Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2008 Issue

The Great Homosassa Hassle: or A Trip Through the Wonder World of USPS Insurance Claims Adjustment

Poclaim

Filing a postal claim is not always as easy as it appears.


By Frank Bequaert

My wife Lucia and I run an antiquarian book business in Fitzwilliam New Hampshire. Our shop is a quarter mile from the Post Office which makes it convenient for mailing packages for our internet business. Our local Postmaster is always helpful and has endless patience in dealing with both our problems and the idiosyncrasies of the U. S. Postal System. For 17 years all went well until last January.

We sell books on a number of internet services including Alibris. If Alibris receives an order from overseas for one of our books, we ship the book to their facility in Sparks Nevada. They then ship the book to the customer. This system is nice for the bookseller as it eliminates the need to request extra postage or cancel a sale because a service has not collected sufficient overseas postage from a customer. Even though Alibris provides postpaid labels for shipping books to Sparks, if a book is worth more than $100., we usually insure it and eat the cost of postage and insurance. Hence this tale.

At the end of January 2007, Alibris ordered 2 of our books worth over $200. each for shipment to Sparks. We put both the books in the same box and shipped them off. We insured the package for $200. Several weeks later, Alibris returned one of the books to us stating that the book condition was "not as described". They also cancelled the order for the other book stating that they had "not received the book". When the returned book arrived in Fitzwilliam it was badly damaged and appeared to have been mauled by a major piece of Post Office equipment. We figure that when the package got chewed up, one book got lost and the damaged book and the remains of the package made it to Alibris. The insurance form on the package was apparently lost as it had not been scanned after it left Fitzwilliam.

Assuming that we had a straightforward damage claim, we filed a claim for $200. for the damaged book with our Postmaster. She duly shipped off the paperwork to the Claims Office. Unfortunately, that claim got lost in the mail so we had to refile the claim two months later.

The second time the claim was sent in it was processed and rejected. We were told that the proper procedure is for the recipient of a damaged item to take that item and the damaged package to their local Post Office where it can be inspected. However, if the recipient does mail the damaged article back to the sender, it has to be sent via U. S. Mail. If it is sent by another carrier (e.g. UPS) the Postal Service can claim that the article could have been damaged by that carrier. Alibris sent the book back via UPS.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Newton. <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica</i>. London, 1687.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Josephus. <i>De antiquitate Judaica.</i> Lubeck, 1475-76.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Carlerius. <i>Sporta fragmentorum, Sportula fragmentorum</i>. Brussels, 1478-79.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Fridolin. <i>Der Schatzbehalter</i>. Nuremberg, 1491.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Pinder. <i>Der beschlossen gart des rosenkrantz marie</i>. Nuremberg, 1505.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Isidorus Hispalensis. <i>Synonyma de Homine</i>. Nuremberg, 1470-71.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Durer. Sammelband including <i>Underweysung der messing</i>. Nuremberg, 1525-29.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 19: 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 28: Printed & Manuscript Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 5: African-American Fine Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 17: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 19:<br>Art & Storytelling: Photographs & Photobooks</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 26: Rare & Important Travel Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 2:<br>Old Master Through Modern Prints</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 7: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14: 19th & 20th Century Literature</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 16: Contemporary Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 5:<br>Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 14: Illustration Art</b>
  • <b>Announcing a new Books for Sale platform hosted by Biblio</b>
    <b>List your books simultaneously on Rare Book Hub and Biblio</b>
  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Exodus 10:10 to 16:15. Complete Biblical scroll sheet in Hebrew, a Torah scroll panel. Middle East, ca. 10th or 11th century.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Copernicus Refuted. (Astronomy.). Scientific manuscript of a course of studies at Collège de la Trinité, Lyon. 1660s.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF. 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy.
    <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Early Unpublished Darwin letter on the races of man. Autograph Letter Signed [to Henry Denny]. Down, Kent, June 1, [1844].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Classic Image of American Slavery. Kimball, M. H. <i>Emancipated Slaves</i>. New York: George Hanks, 1863.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> (Underground Railroad.) Scaggs, Isaac. Important Runaway Slave Poster: $500 Reward Ran away, or decoyed from the subscriber…

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions