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True story: You can buy unclaimed packages

| December 30, 2021 1:00 AM

Have you ever wondered what happens to your Amazon or U.S. Postal Service packages that never show up on your doorstep? Besides porch pirates, packages misplaced in warehouses or lost in transit could be to blame. So what happens to the merchandise?

After months of these packages going unclaimed, they can be auctioned off or end up for sale at local swap meets. For Postal Service packages not claimed within 90 days, they'll likely be auctioned off on GovDeals, Inc. — govdeals.com.

This is a company the U.S. Postal Service contracts with to sell unclaimed items. You can browse categories like sports equipment or clothing but you might end up having to purchase items in lots rather than individually.

Another website, www.liquidation.com, lets you choose the company you’d like to purchase from like Amazon, Target, Walmart, Lowe’s or Home Depot. Some items show pictures of what you're bidding on but other listings might show stock pictures. To determine the legitimacy of a seller, you can check the Better Business Bureau and read the customer reviews.

In reality, since the purchaser might not know exactly what they're buying until they receive and open the box, these sites might be better suited to buyers who don’t mind purchasing large quantities.

Since most of us aren’t looking to purchase hundreds of any one item, we can still find deals since many of these bulk buyers become sellers on secondhand buying platforms such as Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, eBay and Poshmark (for clothing).

As always, when buying anything online, do your research to make sure you're dealing with a reputable seller. I’ve had pretty good luck finding deals on both eBay and Poshmark.

If you've mailed anything through USPS and it has gone missing, call 1-800-ASK-USPS or check out this website to reclaim your package: https://bit.ly/3qz89hd

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Delivery challenges USPS

Have you noticed mail service from the United States Postal Service is measurably slower than it used to be? The transaction that confirmed my suspicion was when my bank mailed my new credit card through USPS.

After a week and a half when I still had not received the card (which was being mailed from southern Idaho), I called my bank and had them cancel the card in case it had been intercepted by thieves. The bank then issued another card that I picked up in person at the branch. I didn’t receive the original card until 13 days after it was mailed.

Even with an increased reliance on electronic payments and communication, consumers have still been complaining about delays in deliveries of birthday cards, bills, unemployment checks and life-saving prescription medications.

As a result of the new service standards that went into effect Oct. 1 for first-class mail and packages, the length of delivery time has increased. For letters, parcels and magazines that travel coast to coast, delivery used to take two or three days but now can take up to five days.

These changes are part of Postmaster General DeJoy’s 10-year Delivering for America plan to overhaul the agency in order to tackle its debt. In addition to lengthening mail timelines and raising rates, DeJoy plans to also reduce post office hours to save money.

DeJoy told a congressional panel earlier this year that the Postal Service lost more than $9 billion in 2020 and owes about $80 billion in unfunded liabilities because of a congressionally imposed mandate that it prepay the health care costs of its future retirees.

DeJoy is reportedly working with lawmakers to allow this requirement to end and place retirees within the Medicare program.

As more people rely on online purchasing, it only stands to reason that mail delivery service will continue to be challenged. If you rely on regular first-class mail service, allow extra time to send important documents and invitations so they reach their destination on time.

For an extra fee, customers can opt to use Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail services with a one- to three-day standard delivery time within the contiguous states.

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Hard inquiry hits home

Earlier this month, I wrote about how a hard inquiry might affect your credit rating. After I opened a new account with a local bank, I applied for a credit card. The bank was required to verify my credit history and credit worthiness by doing a hard inquiry.

Research showed that a credit rating can be impacted 3 to 5 percentage points for each hard inquiry. As a result of this one inquiry, my credit score did go down by 3 percentage points.

Be mindful of the impact hard inquiries have on your credit rating, because this could impact the rate you can get when you apply for a loan.

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Remember: I’m on your side.

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If you have encountered a consumer issue that you have questions about or think our readers should know about, please send me an email at terridickersonadvocate@gmail.com or call me at 208-274-4458. As The CDA Press Consumer Gal, I’m here to help. I’m a copywriter working with businesses on marketing strategy, a columnist, a veterans advocate and a consumer advocate living in Coeur d’Alene.

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