Better Business Bureau labels USPS Priority Mail insurance advertising “misleading”

bbblogoCBS Moneywatch reports that the Better Business Bureau’s advertising watchdog has found the US Postal Service’s ads for Priority Mail insurance misleading:

When the U.S. Postal Service advertises that its Priority Mail service comes with $50 of insurance included, you might assume that it comes with, well, $50 of insurance. But that’s not always the case, and the National Advertising Division (NAD) has asked the Postal Service to make more clear the limitations and exclusions.

While the Postal Service disagreed with the NAD’s determination that the insurance claim was misleading, it has agreed to make changes.

The BBB got involved after a consumer mailed a $100 gift card via Priority Mail. The card never arrived, but the USPS told the customer it would only reimburse her for $15. A $15 limit on gift card coverage is just one of a number of limitations to insurance coverage that were not made clear in USPS advertising, but are contained in the Domestic Mail Manual, a publication not likely to be consulted by the average postal customer.

Based on the information actually made available to consumers, the BBB found that the USPS should have reimbursed the customer for $50 of her loss. And it suggested that the USPS needed to do a better job explaining what “$50 insurance” really means in postalspeak.

The USPS says it will try to be more upfront about its rules, but suggested that it might be a while:

“Please bear in mind that the DMM (Domestic Mail Manual) is a Federal regulation of the Postal Service that sets forth the terms under which the Postal Service provides products and services,” the Postal Service said. “Making changes to the DMM can be a lengthy process.”

Read more: How Priority Mail insurance falls short – CBS News.

  • Stellar Steve, Window Tech

    Mailing cash and gift cards is the same as mailing cash, and is not insurable unless sent as Registered Mail. A real window clerk would tell a customer that, if asked about insurability. However, (too) many transactions are done at non-postal sites, such as Staples and other stores, where a non postal employee with no real training may make claims that are will not be held up if they are not in compliance with postal rules. When I train new window clerks, I always point out things that are not insurable.

  • Ennis

    You do good job. You special.

  • marc zazeela

    A good lesson learned from this is you should always speak in language that your customers understand. Avoid industry jargon and buzzwords that might be misleading.

  • Guest

    USPS is crooked.