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Wed Apr 2 2014 12:33:42

USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinformation'

By: Reader

Sponsored Link

Dear Ina,
This is in response to the March 26 letter, "eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desired."

We regret the inconvenience the customer experienced with USPS Tracking(TM) when attempting to track items recently mailed at an unspecified location within the Postal Service.

If the customer was provided inaccurate or incomplete information by a postal official, we apologize and encourage the customer to contact us so we can ensure that our employees have the correct information.

Unfortunately, there were numerous errors in the customer's letter. To set the record straight, the Postal Service is not charging for items scanned at local Post Offices. If a postal employee is telling the customer something different, we would like to know more information about this discussion so we can take corrective action to avoid miscommunications going forward.

Here is how the process is designed to work.

USPS Tracking is built into the price of the following classes of parcels shipped using online eBay labels: Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, Standard Post (formerly Parcel Post) and First-Class Package Services.

There is no charge merely to scan parcels at the retail counter at a local Post Office, for prepaid eBay packages.

Every item accepted at the retail counter at a local Post Office that has a USPS Tracking number must be scanned, whether the customer requests it or not. By the time the items reach the first processing facility, they will have had two scan events.

The customer wrote that "a supervisor told me that there is not tracking on delivery confirmation or signature confirmation until it reaches its destination." Again, this is incorrect information and we would like to correct it.

The Postal Service replaced "Delivery Confirmation" in 2013 with USPS Tracking(TM) as it better reflects our end-to-end tracking, from the acceptance of a package to final destination, including confirmation of delivery.

By the time a package leaves our processing site, it will have had at least two scans. It will receive four more scan events by the time of delivery.

Contrary to what was stated in the letter, Postal Service carriers are required to perform an acceptance scan on all prepaid, barcoded parcels that they pick up from customers.

The letter states that scanning at a mail processing center may not be done if the barcode on the package is not visible. Not true. In some instances, if the barcode is not visible, the package will be re-oriented by hand. However, the majority of package mail volume is processed by mail processing equipment that scans 360 degrees and validates the barcode at the same time.

We recently changed the description for missent events to simply show that packages were processed through or at the location where the event occurred. The events still display on our USPS Tracking external website. "Missent" is no longer used because it was shown to unnecessarily alarm customers who thought their packages were lost and would not be delivered.

The Postal Service is making tremendous progress through its investment in technology innovations to achieve 100 percent visibility in mail and package delivery. Our national performance is averaging higher than 95 percent in scanning all mail and packages we are processing and delivering.

We regret the March 26 letter was posted with so much misinformation and believe this response will help to clarify and educate eCommerceByte viewers and customers of the Postal Service about our scanning practices.
Roy Betts
U.S. Postal Service
Corporate Communications

Comments (44) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma   USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma

by: unknown This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 3 08:07:20 2014

Anyone have Mr. Betts' email addy? I've got 3 LFRB that were picked up here in CA 3 days ago. I handed them to the carrier. All each of them says is 'electronic info was received' and that they were handled by the Bethpage sort facility yesterday. Not one scan done anywhere in California - or anywhere else, just the sort in NY.  

Perminate Link for USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma   USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma

by: Dragonfyree This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 3 08:27:10 2014

I had a package going to India, my mailman scanned it as received and that was the last scan it got.  It was First class so I knew it would only scan so far, but it didn't even scan at Chicago where it usually goes out.

Fortunately this was a sale on Amazon, where I find I have less issues with buyers and it's been a month, so fingers crossed that they got it.

I also think Bell, Ca is the worst place.  I constantly have packages held up there for days.

Perminate Link for USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma   USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma

by: redheadedlady This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 3 08:28:24 2014

I do have 100% rating but it's tough sometimes keeping up.  I use the site for tracking as well and the package that was lost shows it was scanned in Chicago on Oct. 26th but that was the last time.  Since it was overseas, I don't have a leg to stand on, unfortunately. I DO NOT use the ebay Global Shipping program.  I had a lady from Malta order 1 jelly roll for $10.95.  Global shipping told her it would be $77.00 for shipping and fees.  Needless to say, she cancelled the order.  A lady in Australia said that the program wanted to charge her a $4.00 customs fee.  There are no customs fees in Australia unless it is over $1,000 so she cancelled her order.  That was enough for me.  I handle it myself.  The bubble priority envelopes the post office has are wonderful.  You can fit quite a bit in them and they last.  No I did not schedule through the website.  Hubby talked to the post master at my post office.  They are short handed and cannot send people out to pick things up - so we have to go there :(.

