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Topic: Package left out in open!?

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Subject: Package left out in open!?
Date Posted: 12/19/2007 3:20 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2006
Posts: 353
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Well, this is the first problem I can remember ever having with our mail delivery, so I'm not sure what to do!

Yesterday, our neighbor came over with a Priority FlatRate Box for us. We have a neighborhood group of 5 mailboxes, all on one stand on our residential street. Just right there on the street, across the street from our house. It seems that the package, instead of having been left on our porch (we have a bin for packages there, as has always been the case for the last 10 years), was instead left in the open, leaning up against the mailboxes!

This is completely in the open (not to mention in the rain!) - anybody walking or even driving by couldn't help but see our package sitting there by the side of the road, leaning against the mailboxes. We were extremely lucky that our neighbor saw it first and took it inside!

Please tell me this ISN'T a "technically correct" delivery method! I'm hoping it was a one-off aberration, as our delivery guy is excellent (I imagine a substitute - a lot of our mail has being misdelivered to our neighbor as well).

As a practical matter, is there any point in complaining (and how/where to?) or would a substitute never hear about (or even retaliate!)? I don't want to get our normal carrier in trouble for something that wasn't his fault.

TIA!

Date Posted: 12/19/2007 4:08 PM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2006
Posts: 7,581
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Sounds like it was someone filling in.  Perhaps they didn't know that you had a box on your porch.

Date Posted: 12/19/2007 4:23 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2007
Posts: 4,588
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Or the carrier leaned it against the boxes while finishing something else and then forgot he/she had set it there?

Doesn't sound like something they would normally do.

Date Posted: 12/19/2007 5:26 PM ET
Member Since: 10/21/2007
Posts: 3,430
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I live in a rural area.  Sometimes when packages are too big to fit in the box, the mail carrier has rubberbanded it to the mailbox flag(!!) leaving the package out in the open for others to see and for rain to damage it.  It seems that the mail carriers in my area don't want to stop and get out of their cars.  This has happened multiple times, so I know it's not just a person filling in.



Last Edited on: 12/19/07 5:27 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/19/2007 7:55 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2006
Posts: 353
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I'm hoping it was just a bonehead mistake and not intentional, as that would bode ill for the future.

Does anyone know what the policy actually is? It just doesn't seem like it could possibly be ok to leave packages out in the street (but then who knows!)...

Date Posted: 12/19/2007 8:00 PM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2006
Posts: 1,186
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That sounds like either a substitute carrier or it was just forgotten when the carrier finished putting the mail in the boxes. I would call your local PO and begin the conversation with something like, 'Did we have a substitute deliver our mail on Tuesday?'

 

Date Posted: 12/19/2007 8:06 PM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2006
Posts: 1,186
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Here's the official policy for city letter carriers: Packages may be left if there is a 'carrier leave if no response' endorsement on the package and it can be left in a fairly secure area. If you want packages without that endorsement left at your house, you must give the PO a written notice stating this! Otherwise, the carrier will leave you a delivery attempt  notice. That is the official USPS policy for leaving parcels for city carriers. That being said, most of us would rather leave these packages for our customers rather than have you go to the PO to pick them up.

Rural carriers usually follow the same policy, but I do know that packages attached to the mailboxes was perfectly acceptable under their contract at one time. This may have changed in the last few years.

Date Posted: 12/19/2007 8:15 PM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2006
Posts: 1,186
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From the Domestic Mail Manual 508 Recipient Services:

1.2 Carrier Release for Uninsured Parcels

An uninsured parcel may not be left in an unprotected place, such as a porch or stairway, unless the addressee has filed a written order, or the mailer has endorsed the parcel "Carrier—Leave If No Response." The endorsement must appear directly below the return address as specified in 402.2.0 and 402.3.0.



Last Edited on: 12/19/07 8:17 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/20/2007 10:52 AM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2006
Posts: 3,343
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We live in an area that has CBU boxes (the multi-unit box on a stand); the units don't have more than 1 "package" box on them.  And, although there is no shelter around these boxes, it has happened fairly often that packages are left leaning against the box, rather than brought to the house -- most of us have covered porches, and no CBU is more than 1 block away from the house it serves.

In a nearby neighborhood, it is common for the carrier to put any packages leaning against the (individual) mailbox post, right next to the street. 

