The Tribunal Asks: Is USPS (Post Office) tracking accurate?



At the last “pretrial” conference, the tribunal and SO started to engage in a huge, huge discussion over how my package of exhibits came a day later than theirs and how horrible and awful that was and the SO offers the “tracking” for my package. (Now I want you to know that a couple months earlier, when I offered to show I put a package in the mail on X day, I was told the Chair would not consider it.  Now the tables are turned and it has become oh so important.)  Two faced?  I hope they choose the Katie Perry one from Party City.

Google is “USPS tracking accurate?”
From Google, in order of popularity:

From Yahoo Answers:

 usps tracking accurate?

riley17 asked 4 years ago

yesterday i ordered an iphone off of ebay from a seller in north carolina. i went on to track the package and it says i should be receiving it today but i want to know how accurate usps is. i heard it sort of has a bad reputation…what do you think?

Best AnswerVoter’s Choice

 Volusian answered 4 years ago

It is not nearly as reliable as UPS and FEDEX tracking. In many cases, it’s useless. (Emphasis added)

From the day it was mailed, the general guidelines though for USPS:

First class Mail 3-5 days
Priority Mail: 2-3 days, occasionally 4 days
Parcel Post – 6-8 days
Media Mail – anywhere from 7-14 days, and, in rare instances, up to 21 days.

Mailing a package in the morning or afternoon often accounts for a day’s difference in delivery–or more.

From Kilroy Reports:

USPS Tracking

Has anyone ever had a good accurate experience with the USPS tracking? I had an item that they received the tracking yesterday, according the to site, and delivered today. I got the tracking number from the shipper on Monday. I tend to believe they picked up the package no later than Wednesday. Why is their tracking so useless? I’ve also received packages in the past that the web site didn’t update as delivered for a few more days.

When will the people realize that with DRM they aren’t purchasing anything?
actions · 2009-Jul-24 4:31 pm ·

RIP Splashy – We miss you
Lakeside, CA

It’s hit and miss and depends on the post office doing the updates. I’ve had packages where tracking was right on and others where I had no clue what was going on because the tracking was never updated.

Founding member, 2002-2003, 2005-2006 Director of Communications, 2004-2005 Secretary for the Crunchenstein Project 93254336
actions · 2009-Jul-24 4:33 pm ·


Montgomery, IL
·AT&T DSL Service
    reply to Kilroy

I have not really experienced “accurate” tracking with USPS. Part of the problem is that it isn’t intended to be a tracking service but rather it is meant for delivery confirmation only.

You get to see when an item was delivered but you will not always see its travels from point A to point B in any sort of guaranteed accuracy.

So as the number is referred to as a “delivery confirmation” and not a “tracking” number per say.
actions · 2009-Jul-24 4:37 pm ·

Mr Neutron
Ceaseless, Tasteless, and Gormless
Gorham, ME

said by BoulderHill1:

So as the number is referred to as a “delivery confirmation” and not a “tracking” number per say.
Exactly. I believe (but am not sure) that the only mail product they offer true tracking on is Express Mail and even that doesn’t mean you’re going to get the same kind of tracking experience that UPS or FedEx offers.

I understand the frustration, but as far as I can tell, the USPS doesn’t have any incentive to offer “real” tracking. Their present offering is “good enough” for most people and with the USPS, “good enough” is, well, just perfect.

From Joanne:

The upshot: The USPS does not really run a “tracking service”.  Not all locations are outfitted with real time tracking equipment.  Sometimes stations are skipped, sometimes stations are put in later when someone has “time” to do it, AND tracking can hold up your package while that package goes to a different department waiting for someone to track it.  Often all the tracking shows up on the day of delivery.

Again, the USPS does NOT offer accurate tracking. What is offers is accurate DELIVERY information.  That’s what they say on their website, on the software and on the package labels.  No where does it say “track your package” or “our tracking is accu

If your package gets “stuck” and forgotten at a USPS location, often the tracking is helpful because you can call that postoffice and ask them to find the package and move it along.

I once sent a book to a buyer in Hawaii.  After 7 days the buyer emailed me and asked where the book was.  I sent him another.  He got that one in 3 days!  After 10 days it finally appeared on “tracking” at a post office in California (after having been sent back and forth to Minnesota and San Francisco a couple of times).  I called the post office a couple of times to find the book and they eventually called me back and put it on a plane to Kauii, where the buyer received that one after 3 weeks!  True story.

95% of the mail gets coast to coast in 5 days.  The other 5%?  Who knows.

I just talked to a banker at AB and she said the worst USPS story she had was 2 months.
I think I used to have a Post Card from the USPTO Patent Office (they date stamp these when a package is received and put them in the mail back to you), was about 2 years!  It must have fallen behind a desk or equipment, I don’t know.  In any case when you get mail that is months or even years after the mailing date, they never explain.  It just shows up.

If I get a chance, I’ll try to find that shipping from the Kauii buyer–what a nightmare.  Bouncing around the US and then stopping for a week in SF!

2 thoughts on “The Tribunal Asks: Is USPS (Post Office) tracking accurate?

  1. They must be on the ropes and desperate to quibble over such a small thing. And/or they are trying to run up your billable hours. Either way, it sounds like they are running scared. And well they should be. You are not just some helpless little old lady, the kind that bullies feel that it is safe to pick on. No, you actually fight back.

    Mohammed Ali would be proud.

    • Correct. Most attorneys don’t quibble over Certificates of Service and no judge even lets them. Also a day or two late is not a big deal, and some judges will get mad at YOU for bringing up OC was late or whatever.
      It’s just a cover for the fact they won’t do electronic filing because then they can’t play games like this. It is loaded up the same day and published.

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