Personal Finance

How Do You Mail Letters That You Need To Arrive?

I recently had an unsettling experience. My landlord seems like a bit of a scatterbrain (I sent my rent check the first month, and she CLAIMED she didn’t receive it until 2 weeks later). Not wanting to have a repeat of this situation, I sent my next letter registered. It was recorded at Canada Post that they attempted to deliver it and she wasn’t home they left a notice. On the 3rd of the next month, she sends me a nasty e-mail claiming my rent is late.

After I sent her the information to track the parcel (and walked her through how to look it up), she calls me back and says that she never got the notice and the post office is telling her they lost the package.

I called Canada Post up myself, they said that the local office shouldn’t have said that, that they need to launch an investigation to try to track down the package before they declare it lost and would call me back within 5 business days. The woman assured me that if they lost it they’d refund my postage and refund what it cost me to cancel the check (I told her the package contained a check and a lease). I was a little put out that that’s the only compensation they were offering.

They never called back.

I called, talked to an unpleasant man who says they declared the package missing the day after I called and that their records showed they had called and left a message (they hadn’t). He said a check had been sent to refund my postage and that they wouldn’t refund my canceled check fee ($12.50). He didn’t even apologize for Canada Post losing the letter.

TD Canada Trust, my main bank for checking, happily charged me the $12.50, but warned me that they don’t guarantee that it will actually be canceled (huh?). Instead, they’ll try their best, but if someone cashes the canceled check, I’m on the hook for it. Nice business idea, charge people money and tell them that they MAY get what they paid for. I’m glad to be a bank owner so I benefit from some of their crookedness!

I find it shocking that Canada Post is losing REGISTERED mail, and couldn’t care less. This is the first time its happened to me, but from their attitude it seems like this is a regular occurance and they don’t really care.

To pay my rent I e-mailed my landlord money and scanned and e-mailed the lease document. My landlord wanted post dated checks for the remainder of the lease, but I’m hesitant to lose a bunch of checks (and have to pay $12.50 each to MAYBE cancel them).

How do you ship important things that you need to get to their destination? Has Canada Post / US Postal Service lost your mail? Has FedEx or any of the other commercial carriers lost mail on you? How did they handle it when the mail was lost?

30 replies on “How Do You Mail Letters That You Need To Arrive?”

Hey Cheap;

We just did my wife’s passport by registered mail (yeah when you live elsewhere you can mail in the passport). Scary as heck, but it all worked out.

As a guy who’s easily bought $1000 in Magic cards on-line, I’ve never had a specific problem, but I feel your pain.

At the very least, if the whole thing went to small claims court, I’m pretty sure you’d be in the clear. Losing registered mail seems like a pretty big deal, if only b/c there is no “more secure” option.

As to the post-dated checks, now that you have your landlord on e-mail payments, why not just do that every month? Don’t most banks offer a couple of free transfers every month? I wonder if there’s a way to hook up a monthly recurring transfer and then show them that you’ve done so?

Personally, that instills as much or more confidence than cheques. Cheques can just be stopped anyways and they can take multiple days to clear. If I were getting regular money, I’d want e-mail money transfers.

Wow! You might want to tell your story to Ellen Roseman. She gets things DONE.

I have had things mailed that were never returned and indicated by the intended recipient to have never arrived – important items go registered, but now I don’t know what to do! Thanks a lot! 😛

I’ve never had a courier lose anything, but I’ve only sent maybe 50 items by courier myself.

I have lost my 1st package (sold on eBay) ever by Canada Post this year, and they actually responded quickly and refunded me $38 ($30 value + $8 shipping), I was impressed

As for rent cheques, I am still baffled to why tenants want to mail a cheque each month, instead of say 3 cheques each quarter. That way tenants don’t have to worry, landlords don’t have to worry. Some landlords even want 12 post-dated cheques!!

I wouldn’t worry too much about cancelling cheques as they were addressed to landlords only, but let’s hope it doesn’t happen to me anyway

EMT will be cool, except it’s not much of paper trail for Rental bookeeping, whereas you can photocopy a cheque before deposit

I don’t know how things work up north, but the USPS is a model of inefficiency. That’s why I use online billpay through my bank for absolutely everything these days. Not only do I save on stamps, but if the check is late arriving to whomever is supposed to receive it, the bank is on the hook, not me. Or at least, my bank (Wachovia, which recently collapsed so we’ll see about the future) took the blame and paid all the penalties the one time there was a problem.

Gates: $1000 in Magic cards would have been scary! Did you get them insured?

Preet: I get annoyed with a lot of businesses, so I’m holding off on contacting Ellen until someone REALLY gets under my skin.

