Internet Horology Club 185

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April 11, 2010, 15:40
Lindell V. Riddle


I have been a strong defender of the United States Postal Service for many years, most of the time their personnel do a fine job, often under difficult circumstances. I believe that 99.9% of the hard-working USPS employees are good people who deliver the mail in a polite, courteous and professional manner 99.9% of the time. But as in anything the problem lies with that remaining one-tenth of one percent, the story that follows in this post and the next is about one of those times...

On Sunday March 21st we won eBay auction number 320502264972 for an 18-size Keystone J.Boss marked as "Ball-Model" case, numbered 8067378 and although it was shipped through the USPS fully insured, scanned and tracked every step of the way, it never arrived at my home.

Two of seventeen pictures we have of missing watch case...

April 11, 2010, 15:40
Lindell V. Riddle

And that is only the beginning...

In fact at this time all we have to show for it is the "Track and Confirm" documentation that is shown below this posting. As you can plainly see, the seller printed his shipping label on March 24th and took it to the post office nearest him, which is called "Cleveland 44101" on the 25th where it was sorted and sent to the branch nearest me, known as "Cleveland 44143" in Richmond Heights, Ohio at 7:08 the following morning.

An hour and twenty minutes after arrival there, my package was through the sorting process and a half-hour later it was "out for delivery" which I am told means the package was then in the hands of the specific postal carrier whose responsibility it was to deliver it to my front door and obtain the signature and full printed by hand name of a member of my household. It is abundantly clear that USPS records show that beyond any doubt no such delivery ever occurred or was even attempted. Furthermore, on the day in question, Friday March 26, 2010 my wife, our daughter and I were home all of the time and nobody came to the door at any time.

To me the most remarkable part of this is that the USPS has absolutely no record of this insured package after it was placed in the hands of the local delivery carrier. They have assured me that if the package had been delivered to the wrong address they would have a record of that along with the signature of the recipient, but no such thing exists. They have assured me the package cannot be on the truck assigned to our letter carrier as all the delivery vehicles are carefully checked for such things at the end of every day. They have also assured me they have searched for my package in the local post office branch building and it is not there. I even suggested the label may have been torn off and they made it clear no package with a missing label has materialized either.

Only one explanation remains, an insured, tracked and confirmed package measuring approximately six inches wide, nine inches in length and three inches in depth was fully documented and accounted for, minute-by-minute, up until the very moment it was placed in the custody of the one person who was to do something very simple, deliver it to my front door, and at that point this package simply disappeared. Something very strange either happened or is still happening. So, I keep asking, "Where is my package?"

This has been and continues to be an extremely frustrating experience, we have spent many hours and made many calls including calls to the Postal Inspectors to no avail. I am sad to report that quite frankly I feel like I have run into a veritable stone-wall of foot-dragging and indifference with the USPS at every level, nobody with the USPS can explain this or have even tried to.

Your comments and suggestions are invited.



USPS "Track and Confirm" confirms lost or stolen package...

April 11, 2010, 16:28
Edward Kitner
Lin,I know how you feel!
I mailed a package to one of our members 18 feb of this year and it never showed up. I was foolish and did not insure it, so I am out the cost of the items. I made several calls, and filed a stolen report, all to no avail. The postal system is as corrupt as the rest of our government!
I do not believe they investigate any of the reports. It is cheaper to pay the insurance if any was payed for by the sender.
I firmly believe once you place a package or letter in the custody of the USPS they should be responsible for it's safety. If lost or stolen they should be liable for the replacement or the cost of the item without paying insurance. It is just another way to extort more money from the tax payer.
April 11, 2010, 16:36
Mitch Markovitz
Lin and I discussed this matter at length yesterday. It frustrates all of us as we ship valuable watches many times a year.

My suggestions included sending letters via certified mail, return receipt requsted, addressed to the offices of all the officials responsible, including the post master general.

I feel that all of us should take the time to write to at least the office of the post master general as, beginning with Phil's famous "Empty Package Experience" a few years ago, to our 185's new "Lost or Stolen" section of this forum, the situation of evaporating watches is becoming alarming.

