Welcome Guest
Log In | Register )
You last visited October 30, 2020, 11:31 am
All times shown are
Eastern Time (GMT-5:00)

Lottery nightmare: Florida woman's prize is forfeited after postal service loses winning ticket

Sep 30, 2020, 5:19 pm

Share this news story on Facebook
Tweet this news story on Twitter
Florida LotteryFlorida Lottery: Lottery nightmare: Florida woman's prize is forfeited after postal service loses winning ticketRating:

Winner doesn't have much hope of claiming her prize after messy debacle

By Kate Northrop

RIDGE MANOR, Fla. — It's every lottery winner's worst nightmare in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic — your winning ticket getting lost in the mail. Sadly, that's exactly what happened to a Florida woman whose certified mail containing a ticket worth $1,000 was lost by the U.S. Postal Service. Worse, the Florida Lottery said her prize was forfeited and awarded to someone else.

Since claim offices have closed or limited their in-person visits at the start of the pandemic, lotteries have been encouraging players to trust and opt for the mail-in option for claiming a prize. It doesn't look hopeful for Sue Burgess, who is caught in the unfortunate and unlikely circumstance that many players fear.

Burgess was ecstatic after learning that she won a $1,000 prize in the Florida Lottery's Second Chance Lottery drawing last month, but her happiness and hopes were dashed away weeks later when the Lottery told her she would have to forfeit her prize despite having the ticket postmarked by the prize claim deadline. Instead, her winnings went to another player.

It's the reason why many players would rather hang on to their physical ticket over claiming their winnings sooner — the USPS did not deliver the ticket to Lottery headquarters in Tallahassee and lost track of the package even though it was sent through certified mail.

At the time Burgess was considering options for filing a prize claim, the Lottery told her she could either send the ticket through the mail or hand-deliver it to a drop box. All claim centers were closed after she won the Second Chance drawing on July 29.

She opted to send the ticket through U.S. Postal Service certified mail thinking that it would be safer than leaving it at a drop box. According to the tracking information on the package, the ticket only got so far before stopping at the Tallahassee post office for good. The most recent activity on the package shows that it arrived there at 7:12 am on Aug. 12. It never made it to Lottery headquarters.

Although it is required for a legitimate winning ticket to be delivered to the office in order for a player to claim a prize, the Lottery said the situation is unusual and that they have limited flexibility since they are not responsible for mistakes made by the postal service.

"Because the Lottery did not receive Ms. Burgess' ticket within the seven-day claim period, an alternate winner was selected and paid," the Lottery stated. "However, if Ms. Burgess' package arrives at Florida Lottery Headquarters with a date stamp prior to the original expiration date, our Claims Processing department will process and pay her claim."

"They said, 'No ticket, no prize,'" Burgess said the Lottery told her after she asked about her missing ticket.

The Lottery requires that Second Chance players must register their tickets and contact information, unlike most other games. They also give Second Chance winners one week to submit their winning ticket — an incredibly short period of time compared to the more common 6-month submission deadline for other lottery games in the state.

Initially, the Lottery reached out to Burgess by phone, but she missed the call. They were able to contact her via email and notify her of her win, which, at that point, left Burgess mere days to submit the ticket. But since her only requirement was to get the ticket postmarked by the deadline, she decided to go with certified mail.

"That's why you choose certified mail," Burgess explained. "With COVID, I understand the mail is a little bit slow, but for safety sake, certified mail usually has priority."

After the closure of its claims offices, the Lottery encouraged players to mail winning tickets or leave them at the designated drop box while the ongoing pandemic increased the possibility of shipping and mailing delays. They also have records of all Second Chance winners and can therefore verify the identity of a legitimate winner, uncommon in other games but helpful in proving someone's win. These factors considered, it may seem odd to some that the Lottery does not offer a more realistic timeline for Second Chance prize claims.

On the other hand, should the valid winning ticket arrive at their office postmarked by the original deadline, they're out an extra $1,000 that they have to honor. It may be a drop in the bucket for the Lottery, but it's still fair for the player.

USPS admitted blame for losing the ticket but only provided a generic apology for their error in misplacing the high-value package.

