Lost Mail

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skepticalobserver
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Lost Mail

Post by skepticalobserver » Tue May 07, 2019 7:38 am

I mailed two checks to vendors from the PO on April 1st for nominal amounts, $70 and $69. Neither made it to the addressees (one of which is a couple of zip codes away). I stopped payment late April ($32 each!). Called the bank this morning and neither check has hit the account.

Question: is there any percentage to bringing this to the attention of the local PO manager?

fabdog
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Location: Williamsburg VA

Re: Lost Mail

Post by fabdog » Tue May 07, 2019 7:40 am

no. Unless you had paid for tracking they don't have anyway to figure it out... and they will (if you're lucky) just smile and say they try hard (which to be fair, most of the time they do)

I had a payment to a local business go missing... they called me, and I sent a new check... the missing payment showed up in their office 4 months later... who knows where it had been

Mike

Topic Author
skepticalobserver
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by skepticalobserver » Tue May 07, 2019 7:50 am

Thanks Mike.

My concern is those much larger checks I mail from time-to-time. I pay on line when I can.

Also, I hear about “washing” of stolen checks and withdrawal of bank funds using account and routing numbers off pilfered checks.

fabdog
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by fabdog » Tue May 07, 2019 8:24 am

I understand, that's a real issue. But not clear how talking to your local post office manager mitigates that.

Paying online whenever you can minimizes that issue as you noted

Mike

michaeljc70
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue May 07, 2019 8:25 am

Anytime I've complained to the post office they say they will look into it and I never hear anything again. I don't see how they will track this down even if they wanted to.

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samsoes
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by samsoes » Tue May 07, 2019 9:35 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 8:25 am
Anytime I've complained to the post office they say they will look into it and I never hear anything again. I don't see how they will track this down even if they wanted to.
They can do it, although they likely won't.

In 2001, a elderly woman local to me died from Anthax. The postal investigation determined that a particular peice of bulk (junk) mail she received was cross-contaminated in a sorting machine - several states away - with a contaminated piece of mail targeting a member of Congress.

If the technology to track regular mail existed in 2001, it certanly exists now, especially now with Informed Delivery technology.

(Google: Ottilie Lundgren)
"Happiness Is Not My Companion" - Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren. | (Avatar is the statue of Gen. Warren atop Little Round Top @ Gettysburg National Military Park.)

michaeljc70
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue May 07, 2019 9:41 am

samsoes wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 9:35 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 8:25 am
Anytime I've complained to the post office they say they will look into it and I never hear anything again. I don't see how they will track this down even if they wanted to.
They can do it, although they likely won't.

In 2001, a elderly woman local to me died from Anthax. The postal investigation determined that a particular peice of bulk (junk) mail she received was cross-contaminated in a sorting machine - several states away - with a contaminated piece of mail targeting a member of Congress.

If the technology existed in 2001, it sure exists now, especially now with Informed Delivery technology.

(Google: Ottilie Lundgren)
That is life and death. Having Anthrax on it makes it easier to track I would think. This is a $69 check that was cancelled.

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samsoes
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by samsoes » Tue May 07, 2019 10:00 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 9:41 am
samsoes wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 9:35 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 8:25 am
Anytime I've complained to the post office they say they will look into it and I never hear anything again. I don't see how they will track this down even if they wanted to.
They can do it, although they likely won't.

In 2001, a elderly woman local to me died from Anthax. The postal investigation determined that a particular peice of bulk (junk) mail she received was cross-contaminated in a sorting machine - several states away - with a contaminated piece of mail targeting a member of Congress.

If the technology existed in 2001, it sure exists now, especially now with Informed Delivery technology.

(Google: Ottilie Lundgren)
That is life and death. Having Anthrax on it makes it easier to track I would think. This is a $69 check that was cancelled.
Agreed, but my point is that the USPS has the technology to track regular mail, if they really wanted to.

Something to keep in mind, for whatever reason.
"Happiness Is Not My Companion" - Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren. | (Avatar is the statue of Gen. Warren atop Little Round Top @ Gettysburg National Military Park.)

Dottie57
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by Dottie57 » Tue May 07, 2019 10:05 am

skepticalobserver wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 7:50 am
Thanks Mike.

My concern is those much larger checks I mail from time-to-time. I pay on line when I can.

Also, I hear about “washing” of stolen checks and withdrawal of bank funds using account and routing numbers off pilfered checks.
I’ve read about washing checks (maybe on BH) that washing of checks occurs with Gel pens. Much less likely with ball point pens. Take it for what it is worth.

investor4life
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by investor4life » Tue May 07, 2019 1:53 pm

Dottie57 wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 10:05 am
skepticalobserver wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 7:50 am
Thanks Mike.

