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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    3

    Default Package Signed for by a Package Store, but They Said They Never Received It from USPS

    My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: Florida
    Hello. I shipped a package to a person who uses a postal box at a private retail store in Florida. I had USPS tracking, and extra insurance. When the tracking showed "delivered", the recipient, went to his box at the store, and there was no package. Two days later, still no package. He asked me to call the store manager. I spoke with her, she said the signature confirmation provided by her employee on the USPS tracking receipt, was a signature for a bin of multiple packages that come in to their store, that might have hundreds of packages in them. She said, they could not possibly go through the whole bin when they sign for the receipt of the bin. I told her, the USPS will probably not honor my insurance, once they have a signature for receipt of the package. She told me there is nothing she could do, she looked all around the store, and I should call the USPS. Besides that, she said every item that has a tracking number, is entered into a system into the store once they unpack the bin, and there is no record of my tracking number. So she thinks the package may have erroneously have been entered on that bin manifest, when the package actually is somewhere else. This has been from March 11 to today, March 20, with no word about the package from anyone. I did place a package inquiry with the USPS, but they did not get to investigate this yet. They say it will take 24 to 48 hours to call me back.
    Assuming the package is not found, who, if anyone, is responsible for the value of the contents of the package, which was a expensive smartphone?
    Also, what order of other actions should I take that are available to me from the USPS?
    1) I could file a claim for the insurance, but I almost certainly think that will get denied due to the signature delivery confirmation at the correct address by a store employee.
    2) The USPS has a theft report I could submit. The problem is, the report asks who may have stolen the package. The package possibly could have been stolen in the store, it doesn't even have to be an employee. I know nothing about the bin process, if the store gets left alone during lunch, if there were contractors working in the store, etc.
    But also, I assume there was a possibility it was stolen while in route through the USPS, and this bin manifest just assumes the package is still in the bin when it gets signed for at the store.
    Any suggestions on how to proceed if the USPS thinks everything was delivered normally, and they will not honor the insurance because they consider the package to be delivered? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
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    16,307

    Default Re: Package Signed for by a Package Store, but They Said They Never Received It from

    If the package shop doesn't have any record of your package number, USPS should honor your insurance claim.

    At this point, though, you can't do anything except wait for them to call you back. They might even find your package.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Package Signed for by a Package Store, but They Said They Never Received It from

    I disagree with missy. USPS will use the fact the store signed for the package. It is the obligation of the store to verify what they are signing for, regardless of how much work it is or time it takes. Due to the store acknowldging they received the package proven by the signature, they are on the hook for it.


    Who who is to say somebody in the store didn't steal it and concocted the "but it wasn't in the bin" story?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Package Signed for by a Package Store, but They Said They Never Received It from

    Exactly. That is my contention. If workers in this store, or any similar store that do not audit their deliveries, know that the delivery signature is meaningless by management precedent, then less savory employees or other people that know how the store operates, will realize it is a free for all to see what may be valuable in the bin. They still would have to worry about law enforcement catching them and prosecuting them, but they don't have to worry about the store losing money by having to pay for goods that they signed for. I have never heard of anything so bizarre. There are other options besides labor intensive matching of each label name to the manifest. A simple audit tool would be to transfer the items out of the bulk bin, and count them before signing, and match that count to the count on the manifest. At least, they can refuse the shipment if the total doesn't match, or tell the postal carrier they have to wait for a complete inventory before they would sign. I am thinking of trying to call similar stores, and see if they have the same type of method to accept box deliveries, and if they honor missing items they signed for.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Package Signed for by a Package Store, but They Said They Never Received It from

    As far as I see, you are done with this. It is between the addressee and the store. I believe USPS will deny all liability due to the signature so that is the end of your liability. It now rests with the store, the addressee, and any possible limits of liability they may have in their contracts.

    If this went to court, I believe a court will accept the signature as proof of delivery to the store.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    6,699

    Default Re: Package Signed for by a Package Store, but They Said They Never Received It from

    There is yet another possibility if the missing smartphone was paid for using PayPal (or maybe a CC).

    Did OP send the phone to someone he knew or did he sell it to a stranger on say EBay?

    There is a common scam to purchase expensive items like jewelry, watches, and electronics on auction and other sites and pay using PayPal. Then the purchaser claims that they never got the item and files a claim with PayPal. PayPal reverses the charges and it is up to the seller to prove that the purchaser received the item. As you have been discussing, proving that can sometimes be impossible.

    Let's say the box store did in fact receive and sign for the package. The store employee places the package into the recipient's P.O. Box. Recipient opens the box and takes the package. It is my understanding that PO box at these stores are accessible even through the store may be closed separated by a security gate to the rest of the store. Seller inquires if package was delivered and buyer says, "nope." Now the games begin.

    If I was the OP, I would inquire at the store if they capture video surveillance of the PO box area.

    I speak from experience.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Package Signed for by a Package Store, but They Said They Never Received It from

    I initially thought this possibly could be the case, until I spoke with the store manager. She does admit that they never put it in his mail box, as they log in packages they put in everyone's boxes there.
    This recipient has been so great emailing me, and checking the store and his local post office, I feel sorry for him. He has a really great rating on his site, and would have made very little profit on this transaction for all this hassle. This is for an item he was to receive, and then send back to me. So he is not at a loss for the scenario above. Only me.
    If I knew more about the USPS operations, I could make more sense of this. If it didn't get misplaced or stolen in the store, or misplaced or stolen in the local Post Office, I have one other theory. This is from a bunch of post I have reads about different scenarios on different companies that ship things, not just the USPS.
    I think as things go through the systems, things get bundled together in bigger and bigger bundles as they work their way along. The only way to track the bundles, is to group the tracking numbers to a manifest assigned to each bundle. If the package somehow gets put in the wrong bundle then it's tracking number manifest, or gets stolen and never bundled, then you have a package that shows it is going through the system to it's final destination, and it is just the tracking number with no package. I have heard that in some cases. things show up nowhere near their final destination, and start making it through the system again. I think this is my best hope with this, beyond having to file claims to get compensated. That will be a hassle here because this scenario is so convoluted.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Quoting jk
    View Post
    As far as I see, you are done with this. It is between the addressee and the store. I believe USPS will deny all liability due to the signature so that is the end of your liability. It now rests with the store, the addressee, and any possible limits of liability they may have in their contracts.

    If this went to court, I believe a court will accept the signature as proof of delivery to the store.
    Yes, I called another similar store locally by me, just to get their advice on what to do next, and they said the same thing. Have the addressee deal with the store.
    They also did say it was correct for me to be asking the USPS to do the inquiry up to the point of delivery to the store.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Officially across the country from where I've been all my life
    Posts
    4,494

    Default Re: Package Signed for by a Package Store, but They Said They Never Received It from

    I'm going to tell you this. Make sure you call the USPS every 24-48 hours because I'm still waiting on a call from them in 48 hours from a year ago. I called for a MONTH and they STILL never called back. This has happened twice in the last 12 months. Never received a return call from either one and one of the packages was found a week later STILL in the USPS' possession.

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