WARNING if using USPS to ship plants or livestock - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-05-2008, 08:08 AM Thread Starter
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WARNING if using USPS to ship plants or livestock

Hi everyone!
I wanted to give a heads up about USPS (United States Postal Service) for anyone who may be considering using them to ship plants or animals.

I just received a pkg of what used to be water lettuce. It was shipped to me by a member here that I trust very much. (and still trust). She sent the pkg of plants with tracking number, so we could make sure it arrived safely. USPS delivered it Saturday (5 days ago) but not to me. The address on the box was correct, but they gave it to someone else. Considering it was just plants and it was a trade, it wasn't insured. We have now learned our lesson the hard way... because when someone tossed it on my front porch at about 6am this morning, all that remained in the box was a smelly pile of green mush and water.

I am posting this as a warning to everyone... please be sure to pay the extra money for the insurance, or find another way to ship anything live. USPS can't be held liable now because the pkg wasn't insured. I am going to be out the money now because I will still honor my end of the trade.

Believe me, I am on my way down to the post office as soon as they open this morning (I have another 1/2 hour to wait) and I am taking this box of nasty, smelly stuff back to them. I am going to suggest they leave it for the mailman who can't read, and I am going to let them know he is the reason I will no longer ship anything with them. I will probably also let them know that I have warned everyone else I know already. Someone is about to get chewed, but I wanted to save everyone else here the trouble and disappointment over something like this. Sorry if I'm venting at the same time, I am very upset.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #2 of 8 Old 06-05-2008, 08:22 AM
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:( Dawn. the same thing happened to me once with a e-bay item. The tracking said it had been delivered but I had not gotten it. The people about 6 miles down did! We finally got it straight but yes it is so frustrating! BTW I am on MY way to the PO too. I am sending your money order and I will add ta few extra $ for insurance.
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-05-2008, 09:14 AM
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thank you for the warning Dawn!

The first rule of Fight Club is - you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is - you DO NOT talk about Fight Club. Third rule of Fight Club, someone yells Stop!, goes limp, taps out, the fight is over. Fourth rule, only two guys to a fight. Fifth rule, one fight at a time, fellas. Sixth rule, no shirt, no shoes. Seventh rule, fights will go on as long as they have to. And the eighth and final rule, if this is your first night at Fight Club, you have to fight.
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-06-2008, 03:03 PM
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Not to sound argumentative - but I have shipped out close to 200 fish with USPS Priority Mail - and have had NO problems so far (knock on wood). Of course, because of our rural location here, many of my shipments of fish take FOUR days - but still arrive fine. The secret is using THE BEST shipping chemicals (Ship Right - NOT Bag Buddies that only last 4-6 hours), and medical grade oxygen. So if it's done right, it can easily be a safe option. Again, I don't mean to sound like I'm being a snob or anything - but I personally will NOT use any other shipping method for my fish (or plants - which I ship out very often and also have no problems). I think bettababy just has a STUPID carrier - but that's not the fault of the entire USPS - just one moron who can't read - that can happen with UPS, FedEx, or DHL for that matter.
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post #5 of 8 Old 06-06-2008, 04:19 PM
I use only USPS and FedEx, depending on weather conditions and items being shipped. I always insure the package and use the most expedited service, nest day with livestock. I also do not bag any fish until just before shipping, use medical grade oxygen, use some sort of thermal packs(heat packs in the winter and cold packs in the summer), lot's of insulating styrofoam. Have I lost fish in transit, oh yes. But 99.99% make it alive and well. I've never lost an entire shipment using either of the two shippers.
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-06-2008, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by herefishy
I always insure the package and use the most expedited service, nest day with livestock.
I also do not bag any fish until just before shipping, use medical grade oxygen, use some sort of thermal packs(heat packs in the winter and cold packs in the summer), lot's of insulating styrofoam.
Question for you herefishy - have you ever filed a claim with either carrier for fish death? Do they actually pay for death, or only the package getting lost?

I have shipped fish with PM from Colorado to South Texas in August WITHOUT a cold pack - and they were all fine (one of those 4 day Priority Mail deliveries I referred to). I think the temps change gradually enough that a cold pack isn't really needed - it just doesn't get much hotter than s. Tx in August after all... Now heat packs are an entirely different story! I just had my first shipment for this season last Monday (the 2nd of June) that didn't have to have a heat pack!
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-06-2008, 06:10 PM
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I'm the person who shipped the water lettuce to bettababy! I was terribly disappointed, as it should have been fine. While yes, I'm sure many things do make it to their destination with USPS, it's not as reliable as the private (but more expensive) services.

I learned the hard way the FedEx, UPS and DHL automatically insure up to $1,000 whereas apparently USPS makes no promises that the package will be delivered at all. I didn't insure my package because the actual contents were basically worthless, as I toss this stuff out every month. The only actual expense was the shipping cost. So basically I just donated $10 to USPS. Any reputable company (I'm aware that USPS isn't a company) would ABSOLUTELY comp the cost. It's like ordering a burger at a restaurant and getting pasta- the restaurant isn't gonna charge you for the pasta, cuz they're screwed up, and did not provide the service you requested.

The thing that bugs me is that even though I paid extra for tracking, it was completely unreliable. People selling things over ebay use it to prevent a buyer from ripping them off. What happens if a package is marked delivered but isn't like in our situation? The buyer is angry, leaves bad feedback, and the seller thinks the buyer is ripping them off. Bad all around. What's the point in paying for an extra service like that?
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-06-2008, 07:08 PM
My customers order in such quantity, and I usually have more than the order is for in each bag of fish. If a store orders 12, I usually ship 14. I have never had a claim against anything I have shipped. I have had one claim, against UPS, a couple of years ago, for some stuff I ordered. Played hell getting credit, almost 2 months of playing email and phone tag. Most of my livestock shipments are FedEx overnite, so, I do not anticipate any problems. That is why we pay the extra money. Most product and dry goods are sent USPS Priority.

Sharon, I use cool packs on shipments that are not overnite. These are few and far between. Even my little group of breeder friends, me included, use overnite when possible. Remember, I ship anywhere from (10-40) 4cf styros on any given day, 2-3 times week. Lately the number is closer to about 25 a week as I have changed out some of my breeding stock.
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