More packages and fewer letters to more addresses each year. That’s the daily drill for U.S. Postal Service city carriers and city carrier assistants (CCA), the non-career carriers who make up a growing segment of the workforce.

As we’ve noted in past blogs, customers are feeling negative effects of this changing mail mix. Complaints of late delivery or missed deliveries have increased in some areas.

Our latest audit report on delivery delays looked at select post offices in the Richmond District, where residents have complained of poor mail service. Our analysis of delivery performance indicators, including carriers returning after 7 p.m., overtime hours used, and customer complaints, identified 16 delivery units with poor performance.

We reviewed city delivery operations and customer service data in these 16 units and identified several issues, including:

  • None of the 16 units achieved their goal of distributing mail to carrier routes by 8:30 a.m., known as the Distribution-Up-Time (DUT), during September 2018. A late DUT means carriers start their routes later, which can affect delivery performance.
  • More than 18 percent of city carriers returned to their units after 7 p.m. and as late as 10 p.m. in fiscal year 2018, well short of the Postal Service’s goal of 95 percent of city letter carriers returning from street operations before 5 p.m., and 100 percent by 6:00 p.m.
  • None of the 16 units adequately addressed customer complaints logged in Enterprise Customer Care, the tool used to track customer complaints that cannot be handled immediately, such as “where is my package?”

Carriers returning from their routes after 6:00 p.m. remains a nationwide problem for the Postal Service. We have chronicled this in past audit reports and recommended that USPS improve mail flow within and between the processing centers, as well as develop a plan to review package data and make route adjustments as needed. In the Richmond report, we also recommended that supervisors utilize operational and reporting tools to monitor delivery operations. We also recommended that supervisors follow customer service policies and procedures to resolve customer complaints timely and to the customer’s satisfaction.

Comments (101)

  • anon

    I ordered something online and paid extra for Priority Shipping. 8 business days later and the tracking order still says Illinois. The supplier was in Chicago and I live in Minneapolis. I would have rather driven the 6 hours to get it when I needed it.

    Apr 28, 2020
  • anon

    Slowness is getting worse. My shipment left one USPS location in Orlando and it took 8 days for it to make it to another USPS location in Orlando. I don’t know how many miles are between the two locations, but 8 days is ridiculous.

    Apr 27, 2020
  • anon

    Mail and package delivery/wait time has doubled, if not TRIPLED recently. Sure seems like all the government letters and DMV/Municipal DEMANDS for $$$ sure get delivered ASAP tho!

    Apr 24, 2020
  • anon

    Package left ohio went to scranton pa then back to mo. New carriers refusing to pick up mail in town unless delivering attitude of new carriers and an overall disrespect to the oath.

    Apr 24, 2020
  • anon

    I am waiting on a package and it keeps saying on my update that its getting cleared at customs why haven't my item been cleared yet its been a week since it been there.

    Apr 22, 2020
  • anon

    Hi, why my package still in ISC in 5 days.?

    Apr 22, 2020
  • anon

    my package still held in ISC new york, what happen is it? Thank you very much!

    Apr 22, 2020
  • anon

    Why is it taking so long for a regular letter to get delivered? It used to take 5 days or less for me to send mail from 04103 to 10463. Now it’s taking 10 days or more. I also sent mail to Chicago which used to take 3-5 days. I sent a card on April 6 and it arrived on April 21. Is this what to expect from now on?

    Apr 22, 2020
  • anon

    SAME!!!

    Apr 24, 2020
  • anon

    To WhomIt May Concern, If you are fully aware of these extensive delays in processing mail, why are you continuing to charge customers the additional amounts for faster service when you know there is no way you can deliver? I recently paid the extra price for 2-day delivery of an important document going from Denver to Portland. It was finally delivered to the recipient one week later. So, why was I charged almost $9.00 when the postals workers probably knew there was virtually no chance it would be processed & delivered in that 2 day time frame? This is a deceptive practice & causes more & more people to go elsewhere to do their business.

    Apr 21, 2020
  • anon

    I have been waiting for a replacement card that should have been mailed to me a week ago. I called the company and they are saying it's because of the post office. My children and I are relying on this card and we're struggling without it. In addition to that, I am always receiving other people mail, Im hoping they didn't take it to the wrong address, because then I have to wait an additional month for it to come.

