Lost in the Mail


A Terre Haute businessman relied on the postal service to deliver contracts and checks to a company in Kentucky.

The normal three day journey turned into a 17 day ordeal when the envelope got lost in the mail.

John Ellis owns Car Stop located along Third Street. Besides vehicles and trailers, he sells buildings and gazeboes.
John Ellis businessman, “We sell Built Rite buildings.”
Ellis routinely places orders with Built Rite and mails contracts and checks to the company using First Class, Certified Mail. That’s exactly what he did on May 31.
John Ellis, “We sent an envelope with four contracts. It had two cashier’s checks and two customer checks and it disappeared.”
Ellis sent the envelope from the Terre Haute Post Office on Margaret Avenue. The receipt stated the expected delivery date would be June 2.

When it did not arrive, Ellis began trying to find the envelope through its tracking number, but there was no record of it, after it left the Terre Haute Post Office.
John Ellis, “We were extremely worried.”
Ellis says he contacted the U.S. Postal Service’s Consumer Affairs Department, the postal inspector and the inspector general’s office for help. He received two letters of apology, but still, the envelope was not found.
On June 16,  the certified letter arrived at its destination, two weeks later than expected.

John Ellis, “It finally, through its own natural course, arrived where it was going”

Unlike previous envelopes, sent the same way, that tracked each envelopes comings and goings, there was no information on his May 31 envelope, except the date it left the Terre Haute Post Office and the date it arrived in  Kentucky.
To make Ellis’ frustration worse, almost two weeks after the envelope arrived in Kentucky, he received an email that the postal service was still looking for it.
John Ellis, “I received another notification from the post office saying they had not been able to locate the document, but they’re actively looking for it, 12 days after it had been delivered.”

We contacted the U.S. Postal Service spokesperson for the Terre Haute area, but she would not do an on camera interview.
She did however, send us this email saying, while Ellis’ envelope should have arrived by June 2, only Registered Mail and Priority Express Mail have guaranteed delivery time. The postal service spokesperson also said the tracking of an envelope or package is better with Registered Mail and Priority Express, but it is more expensive than sending it First Class and Certified.

She also apologized for any inconvenience.

As for Ellis, he says he’s done using the post office to send his contracts and checks, instead, he will now use a private company.

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