Background

Delivering high-quality service and providing excellent customer experiences are performance outcome goals the U.S. Postal Service has established to measure corporate strategy success and continuous improvement efforts.

Mail delivery and retail services present challenges in large populous areas, such as the Bronx, where many people live in multi-family buildings and high-rise apartments. Owners or managers of apartment buildings or other multi-unit dwellings are responsible for providing carriers access to buildings and for the purchase, installation, and maintenance of mail receptacles, authorized by Postal Service authorities. Failure to follow policy is sufficient justification for withholding mail delivery and requiring occupants to call for their mail at the local post office or carrier delivery unit.

Mail delivery in the Bronx and other areas in the New York District is accomplished by using two types of routes ― a foot route and a parcel route. A foot route carrier walks the route and delivers letters, flats, and small packages that fit into their carts. Carriers on dedicated parcel routes supplement multiple foot routes by using vehicles to deliver packages and any other mail that cannot fit into the foot route cart.

When packages cannot be delivered, carriers must complete a Postal Service (PS) Form 3849, Delivery Notice/Reminder/ Receipt, and place it in the customer’s mailbox. Carriers must endorse packages with their initials, route number, and date of initial attempt. Carriers then return the packages to the station for redelivery or pick up by the customer. Customers claim their packages by presenting PS Form 3849 to the retail employee at the location shown on the form. Customers may request redelivery on the PS Form 3849 or online through My Post Office. If the package is not redelivered or picked up by the customer within 15 days of the initial delivery attempt, it is returned to the sender.

This audit responds to concerns raised about mail service at selected offices in the Bronx borough of New York City. Customers complained of long lines, rude retail employees, and misdelivered mail and untimely mail delivery.

Our objective was to evaluate mail delivery delays and customer retail service at selected delivery units in the Bronx.

What the OIG Found

Mail was not always delivered timely by carriers at the nine selected stations in the Bronx. This occurred primarily because parcel route carriers lacked access to many buildings while foot route carriers had access through the use of non-postal keys provided by building owners or managers, a practice that does not comply with Postal Service policy. Additionally, some buildings had damaged or unsecured mailboxes which stopped the carrier from delivering mail to those addresses.

Although station management for these selected locations have attempted to enforce Postal Service policy by requesting building owners to correct access issues or repair broken boxes, many building owners or managers have not responded to these requests.

In addition, retail customers faced long wait times in line averaging seven minutes or more, up to a maximum of 56 minutes. Customers picking up packages experienced even longer wait times, averaging 12 minutes or more, up to a maximum of two hours. Further, our analysis of the Enterprise Customer Care system complaint data showed 43 of 491 customer complaints were not resolved timely. These issues were caused by the high number of undelivered packages, inefficient package storage methods, and station personnel not sending final PS Form 3849 notifications to customers for mail stored at the station.

New York District management has taken some corrective actions and is in the process of implementing additional actions to address customer complaints. These include: purchasing parcel lockers, conducting on-site reviews, implementing service specific retail customer services lines, adding mobile point of sale devices to improve wait time in line, holding “meet and greet” sessions with customers to better understand customer needs, monitoring wait time in line, and notifying station management when wait times exceed established goals.

Successful delivery of packages on the first attempt is important to the customer and the Postal Service to meet customer expectations and to save the Postal Service additional handlings and labor costs associated with redelivering the package or storing and retrieving it for customer pick up.

In other matters, the Postal Service could benefit from additional communication to mitigate customer complaints. During our observations and in conversations with customers and delivery unit employees, we found that additional communication efforts could be beneficial to the residents served by the nine units we visited. A joint effort by Postal Service district management, building owners, and city officials, would serve to show customers that their complaints have been heard and are being addressed.

What the OIG Recommended

We recommended management coordinate with building owners or managers to comply with Postal Service access and mail receptacle policies, evaluate existing package storage methods, and provide refresher training to staff responsible for the notification procedures of packages stored at the stations. We also recommended management conduct additional community outreach activities to enhance the customer experience.

