The Post Office Will Pay Out Your Insurance Claim… If Their Employees Admits To Abuse

The post office won’t pay Alauna’s insurance claim for a damaged Hewlett-Packard laptop unless one of their employees admits to intentionally abusing her package.

Alauna paid $26 to insure the laptop on its cross-country visit to a virus-hunting friend. When the laptop arrived, a menacing broken hinge threatened to scratch the screen.

She writes:

The United States Postal Service is falling apart. About 7 months ago, my father gave me a brand new, HP Pavilion dv9700z series (Retailed at over a thousand bucks, but it was a gift, so I don’t know exactly how much it cost him). In the 7 months that I’ve owned it, I got a nasty bug (virus) on it, and it no longer allowed me to log onto the internet. Either way, my best friend is an expert with computers and lives in LA, so I decided to send it to him to take a look at it.

By this being such a high line item, I wrapped it in bubble wrap, placed in a laptop case, and wrapped it AGAIN in a ton of bubble wrap before placing it in a post office issue box that the clerk told me, “most people send their laptops in THIS box)”. I made sure to put at least $500.00 dollars worth of insurance on the shipment (just in case).

Silly me for believing this woman as approximately a week later, I got a call from my buddy in LA explaining that the hinge of the unit was broken and it was threatening to cause further damage to the computer. He explained that if I close the laptop, the screen may scratch and cause about 800 bucks worth of damage. So I’m irritated because this company screwed me over, and some idiot ignored the FRAGILE that was placed on the box, but I’m somewhat relieved that I got insurance on the purchase.

I send my LA buddy the insurance information along with the required receipt and figure the money would be distributed in a respectable amount of time. NOT! My buddy calls me later after he received the insurance information and explains that the post office clerk in LA tells him that “without a receipt, they probably won’t honor your insurance claim)”. Are you serious? They weren’t saying such nonsense when they sucked 26 bucks out of my pockets for the original shipment and insurance. Either way, I’m stuck with a brand new computer damaged by USPS, and the unfortunate truth that I may not receive any restitution for their mistakes. To all who read this, NEVER use the USPS to ship anything of importance. I live in a rural area (Cleveland, MS) so this was my only option, but I refuse to use this awful place again.

She later sent us an update:

So we file a claim with the Post office in April, and today I find out that they are denying my claim unless someone at the POST OFFICE admits to causing the damage! Are you serious?

I officially hate the USPS and this is what I get for using snail mail.

P.S. I don’t know whether to be mad at the post office for breaking the computer or HP for making crappy hardware as I have a Compaq X1000 that wont charge (crappy HP).

We always thought the point of insurance was to protect a package in the event something happens. It doesn’t need to be an abuse. If an employee admits to abusing an uninsured package, would the Post Office refuse to reimburse the owner?

(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. NumberFiveIsAlive says:

    “The United States Postal Service is falling apart.” I like how people love to get dramatic in their own little corner of the world. I ship out over a hundred packages a week using the USPS, and I rarely have a problem once every 6 months or so.

  2. InThrees says:

    From a customer confidence standpoint, though, she’s right for her experience. She paid for insurance, and the USPS is using the most egregious reason to not honor it.

  3. hills says:

    I understand why they need a receipt for the value of the item, but why the damage needs to be “intentional” to be covered is odd…… I would ask them to provide denial of the claim in writing with the reason – I just can’t believe that’s a valid reason and think something is missing….

  4. snoop-blog says:

    Yeah it sounds like she’s never even called usps and is just relying on her friend for information. He could be just trying to get a free laptop, or maybe he un-intentionally broke it and is passin the blame. I’ve had to file claims with usps before and never had a problem.

  5. Nearly every shipping service –be it USPS, UPS, FedEx or DHL– will try to weasel out of paying insurance claims. It’s no different than a store trying to back out of a price guarantee or warranty. Apparently, this is how business is run these days.

    Anyway, how did the OP ship this item? Express mail claims are handled differently than First Class mail claims.

