While conducting site visits at the Chicago International Service Center (ISC) for our International Election Mail Observations for the 2020 General and 2021 Georgia Runoff Elections project, we found significant operational delays of international packages and safety and security risks that we believe warrant management’s immediate attention and corrective action.

The U.S. Postal Service processed over 729 million pieces of international mail and parcels in fiscal year (FY) 2020 and the Chicago ISC is one of five Postal Service facilities that are primarily responsible for processing international inbound and outbound volume. A key segment of these mailings are packages, such as those sent using International First-Class, Priority, or Express Mail service.

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Comments (1283)

  • anon

    My package has been processed at this facility on May 23rd and since then no updates, nobody answers the phone and i really need this package next week. I paid $30 for priority shipping and it was delivered to US within 3 days after shipping but since and it’s been just sitting at this location for over a month with no updates. This is outrageous!!!

    Jun 24, 2021
  • anon

    I'm having a small package shipped to UK. It was mailed by the sender on May 15th. It reached Chicago on May 17th and hasn't moved since! I opened up a 'missing mail' enquiry and then an official 'Search request'. I spent 51 minutes on hold via telephone (very expensive) only to be told that my search request was not valid, even though I received a confirmation email with a search ID number? They said that only the sender can open such a request! I had no problem doing so via the USPS website!! Go figure?? I am very frustrated and angry that as the receiver, there appears to be nothing that USPS can do for me! The wait continues, its now FIVE WEEKS later!

    Jun 24, 2021
  • anon

    I am a customer I purchase an item from the Uk and it has been stuck at ISC Chicago IL(USPS) since May 30 at 8:10 pm its almost 1 month I am frustrated no one to help me $130 just went down the drain. This unacceptable what are they doing with the packages? we are paying our taxes every year and this is the kind of treatment we get! and we are a first world country unbelievable you all should be ashamed of getting paid and not doing your job to help your customers. Have a Good day

    Jun 24, 2021
  • anon

    I have been checking the tracking everyday but there is still no updated since 5/15/21. Someone needs to investigate this facility. Who are these people that are getting pay without doing anything? Are they just stealing people's packages and reselling them online? We need answers!

    Jun 24, 2021
  • anon

    And you won't get answers. There's no accountability. Just a big "we don't know"

    Jun 25, 2021
  • anon

    Hi, I have sent my package on May 1st to Serbia. I did not have any updates on the package until June 8th. On June 12th is it showing that it is in Chicago international distribution center. It is June 24th and no updates on a package. It is almost two months and the package is still in transit. I never had issues before. Who can help me with my package updates? How long more do I have to wait?

    Jun 24, 2021
  • anon

    Pshhh! Unreal! I came here to find everyone else is in the same boat as me. I guess when you have an astronomical amount of complaints from customers, problems with staffing and delays at the ISC Chicago post office, you don't bother to fix it or offer any assistance or explanation to your customers. You just don't care. Great business model.

    Jun 24, 2021
  • anon

    I have a package that has been sitting in Chicago since June 10, 2021. The tracking status indicated it was processed at the ISC in Chicago and there hasn’t been any updates since then. I contacted the US Customs office at O’Hare Airport in Chicago a couple of days ago and they told me that they have heard that there is a 3 month delay with the packages at the ISC Chicago being routed to the next destination point. The customs agent also told me that anytime a package is detained by US Customs, they will send out a letter to the recipient within a couple of business days. The letter details the reason(s) as to why the package was detained as well as any next steps. The customs agent said they heard the backlog was due to Covid, a worker shortage as well as the amount of packages coming into ISC Chicago and not enough workers to manage the workload. The customs agent said that my package was more than likely just sitting in a bin the workers at the ISC Chicago haven’t gotten to yet to route to the next destination point. The customs agent said that packages are unloaded off the aircraft on a conveyer and are inspected by US Customs and the packages that haven’t been detained are placed back on the conveyer and the ISC Chicago workers place them in bins. Hope this helps. I’m just trying to stay positive that I’ll receive my package eventually.