Gates & Jerry: I agree about the e-mail transfers. The only thing I don’t like is that I’m charged for every one, and they’re $1.50 (which is more than a stamp :-). I definitely like doing the post dated checks (both as a tenant and as a landlord), but I’m nervous the post office will lose them on me if I send them…

Truth be told, I ALMOST didn’t bother canceling the check (as you say, its just to the landlord, and they don’t even guarantee the cancellation), but in the end I figured better safe than sorry…

I had a similar expierence in July when I purchased my first house. Day before closing we send the CERTIFIED cheque via Canada Posts Priority Express, to be delivered in the AM. As if buying a house is not stressful enough, the cheuqe did not get delivered to the brokers office until 4 days later. It showed deliverd online however it never was. Everytime I phoned the CSR would refer to the confirmed delivery online and could be on no other help. Thankfully the other broker and sellers were very understanding and everything worked out. The package showed up at their office on the 4th day and I never received any explanation. In the end they wouldn’t even refund my money as the website was never updated and still showed it was delivered on time. Never using that service again.

Regarding the cancelling of cheques… perhaps it might be less of a problem if these cheques are written on a credit line instead of a bank account. That way you don’t need to worry about overdraft if the “lost” cheque is suddenly cashed; and if you see that your landlord cashed two cheques for the same month’s rent, you can bring the evidence and ask to skip the next month.

Hey Mr. Cheap,

I used to do a lot of selling on ebay and always shipped via Canada Post Express Post. Had two late packages and received full refund. In an older career shipped frozen samples that needed to go to US laboratories overnight. FedEx was excellent, but costly. Canada Post when guaranteed overnight, was NEVER on time! If you want a new topic try comparing electronic payment options, I would love to see it. I hate using cheques to pay daycare, never seem to remember to keep up:)

Yeah, I was going to point out that post-dated cheques was actually illegal.

But mailing rent cheques? That’s just wierd. Does your landlord live out of town? We collect rent by email money transfer…very easy process.

Canada Post has screwed me over many times. They guarantee XpressPost delivery (which I use quite often) within a certain number of days. The 1st few times they were late I let it slide. Now, I call them up or register a complaint online right away and have been refunded the cost of shipping every time.

You should at the very least ask for a refund.

One of the many, many reasons I hate having to use the postal service!

I have only had Canada Post actually lose one of my items, but I have had several items that have taken much longer than they should have. When it’s important, I use Xpresspost. When it is critical, I use FedEx. 🙂

T: I’m not sure about my landlord, but I just *asked* my tenants for post-dated checks, I didn’t require it. Thanks for the link though!

Spudman: yeah, a post on electronic payment would be a good idea!

telly: I don’t think its illegal to pay by post-dated check, just that its illegal to require it (at least that’s what I hope). They gave me a refund of the shipping cost ($8), but not on the check I had to cancel.

MGL: So FedEx is more reliable? Good to know for next time!

Wow, I must be one of the only people who like Canada Post. They’ve lost one item on me in the past — it was XpressPost with a tracking number, but that didn’t seem to do them any good in finding out what happened to it.

However, other than that I’ve always found their service to be pretty decent (as long as you don’t need something overnighted), and reasonably cheap. Plus, when they invariably come to deliver something, there are never any bogus brokerage fees (though they will collect the taxes for cross-border shipments), and when I’m not home to sign for a package, it’s never all that far or hard to get later. There’s been more than one time Purolator or UPS has returned to sender a package I couldn’t get because of their inconvenient pickup depot locations and hours (and also more than one time they’ve taken a package back to the depot even when it says no signature required).

Aah posting! Royal Mail (UK) was my nemesis for several years- on more than one occasion they openly told me that a staff member had probably stolen my parcel, but offered no apology or refund.
I’ve had remarkably few issues with Canada Post, in particular their airmail service is usually very quick.
I’ve used fedex, ups and purolator several times. My main issue is collecting the parcel from these companies if they can’t deliver, their depots are inconveniently located and have rubbish opening hours.
Also UPS occasionally likes to just abandon parcels in the main hall of my apartment building and I’m never happy with that.
Purolator is probably the worst, most recently they refused to deliver a parcel to me because my telephone number was not on it (who does that?) and insisted I pick it up from their office instead.
Clearly I have no advice to offer other than they all have problems and you should always keep your receipts and if possible a photocopy of what you are sending.

Telly: Just realized I didn’t answer part of your comment. Yes, my landlord lives out of town. I *THINK* she bought the condo townhouse I live in when she was a student, rented it out to friends, and now that she’s graduated she keeps renting it out… (that’s my current theory at least, but then I also have a theory that women are impressed by men who under-dress for cold weather, so take it with a grain of salt)

Potato: I’m impressed you’re still a fan after they lost something on you! You’re a much more forgiving customer than I am.

Looby: That’s awesome! “Sorry, someone here probably stole your package. It happens.” What do you even say to that? Maybe we could have it worse… I remember my British relatives being shocked that we only have one mail delivery / day in Canada, so I always assumed the postal service in the UK was top notch…

Cheap: $1000 in Magic cards would have been scary! Did you get them insured?

They typically came in small batches (and $1000 may be an understatement if I count the last 8 years or so)… I did buy $500 at once, but it was a known big purchase so all of the insurance just automatically billed in to the final shipping price.

As to the other stories, I personally like Canada Post for their sheer accessibility. In Edmonton and Winnipeg there was always a Canada Post office nearby. So when stuff was delivered to my home during the day and I wasn’t around, I could grab it at the local office. With FedEx and others, I would get the “be here tomorrow” note and eventually have to pick it up from the office that was inevitably poorly located.