  6. Let’s start with the basics.

    Fragile written on a shipping box is absolutely meaningless. The conveyor systems at the bulk processing terminals only perform one level of service and the employees are not allowed to perform special handling service to a product just because the word “Fragile” is written on a box. UPS’s written instructions specifically state the box should be devoid of such comments. I am fairly certain (99.9%) USPS has the same policies.

    2nd. Bubble wrap is one step above worthless for shipping valuable electronics. Doublewall exterior boxes (ultra heavy duty boxes compared to the usual single wall boxes used by consumers, USPS and small business shippers) combined with an inner box and/or precut foam inserts (spacers) are typically used by professional (read Dell, HP etc) electronic manufacturers for their high valued shipments. Those “professional” package systems are certified by an UPS laboratory to meet or exceed UPS standards with package damage rates well below 0.01% (1 box in 1000). A counter clerk at USPS is not an authority on proper shipping methods (neither am I, I just have too many contacts with UPS that are considered {for UPS purposes} an authority).

    3rd. Insurance claims must have proof of value. Declared value on a bill of lading or shipping document is not proof of value. Insurance fraud is serious and the shipping companies are going to protect themselves against fraud. For the record, I have never seen a claim paid unless accompanied by proof of value.

    4th. I will need to see the claim that USPS requires an employee to admit fault. That one is a new one for me. Oh trust me, USPS (as well UPS and FedEx) is real good at slimming their way out of payiing insurance claims. Real good. Their denial forms are very standardized. Never seen a standard denial form that mentioned employee abuse as a requirement.

  7. Also, here’s some info on filing claims with usps:
    [pe.usps.gov]

  8. Angryrider says:

    I’m surprised that the Compaq brand continues to exist despite the fact that their products are very shoddy. That’s why I have a regular HP computer.

    Something is lacking from this story. I guess the longer above comments explains it all.

  9. TwoScoopsRice says:

    I had some items sent to me, USPS insured, by someone who didn’t pack them well. Additionally, however, the boxes were mashed and 2 of them had at least 1 side burst open. I know the folks at my local station and they shook their heads over the mess and helped me as best they could. Fortunately, only one item was actually damaged. I was told that to file an insurance claim, what I needed was a repair estimate and that there was a time limit.

    Because the item was unusual and it was hard to find anyone on my island to prepare an estimate for me, I missed the deadline.

    My sense is that OP might not be understanding what is required and/or may be close to missing the cutoff day.

    —-

    To add to the computer shipping comments — spend the $10 on a FedEx computer shipping box and enclose it in another box if you don’t have the original notebook box and packaging. The foam and suspension systems in the FedEx boxes are darn near impervious to the trauma of 5,000-mile journeys.

  10. nicless says:

    @Angryrider: Um. You know they are one and the same now, right?

  11. snoop-blog says:

    @ceejeemcbeegee: Wow! you scare me! GET OUT OF MY HEAD!…

    Not 5 mins ago I was looking at your avatar and thinking how much I didn’t like it. I was sooo close to asking you to change it, and 5 minutes later…

    SO GET OUT OF MY HEAD!!!!

  12. Prions says:

    Lol with bubble wrap and in a box I don’t see how USPS broke a hinge. That would be hard to do.

    I think the friend broke it and is now trying to pass of the blame.

  13. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Was the box damaged? I can understand the PO being difficult if there was no damage to the packaging.

  14. warloc66 says:

    It’s restitution, not retribution, dear.

  15. JaneBadall says:

    I ship & receive about 25 packages a week through USPS. Many with insurance.

    I’ve had 4 problems. Once the package had been slit open with a knife and the item removed. Took about 7 weeks to get the insurance on that.

    The other three have been damaged in transit, twice it was the post office’s fault and once the sender had used a plain manila envelope for a very fraigile item.

    With all three, I (or the buyer) needed to turn the damaged items over to the PO in order to get a refund. I was bluntly told “You don’t get the money for it and get to keep it.”

    Perhaps that is the case here? If the OP doesn’t want to give away his computer for $500.00 worth of insurance, the situation could get difficult.

  16. stacye says:

    @JaneBadall: Insurance isn’t necessarily in place to REPLACE the item, but to REPAIR a broken item. The $500 could go towards replacing the broken hinge, and screen (if the hinge does damage the screen).

