When Joey Nunley’s package of diamonds disappeared in the mail, he had no idea how much time it would take to track it down.
The postal-service express-mailed package was sent out with two others to GIA for grading on May 15, says Nunley, owner of Prima Jewelers in Nashville, Tenn.
“I kept waiting to hear back from GIA,” he says. “Then I went online and I found the package was marked ‘undeliverable.’ I started calling the postal service, and they didn’t tell me anything.”
Nunley had taken $5,000 postal service insurance on the package. He filed an online claim, and he received a reply telling him to file an in-person claim at his local post office.
“The woman there told me I was doing all I could, just be patient, it’s only been a few days,” he says. “I said, ‘A few days is a lot.’ ”
The claim was eventually denied, as the USPS records showed that the package was returned to the store. Nunley says that it wasn’t and spent a lot of time on hold with the Washington, D.C., headquarters straightening things out.
“I worked day in and day out,” he says. “They just transfer you all around there. I think they feel the average American will just give up. I had a lot of stones in that package, and I was not about to give up.”
Nunley reached out to some contacts at local news station WSMV, which aired a story on his situation. That, he feels, turned things around.
“If the news hadn’t gotten involved, the postal service probably would have made me jump through more hoops,” he says.
He was put in touch with a postal inspector, who discovered that a third-party contractor with a history of losses had handled the package.
Eventually, Nunley did receive his $5,000 claim for the package, plus another $3,300 from his insurance company. But $8,300 is far less than his estimation of its value.
“The insurance company only paid me what I paid for it,” he says. “I thought they would pay me replacement costs, not what I paid for it off the street. I spent a lot of time working with the customers, breaking the pieces apart. If it’s a vintage piece, it can’t be reproduced.
“I am not trying to make money on this,” he says. “I just want them to replace what is in my case. I am out a lot of money here.”
His advice to other jewelers: Read and understand your insurance policy.
In 1999, JCK collected tips for dealing with stolen packages: Act quickly, contact local police, and change your carrier. More information on that, as well as tips on how to secure your packages, can be seen here.