Here is my story about what happened to me by shipping thru the United States
Postal Service (USPS). This story may take some time to tell, so I will
update it when more information is available.
This is a story about a watch. A really nice watch. A Citizen watch I bought at
Kohl's back in spring of 2000. I had a credit card at that store and always
wanted a really cool, expensive watch. I went to the watch department and asked
where the most expensive watches were. They showed me 2 watches, one was $450
and the other $400. The $450 watch was slick, but didn't have all the bells and
whistles like the $400 watch did, so I bought the $400 watch. They were actually
having a sale on watches that week, 25% off, so I purchased that Citizen watch
I love this watch. I've had it for many years, and
basically feel naked when I'm not wearing it! It's been through some rough
times, but it's survived and still looks brand new. Sometime in 2004, I started
having problems with my watch. There was a stem on it that you could press or
pull out to change different modes on the watch. Sometimes when I would press
the stem in, it would move to the next 'mode', but not actually change to the
next mode on the digital display. I knew it needed to be cleaned or something,
but thought nothing of it. It's been that way for awhile, but I didn't have
money to get it fixed, so kept using it. It wasn't until Daylight Saving Time in
the spring of 2005 when I had a problem. If I were to pull the stem out, nothing
would happen! And that's how you set the time and other things on the watch
itself. So my watch was now an hour behind and I could not change the time. I
tried to adjust in my head to add an hour, but it was more than an hour behind,
like an hour and 20 minutes. I eventually stopped wearing it and planned to get
it fixed when I had money to do so.
Over the summer of 2005, I had enough of this and had to
have my watch again. I first took it to John's Watch Repair Shop in Des Moines,
and told him my problem. He said it would take a day or two. When it was done, I
went in there and he told me he cleaned it up and it should work. I was getting
ready to pay the guy when I noticed it still didn't work! I showed him over and
over that it didn't work and explained to him that's why I took it to him in the
first place, to fix it, not clean it. So he looked at it one more
time but couldn't fix it and advised me to mail it to the manufacturer to be
repaired. After he opened it the second time, he popped the battery out and put
it back in which completely reset the watch, and the time was now about 10 hours
off and some minutes, completely unusable. He eventually said he didn't
understand my original request, and didn't charge me for the cleaning. I now
have a cleaner watch, but the time is more off now than it was before,
and I cannot set the time!
So I take it to a second repair shop in Windsor Heights,
explain the problem and drop it off. The next day I get a call to come in and
pick it up. The repairman there said he could not fix it and advised me to mail
it to the manufacturer. That makes two professionals telling me they cannot fix
it so I decide now is the time to mail it to the manufacturer.
I waited till I got a job first, and money coming in,
before I mailed it off for repair. I thought they might charge like $200 or
something for repairs for it since manufacturer's always rip you off in the
repair price. But it was something I was willing to pay for because this was my
watch and I needed it repaired.
I go to Citizen's website, get all the information I need
to mail the watch into them and get the package ready. I find a very small box,
about the size of a softball, put the watch and the printed repair form into a
few pieces of bubblewrap, and shove it into the box. It was a very tight fit,
and there was no way the watch would move at all, and besides, it was surrounded
by at least three inches of bubblewrap on all sides.
On August 15th, I stop by the Post Office to mail my
package. It is labeled correctly and is taped up securely on ALL sides.
The lady behind the counter puts MORE tape on it also. I get a tracking number
and she asks about insurance. I usually do not pay the extra for insurance, but
this watch is important to me, and I don't want anything to happen to it. So I
decide to pay a few extra bucks for the insurance, got $300 coverage. She puts
all the stickers on my box and off it goes First Class to Torrance, California.
Three days later, I check the USPS tracking site to see if
my package was delivered. It usually takes about 2 to 3 days, and I wanted to
make sure it got there OK, I was certain it would have. To my surprise it just
tells me it left Des Moines but there is no more information than that. So I
sign up to get email notifications whenever there is any activity on that
That week comes and goes, and the NEXT week comes and
goes. I keep checking the status but no change at all. I was ready to call up
USPS and ask them why it takes TWO WEEKS to deliver a package in First Class,
should of taken 2 to 3 days max!
