Pros: (1) It is cheaper than UPS and FedEx
(2) It theoretically will deliver on weekends
Cons: (1) Lost/stolen packages
(2) System failures -- scan/tracking/customer service
(3) Rude customer service
(4) Deceptive practices
Here's my lovely experience:
Friday August 21, 2009 am -- I go to the post office and purchase a USPS money order and select Express Mail shipping to an eBay seller whose auction I won. Right off the bat the guy starts saying how there is no way they can deliver to this place in Florida in 1 day, which is ok with me (although why advertise the "overnight" thing so much when you can't really come through with it?). He say's it will be there Sunday. Great!
Friday August 21, 2009 pm -- I check the tracking and notice all it says is that it was accepted at the post office I went to. Ok, I knew that! But reading the threads I notice people mention the tracking is infrequently and unreliably updated. Great, what did I just get myself into? I decide to be patient.
Saturday August 22, 2009 -- I check the tracking and still all it says is my local post office accepted it.
Sunday August 23, 2009 -- I check the tracking and still all it says is my local post office accepted it.
Monday August 24, 2009 am -- I check the tracking and still all it says is my local post office accepted it. I call the USPS 800 number. Even their recordings sound defensive as it keeps saying "you can speak to a customer service rep but they won't have anymore information that what you see on the website." The CS says their "computers are down" and can I call back later.
Monday August 24, 2009 pm -- I check the tracking and still all it says is my local post office accepted it. I call the USPS 800 number. The CS says it is due for delivery at 3pm Monday. I guess the guy at my post office told me the wrong thing in saying it would get their by Sunday. The CS also mentioned somethign might be wrong since there was no tracking past it being accepted at my post office but I needed to wait 24hrs till after scheduled delivery (3pm Monday) before they can open an inquiry. Fine.
Tuesday August 25, 2009 330pm -- I check the tracking and still all it says is my local post office accepted it. I call the USPS 800 number. The CS says their systems are down again and can I call back later.
Tuesday August 25, 2009 530pm -- I check the tracking and still all it says is my local post office accepted it. I call the USPS 800 number. The CS apologizes and opens and inquiry, saying they will get back to me when they have more information on the package. In the mean time, she said I could go to the post office with my receipt and get a refund. I really don't care about the refund but decide I should do it to make a point.
Wednesday August 26, 2009 1030pm -- I check the tracking and still all it says is my local post office accepted it. I go to my local post office to see if they can maybe look for the package and also to get a refund. The woman goes back to check and comes out with the supervisor who has a major defensive attitude right off the bat (I guess if you lose packages all the time you will get like this). She starts saying they can't provide a refund until they get "scans" on the package. I ask, "well if it is lost or stolen how would you get scans?". She then says she needs to call the recipient to verify they never received and do an investigation before a refund is made. I asked if she though it was unusual that the only tracking says that her post office accepted it. She said it should have scans from the PO, before getting on the plane, getting off the plane, etc... but that a lot of times they don't do the scans (whaaaa???? why not??? isn't that what we are buying???). She starts spouting off about how she has to follow procedures, blah blah blah and how "I'll win in the end" when I get money refund and Money Order money back (which takes 60 days). How this is winning I don't know as in the short term I need to buy a new money order and wait till god knows when to get money back, meanwhile the seller probably thinks I'm jerking him around....
Wednesday August 26, 2009 300pm -- I check the tracking and still all it says is my local post office accepted it.......
Do not risk anything important with this service!!!!!! Or even anything unimportant. I will never use any USPS service other than dropping the occasional letter in a mailbox. The USPS needs to be sold off into a free market. I'm sure there are some good people there, they can get jobs at a real delivery company. The rest get what they deserve.