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Problem with USPS Money Orders , updated with USPS reply


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Recently I purchased a rifle that was listed on Gun Broker. The gun was listed by a well established FFL holder who has a long established reputation of firearms sales. I went to the Post Office where I live in Northern Wisconsin and obtained two Postal Money orders and mailed them directly from the post office via first class mail to the FFL Several days later I contacted the FFL and discovered that the money orders never arrived. I looked at the USPS web site and found that both money orders had been cashed. I went to the PO and after a lot of nobody knowing what to do got a form 6401 and filed it. A few days later I was sent copies of the cashed money orders. Both checks had been washed and a different name had been placed on the payable area. Looking at the money orders it was easy to see the problems. Different addresses and names used, alteration of the writing etc. Now the USPS advertises that lost or stolen Postal Money orders will be refunded, that sadly is not true. In my case one money order was cased at a bank, the other was cashed at a post office. The USPS says they were altered and they will pay me for the one cashed at a bank but not the one cashed by the Post Office ? I am told that I must file a Police report on the one cashed at the Post Office and then identify that party who cashed the check and recover the money from them. This is of course all the more difficult as the checks were stolen from the mail and cashed in Oklahoma. The reality is I am out the money that was cashed in the Post Office. I asked why the Post agrees that both money orders were altered but they are handled different but that is just the was they do it,. It makes no difference they was stolen from the mail service and no difference that the cashier at the Post Office did not use common sense it examining the money order prior to cashing. Lesson learned, on way or the other they get you

 

updated 1/16/2021

Over the course of several weeks I made several attempts to speak with with a USPS supervisor. Not getting ant where within that I sent an email to the Post Master and copied the postal service supervisor. The email requested under the freedom of information act copies of the USPS employee instructions for the cashing of money orders. It shows that before cashing a money order the Postal employee is to obtain correct ID and record the ID on the back of the money order. This was not done for the money order I had mailed. I also requested the name and contact information for the Postal employee who cashed the money order so I could bring legal action against the employee for failure to adhere to USPS policy. It took a few hours after that email to get a couple of calls for the Postal supervisor informing me they have reconsider their position and that they would refund my money for the stolen money order.

Edited by Marshal Fire, SASS 10064
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Suggest going to a larger PO and ask for the Postmaster to see if you get the same answer.

 

Perhaps the employee you talk to originally had something to do with the altered Postal money orders?

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Matthew, I wish it were that easy. The reply that they will not refund is from the Postal Service accounting office. They are the party that has approved the refund on the one money order and denied and the second one. It is policy of the Post Office if the item is cashed at a Postal Service office they will not refund the money. The matter needs to be sent to the police and court system 

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John Boy, that is what the Postal Service tells me to do. Problem is two fold, Me in Wisconsin and the act committed in Oklahoma. Second, I have a copy of the money order and the name that was added to the money order is not legible, so identification of the party who cashed the check is not possible. There is no manner to see if the Postal Employee did an ID check when the item was presented but if so I can not understand how they could read the name on the money order. Based on the route of travel for the letter I believe the item was stolen at the Post Office, maybe that is why it was so easy for the check to be cashed?

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The answer? Paypal/Credit card or personal check. It is very difficult to get money back from the USPS. 

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I get a money order or a bank check from my bank. I don’t trust the post office with anything!

Edited by Rye Miles #13621
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How disappointing.  I have used the USPS Money Orders pretty heavily the last couple of years.  Now, I am second guessing using them again in the future.

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I would file an appeal on the outstanding item, you will likely eventually succeed. In part because USPS can not prove the identity of the thief and in part because the other claim was acknowledged. They are linked.

 

But in the mean time, and perhaps permanently, you are out the money.

 

Even if everything goes well, USPS money orders are a pain. I won't use them unless they are my only option.

 

Credit cards, PayPal, (venmo, and others) are a better bet. Frankly, credit cards give the best consumer protection with the least hassle. Even a pre-paid credit card is a bit better than an ATM card and less hassle than a MO. A MO if it arrives at the destination is great for the  recipient, it is guaranteed funds; not so guaranteed for the sender if it does not get there. Even i you do prevail on a claim, the refund is very slow.

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Marshall, I'd call your U.S. Rep. They have people in their office that deal with all types of complaints. Often a simple phone call from the office of a U.S. Rep or Senator can burn through a lot of stupid. And this just sounds stupid. Honestly, they are at fault for cashing a money order (their own money order!) that had been altered. The USPS is an independent agency under the executive branch, but all federal spending originates in the U.S. House.

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Best of luck.  I hope you get all your money back.

 

As mentioned already, PayPal (or venmo, or cashapp) get the money there faster with no chance of it getting intercepted along the way. 

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3 hours ago, Colonel Kraken said:

Marshall, I'd call your U.S. Rep. They have people in their office that deal with all types of complaints. Often a simple phone call from the office of a U.S. Rep or Senator can burn through a lot of stupid. And this just sounds stupid. Honestly, they are at fault for cashing a money order (their own money order!) that had been altered. The USPS is an independent agency under the executive branch, but all federal spending originates in the U.S. House.

