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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
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Experience:  JD, MBA
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Lawsuit against USPS

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I have an issue of a lost package by USPS which I believe was more stolen than lost. This is a bit complicated since it involved both UPS and USPS. Anyway, I was expecting a package which was supposed to be delivered by UPS to my box (UPS doesn't deliver to PO Boxes, but I signed a form allowing me to receive Fedex, UPS and DHL deliveries at the PO BOX, but I need to use the street address of the post office with the box # XXXXX of PO BOX XXXXX format). So, UPS delivered the package, scanned it and got a signature from who now appears to be a station manager. At this point there is nothing I could complaint about to UPS, but USPS has not given me the package, yet. I contacted USPS Consumer Affairs office here, but they say there is nothing they can do except ask the post office to check on the delivery status. The postal office has been "investigating" for 2 weeks now and say there is no package. Now they are saying the UPS scanned it before the actual delivery, but I called UPS and they confirmed they never do that. They scan packages as delivered only at the place of delivery and right at the moment they drop them off. Otherwise, this would be a serious flaw in the entire system. They also said that the person who signed for package is responsible for it and I actually think so too because I signed a document allowing USPS to sign for packages addressed to me. If someone who signed for package did not check what they are signing for - I believe UPS should not be responsible. I don't think I'm going to achieve much, unless I file a lawsuit against the postal service. The value of the package is $100 and it had piece of jewelry, which makes me think that it was stolen. So can I file a lawsuit against the USPS and demand compensation for the UPS package which they signed for and which eventually was lost or stolen? I'm sure the package was delivered and I'm sure it was scanned as delivered at the moment it was dropped off - video surveillance at the post office would most likely prove this too. I would file a lawsuit if I knew I could win it for my own sake and the sake of other people who have faced similar situations (I know there are lots of them). Please help. Thank You.

Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

You wrote: They also said that the person who signed for package is responsible for it
Response: That depends. What did the person agree to when he signed for the package? Did he agree to be personally responsible for the package if it should be lost or stolen? Or did he merely acknowledge receipt of the package? I suspect it's the latter, not the former.

Q: So can I file a lawsuit against the USPS and demand compensation for the UPS package which they signed for and which eventually was lost or stolen?
A:Unfortunately, under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), you would not be able to win a lawsuit against USPS. The USPS is specifically excepted from the FTCA, and if the FTCA does not apply, then the USPS is protected by sovereign immunity. But I'll add that even if sovereign immunity were not an issue, you still would likely lose a lawsuit since the only thing you can prove is that the package was signed for. You'd need to prove that USPS agreed to be liable for the package, and I doubt that is the case. So, I'm sorry to say that there are two reasons that you wouldn't almost certainly lose a lawsuit.

I am truly sorry to give you this bad news, but please understand that it would be unfair to you (and unprofessional of me) to provide you with anything less than an honest response. However, if your concerns were not satisfactorily addressed, then please let me know, and I will be happy to clarify my answer. I do ask that you rate me based upon whether I answered your question, and not based upon whether the answer was good news or bad news. Your positive feedback is greatly appreciated. Thank you for using our service!

If you would like to direct additional legal questions to me in the future, then please type "To VAMD" in the subject line of your question.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
So basically you are saying that if receive another package from UPS or Fedex and someone at the post office decides to loose or steel it (which I know happens a lot) - there is nothing I can do about it? I authorized post office to sign for packages delievered by private carriers and pass over those packages to me (I signed a separate form for that). I did not authorize post office to sign for packages on my behalf and then "loose" them. In this particular situation I cannot file a claim with UPS because the package is scanned as delivered and they've got a signature on file of someone who acknowledged the receipt of that package at that post office. Can I just go to the police and a file a report regarding a stolen package if I suspect this is the case?
Hi again.

Q: So basically you are saying that if receive another package from UPS or Fedex and someone at the post office decides to loose or steel it (which I know happens a lot) - there is nothing I can do about it?
A: That's correct, unless you have actual evidence of wrongdoing. For example, if there is video of an employee stealing the package, then you could take action against that employee by suing him and asking police to file charges.

Q: Can I just go to the police and a file a report regarding a stolen package if I suspect this is the case?
A: Yes, but you should contact the USPIS for the report, which investigates postal theft. Here is the website: CLICK HERE. The local police may be of help as well, so I would report it there too, though they may tell you to report it to the USPIS.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Was thinking about reporting to USPIS. Thanks for the info, wish it was more promising.