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Old 04-06-2005, 09:36 PM   #1
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Have you had troubles with the USPS?

I must admit I do not take full advantage of the computer technology available to us today. I continue the time honored practice of writing checks to pay many of my monthly debts. I place them in envelopes (generally supplied by my creditor), add my return address and a 37 cent stamp and faithfully deposit them in an official US Postal Service Mail Box. NEVER in my own mailbox as I've been cautioned against that.

Two months ago my newspaper carrier returned a partially mutilated check to me requesting a replacement as the check would not likely be processed by the bank.

Last month I received a form letter from the post office appologizing for the mutilization beyond repair of two more envelopes; the checks though crumpled badly were still whole....the letter was neither signed or dated. Of course the checks were returned to me well past the due date for the debts - so I re-mailed them to my creditors with a copy of the letter in hopes they would not charge me the late fees they would normally assess.

A week or so later I received a late notice from another creditor. Fortunately I have a life history of paying my bills on time - so they weren't nasty - since the check number was consecutive to the first two crumpled ones I assumed it was lost beyond recognition and mailed them another check - with a note of explanation and a copy of the letter from USPS.

Yesterday I received a letter from another creditor requesting that I phone them about my account. My mail arrives later and later it seems - used to get here about 10:00 am - yesterday's was here about 4:00 pm. The creditor's phone lines were only open until 4:30 so I rushed to phone. As luck would have it this was an account on which cards are issued to both me and my husband but he is the primary account holder and they would give me absolutely no information - nevermind that THEY had send US the letter to our HOME and since I live here I was trying to call them in a TIMELY FASHION...(you can imagine my frustration growing). I'm just a tad bit paranoid about such things since we experienced fraud with a debit card recently....thank heavens the bank became suspicious when it appeared I was purchasing gasoline and appliances in Turkey...and we emerged unscathed but I keep a much closer eye on such things now.

Today I discovered the reason for the letter...another letter from the USPS - this time without the check or the envelope but with an image of the check printed on the letter again appologizing for the mutilation of the mail. Of course the check had been written to the creditor who had mailed me the query.

They appologize profusely - This one is signed and the image of the check at least gives the date it was written and they assure me that the original check has been shredded and the scanned original is not retained. There is, however, no phone number on the stationery for me to call if I have further questions. Somehow I would feel better if the shredded pieces of the check had been enclosed.

Anybody else having this trouble? What if this happened to your tax return? There was no date on any of the enclosures to evidence that the remitances had been mailed on time.....The checks were all mailed from different locations- a "Mail & More" a USPS depository and through Hospital mail so I doubt they all hit the same machine!

I mislike the notion of paying all of my bills online. There is plenty of fraud on the internet and lots of exposure - what is a person to do?

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Old 04-06-2005, 11:02 PM   #2
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Haven't had that kind of problem, but we have had plenty of others.

I would take it on up the chain of command. Are the letters from the USPS from the station that handles your mail or from another office?

One of our problems was we would have to call our creditors and ask for our bill, because we realized we hadn't written a check for the bill, as we didn't have the bill yet.
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Old 04-06-2005, 11:06 PM   #3
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We have signed up with the bank and they pay all our utilitie bills, Paul's Government Insurance, cell phone, house phone etc. at no charge. Have you looked into that?
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Old 04-06-2005, 11:11 PM   #4
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I work in IT and work for a bank, online bill pay and auto drafts present their own cautions. I prefer to be in control of my money a little more.

My girlfriend who also works at the bank had a problem with her debit card. The system at the grocery store wasn't working and wouldn't accept the transaction. So she swiped the card 3 or 4 times before it took. However, it was working on the banks end, and deducted that amount everytime she swiped her card.

I use an ATM card and that is about it. My husband doesn't even have one of those.
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Old 04-07-2005, 05:29 AM   #5
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Sounds like really bad luck on your end. I absolutely trust on-line banking. I also use debit cards all over the world, Malaysia and Korea recently without issue. I worked at the U.S. post office and it's a small percentage of mail that gets tore up. Usually envelopes w/ things in them like coins or balloons, anything bulky. Just can't imagine why you had so many.
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Old 04-07-2005, 03:27 PM   #6
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Oh lindatooo! Didn't read thru the whole post, because years ago I stopped putting bills in the mail. Call your bank. There are many options available other than paying bills thru the mail. Used to pay by phone - no envelopes, stamps, writing checks & all that nonsense.

I've been doing everything on line. Now adays everything is done electronically. The bank has safeguards re identity theft. If you use your puter everyday, you can follow up with any and all transactions. Writing checks & mailing envelopes are a thing of the past - thank goodness. Hope this will make your life simpler.
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Old 04-07-2005, 03:30 PM   #7
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Ooops, wanted to mention too, lindatooo , you can have utilities & such (i.e. phone co), automatically deduct the bill from your checking account.
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Old 04-07-2005, 09:15 PM   #8
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Thanks, everyone, I really needed to vent! DH is generally against the online pay stuff though we do have our utilities automatically deducted through the bank. Will have to re-think that. Feeling alot like that character in Peanuts who had a black cloud over his head!
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Old 04-07-2005, 11:00 PM   #9
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Had some back-to-back problems a few months ago with bills I never recieved, and payments never recieved by people I owed money to. Luckily, I'm a person who always pays on time and I owe no one any thing, so it didn't damage my credit rating. It was simply a P in the A. What is difficult is that I live in a very small town. When I first moved here, the mail I'd send across town would be sorted locally and sent across town. Now it is shipped 90 miles away to be sorted and stamped, then sent back to be delivered. It can take longer for me to send something a block away than to send it halfway across the country. I was told this was the problem ... that a mail delivery truck was in an accident and there was a fire, somewhere in Wisconsin. Nice to know when your credit card company -- and your plumber, who is less than a mile away -- are demanding payment!!! There also seem to be black holes in the system. In the past 25+ years, I have always, and I do mean always, had very bad luck sending items to relatives in south Florida, from anywhere in the country (in those years I've lived in Virginia, Hawaii, Illinois, and travelled on the road and sent from many other states as well). It got to the point where if I want to send something to one of my sisters in south Florida, I didn't bother, just sent to Mom in the Daytona area, and my sisters could pick up their stuff when they visited her. So, no, it isn't just you.

But do remember that if you've ever travelled internationally, it is pretty much cheaper and more efficient here than in most countries that are much smaller. When I had a freind beg us not to send her anything besides a single page, simple letter, no photos, never more than a page, because it would be stolen by the postman thinking it might be something valuable .... well, I gripe about it, but I know it could be much worse.
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Old 04-07-2005, 11:57 PM   #10
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Yes I myself have experience bills disappearing after I sent them off only to have several of the companies calling me to say they never received the payment. One company it happend 2 times and maybe even 3 now that I think about it. Its totally frustrating. I've now resorted to paying my Discover bill at the Sears store and most of the others we hand deliver.
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