 

^ This. It’s not like they’re good for anything else. Might as well try to get some use out of them.

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As many of you know it is often requested when buying item's "online" that payment be sent with Postal Money orders. As you can see from my experience they are great for the party receiving the money order but not always for the sender. I was surprised that the Postal Service which advertises that stolen money orders are replaced would not refund if it were cashed at a Post Office. At this point I have asked to speak to a supervisor in the accounting office which reviews these decisions.

I have verbally stated that I would continue to address the loss even if I had to call my Congressman to see if there is a remedy he could help with. I also will call the Postal Inspectors office but really do not suspect they will get involved.  I know in the future I will look at a different way to make the payment. I hope none of you ever have to deal with a loss like this or with the issues that the Postal System has to deal with theft and forgery.

 

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I would stay on it! Go up higher in the chain until you get results. 

 

I also used usps money orders heavily the last couple years, but was the receiver, never sending. This makes them a bit scary!

 

I wish paypal was progun. That is easiest to use.

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Thank you for this post.

I had been thinking of dumping credit card processing in favor of just old fashion send me a check in the mail.

Probably made a few people happy I am going back to cc processing.

 

Thanks!

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I use USPS MOs frequently and send ALL in a Priority Mail envelope with tracking number.  I have had good luck this way. 

 

The only time I had a problem is when I bought a muzzle loader from a dealer and he said he didn't get the MO.  I didn't send it Priority Mail (lesson learned).  I had a trace done on the MO after waiting the prescribed time and found his family member at the store had cashed it. I had by then already sent him another MO; he refunded the original one. 

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Because of this post I am done sending USPS money orders which I have used many times when I buy from Pards here on the wire. I just assumed it was a protected, safe way to do business. Thanks for posting this Marshall Fire, sure hope you get your money back.  Bank money orders from now on. SCJ

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I seriously doubt that a bank or western union MO will get your money back if it is stolen and fraudulently cashed.

Edited by Sedalia Dave
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1 hour ago, Sedalia Dave said:

I seriously doubt that a bank or western union MO will get your money back if it is stolen and fraudulently cashed.

I will check with my bank and get back with an answer. SCJ

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I would like to weigh in on this topic. For years I used usps money orders for buying and selling firearms from auction sites and individuals. While I have never had a problem with them being lost or stolen, my experience with claims for damage in shipment opened my eyes to the non customer service provided by usps. They try to beat you down to get you to drop your claim. My claims have been refused as many as 5 times and finally they allowed me to speak with a higher level supervisor and state my case. Finally I received payment. This has happened numerous times, not just once.

DO NOT USE PAY PAL TO PURCHASE OR SELL A FIREARM!!!! (paypal owns venmo and their terms are identical to pay pal)

As you know they are anti gun, however they like the $ they get from selling every other type of firearm accessories and parts. If their auditors find that you did use your account for the purchase or sale of a firearm they will suspend your account and freeze your funds. You may or may not be allowed to reopen an account with them or get your funds released. Did anyone ever read their terms agreement.

In my opinion the best way to pay for a purchase is by credit card. Yes they take a big slab of $ for using the card, 3-5%, but it is better than losing the funds that are missing, filing endless claims, and not getting the item.

One suggestion is to not put the business name, especially if it identifies a gun business, on the envelope. Just put the individuals name and the store address on the envelope and wrap the check inside one piece of folded paper. Makes it less noticeable that there may be some sort of funds inside

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5 hours ago, Outlaw Gambler said:

 

One suggestion is to not put the business name, especially if it identifies a gun business, on the envelope. Just put the individuals name and the store address on the envelope and wrap the check inside one piece of folded paper. Makes it less noticeable that there may be some sort of funds inside

 

 

Way back while I was still in the army, a Unit Clerk had devised a way to slip a split rod into the envelope and roll up any money, money order, etc. that happened to be inside.  Everyone was directed to have any such future shipments wrapped inside of another sheet of paper.

 

Of course, the Unit Clerk discovered why we have Leavenworth.

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On 1/1/2021 at 12:12 PM, Sacramento Johnson #6873 said:

....send ALL in a Priority Mail envelope with tracking number.  I have had good luck this way. 

 

 

It annoys me to spend the extra money, but I also send payments (of any significant amount) like this.  The tracking alone is probably worth it, but the larger envelope makes it harder to lose and/or steal.

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Two things:

My bank charges $3.00 for a Money Order. P.O . charges a dollar.

