NBC 6 Responds

How to Protect Packages from Being Damaged This Holiday Season

Millions of packages will go through the mail this holiday season, but how can we make sure our items arrive well and what happens if they’re damaged?

NBCUniversal, Inc.

The U.S. Postal Service estimates it will deliver about 800 million packages this holiday season and while most arrive in the condition they’re supposed to, there are times when items are damaged during the delivery process.

The NBC 6 Responds team found over 400,000 people filed damage claims with the postal service from October 1, 2018-Oct. 1, 2019. The postal service said during that same time period, there were more than $55 million worth of damages and the postal service paid almost $31 million in claims.

Last summer, a postal worker was caught on camera chucking a package over the fence of a Florida City home. 

“The mail lady just threw the box as if she was playing baseball,” Andres Gonzalez, the homeowner, told NBC 6 at the time. Then, hours later, another mail carrier would be caught on surveillance doing the same thing at the same home. 

After the story aired, the Homestead postmaster went to Gonzalez’ home and left a message apologizing on the same doorbell camera that caught the first incident.

The USPS told NBC 6 and Telemundo 51 at the time that it was an “isolated incident” but said “it is postal policy not to disclose personnel actions.”

Gonzalez says his family now goes to the post office to pick up their packages in person.

Earlier this year, a Texas woman caught a carrier on cellphone video flinging more than a dozen packages out of his mail truck and on to the wet ground. 

“I was kinda in shock at first,” Caitlin McGlaun, told the NBC affiliate in Dallas. “I looked outside, I peeked through the blinds and I saw him, he was throwing packages over each shoulder left and right.”

The postal service issued a statement about the incident saying, “we are disappointed to see the actions of our employee and apologize to the customers affected by this incident.”

But the way packages are handled by mail carriers isn’t the only way they could be damaged.

Shipping an item in a box that is too small, too large or isn’t packed correctly can also cause damages.

If you are planning to submit a claim, you have anywhere from 60 days to a year to file it, depending on the service you used. 

USPS has the following recommendations to protect your packages:

  • Being home to receive the package or sending it to an address where someone is available.
  • Tracking your package and using USPS package intercept that allows you redirect an incoming item to your local post office if nobody is home.
  • Using services like informed delivery” that lets you manage your packages from your computer or cellphone.
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