    Apr 19, 2020
  • anon

    Hello, Lashia. Thank you for your comment. Regarding your concern, you can file a complaint directly with the Postal Service at 1-800-275-8777 or at https://emailus.usps.com/emailUs/iq/usps/request.do?forward=emailUs. Just choose the tab marked "Where is My Package" or "Where is My Mail."

    Apr 20, 2020
  • anon

    If Covid-19 is causing delays in delivering the mail, please notify the public so we know what to expect. I mailed an envelope from CT to MA 8 days ago and it still has not been received. It contained masks I made which are needed by the recipient. If the envelope has been lost I will have to make more to send. If the distribution system is performing poorly, sending more will not solve the problem. Unfortunately there was no tracking on the envelope, so I have no way of knowing where the item is hung up.

    Apr 17, 2020
  • anon

    Did they ever recive the masks Deborah?

    Apr 19, 2020
  • anon

    It would be helpful if the postal service posted an honest message on delays in the system during this time. The Postal Service is currently reporting (4/14/2020) that the ONLY delays in the system are in international shipments to China. I (in NYC) am waiting on several packages all sent from the continental US that are all at least a week delayed. They haven't even been received at my local distribution center yet! Clearly there is a tremendous backlog in processing mail and shipments, except for packages from Amazon for some reason.

    Apr 14, 2020
  • anon

    I'm expecting about a dozen packages Amazon eBay Reverb Musician's Friend xcetera I didn't order any essential items such as furniture or food so I will be pushed further to the back of the mailing list also right now from reading this article I have been include that I can expect a one-week delay on arrival I like a closer Target on what to expect late April early May some around the end of the month yes from what I've been reading I just can't expect shipping to happen like it used to

    Apr 10, 2020
  • anon

    I’m having issues with my mail arriving on time it’s always late this is so overwhelming I can’t do anything because the mail comes in at 6-7pm I been waiting on important mail etc this needs to me resolve!!!!!!!!

    Mar 13, 2020
  • anon

    My bank closes at 6pm. When my mail arrives just before 6pm how do I get to my bank? USPS has constantly misrouted, undelivered or delivered in the wrong box several times. However, my junk mail is always on time. You are messing with my money, dude and that ain't right!!!!!!

    Mar 11, 2020
  • anon

    I am having issues with my packages being sent to the wrong post office. Instead of sending it to the post office where it is supposed to go, it is sent all the way back to the regional center and then can take 3-5 days to get to my residence and the only notice I get on my "tracking" is an"ALERT" with no specific details. This has become a huge problem with me receiving my medication on time and there has been no accountability from anyone at the post office with many of the "customer service" or on site supervisors being extremely rude. There needs to either be more accountability or more oversight from your employees.

    Feb 27, 2020
  • anon

    EVERYTHING I SHIP PRIORITY MAIL TAKES 7 - 10 DAYS EVEN WHEN ITS 250 MILES AWAY ..WTH

    Feb 26, 2020
  • anon

    We often don't get deliveries when the windchill is subzero in our Wisconsin area. We were told by our neighbor who works for the postal service that often the postman will save sick leave or vacation days for those cold days. Why isn't there someone to take their place and deliver our mail? Doesn't the USPS have regulations that the mail must be delivered that day? I worry about whether the Postal Service really takes the customers mail delivery service seriously. It seems they are mired in employee problems and it's not getting better.

    Feb 16, 2020
  • anon

    I live in the 15210 zip. It is crazy how long it takes me to receive ANYTHING from USPS 3 WEEKS FOR LATEST PACKAGE FROM FLORIDA. I WILL also go days without mail then come Friday I have a stuffed mailbox.

    Jan 31, 2020
  • anon

    What I would like to know is ... how come whenever I use Priority Mail for just letters and cards, that PM is always on time with delivery, but whenever I use Priority Mail to send a check or money order, PM is always, ALWAYS delayed .... delayed up to 2 weeks! I've had to hound customer service so they investigate, and invariably find the envelope off to the side somewhere. Since these envelopes can be x-rayed, and since checks and money orders can be "washed" clean and rewritten by criminal con-artists, my paranoid suspicions launch into overdrive!

    Jan 29, 2020
  • anon

    USPS delivery agent lies about packages "not being able to be delivered" almost every package. "Driveway in accessible:" WRONG, "no secure location" WRONG "handed package directly to resident: WRONG my mail box is < .25 miles from my house, USPS tells me they HAVE to deliver the package. Why are USPS employees not fired for lying? Why aren't USPS employees fired for not delivering the packages they have and just dumping them on thhe side of the road or leaving them at the post office? This is not "delivery".

    Jan 13, 2020
  • anon

    Mailed a LETTER with certified tracking as it's a legal notarized document to be recorded. the letter mailed Dec 20 with receipt saying delivery by 12/23 and the postmaster said this is the way to mail it. well it's 1/7/2020 and STILL not delivered. tracking updates show in Phoenix.....the place is 45minutes from me I should have just driven it up so the documents would have been recorded by the end of the year......Will never do this again I could have sent it UPS and for sure would have gotten there on time

    Jan 07, 2020
  • anon

    I mailed a Priority Mail regional rate box on Monday, Dec. 30, and it is to be delivered 3.5 hours away from the originating post office (going through the Nashville distribution center) Mind you, I knew Wednesday was a holiday, but, I do not know why it is taking until Friday to be delivered. Frankly, it should have been Tuesday, or Thursday at the latest. I have had issues with Priority Mail taking longer than 2-3 business days for a while now, such that I no longer ship to the Pacific Northwest at all through the USPS. "Tracking" and tracking history has been the worst since December 13. One box took 8 days from TN to NY. Scans have been non-existent after the originating scan until the delivery scan. If this is a change in the policy of USPS, then, it is not customer friendly and certainly not seller friendly.

    Dec 31, 2019
  • anon

    My mail came after 8 o clock last night. It is now 4:30 and still my mail has not been delivered.. I understand it is holiday season and it gets busy with packages but for regular mail delivery there should be no seasonal workers delivering regular everyday mail eg. letters, bills, credit card statements.. They don't know the route so those seasonal workers should be delivering packages not important letters..

    Dec 21, 2019
  • anon

    My mail has gone from an early afternoon delivery to after 7pm or later. Sometimes after 9pm. Why is this acceptable or allowed?

    Dec 19, 2019
  • anon

    I bought an iphone from Ebay. I was home when it was supposed to be delivered after it was signed for. The postal carrier should have rung my door bell, did not and only dropped off my mail, I chased her in my car and caught her 1 block away from my home and asked for the iphone package. She said Oh! You have to sign for it, I did and she had to give me what she planned to keep for her own. I don’t trust in USPS anymore!

    Dec 13, 2019
  • anon

    I can place an order on Amazon and their delivery service has it to me same day. Then, when I have no choice but to use USPS I'll get an estimate of 5 days once they receive it. On the 5th day I'll get a message saying it's late. This isn't a one-off it's become standard. It's not a problem with the type of mail it's the handlers of that mail. These people don't care about their jobs, they know they can't get fired. The whole USPS system needs to be gutted and preferably privatized. This is what happens when the government runs something and people aren't hired based on merit. Also, admittedly ad hominem, I hate you all on a deeply personal level.

    Nov 23, 2019
  • anon

    There's a real catch 22 for the consumers when the USPS doesn't deliver an Amazon Prime package within the "Guaranteed Delivery Terms and Conditions" time we pay for. You get an email from Amazon with the subject: subject: Delivery attempted with your Amazon package. Unfortunately, USPS ran into an issue when attempting your delivery. They will try again. You can contact USPS for more information. When I log onto your USPS site, the information you get is; Your local Post Office™ location should be able to address most of your concerns. If live in a rural area, and I saw the post office truck driving up and down my road late. I'm sure there was an issue, but it wasn't due to the weather. We've been having delivery problems lately. My issue is, I pay a premium for Amazon Prime, but if the USPS is the one responsible for the not meeting terms and condition of the contract, there is no accountability. Unless I'm not understanding something, this seems wrong. Sincerely, Mark

    Nov 19, 2019
  • anon

    I have the same issue as others, stuck in ISC for 12 days now, no updates, estimated delivery date came and went 5 days ago and was removed from tracking. I have a case started which they now have marked as resolved! All they said was what I already know, processed by ISC and then...nothing. I read comments here and at this closed thread: https://www.uspsoig.gov/es/document/new-york-international-service-center-inbound-international-mail?page=2 What I don't see is any feedback from any of the other complainants. Do you all eventually GET YOUR PACKAGES or are they forever lost? At what point should I try to get my money back?