"The Postal Service strives to always provide the best possible service to our customers," USPS said in the statement. "We apologize to this specific customer for any inconvenience they may have experienced. In this specific instance, we are continuing to work with the lottery office to confirm receipt of the mailpiece."

Seeing as how it has been six weeks since Burgess' package supposedly arrived at the Tallahassee post office, it's unlikely to be found, but one can only hope.

The USPS has not made any indication that they are willing to compensate Burgess for the value of the winning ticket. Instead, the postal service continues to investigate the package's mysterious disappearance.

Sadly, it doesn't look like Burgess will get her $1,000.

Lottery Post Staff

We'd love to see your comments here!  Register for a FREE membership — it takes just a few moments — and you'll be able to post comments here and on any of our forums. If you're already a member, you can Log In to post a comment.

29 comments. Last comment 28 days ago by Raven62.
Page 1 of 2
Avatar
Chasing $ Millions.
White Shores- California
United States
Member #136473
December 12, 2012
6353 Posts
Offline

Sue should get a lawyer, even if that is going to costs her $500.00. Send a message!

 * Voice of Reason *   

 

People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

    ThatScaryChick's avatar - giphy11resized
    Idaho
    United States
    Member #56504
    November 21, 2007
    6701 Posts
    Offline

    Oh wow how horrible. I feel bad for her. I would be so angry.

    "twitter - youtube - steam - tumblr"

    ThatScaryChick

      Raven62's avatar - binary
      25
      New Jersey
      United States
      Member #17842
      June 28, 2005
      132540 Posts
      Offline

      Condolences to the Second Chance Winner!

      Can we really Trust Voting in the Next Election via the USPS?

      A mind once stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions!

      Catch-22: A dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions.

      Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges: When the republic is at its most corrupt the laws are most numerous.

        Avatar
        Kentucky
        United States
        Member #32651
        February 14, 2006
        9009 Posts
        Offline

        Sue should get a lawyer, even if that is going to costs her $500.00. Send a message!

        "the Lottery told her she could either send the ticket through the mail or hand-deliver it to a drop box."

        The choice was either put the ticket into the drop box and probably get it validated the next business day or take a chance by mailing it.

        "Initially, the Lottery reached out to Burgess by phone, but she missed the call."

        Always is a "rest of the story".

        Mister we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again

          cottoneyedjoe's avatar - cuonvFT

          United States
          Member #197033
          March 28, 2019
          553 Posts
          Offline

          I would bet money a postal employee, upon seeing that the envelope was addressed to the lottery office, opened it hoping they could intercept a winning ticket to cash for themselves. Seeing that it was a second chance ticket registered to someone else they destroyed the evidence of their crime.

          Reminds me of someone I used to know who liked to mess with unscrupulous postal employees. He would send letters to friends and family in very flimsy envelopes that you could see through, and include fake $20 bills printed on his crappy home printer. if you held up the envelope to the light it would look like real money in there.

            Avatar
            Louisiana
            United States
            Member #191895
            August 27, 2018
            677 Posts
            Offline

            Registered Mail is the most secure postal mailing method. It is signed for by every hand that touches the package.

            All number sets are contenders until the drawing occurs.

              TheMeatman2005's avatar - lightening
              Brooklyn, NY
              United States
              Member #169719
              October 29, 2015
              1494 Posts
              Offline

              She may not get her $1,000 prize, but since the USPS didn't deliver her package, she should at least, get what she paid for the certified mail delivery refunded. Disapprove

              The Meatman 🥩🍗🍔🍖🍤🌭

              “The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.” Will Rogers

              Winning happens in a flash, Like A Bolt Of Lightning!  Patriot

                chris632's avatar - Lottery-033.jpg
                florida
                United States
                Member #30984
                January 23, 2006
                285 Posts
                Offline

                Drop box is the better option because you are not actually dropping it in a dropbox. You are basically hand delivering it to a lottery employee at a lottery office by dropping it in an envelope held by the lottery employee. The only bad part is your check is then mailed to you but at least a check can be reissued if lost.

                Good Luck, Chris

                  Avatar
                  Maryland
                  United States
                  Member #162429
                  January 2, 2015
                  2312 Posts
                  Offline

                  I would bet money a postal employee, upon seeing that the envelope was addressed to the lottery office, opened it hoping they could intercept a winning ticket to cash for themselves. Seeing that it was a second chance ticket registered to someone else they destroyed the evidence of their crime.