  17. The_IT_Crone says:

    My guess: since he didn’t report it broken when he got it, the USPS is claiming the damage happened after it was delivered. And… maybe they’re right?

    Not that I’m blaming the poster but… why ship a computer cross country to take care of a virus? No computer repair on the East Coast? I guess I’m mostly curious.

    I am worried that they require a receipt, though.

    The USPS DOES do things like this, though. My college graduation present (solid metal) came PUNCTURED. Like a steel rod got jammed through it.

  18. Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

    @warloc66: Grammar issues should be sent via email; pointing them out in comments doesn’t help very much.

  19. AdvocatesDevil says:

    I ship 400 to 500 packages a week to my customers. I NEVER use the post office for anything valuable or important, even though it would be cheaper. I always use UPS and on the rare occasion there has been a problem, they’ve always paid my claim within a week. UPS will also refund the shipping charges if they don’t deliver the package on-time, which is very different from the Post Office’s policy of “Express Mail means it’ll get there some day, maybe, no promises.” Good luck getting that claim processed. I wish you the best of luck.

  20. guilliam says:

    I received a glass bowl I purchased online and when the mail man delivered it he brought it to my door and said ‘Hope it’s ok, but it doesn’t sound like it’ I opened it and it was broken in 3 pieces, but was wrapped in bubble wrap and had insurance. So he told me to contact the PO. Which I immediately did, I drove there with the box and pieces. Was told the person who processes the claims wouldn’t be in until morning that they would leave it for them and for me to call in the morning. I called in the morning and was told they were investigating it. I never heard back from them again about it. I let it go, the bowl was part of a candle and I replaced it for $2. They will sell you the insurance, but won’t pay out.

  21. seamer says:

    Hey, the OP isn’t the person who recieved the package in the mail.

    Who’s to say the friend at the other end didn’t fark it up somehow accidentally and decided to blame USPS? Who’s to say the laptop wasn’t already dodgy to begin with? What if this is really an ebay sale/scam gone bad?

    There’s just too many vagaries in the story to cast doubt on the overall situation.

  22. seamer says:

    This story sounds like a scam. The OP isn’t the person who recieved the package, and so they weren’t there to see it first hand. The friend could have gotten drunk, dropped it, whatever, and decided to blame USPS since there was insurance on it.

    Too many vagaries to take it seriously.

  23. nikalseyn says:

    What do you expect from a government agency??? They are still government employees with a government employee mentality. If you like this kind of service, wait untill you get government-run health insurance. But, it will be “free.” I sent a package last year to a son in the First Cavalry Division stationed in Taji, Iraq. Three weeks later it came back to me with a note saying they could not find the 1st Cavalry Division. I fully understood that, as they only have some ten thousand troops all over half of Iraq. Easy to miss them. I recently sent a new desktop pc to Texas. I used Fed Ex and it got there the next day, with no damage, etc. Great outfit. UPS is good too, but the USPS is fast becoming unreliable with people who could care less. They cannot be fired for crappy service so they tend to give crappy service.

  24. snoop-blog says:

    @guilliam: Man you kept talkin bout a glass bowl and I was thinking you were talkin about something else.

  25. nsv says:

    I’m still searching for the place in the OP’s letter where it states the package was damaged. It would also be enormously helpful to see photos of the damaged package.

    I’m also trying to understand how a hinge–and JUST a hinge–could be damaged in shipping. If the corner of the unit was damaged, and the corner of the box was crushed, I’d have no problem understanding it. But how can a hinge (usually at least an inch or more in from the corner) be damaged in shipping?

    To my knowledge (and I’ll admit it’s been a while since I worked in this field,) there are two ways to damage a hinge:

    1) The user opens a laptop in a way that is abusive.
    2) The hinge is defective, and breaks during normal use.

    Defective laptop hinges are not unheard of. And they’re well protected from damage not related to use because of their location on the laptop. It would have had to have been a direct hit on exactly the right spot to damage a hinge, and that hit would certainly be visible on the shipping box, and possibly also on the laptop case it was packed in.