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Comments (9)

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  • anon

    I haven't received mail in two weeks..This is an on going problem..I have ailments and I have missed appointments due to my mail coming days late or not at all...I get my checks in the mail every week and last week I didn't recei've my paycheck. Who else do I need to complain to. I've been to the local post office and complained to the manager and nothing changed...Im referring to the post office located at 633 st. Ann's ave Bronx New York 10455....

    Nov 07, 2017
  • anon

    Thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service and day-to-day mail delivery issues are outside of our jurisdiction. If you have not already done so, please try contacting your local Post Office. If you have already done that, try contacting USPS Customer Service, (800-275-8777), or file an online complaint with Customer Service.

    Nov 08, 2017
  • anon

    Can I get a job so I don't have to do it you say to call that number I have twice in two months why do you use subs that don't deliver mail or leave it outside of home when for years they have delivered it? I need a job like this I answer to no one and don't have to work where do I apply??

    Sep 02, 2017
  • anon

    My local Postal Carrier (99515) has determined that the Cluster boxes are not safe. She has determined that our mail is to be held at the Post Office until the USPS fixes the boxes. These boxes have been in use for over 17 years that I know of, and my neighborhood was notified May 1. I called the local Office and was told service would not be interrupted. What the local office did not know was that the Carrier has the RIGHT to NOT delivered if she determines that she does not have to do her job! It Appears that the the employee union has total control over Postal Policy. We now have a Postal Employee who will stoop to using your customers to get her way. I fear that my speaking out will bring retaliation from her and the other Union members, BUT this extortion NEEDS to stop! This is abuse of your customers! The boxes were being used two weeks ago and all of a sudden a Hazmat suit is required to go near them.

    May 09, 2017
  • anon

    Follow up - Just like here there has been no statement from the USPS and no delivery. This has been going on for a month. If this isn't abuse from the Postal Service what is. It looks like the staff at the Postal Service do NOT have to answer to any one. There are no answers! I really love the total lack of response. Oh and the USPS website has provided No answers either. There is not a number that connects to a human without an hour wait, or so the automated system indicates.

    May 31, 2017
  • anon

    Hello I am a customer and I write because the mail that makes the delivery in my address has a bad service lose the packages do not make the delivery in time they take up to 5 days and never make the delivery, all the customers that go to that office complain By the bad services of all the employees of that place I would like you to go to prevent that place that is the 2024 jerome ave bronx ny 10453 thank you

    May 08, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Leandro, Thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service which investigates and audits internal fraud, waste, and abuse; and day-to-day mail delivery issues are outside of our jurisdiction. If you have not already done so, please try contacting your local Post Office. If you have already done that, try contacting USPS Customer Service, (1 (800) 275-8777), or file an online complaint with Customer Service. Very Respectfully, United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General

    May 09, 2017
  • anon

    Order from Slidebelts.com Order deposited with USPS 4/22/17 at Lenexa, KS 66215 Tracking No. 9405511699000013683606 - info as of 5/2/17 PDT 2:00PM Package has still not been delivered to me at 4432 Merry Ln W, Tacoma, WA 98466 Examine five times this package was sent to Kansas City, MO 64121 then returned to the Lenexa, KS 66215 then resent to Kansas City, MO and returned to Lenexa time and time again. The Tracking process stops with April 29, with the package being resent from Lenexa KS 66215 at 6:00 AM 4/28/17 - now lost in ?space?

    May 02, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Carl, Thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service which investigates and audits internal fraud, waste, and abuse; and day-to-day mail delivery issues are outside of our jurisdiction. If you have not already done so, please try contacting your local Post Office. If you have already done that, try contacting USPS Customer Service, (1 (800) 275-8777), or file an online complaint with Customer Service. Very Respectfully, United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General

    May 09, 2017