Priority Mail International: Not a Priority

| October 14, 2016 | 0 Comments
Priority Mail International

Priority Mail International

I have read a lot of Cuenca expat blogs but never remember reading about the perils of Priority Mail International.  So let me unload!  This is what the USPS website reads:

Priority Mail International:  “6 to 10 business days. Reliable and affordable international delivery to more than 180 countries…       Beginning at $23.95 at Post Office™ locations and online.”

My situation:  I needed important documents to be sent from the US but they didn’t need to arrive for a month or two.  I have a PO Box at the Correos where I receive US First Class mail, typically 1 to 2 months late.  I asked my daughter to ship these docs Priority as long as they had tracking numbers.  (I knew tracking numbers were important because the ladies at the Correos de Ecuador on Av. President Borrero and Gran Colombia always ask for them.) Priority was $24 compared to $75 for the “3 to 5 day” Priority Mail Express  (formerly Express).  The Express had “guaranteed on-time delivery” and Priority did not.

Eight weeks later, one of the ladies at Correos de Ecuador said that the letter should have arrived by now and something was wrong.  What I had already learned, from multiple inquiries about the letter at the Correo, was that each category of mail has a delivery priority — Global, Express, and certified — and that the lowest priority is First Class and Priority.  (Third Class junk mail, mercifully, is not forwarded to Ecuador.)

My daughter in Virginia confirmed from a USPS veteran that Priority  Mail is NOT priority and she would not recommend using Priority Mail International for important documents!  This veteran said she was 100% sure the letter was in Ecuadorian customs, but had no proof.   In talking with the ladies at Correos de Ecuador, who entered the tracking number, they said it had not arrived at the Quito airport (“port” of entry). They advised I make a claim with USPS.  My daughter discovered — in the fine print on the USPS website — that one cannot make a claim against lost mail that is Priority!  With international mail, the country of origin is where claims are made so I would have had to make a claim with the USPS, not Correos de Ecuador, and that was not possible.  Will the documents eventually arrive?   Who know?  I’ll write an update one way or the other.

Later, I will share the unique problems I’ve had getting a resident visa but suffice it to say that this was just the latest hitch in that agonizing process.

The law office of Velastegui and Idrovo does not recommend using the Correos  but rather DHL, FedEx, and UPS, who deliver to their office without problems.  However, my impression is that Priority Express would not have been a problem.  Comments from fellow readers are welcome!

Update Oct 28:  Priority Mail International letter has still not arrived.  When I realized it might never arrive, a few days before our trip to Quito, I rushed to get our fingerprints re-done and sent them via FedEx 2-day mail.  They arrived fine and the FBI docs were then sent to my daughter in Virginia, where she sent them  to be apostilled by the State Dept via a authentication service (with a self-addressed FedEx mailer to Cuenca lawyers) that will rush it through.  The FedEx mail should arrive this coming week:  the week of the Day of the Dead!  With it I will come to life so to speak.



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Category: Expat Life in Cuenca, International Mail

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