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Topic: Lost in the Mail

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Subject: Lost in the Mail
Date Posted: 9/21/2011 7:09 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2011
Posts: 13
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How can this happen when the labels have return addresses?

I recently requested a book for my husband, the second in a series.

It was accepted and mailed.  We watched it make its way across the country 

on the En Route map, until it stalled in our state, about 1/2" from our town.

Then it was declared lost in the mail and the credit returned.

Where did it go?  I know enough not to request it again immediately.

Date Posted: 9/21/2011 7:16 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,225
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Its possible that the book was misdelivered somewhere; a postal machine ate it; the wrapper was separated from the book or otherwise destroyed enough that the address is no longer ledgible.

Was what you were "watching" actual scans, or were you watching the truck? The truck is just a depiction of the estimated delivery unless there are actual scans. If there were actual scans, then you can contact your post office and ask about it, maybe start a trace on what happened to the book between the last scan and you. It might be laying in a dead mail pile somewhere if the packaging is badly damaged. If you were just watching the truck and there isn't any scan information, then I would just PM the sender to say you haven't received the book yet and confirm the mail date. Its possible it was never even mailed.

Date Posted: 9/21/2011 7:22 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 4,408
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I had a book take 6 weeks to get from KS to OK a few years ago.  Had one just recently that I ordered for DD and they used DC.  It got 60 miles from her, then disappeared and went back to where it came from and started over.  She did eventually get it.  I had one go lost in July - going to IL from KS.  It arrived last week.  Requester said it was in pristine condition - no tire tracks, no black belt marks, etc.  Sometimes these things happen and the book does arrive, but it is upsetting when it's a book you're waiting for.  Good luck. Pat

Date Posted: 9/21/2011 8:02 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 10,200
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Lots of people have been reporting receiving pkgs that are opened on one end, shredded, etc so it's also possible the portion of an envelope or pkg showing the return  address was missing .

Date Posted: 9/21/2011 8:13 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,354
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Also, the PBS server automatically marks the book "lost" if it hasn't been marked received 26 days after it was marked mailed.  (Or 35 days if it's traveling outside the contiguous United States.)  It doesn't mean the book is actually lost.  It might just be sightseeing.  If it arrives now, you'll go to your My Account menu and find your Transaction Archive, and you can mark the book "received" there.

There's a help doc with a lot of good info called

A book I requested is lost in the mail. What now?




Last Edited on: 9/21/11 8:14 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/22/2011 1:24 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Unfortunately there are a number of problems that may have caused your package to go lost. 

I use the PBS insert as an emergency address, JIC.  I circle the receivers addy in bright colored marker, tuck it partially inside the book so the address is clearly visible, then wrap in plastic before adding a final outside wrapper and shipping label.  This way, I figure if there's a postal 'accident' with the outer mailing label, at least there's the possibility that USPS employees can use the inside addy to send the book to it's final destination.

Date Posted: 9/23/2011 6:23 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,602
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How can this happen when the labels have return addresses?

Keep in mind that books that are sent media mail that are "returned to sender" have to have that return postage paid for (AGAIN) by the sender...so for example if I had sent a hardcover costing me $3 to mail, and 3 weeks later my mailman brought it back with 'return to sender' on it or 'delivery refused' or whatever, I would then have to pay that postage again just to get the book back. I've already spent $6 on postage for that book. Am I going to send it back to you again if the PO couldn't deliver it the first time? Not on your life. But I would let you know that happened.

But, most books that are declared lost just go lost into the ether...many are misdelivered, sometimes they fall out of bins and sit behind something or whatever...I once got a perfectly wrapped, intact book with no extra postmarks or postal notices or anything with very readable metered mail sticker indicating that it was sent just when the sender said it was...and it arrived 7 months after it was sent...who knows what tales of adventure it would have to tell if it could! LOL


Date Posted: 9/23/2011 1:08 PM ET
Member Since: 11/17/2008
Posts: 1,236
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I once received a lost book almost a year after it was sent. It was postmarked the day the sender marked it mailed. I would have loved to be able to ask that package where it had been and what it ahd seen.

Date Posted: 9/23/2011 6:28 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2008
Posts: 193
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Erica, it would probably tell you that it saw the corner of the room in the Bell, CA blackhole sorting facility. cool

Date Posted: 9/23/2011 9:05 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,697
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I had a book go lost for a year.  Got its last scan in the sorting facility in Bell, CA and then nothing.  About a year later, it was delivered to the receiver who said it was perfectly intact and pristine.  Must have fallen behind something or under something and been found much later and sent on its way.

Subject: Book changed in the mail
Date Posted: 9/24/2011 12:07 PM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2010
Posts: 247
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I had a paperback go lost in the mail coming to me. Months later the mail center sent me a brand new hardback copy of the same book.  Evidently the book was lost, but they had the paperwork, along with finding a hardback copy with nowhere to go.  I even PM'd the sender and they said they had mailed a paperback.


I also had a letter written while engaged that wasn't delivered until a few years after we had gotten mailed.  It had a note saying it had been found in an empty mailbag halfway across the country.

Date Posted: 9/24/2011 7:31 PM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2009
Posts: 1,411
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I just had a DVD from Swap-A-DVD go lost. It went lost in the mail in the eyes of the site and I got my credits back. Then the member PMed me saying that he had some kind of delivery confirmation that said it should be with me but I still haven't seen it and that was a month or two ago. Sometimes things just go lost in the mail and who knows when they'll show back up.