I'm concerned myself as I will be sending some watches out for repair in the not to distant future.
April 11, 2010, 16:50
Buster Beck
Sorry to hear of the apparant "loss".
It would appear your post office is a branch or outlying post??
I'm aware theres no postmaster there however, I do believe someone would have to be in a position of authority or "acting postmaster".
Armed with the transcript of activity. one would hate to press their luck when future mailings are adament or possible,but Frown
Though the USPS is a govt. agency and they have their own internal investigations and agents, I often wonder why a citizen could not call the local police to investigate the matter or to file a complaint against what appears certain to be a theft of property especially when it appears to be narrowed down to one individual responsible for the delivery of said item Eek
Unfortunately the "red tape" requires a 21 day "lost" item wait, then a filing of forms for insurance could last another 90 days while the postal authorities render a decision and make a refund Confused
Just seems a lot of baloney for something pretty well cut and dried. One possibility would be that whoever "scanned" the item as "out for delivery" would have put the item in a pouch, bin, for the appropriate carrier. I suspect anyone in that post office could logically take that item from that pouch or bin before the carrier actually loaded it into his little truck Mad
I guess we should be thankful that it doesn"t happen more often. We are shipping a small collectible thats valuable and small. Small means easy to conceal. I'm as guilty as any by shipping these items in a small USPS PRIORITY box that a cassette would feel at home in Eek WHY?? Because the USPS makes these small shipping containers available to anyone for FREE Eek
To a thief I would suspect "small & insured" could mean gold, jewelry, coins, etc. and easy to stash under a coat, or into a lunch box, valise, or personal brief case Eek
Perhaps we should start shipping our items in larger boxes to cut down on "lost" packages Wink
Just a suggestion, and whats yours Confused Hope it helps Smile and it turns out with a happy ending Big Grin
April 11, 2010, 17:15
Mike LaForest
They have assured me that if the package had been delivered to the wrong address they would have a record of that along with the signature of the recipient, but no such thing exists.

Lindell, I'm very sorry about this turn of events! Above, I quoted from your original post. I think this is where the rub is. The Postal inspectors and officials can assure you of NOTHING because they weren't there. You described what SHOULD have happened, but didn't. At the best, I think your package was delivered to the wrong address by your carrier whose mind wasn't on the job. Hopefully, the USPS keeps records when carriers 'lose' packages with too many 'no shows' resulting in disciplinary action.

It sounds like the case is gone. Ed Kitner is exactly right about it being cheaper for the Post Office to pay the claim. Us schlubs have no recourse except to pay extra for insurance.
April 11, 2010, 17:39
Lindell V. Riddle

We were assured that even if this item was delivered to some other address and the carrier was sloppy and did not bother getting a signature the item would have either been scanned at that time, in which case the time would show up on the "Track and Confirm" or at the very least, it would have been accounted for at the end of that day. Considering both of those possibilities, again, no such thing exists.

They tell me "Delivery Confirmation" requires scanning and "Insured" requires a signature, they have neither!

So, I keep asking Confused "Where is my package?"

April 11, 2010, 19:16
Edward L. Parsons, Jr.
That's terrible Lin. I'd recommend turning up the volume on your complaint.

I think it's an obvious case of filferage (no pun intended!) where a dishonest postal employee has homed in on you as the recipient of small, valuable items.

Best Regards,

April 11, 2010, 19:26
Samie L. Smith
When the package left the post office it was assigned to the carrier you would think he should have to account for where it went was it delivered if it was not signed for or scanned it should still be in his box or pouch so he should have to answer for where it is.
April 11, 2010, 19:58
Bill Kapp

My sympathies for your disapointment. This hobby can be very frustrating at times. We have ethics issues from sellers and buyers, misrepresentations, frankenwatches, outright fraud, lost and stolen mail etc, etc.
Fortunately we also have joy and pride in our acquisitions and enhanced knowledge of our horological treasures.

I know how disapointed I would be if I were in your shoes today, but step back and count your blessings and remember the joy all your successful transactions have brought you.

To me it feels like paying twice if I dwell too much on the negatives.

happy hunting,
April 11, 2010, 20:01
Mitch Markovitz
Yep. Turn up the volume, the heat, and anything else we all can do on this.

