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  • Sample Kits Get Stuck in Houston TX Mail System

    I just sent this message to FamilyTreeDNA's help desk about problems with the Houston TX postal system. This is at least the 3rd time I've complained to them to check into the returning sample kits getting stuck in Houston TX main facility and not being delivered to FTDNA's office promptly. One sample kit with executed swabs being returned has been stuck in Houston TX since 26 Feb 2015. Here are the tracking numbers to see yourself what I mean about packets being stuck in the Houston TX Post Office. These are the standard business reply envelopes that FTDNA sends out with the sampling kits for the customer to send them back:
    Stuck in Mail Sample Packet #1. https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfi...40%208364%2033
    Stuck in Mail Sample Packet #2. https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfi...86%200440%2065
    Is anyone else having issues with sampling kits of FTDNA not moving swiftly outbound or inbound and getting stuck in the Houston TX main postal location for days and days and not put promptly out for delivery to FTDNA's office. Are my kits being jinxed or are others having these problems too? I'll be interested to hear if more are seeing this same problem. I can be reached privately too via: http://www.kerchner.com/contact.htm Charles Kerchner, Project Admin for many projects since 2001. P.S. For any FTDNA staff members reading this, this kit number involved in two attempts to get samples back to FTDNA is: 401167
    Last edited by cfkerchner; 6 March 2015, 03:20 PM. Reason: Add the kit number to the message

  • #2
    Your two examples look like a USPS problem.

    In recent months, I always use tracking, and I am seeing that packages are being marked Delivered, but that only meant they were placed in the delivery bag (to be delivered to FTDNA over next 0-7 days).

    In your case they are not marked delivered, yet. It is my understanding that USPS would show the package in ZIP 77008 first, then it would be delivered (to the bag).

    Anyone with a tracking info from the last couple of days?

    W. (Mr.)

    P.S.
    I think it is only you, as the sender, who can complain to USPS.

    Comment


    • #3
      Did you request Signature Confirmation™ ? ? ?

      W. (Mr.)

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      • #4
        No I did not request any signature confirmation. These samples were returned to FTDNA using the standard business reply envelopes sent out with the sampling kit. If you click on the USPS links I provided with my initial post you can see the left CT and made there way to TX fine but when the got to the Houston TX main post office they just got stuck there. I got a note from FTDNA staff earlier tonight that some bags of kits were delivered to FTDNA recently and that they "hope" my kits are in them and that if they are I should see them being logged into the FTDNA system this weekend. I hope they are in those bags.
        UPDATE: It's midnight here in PA, eastern time. I just clicked on the USPS tracking links. The first kit which was stuck at the Houston post office since 26 Feb 2015 is still stuck there. (1) https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfi...40%208364%2033 However, the second kit link shows that that particular kit has been "delivered". (2) https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfi...86%200440%2065 Some progress has been made. This is a USPS problem for sure. But FTDNA has to "beat" on them over there as the tardy actions in that Houston P.O. will definitely hurt FTDNA's business if allowed to continue. Here is a link for a kit that got stuck in the Houston P.O. in the OUTBOUND mail in sending a kit out to a member of my project. Look how many days it sat in the Houston P.O. and an entry really was not made there showing exactly when it departed the Houston P.O. It just magically shows up in CT many, many days later https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfi...99561586137613 Not good. Not good at all. It is hard enough to get some people to agree to do the test and for them to have to wait for circa 3 weeks for the kit to get from TX to CT is not good for the process.
        Last edited by cfkerchner; 6 March 2015, 11:14 PM. Reason: Update via clicking on the USPS tracking links above

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        • #5
          I had the same problem with just getting the kit...

          They said my kit was mailed 2/20. For 11 days it didn't move, according to the tracking, out of Houston.Then, all of a sudden, the tracking was updated on 3/3. I got the kit the next day. I think they should rethink their carrier because that is not acceptable. I returned my kit on Thursday, 3/5. I'm not even going to bother looking up the tracking for at least a week. It will only frustrate me.

          Comment


          • #6
            DNA (Mr. W.) said:
            P.S. I think it is only you, as the sender, who can complain to USPS.
            Well kits being sent out by FamilyTreeDNA are getting stuck in the Houston TX post office too. So FamilyTreeDNA which is located in Houston TX needs to have a person visit the Houston TX post office Postmaster and discuss the problem with them.

            Here is an example of a sampling kit being mailed out from FTDNA getting stuck in the Houston TX P.O. for almost 2 weeks. Here is a link for a kit that got stuck in the Houston P.O. in the OUTBOUND mail in sending a kit out to a member of my project. https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfi...99561586137613 Take a look at how many days it sat in the Houston P.O. and an entry really was not made there showing exactly when it departed the Houston P.O. It just magically shows up in CT many, many days later Not good. Not good at all. It is hard enough to get some people to agree to do the test and for them to have to wait for circa 3 weeks for the kit to get from TX to CT is not good for the process.

            I have been a long-term customer of FamilyTreeDNA since almost the begining of their business. I ordered my first kit in March 2001. I admin and coordinate over a dozen surname and other type projects with hundreds of members. I have personally written and telephoned the FTDNA staff about these recent postal system problems to FTDNA staff repeatedly. I also have sent an alert to the President of FTDNA about this.

