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Thread: Problem with USPS Postal Money orders...(long)

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* Jumpmaster's Avatar
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    Default Problem with USPS Postal Money orders...(long)

    Hi, Folks...

    Had a few unpleasant experiences with postal money orders the last week or so and thought I would share. If you'd rather not read the whole thing, just skip to the last paragraph.

    Initially (last week), I had a few postal money orders that I needed to cash. Small amounts...two for less than $20.00 and one for about $35.00. So, having learned my lesson from trying to cash them at the post office before, being berated and told they have very little cash, etc., I took them to my credit union.

    Well, they apparently verify EVERY money order now. Alright fine...counterfiet postal m.o.'s are ubiquitous now so...she calls the 888 number to validate them. They had all been purchased at least three days prior to my trying to cash them. All three came back as "not issued". Of course, it's an automated system...no way to ask anyone anything. Just...no. Those money orders are not issued...so they won't cash them. I explained they can check to see if they're counterfiet with a UV light if they know what to look for and the teller just automatically said, "Oh well they counterfiet all of those markings too..." Ok...fine...I guess I hadn't heard that yet, so I just go along with her and leave.

    So then I go across the street to the post office. I went in and without looking at the amount of any of them, the clerk says, "I don't think I'll be able to cash those..." I explained they were for relatively small amounts and two days prior to this watched her go get change for some idiot that brought (only) a $100 bill to pay for $7.00 postage. Yeah, I was a bit puzzled...but remained polite. I don't remember what she did to check the serial number, but she did and cashed them. Took about 20 minutes to have the endorsing printer allow the last one to go through though...but that's another story. I taught them what ctrl-c does and will send them an invoice later. (They were extremely thankful for that...I've never seen more happy postal folks than after that...apparently that printer had been doing that for a while.

    Anyway...I went on my way -- late back from lunch, but cash in hand. I called the bank and asked if they really verified every single postal m.o. and the manager said they usually don't...only if they're over a certain amount ($100 or so, I think)

    Fast forward to today. I sold something for a large sum of money to get my diesel back on the road. I bring it to the credit union again, knowing that if I were to even attempt to take it to the p.o., they would look at me, point, and laugh at me until I left -- not cashing it. So...same deal...money order had been purchased on the 21st. I brought it in with my Arc "AAA" UV and showed the teller the UV markings in the paper and the UV serial number on the back. I explained I just wanted to show them that in case they hadn't seen it before but that I understood they had to call it in and did want them to do that so I'd know it was alright for my own piece of mine. I can't afford for them to take a chunk that big out of my account for a bad m.o.

    It wasn't in their system so it said (again) NOT ISSUED. Bless her heart, she tried to check for about 20 minutes while I was parked in a 15-minute loading zone!! hehe I remained polite and understanding...I could tell she was frustrated with their system, as was I. I happened to have the number for the Houston regional customer service center for USPS and called them. After two calls, I finally talked to one of them (first one hung up on the teller)...I explained everything and the person on the phone kept saying, "Do you take postal money orders all the time?" "Do you do this all the time??" She kept restating things, trying to verify who I am, what I sold, why I have a large $$$ postal money order...she said I can thank all of the bad people out there that counterfiet postal money orders. I felt like I was being treated like a criminal by USPS...but when I finally convinced her that I really did sell something and someone really did send me that m.o., she was nice enough to verify it and tell the teller the same info so she could cash it. But stated again that they don't like verifying them over the phone because of fraud.

    Sorry that was so long...I'm not sure if I'll be taking postal money orders anymore for anything. It's getting near impossible to cash them anywhere. Does this happen to you?

    JM-99

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    Flashaholic* allthatwhichis's Avatar
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    Exclamation Re: Problem with USPS Postal Money orders...(long)

    I just started selling things online and... Thanks! I don't think I'll be taking ANY money orders!!!

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    Flashaholic* watt4's Avatar
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    Default Re: Problem with USPS Postal Money orders...(long)

    try a different post office. I never had a problem with taking postal money orders. I use a P.O. Box, and cash them before leaving the building.

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    Flashaholic* skalomax's Avatar
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    Default Re: Problem with USPS Postal Money orders...(long)

    I was sent a Postal Money Order of about $220 and it never came,sigh... It got lost somewhere!!
    I miss my Milkmods.

