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Subject: Beware SmartPost: Faulty USPS Tracking Software rss

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Scot Duvall
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[NOTE: Header edited to remove reference to MM; It's the USPS software that is the main problem, though Smart Post has also caused delays in delivery]

It's been 9 days after I placed an order with Miniature Market large enough to receive "free" shipping, and the package still isn't here. That would not be a problem so much if FedEx and USPS hadn't claimed that the package was delivered earlier today.

Worse, because MM uses SmartPost, FedEx is of no help once the package is offloaded to the USPS. When USPS tracking says the package has been delivered when in fact it has not, you face a 1-hour wait to speak with a live person at USPS.

USPS routinely, in my experience, claims online that a package has been delivered when in fact it has not been -- and the package shows up a day (or two or three days, if a weekend intervenes) later. This has happened numerous time at my business. I am told this is the usual routine by the local downtown USPS office. It's hard to believe FedEx doesn't know about this, and when I tell them, they blame USPS.

I have had this same problem with "Prime" delivery from Amazon, which (amazingly) also uses SmartPost from time to time. I've complained and explained it's not serving their business well. It seems to have helped.

The drive from MM to my city is 4 hours. I shouldn't have to wait 9 days to receive an order by mail. But insofar as I'm concerned, MM's business is not being served well by the use of SmartPost. They are not getting the service they are paying for, which means their customers are not, either.

I'm telling MM about this problem as well, so they can hopefully address it with FedEx, but meanwhile, if you have heard about troubles with SmartPost in the past, I can testify to them.
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Jason Teague
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Re: Beware SmartPost: "Free" Shipping from MM isn't worth the trouble
Yeah USPS in my neck of the woods is a total joke. It's probably fine for 95% of their customers, but I say "nay." This makes me wary of buying from MM when I could buy from GameSurplus, CoolStuff, or Cardhaus all of whom use either UPS or FedEx from door to door for shipping.

Too bad about this. Then again, we're really spoiled because all of these companies actually have really great customer service and good websites (edit: not to mention outstanding prices). Hate to beat on them too much for this.
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fightcitymayor
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Re: Beware SmartPost: "Free" Shipping from MM isn't worth the trouble
SmartPost is indeed a terrible scam, and some of us have been railing against it for years now. And you are absolutely correct: When SmartPost goes wrong, neither FedEx nor the USPS will take any responsibility. That's part of the scam.


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Jacob
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Re: Beware SmartPost: "Free" Shipping from MM isn't worth the trouble
Sounds like you have a problem with your post office, not with Miniature Market.
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Scot Duvall
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Re: Beware SmartPost: "Free" Shipping from MM isn't worth the trouble
teaguejb wrote:
Too bad about this. Then again, we're really spoiled because all of these companies actually have really great customer service and good websites (edit: not to mention outstanding prices). Hate to beat on them too much for this.
I think MM made this change, with attractive flat-rate shipping, to gain a competitive edge. But in practice, the "free" shipping has gone from excellent service on the whole to this. What will happen is that folks will vote with their feet.

I have at least learned a valuable lesson. There is no way I'll place holiday orders given the built-in delays, if SmartPost will likely add to them.
 
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Scot Duvall
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Re: Beware SmartPost: "Free" Shipping from MM isn't worth the trouble
emodiu5 wrote:
Sounds like you have a problem with your post office, not with Miniature Market.
Well, it's clear enough to me that FedEx and USPS don't have any synergy in customer service for SmartPost. MM chose that service, and sure, I don't want to hold that against them. If I'm an outlier, then they won't lose much business.
 
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Re: Beware SmartPost: "Free" Shipping from MM isn't worth the trouble
see also

Miniature Market switching to FedEx SmartPost for Free Shipping option...
 
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Kevin L. Kitchens
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Re: Beware SmartPost: "Free" Shipping from MM isn't worth the trouble
emodiu5 wrote:
Sounds like you have a problem with your post office, not with Miniature Market.
Yep. Just got mine via "SmartPost" and it was fine. Yeah, it takes one extra day normally via the handoff, but it's worth it to me. And now I can order and just pay the $5.95 shipping and not force myself up to a $99 order if I don't want to.

Coolstuff uses a similar option as well. I prefer straight up USPS Priority Mail over UPS/FedEx because I can get stuff in two days... but the SmartPost thing is not too bad.
 
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Eddie the Cranky Gamer
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Re: Beware SmartPost: "Free" Shipping from MM isn't worth the trouble
If you told me a story of a package being lost and nobody taking responsibility for it, you would have my attention.

If the only story is that the online tracking reports "delivered" a few days before it actually is....that really isn't much of a story.
 
