BACKGROUND:

Caller service is a premium service, available for a fee, to customers who want to pick up their mail at a designated U.S. Postal Service unit. Customers obtain this service when they routinely receive more mail than can be delivered to the largest installed Post Office Box or need to collect mail periodically during the day. Caller service mail is separated for each caller service address paid by the customer. Reserve service allows customers to reserve preferred caller addresses for a minimal fee.

As of August 2012, the Postal Service collected $86.4 million in revenue from 79,786 caller and 106,110 reserve service addresses issued to 55,957 customers. Caller and reserve service allows large-volume customers the flexibility to manage their mail to best suit their needs.

Our objective was to determine whether the Postal Service is managing the caller and reserve service operations to collect all revenue due the Postal Service.

WHAT THE OIG FOUND:

The Postal Service did not effectively manage caller and reserve service operations to collect all revenue due the Postal Service. Specifically, Postal Service employees did not enforce applicable caller and reserve service policies or procedures and did not always charge customers for caller and reserve services provided. For example, employees did not always review accounts to determine whether customers had paid all required fees.

Further, they did not establish a system to measure program effectiveness, such as monitoring results of annual caller service reviews. As a result, we identified $3.8 million in annual revenue the Postal Service is at risk of losing. Additionally, we identified $415,000 of annual revenue loss attributed to unpaid caller and reserve fees.

WHAT THE OIG RECOMMENDED:

We recommended the Postal Service evaluate the feasibility of implementing an automated process to identify unassigned or inactive caller and reserve addresses, update criteria, and provide adequate training for necessary employees for caller and reserve service. We also recommended the Postal Service ensure that districts collect all delinquent fees identified in the annual reviews and our audit, require districts to review all caller service accounts, update annual caller and reserve instructions, and provide system access to coordinators. 

Comments (2)