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    Default Re: Problem with USPS Postal Money orders...(long)

    I'm surprised to be hearing this story. I've never had any trouble cashing USPS MOs at my post office, but I have only done it 3 or 4 times. I thought that the whole point of using them was that the PO could verify their authenticity on the spot, and then either cash them or tell you they are bogus. This allows you to know you won't get screwed if you wait until you can verify the MO to ship your item(s) to the buyer. Otherwise, if you deposit it in your bank account, it could come back in a couple of weeks if it's phony, and your bank will take the funds out of your account. They have a limit of $1,000, I thought that was supposed to facilitate being able to cash them? How big is your PO? What kind of problems have you had trying to cash MOs there? Have you considered talking to the local postmaster, etc.?

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    Flashaholic* Planterz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Problem with USPS Postal Money orders...(long)

    I cashed a $475 money order at the PO once. Several under $150. Never a problem. But then, I do go to a busy PO late in the afternoon, and Tucson ain't a little podunk town in Backwater USA, so large amounts of money aren't a rarity. They do have signs that say that if you want to cash a MO early in the day they might not have enough money to cash it.

    I have not tried cashing a USPS MO at my bank (the PO is literally a block away from me, but my bank is a couple miles), but I did have to cash a cashiers check from a buyer once (despite saying that I'd only accept USPS MOs) and they spent 15 minutes verifying it.

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    Default Re: Problem with USPS Postal Money orders...(long)

    The systems that most major P.O.'s use now allow very liitle cash to be kept overnight. Cash is accumilated by people buying money orders throughout the day. Hence their inability to cash some m.o.'s early in the day, or even later if that clerk has not been open all day.

    There are strict guidelines that clerks must follow to verify the money orders they are cashing. Many P.O.s have cameras all over them, mine even has video as well as audio at the window. Clerks are accountable for their transactions. If a clerk comes up over the $ amount he should have when counted, they keep it. If short, they are required to pay it out of their own pocket.

    There is no excuse for rudeness, discourtesy, or unprofessionalism by the clerks. I just wanted to give you a little view from the clerk's side.

    I was presented with 4 money orders for $950.00 each just yesterday. The presenter had a military ID. The money orders were fake. I'm sure the presenter was innocent in this, just duped into trying to cash them for a fee. This scam is quite prevalent these days.

    just my .02 cents...

    edit: a little background...I've been a proud employee of the USPS for 26 years. I take a great deal of pride in doing my job well. Our station routinely ranks top in Customer Service.

    Unfortunately, all empolyees are'nt as dedicated as they should be, but I believe thats all too pervasive in today's society.

    No Organization is perfect, I'm the first to admit it, but many of us do care about what we do, and try to make a difference.

    Mississippi {USPS} ranks top in the Nation in many Customer Service areas.

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    Last edited by BladeZealot; 08-24-2006 at 05:52 AM.
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    Flashaholic* GJW's Avatar
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    Default Re: Problem with USPS Postal Money orders...(long)

    I recently received a Canadian Postal MO and my credit union said they were unable to verify and cash it.
    They wanted to send it to a 3rd party verification service and charge me $20 for the privelege.
    My USPO cashed it after maybe a 3 minute wait while they checked something in the back.
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    *Flashaholic* greenLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: Problem with USPS Postal Money orders...(long)

    My bank takes MO's, no questions asked. It's good to know that there are counterfeit MO's floating around, though, JM. I'd hate to be stuck with a worthless piece of paper; I may reconsider taking them. Thanks for the heads up!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Problem with USPS Postal Money orders...(long)

    With Canadian M.O.'s you'll want to take them to the Post Office to cash because there are reciprocal agreements in place to process those money orders without a financial impact to the recipient. At a bank it is no different than receiving a check drawn on a foreign bank, in either case you'll be hit with a pretty significant surcharge for processing.

    In the few times that I've received a USPS M.O. (or even one from a private maker), I've just deposited it into the bank along with other checks. No fuss, no muss.

    But, as BladeZealot mentioned, a postal station is not a bank and they do not keep large reserves of cash around for the purpose of cashing money orders. And, as he mentioned, postal clerks have pretty stringent restrictions as to how much cash they can keep in their drawers overnight that often puts them in a predicament where they can't even provide change if they get hit with too many $20 bills. (I think it used to be $50, including coins?) That being said, a post office may be the only place for a person who doesn't have a bank account or can't otherwise cash the M.O. elsewhere. In those case, it might be less trouble for all involved, to either go later in the day, or ask the postal clerk for a suggested time when it would be best to come back to cash the M.O.