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Re: Beware SmartPost: "Free" Shipping from MM isn't worth the trouble
ScottNotSteve wrote:
Worse, because MM uses SmartPost, FedEx is of no help once the package is offloaded to the USPS. When USPS tracking says the package has been delivered when in fact it has not, you face a 1-hour wait to speak with a live person at USPS.
why are you dealing with the USPS or Fedex? just tell MM you didn't get the package and if it doesn't show up you want your money back or you'll contact your CC company to get a charge back.
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Joe Salamone
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Re: Beware SmartPost: "Free" Shipping from MM isn't worth the trouble
I have had several recent Smart Post orders that said they were delivered when they really hadn't been. The issue with my orders is that I have them delivered to a P.O. Box, which is at a different post office than the USPS distribution office. So, the package was really delivered to the the other post office and hadn't been transferred to mine yet. Now, I just wait an extra day and magically, when I show up at my post office, the package is there.

EDIT: No matter what shipping method you choose, it's better than when I was a kid and everything took 6 - 8 weeks to be delivered and there was virtually no way to track packages. You just had to wait patiently and eventually whatever you ordered would show up.
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Scot Duvall
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Re: Beware SmartPost: "Free" Shipping from MM isn't worth the trouble
apotheos wrote:
If you told me a story of a package being lost and nobody taking responsibility for it, you would have my attention.

If the only story is that the online tracking reports "delivered" a few days before it actually is....that really isn't much of a story.
Perhaps, but I have since had two different representatives from USPS (one national, one local) tell me today that they know about this problem, that they are literally flooded with inquiries about packages said to have been delivered but which were not, and the waste of time and energy that has caused them.

Basically, it's badly-designed software and they don't like it any better than I do. So it's clear that much of the problem stems from USPS.

To their credit, Miniature Market's support has been prompt and supportive. They noted how other customers have had similar experiences. If I don't receive the package Monday, they will take steps on their end to make things right.

I appreciate everyone chiming in on the thread. Clearly, Smart Post is a mixed bag. Some people have had great experiences with it, others not so much.
 
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Brad Andrews
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I just got a shipment from MM today and it was perfectly fine.
 
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apotheos wrote:
If you told me a story of a package being lost and nobody taking responsibility for it, you would have my attention.

If the only story is that the online tracking reports "delivered" a few days before it actually is....that really isn't much of a story.

No, he got your attention with this story...

Jorune

 
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Leon Z.
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You got what you paid for
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Andy Andersen
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I don't really like SmartPost because it delays arrival but I have never had a problem with it.

I have enough other games to play. whistle
 
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Mark Raciborski
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One reason I installed 3 webcams in the front yard, one pointing to include the porch, mailbox, the back side of 1 camera to guard it. Third one is 3 stories up watching both below.

Seems one of my packages fell between the seats by the PO, a ring. Never got to the mailbox. Had to hunt it down. Having security cams is proof.

Don't rule out 5 finger pickup after delivery. That was what was happening to our newspaper back when we used to get it, I thought they just were not delivering it. Seems the papers especially the Sunday papers were sprouting feet.

The problem with our mail is it is delivered early in the morning, we live on a city block with sidewalks, so it can sit for a long time, from 9:30 to 5:00. UPS, FedEx? We are at the end of the route 5:30-5:45 PM so we are home.

 
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Frank
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Its amazing that people expect a package of heavy games to be delivered hundreds if not thousands of miles with real time tracking and in a timely fashion for less then the cost of McDonalds value meal, or even free.

You want to pay next to nothing for shipping then expect the quality to drop. Like an earlier post said, you get what you pay for.
 
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Scot Duvall
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Frankiedamn wrote:
You want to pay next to nothing for shipping then expect the quality to drop. Like an earlier post said, you get what you pay for.
The listed shipping cost was over $11, to deliver a package about 250 miles. Delivery took 12 days. It's more than a mere drop in quality to me. But you're entitled to your opinion.

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Kevin C.
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I don't know if the system has changed, but a big issue was the labeling FedEX was using. Yep....it's the label that FedEx uses that confuses the USPS sorting machines.

Also, the rules for the USPS turning away a package for incorrect labeling are more stringent than UPS or FedEx.

There were a bunch of articles about this a few years ago. I was interested because I am a big fan of the USPS (I think they do an awesome job..really I do. In 45 years, I think they have lost about 2 packages on me) and SmartPost was getting a lot of flack.

SmartPost actually lessened the time it took a CSI package to get to me and now that MM is using it, I've switched over to them for some stuff and had no problems.

So, I understand how this could be "faulty USPS software," but it is really FedEX labels that cause an issue. The USPS can't send the stuff back, so it gets delayed and looks like the USPS fault.

Kevin
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Scot Duvall
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natsean wrote:
So, I understand how this could be "faulty USPS software," but it is really FedEX labels that cause an issue. The USPS can't send the stuff back, so it gets delayed and looks like the USPS fault. Kevin
Thanks for adding this perspective, Kevin. USPS never told me that any aspect of FedEx could be messing things up, but at this point that sure seems plausible. Oddly enough, there is no FedEx labeling on the package as-such, it's a USPS tracking number. Which is strange, because the initial tracking number I was provided was a FedEx tracking number (which was different).

Glad to know you have had better luck, but I'm done with SmartPost, unless something changes.
 
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