            It appears this is not just a problem that I am experiencing. Recently another person posted on this thread about long delays in OUTBOUND kits getting through the Houston TX post office. Something must be done about this or imo it will in the long term damage FTDNA's business. JMHO.
            Last edited by cfkerchner; 7 March 2015, 11:46 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              FTDNA needs a serious face-to-face sit down chat with Houston TX postamaster.

              Hello Houston TX USPS system ... we still have a serious problem. FTDNA business reply envelope with swabbing samples sent back a few weeks ago to FTDNA in their standard business reply envelope package has been stuck there in Houston postal center since 26 Feb 2015: https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfi...40%208364%2033 FTDNA shipping staff or key FTDNA execs need to have a meeting with USPS postmaster in Houston TX and get to the bottom of why FTDNA's sample kit packages going IN and OUT of the Houston TX postal center get stuck there for many days and even weeks. Both new customer kit orders going out are getting stuck there and the returned swab samples in the FTDNA provided business reply envelope are getting stuck there. Read up in this thread to my prior posts for more examples with their respective tracking numbers.
              Last edited by cfkerchner; 8 March 2015, 02:19 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Yep. I have to date ordered 2 Geno kits (which also go to FTDNA Houston for processing) and 5 FTDNA kits. That would be 7 kits total. FIVE kits made it to FTDNA and/or Geno within a week of our mailing them (to received/batching status). One kit.... mailed a day before 3 other kits too more than a month to get to FTDNA! Ridiculous. Especially since they are only travelling from Tucson to Houston. Not to the moon and back. My last kit... not sure where it is... it might be at my parents house... but who knows with them!

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                • #9
                  I live north of Houston and I can tell you anything going through the Houston P.O. is likely to get stuck. My sister in Mesa, AZ mailed me a WWII journal of my dad's and I never received it. My mail that goes back east, cards etc., takes a week and the same in return. Personally, I think it is very lazy and inept postal workers in Houston. I've seen them here and I'm just 30 miles north of there.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Indeed, my kit has been sitting in USPS Houston for a week after bouncing between facilities for a day, with no sign of movement since.

                    I was wary of doing business with FTDNA because of their recent delays and customer service issues, and their "there's not really anything we can do about it" approach to the obvious problems with their local USPS is indicative of what seems from the outside like a serious culture or management problem. I know that if my business was being impacted by USPS failing to do their job, I would absolutely do something about it.

                    At the very least, I'd suggest that FTDNA offer a non-USPS return option (e.g., UPS, Fedex). I'd gladly pay a bit more to avoid the apparent black hole that is USPS Houston.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by cmcguffin View Post
                      [----] I know that if my business was being impacted by USPS failing to do their job, I would absolutely do something about it.
                      ????

                      Originally posted by cmcguffin View Post
                      At the very least, I'd suggest that FTDNA offer a non-USPS return option (e.g., UPS, Fedex). I'd gladly pay a bit more to avoid the apparent black hole that is USPS Houston.
                      I did consider sending back using UPS or FedEx, but then I released that it might not be a better option. Do you have experience with sending human specimen using UPS or FedEx? I do not. But I know from my personal experience (yours might be different), that neither of them handles very well delivery of hundreds of tiny packages.

                      W. (Mr.)

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dna View Post
                        ????
                        If I ran FTDNA, instead of saying that there's nothing to be done about the USPS issues, I would arrange a meeting with the local postmaster in an attempt to resolve the issue and/or use an alternate service provider.

                        I say this not because I'm particularly bent out of shape about my package being delayed (it's frustrating, but it'll get there eventually, one way or the other), but because I want to see the company succeed. This issue has a negative impact on their reputation and bottom line.

                        Originally posted by dna View Post
                        I did consider sending back using UPS or FedEx, but then I released that it might not be a better option. Do you have experience with sending human specimen using UPS or FedEx? I do not. But I know from my personal experience (yours might be different), that neither of them handles very well delivery of hundreds of tiny packages.
                        In my experience, UPS and Fedex are significantly more reliable and predictable than USPS (data available upon request , though I certainly don't deal with the same volume that FTDNA does.

                        I don't know for a fact that UPS or Fedex would do a better job for FTDNA without some kind of arrangement to deal with the volume. But, again, if FTDNA were my company, I would investigate the options and try to do *something* to fix the situation, rather than (apparently) shrugging and saying "oh well".

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                        • #13
                          I would contact my congresswoman or congressman, as USPS is an agency of the United States federal government. And it appears to me that within USPS communication is downward.

                          W. (Mr.)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dna View Post
                            I would contact my congresswoman or congressman, as USPS is an agency of the United States federal government. And it appears to me that within USPS communication is downward.

                            W. (Mr.)
                            Not a bad idea. Now we just have to hope FTDNA management starts thinking the same way.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Seems like USPS is have FTDNA delay problems all year.
                              My samples sent from Europe take one (1!) day to arrive in the states, and then it takes 3 to 4 weeks to deliver it to FTDNA, add the backlog of FTDNA, thats frustration first class. Especially when arrived in Houston it takes like 2 bloody weeks, are they using snails to deliver mail?

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