USPS track and confirm – my experience with them
This post is about the service and tracking information provided by the United States postal service to International locations.
I was expecting a package (a cellphone cover for the Blackberry Bold shipped from Otterbox) from the US that got shipped about 10 days back. They claim their “track and confirm” tracks the shipment but I was not satisfied. FedEx and DHL seem to be leagues ahead of USPS when it comes to delivery tracking. The updated information just stays on the package having left the United States but no information on its arrival at its destination or who we should contact at the destination. As a result of this, I keep pestering my office security daily if the package has arrived! In this 21st century connected by the erstwhile Internet! Ironic! This is quite poor.
I must admit the Indian postal service (GPO or general post office) is probably better than the USPS – I have not tried shipping something from India to US via the GPO but my guess is they would be about the same in terms of tracking. For local delivery information, the GPO has done very well. For their scale and length and breadth of operations, such poor tracking is unacceptable. Even if I call their helpline # at USPS, I receive the same information as I see on their web tracking so what value is the automated phone tracking adding? Zilch!
Quite poor service – must say.
I must add that upon further investigation into this, I realized USPS, India Post etc. are all tied up when it comes to International express delivery and call it by different names in their countries. ex: in USA, it is called, Express Mail International, however in India, it is called EMS or express mail service). Also, no matter who shipped it, these Government agencies that are part of this EMS programme, will use local EMS agents to deliver the mail or package to its final destination in that destination country. ex: India Post will use their service agents to deliver my package to me though it was shipped by USPS.
I tracked the progress and found that my package has FINALLY cleared “customs” – after 10 full business days when what they claim says very clearly 4-6 business days (these 10 days involved 7 business days, I want to call USPS and ask them for refund because they did not stick to their promised delivery date).
I just typed above and then went to the usps.com website to find out if I can claim refund for delayed delivery but it says I cannot.
I keep bugging the local GPO postmaster continuously as a result of this to find out if the package has arrived locally at least? He says it has just cleared foreign customs. Well, there is a catch here. The package says it has arrived abroad. Abroad here refers to India. Foreign customs here therefore should logically refer to Indian customs but that is not the case. I believe they have 1 foreign customs at Bombay (Mumbai) and another “Indian” customs at Bangalore GPO where this head postmaster sits! Howzzat?
Did the package come sailing by ship or by air – I do not know.
Question: While I am a student of TDL (trade documentation and logistics) and International logistics from my MIB course 2 years ago, I cannot fathom this kind of a delay. For just $6 more, I could have used priority mail to have DHL or FedEx deliver my package in 3 days straight. I have done it with books before and it works like a charm.
One thing is for sure, the next time I order anything from US or UK, it will not be from their Government postal service – they are all the same.
BTW, India Post has changed it’s logo.