We all know we can send letters to people in other countries, but did you ever wonder how the Postal Service gets them there? It turns out, the Postal Service contracts with air carriers to fly the mail to other countries.

As part of their agreements with the Postal Service, these companies are obligated to provide real-time barcode scans of mail containers to USPS when they take possession of the mail and when they deliver the mail to foreign posts. Air carriers only receive full payment after providing the Postal Service with accurate scans and transporting the mail to the right place, at the right time. 

The Postal Service, and postal customers, are dependent on these air carriers' providing accurate scan information. The accuracy of these scans is part of a recent investigation. Our special agents have discovered that some air carriers are providing scans that do not reflect the true movement of the mail. To date, three airlines have agreed to pay settlement claims in response to this investigation — United Airlines ($49 million), American Airlines ($22 million), and British Airways ($5.8 million).

Our special agents are proud to support the Postal Service through aggressive investigation of allegations of contractual non-compliance. We work hand-in-hand with the Department of Justice and other law enforcement agencies to help ensure a reasonable resolution, providing value to both the Postal Service and the American public.

To learn more about our investigative work, visit our Office of Investigations page on our website. 

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  • anon

    Withholding full payment until foreign mail is transported to the right place at the right time is a sound policy. Too bad it does not apply to domestic mail.

    Mar 29, 2021

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