General Question

pleiades's avatar

Have you ever contacted local authorities in regards to a neighbor opening your mail?

Asked by pleiades (6566points) June 17th, 2014

I had two cassettes mailed to 519 instead of my # which is similar. Honest mistake by the company writing one of the digits incorrectly, but it has my full name on the package.

Does this qualify as being able to report? The company I purchased from hasn’t received a “Return to Sender” package so I’m guessing the neighbors opened the package and the tracking confirms it was delivered to them which again, had their address but with my name.

I left a letter at their door because no one answered on two separate occasions.

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22 Answers

dappled_leaves's avatar

If the invoice has your neighbour’s address on it (which seems to be what you’ve said), then wouldn’t it be more appropriate to complain to the company that sent the cassettes? I mean, it’s dickish of your neighbours to take your shipment, but the true fault lies with either the company (if they wrote the address down wrong) or with the shipping company (if they read the address wrong).

Also, I am guessing it would take a long time for the company to receive and process a package “returned to sender.”

pleiades's avatar

@dappled_leaves I have left the neighbors a note, I’ll give them one last knock on the door tomorrow. I gave them the ultimatum and put the ball in their court by inviting them to contact me at my door and even left a phone number and said text is ok since a lot of people are shy these days. If nothing is done by tomorrow, I’ll request the company deals with it and ask them to ship me a new product.

I’m thinking it’s really 50/50 right now if that neighbor gets back to me.

It is sort of a gray area…

Regarding “return to sender” from California to Oregon shouldnt take too long correct? I have no idea if it’s faster or slower with return to senders… but this is all dealing with first class packaging anyhow… very small items usually when I buy from Oregon it takes 2 days for First Class mail…

dappled_leaves's avatar

@pleiades Yeah, but considering that your neighbours didn’t ask to have a package dumped on them, they might take their time getting around to dealing with it – here, they’d have to physically bring it to a post office; I know I’d be in no hurry. Also, no guarantee that the return would be done via the same shipping method as it was originally sent by, as far as I know. Then, as an anomaly, it might sit at the company for a while before someone figures out who it belongs to and changes its status. Lots of variables here.

This is, of course, assuming they didn’t just keep it out of annoyance or dickishness.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I think contacting the authorities might be a bit premature. You don’t know for sure that they opened your package. I would simply call the company your purchased the cassettes from and tell them that you did not receive them and that you are waiting for your purchase to be completed. They can deal with what did or didn’t happen to the original package they sent to the wrong address.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The shipper takes the hit for the incorrect address, end of story. There’s wisdom in @Seaofclouds solution. Regardless of what YOU know to be the truth of the situation, 2 facts remain beyond dispute. The pkg was misaddressed, and you have not received your cassettes.

pleiades's avatar

The OP is in regards to anyone else, my description is merely an example of what I’m currently dealing with, I have no intentions of calling the cops, the item was 7$ I’ll let the company deal with that however they like, the OP was genuinely curious for anyone else experience.

Yea I have no clue why they did not print the label with the PayPal purchase which has my correct address at all times.

Someone with dislexia must have been in charge of handwriting the postage package out. Great point about taking the time to return the package Dapple

CWOTUS's avatar

If your neighbors are opening mail that has been misaddressed to them, then I would give them the benefit of the doubt in not being aware of the misdirection. “Mail is in my box, so it must be for me,” is probably the default setting for most people most of the time. Once they opened the container they may have been embarrassed to admit their oversight, or perhaps they never did realize the error. Some people throw away packaging as soon as it is opened. (Husband may think it was something the wife ordered, the wife may think it’s something one of the kids had an order for, etc.)

Or maybe they really are dicks.

In any case, if mail is misdirected to your neighbors, I wouldn’t make a federal case out of it. Which is, in fact, what it would be: a federal case. Stealing or opening another’s mail is a federal, not local, offense.

Like others here, I recommend that you upbraid your shipper for misaddressing the package, and maybe have a word with the postman, but I still would not complain to his management, because it’s not really his fault, either, is it?

pleiades's avatar

I’m afraid I’m already in contact with the shipping manager as he’s the one who figured out someone wrote the number upside down ;) And it’s the 2nd package they sent out this time with the tracking #.(It’s not uncommon for record labels that ship cassettes to provide no tracking info as it costs extra and the DIY community it’s just accepted especially since it’s First Class it just moves faster through mail, [not in the LP vinyl collecting world though! those babies need tracking no matter what!]

zenvelo's avatar

Mail delivered to them in error is not intent to open your mail. People often open mail without checking the address or the name.

