Stamps By Fax : Problems At The USPS
Bob Sakayama, SEO
Consumer Alert
For Immediate Release
November 13, 2006

Going Postal Over Postage

For many years, TNG/Earthling, Inc. used "Stamps By Fax" to get postage, because it's more cost effective than a postal meter, and it's very convenient. We ship small orders 1st Class or Priority Mail, and have spent thousands of dollars through this service for to pay for postage handling everything from post cards to international shipments.

The convenience of faxing orders and receiving stamps by mail is undeniable. We used the service often. Recently, we started noticing mistakes or omissions in our orders. Once stamps never arrived, and twice we had the wrong amounts delivered. In each of these cases, after submitting the requested forms, we eventually were made whole.

The real problems started about 2 weeks ago, when I received a card notifying me of an attempt to deliver restricted mail (I was not in). There was a place on the card for a signature, which would enable delivery later. I signed the card and left it for the carrier, not knowing what the restricted mail was. A few days later, I received another card, informing me that if I did not pick up the restricted mail at the post office, it would be returned to the sender.

At the post office, I was surprised to have the clerk hand me an envelope with my stamps order, normally left in my mailbox. To find out why, I called the Stamps By Fax office and spoke to Leroy Williams, one of the managers for the service. He told me that because of problems with previous orders, my stamps would now only be delivered as restricted mail. I was shocked to learn that because of their errors in fulfilling my orders, I was on the restricted list. "We have to protect revenue," Mr. Williams reiterated numerous times.

"So how do I get off that list?" I asked. "When you have 3 deliveries with no problems," I was told. Although it is an incredible hassle to go the post office and stand in line, I could understand the motivation for the restricted delivery. What is really annoying is that I am on that list because their mistakes. The fact that we have a long record of purchases totalling several thousands of dollars carried no weight.

I accepted my fate and placed an order, hoping to begin the second in a string of three successful orders to regain my normal delivery status. Two days later, after signing for the package, I opened my order to find more than half of the order missing! I was shocked, and immediately called Mr. Williams who asked to call me back.

When he returned my call, he told me that 4 of his staff had personally seen that order being filled. I was stunned. (Right, 4 staff watched my order get filled - my orders must be very important.) When I repeated the truth to him, that the shipment was improperly filled, he became furious, saying I was accusing his staff of fraud, and shouting at me. He concluded by shouting, "I will investigate, and I hope it isn't you!" His voice is still ringing in my ears.

So, fellow stamp buyers, beware of Stamps By Fax. If they mess up your order, you may be investigated as the thief. I personally am very sorry to see this great service disintegrate into incompetence. I would love to have my old service back, but I'm getting the feeling that I'm going to be stuck forever on the restricted list.

Stay tuned. I'll let you know how this turns out.

Bob Sakayama, SEO


15 November 2006:
There are signs that this is not going well. Today, via mail, I received a complaint form (PS 1510) for filing my complaint. Two of the carbons go to the Criminal Investigative Service Center in Chicago. The form's instructions clearly state that the rest of the form is to be returned in the enclosed pre-addressed envelope. There was no enclosed envelope, so I had to fax Mr. Williams this information, requesting that envelope.

Helping Consumers Negotiate Bureaucracy

Offering comprehensive information for consumers:
recalls, scams, complaints, good guys, and reports about consumer problems.

New York City Department of Consumer Affairs
Protects the rights of consumers in New York City and
to serve the needs of New York City's business owners.

Better Business Bureau
Better Business Bureaus can alert you to
complaints against companies in your area. - Consumer Reports: Ratings, Buying Guides ... provides ratings, buying guides, product reviews and
information from the experts at Consumer Reports magazine and Consumers ...