Weird USPS/eBay Situation: Advice?

Discussion in 'Marketplace Discussions' started by ROFLnaked, Jan 10, 2024.

  1. ROFLnaked

    ROFLnaked Forum Resident Thread Starter

    SH brethren, this is a real weirdie: Someone who happens to be in-state (@225 miles away) did a buy-it-now on Xmas day for a vintage guitar part I offered on the popular auction site. With tax & shipping he paid $90 total, so I printed out the label and shipped the item off to him via USPS Ground Advantage ($100 insurance automatically included) the next day--December 26th. Estimated arrival date was December 28th. Another successful piece of internet commerce concluded, right?

    Between December 27th and January 4th, tracking info showed the package had mysteriously bounced back & forth between my regional PO and the buyer's regional PO numerous times. My local post office advised on January 5th they could see an internal picture of the most recent scan that showed the correctly-addressed label perfectly intact with no rips, and I was told to sit tight: the package will arrive at its destination in a day or two.

    January 8th was the third day in a row showing no movement or tracking update, but only "package in transit--arriving later than scheduled." I then filed an official inquiry online. Yesterday morning--January 9th--I received a response from a USPS investigations supervisor offering an apology, and letting me know the package is considered to be lost as there had been no actual scan of the package since January 3rd. He provided me with a link to file an insurance claim, which I then submitted along with a pdf showing the $90 I had to refund the buyer. The automated USPS email response indicated a 3-business-day period for claim review. Running the tracking number showed a final entry stating "Inquiry closed--sender advised," so I then issued a $90 refund to the buyer.

    Just for kicks today, I checked the tracking number again. Lo and behold, the "lost" package was scanned in this afternoon at the buyer's regional post office, and is now showing an updated scheduled delivery date of January 12th.


    I have now issued the buyer a full refund per the postal investigator's decree yesterday that the package was lost, yet today the tracking is showing a package delivery scheduled for Friday. Who--if anyone--do I appeal to at this juncture? Certainly USPS will reject my insurance claim since the package is no longer lost. Is eBay going to undo a refund if I attempt to explain what's transpired? Do I simply have to hope the ethical buyer will remit payment once his package finally arrives?

    Thank you...
  2. Semolina Pilchard

    Semolina Pilchard Forum Resident

    I have no real insight for you (sorry), but in your position I'd get ahead of it with both eBay and the buyer.

    I've found eBay agents to be very helpful in the past (on chat and by phone) and they should be able to tell you now what they're able to do, and may look more kindly on the situation if the buyer doesn't co operate.

    Having said that, I've found the vast majority of buyers to be reasonable, and would guess/hope that when told that the package is on the way, yours will be willing to either re-pay or return the item. Getting to them before the package lands increases the chances of them doing the right thing.

    Good luck.
    Dave and ROFLnaked like this.
  3. eddiel

    eddiel Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    What a mess. You need to get on the phone for this one. I'd call eBay.

    I'd also call USPS. Don't tell them the package shows as about to be delivered. Just call to find out about your claim and when you may get your money to see if the claim was approved and is just being processed and you will get your money anyway. Wouldn't surprise me if, once a claim is approved and is being processed, they don't bother checking to see where the package is.

    I had an issue in the past as a buyer where a package never arrived. We waited for months. Seller refunded me. When the package did arrive, many weeks later, I sent the money back to the seller. Your buyer might be nice enough to do that. So could be worth reaching out to him.
    ROFLnaked and Dave like this.
  4. ROFLnaked

    ROFLnaked Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks for chiming in.

    I did go into my small local post office to speak with the postmaster today. He was very cordial but generally unhelpful.

    “You will need to wait 30 days before the system will let you file an insurance claim,” he told me.

    “It’s just 15 days, and I filed it successfully two days ago.”

    “Oh…oh, ok.”

    He told me the mail system is fully automated, and a live human only gets involved with sorting a package to the correct destination if it gets kicked back 3 times. My package was kicked back 5 times before it appears now to have been correctly sorted to the destination post office.

    “So why did the USPS investigator tell me the package has been declared lost and even state in the tracking history that the investigation is closed, but less than 24 hours later, there was documented movement. I refunded the buyer on the basis of that notification, so now I’m out both the cash and the item. What’s my recourse?”

    He avoided addressing my question and said we will hope it either gets returned or arrives at the destination.

    I’ve gotten two emails from USPS asking me to take part in a satisfaction survey, but no word on the insurance claim. Naturally I’m not trying to pull a scam; I just want to avoid losing both the money and the item. The buyer seems cool though and not too concerned, so hopefully he will repay once the package arrives. I figure it’s best to wait and give him the benefit of the doubt. If he doesn’t want to pay, maybe then I will go to eBay with the story and the tracking info, which at this point shows 33 entries/status changes.

    Never a dull moment.
    Dave likes this.
  5. ROFLnaked

    ROFLnaked Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Just got home from work, and I decided to check on the status of this claim. As the tracking info now shows it at the buyer's local post office--just over 200 miles away and some 17 days after I mailed it--I figured for sure the claim will be rejected. As Eddiel mentions above, however, maybe they just went by the investigation notes and didn't even bother to take the 10 seconds and double-check the package's location, because the investigation status mentions "approved" with today's date under the Claims Status History. I also see "Under Review" under another Status heading, so it's confusing. I haven't gotten any emails from USPS today apart from a satisfaction survey.

    Can anyone decipher this?

  6. Simply call the correct Post Office and have the package sent to the Post Office you sent it from. Then pick it up. :)

    If all else fails , call the person you shipped it to On The Telephone and ask for the money for the item. I say On The Telephone because over 90% of the people (this fact I learned from working for AT&T) when asked for money have a hard time saying no, if they truly owe the debt, when speaking live to someone else on the phone. :D

    ROFLnaked likes this.
  7. I signed the above Post as John, being I am Gary's brother and wanted to Post something quick.

    Probably a no-no, I promise to not do it again. :)
  8. ROFLnaked

    ROFLnaked Forum Resident Thread Starter


    I just checked the status now on the USPS site, and where it said "Under Review" yesterday now states "Paid." I haven't gotten an email notification from USPS, but a google search tells me that's par for the course; that I will receive a money order in the mail within a few days.

    Sounds like all's well that ends well. Thanks again to those of you who took the time to advise.
    eddiel likes this.
  9. leemelone

    leemelone Forum Resident

    The new fully automated USPS Ground Advantage has quite a few problems. I bought an item off eBay from a seller in Utah. I'm in Atlanta. The tracking number said it would arrive by 9 pm Saturday all week long. I thought that was a little off because the USPS isn't operating at 9 at night on Saturday or any other day for that matter. I checked the tracking and the package arrived at the distribution center in my area on Friday. The center is about a 45 minutes drive from my house. So far everything looks like it's going to arrive on schedule. Then the tracking stops updating. After 9 pm Saturday comes and goes with no delivery, I check it and it now shows my package is in Orlando, over 450 miles away. Today it shows my package is "Moving Through Network" with no estimated delivery date. The USPS has always been the slowest service with most lost and damaged packages. I expect that it's just going to get worse now that even fewer human beings are involved.
  10. Buyers (and sellers too) can get impatient, but always wait a minimum of a few weeks (no matter how close or far from you it's going) from the time of shipping before sending refunds. I ignore any tracking updates, aside from an origin scan and a delivery scan.

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