And it’s a hassle to return it and who is going to pay for it to be returned? I don’t want to pay out of the goodness of my heart for something that I never intended to get.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Your postman has wide discretion when it comes to misaddressed mail. If he or she is your ‘regular” carrier, and had the same route for a while, your name would probably be recognized and the pkg delivered to you regardless of the address. People who deliberately open other folks correctly addressed mail have no idea of the grief that can befall them. The postal inspectors will hound a man to his grave for the theft of a stamp.

JLeslie's avatar

I have opened my neighbors mail and other people’s mail because I don’t always look at who it is addressed to and my mailmen in NC and TN used to deliver to the wrong house all the time. All of us, my neighbors and I always, gave each other our mail.

Are you sure they have been home to receive your note? If they have been home then I would just tell the post office what happened and let them correct it.

pleiades's avatar

@stanleybmanly I have a guy that comes here 5 days out of the week. As you can imagine there is a 6th day where he is off. That’s where random fill in guy comes in.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@pleiades “I have no intentions of calling the cops”

That’s good, since it’s not really a police matter anyway. It’s a matter for the local Postmaster to deal with if anything.

johnpowell's avatar

To be perfectly honest when I get stuff sent to my apartment that is for someone else I just toss it in the bin. I have a hard enough time mailing out my own stuff. I’m not about to start dealing with other peoples crap.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

My fiance is a mail carrier and if he’s doing a new route or filling in for another carrier’s scheduled day off there’s really no way of knowing every single persons name at each address. The carriers deliver it to the address on the label. Unless familiar with the route, the name wouldn’t set off any red flags. I would call the company and have them send a new package out. It was their mistake after all. They admitted to sending it to the wrong address so they should correct the mistake.

LuckyGuy's avatar

No. People here seem to go the extra mile to get it right.

I have an interesting example. Before the ‘interwebz’, I ordered some parts by phone from Numrich. They did not arrive. I called the company, who insisted they had shipped but they reshipped anyway. That package, too, did not arrive. I called UPS and they said the driver put the box “in the garage near the dog.” We don’t have a dog!
The driver put the boxes in a neighbor’s garage about ¼ – ½ mile away. (someone had written a zero that looked like a 6 and that confused the driver.) I went over there and found both boxes. My neighbor never noticed they were there.

Around here we do not lock our doors and we used to keep a stack of pre-signed receipts for the UPS man on a nail inside the garage door. It was very convenient. If something needed a signature, he would just pull one off the nail. Now they make us sign his hand held device. Progress isn’t always better….

jca's avatar

I am going with the first post that said the real issue should be taken up with the company who sent it to the wrong address. “My address is not ___, it’s ___.” I don’t feel it’s your responsibility to hunt down neighbors and knock on doors and deal with people and their possible anger issues or finding them home or figuring out what their work schedules are so that you might get them or wonder why the curtains are moving and you heard talking but now they’re not answering the door.

jca's avatar

If package was delivered by US PS, all the recipients would have to do is have postman pick it back up next time he came, and they should indicate “return to sender. Not at this address.” They would not have to pay for shipping. It would take a lot longer for the return to get back to the company. I would give it two weeks, but in the meantime, that’s not your problem. The company screwed up, you didn’t receive your product, they should rectify the problem.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@jca “all the recipients would have to do is have postman pick it back up next time he came”

I wondered about this. In Canada, the postman is not going to pick up misdelivered mail – we have to bring it to a mailbox or post office ourselves. It varies in some communities, of course, but overall, that is the rule.

jca's avatar

@dappled_leaves: Oh, then I would think that many people just keep stuff that they get by accident.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@jca I’d be surprised if most people did. I think that generally, there is a genuine effort to return mail, but if a sender persists (some companies are ridiculously lax about updating addresses) in sending letters, then they probably get tossed a la @johnpowell. That’s been my experience, and that of people I’ve talked to about it, anyway. Misdelivered mail is not all that common – mostly it happens around moving day, and people will come back for it or arrange to have it forwarded. I can’t remember the last time I received a piece of misdelivered mail that was not for a former tenant.

jca's avatar

To answer this question directly, I wonder why the OP would consider contacting authorities when it seems like contacting the sender would be more appropriate.

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