Thursday, October 23, 2014

Postal Service

Stockbridge, Massachusetts

So, the question now is, does England not only have the most expensive postage in the world, but also the worst service?

In the 2010 first TOP  platinum print offer, the only two packages lost were both to England, and the post office there refused even to communicate about it to the postmaster here in Woodbury. This time I found that postage to England is the most expensive in the world—more than to Sinagpore or Japan—and that insurance isn’t available. I self-insured, overall, because of reliable performance, otherwise, last time, but checked how much it would be to insure the packages to Great Britain, because of that last time. It's the one place insurance isn't available at all. Apparently the insurance underwriter knows something.

Now, a print offer buyer in England hasn't received his package shipped on Oct. 9. The USPS website tracking on the package just stops when it leaves NYC. Another package, sent to London, also just stops tracking when it leaves NYC. A package to Norway shows leaving NY, arriving in Norway, entering customs, clearing customs, attempted delivery, notice to adressee, successful delivery. Packages to England, nothing after they leave the the NY terminal.

Next chore will be to check with UPS and FedEx about shipping replacement package(s). Uninsured international Priority Mail packages all showed an indemnity valuation of about $70—I suspect I'll find that doesn't apply to mail to GB.

UPDATE: It gets more crazy. As near as I can tell using their online package pricing tools, FedEx and UPS both want over $100 to send a less-than-one-pound package from Connecticut to London. Clearly, they've consulted with the USPS insurance underwriter.

UPDATE TWO: The USPS "customer service" response is, Fuck You.

Or, in the long form:

The United States Postal Service does not accept inquiries on First-Class Mail International items and Priority Mail International. Your parcel, however, may receive scans as it maneuvers through the United States, but this is neither a requirement nor guarantee. You may find other delivery options for these services by visiting your local Post Office. If you would like a fully traceable International service, please use our Priority Mail Express International or Global Express Guaranteed services.

The first of those raises the price—for a 12x15x1-inch, 14-ounce package going from Connecticut to London, from $40+ to $50+, and the second option costs $70. 


Scott Kirkpatrick said...

Some packages to the UK didn't make it, or all of them? Here in Israel we get tracking until things have left customs but can't always tell which post office they then went to.


Carl Weese said...

I know about one package because the buyer asked me when to expect his print—my shipping history showed it went on Oct. 9 and so should have been there, so I checked the tracking and it goes blank after sorting in NYC. I checked another package to London and it also goes blank on tracking, but that only means that I can't track it, doesn't tell me whether it is lost or not.

I've got a request out to USPS customer service in case they have some alternate way of tracing a package.

I'm told the formerly excellent British postal system was "privatized," and now several private firms compete to provide the worst service possible.

richardplondon said...

"Excellent" was probably overstating the former Royal Mail - certainly "functioning", at the least. And there are good carrier services here. But the specific linkup between the USPS and Parcelforce, seems to be broken somehow - perhaps in terms of Customs and Excise.

To quote

"Photographic Print is duty free and a has a VAT rate of 20% . Illegal import and export of national cultural properties are strictly prohibited to prevent the loss of cultural identity for nations that are plundered. Restrictions may apply for shipping this product with courier or postal companies. Shipping prohibitions apply to Pornography & obscene material (printed/film or digital format). Please, contact your courier for more information."

But books and leaflets etc are zero VAT rated.

Carl Weese said...

I was an English major, but there's nothing wrong with my arithmetic, so forty pounds on a $230 valuation seems like a lot more than 20% unless the value of the pound has plunged. I think my friend who did at least receive his print should complain about what customs charged him.