  • anon

    USPS policies are convenient and in many cases rife with Fraud yet IG does nothing to correct years of fraud, discrimination and policy violations. 1) Tell me why are USPS employees allowed to remove all box mail from a box that hasn't yet had its mail removed by the customer; on the basis that USPS cannot fit a bulk newspaper that USPS agreed to mail to increase its fees, but in turn means I am unable to get my mail. How is it even legal to remove my mail in that way? 2) Why are USPS employees allowed to overstuff boxes with bulk store advertisements and to use that to prevent me from receiving my priority mail? Why are they able to get away with my request they not deliver these unwanted ads? These are ads delivered for USPS profit; and used as a basis to withhold my mail until I can come to the local office. 3) Illegal Refusal to Deliver - Outside Policy Limits - After changing my address to my house location (when I first moved to it 20 yrs ago), I came to be told by USPS that they refuse to deliver to the house location. I was forced to get a local box and to pick up my mail. I had to pay for this right while others have it delivered to their door. I recently came to find a letter pointing out that boxes should be free for refused delivery locations and that those only occur for distances .25 miles from USPS offices. Homes .5 miles and greater are refused delivery in this way; unless they can put a box opposite the street on property not theirs. I believe now that USPS actions were not legal in several ways because my home is .5 miles away (not .25 referenced by policy) and because I challenged how this could be right dozens of times. In response USPS local office inspector did not share that I had a some right to apply for a free box. This is fraud! USPS has purposely withheld this information and in doing so have not implemented such policies fairly or consistently. But rather sought whatever actions best filled its pockets. 4) ) Scheme to Defraud Costing Millions & in conflict with practices - The last 20 yrs, USPS sent back mail that contained only my house location and not a PO Box I was required to purchase in order to receive ANY mail. Then in 2014, they hypocritically began accepting packages with only my house address. They did so without warning or notice of the impact. Until that time, I could ensure UPS or Fedex timely delivery of perishable items would not sit at USPS waiting to be picked up- by ensuring use of only the house address. Then, suddenly USPS began to take packages of the house address they refuse to recognize; but does not deliver them. They would hold those items. I received one notice of a false address change by customer (this yr). I never authorized any such actions. These items sit at USPS; who expects I will pick them up. USPS in turn tells (notifies) vendors that the item they just received was delivered that day when in fact that item is held at USPS (often for weeks) until people can get them during their limited hours. .How can anyone have anticipated USPS would suddenly scheme to accept items to address locations USPS refuses to recognize and sends back in the case of postage mail? USPS has no intention of delivering these packages but infers they will? Isn't THAT fraud to accept items for delivery in this way; that they refused to acknowledge or to deliver? Isn't it fraud to say an item is delivered when only a yellow slip is placed in a box; leaving the box holder with no idea why that may be? How many millions of dollars in perishable items were destroyed or lost this way, I lost a lot of money in ruined products that the vendor believed I had received weeks earlier and so refused to allow refund. To change practices with such impacts; without any notification to warn the victim customers (who had to spend hours on the phone to notify etc) or tp deal with product not received? I'm sure this cost millions in hrs. $M and wasted products? When I first noticed this occurring, I asked local USPS representatives how it was they were not ending up with packages to an address USPS doesn't recognize or acknowledge, that local rep lied and claimed she had no idea why it was happening. The truth came a year later and revealed a fraud scheme with a name and that she lied and would have known all about it. Fedex and UPS (smart post) it is called. Packaged to be dropped locally instead of delivered of addresses which USPS refuses to recognize. A special program was used to identify the victim target addresses that would glean the most savings.The savings of not delivering to those millions of defrauded rural customers was then split between the schemers. Those of us who this applied lost money, wasted hrs on the phone or received plants and similar that were ruined by the time they were received. Meanwhile, USPS fraudulently reported items were delivered when instead they still sat at USPS offices. Vendors believed the lie - that items had been received. ALL of this is fraud. WHY ISN'T IG doing its job and demanding these things be corrected? 5) Policy NOT SHARED Intentionally to Defraud - Moneys demanded Fraudulently from poor rural communities - For many years, I asked the local postmaster why and how they get away with demanding that I must pay to drive there to get my mail while others (including incl. those living next door to postal offices) have it brought to their door. I've been told for years that this is policy. I recently found a letter online that pointed out how rural refused mail locals should have received boxed USPS required FREE. USPS refused to deliver to our homes and hid that we shouldn't have had to pay. . But.. to avoid actually giving boxes out for free, USPS created a scheme that demanded we APPLY for this right. Furthermore, USPS continue to refuse to share this information with those who question it. Given the refusal by USPS to notify those impacted of this policy; its fraud with the intent to deceive and it is still occurring. USPS cannot say that their policy is financially motivated when the same is not implemented in cities. This is discrimination and nothing more as the writer of that article also pointed out. USPS is in the regular practice of withholding the information. IG DOES NOTHING TO CORRECT THESE FAILURES 6) Policy Targeting for USPS financial benefit - aimed at Rural Poor - These several above practices are discrimination; USPS knows rural areas include poor communities. If USPS income was at issue, such policies would be applied to city locations. USPS realizes that rural areas are lower income and takes advantage; expanding their refusal to recognize addresses far beyond the .25 miles and also treating the disabled with severe negative bias. 7) A while ago I was told I could now put up a rural box but that (though I have remained in the same local for 20 yrs - forced to get a po box by USPS illegal refusal to recognize my address and that of many others). But.. I would have to change my address. Not to my house street local but to their named rural location. However, I have been unwell and believe that was the motivation change. I have been unable to pick up my mail regularly; due to driving and walking limitations. Again, I was given the right to change my address if only I gave doctors proof of my condition. My response was that I shouldn't have to give a doctors note to receive the service that others get as standard. Why is USPS allowed to ignore the needs of its disabled customers in this way? Someone who is unwell isn't in a position of dealing with such things and the expected address change work. I'd maintain that I was fraudulently forced to pay for a box that should have been fee for years and that I shouldn't be put in a position of difficulty by USPS policies linked to fraud. MANY EXAMPLES ALL ARE PROOF IG IS NOT EFFECTIVE - and isn't abiding by the edicts they received from Congress. If they were.. they would take action to stop these illegal practices. Furthermore, city dwellers across the street from postal offices would not have mail delivered to their door while rural residents .5 miles away can't get any of their mail delivered. If USPS wants to get out of debt there is an easy solution. Charge for delivery and make sure charges are equally applied to ALL. Stop discrimination of the poor and disabled mail customers who reside in rural towns.

    Aug 06, 2017
  • anon

    I work at the Topeka Ks post office and they have changed the policy on caller services, that we are not to charge the short paid revenue, and not to look in any trays. I would like to know what the actual postal policy is because, we do not want to ignore postal policy for just one manager. We used to open every tray and peruse for certified, signature confirmation, oversized envelopes and charge for postage due.

    Jul 15, 2017