,
    Not sure what paperwork you had, but mine had a phone number in St. Louis to call about claim status. I called several times and found out where my claim was in the process.

  15. #15

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    billbillw, how did your claim turn out?

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    Quote Originally Posted by billbillw View Post
    Snow,
    Not sure what paperwork you had, but mine had a phone number in St. Louis to call about claim status. I called several times and found out where my claim was in the process.
    Hmmm.... Well I looked again a minute ago to see whether I missed something on the form. and the copy I have has no contact info of any kind on it. I may have to go talk to the postmaster or someone higher up the line to find out how to contact the insurance people.

    REGARDS SNOW

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    Quote Originally Posted by danger boy View Post
    billbillw, how did your claim turn out?
    I was paid the amount of my repair estimate in full. Took about 3 months, but I did get it finally. I was told that it took so long because it had to go through extra levels of review because the amount was greater than $500.
    Last edited by billbillw; 08-06-2007 at 07:16 AM.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by snow View Post
    Hmmm.... Well I looked again a minute ago to see whether I missed something on the form. and the copy I have has no contact info of any kind on it. I may have to go talk to the postmaster or someone higher up the line to find out how to contact the insurance people.

    REGARDS SNOW
    See here:
    http://www.usps.com/insuranceclaims/_pdf/pub122.pdf

    Page 10 has a contact number.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by billbillw View Post
    See here:
    http://www.usps.com/insuranceclaims/_pdf/pub122.pdf

    Page 10 has a contact number.
    Thanks Bill. I think what I find the most amazing is not a single one of the postal workers at my local PO could find this document, or even offer to put me in contact with someone who could. Some of these clerks have been working there for at least 15 years that I know of. Surely I cant be the only person who has asked this question? lol:D

    REGARDS SNOW

  20. #20

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    Success. Sort of lol. Thanks to Bill I managed to contact the insurance people, and they informed me that the claim had not been proccessed because they have no record of the claim number. its not in there system. It looks like its going to be a long painful period at the post office today to try to get this resolved:(

    Thankfully I have managed to hold onto all my paperwork and reciepts or I would be in deep sh*t here without any record of this.

    REGARDS SNOW

  21. #21

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    i heard back from the buyer of my CD player.. just like George Grand's experience, the buyer found the laser lens has dislodged itself and was rattling inside the case.

    Even though the box doesn't look like it suffered any damage.. I wonder if they will pay for the repairs? I kind of doubt it. but the buyer says he'll contact USPS from his end.

    This is a PITA over a $30 CDP.

  22. #22

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    I have had six items damaged in the mail, two were sent to U.S. locations, two were sent to Canada and damaged by Canada Post. Two were sent to me and received damaged. In each case it was a long drawn out process to get paid, but the claims were settled in full.

    In the case of the items sent to Canada, I had to make numerous trips to my local post office for forms because I kept getting the wrong information about which particular form applied to my situation. I found using the USPS toll free number to always be an exercise in frustration because of extremely long hold times (sometimes over 1/2 hour), being bounced from person to person, and receiving conflicting and wrong information. I always seemed to get some young, inexperienced person who really did not know the applicable procedures. Talking to a supervisor helped me resolve a lot of issues.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarqueKnight View Post
    ... I found using the USPS toll free number to always be an exercise in frustration because of extremely long hold times (sometimes over 1/2 hour), being bounced from person to person, and receiving conflicting and wrong information. I always seemed to get some young, inexperienced person who really did not know the applicable procedures. Talking to a supervisor helped me resolve a lot of issues.
    Didn't mention it, but that was my experience too. The only place that is more frustrating to deal with is PayPal!

  24. #24
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    This is relevent only because it is the USPS;

    I sent a small package to Ben in FLA with a delivery confirmation. I copied and pasted his address out of a spreadsheet I keep into a word document. . . edited the font size and bolding, printed it off and with clear packing tape attached to the box with my return address in the upper right hand corner. Anyone who has received anything from me knows that the address is not coming off nor is water going to make it smear. I've used this same copy and pasted address to ship other things to Ben and they were delivered, with no problem.

    ANYHOO . . . I did a track on it this morning and got the message that the postman attempted to deliver the package, couldn't and that the package will be returned to sender if the information is available????

    I called Ben, he went to the PO this very morning. He told the clerk that he received no delivery notice, no-one came to the door and it seemed that no attempt was made to deliver the package.

    There is no way the label could have fallen off, someone would have to take a box cutter and literally cut the label with the cardboard attached.

    Very very fishy if you ask me!

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by snow View Post
    Success. Sort of lol. Thanks to Bill I managed to contact the insurance people, and they informed me that the claim had not been proccessed because they have no record of the claim number. its not in there system. It looks like its going to be a long painful period at the post office today to try to get this resolved:(

    Thankfully I have managed to hold onto all my paperwork and reciepts or I would be in deep sh*t here without any record of this.

    REGARDS SNOW
    Well I went to the Post office today and was told I would have to refile all the paperwork again, which makes me wonder even if I did this what good would it do me if no one knows where the package is?
    and they want the orginal receipt for insurance which I dont have, because I have allready gave it to them:( all I have is a copy of the original receipt.

    I really dont have the time to mess with this, but I am going to take some time off work if it kills me, to deal with this issue because now I am a little pissed off.:D

    REGARDS SNOW

  26. #26

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    Well I received a letter from the post office today stating that my claim was denied because I didnt file a claim in the allowed time. Then when I called them stating the fact that this was the second claim the first one was conveiently lost by them, I was told that I should not have refiled for a new claim, but resent the old claim, I reminded them that I was told that I had to file a new claim.

    Then I was told that I should send in both claims the old and new one to show that I did originally file one, I then replied that I had sent in both copies of the old and new this last time. They must have somehow lost the second copy of the old claim again.

    So tommorow off to the post office to do battle :D

    I sincerely believe that they think if they stall you long enough you will go away.

    REGARDS SNOW

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    Sucks that they're giving you a hard time on this issue. Seems to me like they make a fortune on insurance premiums...the least they could do is take care of a paying customer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bdaley6509 View Post
    Sucks that they're giving you a hard time on this issue. Seems to me like they make a fortune on insurance premiums...the least they could do is take care of a paying customer.
    thats just it they make a fortune, they don't wanna loose any money.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudeinaroom View Post
    thats just it they make a fortune, they don't wanna loose any money.
    Yes your both correct.They dont make money by paying insurance claims they make money by selling insurance. And yes the right thing to do is pay me since this item was so severely damaged there is no doubt that it was the shippers fault.

    I on average either recieve or ship 3-4 items a week which is a small amount compared to a lot of people but 99% of these items are insured, so I know over the years I have paid thousands of dollars in insurance fees and I have never filed a claim, but I do know one thing if this is not settled in my favor, I will never spend one centavo on insurance again through USPS. I will simply eat it if something gets damaged it would be cheaper in the long run and sure as hell a lot easier on my mind than having to deal with this hassle.

    REGARDS SNOW

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    Quote Originally Posted by snow View Post
    I sincerely believe that they think if they stall you long enough you will go away.
    REGARDS SNOW
    Thats exactly what it is....my friend shipped his entire music collection from his rental house to the new house he purchased with USPS. Took 3 large boxes...only one of them made it.....they denied losing them...said they were delivered. We were at the house when the one package made it...so it wasnt like 3 came and somebody snatched them off of the porch. He fought with them a couple of times and then just said the hell with it.

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