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This user has validated their user name. by: thehosst
Web Site

Thu Apr 3 08:44:19 2014

Refunded postage in 160 orders in last 4 months, 27 full refunds, lost 35 cases, 49 packages lost due to no scan, average delivery stats in our endicia account for January and February was 16 to 19 days for first class, hundreds up to 29 days, Priority was 8 to 12 days, some 16 days. Contacted 9 USPS people outside the post office and still, packages go out ground shipping 2 times a week, they say is the weather, for the last 6 months. I do wish I can get in contact with Roy Betts. Every other big shipper in our area is having same issue. Is it the PO Delivery Scorecard? Are they sending all Ground to save money? Whatever it is, is not right and we do need help. Thank you.  

Perminate Link for USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma   USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Thu Apr 3 08:51:26 2014

I'm usually sympathetic with all of the budget cuts and restraints that the USPS must put up with, however... there is definitely some room for improvement when it comes to training.

Locally, my peeves include:

1) Flat-rate envelopes with discounted Commercial Base Pricing being returned to me for ''insufficient postage''. (Now I print all postage as 'hidden' to avoid this problem.)

2) Having to educate clerks that the digital postage amount for a 1st class letter is 1-cent less than the stamp price. (Nothing returned yet, but I've learned NOT to hand letters to the clerk any more. Instead I drop-off packages ONLY at the counter. Letters go in the slot.)

3) The ''schedule-a-pickup'' service is a JOKE. Hit or miss. I don't want to risk it anymore, so I never use it.

Apparently, when a package-pickup has been requested, the carriers receive one-page printout that's folded in half and inserted with the rest of the mail for that address.

Supposedly, when delivering the mail, they're supposed to SEE the notice and come to the door to retrieve the packages. --- Unless they're NOT PAYING ATTENTION, and overlook the notice and simply insert it in my mailbox with the rest of the mail.

Maddening!! --- I've called and written, and each time I've received sincere-sounding apologies and a promise that it will never happen again. But... with such a big employee turnover, and minimal training, it's bound to happen more often that I have a tolerance for.

Congress needs to STOP SABOTAGING the USPS with unreasonable budget requirements. We do NOT need a ''privatized'' mail system.

Perminate Link for USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma   USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma

by: cillianred This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 3 10:27:03 2014

Dear Mr. Betts,

If you haven't already figured it out by all of these posts, the way the usps system is "designed" to work and how it is currently working, are completely different.

My local post office is GREAT. The employees are very nice, helpful and diligent. If a package goes through that location, it gets scanned. It's after the package LEAVES that location that things go bad. Since our local sorting center closed last year, all of our packages go to a different city, in a different state. There has been a MARKED increase of packages NOT getting scanned at that location and/or NOT being scanned after the initial scan until reaching the destination city. This issue seldom happened before all of the usps changes that occurred last year.

We, as your usps customers, WANT the system to work the way it's designed. We WANT to see that the packages are getting properly scanned from the beginning to the end of the shipping journey. However, WE cannot make that happen. Only YOU, Mr. Betts, and the usps can make that happen.

Perminate Link for USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma   USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma

by: VJ This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 3 10:32:34 2014

Hi Roy. Thank you for taking the time to inform of this.

As far as we are concerned, USPS is by far the greatest value for shipping world wide!

We sell across many platforms and countries and judging USPS based on there rates of efficiency, delivery costs and easy of drop off, they score better than all other carriers we use (this includes Deutsche Post, UPS  FedEx, Royal Post and Canada Post).

In the US both fedex and UPS cost 2-3 times more than USPS. Also it's been our experience that issues of theft are a major problem with both these carriers -- in 20+ years we have never had an insurance claim with USPS but can't cpunt the number of problems with UPS and FedEx. Also it should be noted to other sellers that for high ticket items UPS and fedex don't easily pay out there insurance claims.  