    Nov 14, 2019
  • anon

    I often post letters from the mailboxes at airports before I take off or as I land. Recently I've noticed it takes 6 days for a letter to go across town, a distance of 20 miles. For example I placed a letter in the mailbox at SeaTac airport on a Thursday evening. The letter did not arrive to its recipient in north Seattle until the following Wednesday. I am baffled why the snail mail is now so incredibly slow. 6 days to go 20 miles when it used to take 2 days is a major slow down.

    Nov 06, 2019
  • anon

    Broken record...broken record...broken record...broken record...Lousy distribution up times... For the layman this means usps did not get mail to your carrier early enough so he/she could do final sorting, get out the door on time, deliver to you on time and get back to the post office on time...

    Oct 27, 2019
  • anon

    I have a package being volleyed back and forth between Fayetteville NC P O and Proctorville NC for days now. My zip code was typed wrong by one number in the last digit. Everything else City,state are correct, but some how no one can manage to “read” the city it is supposed to go to. You would think a package would be marked for a human to actually look at what the problem is. Frustrating

    Oct 11, 2019
  • anon

    I do believe that USPS is trying, but needs to address some core inefficiencies that plague the system. Here's my personal story as an example. I called to ask a question about my package tracking and was put on wait for the 25-30 minutes that your recording had estimated. (Fine, at least the music was nice!) The agent I finally talked with was friendly, polite and efficient, but she didn't have an answer for my question regarding why my package kept being sent south instead of north; The tracking info definitely indicated that my package kept getting sent to USPS processing centers farther and farther away from final destination north of Boston MA where I live/ First NY, NY then Queens, then South Jersey, then Philadelphia, then Delaware. So if your processing center volumes have not decreased maybe it is because of this: packages are being reprocessed through a succession of processing centers before they eventually get headed in the right direction. If this redundancy is the norm, it must cost USPS millions annually. Anyway...I hope that tomorrow, my little package will be resent back to New York where it started it's journey and get sent northward this time. If you are using this merry-go-round approach with truckloads of heavy packages, what a terrible waste of manpower, fuel and logistics energy! Good luck!!

    Oct 11, 2019
  • anon

    my problem is with how the USPS handles registered mail (insured) I have a package that is sitting in a usps facility(90052) since 9/22/19 to today that cant seem to make its way to Oildale facility(93308) a distance of 122 miles. Delivery problems like this and others listed is why people are taking there business elsewhere. I have friends in the military and i fear mailing care packages out to them since i've read so many complaints about packages being lost or sent to the wrong destination. I hope you audit more facilities and provide more information to the public about our post offices in regards to delivery delays and lost packages. With more information the public can take there frustrations to the elected representatives with hopes of fixing this.

    Sep 26, 2019
  • anon

    I have a package that has been at ISC New York for 8 days now, whereas a package shipped from the same place, on the same day, with similar contents was delivered on Monday. How long does it take for a package to be scanned, processed and shipped out of ISC?

    Sep 18, 2019
  • anon

    Packages and mail delivered to the wrong address, sometime mail does not arrive until 1900 - 2000. We don't know if we are receiving our mail because of the many errors in delivery. This is for postal code 89506. This has been going on for several months now.

    Sep 16, 2019
  • anon

    Hello, Karen. Thanks for your comment. We recommend filing an online complaint with our Hotline. You can access the online complaint form at www.uspsoig.gov/form/file-online-complaint.

    Sep 17, 2019
  • anon

    Why is the shipping from California so slow? Every time I order something from there it is always late or delayed for some reason.....this is ridiculous considering what I've paid for shipping.

    Sep 13, 2019
  • anon

    You may have ordered from a Calif business address but your item is still shipped from overseas, typically China or Hong Kong. Hence the extended wait. This has happened to me MANY dozens of times. Problem now is, anything shipped from out of US is tariff fees. I think it's a scam, someone is making pennies on MILLIONS of items.