I think I’ll just give Looby the Quoted for Truth salute:
Clearly I have no advice to offer other than they all have problems and you should always keep your receipts and if possible a photocopy of what you are sending.

Well, they lost one thing out of thousands of pieces of mail. The memory fades over time, whereas I’m reminded again and again why I don’t like the couriers every time I have to take an hour and a half out of my day to drive out to the airport. I actually do avoid XpressPost though; the pressure just seems to be too much for them. Their record is better with regular mail 🙂

[…] Quest For Four Pillars explains a recent problem with sending some cheques via mail – i.e. they didn… This is what happens when Cliff Claven delivers your mail. But seriously, does anyone have any suggestions? Perhaps Canada Post can hire a Mailer Daemon like the one that occasionally contacts me when an email goes undelivered… […]

I’ve had a few experiences with Canada Post over the years.

Many years ago (about 25 years) my friend bought my young son a whole box of He Man action figures/creatures and shipped them via Canada Post from Vancouver to Calgary. They never arrived and were never found.

About 10 years ago I sent out a mailing for a youth group from my office and about 10 days later received the one addressed to my teenage daughter back with a label “Moved, Address Unknown”. Uh, hello, she lived at home with me at the address on the envelope and the letter was never delivered to us. Canada Post had no answer as to how that could happen.

About 5 years ago we lived at a particular address on a major street in Vancouver. We used to regularly receive mail addressed to a family who lived at the same house number on the next major street to the west (about 10 blocks over). They used to regularly receive *our* mail.

And, today, the letter carrier walked into our office with a package that he wanted us to pay for. What was it? Dated, important material we had mailed out to an organization in the Lower Mainland, now unusable as the date of the event had passed. And why did he want money for it? As it clearly stated in bold on the form, postage only covers delivery *to* the addressee. It doesn’t cover return postage of said material to the original sender!

We refused the package.

I don’t know how it is in Canada, but in the US it doesn’t matter if a check is postdated or not – it can be cashed immediately. I would NEVER send 12 months of postdated checks to anyone because they could be cashed immediately and you would be on the hook for the balance right away – probably causing overdrafts and other fees. Then if the landlord decided she didn’t want to pay the mortgage she would have your rent money through the remainder of the year and the bank could repossess the house and evict you. This is all worst case scenario, of course. But when it comes to such a sizable sum of money, I wouldn’t take the chance.

Shevy: Sounds like you’ve had worse experiences than me!

Patrick: Its actually the same here (you have to use an atm, but you can cash check regardless of the date – postdated or stale).

What would happen if she tried to cash them all at once is that they’d start bouncing after the first two, then she’d have a very annoyed tenant to talk to :-).

Patrick: I don?t know how it is in Canada, but in the US it doesn?t matter if a check is postdated or not – it can be cashed immediately.

Just ran into this when I moved to the US. One of my co-workers gives his landlord a post-dated check for the first of the month for rent (i.e.: the usual). Like most normal professionals, we’re paid on the last day of the month, so the money comes in on the 30th/31st and check goes out on the 1st.

The landlord went and cashed the check on the 29th! So my buddy gets hit with over-draft charges and the landlord gets hit with charges, etc. All par for the course right? Here’s the kicker… the landlord got pissed off at my buddy for giving him a check he couldn’t cash. What do you expect when you cash the check 3 days early?

Good thing we canucks are thick-skinned 🙂

I have always given my landlords 12 postdated cheques. They have never required it (as mentioned, that would be illegal), but I think it’s tons easier for both parties. Saves a lot of hassle. I have a nice landlord who even told me if I ever don’t have the money on the 1st just let her know and she’ll wait a few days to cash the cheque. This is not necessary because I do not live paycheque to paycheque anymore, but I appreciated the thought.

On August 22/11′ I mailed an Expost letter to my daughter. I have been using Expresspost for many years, however, our postoffice on my small hometown lost it. In fact, they accused me of lying, saying I hand.t mailed it there. Which is totally ridiculous. I file a complaint, the letter has not been found. I believe that it wad stolen from the postoffice, what should I do? Take Canada Post to Small Claims Court or what?

Rosalie: I actually wish I’d pushed harder on this. I’d talk to Canada Post, calmly explain what you want, and if they refuse tell them you’ll be filing a small claims court case. If they still refuse, do it! Imagine how cool it’d be to brag to your friends that you single-handedly won a court case against Canada Post!

I had a terrible experience with Canada Post. I recently sent a registered mail and after 10 days of mail not being delivered I finally obtained confirmation by Canada Post employee who could not care less, that the mail was lost…Basically Canada Post did not know where the mail was and why it was not delivered. Registered Mail!It seems that we are getting service by Canada Post people who always know they will be paid no matter how well they perform. …so why to work hard?

I had similar bad experience with Canada Post. I sent a registered letter to the USA. It has not been delivered yet.

Fist they told me to wait for 30 days, before issuing tracing. Then since 10 days ago no information.

It is very painful, and no help from Canada Post.

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