It's a shame that USPS has so much negative media attention in the USA because the quality of there service is second to none!

Keep up the good work Roy. You and your co-workers are doing an excellent job!  

Perminate Link for USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma   USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma

by: cillianred This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 3 11:13:14 2014

One other negative change I've noticed starting last fall: packages that have a relatively short distance to travel, such as within the borders of my state or to a neighboring state, used to take 1 to 3 days to arrive at their destination. Now, package traveling to such nearby locations are sometimes taking 5 to 7 days (or longer) to arrive.

I understand that usps is operating under huge budget constraints and I wish that Congress would just let you do what you need to do to run a viable business. And I understand the need for budget cuts and the severe limits as to where and how you're allowed to make them.

But, as your customer, I also must let you know that usps service has taken a huge step backwards since all of the cut-backs of 2013. If you think those cut-backs have not adversely affected your customers, you're wrong. MY customers don't care about cut-backs. All they care about is getting their package as quickly as possible. I ship within 24 hours of receiving payment. But it's ME, not usps, that takes the heat when that package does not arrive within a reasonable time and/or when tracking info is not available because the package is not being scanned enroute.

Perminate Link for USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma   USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Thu Apr 3 11:52:43 2014

----- ''Now, package traveling to such nearby locations are sometimes taking 5 to 7 days (or longer) to arrive.''

If memory serves me correctly, the reason for this is because many regional ''distribution centers'' have been closed or consolidated.

This means that for many people, ''local'' mail isn't processed locally anymore. Instead it must travel to the next-nearest distribution-center... and that generally adds at least an extra day, BOTH WAYS!

Perminate Link for USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma   USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma

by: cillianred This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 3 12:21:19 2014

Anonymous Annie: Yes, I agree that the issue is because of distribution center closings. I've seen packages that are being sent to a location within my state, travel to TWO other states before arriving at the intended destination city within my state. In one case, the destination city was a mere 2 hour drive from my home, yet it took 7 days for the package to arrive.

Again, I'm fully aware and sympathize with the financial difficulties that usps is dealing with. However, that doesn't change the fact that it's been my experience that usps service has deteriorated since last fall.  

I don't know what the answer is since our government doesn't seem inclined to let usps do what needs to be done to make the business viable. I just don't like reading about how the system is ''intended'' to work when I know full well that it is NOT working that way and if they do not know that already, then the people at usps need to understand that the system is often NOT working as intended.

Perminate Link for USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma   USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Thu Apr 3 17:26:45 2014

Dear USPS:

I've been an online seller for more than 15 years and use USPS exclusively as your service, rates, and overall delivery times are far better than your competition.

I and many others here have over the years defended USPS problems because we know that an anti union congress mandated the ridiculous pension/health care funding some 70+ years into the future which is the reason for your financial woes.

However, I've had problems with GMFs in Texas and most recently in Wisconsin.

-- Unscanned PM packages sitting on substation shelves for a few weeks with additional delivery attempts

-- Unrealistic delivery times for domestic PM packages. A PM flat rate envelope I sent 65 miles with stated 1 day delivery took two days.  International 1st class usually takes longer than 10 business days so change it to 10-14 business days.

Ebay doesn't hold USPS accountable for late deliveries. THEY UNREASONABLY HOLD SELLERS RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR SERVICE TIMES!! Ebay states USPS are our employees which makes we sellers accountable when packages aren't delivered within your estimated delivery times.

PLEASE REVISE DELIVERY TIMES ASAP; this system is costing ebay sellers a lot of money in unnecessary ebay encouraged extorted refunds to buyers and the loss of discounts.

Ebay claims that USPS requires them to show thew existing delivery times due to USPS requirements.

You want more business?

It would a lot easier to change the estimated number days for delivery than to hire the people to improve service.

Sellers have supported USPS. Now it's your turn to support us with regard to these unrealistic delivery times and some clerks' refusal to scan packages.

Perminate Link for USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma   USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma

by: Xander This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 3 21:33:41 2014

Worth mentioning is the unwanted estimated delivery times forcefully printed on shipping labels.