My concern is those much larger checks I mail from time-to-time. I pay on line when I can.

Also, I hear about “washing” of stolen checks and withdrawal of bank funds using account and routing numbers off pilfered checks.
I’ve read about washing checks (maybe on BH) that washing of checks occurs with Gel pens. Much less likely with ball point pens. Take it for what it is worth.
It's the other way around. Gel pens are recommended over ball-point pens when it comes to thwarting check-washing.

DetroitRick
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by DetroitRick » Tue May 07, 2019 2:26 pm

We've had two outbound checks go missing in the mail this year. Prior to this year - zero, that I can recall. And we don't use checks very much in the first place. These were both decent sized checks, and could have been a problem had I not seen that they didn't clear. Stopped payment quickly, but they never turned up. Both were rare occasions where they actually started their journeys from 2 different local post offices - one via box outside, one via handing over at their counter while transacting other business. No way to know where they got lost, or how to prevent it from happening again. Although in one case we did politely mention it at the post office in case they cared. They didn't, as we expected. But if you have time, it never hurts to try I suppose. Ultimately, this made me go from 75% online payments to 99%, one more vendor to 100%... Their loss.

Dottie57
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by Dottie57 » Tue May 07, 2019 2:33 pm

investor4life wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 1:53 pm
Dottie57 wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 10:05 am
skepticalobserver wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 7:50 am
Thanks Mike.

My concern is those much larger checks I mail from time-to-time. I pay on line when I can.

Also, I hear about “washing” of stolen checks and withdrawal of bank funds using account and routing numbers off pilfered checks.
I’ve read about washing checks (maybe on BH) that washing of checks occurs with Gel pens. Much less likely with ball point pens. Take it for what it is worth.
It's the other way around. Gel pens are recommended over ball-point pens when it comes to thwarting check-washing.
Ok, got it wrong then :oops:

texas lawdog
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by texas lawdog » Tue May 07, 2019 3:20 pm

Doubt your checks are being whitewashed - but you should go ahead and report it so they can gather the data...

The link to report is https://www.uspis.gov/report/

You will probably never hear about the results of any investigation or your specific letters - but at least you have helped them to use your report to determine if a bigger pattern is emerging.

Good luck

TravelGeek
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by TravelGeek » Tue May 07, 2019 3:29 pm

samsoes wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 9:35 am
They can do it, although they likely won't.

In 2001, a elderly woman local to me died from Anthax. The postal investigation determined that a particular peice of bulk (junk) mail she received was cross-contaminated in a sorting machine - several states away - with a contaminated piece of mail targeting a member of Congress.

If the technology to track regular mail existed in 2001, it certanly exists now, especially now with Informed Delivery technology.

(Google: Ottilie Lundgren)
The IRS recently sent me a letter. I saw the scan of the letter in my Informed Delivery email. It's been 2 1/2 weeks and the letter never made it into my mailbox. I am not convinced that the USPS has the ability to determine what happened to this letter after it was scanned? I can think of many places where it could have been lost/mis-routed between the scan and my mailbox. An example would be that it was accidentally placed into the mailbox of a neighbor (who perhaps is on vacation, or noticed the mis-routing and threw it out, or read it intentionally or accidentally and returned it to the outgoing mail slot, ...).

That said, I would hope that reporting such losses would be used to try to find patterns. Are some post offices/mail routes/carriers/neighborhoods more susceptible to loss? On my to-do list: ask the IRS if they can resend it and ask my local postmaster what happened to my letter.

fposte
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by fposte » Tue May 07, 2019 3:33 pm

texas lawdog wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 3:20 pm
Doubt your checks are being whitewashed - but you should go ahead and report it so they can gather the data...

The link to report is https://www.uspis.gov/report/
That's for fraud, though; the OP is just missing mail. Missing mail gets reported as described on this page. I'm not sure if you need an account to do that; it makes me login to get to the actual report page, and it's a fussy page that doesn't work well in my version of Firefox.

sport
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by sport » Tue May 07, 2019 4:07 pm

The post office sometimes makes mistakes. I had a letter mailed from one Utah city to another Utah city delivered to my Ohio address. I put it back in the mail box. It came back to my house a second time. I showed it to the carrier, it came back a third time according to the informed delivery email. The carrier intercepted it the third time.

neilpilot
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Location: Memphis area

Re: Lost Mail

Post by neilpilot » Tue May 07, 2019 4:11 pm

skepticalobserver wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 7:38 am
I mailed two checks to vendors from the PO on April 1st for nominal amounts, $70 and $69. Neither made it to the addressees (one of which is a couple of zip codes away). I stopped payment late April ($32 each!). Called the bank this morning and neither check has hit the account.