    Jun 24, 2021
  • anon

    My overseas package to Kansas, USA has been waiting in this location since May 15th. I'm beginning to lose hope but may need to file a claim soon if it doesn't appear. It seems many others have had even worse luck, which is troubling.

    Jun 23, 2021
  • anon

    I currently have a package that tracking says is "Inbound into Customs" for almost a full month. The package is lost, stolen or destroyed, but you can't actually reach anyone at ISC Chicago, and USPS will do nothing. The seller is well aware of the worthlessness of Chicago, so they have refunded my money - the seller knows the package is gone for good.

    Jun 23, 2021
  • anon

    Same here. I'm waiting for two items sent from Denmark on May 17. They arrived in Chicago on May 20 and have been stuck there for over one month and counting. Going to visit the USPS CONTACT US page now to file a complaint.

    Jun 23, 2021
  • anon

    TWO YEARS PRE-COVID, I HAD A PACKAGE LEAVE HEATHROW AND, PER USPS FICTIONAL TRACKING, CIRCLE THE ATLANTIC NINE (9) DAYS BEFORE REACHING THE MOUNTAIN OF UNOPENED CONTAINERS AT KENNEDY - SETTING A NEW INTERNATIONAL AIRCRAFT ENDURENCE RECORD. I CALLED KENNEDY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, AND AN EMPLOYEE KINDLY EXPLAINED THE SITUATION: THE CONTAINERS WERE JUST PILING UP - AND THIS WAS WEEKS BEFORE THE "HOLIDAY" SEASON. THE PARCEL, PER USPS FICTIONAL TRACKING, INSTEAD OF BEING SENT TO CLEVELAND MAIN ( I AM JUST EAST OF CLEVELAND) WAS SENT TO CHICAGO, MANY MILES OUT OF THE WAY, AND LEFT AND RETURNED TO CHICAGO THREE TIMES BEFORE BEING SENT TO CLEVELAND MAIN. I ALSO HAD A PARCEL SENT FROM NORTH CAROLINA TO ME - EAST OF CLEVELAND - VIA OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON. FOR YEARS, OUR PARCELS ARE SCANNED AS "DELIVERED" AS LOADED ON THE TRICK AT OUR SERVING PO. THEY MAY ARRIVE THE NEXT DAY - OR BE DUMPED IN THE ROAD OR ROAD-SIDE DITCH. SO SING ME NO SAD SONGS ABOUT HE YEARS-LONG MESS AT USPS. IT HAS ONLY GOTTEN WORSE, AT GREAT AND GREATER COST TO THE TAXPAYERS. THE USPS IS CORRUPT BOTTOM TO TOP.

    Jun 23, 2021
  • anon

    I have had a package held up here since MAY 23rd!!!!! As well as one since June 1st! Neither have budged. Meanwhile, I’ve had dozens of packages arrive from the ISC in New York within this time frame. Get it together!

    Jun 23, 2021
  • anon

    I have one package from Sweden that's been held up at ISC Chicago since May 15, and when contacting the USPS the claim US Customs is to blame, but seeing other comments here pointing to USPS trying to deflect responsibility away from them which seems very shady to me as a business practice. And now another package, from Denmark this time, has been stuck at the same USPS site since June 18. How are we supposed to conduct international commerce under these kinds of circumstances?

    Jun 23, 2021
  • anon

    I am a seller, I sent an expensive parcel from Greece to USA, then it fell into this black hole like forever. I've insured the parcel by tracking and signature and l've paid for the expensive international shipping. It only took 10 days from Greece to Chicago, but sit in Chicago since May 30!!! The buyer still haven't received anything yet, she reported the case through Paypal and she thought I scammed her!!! Now I need to refund her and lost my goods for at least 100 dollars!! Why should I pay for that? It is the second time something like that happens. Same story happened in October 2020 and i lost 230 usd

