I think I have the Postal Service Claims Center in St. Louis, Missouri figured out. When a insurance claim comes in for a package that is lost in the mail the Center ignores the claim. It’s my understanding since this is the only Claims Center in the United States, the Center is swamped with insurance claims. So why not see how many claims the staff can ignore to see if people who file the claims will just forget about the whole thing. Perhaps in most cases that works.
If a person finally runs out of patience and a year later writes a letter to find out what is taking so long to get a response of some kind from the Claim Center, the response letter is a denial to pay the claim. The reasons are all the fault of the person who mailed the package for not having the right address or return address. A simple way to put an end to the claim the Claim Center thinks. Perhaps in most case that denial letter is the end of the matter.
Except if that was the case when I filled out the two different forms to hunt for my two lost boxes of books complete with pictures, the Dead Mail Centers had a chance to find what was left of the boxes. The books weren’t sent back to me, but my return address and the addressee’s address were on pieces of the boxes. The Postal Service knew my address and where the boxes were to be sent.
I guess I messed up the Center’s system when I sent in a two page letter and seven pages of documentation on why their denial was wrong. So next part of the Center’s strategy is give in to accepting responsibly for the loss and send a check. I got a check, but it was for a third of the amount. No letter of explanation for not sending the full amount was included. The person will accept any amount after so much time has past. Would this be the way I should think? After all, this has been on going since January 2009 when the first shipment of books was lost. In my latest letter to the Claims Center I wrote this has been a consuming effort on my part which has cost me in time, ink, paper, postage and mileage to the post office to mail my documentation.
Sending that check to me proved that the Postal Service now believes loosing my box of books was the Postal system’s fault and not mine. The receipt attached to the check says for payment of package not delivered. So here is what I did. I copied the letter from the Claim Center with the claim number on it and attached the check to it after I copied the check so I had proof for the next phase of this saga if there is one. I sent a two page letter explaining I clearly realize and so do they that I was not at fault. I refused the check and attached it to a copy of the insurance claim. I said I expected to be paid the full amount for the claim which I added up – books amount, postage and tracking fee, to save the person reading the letter the trouble. The next page was another copy of the pictures of my books with ISBN numbers under them and this time the price of each book to show my loss. Attached to this sheet was one of my business cards that shows the address of my online book store, plus I mentioned Amazon, ebay and buy sell community where they could look to find my books so the Claims Center can quit questioning that I am a business.
I’d like to thank MyEntre.net’s Rob Williams for giving me the next idea. I use the Postal Service to mail my books. I should be considered a valued customer by them. So I put in a customer site map for the U.S as proof. An X on each city in the states marks my customers. I update this map often in my bookstore online. My letter states this map shows all the mailing I do and some of those X’s are for more than one customer and more than one order of books. I again detailed the facts for trying to mail a valued customer a shipment of books twice which didn’t make it to the addressee until 10 weeks later (and only after the third shipment was delivered by UPS in 24 hours). This was bad for my business reputation. I was unhappy about the fact that since I haven’t heard from that customer since I fear I lost future sales because of this mess.
Finally, I stated I didn’t see why I should have to send anymore proof to support that I am a business that uses the Postal Service’s business. I thought I should be reimbursed without delay and sent some assurance that this wouldn’t happen to me again. I’d like to go back to insuring large shipments, but I won’t until I know I don’t have to go through this hassle again if they lose my shipment.
At the beginning of this problem in 2009, I sent an email on the Postal Service website to complain. A dead mail center in Georgia sent me pieces of my box, with stamps and addresses, attached to them was a letter from a bookstore in Missouri. An expensive textbook had been lost on it’s way to Iowa City to the college. The book store wanted to find that book. One more unhappy customer to fuel my persistence. My answer was an emailed form to fill out asking me what I thought happened to my boxes. Was there a problem at my local post office? Could it have been vandalism? Certainly not I replied. This problem was happening in southern Missouri and I believed it to be employee carelessness. I felt the area should be investigated.
What that response got me was a call from my local post office. The worker said she was told to tell me she was sorry about this problem. If there was anything else she could do to help me I was to let her know. I felt sorry about that. In this small town, everyone knows almost everyone else. I know and like the people I deal with at the post office. No way did I want to get them in trouble, and that’s what it felt like to me. I explained to her I made it very clear that the postal employees on my end do a good job. Now I’m waiting for a call again from my post office assuring me that my packages can be mailed insured without a problem with the Claims Center. Does this mean that I won’t have a problem the next time the Postal Service loses my books? Will I get a check for the full amount from the Claim Center? To be continued.