Question: is there any percentage to bringing this to the attention of the local PO manager?
A bit off topic, but was it worth spending $64 to stop payment on those 2 checks? Were you afraid that, once you paid each vendor again, they would receive the original check(s) and decide not to make you whole? In the unlikely event that one or both checks were misdirected and fraudulently cashed, wouldn't you expect that your bank would make you whole?

In other words, what was the risk in simply letting the checks remain lost?

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jabberwockOG
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by jabberwockOG » Tue May 07, 2019 4:51 pm

neilpilot wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 4:11 pm
skepticalobserver wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 7:38 am
I mailed two checks to vendors from the PO on April 1st for nominal amounts, $70 and $69. Neither made it to the addressees (one of which is a couple of zip codes away). I stopped payment late April ($32 each!). Called the bank this morning and neither check has hit the account.

Question: is there any percentage to bringing this to the attention of the local PO manager?
A bit off topic, but was it worth spending $64 to stop payment on those 2 checks? Were you afraid that, once you paid each vendor again, they would receive the original check(s) and decide not to make you whole? In the unlikely event that one or both checks were misdirected and fraudulently cashed, wouldn't you expect that your bank would make you whole?

In other words, what was the risk in simply letting the checks remain lost?
I was in the IT and banking for 20 years at start of my career and when checks were in their heyday. They are currently a completely obsolete and risky form of payment.

The fees are high but when a check goes missing you need to put a stop pay on them with your bank. Lots of downside to what can happen with missing check and the info that is on it. You may be required to show due diligence if something really bad happens and a stop pay is exactly that.

This is one of the reasons I advise friends and family to never use checks if at all possible, keep check book in a secure locked place in your home, and absolutely never take your checkbook out of the house.

michaeljc70
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue May 07, 2019 5:01 pm

I know OP said they pay most bills online. I've gone to paying them all online. If they go missing the bank is responsible for the check (even the ones that get mailed because the payee doesn't accept electronic payments) and any late fees. I've only had it happen once that a payment was late over around 20 years of online payments and none missing. I was down to a couple payees (government related) that I mailed checks for and now use online paying for them. I've found every payment gets applied. For example, they figure out that the "account number" is the property pin at the county.

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southerndoc
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by southerndoc » Tue May 07, 2019 5:22 pm

Perhaps this is where it ended up:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nat ... 520312002/

https://www.cnn.com/2016/10/20/us/mail- ... index.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/21/nyre ... arded.html

There seems to be a pattern here. My wife shipped a large amount of my daughter's old clothes that she sold. The mail truck caught fire and $1,000 worth of Poshmark sales burned.

likegarden
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by likegarden » Tue May 07, 2019 5:38 pm

Only a data point : we have sent checks to pay bills for more than 50 years and never lost a check payment.

andypanda
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by andypanda » Tue May 07, 2019 5:53 pm

Once upon a time the Post Office lost the check I'd mailed to pay my electric bill. I found out when the next bill showed up that I had not paid it. Okay, I paid it again.

Time went by. Tick tock, tick tock.

Seven or eight months later I received an envelope from the PO with a free stamped plain envelope enclosed and a letter of apology explaining that they'd found my envelope/check/stub in the bottom of the sorting machine. Okay, a free stamp. Nice of them. What they included was only the bottom 2/3rds of the stuff I'd mailed. The machine ate the rest I suppose.

:) The next day I received an envelope from the PO with a free stamped plain envelope enclosed and a letter of apology, etc. What they included was only the top 1/3rd of the stuff I'd mailed.

I got 2 free stamps though. :sharebeer

Housedoc
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by Housedoc » Tue May 07, 2019 6:02 pm

Its a crap shoot mailing letters. My son recently moved so as a habit I mail a letter that has test written on a piece of paper inside. After a month he has never got it. 1 state away.

