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Did you know... that the Post Office's record on delivery, damage, and payment on claims has gone SO far downhill that we are now making UPS our default shipper?

Return to Did You Know Archive
Added: 10/25/2021

In last month's "Did you know...?" column, we talked about how slow and erratic the shipping times were for the various delivery services (see Did you know... that currently shipping times (for the delivery services) are EXTREMELY erratic, with some packages taking weeks or months to arrive?).


Consider these points:
1) The Post Office has started leaving packages (WITH Signature Confirmation paid for) on the recipient's porch, and the driver clicks "Virtual Signature" (a pure lie). This means we can't collect on insurance in that case, since the Post Office claims it was signed for "virtually", and how can we prove otherwise?
     Think this is a few isolated drivers? This has been reported to us over and over again, from many parts of the country. And it EVEN happened with the $64,000 Charlie Chaplin poster we sent Registered Mail, which used to be the "gold standard" of shipping methods. Unbelievable! It was just fate that the recipient happened to arrive home soon after it was signed for.

2) In the past year, the Post Office has MANGLED and FLATTENED more tubes and packages than in the previous 20 years combined. I am not exaggerating one bit. You likely know how extremely strong our boxes and tubes are (we call them "gorilla-proof"). Unfortunately they are not "Post Ofice-proof). We don't know what kind of machinery the Post Office now uses, but it can flatten one of our super-strong tubes flatter than a pancake. There are NO tubes anywhere that can stand up to that punishment.

3) The Post Office has adopted a terrible way of dealing with damage claims. They ask for images of the damage, and then (after a long delay) they ask for proof of payment, and then (if we send a copy the invoice) they ask for proof we received the money from the customer, and then finally, after months, they say they deny the claim because of "insufficient packaging"! They also do something similar with lost packages. They delay as much as they can and sometimes say it is then too late to file claims.

4) The Post Office's tracking has gone from sub-standard to beyond dreadful. Not only do some international packages get "lost in the system" for a month or two, but others sometimes get all kinds of "false positives", where the tracking shows them as traveling around the world, and we are highly suspicious of these, and we think it is much more likely they were just sitting in a warehouse the entire time. And when they finally ARE delivered, it is with NO explanation whatsoever. And sometimes those international packages show up back to us a month or 3 or 6 months later, and sometimes there is no explanation, and sometimes they say "Recipient never picked it up", and those people tell us there was no delivery attempted, and we believe them much more than the Post Office.

5) The Post Office has virtually ZERO customer service. EVERYONE who works for them tells you something different, and most just tell you to contact someone else (anyone other than themselves, apparently). We don't have a dedicated representative at the Post Office, which is hard to believe considering our volume. In fact, we have NO ONE to call, which is beyond frustrating.

The only REALLY "good" news out of this is that just about every single Post Office package and tube we have sent HAS eventually shown up, either to the recipient, or back to us (and in both cases, when there is a long delay, it is with no explanation or a false one). So the odds ARE wonderful that when we send any customer a Post Office package it will EVENTUALLY arrive, but in some extreme cases it will take weeks or months within the U.S. and even longer to the rest of the world.

Is this no way to run a business? Absolutely. If the Post Office was "privatized" it would go bankrupt in a few months. But there is nothing any of us can do about it.

Compare all of the above to UPS (United Parcel Service):
1) UPS has NOT been leaving packages (WITH Signature Confirmation paid for) on the recipient's porch.
2) While we have had a very few UPS packages damaged, it is a tiny percentage of the amount of that of the Post Office (both degree of damage, and number of claims).
3) UPS DOES pay insurance claims, both for damage and loss, and in a timely fashion. In the most extreme case yet, we had a $11,500 tube vanish, and they paid the insurance in full, 3 weeks after it went missing.
4) While UPS's tracking is far from perfect, it is light years ahead of the Post Office. Packages tend to not update in their tracking for a day or two at the worst, compared to the Post Office's weeks or months.
5) We have a dedicated UPS representative, who DOES return our phone calls and emails, and HAS (over and over) gotten problems resolved (and often quickly)

WHAT DOES ALL THIS ADD UP TO? Effective October 27th, the day after our next set of auctions close, we will advise all our customers to only use UPS, and NOT the Post Office, EXCEPT in the following situations:
1) If your package is both very light (under 4 pounds) and not very expensive, it will be enough cheaper by Post Office that we will offer our customers a Post Office option
2) If your only shipping address is a Post Office box, we will offer our customers a Post Office option, because UPS won't deliver to Post Office boxes
3) If your package is going to a country where you feel the Post Office is a much better option than UPS, we will offer our customers a Post Office option (but know that those international customers who have had packages sent via UPS have reported it is far faster than the Post Office).

This is all part of our desire to get our packages and tubes sent via the fastest, safest and fully insured method, and after long experience, we feel certain that UPS offers this the best, and that switching almost exclusively to them will result in fewer damaged packages, faster deliveries, and full insurance payments o losses!


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