                  Reminds me of someone I used to know who liked to mess with unscrupulous postal employees. He would send letters to friends and family in very flimsy envelopes that you could see through, and include fake $20 bills printed on his crappy home printer. if you held up the envelope to the light it would look like real money in there.

                  I was thinking the same thing about an employee intercepting it.  Sad .....Disapprove

                  Also - if this started happening multiple times in the state would the lottery drop that option? 

                    FLATRANSPLANT's avatar - yocco
                    50
                    South Florida
                    United States
                    Member #71278
                    February 22, 2009
                    24815 Posts
                    Online

                    Sad.  But I had $1,000 scratch off ticket that I sent via FEDX.  It was worth the $15 bucks.  It got delivered the next day.  Had my money within 3 days.

                    And I took  copy of all the documentation and signed my ticket.

                      Avatar
                      Simpsonville
                      United States
                      Member #163184
                      January 22, 2015
                      2290 Posts
                      Offline

                      I would bet money a postal employee, upon seeing that the envelope was addressed to the lottery office, opened it hoping they could intercept a winning ticket to cash for themselves. Seeing that it was a second chance ticket registered to someone else they destroyed the evidence of their crime.

                      Reminds me of someone I used to know who liked to mess with unscrupulous postal employees. He would send letters to friends and family in very flimsy envelopes that you could see through, and include fake $20 bills printed on his crappy home printer. if you held up the envelope to the light it would look like real money in there.

                      That was my very first thought.   It had been proven that last Christmas season postal workers stole many gift cards from the mail.  Not sure if anyone was caught.  As for the gift cards IDK how it could be implemented but have some kind of email with a special code that the giftee would need to activate---isnt going to happen.

                       

                      Skimmed the article too quickly, but was the ticket signed?

                        Nikkicute's avatar - wi lotto3.jpg
                        Wisconsin
                        United States
                        Member #123286
                        February 17, 2012
                        4152 Posts
                        Offline

                        I would bet money a postal employee, upon seeing that the envelope was addressed to the lottery office, opened it hoping they could intercept a winning ticket to cash for themselves. Seeing that it was a second chance ticket registered to someone else they destroyed the evidence of their crime.

                        Reminds me of someone I used to know who liked to mess with unscrupulous postal employees. He would send letters to friends and family in very flimsy envelopes that you could see through, and include fake $20 bills printed on his crappy home printer. if you held up the envelope to the light it would look like real money in there.

                        Here is the address to claim our prizes in Wisconsin:

                        Prizes
                        PO Box 777
                        Madison, WI 53774

                        Doesn't exactly scream lotto ticket inside but a player should be able to get it 

                        mailed, shoot, might be safer sending it regular mail. 

                        It's not like the envelop left the state, how the heck did Florida postal lose itWhat?

                          GiveFive's avatar - Lottery-026.jpg
                          NY State
                          United States
                          Member #92605
                          June 10, 2010
                          4760 Posts
                          Offline

                          I don't know if a dishonest post office employee was involved with the lost ticket or not, but it's worth pointing out that these days The USPS is a train wreck with regard to it's finances.  There is no money available to the Post Office to do anything.  Ask your mailman if he/she is allowed to work overtime and see what their reaction to that question is.   

                          Given what the current daily working conditions are for post office employees,  there are many reasons why a ticket sent via The US Mail could disappear.  G5

                          Players who've won large lottery jackpots have something in common. Many of them say "I've played the lottery for years, but I never won anything but small prizes."   That's normal or typical, but it's also why you should not get discouraged and stop playing.  Who knows?  Maybe someday you'll say "I've played the lottery for years...."

                            Avatar
                            100
                            New York, NY
                            United States
                            Member #140630
                            March 23, 2013
                            10697 Posts
                            Offline

                            Saw this story. Shame. In the first P, it says it was certified mail, then it says at the end, that's why you choose certified mail. I don't believe she sent it with certified mail. Could be wrong. Confusing though.

                            Sometimes you do the right thing just because it’s right.