[Doing It Right] How To Fight USPS On a Lost Package

“Whoever said that money can’t buy happiness, simply didn’t know where to go shopping.”
Bo Derek


I’ll be the first to admit it, I love a good bout of e-tail therapy.  There’s nothing quite as satisfying as sitting in the comfort of your domain, messy bun toppling to the side while in remnants of last night’s outfit opting for your next purchase.   Whether it’s a snazzy new top, a fantastic read, art supplies or a gadget for the kitchen – I get excited, excited like a five year old on Christmas ready to rip through to their first present.
mermaidBut let’s be real for a second, not every package comes in tact – or at all. I’ve recently discovered just how frustrating it can be trying to reconcile a lost package, and it gives a whole new meaning to going ‘Postal‘.

A few months ago while living the festival life, my girlfriends dubbed themselves the ‘Mermaid Mafia’ – and from that, our Halloween costume has pretty much been etched in stone. We all went our separate ways to procure our wears, and for me that meant heading to ETSY.  Within minutes, I had my sights set on the most perfect pair of shimmery, deep purple, mermaid scale leggings from Roberta Basics; they always have killer gear and I was stoked to finally be purchasing some of it.  But when I finally clicked on that elusive green purchase button, I had no clue the agonizing adventure I had ahead of me.

The last week of August I saw ETSY send out a shipping notice and eagerly counted down the days to arrival; literally ready to pounce on that package like a hungry kitten.  On Monday, August 31st a little notification popped up on my phone and immediately I sprinted down the stairs, smile on my face, flung open the mailbox door…and….nothing.  Not just no package, but no mail, no junk mail, which for a Monday was bizarre.  I looked at my phone again, delivery notification staring me flat in the face, and back into the empty metal box that was begging to be pleasantly full.
dragonsUnsure of what to do, I waited until Tuesday – thinking maybe it’d been misplaced and would arrive with the mail the next day; yet, still – our mailbox remained empty and an uneasy feeling crept into my stomach. I felt like Khalessi in Game of Thrones; where were my fucking dragons?! Finally, Wednesday rolls around – the mailbox has assorted junk in it but nothing of worth, and our regular mail lady let on that on Monday there was a new guy on duty. Instead of just throwing my hands in the air and accepting defeat by mail, I got a bug up my sleeve and decided that wasn’t the way those leggings were going out.

Filing a Complaint with USPS

From the second you notice something is wrong with your mail – you want to do two things: start making a log and then give USPS a call.  The log might seem tedious at the time, but later when you’re attempting to refute a claim it’s completely necessary.  For the record, USPS – or as I’ll refer to them from now on, US-POS has one of the most obnoxious automated phone lines I’ve ever dealt with when trying to follow up on a claim, but setting one up is relatively easy.  The first thing you’ll want to do is call 1-800-275-8777 (1-800-ASK-USPS).

Because you need to talk to a real person and not a computer, don’t wait for their automation  to spit out a lucky number for you to press; instead, hit 0 repeatedly and say either “Complaint” or “Operator”.  Just trust me, you’ll be dealt with a whole lot faster.  Be sure you have your tracking number handy and walk them through your entire log; at least at the end of my call, I had a very nice woman on the phone give me a confirmation number for my problem.  Each confirmation number starts with your state ID followed by a 10 digit ID number (for example, mine is CA124550061). Hold onto this like the holy grail, you’ll need it! You’ll also want to snag the number to the local post office that delivered your mail so you can put in a formal inquiry through them. If you are having trouble finding it, head here. When you talk to your local Post Office branch, be aware that they can track your package’s whereabouts using GPS coordinates, don’t be afraid to ask them to hunt this down!

Filing a Claim against USPS Online

Even though you can file a formal complaint with USPS within days of your grievance, to file a claim online you have to wait 15 days to file a claim and have up to 60 days after your item was shipped to do so. First off, sign up for an account with USPS, don’t worry – it’s a free service. To file a claim, go here and have all your information at the ready: complaint number, tracking number, purchasing information and retail cost. You’ll need to sign up for an account so you can go back and check in on your claim. And don’t be dismayed if your claim is denied – I’ve already been denied twice and am proudly on my second appeal. In future dealings with USPS, make sure you always elect for insurance – you never know the potential headache you’re saving yourself!

Do you have your own personal Post Office horror story?  Or maybe some neat tricks and tips up your sleeve? Let me know in the comments below!

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