Online Buyers Concerned with Package Thefts

171 postal workers arrested last year in connection with thefts

By Lauren Petty and Alexandria Fisher
|  Friday, May 17, 2013  |  Updated 8:57 PM CDT
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A Chicago woman was shocked when she received a package without the $1,200 purse that was supposed to be inside. Lauren Petty reports.

A Chicago woman was shocked when she received a package without the $1,200 purse that was supposed to be inside. Lauren Petty reports.

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Convenience is everything these days, and online shopping is the new craze. But buyers may want to beware before having purchases shipped to their door.

One woman is urging customers to be prepared for a loss when shipping items through the United States Postal Service after she lost a $1,250 purse.

The woman, who wishes to remain unnamed due to having large amounts of high-end purses, said she purchased a Louis Vuitton through a private Facebook group where women buy and sell luxury bags and shoes.

The bag was purchased from another purse enthusiast, Stephanie Carroll, in Connecticut.

Carroll claims to have put the duffle in the mail using USPS Priority Mail with insurance and signature confirmation.

“I sent the buyer the tracking and assumed everything would be OK,” Carroll said.

But when the box arrived it was empty and covered in “resealed” stickers.

“All [the post office] can say is, ‘You’re lucky this is the first time this has happened to you and your package is insured,’” the buyer said.

The Office of the Inspector General is investigating the incident, according to the USPS.

Carroll filed a claim after the theft and reimbursed the woman for the cost of the bag. USPS said it would take 30 days to process the claim, but a month went by and it was still "pending," Carroll said.

This is not an isolated incident.

“It’s really troubling because this is not the first time I’ve had this happen with the U.S. postal system,” Carroll said. “This is like the fourth time I’ve had to file a claim in the last several years.”

Last year, 171 postal workers were arrested and 377 faced administrative actions for issues with theft and delay or destruction of mail.

The Postal Service claims those numbers are relatively small given a workforce of 630,000 employees.

A USPS representative released a statement that read:

“We know the majority of employees are dedicated and work conscientiously to ensure the trust of the public.”

Carroll returned the woman’s money and was eventually reimbursed for the cost of the bag, she said.

The Postal Service recommends paying for extra services including insurance, which covers damage or loss up to $5,000.

But the incident was enough to make both women think twice before shipping expensive items.

“Even if it’s insured, I don’t want to go through this anymore,” the buyer said. 

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