BACKGROUND:

The U.S. Postal Service uses Address Management System data to deliver mail to more than 127 million addresses in the U.S. Address information is critical to processing mail through automation to reduce delivery costs. The nation relies on the Postal Service to maintain accurate addresses to enable effective commerce and ensure customers receive quality service.

Carriers help maintain address quality by observing address changes on their routes, noting them in their edit books, and submitting them to update the Address Management System. The Postal Service’s Address Quality Improvement Process identifies routes with address errors requiring review.

Our objective was to assess the effectiveness of efforts to ensure the accuracy of address data in the Postal Service's Address Management System.

WHAT THE OIG FOUND:

The Postal Service's efforts to reduce address database errors were ineffective. The reported address errors increased from 267,478 in fiscal year (FY) 2011 to 430,843 in FY 2013, primarily because carriers did not update edit books consistently and management did not conduct necessary street reviews. The Postal Service reduced its emphasis on ensuring address accuracy by initially reducing the number of address management specialists by nearly 40 percent and then reclassifying the specialist position from non-bargaining to bargaining. Further, the Postal Service did not have a formal standardized training program or a follow-up process to ensure compliance.

We estimated address corrections costing about $14 million were not made to the Address Management System in FYs 2012 and 2013. Effective controls over address corrections would increase delivery efficiency and avoid future costs of about $16 million for FYs 2014 and 2015. Incorrect addresses increase business mailers’ costs to process returned mail. Inaccuracies could also cause mailers to lose confidence in the effectiveness of mail, which could significantly reduce postal revenue.

WHAT THE OIG RECOMMENDED:

We recommended the vice president, Delivery and Post Office Operations, in coordination with the vice president, Product Information, establish deadlines for edit book updates, develop a formal training program, and update supervisor training. We also recommended establishing a follow-up process that ensures that address errors are corrected using Address Quality Improvement Process reports and that necessary street reviews are completed. 

Comments (2)

  • anon

    In 2015, the City of Maricopa proposed and changed the name of our residential street from N. Robins Drive to N. Falcon Lane. The stated purpose of this change was to minimize confusion for First Responders and visitors, as there was also a W. Robbins Drive in the city of Maricopa. This change was communicated to utility services, voter registration, and other organizations by The City. Unfortunately, once this happened, our mail began being returned to sender, mail would not be received, or would take up to 15 days to come when mailed from within the state of Arizona. This has cost me hundreds of dollars in late fees associated with utilities, bills, and late fees. The confusion is present with First Responders now more than ever. You see, there is another N. Falcon Lane in Maricopa, also that was in existence prior to the change in street names being made. This puts MY address 2.3 miles from where it is actually located. On three occasions I have had to give verbal directions or give 911 operators the previous address to get emergency medical care for a heart patient and a stroke victim in order for them to receive assistance. My question is, is there not a process The City must go through to ensure non-duplication of streets through the USPS? If so, how does one verify that The City has followed the applicable guidelines? What recourse does a resident/customer/citizen have to rectify this situation? I would appreciate a response providing guidance on this issue. Thank you. Carlee Lankhaar Maricopa, Arizona 85138

    Feb 24, 2016
  • anon

    Betttween late packages , packages that were missing , stolen and carriers that claim they attempt to deliver my packages. I am frustrated and disappointed in the staff that handle my mail and packages. I was waiting yesterday for a package to be delivered at my home address at 8pm. The carrier never came and I waited all day after coming home from my 3rd shift , only notice I received was a text message stating that the carrier "attempt" to deliver my package . Which wasn't accurate at all. Do I need to stand outside until the postal service arrives? My address is 403 50th street NE Apt#13 Washington DC 20019 I also send packages to my job which I've already missed 2 . One package never came and the other I had an apology notice wrap around an empty packageage. My work address is 922 24th street NE apt 13 Washington, D.C. 20037. For further questions you can contact me at 202-903-8217

    Feb 17, 2016