I get an email back (on Sept. 6th, just so we're clear, since someone claimed I said I somehow received it on the 1st even though I did not) saying that it was shipped on the 1st, and included a delivery confirmation number. At the same time that I receive that email, I also get an email from Amazon saying that it's shipped. Now, one thing I want to mention - I sell things online a lot. I print postage a lot, I know a lot about how USPS works, how delivery confirmation works, and how online postage works.
I check the tracking number, and there's NO information on it. No "we got the info. from your seller" which would be there if they printed the postage, no "received at x post office" from an initial sell/scan. NOTHING. It said the number was not valid.
I emailed them back, asking if they were certain this was the correct tracking number, and stating that it didn't say anything in the tracking information, which would be rather unusual 4 business days after it shipped (not impossible, just kind of rare).
This is what I got as a response:
Yes, that is definitely the correct tracking number and your item definitely shipped on September 1, 2010.
Very often the Postal Service fails to update it's website information in a prompt way and this is completely beyond our control we're afraid.
Given the Labor Day weekend holiday, it is not at all unusual that you haven't received the item so we thank you for your continued patience.
We are quite sure it will arrive shortly and you will be able at that time to see the Postmark of the day we shipped it for your reassurance.
Thank you again."
WELL HOLD ON A SECOND. I never said anything about having not received it yet. In fact, I never expected to receive it so soon. So I checked the tracking number again to see THIS:
"Label/Receipt Number: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Class: First-Class Mail®
Service(s): Delivery Confirmation™
Status: Electronic Shipping Info Received
The U.S. Postal Service was electronically notified by the shipper on September 06, 2010 to expect your package for mailing. This does not indicate receipt by the USPS or the actual mailing date. Delivery status information will be provided if / when available. Information, if available, is updated periodically throughout the day. Please check again later."
WTF. What this tells me, is that they printed the postage for my package YESTERDAY when I emailed them, and then LIED TO ME twice about when it shipped. It's the same message I get when I print postage, or when I've ordered things with printed postage. No, company on Amazon, the Postmark DOES NOT prove that it was shipped on the 1st.
Seriously, if they had just told me the truth, I'd have been frustrated, but I would have forgotten by the time feedback came around. Sorry, but lying only gets you a negative, and loses you a customer.
TL;DR - I ask Amazon seller if they shipped my item, they say yes and give me a non-functional tracking #. In reality, they haven't shipped it yet.
Apparently people are somehow getting that I got a tracking number on the 1st. NO. I did not. I received the tracking number on the 6th.
A tracking number, when first created, will show as invalid until the system updates. This can take hours or a couple days. Then it will show the date the postage was printed, or a scan at the initial post office where it was created/delivered/first scanned (however this is not a case of physical post office shipping, this is a larger company that prints their shipping labels).
It is entirely possible for me to have checked the tracking number before the system updated, since the seller had just then printed it, and it was not yet in the system when I received their email.
I hope that helps people understand. :P Because I have no clue how all of you missed where I said "Yesterday, Sept. 5th, I asked if they had shipped it" at the very top of my post. :|