    Quote Originally Posted by GJW
    I recently received a Canadian Postal MO and my credit union said they were unable to verify and cash it.
    They wanted to send it to a 3rd party verification service and charge me $20 for the privelege.
    My USPO cashed it after maybe a 3 minute wait while they checked something in the back.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic Blazer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Problem with USPS Postal Money orders...(long)

    Quote Originally Posted by BladeZealot
    edit: a little background...I've been a proud employee of the USPS for 26 years. I take a great deal of pride in doing my job well. Our station routinely ranks top in Customer Service.
    ...ok Cliff Claven.....


    Seriously though, it's good to see someone who takes pride in their work and being #1 in cust service doesn't appear to be a small feat.

    I've recently made friends with a Canadian Postal Letter Carrier (I called him a mail man by mistake one day ) and he's one of the most straight laced, honest, dedicated, workers I've met. He's given me some insight into the world of "mail" and it's actually quite interesting.

    Back to the original topic, I can't believe that a USPO wouldn't be able to accommodate a money order issued by themselves. Our PO's have never given me any problem about cashing or purchasing a MO of any amount under $1000 (the limit). In fact, many of our PO's are located in retail stores and the store owner is usually the postal employee, so the store has cash on hand if he needs, then the PO just reimburses the store. Seems to work.
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    Default Re: Problem with USPS Postal Money orders...(long)

    Mail delivery personnel have been called Letter Carriers since the days before the US Postal Service was formed. I remember seeing a "Letter Carrier" rocker patch that used to go over the old Post Office Department patches back in the 60's.

    I think most people and businesses who get money orders just deposit them to their bank with their check receipts. Most people don't actually take a money order to the postal station to cash them. Come to think of it, I thin most people just deposit checks these days and then draw cash out from their ATMs don't they?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blazer
    I've recently made friends with a Canadian Postal Letter Carrier


    Back to the original topic, I can't believe that a USPO wouldn't be able to accommodate a money order issued by themselves.

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    *Flashaholic* greenLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: Problem with USPS Postal Money orders...(long)

    Quick question to y'all: how many of you know the name of your Mail Carrier?
    Let's see a show of hands.


    (Frank's the name of our Carrier in case your wondering - cool guy.)

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    Default Re: Problem with USPS Postal Money orders...(long)

    Jimmy

    Quote Originally Posted by greenLED
    Quick question to y'all: how many of you know the name of your Mail Carrier?
    Let's see a show of hands.


    (Frank's the name of our Carrier in case your wondering - cool guy.)

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    Default Re: Problem with USPS Postal Money orders...(long)

    I have a P.O. box
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    Flashaholic* Silviron's Avatar
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    Default Re: Problem with USPS Postal Money orders...(long)

    Now that I think about it, I don't believe I ever tried to actually CASH a money order anywhere. I just deposit them in my checking account and get cash back with the deposit if I need some pocket money.

    Never had a bit of problem with money orders (including some that looked kind of 'dicey' to me) when depositing them to a bank account as a real business person would do, even when I was doing a fair amount of regular mail order business, then later eBaying about 30-50 items a week (prior to PayPal).... up to my rather limited activities using mail sales now.
    __________________________________________

    Sandy is the lady (contract carrier, not a regular USPS Employee) who brings the mail to the house. She's having a little trouble with her delivery vehicle and worried that she won't get enough money to get it fixed before it quits completely.)
    Dusty is the PostMaster at the branch post office where my P.O. Box is. Seems like we run into each other at Wal Mart or other places at least twice a week too... I see him more often than I see my best friend. Sometimes Dusty is assisted / or replaced by Erwin.
    Craig is my pal at the Main Post Office, another desk clerk is Leo... Donna just got reassigned to 'the back' and I don't know who the lady is that is now working in the middle between Craig and Leo.

    So, Yeah, I know their names

    I've given them all flashlights! Mostly the Photon Clones I get in quantity from Emillion or Dae, but a couple have gotten something nicer.
    Craig has actually visited CPF.... But he isn't a regular... He was only casually interested in learning a little more about 'state of the art' stuff, not a Flashaholic.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    I bet all of the local P.O. desk clerks, PostMasters etc. WOULD cash money orders for me without any hassle at all if I asked....
    Might be a good way to make some useful friends at the Post Office for you folks that don't deposit your money orders... Pass out some cheap Photon Clone Keychain lights. I pass those things out like sticks of gum; ... And people remember me and do nice things for me. Pretty good investment for 50 cents per person.
    Last edited by Silviron; 08-24-2006 at 07:06 PM.