    My WAG: the hinge was defective, and the friend either noticed existing damage, or the hinge failed when the friend opened the laptop.

  26. Propaniac says:

    What really bothers me here is that whenever I’ve shipped something with USPS, and they ask if I’d like to insure it, I’ve NEVER been told that I would need my receipt for the purchase price of the item in order to collect any insurance payout. I’ve always assumed that it would be “worth” whatever amount I bought insurance for. That information may be available somewhere, but they should be completely clear about it before the insurance is purchased.

  27. Propaniac says:

    @Propaniac: Although I’m only going by the comments here that requiring the purchase receipt for the item in order to pay out on insurance is USPS policy. I was totally confused by the original complaint: “I sent him the receipt… they said they won’t pay it out without the receipt.”

  28. Bourque77 says:

    @Propaniac: Then you might actually have everything needed in a timely manner to get your insurance money. Why would they do something to help you get what you are owed?

  29. matt314159 says:

    I’m with those on this site who smell a fish. A laptop hinge doesn’t get injured in transit. It gets damaged when the screen is opening and closing. If the OP wrapped it in the large, 3/4″ bubble wrap, placed it in a laptop case, and then wrapped THAT in more large bubble wrap, that is in fact a very good way to go about it. And I can see no scenario in that situation, where it could be possible at all for a laptop hinge to be broken.

  30. MykalBloom says:

    I’m pretty sure her “buddy” dropped it, and is trying to blame the USPS.

  31. nsv says:

    @Propaniac: They don’t tell you that. But you need the receipt. If you ship something worth $10, but insure it for $50 (the cost is the same either way,) if the package is damaged they will pay you the $10 the item was worth, not the $50 you claimed when you filled out the insurance form.

    See here: How to file domestic insurance claims

  32. evslin says:

    @warloc66: But retribution sounds so much cooler.

  33. ogremustcrush says:

    The LCD panel on a mass market laptop like any consumer HP model doesn’t cost anywhere near $800 to replace. Sure HP may list that as the cost to repair, but the actual value of the panel is much closer to $150-250. You can find them in that range on eBay quite easily, just search “dv9700 lcd.” That same search will also give you a replacement part for the hinge which costs $89 for both sides or $49 for the left side only. Any competent computer tech could replace both items in less than an hour.

    The fact that the recipient friend says that it would cost so much means that they either aren’t so great of tech and won’t be replacing it themselves but sending it in for repair OR they are trying to rip off the OP for a relatively massive amount of money. Note that if that laptop was purchased 7 months ago at slightly over $1000, its current value is probably in the $700 range after depreciation and wear. So the “repair” would cost more than the value of the laptop.

  34. Nick_Bentley says:

    For anything like a computer most places require that it be double boxed with at least 2 inches of foam around it everywhere. Also they will use the box as a reason if it was a cheap thin one. Basically to ship it and collect insurance, you have to ship it in a container packed so it’s virtually indestructible.
    All the places are pricks about it, but also I bet they get a ton of insurance fraud claims each year too, people shipping expensive, already broken items to collect. A friend of mine worked at a UPS shipping dock years ago, and when they saw something marked “fragile” they used to heave it just to see how fragile it really was. DO NOT mark fragile on the package! Nobody will treat it special except to see if it’s really breakable or not. Nothing good comes from having your package stand out in that way. If you pack it right, it won’t be any more breakable than any other box they deliver.
    IF you have to choose between spending money on insurance and extra beefy packing material, pack it within an inch of it’s life and double box the thing. Your odds are a lot better if it’s a used item who’s price you can’t document.

  35. spudaroo says:

    Friends…….I ship a butt-load of packages daily. (I sell performance auto parts online. I always insure my packages worth more then $200 through DSI (no I am not a shill for DSI). They have always handled my claims quickly with a minimal amount of paperwork. I believe I pay approximately .80 cents for a hundred dollars worth of coverage with DSI. Their website allows me to purchase coverage for a single shipment. Easy as pie. I believe DSI requires signature confirmation upon delivery which is an additional charge with the carrier.