When the USPS fails to deliver in these advertised time frames, more customers become dissatisfied by slower than stated delivery times.

May we suggest it is removed from future software updates?

We don't want estimated delivery times printed on the label!

Please remove this mandated option until they become guaranteed delivery times.

Perminate Link for USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma   USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma

by: Eyedeal This user has validated their user name.

Fri Apr 4 05:48:17 2014

14 years selling online.  Since 2008 I have sold mostly on Amazon, and though we get less customer complaints than we did when we sold on ebay, buyers strictly rely on the delivery date.  If not there by the 1st date, I hear about it.  I am in Los Angeles and though my packages are mostly scanned by my local post office, the distribution center has often (especially at the holidays) had packages up to 10 days in the distribution center.  
My problem is Amazon will  refund buyers if the package doesn't arrive by the delivery date whenever a customer complains.  I have had buyers complain to Amazon that their package did not arrive, even though they got a slip to pick up the package or tell the carrier. So Amazon will refund the buyer, because it did not arrive by the delivery date.  
Between Amazon and my distribution center, I lose tons of money with Amazon freely refunding buyers.  
So I too agree get rid of the delivery dates posted on the shipping labels which are totally unreasonable.  

Perminate Link for USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma   USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Fri Apr 4 06:48:16 2014

Dear Mr Betts:
Please heed Ming, xander, and eyedeal's advice on scanning and using realistic delivery estimates.


REMOVE  estimates from the labels - they are wrong too often and some buyers don't understand the concept of ''estimate'' as they latch onto the first number shown.  If you must leave them, then start refunding postage if package does not make it within the time frame shown.

It may not be a ''guaranteed'' time frame in USPS mind, but it is in many buyers mind. While USPS does not have to guarantee delivery within that time frame,  online sellers DO - in the minds of not only some buyers but also the ''resolution'' centers of the venue that facilitated the purchase.



I don't know what percentage of USPS profit reflects what online sellers provide.  I can only guess that the more online sellers get slapped on the bottom line or disappear completely, it will in turn reflect on USPS bottom line.

I've supported USPS throughout the years and have had mostly good experience and many good things to say. Even so, I don't want to be held responsible for action or inaction that lies solely in USPS control.

Perminate Link for USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma   USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Fri Apr 4 11:09:31 2014

18 years selling non-stop online using USPS. I think 3 packages have been lost. It's expensive but it's probably the most reliable shipper out there. And my mailman is BEAUTIFUL.  

Perminate Link for USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma   USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma

by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Fri Apr 4 12:25:48 2014

This is a monumental issue since ebay is punishing sellers based on scans.

Perminate Link for USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma   USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma

by: used2luv2sell This user has validated their user name.

Sat Apr 5 11:00:43 2014

Mr. Betts,

I've been selling on Ebay for about 10 years & a seller friend or I drive to the local PO almost daily with our combined items.

I have noticed your ship dates are now on the package along with the words
''date of delivery specified''.  Yet you don't guarantee that delivery date to me, your customer.  When the package arrives at my buyers place, they get upset that it was delivered ''late''.  

Ebay buyers are supposed to rate MY customer service by the date I shipped.  However, what they actually rate is the job that the Post Office does.  

You have taken missent out of your tracking, but the other day when my item was sent to TN instead of straight across the country; therefore taking 7 days to deliver, it made you look fine, but apparently my buyer wasn't too happy & dinged my stars!  I shipped within a day; YOU did a poor job this time & I've now got damaged stars - Ebay is very serious about hitting sellers with bad marks & they do it gleefully.  No, they will not remove them even when it's right there on their own system to see.  

You need to help us out & take those delivery dates off unless you are going to back them up with refunds or reach out to Ebay & ask them for a dinged star removal program when YOU mess up.  The package I sent should have been clearly marked for my buyer to see that it was ''lost'' along the way.  It's disappointing to see that the PO now thinks they are perfect.  Ebay sellers are used to this mindset amongst decision makers.  We aren't stupid, but you treat us as such.  Take away the daily postage paid by the many small Ebay sellers & perhaps you will consider listening to our simple requests.