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    Default Re: Problem with USPS Postal Money orders...(long)

    The only one that I ever 'cashed' was Canadian Money Order that was made out in US Dollars. It was a wedding present ... a long long time ago The only confusion was that they were about to look up the conversion until I mentioned that it was made for US dollars. The clerk just flipped it over and stamped it with their bank stamp (they deposit them to the bank too!) and just asked if 50's and 100's were okay.

    Quote Originally Posted by Silviron
    Now that I think about it, I don't think I ever tried to actually CASH a money order anywhere.

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    *Flashaholic* PlayboyJoeShmoe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Problem with USPS Postal Money orders...(long)

    WOW. I buy and send USPS Money Orders, as I figure they are more "professional" than other types.

    I go to several different 1 to 3 clerk "podunk" Post Offices to get them, depending on where I'm going to/coming from.

    I guess it figures that crooks "F" with MOs too. BASTIDS!!!

    edit> At every PO I've gone to prior to today, the MO prints after a computer entry. Today the one I got was done on a "checkwriter" type machine with carbon copies. I know a bit about "Checkwriters" as my Dad used to sell/service them. It was a somewhat different MO, but with official numbers and such. I wouldn't think the PO is THAT crooked! <edit
    Last edited by PlayboyJoeShmoe; 08-24-2006 at 06:10 PM.
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    Default Re: Problem with USPS Postal Money orders...(long)

    Dang! You must have found a real "podunk" postal station. Was it like a manual credit card imprinter (slide it to the right, slide it back to the left), or was it a checkwriter that embossed the amount on the Money Order? In either case it's pretty old technology, if it was the check writer on card stock, I'd check that M.O. for any moth holes or rat bites ; 'cause that is really old! The imprinters had a numbered Postal Service logo plate (individual to each clerk) imprinted on them with the amount, and are of a paper stock. Nothing crooked about those, they're real, and good as gold.

    Quote Originally Posted by PlayboyJoeShmoe
    WOW. I buy and send USPS Money Orders, as I figure they are more "professional" than other types.

    I go to several different 1 to 3 clerk "podunk" Post Offices to get them, depending on where I'm going to/coming from.

    I guess it figures that crooks "F" with MOs too. BASTIDS!!!

    edit> At every PO I've gone to prior to today, the MO prints after a computer entry. Today the one I got was done on a "checkwriter" type machine with carbon copies. I know a bit about "Checkwriters" as my Dad used to sell/service them. It was a somewhat different MO, but with official numbers and such. I wouldn't think the PO is THAT crooked! <edit

  20. #20
    *Flashaholic* PlayboyJoeShmoe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Problem with USPS Postal Money orders...(long)

    I didn't actually watch her do the action. It could have been slide or lever either one!

    It's off on it's way to Photon Fanatic in any case...
    http://img32.imageshack.us/img32/2640/usflaghalfmastmdwht.gif

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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Problem with USPS Postal Money orders...(long)

    all banks will deposit money orders no questions asked. but will charge back your account if MO bounces.

    I was at the post office a few days ago, buying a $315 money order to pay for purchase.

    the guy in front of me was trying to cash several USPS money orders for $850ea. they were all fake! postal clerk held them up to light and checked for proper water marks. fakes were too light. postal clerk made the comments that he'd seen hundreds come thru. Nigeria was mentioned...

    evidently the guy just returned from middle east where he sold a car. fake money order was suppose to pay for car sold.

    Quote Originally Posted by greenLED
    My bank takes MO's, no questions asked. It's good to know that there are counterfeit MO's floating around, though, JM. I'd hate to be stuck with a worthless piece of paper; I may reconsider taking them. Thanks for the heads up!

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Problem with USPS Postal Money orders...(long)

    $950 seems to be a red flag, as does Nigeria. Seems that there's more scamming coming out of Nigeria than Florida.

    Though a $950 US Postal Money Order coming from outside of the U.S. should be enough to alert anyone, since they wouldn't originate from outside of the US (unless from a military base or US Mission), and international MOs are limited to $700.

    This might be of some help to you guys and alleviate some concerns.

    http://www.usps.com/postalinspectors/moalert.htm

    There's several links from that page that will be helpful as well in confirming the validity of the money order stock. You can download this pamplet
    http://www.usps.com/cpim/ftp/notices/not299.pdf for reference as well.

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