    Peace of mind for pennies. (My least cynical post to date)

  36. BondJBond says:

    OP

    The hinge damage wasnt from USPS.
    PM me, and i will insure that this hinge is fixed, and i will even make sure that if this is not already in your hands, no more shipping costs will need to be paid.

    If the OP doesnt read this, and someone knows them, please relay this information

  37. BondJBond says:

    Since i cannot edit my post.

    This will all be done through HP directly, before any detractors speak up.

    I will not ever ask you to do anything, that cannot be verified through a simple call to HP tech support.

  38. cinlouwho says:

    I send my LA buddy the insurance information along with the required receipt and figure the money would be distributed in a respectable amount of time. NOT! My buddy calls me later after he recieved the insurance information and explains that the post office clerk in LA tells him that “without a receipt, they probably won’t honor your insurance claim)”.

    Um, what does this mean? Did your friend lose your receipt that you sent him? That is why they won’t honor your claim.

  39. @spudaroo:

    Do some math for yourself. Package insurance is a huge ripoff to any decent size shipper.

    Personally, I self insure.

    Example: My shipping with UPS:

    Way back when, UPS covered the first $100 in value and then the shipper was suppose to pay $0.25 per $100 (or part there of) in value above the initial $100. Then the rates increased. And increased. Then UPS started with their “minimum” insurance amount. The current “minimum” excess value amount is $1.80, purchased in increments of $0.60 per $100. Which means goods “valued” up to $399 require $1.80 in excess value insurance.

    BULL SHEET

    Do the math:

    Assuming 100 high value boxes shipped per week insured at a cost of $1.80 per box equals $180. 52 weeks per year at $180 per week equals $9360 in excess value insurance being purchased. UPS routinely looses or damages 4 of my high value shipments per year. Each shipment has a vendor (my) cost of $350 per shipment or an annual claims rate of $1400 on payments of $9360. Not a good equation. And there is all the BS that UPS claims/insurance goes through in trying to prevent their paying the claim. Having a shipping clerk spend the better part of one 40 hour work week per year in an attempt to recover $1400 is a poor use of resources.

    So I shelf-insure. My handling charges are adjusted upwards slightly to include “insurance” at no additional cost to the customer. Boom. Done. And I set aside $10,000 each year that I was going to waste with UPS to handle any damage claims I may have. At the end of the year I reclaim the $ left over from the damage package fund and give a portion to the employees in the shipping department as a bonus and keep the rest for myself. My bones last year was $3700.

    My customers received replacement goods as needed. The boys and girls in the shipping dept sure liked their bonus. I liked my bonus. And I screwed over UPS in their attempts to gouge for excess value insurance. Not a bad day all around.

    Self insuring is generally not going to work with people that only ship a couple high value packages per week. But for everybody else it sure beats trying to file damage claims.

  40. TheLadyK says:

    It looks like this may be unnecessary, but there are other ways than a receipt to show proof of value for an item that was shipped.

    I had a misfortune with a custom built computer sent through UPS that was insured for $5000. When it showed up looking like someone had driven a fork truck tine through the triple box I took pictures, had the insurance adjuster guy come look at it and all the packaging, and sent UPS quotes for similar custom built machines from the online houses showing that a custom built computer to those performance specifications could cost anywhere from %4500 to $6500.

    I didn’t get my check quickly, but it did arrive without much pushback.

    If the OP can’t get help from Mr. Bond, she can try showing the USPS quotes for the identical machine that will support the estimate of value on the insurance form.

  41. BondJBond says:

    One last addition, Warranty status doesnt matter.
    The only way this wouldnt be fixed, is if the Service Facility deemed it either dangerous (ie Insects, or Bodily fluids) or Unrepairable (ie all main components damaged)

  42. LisaMarie says:

    FYI – there is an issue with HP dv model laptops and the left hinge breaking. If this is the hinge that is next to the security lock, it may not be a post office issue and actually be an HP issue.

    I just had mine replaced, at HP’s cost. Read: FREE

  43. BondJBond says:

    Lisa, thats not quite true, There is no issue with the DV model notebooks, and left hinges breaking.

