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Thread: USPS Shipping Conundrum - Need Advice!

  1. #1
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    Default USPS Shipping Conundrum - Need Advice!

    Hi all - This issue concerns shipping model trains I sold recently, but it's not necessarily a model-train specific issue, aside from the fact that N scale items are small, usually light and go in small boxes.

    I recently sold some model train items online - NOT on this forum - so this doesn't concern any of you here specifically (I did sell some things recently on this forum, but this issue has absolutely nothing to do with it; this is a totally unrelated transaction).

    I had a bunch of individual items that were priced, with the buyer paying shipping, but I offered to pay for shipping if the buyer bought all of them at a fixed price. The buyer agreed, ent me the funds via PayPal and I packaged and mailed the item without incident. I sent the buyer the USPS Tracking Number so that person can keep track of shipping progress and everything is transparent.

    I kept my USPS receipt with the Tracking Number and, I don't dispose of it until the buyer receives the item. Recently, I checked the Tracking Number and it said that the USPS made an attempt to deliver the package on Saturday, but the address was not accessible, and they would make another attempt on the next business day.

    I checked the Tracking Number today (Monday), and it said, "Package could not be delivered as addressed." It was marked "RETURN TO SENDER."

    I looked up the buyer's address on Google Maps and it was house in a rural area; the buyer lives in a very small town, a little way's away from the center of the town, but not very far from the nearest post office. I could not see the household on Street View because there is no Street View on the buyer's road, so I have no idea regarding the circumstances of how the carrier could not deliver the package.

    So, apparently the items are being shipped back to me right now. What should I do in this scenario? I offered to pay shipping (Not a huge cost - $5.25), but that was under an expected scenario that the buyer would receive the package under normal circumstances. Do I...

    a) Upon receiving the items back, cancel the sale and refund the buyer for the PayPal transaction and null and void?

    b) Explain the situation and try to get the buyer to pay for shipping for the 2nd attempt?

    c) Just eat the shipping cost again for the 2nd attempt and request the item be held at the buyer's local post office?

    d) ?

    Obviously I would communicate with the buyer but the buyer hasn't asked me about his purchase yet.

    I know many of you have had various experiences shipping items, so I'd appreciate any advice here.

    Metro Red Ln (Metro Red Line)
    Under the streets of Los Angeles

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    Try looking up the address on the USPS website: https://tools.usps.com/zip-code-lookup.htm.

    I've used their lookup hundreds of times at work to verify addresses.

    It's also possible the carrier made an error.

    I once had an order delivered to the same house number on a street a mile away from my actual address

    Basically 3 possibilities:

    1. The buyer gave you the wrong address

    2. An error occurred in the package labeling

    3. The carrier made an error.


    IMHO, whoever made the error should pay for the second shipping attempt.
    - Gary R.

    President & CEO
    Pinnacle & Western Railroad

    I don't always stop for trains, but when ... oh wait!, Yes I do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Rowan View Post
    Try looking up the address on the USPS website: https://tools.usps.com/zip-code-lookup.htm.

    I've used their lookup hundreds of times at work to verify addresses.

    It's also possible the carrier made an error.

    I once had an order delivered to the same house number on a street a mile away from my actual address

    Basically 3 possibilities:

    1. The buyer gave you the wrong address

    2. An error occurred in the package labeling

    3. The carrier made an error.


    IMHO, whoever made the error should pay for the second shipping attempt.

    Thanks, I looked up the address and it does come up. The buyer sent me his address in a chat and I copied and pasted his address into MS Word to print out a mailing label.

    Metro Red Ln (Metro Red Line)
    Under the streets of Los Angeles

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    If you verified that the address is legit and correct then USPS made a mistake (probably the carrier). Bring the package back to your local P.O. and explain the situation. Bring proof, like a printout of their online tool saying it's a legit address. They usually will "resend" it again for free. If not request they try as (for free).

    I do agree with Gary that if it was either you or the buyer who made the mistake then the person that goofed pays for the redo.

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    I have had that exact same thing happen with packages shipped to me, even though I've been receiving packages at this address for 23 years. Usually medications. Eventually I receive them. Usually the cause is a substitute carrier who doesn't want to drive up the lane to the house because he is running late on an unfamiliar route.

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    I have one coming back from Germany the second time for the same reason. DHL says can't find address and have sent many items to Aspen Model at that address over the years. But these cost over 100 each time and DHL says get refund from USPO like that will happen. So feel your pain.
    rich

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    I have had this message several time but allways received my package within a couple of days
    the USPS made an attempt to deliver the package on Saturday, but the address was not accessible, and they would make another attempt on the next business day.
    I call me local post office to inquire why i get this message when i know there was nothing keeping them from delivering my package
    The response was that this message is automatically generated when the carriers maximum daily amount of mail is reached and my package did not even get in the carries truck.
    So this shifts the blame to the recipient and the delivery Metrics still look good to the Post office's incase any one want to try and point out the abysmal performance they can point to the "numbers and claim what a great job their doing.

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    My advice: COMMUNICATE WITH THE BUYER. There are few things more frustrating as a buyer than to wonder if the seller took your money and then ignores you. (I had a bad experience with someone who I thought was a reputable vendor. Communication was poor, and I never got the products I purchased.)

    Make sure the buyer is aware of what is going on. You can’t communicate too much in these situations!

    Hopefully @spruslayer situation is the same here and your package is delivered in the next day or so.

    Jim

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    UPDATE: I had a chat with the buyer today. He also discovered it got returned to sender and told me the houses in his neighborhood have an offsite centralized lockbox. He did not receive *any* mail on Friday and Saturday. He communicated with his post office. From what I understood, the carrier did not have access to the lockbox and did not deliver the mail and the package. What puzzled me was why didn't the carrier leave a note and instruct the recipient to pick up the package at the post office? That's what happens when a package cannot be delivered at my house for whatever reason. I've even seen them leave the stick-on notices on other people's lock boxes in the past. So I did everything correctly, the buyer did everything correctly, so the error is clearly on the carrier.

    I'm hoping the USPS can pay for re-sending, if they are able to do that. I wasted my money on postage, and it would be unfair to make the buyer pay for postage. One of you mentioned that they have done this before - would like some tips on how to bring this up.

    Metro Red Ln (Metro Red Line)
    Under the streets of Los Angeles

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    EPILOGUE: The buyer just chatted me right now to let me know the package arrived after all! He said it still said "Return to Sender" but he got it, and the Tracking page says it was "delivered to parcel locker." Perhaps the carrier he talked to yesterday found the package in the post office and took it out of circulation. Probably one advantage of having a very small staff in a post office. All parties are happy now. Crisis averted!

    Metro Red Ln (Metro Red Line)
    Under the streets of Los Angeles

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    Ask USPS why they could not deliver, they should have the delivery drivers name and he should provide a reason why not.

    Here in the UK a lot of the time if they are running late they just do not attempt to deliver the item, here are a list of excuses

    We have pictures sent with a vehicle in front of the delivery driver at the security gate with a vehicle in front of him and says unable to deliver, i.e. he was to lazy to wait till the vehicle in front cleared security.

    No such address - we point out the previous items delivered to this address by them.

    Item refused - they are supposed to supply the name of who refused the item they never do
    Alexander
    Currently building 8' x 8" switching layout progress here - https://www.nscale.net/forums/showth...switching-plan and 12' freemo module.
    My Shapeways shop. http://www.shapeways.com/shops/boxcarmodels

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