Then I get an email notification that it arrived in the
mail center at Torrance, California on August 27th!!! It took about TWO WEEKS
for them to deliver my First Class package. But then I see that 2 days later,
when it was delivered to the Citizen repair shop that it was REFUSED. WTF?!? Why
would they refuse my package? I did EXACTLY everything they asked for! Packaged
it EXACTLY the way they want it, what is going on?
I see it was delivered on August 29th at 8:48AM but
refused at 9:06AM. Citizen had the package in their possession for less than 1/2
hour and refused it. OK, now what? A few more days go by before I get another
email notification from USPS today, August 31st. This time it tells me it was
delivered back to my house.
Now I am thinking the worst. I am thinking someone opened
my package, stole my watch, and either put something in its place or shipped it
basically empty to Citizen. I get off work, race home and find the package
waiting for me.
The bottom of the box is completely ripped open with a big
HOLE in the corner of the box. I see the bubblewrap still in there, so I quickly
get some scissors and open up the top of the box to see what is inside. There I
find all my bubblewrap, my return form, but NO watch. Nothing. Completely GONE.
This is when I lose it.
My watch has been STOLEN. Someone took my box on the trip
from Des Moines to Torrance, opened it up, took out my watch, and slapped the
tape back together, and shipped it on its way. I am furious. What do I do now? I
look up numbers for USPS, but find out they are only open 8am-5pm. I will call
tomorrow morning to find out what has happened, and if I will get my watch back
or my $300 claim in insurance.
September 1st, 2005
I contact the local Postal Inspector's Office, tell them what happened, and they
are going to mail me a form I need to submit for the theft.
September 3rd, 2005
Received a form to fill out by the United States Postal Inspection.
September 4th, 2005
Mailed in complaint form to the United States Postal Inspection.
September 24th, 2005
Received a 4-page form to fill out for a Mail Theft Report.
September 29th, 2005
Mailed back the form for the Mail Theft Report.
November 22, 2005
Now going on 2 months since I've heard anything back yet. I called the Postal
Inspection and the person I needed to talk to wasn't available, so I left a
message with them to call me back.
November 23, 2005
Still haven't heard anything back yet. Called Postal Inspection again. Get ahold
of the lady who handles those things. She told me it was given to the inspector
and it looks like it was stolen from within the system internally somewhere in
California. NO SHIT. This is exactly that I told them I believed happened. She
then said that inspector would then contact the inspector in California to try
to find when and where it happened and who was responsible. So it would be
awhile longer before I hear anything back on this. She then said she was sorry
this happened, which was nice to hear, but then said, "...these things happen".
I just couldn't believe she said that. I told her I really doubt I'll get my
watch back but since I got insurance on it, I'd like to get that back. I then
asked her if I needed my original receipt for it or what, she said she didn't
know and I'd have to contact the regular Post Office people to determine that.
Anyways, finally an update on this, but we'll see how much more longer I'll have
to wait to hear anything back from these people. I shouldn't expect a quick
response, they are government employees after all.
January 23, 2006
So I waited TWO MONTHS since I've last talked to them. I call them back up, tell
the lady my situation, and she says, "what?". Stupid bitch. Then I tell her
something of mine was stolen and it's been 2 months since I last heard anything.
She transfers me to another person. "Judy", I believe takes some time to figure
out who is my Postal Inspector for the area I live in. The guy that is the
inspector happens to be on vacation this week but should be back next week. She
said I should hear back from him sometime next week...maybe.
I'm beginning to
realize I'm definitely getting the run-around here. I just called the post
office where I got this from and explained the situation. She attempted to look
up the insurance number but was unable to find it due to it's age. Again, this
was mailed August 15, 2005. I then told her I had the postal inspection looking
into it and I said I doubt they will find anything and I'm wasting my time with
them, she told me I could come in and file a claim for the lost watch. So I can
get these 2 things going on at one time. I'm going to do that soon. I know I
won't get my watch back, but I'd like to get the insurance money for it.