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Topic: Anybody having problems with damaged items/missing lately?

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Subject: Anybody having problems with damaged items/missing lately?
Date Posted: 2/22/2010 9:47 PM ET
Member Since: 3/12/2009
Posts: 336
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First time in this forum but had a situation arise and wanted to see if anybody had this happen/ and/or explanation.  Have mailed out over 500 books in the past year with few problems but lately I am haveing weird situations.  I mailed 3 books recently to a PBS member...all were paperbacks and were put in a brown envelope and sealed well with packing tape.  Member told me today that packaged arrived ripped open and a note from her post office that it arrived unsealed.....2 of 3 books ordered were gone from envelope and, a book I never owned or sent (it was a "free health booklet") was inserted in the envelope she got instead of the books?  Is the post office taking books and targeting media mail and where could they be?

Situation #2...Mailed  an envelope of books to member last November. from OH....I relocated to indiana recently and last week (feb), got an letter from the post office saying that the envelope got separated from the contents in PA.  (Package was to go to FL ).  THey neatly included the clearly written address I had printed inside their note...again...where are the books.... Why wasn't I notified from Nov until Feb...even with moving I left correct forwarding information so notification shouldn't have taken this long!

Situation #3...Am also on the dvd swap site and sent a box season of Mash to a member in a sealed bubble mailer...It never arrived...Any ideas on where to inquire about its whereabouts?

I am starting to get frustrated...I am wondering if they are inspecting some packages and not resealing the packages and inserting incorrect items in packages..Anybody else had similiar problems lately?


Date Posted: 2/22/2010 10:53 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,222
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Sounds like you are close to a machine that is rough on packages.

The unpadded envelopes are very bad to send books in if they are not taped down tight to the book, especially multiples. Any shifting of the books at all will tear the envelope.  Those instances don't surprise me, I haven't ever received a unpadded envelope with more than one book in it that wasn't torn.

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 1:54 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Not me, but missing book karma seems to move around the country...sorry it's your turn :(

Just today I received two shipments of multiple books, three paperbacks in a tyvek envelope (folded down & secured snug) and two different sized books in a loose bubble mailer.  All arrived in very good condition *crossing fingers & hugging my mail carrier*

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 10:38 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 602
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It helps if you include the paper with the sellers address and then wrap the books in plastic wrap. Then, as the previous poster said, unpadded envelopes have to be perfectly tight around the books or they can catch in the machine and tear. Especially if you have multiple books that are different sizes.

Date Posted: 2/24/2010 7:44 PM ET
Member Since: 9/9/2009
Posts: 916
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Let me mention that as a postal employee, all media mail will go through a Bulk Mail Center (BMC) facilty - which we have now renamed as NDC facilites.  Off the top of my head there are about 21 of these facilities nationwide - media mail goes to one of these facilities - period.  That's why its at a lower rate and the delivery times can and usually do take longer - we don't expedite it at that cost to move it quickly through the first class mail stream (expected 1- 3 day delivery).  And these facilities contain miles of conveyor systems, various pneumatic kick off arms, high speed sorters, mail dropping down slides and potentially falling into a rolling container.  Many of these conveyor type systems will do better with a box.  These slimer book packages can get caught in conveyor or under a pneumatic arm and then torn up.  All the travel and dropping the smaller packages incur can put them at risk. 

I'm not a fan of a "mummy" taping, but having been in the BMC facilities and seen the handling, I personally do use a generous amount of packing tape to ensure I will have a secure package -  and I do this with ANYTHING I'm sending.  For books I'd never use a paper type envelope knowing how it will be sorted.  The padded mailers or a cardboard box will withstand the sorting better.  But I have wrapped tightly with a brown paper bag and then PBS wrapper and generous packaging tape and haven't had any problems yet.

Side note - even when Amazon ships out the Harry Potter books for first day of isssue in the Amazon boxes we have some percentage of those that break open and then loose books that maybe can't be matched to a delivery address.

Moral of the story is package it securely - it would surprise you to see how items are handled.

Last Edited on: 2/24/10 8:12 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/1/2010 3:22 PM ET
Member Since: 7/4/2008
Posts: 14
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I am having a problem with my packages getting "lost in the mail".  Just since the beginning of the year I have had 3 PBS packages (total of 12 books) to be declared lost in the mail because they never arrived.  And now, I have another package that might have mysteriously disappered.  This one contains 2 books and since the member used DC, I was able to check the shipping details.  Tracking says there was an attempt to deliver on Saturday (2-27) and a notice was left.  Well, someone was here all day Saturday and we got our other mail but there was no notice left.  I went to the post office this morning and they said the package was not there.  Mail carrier today (not the regular carrier) did not have package either. 

What is going on?  I'm wondering if this is a problem that is going on all over the country right now or is someone stealing my mail????

