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Topic: Lost in the mail: again!

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Subject: Lost in the mail: again!
Date Posted: 5/17/2010 11:21 AM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2008
Posts: 9
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I moved to a new area in September 09.  I updated my account with paperbackswap and my books have been getting to me with no problem.  However, it seems that about half of the books that I have sent out from this new area have become lost in the mail.  I have always dropped the books in a drop box, but I have recently been switching my dropboxes, and have even driven all the way downtown to drop the package at the post office (and handed them to the ever pleasant post office staff).  Even some of those went lost in the mail.  I don't know what else to do, except perhaps wait to mail my books when I am in another post office service area, which probably would be too infrequent.  Any suggestions?

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 5/17/2010 11:29 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,151
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Well, you have a printable postage icon on your profile, so you must be using that. Go to your Transaction Archive and click the Request Details link for each of the lost books. Take a look at the USPS scan records and see where they're going lost. Take that info to your Post Office and discuss it with your Postmaster.

Date Posted: 5/17/2010 11:53 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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I agree with Cathy...you should talk to the Post Office. It seems weird that so many books you send are getting lost.

A few questions for you though:

Are you wrapping your packages securely to make sure they don't open up? Media Mail can be very rough on the packages.

Did the package that you handed to the post office clerk made it?

Also, do you wrap your books using the PBS wrapper? Maybe there's an enterprising person that works for the PO that's been stealing your books. Maybe you should just use envelopes and make it look more business like?

Date Posted: 5/17/2010 3:14 PM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2008
Posts: 7,335
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I agree with calling your post office. I had the same thing happen recently. My first two books I sent out from my new home went lost. I called the post office and spoke with them about it and I am not sure what happened or if it was just a fluke, but I haven't had a problem since then (knock on wood).

Date Posted: 5/17/2010 5:57 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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Perhaps you have one of those crazy situations that make the news sometimes, when tons of undelivered mail is discovered in a carriers home. Definitely contact the P.O.

Date Posted: 5/17/2010 6:01 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2009
Posts: 3,041
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I would be sure to use printable PBS postage so you get your credits up front. I too would be in contact with the PO to find out what is going on with your packages. That seems way too much of a coincidence that so many books are going missing.

Date Posted: 5/17/2010 11:05 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2008
Posts: 9
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Yep, even the books that I sent directly from the post office disappeared. I am using the PBS wrapper, maybe next time I won't. I never had this problem with the old post office and I haven't changed my wrapping so I don't think that's it. When I look up the details in the transaction archive, it doesn't show the books have gone anywhere beyond my local PO. How do you look at the usps scan data?
Date Posted: 5/18/2010 12:40 AM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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When you use PBS DC or postage, it pulls up the data from the USPS automatically.

In the details for each transaction in the Transaction archive, there should be a USPS DC#.

You can copy and past the information into a search in the "Track & Confirm" box at www.usps.com

Hope this helps and please keep us updated.


Date Posted: 5/18/2010 6:36 AM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2009
Posts: 11,956
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Are you still using the same Post Office as before you moved or have you moved to another area altogether?  The P.O. is closing a great number of mail processing facilities and consolidating even more of them.  My local mail processing center now only processes first class, priority and express mail.  All media mail and parcel post are sent way up north to Seattle; I live outside Eugene, Oregon.  My books are now taking a week or two more than before and I see more damage to the mailers coming to me.  Those PBS mailers often arrive ripped or torn open when I get them.  Use a sturdier paper.

Packaging is the most important thing next to addressing the piece correctly and postal friendly.  I use lots of tape, the thick kind, and check to see if the parcel has any corners, parts or edges that don't seem smooth.  Also make sure the package can withstand the killer machinery and weight of other parcels.  Everything is now being sent through machines and hand sorting has become almost non-existent.  Always include your address inside the parcel at least once so if it becomes opened, they can return it to you. 

I highly suggest dropping parcels inside the Post Office as sometimes people drop nasty or dirty objects inside the boxes.  When I worked for them, I saw gum, coffee, soda, dirt, water and even a disgusting used condom as well as used open ended needles.  All this affects your mail dropped into these boxes.  I never use them.

If you are doing everything you can, talk to your local Postmaster or Supervisor.  File a report for those missing books.  If you file enough, maybe TPTB may actually see a problem and do something to remedy it.  Keep a record of all lost books and present that to them especially if you have the printed postage list.  That proves you mailed them and are not lying or exaggerating.

Hope this helps.


Date Posted: 5/18/2010 1:53 PM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2007
Posts: 831
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When you talk to your post office, take the tracking numbers of any packages you have mailed using DC.  That will help confirm your story, as well as give the post office a starting point in trying to find out what is happening.

Date Posted: 5/18/2010 3:37 PM ET
Member Since: 4/21/2007
Posts: 304
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Ask to speak directly to the Postmaster. Don't allow an employee to convince or bully you into thinking they are not available or it is fine to talk to them. I made the mistake of letting them do that to me. It turns out they were the one stealing.

Date Posted: 5/18/2010 3:48 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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I see you saying on your profile that you are in WI.  WI recently went on a big Media Mail frenzy of opening and checking all Media Mail because they had a big problem with eBayers mailing product using MM because it's so much cheaper.  Don't know why or if that would make a difference unless you have some really great books that the inspector might want to read.  But that is the only thing I can think of at the moment.


Date Posted: 5/22/2010 4:21 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2008
Posts: 9
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I sent another book out today. Still used the PBS wrapper (lots of tape, plastic bag etc ) but mailed from a post office three hours away. We'll see if that makes a difference.