on Dec 30th, 2013 in Delivery & Collection | 19 comments
 

The 2013 holiday season turned out to be a particularly eventful one for e-tailers and the shippers that deliver all those packages to your door.

Factors like fewer than average shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas and an increasing comfort level with online buying helped push holiday e-commerce up significantly. In fact, demand exceeded expectations and stressed shippers’ capacity, causing some late deliveries of their goods.  

Package delivery is clearly a growth industry and the Postal Service expects its piece of that business to rise 6 to 7 percent annually through fiscal year 2017. But is the Postal Service ready for all these packages? Can it meet the growing demand, or is it hampered by a delivery infrastructure that is largely geared toward letters and flats? We recently took a look at the issue and the results were mixed.

Our audit report, Readiness for Package Growth – Delivery Operations, found the Postal Service has done a good job of managing package growth in terms of mail volume and workhours. But it could make some changes to better handle future increases. For example, to-the-door delivery works well but curbside mailboxes were primarily designed for letters, flats, and small parcels, and they can’t easily accommodate multiple or large packages. We suggested the Postal Service look at modifying cluster boxes to accommodate more packages.

We also encouraged the Postal Service to explore investing in shelving space on delivery vehicles to accommodate packages and to continue to develop an advanced dynamic routing system. Dynamic routing analyzes individual addresses to tell the carrier how to get to them more quickly. The tool takes into consideration things like traffic congestion and left-hand turns, both of which can eat up time and fuel. These and other steps outlined in the report should help the Postal Service expand services and increase revenue to meet growing customer demand.

So, what was your experience over the holidays? Were you among the many Americans who bought more gifts online than in previous years? Were your delivery services reliable or did any part of the experience discourage you from future online buying? What changes would you like to see in delivery and returns?

Comments

I've had two packages over the last three months "misplaced". Marking items in the system as "delivered" but never actually reaching my location. This is a fluff piece. The system is broken now. The insurance process stops at "delivered". The proper tools are not being used by postal carriers. We have a standard box and a large package delivery box. the keys to the large package delivery box have been "misplaced". Because my package was misdelivered I can't get my money back from paypal or from the insurance, because its "delivered" in the system.

I know it was misdelivered as there is someone at my home 24 hours a day.

I am running into the same problem. I have called and gone to the post office several times and getting nothing resolved. I finally sat down tonight and wrote a letter to the Inspector General. I am so sick of not getting my mail, or getting letters from my mortgage company saying that my mail was returned to them with a stamp saying undeliverable.....I sure would like to get my tax information but I am just going to hope I get it before I have to figure out what I need and request it again.

Part of the problem may lie with how the packages are marked, and how much effort is made to get them to the recipient. We had one package noted as "delivery attempted" this fall, dated on a Saturday when our department was closed. The postmaster at our local station agreed it at least should have been sent to our general school address that day or the following Monday, which is where our USPS mail and packages generally are delivered. It's been over two months - no package, no further delivery attempts. Local post office has no idea what happened to it. Fortunately, in our case, the shipper refunded our money, even though it wasn't their fault. The postmaster also admitted that postmen often mark packages as "delivered" as soon as they go into the trucks, whether they are ultimately delivered to the right address or not. That practice should stop, so that insurance problems such as "Eric's" above don't happen, and, one "delivery attempted" shouldn't be the last notation.

Dec 30, 2013
I received a call today today from the USPS. I had filled out information regarding a package that had not been delivered.
The agent advised the tracking number she had was wrong.

The package was mailed from my hometown Post Office in a small Washington State town. I mailed the package on Dec 16th and filled the info out online on the 24th of Dec.

On Christmas Day when I checked again this is the info I had.
December 24, 2013
Depart USPS Sort Facility
ANCHORAGE, AK 99530
December 24, 2013 , 3:36 am
Processed through USPS Sort Facility
ANCHORAGE, AK 99530
December 17, 2013
Depart USPS Sort Facility
KENT, WA 98032
December 17, 2013 , 2:42 am
Processed through USPS Sort Facility
KENT, WA 98032

The package was finally delivered to Fairbanks AK on the 27th of Dec.
The information I received from the USPS Representative was that 2 Day Priority does not not mean 2 day. It means what ever happens they are not responsible. Two Days is what they strive for and they try to get the highest percentage of packages delivered in 2 days. There is no guaranteed of delivery date and there are no refunds for delayed packages.

The agent advised me the delay was due to weather, I told her we had great weather here and she argued with me that no we did not. Then I was told that my mail was delayed due to heavy passenger loads on airplanes. What ever happened to mail contracts on air carriers?
I asked how a package sent from Fairbanks to me on the 17th arrived here on the 23rd. She told me they were lucky!
Mailing a package to Alaska is very expensive, The service received combined with the customer service makes one likely to use another service provider. Another added benefit is there is no cost adjustment or refunds for packages with long delays. I asked since UPS and FEDEX both were working with customers with delivery issues. This is not the case with USPS I was told along with Have a Nice Day!