Save $2 and loose it all?
Small claims courts are a joke. You'll spend more trying to get to court than maybe the value. If the court rules in your favor it doesn't mean you'll get paid. I won a $300,000 case where a client hadn't paid. He wouldn't pay. Called the district attorneys office and the PD. Both said the same thing. They had bigger things to worry about!.
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On 1/2/2021 at 9:14 AM, Outlaw Gambler said:

 

DO NOT USE PAY PAL TO PURCHASE OR SELL A FIREARM!!!! (paypal owns venmo and their terms are identical to pay pal)

As you know they are anti gun, however they like the $ they get from selling every other type of firearm accessories and parts. If their auditors find that you did use your account for the purchase or sale of a firearm they will suspend your account and freeze your funds. You may or may not be allowed to reopen an account with them or get your funds released. Did anyone ever read their terms agreement.

In my opinion the best way to pay for a purchase is by credit card. Yes they take a big slab of $ for using the card, 3-5%, but it is better than losing the funds that are missing, filing endless claims, and not getting the item.

One suggestion is to not put the business name, especially if it identifies a gun business, on the envelope. Just put the individuals name and the store address on the envelope and wrap the check inside one piece of folded paper. Makes it less noticeable that there may be some sort of funds inside

 

Thank you for making the above points (which I highlighted).  You CANNOT use Paypal to pay for firearms.  It is against their policy.  I buy and sell on Gunbroker, and USPS Money orders are by far the preferred method of payment there.  Of course, many sellers on there are businesses that can process credit card transactions (plus a 3% processing fee), but many sellers on there are not retailers, so USPS is the way to go.

 

I'm going to have to re-think my method of payment now.  Thanks for sharing with us.

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I have been using USPS money orders for various types of payments for about 60 years . I don't see me suddenly stopping. I appreciate the heads up on Marshall Fire's unfortunate incident , and may start using the priority envelopes. PayPal will not be an option for me.

Just my 2 cents.

Rex :D

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My bank doesn't charge for money orders or certified bank checks. I haven't used USPS money orders in years!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thought that I would post an update on my issues with the USPS. After being told that I needed to take direct legal action against the party who cashed the money order at the Post Office I requested to speak to a supervisor. I had to make four requests to speak with the supervisor. When that did not work I sent an email to the Post Master of the Post Office where the money order was cashed and copied that to the supervisor of the office handling the complaint. I explained that since the employee who cashed the money order failed to obtain and record the ID of the cashing party there was no way for me to bring legal action. With that in mind I requested with the freedom of information act the name of the employee who cashed the money order and a copy of the Postal service requirements for cashing money orders. I told them that I intended to bring legal action against the employee for failure to adhere to Postal requirements. It took about half a day to get several calls back to me on this. The supervisor decided it was in the best interest of the Post Office to reimburse me for the stolen money order.

Took a long time and many calls and emails but sometimes if you play the game you can win. Just sad that it took so much to get the logical reply.

 Be safe

Marshal

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On 12/31/2020 at 3:40 PM, Marshal Fire, SASS 10064 said:

Over the course of several weeks I made several attempts to speak with with a USPS supervisor. Not getting ant where within that I sent an email to the Post Master and copied the postal service supervisor. The email requested under the freedom of information act copies of the USPS employee instructions for the cashing of money orders. It shows that before cashing a money order the Postal employee is to obtain correct ID and record the ID on the back of the money order. This was not done for the money order I had mailed. I also requested the name and contact information for the Postal employee who cashed the money order so I could bring legal action against the employee for failure to adhere to USPS policy. It took a few hours after that email to get a couple of calls for the Postal supervisor informing me they have reconsider their position and that they would refund my money for the stolen money order.

Edited 18 minutes ago by Marshal Fire, SASS 10064

 

Hoorah!  No whining, no defeatist attitude.....just logic and pursuit of the truth!!!   I salute you, sir!!!

 

When confronted with bureaucratic nonsense, you need to defeat them with their own tools - the regulations!  Every agency has them, and they almost always contain detailed procedures and requirements that, if not closely followed, will spell doom for the bureaucrat who tries to hide behind them.  FOIA is your friend!  Use it!

 

Nice work!!

 

LL

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On December 31, 2020 at 2:40 PM, Marshal Fire, SASS 10064 said:

 

 

updated 1/16/2021

Over the course of several weeks I made several attempts to speak with with a USPS supervisor. Not getting ant where within that I sent an email to the Post Master and copied the postal service supervisor. The email requested under the freedom of information act copies of the USPS employee instructions for the cashing of money orders. It shows that before cashing a money order the Postal employee is to obtain correct ID and record the ID on the back of the money order. This was not done for the money order I had mailed. I also requested the name and contact information for the Postal employee who cashed the money order so I could bring legal action against the employee for failure to adhere to USPS policy. It took a few hours after that email to get a couple of calls for the Postal supervisor informing me they have reconsider their position and that they would refund my money for the stolen money order.

 

Nicely done!!  I used the same tactic to find and retrieve a lost package back in late summer!!  They didn't want to pay the insurance on the package, so they got off of their @$$es and found and delivered my package!!  Only took two days for it to arrive after it sat on the floor in the Memphis hub for over a month!!

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I fortunately had decent luck again. The package being shipped to me from a Pard in Texas was supposed to get here next Tuesday. The tracking shows it out for delivery today!:)

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