Postal insurance doesn't guarantee a paid damage claim - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

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Postal insurance doesn't guarantee a paid damage claim

Posted: Updated:
LAVEEN, AZ (CBS5) -

A Laveen man says the post office damaged his shipment and won't honor his insurance claim. The reason comes down to how the item was packed.

It seems reasonable to think that if a USPS employee is going to sell you insurance on your item, they would also tell you if you packed it properly, but that is not the case. And in the end, it is up to you to prove you packed correctly if you want your damage claim to be approved.

"I packed the guitar properly," Ruben Macias said.

Macias is an elementary school music teach in Laveen. He says he needed to sell his vintage Gibson guitar to help refinance his home.

"It was my first real professional level guitar when I was a teenager and I cherished it," Macias said.

Macias sold the guitar on eBay for $2,400. He says he packed it himself using a thickly padded case, thick bubble wrap, and a special box just for shipping guitars he obtained at a music store. He brought the box to a USPS location and insured it for the full value.

"What's the purpose of buying insurance, if it's not going to be honored," Macias said.

Macias says the post office employee never asked him one question about his packing job. When the box arrived at its destination, it was badly damaged, and inside, the guitar neck was busted. Macias' documentation shows he filed a claim that same day, Jan. 14. Even though the destination post office had not seen the damage yet, the claim was denied online two days later.

"Two days later, they didn't even see the guitar until eleven days later, so it was like an automatic reflex to deny," Macias said.

Macias says eleven weeks after he filed his claim, he finally received a denial letter. It said the claim was denied because the box was not packed, "to withstand normal mail processing and handling." No other explanation was given.

"It happened in their care, something unfortunate happened, honor the insurance claim, that's all," Macias said.

The post office won't pack an item for you, so, the only way you can really prove your case is to follow the packing instructions at usps.com, take photos, and be persistent if your claim is denied and you feel you packed correctly.

Postal officials could not tell CBS 5 News why the claim was denied before they saw the damage, but they did apologize to Macias for the delay in processing his appeal and promised to respond to the appeal within 30 days. CBS 5 News will let you know how it turns out.

Here is a statement from USPS: "The Postal Service's local Consumer Affairs staff has contacted Mr. Macias directly to apologize for any inconvenience caused during his attempts to file an insurance claim with USPS. We have advised Mr. Macias to submit his final appeal for review by USPS Headquarters. While Mr. Macias' experience was unfortunate, the vast majority of the more than 200 million packages shipped using the U.S. Postal Service each year arrive swiftly, safely and intact."

UPDATE 5/13/14:

USPS completed the investigation into Macias' appeal and authorized payment for the full insured value of $2400, plus reimbursement of $108 in postage paid to ship the item.  CBS 5 News thanks USPS for its commitment to a fair outcome in resolving this claim.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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