Need newer vehicles and more space? What about the Ford Transit Connect? It's made in RHD but not imported to US. City and Rural Carriers assigned LLV's tell horror stories of these junk heaps. Rurals with POV's need vehicles with more space. Ford has a nationwide repair operation. You know Ford would cut a deal and get the sales. Look into working with NRCLA in getting a deal for their members. They could be guineapigs to see if the vehicles would work company-wide.

do something pro-active for a change.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS IDEA?

I have been having an issue with my local post office in Dayton, Ohio (Westtown branch). I've had to call and complain on FIVE different issues in the past two months. I've had to call them about attempted delivered items that were never been delivered on days when my company was clearly open. They have delivered and LEFT Christmas gifts outside of my company on closed days. The manager of that post office was called and was asked not to leave items outside when the company is closed. We were assured it would never happen again. GUESS WHAT!!! IT HAPPENED AGAIN. THIS THE THIRD TIME. Result...Christmas gift stolen...gift out of stock..item can not replace. I'm EXTREMELY upset. I will NEVER order online again because of USPS. I will make sure my items are delivered from UPS. I would like a response from corporate on this matter.

To answer your question, NO, the USPS can't deliver the goods!

I sent an envelope (a Christmas card) on December 17th from Brookfield, OH and it arrived in Torrington , CT today (1/2/2014)! Seriously? One envelope? It takes that long?

Just switched all of my accounts to paperless and will never use the USPS again! Thankfully there are alternative who actually can deliver on their promises!

The federal government needs to shut you down...it's ridiculous!

I mailed a package 12/16/2013 at our small town post office. Gifts for grandchildren in Cheyenne Wy. Well they haven't gotten them yet. I may of put the wrong zip code on it, I notice the receipt on the 22nd of Dec. (3 days after it should of been delivered) the zip code is 92009 instead of 82009. What a mess!! I did get a live person the day I called the 800 number you know the customer service and have a case number. But the package is going back and forth between California and Denver. I can't believe in this day and age this can't be fixed. When will a human eye see the package and correct it? How long will this package go back and forth? This would be an interesting study for someone. Maybe I should contact Michael Moore. I don't know what to do. The customer service stinks why have phones if no one answers even the worse businesses will put you on hold for a couple of hours when now a days everything is measured by time. Time on the cell phone, time on internet etc, etc. Is there any hope out there that it will get straight?

Seems like the USPS is overwhelmed. Maybe they should separate letters from boxes because there is too much volume and it really involves a different approach to each. If it can't fit in a mail box, should it still be handled by the same mail sorters and carriers that handle letters and large envelopes? Look how efficient UPS and Fed Ex are; they seldom have the kinds of problems that USPS has. I went into the PO in Myrtle Beach on New Year's Eve and January 2. The estimated wait time was 20-30 minutes to reach the desk. There you go. The model of inefficiency. My little mail fraud issue will have to take another route which brings up a very serious aspect of today's problems. Evil is coming on stronger and stronger and seems to be completely out of control. Not only is the USPS apparently under-staffed in the customer service department, but when was the last time someone was convicted of mail fraud? I've got two "Sweepstakes" letters that are as fraudulent as a counterfeit $20. These acts of fraud, I believe, are the starting gate to swindle the elderly out of their life savings. I don't think we can depend on the USPS or law enforcement to stop this kind of abuse. Somehow, We the People are going to have to organize and rid our society of the miserable scum in other countries that are constantly causing problems in our great country.

Thanks for sharing your shipping experiences during the holidays with us. If you posted a complaint, we’ve forwarded that information to our Hotline. If you provided an email address in your user profile, the Hotline will be in contact with you. If your complaint was about a delivery problem, we forwarded your complaint to your local USPS Office of Consumer Affairs for follow-up.

If you didn’t include an email address, we encourage you to contact your local USPS Consumer Affairs office. You can find your local office by doing a search here https://ribbs.usps.gov/locators/find-cam.cfm. If you believe your package was stolen, please file a complaint with our office at http://www.uspsoig.gov/hotline.

I manage the shipping for a small Mom & Pop sausage shop in Cleveland, Ohio. I shipped over 400 Priority Mail packages during the 2013 holiday season and had many delivery complaints. Delivery times were not 2 days as advertised, but many instances of 5-10 days. These delays threaten to completely destroy our entire shipping business. Since we are shipping a perishable product which can last 3-4 day without refrigeration these delays cause customers to ask for a refund. The USPS has total responsibility for these delays yet we end up paying the penalties. The "$50 Included Insurance" is a joke as it only take effect if a shipment is lost or destroyed. We end up paying for the shipping twice since we pay the Post Office for the original shipping then pay the customer a refund for the shipping. Many times we have to replace a shipment that arrives late. For every shipment that we have to replace or refund costs us the profit on 10 successful shipments. Financially this is a losing proposition for us. We have no control over the package when it leaves our hands but bear the entire burden for your delays.

