USPS tracking--how accurate?

daisyx3

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 30, 2009
I ordered a Pandora bead on EBay on March 14. The estimated delivery was March 23 (yesterday). Problem is, according to tracking it's been in Tampa since Thursday--it left Windemere on 3/17 and got to Tampa 3/19, with no indication of leaving Tampa.
Obviously it did not arrive yesterday, but I'm wondering if it is really stuck in Tampa or do they just not scan everything that leaves the PO? And if it is in Tampa, why has it been there for 5 days?
Daisyx3
 

Happy Snowman

Registered
Joined
Jul 21, 2014
It's probably stuck in Tampa. I had ordered a cell phone case that had a similar issue and it just never came. The company refunded my money with no issues. It still hasn't shown up here--ordered in December. You can try calling and see if they can get you any more information, but there is a good chance it's lost.
 

HM

My tag from the Tag Fairy is now too long to use.
Joined
Mar 8, 2001
I have no idea, but when I've tracked things through USPS, it seems that is how it goes. The piece stays in one location for a wierd amout of time and then all of a sudden, it gets moving again and it gets there (usually late).
 

AlohaNow

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 19, 2008
One thing I have run into with buying on eBay (which I do a lot of) is that the seller can purchase and print the postage online, thus generating an e-mail to you, and you think, “Hey, great! My item is on its way!” But they can take quite some time to actually get the item into the mail stream, like perhaps they only mail out once a week.

I see that your issue is different than this though, and all I can say is that I have found USPS ‘tracking’ to be quite lacking. It is certainly not the ‘scan each and every time a package changes hands’ that UPS or FedEx employs. USPS is hardly accurate and up to the minute, so I don’t really ever put much stock into what I am seeing on my screen!
 

bcla

On our rugged Eastern foothills.....
Joined
Nov 28, 2012
That a delivery label was prepared was mentioned. Also - if it's coming by first class/priority/parcel, it can often spend a couple of days in a cross-country trailer before it arrives. Nobody is going to be scanning it while it's in transit. I've seen some of the contractors on the road and their trailers are marked with the designated route.
 

daisyx3

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 30, 2009
The first indication on 3/14, right after I purchased, was that a label had been generated. It actually physically appeared in Windemere on 3/17, then to Tampa. I am just hoping I get it in the next week so I can add it to my bracelet for my spring break.
Daisyx3
 

bcla

On our rugged Eastern foothills.....
Joined
Nov 28, 2012
One thing I have run into with buying on eBay (which I do a lot of) is that the seller can purchase and print the postage online, thus generating an e-mail to you, and you think, “Hey, great! My item is on its way!” But they can take quite some time to actually get the item into the mail stream, like perhaps they only mail out once a week.

I see that your issue is different than this though, and all I can say is that I have found USPS ‘tracking’ to be quite lacking. It is certainly not the ‘scan each and every time a package changes hands’ that UPS or FedEx employs. USPS is hardly accurate and up to the minute, so I don’t really ever put much stock into what I am seeing on my screen!
They have some of the most advanced tracking equipment on the planet. They use cameras around conveyer belts that look for labels and can pick up an identifier at strange angles.

As for USPS, often the letter carrier won't even properly scan a label when it's delivered. I've had several packages that were delivered but the tracking doesn't indicate any delivery.
 
  • smadath

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 7, 2014
    I agree with JanaDee, USPS tracking is worthless. It is often days behind where the item really is. That said, if it does appear to be held up somewhere, I would go to the USPS site and contact them to ask what the problem is via Contact Us link in the Help section. If you do, be aware that they ask your name, address, the sender's name and address, tracking number, etc. It doesn't take all that long, though, and I have found that once I complain, the item mysteriously begins moving again and I receive it within a few days.
     

    Lynne M

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Nov 4, 2001
    My understanding is that tracking is not updated at each stop unless you pay for one of their premium delivery services. For first-class, it's only useful for seeing that a) it left the point of origin, and b) that it was delivered.
     