It's the "So what" attitude of Lin's local PO that has me PO'd.
April 12, 2010, 00:40
Richard Romero

Sorry to hear about the situation you're going through. I've also had a bad experience with the USPS. About a year ago I purchased a Howard Series 11 with a Montgomery dial, correct hands, in a white gold filled Keystone RR style Chronometer case on ebay. I had searched for a watch like this for months and finally got one that appeared in great condition at a reasonable price. The seller sent it delivery confirmation and it never showed up. My wife was home when the postal carrier logged into their computer that it had been delivered.

I live on a busy street and have no idea if the postal carrier left the watch on the porch and someone stole it from there, or if the carrier left it at the wrong address, or worst yet decided to keep it for themselves. When I called the post office what they told me is delivery confirmation merely means is the carrier left the watch somewhere. Luckily pay-pal covered the loss because something that's valued at $200.00 or more needs to be sent signature required according to pay-pal rules for sellers. The seller had insured the watch through a private company so they got their money too.

Even though I hadn't loss any money I felt violated. Since then anything of value gets sent signature required. On several occasions, on items less than $50.00, I chose to go with delivery confirmation only. Several times I watched the postal carrier drop an item off and not knock on the door or ring the door bell. I called USPS and they got back to me after a couple of days. When I talked to the person in charge they told me the carrier should be trying to make contact but there has been so many different carriers in the area lately they wouldn't have any idea who to reprimand.

Most of the time our residence ends up with the same postal carrier and we've been able to build up a rapport with them and there's no trouble. Lately, with the economic downturn, we get different carriers daily and they usually show up at different times. It's frustrating that the government agency seems to have a we don't care attitude. It's a shame that USPS employees don't seem to respect the jobs they have and take little pride in their work. I think part of it is the drive to get the job done with less people.

When I read you are also having issues with USPS it struck a nerve.


April 12, 2010, 02:07
Mary Ann Scott
Lindell - I am so sorry to hear of the apparent theft of the Ball case. Hopefully it will show up and had been misdirected somehow.

I, too, had an upsetting experience about a year ago involving a watch I bought from Dave Abbe. It did not arrive the day it should have. After waiting a couple of days, I checked the USPS web site and it showed the package had been delivered! There were 3 people in the house all day on the alleged delivery date. There was no knock on the door and neither of our two dogs barked as they usually do when someone approaches the front door.

I went to our local post office and spoke with the manager (ours is a substation of a larger one in the city next to us). He listened politely and said he would speak with the carrier. The next day I, again, spoke with the manager who said the carrier left the package by the front door. (95% of packages are left at the front door although I have complained numerous times about this). I was then told that there had been several thefts of packages by someone who follows after the carriers and takes them from front porches. Once again I complained but my complaint seemed to fall on deaf ears.

I was told that I would have to file a claim after the mandatory waiting period. Well, guess what happened. Five days after being shown as delivered, the package was left by the front door with no explanation of what had happened! The carrier did not knock on the door. The only way I knew it was there was because the dogs barked. I was livid and went back to the post office and was again met with indifference.

I was fortunate in that my package eventually arrived. I sincerely hope that yours does, too.
One thing to consider, as was mentioned above, is that when the package was scanned as being out with the carrier, it very well may have been taken by the person who scanned it and never made it to the carrier. That is something that needs to be checked into.

Now, for any packages valued at more than $200.00 I will pay extra to have it sent registered. The delivery time is longer, but it is well worth it. The package is scanned, logged in and locked up at each leg of the journey. It is the safest and most secure method of shipping valuables.

Be the squeaky wheel and eventually it will get the oil. And be sure to document every conversation you have to include the date and name of the person you speak with. I hope the case does show up eventually.
April 12, 2010, 09:44
Edward Kitner
With the reversal of human evolution going on in this country I have to believe the other carriers have the same problems.
Does anyone use FEDX or UPS on a regular basis?
April 12, 2010, 10:06
Lindell V. Riddle

One of our members shipped a fully insured item to me through UPS in December and together we are still trying to get that taken care of, I would rate their service as deplorable. My experiences with Fed-Ex have been even worse, items disappear and regardless of how much an item is insured for the Fed-Ex fine print limits their responsibility to a $100.00 cap on "jewelry items" which is how they classify our watches or anything associated with them regardless of how much insurance one might choose to buy.

The US Postal Service is the one with whom we have had the least problems, as I said above in this topic I believe they deliver effectively something like 99.9% of the time. This morning our situation has been escalated and we may be getting closer to a resolution.