Maybe our carriers didn't get the memo about leaving them in a protected place?

Date Posted: 12/20/2007 12:28 PM ET
Member Since: 2/15/2006
Posts: 651
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Last Edited on: 1/17/09 5:52 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/20/2007 4:57 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2006
Posts: 353
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Ugh!

I can't remember if we ever signed anything, but for many years we've had packages dropped off on our porch (which is across the street and about 30 feet in from the street) in a big bin left there for that purpose. We also have any outgoing packages there when we schedule pickups. We haven't had a need to go to the PO in years.

That may change however, if this problem is more than a one-off outlier! Wow - if packages are routinely just left out in the rain at the street for others, I'm amazed anyone has anything sent to their homes - Yikes!

Date Posted: 12/20/2007 6:15 PM ET
Member Since: 2/15/2006
Posts: 651
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Last Edited on: 1/17/09 5:51 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/28/2007 10:23 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2007
Posts: 1,305
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In our neighborhood packages have been rubberband to the box. Also I have been home when the mail was delivered, saw the mail coming up the street as I let the dog out to potty, and when I went out to get the mail after I felt he had time to get to my house there was a notice in the box to pick up a package. He was too lazy to get out of the car and ring my door bell so I had to drive fifteen miles the following day to get my package. While there others where in line complaining about the same thing. Four people in line said they were home too.

Date Posted: 12/29/2007 12:29 AM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
Posts: 73
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Then there is the irritation to the clerks who have to run and pick up packages all day long, and listen to the complaints. We would much rather the carriers do their job and, at least, attempt to deliver the parcels. Even if, as Connie quoted, they are not supposed to actually leave them unattended.

Date Posted: 1/18/2008 10:19 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2005
Posts: 1,053
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When I was in college, my landlord for our apartment complex had an agreement with the PO, UPS, FedEx, etc that all packages that were to be delivered to the apartments should be left on her porch which is across the street from the apartment buildings.  There was rarely a problem with that.

My husband's uncle had mailed him something for Christmas a couple of years ago that ended up getting delayed so it did not arrive before we ended up leaving to spend a few days with my parents for the holiday.  We weren't too worried about it though because we knew it would be at the landlord's when we got back.

We arrived, and there was no package waiting for us.  Asking around revealed that some of the other people living in our apartment had seen a package propped up against our door the day after we left.  Even the landlord said she had seen it when she was over there doing a repair in the kitchen.  She meant to grab it on her way out and take it to her house since she knew we were gone, but when she came out, it was gone.  She figured our next door neighbor had picked it up for us since we were friends with him.

Long story short...we never saw the package or the item.  Unfortunately the main door to the apartment building is never locked (talk about safety huh) so anybody could have came in and walked off with it quite easily.  We were rather upset over the whole issue.

 

Date Posted: 1/20/2008 11:14 AM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2006
Posts: 3,343
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One of my friends has a mail carrier who will routinely put a package slip in the mailbox, and won't deliver to the mailbox if there is anyone parked anywhere near (not blocking) the box.  She just skips the house. 

Date Posted: 1/20/2008 2:42 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,633
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Our regular mailman leaves packages in one of those new USPS heavy plastic bags, hanging over our mailbox flag. If a package is too big, he leaves it in one of our cars or else in the garage (whichever happens to be closer to the road on any given day). Our part time guy is a sweetheart, he will actually bring them right to the door and knock to let me know they are there. A major improvement from our old part time carrier who would leave packages sitting on the ground by the mailbox no matter what the weather...



Last Edited on: 1/20/08 2:43 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/21/2008 6:45 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2008
Posts: 2,462
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If the weather is decent, the mailguy will put packages in a plastic bag and wrap that around the mailbox flag. On days when it snows heavy, the sweetie drives down our quarter mile long driveway and delivers the packages. If we aren't home, he puts them by the door to the porch in a plastic bag. I know we're lucky to have him as our mailguy.

Date Posted: 1/22/2008 4:54 PM ET
Member Since: 2/14/2006
Posts: 88
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Christian Reader and Dandello   - I think we should make our carriers some cookies or something. 

Mine too will bring a box to the house.  She will even come to the house if I leave her a note that I have a package to mail  that won't fit in the box.