The Myth of USPS Delivery Confirmation
Many buyers and sellers mistakenly assume that United States Postal Service Delivery Confirmation is the same thing as tracking. This is an easy enough mistake because the USPS often refers to simple Delivery Confirmation as tracking. Truth is, it's a far cry from true tracking.
And since PayPal has made Delivery Confirmation an integral part of its shipping system, many sellers are required to use Delivery Confirmation. For the most part Delivery Confirmation is a good thing, except when expectations of what it does are less than expected.
For example, from time to time the USPS seems to be slower than usual for a variety of reasons. A buyer may start to get nervous when his card or item hasn't shown up in a week or so. He asks the seller for the tracking, the seller happily supplies Delivery Confirmation and this is what the buyer then sees:
TRACK AND CONFIRM
Label/Receipt Number: 9101 1288 8230 0014 5003 0X
Status: Electronic Shipping Info Received
The U.S. Postal Service was electronically notified by the shipper on September 20, 2007 to expect your package for mailing. This does not indicate receipt by the USPS or the actual mailing date. Delivery status information will be provided if / when available. Information, if available, is updated every evening. Please check again later.
Ain't that great? Even though the seller shipped the very next morning after the buyer paid, the postal service hasn't bothered to update the shipping process to show receipt of the item. Worse yet, their fuzzy language makes it sound as if they expect we will never submit the item, haven't seen it, or the seller was involved in the Kennedy assassination.
We called the postal service on this issue and they illuminated us on a couple aspects of this strange rhetoric. 1) the postal service can optionally scan the items received and replace that foul-sounding language with ITEM RECEIVED which will then be replaced by the far more eye-pleasing ITEM DELIVERED.
However, this is optional by the post office and our post office clearly isn't taking the option. :(
2) They believe they are selling Delivery Confirmation, thus status between postage purchased and actual delivery isn't a given. The rep at the USPS I spoke with, herself an avid eBay seller, acknowledged that the language they attach to the interim status is rough and even misleading. She also promised to address this issue with senior management and their Consumer Affairs division.
I wait with baited breath.
So, dear buyers, cut your sellers some slack when A) the USPS is slower than you're used to; it's not the seller's fault, and B) the Delivery Confirmation makes it sound like the seller took your money and ran off to Hawaii with a hot chick he met on the Internet.
If the seller's feedback is strong, chances are in just a few days after you sent him that nasty email your item will arrive with a postmark that proves your seller was shooting straight all along.
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