    There are a VERY small percentage of people reporting this problem, but nothing outside of (or even approaching) even below average numbers

  44. synergy says:

    Some 12 years ago I mailed a stereo to myself from college in the original foams, box, etc. When I received it at my family’s home, it had an outer superficial break and a part was broken in the CD changer that prevented it from changing correctly or playing CDs correctly (they weren’t spinning at the right angle). I’d insured the box and when I filed the claim, the USPS told me that since there was no proof that it wasn’t already broken before I mailed it, they weren’t going to pay me the stereo’s value. Ever since then I don’t bother with the insurance. I just make sure to pack things as well as humanly possible.

  45. synergy says:

    Oh and the box was damaged on the same side as the external superficial damage to the stereo. But allegedly I broke the stereo. I wish I had pictures or video of when I handed off that box to the post office employee!

  46. @synergy:

    Unfortunately common problem.

    Look at the issue from the shipping company’s perspective ….. the customer has a farked up appliance …. the customer ships the item to or from their mother to themselves ….. the customer claims hidden shipping damage. In plain simple terms what I just described is fraud. It is done to the shipping companies each and every day. Of course they are going to respond negatively to every claim.

    BTW I am not defending their practices, I just understand the issue from their perspective.

    But what really frosts my cookies is when the product has a declared value (paid insurance) and then the shipping company refuses to pay the claim when they LOOSE the package …. like I routinely pay to ship stuff back and forth across the country and falsely overvalue the goods in hope the shipping company will loose the package.

    Like I previously stated, I just self-insure my packages and pray for the best.

  47. Leah says:

    odd that so many people have had insurance difficulties. I had a package insured for $25 (some clothing my mom sent me), and it got stolen from the mail area of my apartment complex. We have secured boxes, but the post lady leaves our packages just sitting outside of the door because the boxes aren’t big enough. I found the ripped open envelope under a bush near the door, brought it into the post office with the original purchase receipts for the items, and got my money back. It was a pretty simple process, but maybe that is because my item wasn’t worth too much.

    As for the OP, she definitely needs the original purchase receipt from her dad. I’ve never heard of the “intentional” pre-requisite for claiming on insurance.

    Also, to other commenters: USPS stamps items with “fragile” for you, and they even ask if anything inside is fragile. I don’t know how the packages are handled, but I will say that nothing labeled fragile has ever broken on me. Agreed with using styrofoam for packing — I use leftover pieces (that I dumpster dive) to make box reinforcements for shipping, and it’s much nicer than bubble wrap.

  48. @Leah:

    Yes, small claims by casual customers will often be paid their insurance claims. It looks good and generates good PR. And many big companies that have their own inhouse legal department (think Amazon, Newegg et al) to pursue claims will be willingly paid because of the cost of litigation to the shipping company.

    Moderate size shippers are going to be paperworked to death until we go away. SOP. The shipping company’s claims departments know the cost of processing a claim by a merchant/shipper is often far greater than the value of the claim. Increase our costs and we can seldom afford to pursue the claim.

    How bad is the paper work process?

    I have had a claim denied because the running SUBTOTAL on page 39 of a 119 page manufacturer invoice was smeared.

    Picky Sheit.

    I self insure. Screw’em. They don’t get my insurance money and I am a lot happier for it.

  49. Eight years ago I worked for a Postal workers union. I was sent across the country for several months on assignment. The cheap place I worked for insisted that if I wanted a computer there, I had to use my personal computer.

    They packed it for me, insured it, and sent it by usps next day. It arrived broken. No problem right- it was insured, and packaged by actual postal workers. Claim denied.

    Because they could not find any damaged corners on the box.

    I appealed, the President of the union made calls- even a VP of the worked on the appeal, making calls to get this paid. No dice. I followed up for three years, through two different Postmasters General. Even the post office could not get through to the post office.
    Everyone along the way was shocked, said how unfair it was, but nobody could get the thing paid for. The amount in question was only $600, a lot of money to me then (and now).

    This is not a new thing with the USPS. It has been going on for years. I think it was even a Seinfeld episode.