I don't hold much hope as we've been talking, begging & pleading to Ebay decision makers regarding their treatment of sellers & it all falls on deaf ears.  Hopefully you will take some time to reconsider these delivery dates & messages you are sending to OUR customers.  We are in this together, but our hands are tied.

What's frustrating is that as a seller I am held accountable for being perfect by Ebay & by their trained-to-expect-perfection-buyers.  I can be ''perfect'' and still get dinged in my DSR's which means I then get emails from Ebay telling me to learn how to be a better seller.  Buyers do not get ''learn to be a better buyer'' emails.  I can't rate the post office & I can't rate Ebay.  Yet, both of you can make mistakes or have ''glitches'' such as coupons that don't work.  Had that been a seller, they would be banned for life.  Yet small sellers are not allowed to make mistakes.  PERIOD.  You WILL pay if/when you do.  


Perminate Link for USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma   USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma

by: LinneyPinney This user has validated their user name.

Sat Apr 5 23:23:56 2014

Contrary to what has been stated, parcels are not scanned at my post office upon drop off unless I take them to the counter and request it. If I leave my parcels in " the bin" they are sorted, banded together by destination and only one in the group within the rubber and is scanned. I have had parcels not be scanned until delivered. I ship 10 to 20 parcels per day. Several parcels never arrived, and not being scanned, I could not prove that I ever took the thing to the post office. I now have to stand in line with my pre-printed label parcels to physically request that each parcel be scanned. And, was told by a USPS employee named Steve that I was only allowed to have 3 items scanned per day. I did not accept this BS and filed a complaint against him. I find it very annoying that I have to waste my time every day just to be sure that USPS employees do their job correctly and scan my parcels.

Perminate Link for USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma   USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 6 00:18:05 2014

I recently had a package STUCK on the conveyor belt in ELK GROVE ILL for a solid MONTH.  

I spoke to the PO that received it;  the 800-number for the USPS;  Emailed;  TRIED to call AND email the Processing Center itself---they HAVE phone and email but REFUSE to answer any of them; the PO that accepted the package INSISTED that the fault lay with the PO in my home town which had NOTHING at all to do with this and was as confused as I was when told it was now THEIR snafu.  

The package was FINALLY delivered one month to the day after I mailed it--and the day AFTER the replacement I sent to my customer arrived.  

I have had packages sent to the wrong COUNTRY; had things scanned and vanished;  had them sent to the wrong address and when questioned the Post Office claimed they had NEVER seen the package--AS IT WAS BEING HANDED TO THE BUYER.  

My mail carrier herself is terrific but she has HER hands tied by the ever changing  people "In charge"  at our tiny PO.  We USED to have a tiny local PO in a different town still without even a computer--all rates were on slips of paper- that had a GREAT clerk until last year he was FORCED to retire early and now they have part timers and a laptop to handle the mail.  Needless to say--we don't go there anymore.  The larger towns around have PO's that mostly can't be bothered with actually DOING anything to HELP the customer and prefer to spend their time arguing about whatever you brought in to mail.  Maybe they think that if they argue ENOUGH you will go over to Staples and send the thing off via UPS or FEDEX.  Not going to happen.

How has no one mentioned the PO's that do PASSPORTS?  And can't seem to be able to do anything ELSE???

We have also walked into a PO and been SCREAMED at that they were NOT going to ALLOW us to mail an item I have mailed dozens of---skis.  Really?  When did THAT happen?  And Yes this IS the same PO that REFUSED to send a parcel to Hawaii--because it is NOT a part of the US.  They also told me I could not send any package to my sister in Thailand if it was over a $40 value.  Say--what?

So---yes the PO has budget woes.  So do I.  So does the REST of the world.  Stupid tho---that is also everywhere and a lot of it is behind the USPS counter.  

Perminate Link for USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma   USPS Sets Records Straight on Scanning 'Misinforma

by: Eyedeal This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 6 12:21:26 2014

The same reasoning for removing misshipped is for the reason there are no clocks in the post office anymore.  Too many complaints at the post office that the line was too long and too few windows were open. Solution to wait time: Remove all clocks.

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