The Post Office Can (and Will) Sell Your Stuff, Even Before the Delivery Date

Ever wonder where your lost packages end up? According to the Colorado Consumer Affairs Office for the Postal Service, they sell stuff all the time when they can’t find the owner, or in our case, before they attempt to find the owner. This is true whether it’s insured or not. For decades it used to be a live auction at a few locations around the U.S. Then the whole auction thing was moved to Atlanta to something loosely named the Mail Recovery Center, or MRC (“recovery” may not have been the best choice for the title).

Now the whole thing is online and you can buy my stuff every day. And the profits all go to keeping the Post Office solvent, so you can feel good about that. Consumer affairs said the MRC sold my stuff because anything valued (by them) at under $25.00, and books that arrive in lots of 10 or less, can be sold immediately.

How cool is that? Great profit center for the P.O. Except my books are clearly marked $28.95 each and arrived at the MRC in one lot of 88 books. They were auctioned off that way–again, before they were even supposed to arrive at their destination (I keep saying that because the whole story is more “Fascinating!” that way.) They’re supposed to hold everything for 30 to 180 days, but apparently that is only in theory. Consumer affairs had no explanation for why the books weren’t held for any length of time, or why they didn’t try to find the guy whose name was splashed across all 88 covers.

After weeks of waiting, we finally got the Post Office to buy back some of the books from the online resellers and send them to us. But as of yesterday, almost three months later, those same resellers were still selling some of my new books as “used,” on our own account, and one claims they bought more of my books from the P.O. just last week. Bizarre. The Post Office made a tidy profit selling our $3,100 worth of books, and the third-party dudes were making a killing as well. At least someone was having a good time.

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