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Date Posted: 2/17/2010 7:57 PM ET
Member Since: 8/2/2006
Posts: 242
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I probably have sent out more than 200 books, most of which have been wrapped in the PBS mailing (2 sheets of computer paper) without any problems until today. 

Today I received back a book that I had mailed - it was completely destroyed.  It arrived in a manila envelope with the portion of the PBS mailer containing my return address ripped off and put on the envelope with a postal label pointing a finger at the address.  I took it to my local post office to find out what had happened to it.  They told me that media packages are put through a sorting machine and it looks like this one got caught in that machine with half of it being ripped to shreds.  They were surprised that the post office even bothered sending it back to me and probably only did so because my return address was on the package.  They did not offer to refund the mailing cost of $2.57 for both damaging the package and for then not mailing it!

They implied I would have been better off using a bubble mailer, but like someone has already mentioned in this forum, I have received several of those ripped open.

Does anyone know if this a growing problem with media mail. 


Date Posted: 2/17/2010 8:49 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2006
Posts: 382
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was this a hardbound or paperback  if it was hardbound -you dont say (hardbound books dont work with 2 sheets of paper

they only work with paperback books and

all mail is placed in a sorting machine (even first class

where are you?  you dont say  you also dont say where the book was goin

you also dont say how you pay for your postage did you use  PBS postage? Click and ship postage? paypal postage or did

did you use the  APC at the postage or did you just use stamps?

 you dont say


Date Posted: 2/18/2010 12:52 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Bummer JoAnne...bad things happen to good people (and so does Media Maul).  I'm not aware of USPS reimbursing postage for destroyed and not delivered books.  But if you have any luck with that be sure to let us know!

Date Posted: 2/18/2010 1:33 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,221
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You'd have to buy insurance in order to get reimbursed (yes, they expect you to pay them to insure against them damaging your stuff). I don't think its all that common, but it does happen. The machines eat packages. Whether it was in a bubble mailer or not, when the machine gets ahold on one, it eats it.  IMO the bubble wrappers and manilla envelopes just give the machine more corners and loose spots to grab on to.

If you see more occurances around you, ask if new sorting machines have gone in anywhere. That might prompt your po to have sorting centers nearby to check any new machinery for adjustments needed.  I know when I first joined PBS there was a northern Calif machine that loved to munch packages.

Date Posted: 2/18/2010 7:37 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 706
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There is an interesting post by a former UPS employee on the eBay discussion boards, called "Life of a Box".  It describes how packages are handled by UPS, but I believe all shipping companies operate in a similar fashion.  Here is a link:  http://forums.ebay.com/db1/topic/Packaging-Shipping/Life-Of-A/510169295&#msg513378586

Date Posted: 2/18/2010 5:55 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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At my PO counter awhile back, one of my book packages fell off a ledge behind the counter after I'd paid for postage.  One of the customers in line appeared rather shocked, but the clerks know me and the majority of my packages are non-fragile books.  When I mentioned her expression, my clerk mentioned that was nothing...he'd visited the local sorting center, where they think nothing of throwing packages across the room during sorting.  And that's before those sorting machines get a chance to earn their 'maul' reputation.

Date Posted: 2/18/2010 9:13 PM ET
Member Since: 9/9/2009
Posts: 916
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They throw parcels "across the room" in every delivery unit/post office nationally every day - that's how parcels are sorted to individual carriers for delivery that day. Parcels come mixed in large containers for the whole unit.  Clerks throw them into large hampers for each carrier - now depending on how many carriers you have in the office depends on the total throw distance required to get into maybe a U-shaped hamper set-up for all. 

Now the sorting machines for media mail are located at a BMC/NDC.  These are high speed conveyor sorting systems (I might venture to guess miles long) running into push off arms and running down chutes and either falling into a container or being tossed off in a container/sack.  So anywhere along the path of travel a slimer size book may get caught in various conveyor or push off mechanism - thus tearing it apart.  Shouldn't happen but does as the systems are old and not infalible.

Date Posted: 2/19/2010 4:27 PM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2005
Posts: 209
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Ref the UPS story, their reputation for damaging packages is much worse then USPS.  I can't begin to count the number customers I've had who complain about it.  We even get blamed for it until I point out to them the package left beat up and on their porch was delivered by UPS, not USPS.  Even my own experience reflects this although my worse experience was when FedEx delivered a computer to me in a soaked box with water dripping out of it.  Seems it had been left out on a dock in the rain.  The driver was very apologetic and I felt sorry for her, it obviously wasn't her fault.

I can't say for sure, but I've never seen a postal employee climb or step on packages.  That would be a major safety violation and in the current atmosphere of fire anyone for any reason to cut staff I doubt someone would do it more then once.  Also, to the best of my knowledge USPS doesn't "loose pack" trucks, everything is in rolling containers.  And as I think about it I'm surprised UPS would tolerate it for safety reasons.