Subject: Missing Books
Date Posted: 3/2/2010 11:09 PM ET
Member Since: 6/28/2009
Posts: 3
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I've had some trouble.  One book never arrived.  One I am waiting for.  It shouldn't take 3 weeks to get  from AZ to WY.   Also one book that was mailed, scanned in at our post office and again at our mail box but I never got it.  I think the mail lady put it in the wrong box and whoever got it just kept it.  The post office is insisting I just misplaced it.  This has all been since Dec.  Although I've just been a member since July I never had any problem till Dec.

Date Posted: 3/3/2010 1:50 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
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I mailed 3 books recently to a PBS member...all were paperbacks and were put in a brown envelope and sealed well with packing tape.

You not only need to use lots of tape, you also need to tape the envelope tightly around the books.  If you send books in a manila envelope with the four corners not securely taped around the books, you are asking for trouble.  Those empty corners get caught in their sorting machines and that rips the package open.  I had this happen once to books sent to me.  Fortunately the six books were secured inside a plastic bag (to protect them from the elements) and because of that, they stayed together in the package and the PO taped it back together and sent it on to me.

It sounds to me that if you improve your packaging techniques, you will probably stop having problems like those you listed (other than the book that went missing).

Also, you might want to switch from paper mailers to the Poly bags.  I bought an assortment from an E-Bay Seller (costexpress).  The cost was minimal and the bags are very sturdy and easy to tape tightly around books.


Last Edited on: 3/3/10 1:57 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/8/2010 2:19 AM ET
Member Since: 4/17/2008
Posts: 1
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I had one I sent declared lost on March 4 after two years and 94 transactions without a loss.

Date Posted: 3/9/2010 12:45 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Rumor says (don't 'cha love it) USPS is re-organizing, so maybe we're seeing adjustments.  If so, hopefully the bugs will work themselves out soon.

Date Posted: 3/10/2010 1:33 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2007
Posts: 135
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I had one reported Damaged By USPS that came from me...That's never happened to me! I seal everything up like Fort Knox, too...


On another book site, I've noticed a lot of lost in the mail's reported. A bit scary, no?

Date Posted: 3/13/2010 8:55 AM ET
Member Since: 8/22/2007
Posts: 3
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Just in the last few months, my husband and I have had two books be marked as "lost in the mail." I have one that I mailed almost three weeks ago (going from VA to IL), which I'm afraid is lost in the mail since it shouldn't take nearly three weeks to travel that short of a distance. We are extremely frustrated with the postal service. We've been members of PBS for a while and have never had problems like this with them. I think next time I mail a book, I'm going to print out my postage at home so I get an automatic credit. I don't want to keep losing out on my credits because the post office can't seem to deliver my packages!

Date Posted: 3/13/2010 4:15 PM ET
Member Since: 7/4/2008
Posts: 14
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I'm sorry that others are having problems with USPS, but I'm so glad that it's not just me.  I have already had 4 packages to disappear and a few more that look like they're not going to arrive either - just this year so far.   I think there are a couple that I sent out that are going to be "lost in the mail" as well. 

It's really frustrating, as I really need these books. :(

Date Posted: 3/13/2010 6:38 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2009
Posts: 11,898
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I think there has been a major shift to sending parcel post and media mail to the Bulk Mailing Centers as the Postal Employee stated above.  This is supposedly a cost cutting decision made by the higher ups.

I have mailed over 700+ books but beginning in March I now have two parcels, mailed different days, get "lost" and have not been scanned.  And let me tell you I package extremely well, some think I use too much tape but I used to work for the P.O. and know how items get handled, thrown, crushed etc. and not just during the holidays. 

At the rate the Post Office is going, it won't be long until it is privatized.  And if you think it is bad now, wait till that happens.  There are way too many managers sitting in their offices, having never worked a day as a clerk or carrier and have no clue as to what it is really like to do the work.  They sit and think up ways to "cut" costs as well as to substantiate their job.  Does our current Post Office rally need 39 vice presidents????

My advice:  if you cannot buy the PBS postage to get instant credit, package very well.  Tape corners; leave no tape ends loose; use heavy clear tape; it is best to use brown paper to mail then copy paper(IMOO); make sure the parcel is smooth by running your hands over it; if it sticks anywhere, smooth it out; include your name and address inside as well as the address being mailed to; wrap the books inside in a plastic bag, if possible; NO SCOTCH TAPE!; tape even the bubble wrappers as machines can and do pierce/rip them from time to time; if you can, drop the mail inside the building as people drop nasty things into the outside blue mailboxes.

Hope this helps.  :)

Date Posted: 3/13/2010 6:44 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2009
Posts: 11,898
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There are places where items that get separated from their packaging are sent to, but I cannot recall where.  If you lose something, go to your local Post Office and ask them about the Dead Letter offices.  Tell them you are searching for a book or whatever that was lost in transit.  I believe you can send them a letter or form, which allows them to try and locate your item.  All unclaimed items are eventually auctioned off so it is worth making an attempt to get it back.

I will try to find out more about exactly how to go about this.  It has been almost ten years since I worked for the Post Office so I do not know the current procedure/form to go about finding lost articles.  If you live in a small town with a Postmaster, talk to them.