D.C. man fights USPS over lost pair of $677 shoes

The shoes Orendorff ordered. (WJLA photo)

WASHINGTON (WJLA) – A local man is fighting the U.S. Postal Service to either find his lost shoes or get back the $677 he paid for them. He called 7 On Your Side, and we found out there’s a little-known rule holding things up.

The dispute is over a pair of Yohan Safaki tennis shoes, made in Italy. Because they’re so expensive, Terrance Orendorff is very upset that they were lost in the mail.

Orendorff admits he has a weakness for online shopping and shoes—exotic designer shoes, specifically.

In addition to a pair of shoes he received on Monday, Orendorff had been hoping to add the $677 pair of Yohan Safaki tennis shoes to his collection. He purchased the shoes online from a store in Italy last February, but when the shoes arrived at his home, they were damaged. He packed them up and went to his local post office to send them back to Italy.

“I tried to send ‘em through the postal service and they never got ‘em,” Orendorff said.

No problem; Orendorff told 7 On Your Side that before sending them off, he insured the shoes for the maximum of $650. After the store in Italy said it hadn’t received the shoes, he went on the USPS website to track the package.

Orendorff says the postal service still hasn’t been able to find his shoes. He filed an insurance claim and, after going back and forth with USPS, finally, in early December, he received a letter from the head of USPS international claims saying his claim had been denied. It stated, “According to the International Mail Manual, prohibited items to Italy include ‘footwear of any kind.’”

“They come up with ‘You can’t send shoes to Italy,’” Orendorff said. “It’s like they’re looking for any excuse not to pay me.”

So, Orendorff reached out to 7 On Your Side for help. Late Monday afternoon, we contacted USPS, asking if it’s true that you can’t send shoes to Italy, and if so, why Orendorff wasn’t told that when he first mailed them. The USPS website indeed states that mailing footwear to Italy is prohibited. A USPS representative told 7 On Your Side it will do whatever it can to help Orendorff with his claim.

When asked if he had learned a lesson from this experience, Orendorff answered, “Use Federal Express.”

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