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Lost letters: what postal customers can do

What to do if the letter does not end up in the box? Where and how postal customers can research and which shipping methods are safer.

© dpa

Lost or Stolen? Some letters do not arrive and the post office is only liable for expensive shipping methods.

Whether a birthday card with cash or a long-awaited letter: everyone wants their letters to arrive safely, reliably and undamaged. But that is not always the case. Some letters are lost, damaged or torn. What Swiss Post customers can do if letters are lost, whether and to what extent Swiss Post is liable in the event of loss and which shipping methods are safest.

When is a letter considered lost?

First of all, we have to wait and see. Because according to their terms and conditions, Deutsche Post does not give any time guarantees for delivery. This means that Deutsche Post does not guarantee a specific delivery time for normal letter mail. At Swiss Post, a shipment is only considered lost if it has not been delivered to the recipient within 20 days of posting and its whereabouts cannot be determined.

What can Post customers do after the waiting period has expired?

If the letter was sent as a normal mail item, i.e. uninsured, Swiss Post is not liable in any way if it is lost. What remains? You can send an email to Swiss Post using the contact form on the Swiss Post service website. The address: http://www.dhl.de/formular-f8

Is it possible to complain to the post office over the phone?

Yes, that is possible. Post customer service in Bonn can be reached Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on the telephone number (0228) 4333112. The service center is not manned on national holidays. Swiss Post also provides several large FAQ sections on its website in which frequently asked questions are answered.

Can a normal letter be traced back?

No, a shipment can only be traced if the letter was sent as registered mail. Then the letter can be traced back if necessary, i.e. the place where the letter is currently located can be identified by means of a tracking number.

What is Deutsche Post liable for in the event of lost letters?

According to the general terms and conditions, Deutsche Post is only liable for loss or damage if additional services have been paid for. In the case of letters, for example, this is a registered mail. The scope of liability is fixed maximum amounts. Swiss Post excludes compensation for damage, for example lost profits or interest.

What types of registered mail are there?

In the case of registered mail, the letter will only be delivered if the recipient or another person authorized to receive it (e.g. a roommate or neighbor) accepts the letter.
There are five versions of registered mail, they currently cost between 2.15 euros and 6.80 euros in addition to the postage stamp.

  1. Registered mail by post: Swiss Post documents that the item was posted in the recipient's mailbox or post office box.
  2. Registered mail: The delivery person only hands over the shipment to the recipient or someone authorized to receive it against a signature.
  3. Registered mail by hand: The consignment will only be handed over to the recipient personally or to a specially authorized person selected by him.
  4. Registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt: In addition to the proof of posting, you will receive an acknowledgment of receipt with the original signature of the recipient / authorized recipient, which documents the receipt of the shipment.
  5. Registered mail by hand with acknowledgment of receipt: The deliverer hands over the shipment personally and against signature only to the recipient or an authorized representative in writing. The sender receives a confirmation of receipt with the delivery date and the recipient's original signature.

What to do if a registered mail does not arrive?

If you have used one of the above-mentioned registered mail variants from Deutsche Post, you will receive a tracking number at the respective post office when you hand in the letter. You can enter this online at the post office, together with the date of dispatch of the letter, or you can call the post office service number. Normally you will then find out where the letter is. If the letter cannot be found, you can ask the post office to investigate.

What is the compensation for lost registered mail?

The maximum liability of Deutsche Post for letters and letter-like items sent by registered mail is between 20 and 25 euros. In the case of cash on delivery, the cash on delivery amount will be refunded after the shipment has been delivered.

What should you generally pay attention to when sending letters?

You should make sure to always write the sender on the back of a letter. If delivery is not possible, the letter will be returned to the sender even if it is sent uninsured.
Otherwise: Do not send large amounts of cash in letters, the risk of loss is high. Money stolen from letters is not insured. Consequently, for larger amounts that are sent by post, you should choose a secure shipping method, ideally with personal delivery.

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Source: BerlinOnline / Deutsche Post (as of September 2018)

| Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2018 9:55 am

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