    Jan 15, 2020
  • anon

    We live in a small subdivision in rural Kerr County near Hunt, Texas. Our nearest post office is in Hunt, Texas. We have an issue with the mail delivery person on several issues. 1. There are times when we want mail to be sent out so we place the mail in box with the little arm in the "up" position, showing that there is something to go "out." There are times when our box is "overlooked" and possibly picked up the following day...frustrating. 2. I have complained to local post office stating that the delivery person is driving in excessive speeds thru our neighborhood. We live in the Texas Hill Country and the roads are winding and seldom level. There is no reason to use excessive speed in any circumstance! 3. I am a manager for a ranch, which our offices are a mile down the road, yet many times our mail gets delivered to the office of the ranch, which address is 195 and ours is 332, rather than delivering to our house. If we wanted our mail sent to the ranch offices then we would put the address to the offices as our return address but we do not want that. My wife is a nurse, mother, etc...and does not want something that she is waiting on to be delivered to be sitting a mile down the street and either has to call down there and ask or someone will notify me. I do not go to the ranch offices every day...I office at our residence. We receive as much mail at our offices as many of the kids camps in the area but my family deserves to be treated as a family residence and not just thrown into a plethora of mail that is easier to deliver since the delivery person is going there anyway. 4. Lastly, the delivery person is not very friendly...meaning, she will not wave or acknowledge another human being waving as we pass each other along the road ??? Come on, she has a great job in a great community and there is no reason to be rude or non social. There are many, many people our there who would like that job and be proud to work for the USPS. I am not sure if we have upset her at any time but we all have a job to do and it should be done professionally and with care and not half halfheartedly without a little pride. Thank you, Resident Hunt, Texas

    Sep 13, 2019
  • anon

    With no reason given our route driver will not deliver to our business, because it is a cannabis business. I didn't know route drivers have the authority to pick and choose who they delivered to. Unless there is a real threat to the driver like an errant person or a mean dog oh, I didn't think drivers could arbitrarily decide to not deliver mail to a customer. I have yet to see where a mail carrier has been arrested and charged with anything for delivering mail to any business.

    Sep 11, 2019
  • anon

    If your local business works like my local ones where the carrier can not get back out unless the store buzzes him out because of security then the carrier can refuse to enter for his own safety even if a Fire Marshal has decided to pass on the issue.

    Sep 12, 2019
  • anon

    Everytime I have an express package come from florida it doesnt update for days and then randomly appears way late. Isnt express GARUNTEED 1-2 DAYS? GETTING TIRED OF THIS. i appreciate all the hard workers but just tell us it isnt possible to do overnight so people arent waiting for their mail wondering if its lost

    Sep 10, 2019
  • anon

    Is it every time, or every time a hurricane is hitting Florida? In any case the customer is the purchaser of the express mail service and should the postal service fail on its responsibility the paying customer, the sender can claim his refund.

    Sep 11, 2019
  • anon

    Well I sent out a money order on the August 20th and it is now September the 9 th I agree this is ridiculous my receivers haven’t received it yet can I get a replacement . ...? And or a refund?

    Sep 08, 2019
  • anon

    Hello Maddie, we are an independent agency of the Postal Service and unfortunately cannot help with lost or stolen money orders. To track your money order, please visit the USPS website here: https://www.usps.com/shop/money-orders.htm

    Sep 09, 2019
  • anon

    When too much emphasis or reward is placed on cutting work hours indiscriminately, there are many unintended consequences. Clerk hours affect carrier hours. When there are not enough clerks to prepare mail for carriers, they get out of the office later. Then there is a sense of pressure to work quicker to get back on time. Short cuts are taken, things are rushed, errors are made. I have been sorting first class letter mail in a hot case while carriers are already loading up and leaving. I have heard instructions to them to "take what's in there for a ride". We have had a foot or two of first class letter mail from other stations incorrectly sent to our office regularly. It's been going on for a few years now. Sometimes it doesn't get rerouted to the proper office for a few days. Bills, checks, jury summons, tax stuff, etc . We constantly bring up the issue to the plant, but it gets ignored.

    Sep 07, 2019

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