April 12, 2010, 10:14
Mitch Markovitz
I'm staying tuned for late breaking developments.

This is irratating all of us.

One thing that I will start doing, and believe me there has been no problems at all with my local post office, is to have all packages held at the PO for my pick up. I'm less bothered by running an errand than I am by a loss.
April 12, 2010, 12:12
Mark Cross
I, too, will be interested in reading of a resolution.

I always sweat bullets when packages are traveling between Texas and my house, as they are always scanned in Texas, then never reappear on radar until they arrive at my home post office in Tennessee. They had to go through at least 2 sorting spots that require scanning...but those scans never appear.

The last time I sent a jacket through the mail for repair to California, insured and all the bells and whistles required, it tracked all the way to the company and was scanned as signed for and delivered. I emailed the company owner and he said he didn't have the package, even though the scanned signature gave his name. Long story short, the owner actually found the box tossed in the bushes next to the front door of his building. I dodged a bullet THAT day! Mad

Good luck, Lindell! I hope this gets sorted out in your favor VERY quickly!

Regards! Mark
April 12, 2010, 13:40
Mitch Markovitz

Are you saying that the carrier signed the signature and name field and just left the box at the business?

If this is the stuff that's going on we should really take some sort of measures to correct these things.

No wonder they call it "Going postal."
April 12, 2010, 13:50
Mark Cross
Yes sir, that's what I was told by the business owner. Worse yet, it wasn't just 'left at the business', but it was literally found in the bushes next to the door. Mad

Regards! Mark
April 12, 2010, 19:29
Theodore J. Brown Sr.
Lindell, I'm sorry to hear about this.Seems like this is happening way often.I hope it turns up.I can say from experience, that UPS is way worse. I once had a watch shipped UPS from Cailfornia.It never arrived on time.(This was before we had a computer).I got nowhere trying to talk to them.After about another week, it arrived, but the glass crystal was shattered and glass had gotten under the dial and some in the movement.All this even though the box looked OK.Called the seller, he didn't want to know anything, he said he gets blamed for UPS's negligence all the time!So beware of them too.I've also had a bad experience with Fedex.They claimed the item wes delivered on time, when my wife was home waiting for them, which was an outright lie, because it never arrived, until about 3 days later, after I called them and got the runaround.You pay enough for shipping, the least they could do is their job.
April 12, 2010, 19:39
Eric Unselt
Lin, find out the name of the carrier. Go to their home, bang on their door, and demand your property Cool.
April 12, 2010, 19:59
Theodore J. Brown Sr.
Eric is right about that.Might be a good idea to call the long arm of the law first, just in case.
April 12, 2010, 20:34
Buster Beck
Well we all would like a solution BUT Eek
I would refrain from banging on someones door and demanding anything Eek
That may end up in a worst case scenerio and a possible bad outcome/ending Eek
April 15, 2010, 07:28
Mitch Markovitz
I think that entry on the delivery notice means that if Lin had a PO box it would be in there, or, it's with the carrier for home delivery. Since Lin doesn't have a PO box then that meant the carrier had it.

