Postal Claims and Your Package Bees
By Stacy Hill, Kelley Employee and Beekeeper
Editor's Note: Yes, we ran this article last month. It is package bee season, and we want to make it easy for our customers who have problems to know how to quickly solve them.
If you have ordered package bees and are in postal zones 1-4, your packages will be insured against certain damage during shipment. The USPS has very specific instructions on how to file a postal claim to receive reimbursement for any damage incurred during shipment. Depending on your receiving post office, your package bees will either deliver directly to your shipping address or they will hold them at the post office and contact you to pick them up. It is strongly recommended that you speak with your post office to make arrangements for them to hold the package bees for pick up.
Before leaving your post office with your bees, inspect the package for any damage. If they arrive with more than 1”-1 ½” of dead bees in the bottom of the package, we suggest filing a claim. Make sure your post master or clerk fills out the Domestic Claim Form (PS Form 1000) and also insist that they fill out a Damage Report (PS Form 2856). The damage report is very important and if one is not filled out at the time the claim is filed, you will receive a letter from the claims department within a few weeks asking you to return to your local post office with the “damaged” items for inspection. Unaware that the package consisted of “Live” animals and the dead bees have already been discarded of due to health and safety issues, your claim will be denied when you are unable to produce the package for inspection. Make sure to get copies of all paperwork before leaving the post office. You must reorder with us to receive new packages and any reimbursement for the damaged packages will come from the United States Postal Service.
All claims must be filed within 60 days from the date of shipment. A properly completed and supported claim is usually paid within 10-15 days after the postal service’s Accounting Service receives your claim. If the package was lost or all of its contents were a total loss, you may include the postage paid in your claim. Insurance fees are not reimbursed, however. If you have not received any communication within 20 days from the date you filed your claim, please call the USPS toll free number at 1-866-974-2733. If the claim is not filed within the defined time limits or all required forms have not been completed, your claim will be denied. You will receive a letter of denial in the mail explaining the postal service’s decision. If your claim is denied, you have the option to appeal the USPS’s decision. The USPS allows you to appeal any denial twice. You must send a copy of the denial letter and a written appeal focused on the basis of the denial within 60 days from the date of the denial letter to the USPS Accounting Services.