The costs increase and the service deteriorates! You tout two day Priority Mail service for many areas and then it takes four to eight days o arrive without weather problems. First Class packages and flats are even worse, with some taking close to two weeks to reach their destination. You proclaim better scanning for tracking? Not so here in the Carlsbad/San Diego area. Our local Post Office fails to scan many packages on pickup and then fails to scan at the PO before the package goes out. 4 out of 5 packages picked up on January 27 were not scanned; one still remains totally unsxcanned over 21 hours after being picked up. Interim scanning is terrible and often we have no idea where a package is for four or five days ubtil it is delivered. Sometimes there is no delivery scan so we don't even know if the package was delivered at all without calling the recipient. On an incoming package, the local Post Office had it out for delivery for two days erroneously and if my spouse had not called, it would have remained on the same metrry-go-round and out for delivery on the wrong route again. The "supervisor" found it was in the "wrong bin" and told her to come in to get it or it would be put in the correct place for next day delivery. Interesting that the tracking was revised so the "out for delivery" disappeared as not to make the local PO look stupid. Nice covering someones backside? Why can FedEx and UPS do a better job on many packages and deliver on time than the USPS? And in many cases for less money? Sadly, we will have to move to their services if we can't rely on the Postal Service. Get rid of the dead wood and get moving. Just because you have warm bodies at the Post Office does NOT mean they are doing their job!

I have had multiple issues with USPS not making an effort to deliver my items.Several times i checked online for status updates and was told notice was left at door because nobody was home.Both times i was home all day and nobody rang the doorbell or knocked.I ordered another item and it is stuck on Electronic Shipping Info Received for the last week.Never was scanned and i have no idea where it's at.I contacted them by e-mail yesterday and am still waiting for a reply.Could be days before i find out what happened to the item i ordered.I will never order anything by USPS again.I get the feeling that the post office is filled with lazy people that would rather sit and do nothing than put forth the effort to work.Maybe that is why my mail does not get delivered until 6:30 at night.The USPS needs to start firing people that are lazy.There are plenty of people out of work that care about doing a good job.

Our concern is the late evening delivery of our mail. We had noticed the mail carrier out delivering mail around 9:00 pm a few nights. Another concern is the online tracking. According to the online tracking, my parcel was out for delivery at 8:00 am on Thursday morning. The attempt to deliver was made Friday night at 8:00 pm. This is 36 hours after telling me that my parcel is out for delivery. This is very frustrating when the USPS cannot be relied upon anymore.

The claims department with USPS is incompetent and appear to be overworked already. If they can't handle the business they do have without such a higher number of claims, how can they take on more.

For my whole saga see:
http://www.reddit.com/r/pissed/comments/1uerum/dear_usps_your_claims_process_sucks_or_why_you/

The letter I am sending today after yet another form letter showing a complete lack of review and understanding of my actual claim:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1aHF2kjG-jB-gIIKWgBKnAiaRITURI-EwXyw5CP7FCSs/edit

Update: Mosinee wisconsin residents alert:
This site is a pro-postal forum and is run and therefore moderated by the united states post office a federal government entity . please stick with this non-bias site -----> http://www.uspspostoffices.com/wi/mosinee/mosinee blog which is moderated for virus and bad language with a non-opinionated ethical approach which constitutes america's first ammendment rights of freedom of speach.

I have had packages and mail delivered to my neighbors. I even had one package shown as delivered on the USPS website, but it wasn't delivered until the next afternoon. I have had another package where the website showed out for delivery when it wasn't delivered that day. The next day the status was unable to deliver as addressed, it was delivered the same day. Not a week goes by that I will not get someone else's mail. I have even received mail that should have been delivered to my doctor's office which is no where near my home. But, today was the kicker. I sent a letter certified mail on 2/14/14. My receipt shows an estimated delivery date of 2/18, but the letter didn't arrive until 2/18/14. Two weeks to deliver a letter that I could have delivered myself in less than 2 hours. Yes, 2 hours. I live in Waldorf, MD and the letter was only going to Baltimore, MD which is less than 2 hrs away. When I saw the tracking, I was amazed. The letter went from Waldorf to 2 other cities before it got to Baltimore. Then from Baltimore back through another city before coming back Waldorf. It then went back through the 2 other cities before getting back to Baltimore to be delivered 2 weeks after I mailed it. That's crazy.

Post Person & post office in O Fallon, MO 63366 refuses to deliver my certified or registered mail. They leave sorry we missed you card - I have signed the back of the card and put it back in my mail box, the next day they just tossed the junk mail on top of the card. I requested several times for redelivery, I get a new date and still I don not receive it. I have complained to the post office carrier supervisor. She stated that the post person said that I answer my door in my underwear (this is not true- I answered the door one time when they knocked & I had just got out of the shower - I HAD A BATH WRAP ON!- the other times I had swim trunks on! I was informed that they did not need to deliver my mail because I did not have a shirt on. (I guess they go blind during the summer) I informed them that I am disabled and that there is no way for me to get to the post office to pick up my mail ( SO MUCH FOR MY RIGHT OF ACCESSIBILITY.) I was to have a re-delivery of my mail today 03/07/2014 & I got dressed up in shirt & pants and waited- the post person did not deliver my mail!

My brother just received a box that was mailed to me in Seattle on December 12th Priority mail returned to him crushed and "not claimed", although we never found a slip in our mailbox telling us to claim it. A relative who lives in a suburb near here just posted a photo of a crushed Priority mail Christmas present that she received this week. Coincidence? I don't think so...

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