GREENSBORO, NC -- We do it every year, and yet, every year packages are delayed or simply don't get there, due to sender error.
Monica Robbs from the U.S. Postal Service says one of the biggest mistakes is something easy to fix. "A big mistake is not including a return address (wanting to surprise the recipient), but that makes it difficult sometimes, if there is a problem with delivery.
Guessing at the ZIP code or using the wrong ZIP code is common and it difficult because USPS sorts based on ZIP Code directory information. There may be a street within that incorrect ZIP Code that matches the correct ZIP Code, which could delay delivery.
Finding a good box to ship our stuff in is often difficult. So, can you simply use any box? The answer is yes. But if you're thinking of making it pretty by wrapping it in paper, don't bother.
"Improper wrapping, using wrapping paper to cover the boxes can lead to problems because the paper is not sturdy enough to withstand some of the handling. Also, address labels are apt to become dislodged."
Does writing the word "fragile" really make a difference?
"We always recommend writing "Fragile" on the package if the contents are breakable. In fact, when customers take the packages for shipment to our retail counters, or even to our Self-Service Kiosks, they are asked if the package contains anything fragile, liquid, hazardous, or perishable. It does make a difference in where and how it's placed."
But, nothing she says takes the place of proper wrapping. In preparation for mailing, customers should wrap glass and other fragile items with extra newspaper or packing material. Remove batteries, too!
Every time we go to the counter, someone asks us if we want insurance. Can we get insurance on gift cards we send through the mail?
"You can, but to make a claim you would need receipts." On the USPS website, it says you can only be insured for $15 on a gift card, but the website will soon be updated to show the changes that this year you can indeed buy insurance for the full value of the gift card.
For other packages, the insurance can be for the entire amount of the contents. Insurance protects against loss or damage, if for some reason, the package arrives with damage, or doesn't arrive. The cost of insurance is based on the declared value of the item(s) being mailed.
Our newly revamped Priority Mail comes with $50 of insurance, and Priority Mail Express service includes insurance of up to $100
Customers need to keep their postmarked mailing receipts until they've verified safe delivery of the package
Insurance pricing starts at $1.95 and increases based on the declared value
For those customers who need to file a claim, the process has become much more streamlined, and customers can now file online at usps.com.