Inheritance found: UPS tracks down missing $36,000 bank draft weeks after it was mailed from Edmonton

Dorthea Miller says her family has finally been reunited with a cashable bank draft for $36,005, more than a month after UPS Canada lost the inheritance money.

'They found it wedged in the door of a delivery truck'

Dorthea Miller of Edmonton used UPS to deliver a $36,000 bank draft to her aunt in Saskatchewan. It took more than a month, but the money finally arrived. (Mark Lennihan/The Associated Press)

An Edmonton woman says her aunt in Saskatchewan has finally received a cashable bank draft for $36,005, more than a month after UPS Canada lost the inheritance money.

After Dorthea Miller shared her story with CBC News, the package delivery company located the cashable bank draft.

It had been wedged inside a delivery truck.

"They found it wedged in the door of a delivery truck and they've already delivered it to my aunt," said Miller, who said a UPS manager in Saskatchewan delivered the good news on Friday.

"He said that once he heard about the story he had everyone stop what they were doing and rip everything apart, looking for the letter, and that's all we wanted them to do from the start.

"He said they're going to investigate further and see how they can improve their customer service."  

The bank draft was part of an estate settlement.

After Miller's uncle died four years ago, she and her husband were tasked with disbursing the inheritances to the beneficiaries, including her aunt Joan Nielsen in Marshall, Sask., near Lloydminster.

'I didn't think twice about it'

When the estate settlement was finalized, and Miller could distribute the money, she chose to send the bank draft to her aunt using UPS. She was worried about possible theft and wanted the paperwork hand-delivered and signed for.

"I didn't think twice about it," she said. "I just went to the UPS store and sent it off."

That was on Dec. 14. MIller had paid for it to be delivered by Dec.18, but Nielsen didn't receive it.

Within a few days, Miller realized there was a problem. Online tracking suggested the letter was stuck somewhere at a UPS shipping centre in Saskatoon.

What followed was unbelievably frustrating, Miller said.

"We were so thrilled, we were finally finished, after four years the estate was settled, we were done — and then UPS lost the money," she said. "I was like, 'Oh, no.' "

Miller went to the UPS store near her home in Edmonton's Riverbend neighbourhood to file a complaint.

On Jan 2, she was told the investigation was ongoing. But two days later she was told over the phone that the investigation had been closed, she said.

But when she went again to the UPS office, she was told the probe had been "escalated" to the company's investigation team, she said.

By Jan. 9, after repeated phone calls, Miller said she was told the investigation had been closed again, because UPS had been unable to reach her aunt in Saskatchewan to verify the complaint.

'Exercise caution'

In a statement to CBC News, UPS spokesperson Murssal Akramy said the company had been working with Miller to resolve the problem.

"Every package is important to us and we are deeply disappointed that we fell well short of expectations in this circumstance," reads the emailed statement.

"UPS is trying to contact the customer to resolve the issue and make them as happy as possible."

The company also noted that the delivery violated its own policies. UPS policy prohibits the delivery of "currency and negotiable instruments" such as bank drafts, said Akramy.

Every package is important to us- UPS spokesperson

While Miller is relieved the missing bank draft has finally been delivered, she hopes the incident will serve as a warning to other Canadians to avoid sending important paperwork in the mail whenever possible.

A similar case came to light in Toronto last month, and Canadians should know that their mail is vulnerable to being lost or stolen, she said.

"Exercise caution," said Miller. "In hindsight, if I could do it all over again I would have just driven the draft down to my aunt and delivered it that way."

About the Author

Wallis Snowdon


Wallis Snowdon is a digital journalist with CBC Edmonton. She has nearly a decade of experience reporting behind her. Originally from New Brunswick, her journalism career has taken her from Nova Scotia to Fort McMurray. Share your stories with Wallis at wallis.snowdon@cbc.ca