Given the 100+ shipments this year, this is what I've found:
- All items "lost in the mail" are due to bad US-based eBay seller practices. Items get lost due to lousy label printing and poor label attachment. These items have all eventually showed up, but it is definitely the seller's fault, and not the shippers.
- For domestic shipping, USPS is the most reliable and predictable. UPS Ground and FedEx Smartpost are very slow. FedEx Smartpost uses ground trucks to move items thousands of miles, and then they hand it to USPS for delivery. I guess it is cheap.
- Items from overseas (mostly China) normally makes it to me within 3 weeks, but it can be as quick as 7 days, or take as long as 8 weeks. So I can't bank on timing when ordering items from China.
- LaserShip is getting better. They're still sloppy, but not as horrid as my previous experience with them. I speculate that they have a lot of driver turn-over, which results in inexperienced delivery people.
- USPS's "informed delivery" is pretty awesome.
- Amazon's real-time delivery tracking is very awesome - when it's available.