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TexasPE
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by TexasPE » Tue May 07, 2019 6:24 pm

Re: Lost Mail
Unread post by sport » Tue May 07, 2019 4:07 pm

The post office sometimes makes mistakes. I had a letter mailed from one Utah city to another Utah city delivered to my Ohio address. I put it back in the mail box. It came back to my house a second time. I showed it to the carrier, it came back a third time according to the informed delivery email. The carrier intercepted it the third time.
Had this happen to me. The letter was hand-addressed. The PO had printed a zip+4 bar code (incorrect) on the envelope to enable machine sorting. The PO sorter used this and delivered the letter to me a second time. I marked through the incorrect bar code and re-mailed the envelope - end of problem (at least for me). :happy
At 20: I cared what everyone thought about me | At 40: I didn't give a damn what anyone thought of me | Now that I'm 60: I realize that no one was really thinking about me at all | Winston Churchill

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abuss368
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by abuss368 » Tue May 07, 2019 6:32 pm

Without some type of tracking not sure what recourse you may have. We mail almost no checks any longer. Only to school functions.
John C. Bogle: "You simply do not need to put your money into 8 different mutual funds!" | | Disclosure: Three Fund Portfolio + U.S. & International REITs

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abuss368
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by abuss368 » Tue May 07, 2019 6:33 pm

Don’t forget checks automatically are void after 60 (or maybe 90) days. Should be on face of check.
John C. Bogle: "You simply do not need to put your money into 8 different mutual funds!" | | Disclosure: Three Fund Portfolio + U.S. & International REITs

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abuss368
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by abuss368 » Tue May 07, 2019 6:33 pm

Without some type of tracking not sure what recourse you may have. We mail almost no checks any longer. Only to school functions.
John C. Bogle: "You simply do not need to put your money into 8 different mutual funds!" | | Disclosure: Three Fund Portfolio + U.S. & International REITs

sport
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by sport » Tue May 07, 2019 9:43 pm

I usually send payment via bill pay from my bank. However, my bank withdraws the money from my account when the send the payment. So, if they are sending a paper check, I have no way to know whether or not the check was ever cashed. If I mail my own check, I can see if/when the money comes out of my account. I recently used this method to pay for DW's Medicare premium. I did not want that coverage to lapse for lack of payment. When the check showed up in my account, I knew everything was OK.

carolinaman
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by carolinaman » Wed May 08, 2019 7:46 am

skepticalobserver wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 7:38 am
I mailed two checks to vendors from the PO on April 1st for nominal amounts, $70 and $69. Neither made it to the addressees (one of which is a couple of zip codes away). I stopped payment late April ($32 each!). Called the bank this morning and neither check has hit the account.

Question: is there any percentage to bringing this to the attention of the local PO manager?
DW put 2 letters in box at post office. One contained a check for $70 and the other was a letter to a friend. A few weeks later the bank called and asked about this check which had been obviously altered to $850. DW checked and her friend never received her letter. Obviously these 2 pieces of mail were stolen.

The bank said only way this could have been accepted was through ATM deposit which reads dollar figures and will deposit to the depositor's account. I had to cancel my primary checking account and establish a new one. I had to notify all the businesses who did auto deposits and checks (a real pain), but I was not out any money.

I told bank I wanted to prosecute once they did their investigation. After all, the money was put in someone's account at Wells Fargo. That person was apparently involved in the theft, but that was a brick wall. WF refused to divulge any information to me or the police. I called local police who said this happens all the time. They wanted to help but needed the bank's cooperation which did not happen. I wanted to report this to the post office, but not the branch where it happened since that manager could be in on it. It took several hours (maybe I am slow) to figure out how to file a report online (there was no number to call). There is no way to find out if the PO authorities did anything or not. A very frustrating experience.

We are paranoid about sending checks in the mail and send payments online as much as possible.

I would not rule out the idea that thieves did steal these checks. Even though you stopped payment, they now have your checking account number and information.

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8foot7
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Re: Lost Mail

Post by 8foot7 » Wed May 08, 2019 8:23 am

The only thing that seems to get lost or severely delayed for me is checks to my business. Believe me, I'd accept electronic payments and credit cards gladly if my customers would go along with it.

We have those common community mailboxes in this neighborhood now (new neighborhood so not allowed to put in curbside individual mailboxes) and even when the entire community's mailboxes are right in front of the carrier, at least once a week if not more, we get mail meant for other houses misdelivered to us. So I do take issue with the "we try hard" and "they actually do" statements above because my fourth grader could do a better job putting individual pieces of mail into the correct bins right in front you than this particular carrier seems to do, and he doesn't get a pension or good health insurance either.

It's so bad that I ended up opening a PO box at another post office outside this local delivery region. I have my payment checks sent there and I drive there weekly to collect the checks manually. I resent it but needs must.

I called in to complain and I got a response voicemail from the postmaster that said "thanks, we've corrected the issue" and then about 20 minutes later I got another voicemail from the same lady that said "this is second time I've tried to reach you and I don't believe there is an issue, so I'm closing your file." Even the local management is inept.

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