  50. OneQuietDave says:

    I used to be a packaging engineer for a company that made gyroscopes. We always figured that writing “Fragile” on our packages was translated by the shipper as “Kick me here”. We found our for sure how little the “Fragile – Extremely delicate instrument” printed in 3″ high letters on five sides of our boxes meant when we caught the UPS guy throwing them from the loading dock down into his truck. Our containers were tested for the conditions found in normal conveyor handling not willful abuse by human handlers. Two of the gyros thrown were damaged and it cost UPS $6,000 to pay to repair cost. They paid no problem. It helps to be a large corporation with nasty lawyers when these things come up.

  51. nfossaz says:

    I was a window clerk and an insurance clerk for the PO for many (21) years. As an insurance clerk I saw many, many claims for packages which were insufficiently packed. Case in point, a full set of china dishes packed in a big box with newspaper between each dish and the cups wrapped in a half sheet of paper each. Needless to say the claim was denied. Many, many times packages I saw, the box was in great condition and packed super good, yet the article inside was somehow damaged leading you to believe it was damaged in begin with and insured so a person could collect and repurchase something new.
    As a window clerk, I processed many items that were not sufficiently wrapped. When a person wanted to insure I told them I wouldn’t because the package wouldn’t make it out of the local PO wrapped the way it was. They could either re-wrap to specifications or not insure – their choice. Mind you, I was not allowed to tell people they couldn’t send a package, but I could disallow insurance. I always believed the PO was wrong in not making people wrap their packages to the same specifications we held businesses to, but then again I was just an employee with no say in how the place was run.

  52. Interrupt19 says:

    If you think USPS is bad domestically, its even worse shipping internationally.

    I shipped a box with insurance which was damaged. The other country’s post office refused to pay for the item saying it was the US’s fault and the US said it was the other country’s fault. The higher-up post office where the package entered the other country kept pushing it back down to the local office who kept refusing to even deal with it. It was a huge mess of “pass the blame on someone else”.

    In short, it was a hard lesson to learn and I will never ever buy shipping insurance again nor will I ever use the USPS to ship anything important again.

    Now its UPS / FedEx or DHL and Next-Day Express only.

  53. xthexlanternx says:

    Putting “Fragile” on your package means nothing. It more or less means you probably packed your item bad and that you want us to take time out of our day to give your sweet tender little package some special care (ignoring the fact that most postal workers are moving thousands upon thousands of packages as fast as humanly possible). Pack your item well and you won’t have to worry about any abuse by postal employees. I don’t kick around or throw anything, but stuff shifts in the trucks and packages do get dropped into big containers and sometimes dropped by the carriers. It is your job to pack your item properly. Personally, I would never send anything of value through the Post Office, and I work there. Keep in mind that I, even as someone who does the smallest route in my hub, see a few thousand packages a day that I don’t have time to double check the address on (they come pre sorted) let alone check on how “Fragile” they are. You also have to keep in mind that the Post Office nickel and dimes everyone down to the smallest level, so my route has pretty much been cut down to so short that if I’m not running at 110% speed I’m not going to finish on time (in reality, its more like 150% speed because the rest of the Post Office is always late).

  54. hatrack says:

    @Gizmosmonster:
    The Seinfeld episode I’m thinking of showed Kramer and Jerry shipping a broken stereo and then trying to claim that it was damaged by the post office. Perhaps not the best example to support your story.

    I don’t know if writing fragile on the package does any good or not. But I get the feeling some people would write it if they were mailing a brick.

  55. Marshfield says:

    Not blaming OP here, but what’s to stop people from packing up damaged goods, shipping them insured, and then claiming damages? How is USPS supposed to protect themselves from this, apart from actually inspecting the goods and packing them themselves? (which of course they do not do and have no intention of doing)?

    I treat insurance as primarily against losing the package.

  56. Marshfield says:

    @Marshfield:
    re: hatrack’s post above. That’ll teach me to post before refreshing the screen.

  57. edrebber says:

    Tell the clerk at the post office that you don’t care what they think and to file the claim. The clerk is too lazy to file the claim and wants you to go away.

