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2 Days Ago - 2 Likes   #1
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USPS "Insurance" adventures

So, I bought a lens off another member, which he said was in tip-top shape when he mailed it. I believe him, by the way, 'cause he's a decent sort with good feedback scores, and he sent me a link to look at the last picture he'd taken with that lens for my own inspection.

So my seller packed the lens up carefully. It was an Irix lens that comes in a can, and inside the can, sheet-foam lining, and inside that, the hard, close-fitting lens case. All that was enclosed within the original packaging, which in turn was enclosed in crushed paper padding. In other words, a very good job of packaging. He then took it to the post office and sent it priority mail, and paying extra for $600 "insurance" (since, by law, the USPS is exempt from any action for negligence arising out of their mishandling of mail). He also made sure the clerk knew the item was fragile - he told me that clerk knows him and understands that when he ships a lens, it's always fragile. He sent me a copy of the receipt showing that he'd paid for the "insurance".

Naturally, when the lens arrived, the aperture no longer worked. When I connected it to either the K-1 or the KP, instead of an "f/ number" in the upper right part of the screen, it simply displayed underscores. So, clearly, the post office gremlins gave that box a whack somewhere along the lines. Naturally, I made a claim against the "insurance" within the time limit. They summarily denied the claim, with no explanation that had anything to do with my claim. I "appealed" that decision (it's not a judicial entity, so "appeal" really means, "request for reconsideration"). They denied that, as well, giving more bogus "reasons" that had nothing to do with my claim, and raising a fake procedural hurdle (they said I didn't comply with their request to have the thing inspected by the local postmistress in time, though it had been inspected within two days of the letter. Then they said they never got the certification and documentation, but I've got proof from them by way of a priority mail tracking document they issued, that they got the certification and documentation within a week thereafter. What's funny is that there is no defined procedure (I searched the Domestic Mail Manual as well as the Code of Federal Regulations, as well as their website) for exactly what's supposed to happen when you get an item inspected at the local post office. No one in the USPS knows anything about that, so the postmistress was mystified. I simply mailed the stuff back to the office from which the letter was issued. Then they said some other office I'd never had any contact with never got the documentation, so the "appeal" was denied. When I "appealed" that denial as well (you only get two chances to "appeal"), they summarily denied that as well.

There's no question in my mind that their "insurance" isn't insurance at all; for one thing, they're not licensed to sell insurance (which they would have to do since they're not an agency of the United States anymore, but a quasi-public federally chartered corporation. What they're really selling is a waiver of their statutory immunity from liability for damage and loss. (That's a provision of the statute by which Congress cut them out of the federal government and made them a separate corporation.)

So their use of false characterizations using the legally defined terms, "insurance" and "appeal" are evidence of intent to defraud, since they are not allowed to sell insurance without a license from the state and have no judicial authority. Then the erection of false rationales and fake procedural hurdles for summarily denying claims indicates that they have a policy, procedure, or practice of doing so, since no one actually even thinks about it before they automatically deny the claim. Sort of the same way the Veteran's Administration and Social Security treat claims for disability benefits. I say, "fake procedural hurdles", by the way, because there are no defined procedures supporting their bogus objections, they make them up when they want to deny claims, and it seems to me that half of their procedures are double-top-secret until they want to pull one out to hang their denial on, and the other half are nearly impossible to discover (and they certainly don't tell you any of that when you buy the insurance, or even give any citations to where such documentation might be found).

The long and short of it is that if you want to protect your package, buy separate insurance to cover the package from a licensed insurance company (they do exist just to protect shipping - that's how the insurance business started out under the leadership of Lorenzo di Medici in the Sixteenth Century, after all).

By the way, I don't have any confidence in FedEx, either - their drivers sideswiped the trucks in my driveway on two separate occasions, but they don't pay off on that kind of thing either. They hired a contractor ("FedEx Home Delivery" means fly-by-night contractors) who was supposed to deliver five hundred rounds of shotgun ammo, but stole it instead. Their procedure is to drag things out so that you'll give up and go away or let the statute of limitations lapse - after which they'll say, "tough noogies, son, go pound sand".

Anyway, back to the lens - since I'd bought it second-hand, it wasn't covered by the manufacturer's warranty. So I asked Irix who fixes their lenses, and they referred me to a guy named Clarence Spencer in Alpine, Utah. He's their designated repair guy, the way Precision handles Pentax. After an exchange of emails with Spencer, I sent the lens to him. That was more than six months ago. Since then, I've heard from him only after the Irix people got on him, despite many multiple telephone calls and emails from me requesting status information and offering payment. Nothing; radio silence from Spencer. Since I have been in communication with Irix customer service all along, they were aware of the problem.

Here's the good news - the Irix customer service people were apologetic for having had me send my lens down the black hole in Alpine, Utah, and offered to send me a brand-spanking-new lens to replace the one the USPS broke. Wasn't that nice of them? Did I mention that I like Irix lenses? (This one's my second, a 15mm Blackstone, to go with the 11mm Blackstone I already had.) Those lenses are much sharper and free of distortion than the Pentax lenses I've got ("HD Pentax-D FA 15-30mm F2.8 ED SDM WR" and "HD Pentax-DA* 11-18mm F2.8 ED DC AW", neither of which is truly rectilinear), though I wouldn't expect a zoom to function like a prime.

Last edited by dlhawes; 2 Days Ago at 11:34 AM.
2 Days Ago   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by dlhawes Quote
When I connected it to either the K-1 or the KP, instead of an "f/ number" in the upper right part of the screen, it simply displayed underscores.

Using The Aperture Ring - Pentax K-1 Operating Manual [Page 111] | ManualsLib
2 Days Ago - 1 Like   #3
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The Irix lenses are KA with no aperture ring.
1 Day Ago   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
The Irix lenses are KA with no aperture ring.
The symptom is the same as using an A type lens, so that's a good observation, @pacerr, but @boriscleto is right, there is no manually set aperture on that lens. But, since Irix is sending me a brand new lens (I picture an Arab sorcerer walking through the town in disguise yelling, "New lenses for old, new lenses for old" so he can gain control of the genii in the lens.), I don't think I need a work-around.
The villain in the story is the postal service. If I'm right, they're routinely ripping people off on this fake insurance scam which they're selling with no intention to pay legitimate claims.

1 Day Ago   #5
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Is there no consumer protection legislation in the Transdimensional Realm?
1 Day Ago - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by rod_grant Quote
Is there no consumer protection legislation in the Transdimensional Realm?
Excellent question. In my part of The Realm, there is a pretty good consumer protection statute. And what's interesting is that the statute that cut the USPS off as a federal agency also contains a waiver of sovereign immunity as to anything they may do other than for negligent mishandling of the mail. I do mean to test it.
One interesting aspect of this by my lights is the fact that they call what they're selling, "insurance", so they may argue that they're exempt from our local consumer protection statute because there are four classes of business that are immune purely because of their status as real estate brokers, banks, insurance companies and natural gas suppliers. (You can tell who has the most powerful lobbies in Richmond, eh?) However, the USPS is not registered or licensed to sell insurance, and I'd argue that what they're selling isn't insurance at all, anyway, so either what they're doing is inherently fraudulent OR they're conducting a business that requires a license and they haven't got one which is a per-se violation (sort of like drug dealers acting as unlicensed pharmacists).
If I were giving business advice to the USPS, I'd tell them that there are a lot of things that they're doing just as they did when they were a federal agency and could afford to be more arrogant, which they can't do as a corporate entity.

Last edited by dlhawes; 1 Day Ago at 06:21 AM.

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