Shipping problems resolved !!!

By Tony Lam

Merry Christmas to every one !!  I feel blessed for the year.  Both USPS and UPS shipping problems have been resolved before Christmas.  Finally, I got a full of refund from USPS for the “missing page 1 “ on 12/22/12 after filing several cases to and two emails to the Postmaster General.  Below is their internal communication message regarding to the case.

“ We have re-trained our SSA’s in all Fremont stations regarding proper procedures of handing PS Forms 2976-A and 2976(Customs declaration forms)”

As to the problem of UPS pickup not scanned, the tracking records finally showed up after I filed a lost claim at Below is the latest tracking activities.

UPS pickup not scanned

By Tony Lam

I just received inquiries from two buyers about tracking information not showing in the UPS system on 12/17/12 as of 4:30p.m. The payments for both packages were cleared on 12/12/13 and they are supposed on the way to the customers. UPS pickup scan record is not in the system and only with the message:

“A UPS shipping label has been created. Once the shipment arrives at our facility, the tracking status–including the scheduled delivery date–will be updated. “

UPS pickup at Christmas time

I dropped the packages dropped off at Pak N Mail Etc on Thursday 12/13/12 noon time. The lady in the mail shop told me that the UPS guy left for the day and he would pick them up on Friday 12/14/12. I called the mail shop, the same lady confirmed me that the UPS did come on Friday late afternoon. He might not scan the package when he picked up. Also, UPS ground mails are not processed at terminal on Saturday. I understand the buyer’s concern about not receiving the package on or before Christmas Eve 12/24/12 since UPS ground mails will take maximum five working days to deliver. Now, I have to cross the fingers and pray the packages can be processed in time. I learned something in handling UPS ground mails during Christmas season.


  1. Drop off at a UPS Store

UPS store must have a better care of their package when comparing to a UPS authorized mail shop that handles FedEx, USPS and UPS mail at the same time. Also, the UPS store has a fix pick up schedule. I have another package dropped off at a UPS store on 12/14/12 1:32pm has a tracking record of pick up scan on 5:01pm on the same day.

UPS tracking with dropoff at UPS store

  1. Get an official receipt from the UPS store

When you drop off the packages to a UPS store,  you can ask for an official receipt from the UPS store. It is to avoid future dispute when the packages are lost. Also, the receipt can be act as an evidence to show to your buyers that you have left the packages to the UPS store when the UPS driver does not scan pickup.

More readings…


One of the places told me that he literally has to tell the driver to scan it in immediately, otherwise the driver just throws it on the truck and it gets scanned at their terminal….and more

UPS package never scanned?

But anyway, a relative of mine shipped an item to me on Wednesday and gave me the tracking number as soon as he did..It’s been stuck on this message since then “A UPS shipping label has been created. Once the shipment arrives at our facility, the tracking status–including the scheduled delivery date–will be updated.”… and more

“Missing Page 1” in USPS Priority Mail Customs form AGAIN !!!!

By Tony Lam

On 12/11/12, the package shipped by USPS Priority Mail International to UK with tracking number CF203595701US  returned to me due to “Missing Page 1” of the customs form.  This is the second time I got the return because of “missing page 1”.  According to the tracking information, only two post offices processed my package this time.  I’m pretty sure someone in the post office in Fremont or ISC San Francisco took the customs page 1 out intentionally or by mistake.

USPS tracking CF203595701US

With the lessons learned in the first occurrence, I quickly sent an email to USPS customer service at and opened a case with ID 111115767 to request a postage refund because of mishandling of USPS post officers. On 12/12/12, I received a standard reply as below and asked me to call 1-800-222-1811.

“The reason that you have not seen many updates is because the number you provided is a customs label number, rather than a tracking number. The scan information available for this type of number is limited. However, delivery information is available to most countries with C-series numbers, such as yours. I apologize that this item has not been delivered. Although Priority Mail International is not a guaranteed service, usually delivery can be expected within six to ten business day…”

I emailed my request again but only to be informed that refunds are not available for Priority Mail International postage on 12/13/12.

Should I be penalized by USPS’s fault ?  Here are the steps what I have taken or will take. I will let you know the result then.

1)      Informed the buyer about the return and re-sent the package again at my own cost, with alert message and an extra  Page 1 stuck on the box as shown below.


2)      Document the communication emails with USPS customer service.

3)      Requested a postage refund and an investigation if someone mistakenly kept the customs page 1 as the “post office’s copy”.