  58. FrankReality says:

    Guess what – the USPS has been running this scam for decades.

    Wait until she finds out that if she does succeed in her claim, they’ll pay for parts only – they will not pay for labor. Jerks.

    They pulled that scam on me back in 1981 – I haven’t shipped any packages via USPS since.

    “Fragile” to the USPS means to bounce it off the floor a few times.

  59. Bubbasan says:

    I am a city letter carrier. I have delivered packages that were damaged in processing, and it’s possible to notate “visible damage” when delivering, either with a delivery notice, or, if the item is insured with a blue or black label (the blue requires a signature), you can enter into the IMD scanner “visible damage.” I would recommend shipping with the blue label, which is for higher amounts, because it requires a delivery signature. You can have it notated at delivery that the package is damaged, even it is as simple as writing “visable damage” on the package and have the carrier or clerk sign the notation. I delivered a TV set shipped from PR from a lady’s son that he had just put in a box with little or no padding. The screen had shattered along the way, it was so obvious from the sound of broken glass. But, because it had been accepted by the clerk in PR and blue labeled, I notated the damage when the customer signed for it. She opened it and it was the worst, dirty piece of shit TV you could imagine, but it was definited damaged. The USPS paid the claim and she got a brand new TV the same maker and screen size. BTE clerks “throw” parcels into bins, both at the bulk mail facility, local processing plants, and stations. Only the ones who care take time to handle fragile parcels with care, and oftentimes even though they may place a fragile parcel in a parcel bin carefully, that doesn’t stop another clerk from throwing a heavy, larger box on top of it when sorting parcels.

  60. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Seinfeld “The Package” (full episode)
    [www.livevideo.com]

    Kramer packages and mails a damaged stereo so Jerry can claim it as damaged & receive compensation.

  61. John Messina says:

    These fools are the worst. I had a laptop stolen in transit between the US and Colombia. Now I just spent three months trying to get an international claim paid to finally be told by these morons that the claim needed to be processed by the receiver. Problem is the receiver lives in Colombia. Ended with them telling me they could not pay the claim…. so I drilled them a new one and basically told them they did everything possible to not pay the claim. Common, that’s how the whole insurance industry works. Make you pay for insurance and then deny your claim if you file. The Post Master at my local post office even told me he could not help me that I needed to deal with the claims department… he said, I wonder how many hoops they’re going to make you jump through to get that paid. So if you’re thinking of shipping USPS, think again…. you’re better off going the more expensive route of FEDEX or another professional carrier. USPS is a rip-off…. That’s why they’re going out of business. USPS…. YOU SUCK!

  62. John Messina says:

    USPS SUCKS! They don’t pay claims. I shipped a Laptop and a Magic Jack to Colombia from Arizona and the only thing that got delivered was the Magic Jack. Even with a report from the Colombian Post office stating that they confirmed there was a change in shipping weight between Miami and Bogota admitting to the theft of the merchandise in writting, I still couldn’t get USPS to pay my international claim. USPS rips you off. USPS did not pay my claim.

    I know that the insurance industry makes money by denying claims, but when you pay for insurance to insure your package makes it to it’s destination you expect to be treated with respect. My advice is to recognize that USPS is going out of business for a reason – horrible customer service. Ship your packages via FEDEX or some other professional carrier.

    I spent three months trying to get this claim paid and just got the run around. Even the Post Master at my local post office stated “I wonder how many hoops they’re going to make you jump through to get that claim paid.”….. Well, I got tired of jumping and basically said screw the $300 claim.

    USPS – YOU SUCK… YOU SUCK… YOU SUCK.

  63. Anonymous says:

    I understand your frustration. I insured a phone and accessories. My claim was denied because the package was “delivered.” I asked for a signed receipt. It was signed (with address listed) by someone in a different business two blocks away in Chicago. I had proof it was not delivered to the correct address. So far claim denied twice. They just said they delivered it. Apparently they can deliver anywhere they want to. Tried to talk to the person who denied the claim but “Nobody gets to see the wizard. Not nobody, not nohow.”