USPS Shipping Questions
We’ve decided to go with USPS for shipping our stuff down to St Croix. Following everyone’s advice, we will make sure to insure each package.
What documentation do we have to have if we were to make a claim? Is a list of what was in the box enough? Do we have to take a picture of what is in the box, too?
Has anyone used plastic storage boxes for shipping with USPS? I’ve always used cardboard boxes for shipping things but we have all of these plastic storage containers that I’m sure would be great for storage on island too and I didn’t know if I could use them to ship our stuff.
Thanks for your help!
When you ship via USPS you set a value on the package and pay the required insurance fee. If it gets lost you submit a claim. Depending on the amount you may or may not be asked to provide a packing list and value for each item which will have to match the value you declared for insurance purposes. Photos are not necessary.
If you want to pack your things in plastic storage bins that's fine but put the bins inside a sealed corregated box rather than just shipping the bin. You don't want anyone handling the package to be able to see what you are shipping and be tempted to open the bin.
I have never lost a package I have shipped to STX. The postal service might not be fast, but it is reliable. The trick is to pack everything well. Lots of tape on all box seams and corners, make sure the boxes will resist crushing by topping them off with crunched up old newspapers. Don't use cheap tape.
I have seen people ship stuff in plastic containers. No problem. Talk to your local postmaster about requirements for insurance documentation. For your more valuable items I would consider using Priority Mail. It is not much more expensive when you are shipping to zone 8, which is what the USVI is from all or most shipping points on the mainland. Figure Priority Mail takes a week, parcel post takes three to six weeks.
I second Jim Dandy's advice. Also, I always go with Priority Mail AND insurance, even if it is the minimum amount. Priority means I get it within a week to ten days usually and insurance has meant that (so far, knock wood) nothing has ever been lost. The USPS does NOT seem to want to process insurance claims, so even at times over the years when a package appeared lost, if it was insured they made extra efforts and it turned up, somehow.
i have never insured things i've sent from the states and over the years it's maybe 100 boxes or so, my reason was that i was always suspicious of things going through puerto rico, if it's insured i figured they be more apt to steal it so i always just used the tracking id number and confirmation delievery and that worked for me.
I've had some packages go missing and the post office required that I submit receipts from purchasing the things mailed or they would not pay out the insurance claim. If you don't have receipts, I'd definitely take a photo of things in each box and lable each shipment with a number that goes with a photo so that if something goes missing you can document what and have sufficient evidence to support your claim if they are being obstinant.
My husband sent me his ne laptop last March to get fixed since there wasn't a place down here. It never made it. We started the insurance process in June, Got the check finally in October. During this awful time the USPS was making us dot our I's and cross our T's. Thank goodness our new friends at Mailboxes Etc. where we have our box new of our long proceedings of waiting and my husband arrived to look for the check yet another day. He was met at the door by the proprieter and he said, "I have good news and I have bad news" Good, your check arrived, bad, it was made out to me.......so instead of waiting for another 2 months, we had him cash it and give us the money
Meanwhile, we needed to purchase another laptop so we went through Toshiba website to get a new one. Toshiba didn't have mailing to the USVI so we had a relative in FL receive and send to us. That one never arrived so we were in the process of getting the insured documents again and miraculously it arrived 2 months later.
.....The USPS IS NOT RELIABLE!!!!
For those moving to St. Croix, I do not recommend the Richmond Post Office. If you need to have your P.O. Box at that branch, try to get the largest box available, so more packages can actually be put into your box (instead of the "yellow slip"). They are horrible about getting the yellow slips out. On numerous occasions I have gone to the counter and asked nicely if maybe there were some boxes for me (after waiting 4-5 weeks). I have always been told I would have a yellow slip as soon as they arrived...........and miraculously, the next day there are 3 second notice yellow slips, followed by me being berated by the postal clerk (if you use Richmond, you know the one) for not picking them up the FIRST time!
So, the moral of all that is if it's expensive or important, I have it sent to Mail Boxes, Etc. They charge $5.00 per package, if you are not a mailbox customer. Well worth it.
Thank you everyone for your help!!!
Ah yes, I remember her well.