I always thought, in my naïve way, the United States Postal Service was trustworthy, and my packages and letters were safe. I was so wrong. And let me tell you why – please.
Several years ago, we had sold some rather large, ticketed items to various people in a small town in Mississippi. Thinking we couldn’t carry that type of cash with us when flying back to California, we decided the smartest thing to do was to purchase money orders and send them to ourselves. Huge mistake! We figured the money orders were backed by the USPS, and if they were lost in transit, the money order denomination amount was insured and guaranteed by the USPS or, so it is implied by the USPS. Next big mistake – because that isn’t the case AT ALL!
We purchased the money orders while still in Mississippi, popped them in an envelope and mailed them to our home address. We flew home the next day. We thought all was good, our USPS Money Orders would be safely delivered in a timely manner
And we waited for our money orders to arrive.
We carefully tracked our letter with the tracking number provided. Initially it was processed into the small town’s distribution center. And there it stayed. For days. It never moved. It just stayed there. And stayed there. For weeks, it was being held at the distribution center. And then one day it wasn’t. We thought maybe there was a glitch in the tracking system. And so, after becoming completely frustrated with the sloth like pace at which our money orders were moving – I decided to call the USPS Customer Service Center. And became even more frustrated.
I think there may only be a handful of people manning this call center, or they are so inundated with customer complaints regarding their less than stellar delivery service, it took me HOURS to speak to someone. And they were completely unhelpful and stated the money orders must have been delivered as the tracking number was no longer effective. And I said, “Do you think I would have wasted the last 3 hours of my life calling you, if I had received them? What sense does that make?” She didn’t have an answer for me, but she did begrudgingly file a complaint on my behalf. She also recommended I file a PS Form 6401 (Official Money Order Inquiry Form). It takes 60 days for the USPS to investigate, and according to the web sites if they are found to be lost or stolen, and then I would be reimbursed. I felt a glimmer of hope.
And then – nothing happened. I called again. It’s a good thing I have Mondays off, because calling the USPS Customer Service Call Center is an all-day affair. This time however, I spoke to a lady who was very helpful, and she dug into the case, and discovered the package was still at the distribution center, but it had been damaged, and the contents had been REMOVED. And of course, my heart sank. She advised I file a complaint with the USPS Office of Inspector General. Again, another hour of my life. But this started a whole cascade of events. We began receiving calls from an investigator out of Baton Rouge, who was rather pushy and implied we might be involved in some type of nefarious activities, because of the sizeable dollar amount of the money orders. Ha – that made me laugh. Me, a 60-year-old woman, who works, pays her taxes and abides by every law, involved in illegal activities? Yeah, right! How am I being treated like the criminal here?
Bottom line, and after many calls, hours of filling out forms and sending copies of the purchased money order receipts to various agencies – it came to our attention our money order package had been ripped open, all the money orders were cashed at various post offices and banks throughout Mississippi. A manager at the Distribution Center was arrested and he is set for trial in January of 2022.
And, you ask “S.D. – did you get your money back, as they were money orders purchased through USPS, stolen by a USPS employee, and cashed fraudulently at USPS facilities?”
And the answer is a resounding NO. Not all of it.
I received a check for $1000 for the one money order which was cashed at a bank. The USPS will only reimburse you for those stolen money orders which are forged and cashed at a bank. Those stolen money orders which are cashed fraudulently at a USPS facility will NOT be reimbursed. Does any of this make sense?
The last time I spoke with the Special Agent out of Baton Rouge – he said when the USPS employee was sentenced, he would be forced to make reparations. How does someone in jail pay back the hundreds of thousands of dollars he has stolen in money orders, while sitting in a prison cell?
When researching the unchecked theft which occurs through USPS facilities, it became quite apparent to me Money Orders are in no way a safe method for sending money, and if stolen, will most likely not be reimbursed. My warning to you – is think of another way to send money when a personal check is not a viable option.
And through my research, I discovered purchasing insurance for a package most certainly does not mean you will be covered for the financial loss of a stolen or lost item. There are pages and pages of forums written by consumers who have been duped into buying insurance, and like myself, naively believing the USPS will cover the loss of the said item (even if it was stolen out of their distribution center by USPS employees.)
USPS is a government entity all to itself and has no oversight branch. It even unapologetically posts about all the thefts which occur in its facilities. And there are some facilities which are infamous for theft, like the distribution center in Brooklyn where from which millions of dollars of money orders were swiped.
And if you aren’t really annoyed with questionable practices employed by the USPS – take a look at this video about a USPS facility in Atlanta which houses all of its customers undelivered items and makes a massive profit on auctioning these items off.
Bottom line here – if you need either a letter or an important package to arrive – don’t trust the United States Postal Service to deliver it, use either FedEx or UPS. And whatever you do, don’t think for a minute your USPS Money Order is a safe form of currency – because it is not!!!
Please let me know in the comments if any of you have had issues with either packages, letters or money orders arriving safely when delivered by the USPS.
I am considering contacting a law firm in San Francisco who deals in Class Actions suits – I am so mad about this.