Will continue escalating the issue to upper managements  (or even to the CEO of USPS, Patrick Donahoe)

Undeliverable USPS shipment

By Tony Lam

Domestic market in US is not as good as before, now more than 50% of my bids or orders are from international buyers. Although the profit for oversea shipments may be better, the risk  of lost or damage packages is higher too. Here is my experience in an undeliverable USPS shipment to Australia.

On 9/6/12, I  received the buyer’s message that she has not received the item to date. She knew that it was delivered to her apartment building around 3 July, at a time when she was away. After tracing it to her local post office, she was advised that it was posted back to me as sender.

After checking my record, I found that the package was shipped on 6/25/12 by USPS First Class Mail International. I asked the buyer to see if she can recall the package again but it was too late. I re-assured the buyer that I will refund her after getting the return.

Finally, without receiving  the package, I gave a credit back of the full amount to the buyer on 10/28/12 . Fortunately, I received the returned package two days after the refund .

In summary of the whole event, I mailed the package on 6/25/12 and it was delivered to the buyer’s apartment around 7/3/12 while she was away. The package got returned to the local post office and sat there until 8/8/12 and then returned to me. I received the package on 10/30/12 after 4 months from my first delivery !!!

Lessons learned from this unsuccessful shipment

Here list out what I learned from this undeliverable USPS shipment event. You may not totally agree on my points. If you have any comments or questions. I would love to hear them.

  1. USPS First Class to Australia takes around 7 working days
  2. It’s better put the shipping option in shipping label as “return to sender if not delivered” since the return shipping is free of charge.
  3. Always assure full accountability for any loss or damage package to the buyers. If loss is unavoidable, take up all the loss and don’t transfer the loss to your buyers.
  4. Consider the risk factors of international shipments based on value of items, destination countries, and fragility of items. Buy shipping insurance to cover the potential loss if possible.

I got refund of postage cost from USPS customer service

By Tony Lam

I received a returned package from USPS on 10/25/12.  The return reason is “missing page 1” of the customs form. I mailed out the package with USPS Priority mail International to France on 10/16/12.  According to the tracking information, the parcel was missent to Moraga CA from Oakland USPS Sort Facility, and then returned to me on 10/25/12. I’m pretty sure that I put all three pages shipping label, customs form, dispatch note into the pouch and I kept the forth page (sender copy) for my record. I was dubious if someone took out the first page to cover up the mistake of missent. If I send the parcel again, I need to pay postage cost again. What can I do ? Finally, I decided to raise a compliant to USPS via their website by email. After three long days, I got the following email from USPS customer service.

“I understand you are writing about your item, CF102672917US, which was returned to you marked “Missing Page 1”, even though all of the pages were present when you mailed the item. You are requesting a refund.

Tony, your best option is to take the item to any convenient Post Office to request your refund.

Tony, I am confident that the information and next steps which I have provided will help and I appreciate you taking the time to email us about this issue.

Thank you for choosing the United States Postal Service for your mailing and shipping needs. We appreciate your business.”

Holding the email, I went to a big post office and the post officer, knowing that it is the decision from the USPS customer service, wrote me the money order for the postage cost of $45.79. I am really blessed to get the refund so fast. My last indemnity claim to USPS customer service with Expedited shipping to Australia caused me more than 6 months and lot of calls and mails to get my money back. I learned a lesson from my terrible experience and worked better this time. Here are my tips and recommendations for you.

1)      Don’t just call to complain, write an email to USPS customer service via

In the last claim, because of office hours and postal type, I need to call many times.  Each time, I have to go through all the voice machine options before getting a right real person to talk with. Whoever I talked to, I need to repeat my problem again and their official routine answers are the same – but still can’t solve my problem. In the form of email with direct request for a refund because of their mishandling , my claim can reach directly to the right person in the USPS customer service department. In this way, the claim is officially recorded in the claim system with a case number.


2)      Go to the main post office for the refund

Don’t go to a small post office since the officers there usually are not  familiar with the refund process. Last time, the officer in my neighborhood post office had to call the head office to learn what claim form should be used, what document required , and where to send the claim form. The worst of all is that the head office didn’t receive my sign-off claim form sent by the post officer.


3)      Keep a copy of all the document

I took pictures of all pages of the claim form and shipping labels required for the claim.  In my last claim, the USPS head office lost or didn’t receive my document. I found it out myself after waiting for long time without reply. Without the backup copy, I couldn’t re-send the document again.


4)      Show the written claim resolution to the post officer

Bring a copy of reply from the USPS head quarter to the local post office to process the refund of postage cost. I was rejected initially as the post officer said she couldn’t process online postage refund until I showed the email from USPS customer service  to her.

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