  • LuvN~Travel

    <font color=blue>A DMV employee noticed that I los
    Joined
    Aug 8, 2000
    Yes right now the scanning is not perfect according to what every one would want. :) Most of the smaller parcels, at first class and fourth class rate do get scanned on acceptance and usually scanned at major sorting facilities. However, most are probably not scanned again until they reach the destination facility for those parcels. I've seen many cases where customers present their packages to me at the window that they have printed online, and for some reason my scanner will not read the barcode. I do take the time right then and there to manually input the scan so it will at least show up there, but many have realized that it may not show anymore scans until it reaches its destination facility. I can't help those customers since it is usually something with their printers. I try to encourage them to really keep their printers clean and full of ink. (But, then how many of us really want to keep spending that kind of money on ink cartridges? ;) ). At the windows we are now moving to the newer PVI machines that will print the postage and tracking/barcode label as one, and that should not have a problem being read by our window scanners or hand held scanners along the way. And, yes the priority and priorty express mail labels do tend to get scanned more times due to those being our 'premium' services. :) Management really likes to push that feature. ;) (oh, and no, window clerks were not the ppl who had the 'brilliant' idea of renaming the express service 'priority express'. The higher ups never ask the ppl who handle that stuff on a day to day basis. lol ) But, for those who don't think it is worth it, we do actually keep records of the percentages and right now nationwide it is reaching 96% or better at times. However, due to bad labels yes some will get missed at some points. And, yes I do get onto the customers who come in and are now only presenting me with the package they printed the label for two or three days earlier! :)
     

    AlohaNow

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 19, 2008
    LuvN-Travel, thanks so much for chiming in here! It’s great to get info straight from the horse’s mouth, as it were. (No offense intended!) For anyone who has experienced the turn-by-turn scanning updates of UPS or FedEx, the present USPS system really leaves something to be desired. As a heavy eBay buyer and seller, I am glad to hear that improvements are on the way! Thanks again!
     

    scrapquitler

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 15, 2007
    USPS tracking is NOT reliable. Sometimes they don't scan packages in intermediate places along the route, and sometimes they do. Sometimes they scan when it goes out for delivery and sometimes they don't.

    The first week of Novemeber I sent a package from CT to Ohio. Two days later it was scanned as delivered at 3:06PM. It wasn't actually delivered until several days later. I've had other packages that were delivered at not scanned as delivered until days later.

    And what someone else said about the pre-printed labels is also true.
     

    daisyx3

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 30, 2009
    I contacted the seller and he or she contacted me back and said they would contact the PO and see what they could find out. Still listed in Tampa today, 6 days after arrival and 2 days past the estimated delivery date.
    Daisyx3
     

    LuvN~Travel

    <font color=blue>A DMV employee noticed that I los
    Joined
    Aug 8, 2000
    Scrapquitler, it actually sounds like your package was 'delivered' earlier, but I'm taking a pretty good guess here, it was accidentally delivered to the wrong address. It is easy enough at times for some ppl to read a number or street wrong, and our worse problem with packages lately is the part time employees that deliver. I've always said 'you get what you pay for' when it comes to part time employees. They don't have the incentive to do the job as well as the regular employee does. I do know that when I do get a package back from a customer that has been delivered wrong to them, I do try to scan it again as misdelivered, so that the customer on the other end does have an idea of what could have happened to it. I would rather let them know we have made a mistake, than to leave them in the dark as to the location of their package. However, I can't say the same for all clerks or carriers. This is actually one area I have made the decision to do myself. I know I was never trained on that particular problem. But, again I want the customer to have a better understanding though. lol
     

    scrapquitler

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 15, 2007
    Scrapquitler, it actually sounds like your package was 'delivered' earlier, but I'm taking a pretty good guess here, it was accidentally delivered to the wrong address. It is easy enough at times for some ppl to read a number or street wrong, and our worse problem with packages lately is the part time employees that deliver. I've always said 'you get what you pay for' when it comes to part time employees. They don't have the incentive to do the job as well as the regular employee does. I do know that when I do get a package back from a customer that has been delivered wrong to them, I do try to scan it again as misdelivered, so that the customer on the other end does have an idea of what could have happened to it. I would rather let them know we have made a mistake, than to leave them in the dark as to the location of their package. However, I can't say the same for all clerks or carriers. This is actually one area I have made the decision to do myself. I know I was never trained on that particular problem. But, again I want the customer to have a better understanding though. lol
    You might be right about that, since the person I sent it to lives in a large apartment complex, so I imagine the possibility of it getting to the wrong apartment would account for the long delay. Thank you for mentioning that...I hadn't even thought of it.
     


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