But the nagging question still remains. After that scan did the carrier actually receive the item? Did the carrier create the scan or did another in the local PO scan it and then run?
April 15, 2010, 19:32
Tom Brunton
Interesting discussion !! My current problem is a bit larger in size ,but also perhaps lost or stolen ,or perhaps just not delivered yet,a box approx. 2 ft square , containing a watchmakers lathe, sent to an eBayer from Turkey "masterprayer", who did a PayPal chargeback of just over $450 in 3 1/2 weeks , although the Canada Post delivery standard for surface overseas to Turkey is six weeks, so I'm out the $450 and the trace shows only that the parcel has left Canada. I emailed him Mar.4 the day he paid that the parcel was mailed,curiously ,four days later , he emailed me on Mar 8 asking if the "product" was sent yet,hhhmmmmmm
April 20, 2010, 22:51
Tom Brunton
Now they have given him the money plus charged me extra for the charge-back,even though I proved to them that he asked me to help him cheat the turkish government out of it's legitimate taxes by declaring a $450 parcel (shipping included) to be a gift , and to put no documentation in the box. He wants his government services , but he wants others to pay for them. I emailed him Mar.4 that his parcel was sent, Mar.8 he emailed me and asked me if the "product" was mailed. Then I caught him bidding on a similar lathe while he was doing the charge-back thing on me - 1/2 way through the Canada Post standard of delivery to Turkey by surface mail.I have been defrauded 3 times ,all by chargeback ,all by PayPal collusion with the scammers,in addition to this one,there was a lady in Florida who did a chargeback for a damaged article,asked for her to return it she didn't,had a friend who lived near her call her on the phone and say he'd be over to pick it up, she phoned me ,said I was harrassing her family, called me a lot of names , and said she's send the parcel back. She did so ,overvalued it so I got nicked for extra taxes on my own item,which arrived back to me in the original package I sent it to her in, unbroken, and unopened from when I sent it to her, I forget her name , and then eBayer lisakane6 bought a RR watch , did a chargeback claiming non delivery,filed an eBay fraud charge against me for non-delivery , though eventually the watch returned to my door - properly addressed to him, and marked in German "Refused at door - Deutsches Bundespost"!! At least in that instance I got the watch back though I believe they charged me an extra $58 for the chargeback. This time it was about $30 more than the transaction. PayPal Seller Protection - what a sick dishonest misnomer that is !!!!
May 04, 2010, 18:53
Tom Brunton
and then today,two months to the day after shipment ,the money which was taken in a chargeback in three weeks,is back in my Paypal.
May 04, 2010, 21:18
Desmond Lundy
I have arrived at the point that unless the overseas client is prepared to pay for air service, I assume that they don't really want the merchandise. That is right - Canada Post Office still offers surface post on export packages. The service standards for surface post to Europe is 6 weeks which really means ten or twelve weeks. I have shipped merchandise to various European destinations all the while carefully explaining that transit will be be ten weeks. The transit time is acknowledged but by four weeks I get emails asking about the package. I answer, reminding the client that transit was explained as being ten weeks. By four and one half weeks, I am getting nasty emails and by five weeks, a Paypal complaint. In an effort to avoid a continuum of grief, I refund the funds and ask that the client restore the funds to me when the package arrives. Clients in Germany, Italy and the Irish Republic faithfully restored my funds but a number of clients in three other countries conveniently chose to forget I exist. I may be a slow learner, but I do learn.
May 04, 2010, 23:00
Ernest C. Barnes
Desmond. I share your dilemma in shipping to some foreign destinations. I ship small watch/watch parts and also explain to buyers the shipping time to those destinations, but there is always that 3 out of 10 shipments that are delayed or lost. In most cases I get a charge back from Paypal and those others simply wait patiently until the part shows up.
May 05, 2010, 12:05
Mark Cross
Speaking of which, any resolution on this Ball Case situation yet?

Regards! Mark
May 05, 2010, 15:40
Lindell V. Riddle

Hi Mark,

Nothing of any substance to report as of yet.

We had conversations with the Postal Inspectors and they are investigating. The manager of our local post office apologized profusely for their gross mishandling of this entire situation, and we discussed past problems as well. Since that most recent conversation our mail delivery has improved dramatically. But unfortunately, the question of where the package went and whether the watch case will ever show up remains unanswered as of this posting.

Without doubt, topics like this, posted in public view raise all of our awareness and cause each of us to be even more careful than before. I can also report that in this instance our discussion has gotten the direct attention of post office management and those responsible for being sure our mail is delivered in a prompt and professional manner.

And that is a very important result for every one of us.



May 05, 2010, 16:08
Mary Ann Scott
Lindell - sorry to hear that the watch case has not been "found" as of this date. I still think the person who allegedly scanned the package as out for delivery or the carrier directly should be questioned. Having the postal inspectors involved should bring resolution of some sort. As to whether you get the case or a refund, the practices and policies in your local post office will be scrutinized closely and hopefully improved permanently.

At the very least, the deliveries to your house have improved.

Keep being the squeaky wheel!
May 05, 2010, 17:06
Mark Cross
It's a fine thing that this example may stop someone else from experiencing the same kind of loss, as well as improve service....but that still does not make YOU 'right'. Keep the heat on them. I have no doubt sooner or later the case will magically re-appear from some dark corner of a post office room when no one is looking.

My best to you, sir!

Regards! Mark