Business Wonders Why Postal Service Not Liable For Damage

A Nebraska antique dealer says her faith in the U.S. mail has been broken, but postal officials say they're not at fault.

Overhead line insulators aren't just for the birds. Old and colorful ones are expensive collectibles. Insulator collecting has become quite the hobby. One from England is priced at about $13 and one off an American pole is priced at $45.

The Platte Valley Antique Mall in Ashland sold $1,500 worth of insulators to a California collector, four boxes full. “We're pretty much professional packers." But in three boxes, 13 insulators arrived broken or chipped. That's $730 Miriam Simpson had to refund the customer. “They were shipped in mint condition and I paid for insurance, so why aren't they liable?”

The Postal Service denied Simpson’s claim because of no visible sign of damage to the exterior or interior of the packages. “I think it’s just easier to say no and hope I go away.” Will she? “I'm not going away.”

The staff at the antique mall takes pride in protecting collectibles purchased by customers. “I'm just going to put it in the back seat, I don't need all this wrapping, but they wrap it up really, really well,” said customer Brian Newell.

The mall owner says the collectibles shipped to California had been packed just as carefully, so she believes the post office shouldn't be insulated from paying the insurance claim. The damage claim has been appealed "up the chain of command" at the Postal Service, but the denial still stands.

The antique dealer has asked her congressman to look into the decision.

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