    Jun 23, 2021
  • anon

    That's just wrong. Buyers can SEE the tracking is showing delivered here in the USA and stuck in Chicago ISC. this is a USPS claim, and should not be a claim thru paypal at sellers expense, and there IS still a possibility the item will move and finally be delivered to the buyer. My 3 very expensive packages were stuck from Sweden to USA for over a month in Chicago ISC in May and are now finally delivered end of June. There is hope but Chicago ISC needs to be FIXED. It is NOT ok that there is so much loss and backlog as being reported in our US Postal system at this location. It needs more resources NOW, peoples livelihoods are being damaged. Good Luck to all of us still waiting for more packages out of Chicago ISC

    Jun 24, 2021
  • anon

    I am both a buyer and seller so I totally understand both sides of this issue. However as a seller you are obligated to deliver a package to a buyer in a reasonable amount of time and it doesn’t matter what is causing that to be delayed. I am in this situation right now as a buyer where I ordered something from the UK and the last scan was processed through this facility on June 5. I filed a claim with PayPal and they sided with me and refunded my money. Had I kept waiting and waiting just because the tracking says the package is there and still in transit is a risk I am not willing to take for the amount I paid for the item. The seller shipped with insurance so they can file a claim and get a refund. This is a huge issue but unfortunately the fact is buyers will be refunded for it leaving sellers to file a claim too.

    Jun 25, 2021
  • anon

    My package sent from UK sits at this place since May 30, it is said " Processed through ISC Chicago" then no updates since then. Almost more than 3 weeks, terrible service!! NY ISC never had such an issue. USPS really need to improve the service, I submitted the issue on the website, case was created and no one got back to me. Three days later, I received an automatic email said you case was resolved and ask me to rate the service. What the hell is going on???? NO one helped!!! Really annoyed.

    Jun 23, 2021
  • anon

    Great. Sitting on a month in customs at this location for simple international stationary set (post cards). Just great... Guess it will be awhile.

    Jun 23, 2021
  • anon

    Multiple packages sent from the UK. One package states: June 17, 2021, 4:56 pm Processed Through Facility ISC CHICAGO IL (USPS) Your item has been processed through our facility in ISC CHICAGO IL (USPS) at 4:56 pm on June 17, 2021. The other package states: May 30, 2021, 8:04 pm Processed Through Facility ISC CHICAGO IL (USPS) Your item has been processed through our facility in ISC CHICAGO IL (USPS) at 8:04 pm on May 30, 2021. Have no further updates in regards to either package. Shipper contacted UK carrier and found out that neither package was being held up in US Customs with delay issue being with USPS not processing the packages that had cleared customs. A few days are fine to process these packages though we are over 3 weeks on the one that was processed back on May 30, 2021.

    Jun 23, 2021
  • anon

    Hello, Thank you for your comment. Regarding your concern, please contact Postal Service Consumer Affairs Office at https://postalpro.usps.com/ppro-tools/consumer-affairs

    Jun 25, 2021
  • anon

    To What end? to be told that this is a Customs issue and the USPS can do nothing about it until they release the package from the Customs facility? Been there, done that, and no result. Ive called the ISC Chicago facility 200+ times over the last month and a half and only been able to reach a person twice. This is unacceptable, people's lives and livelihoods are being messed with here.

    Jun 26, 2021
  • anon

    I am a seller, I sent an expensive parcel from UK to USA, then it fell into this black hole like forever. I've insured the parcel by tracking and signature and l've paid for the expensive international shipping. It only took 3 days from UK to Chicago, but sit in Chicago since 8th June!!! The buyers still haven't received anything yet, she reported the case through Paypal and she thought I scammed her!!! Now I need to refund her and lost my goods for at least 200 pounds!!! Why should I pay for that?

    Jun 23, 2021
  • anon

    I've also had a package from the UK fall into this 'black hole' - It was mailed tracked from the UK on 1 April and doesn't seem to have moved since.

    Jun 23, 2021
  • anon

    This is absolutely absurd. I've had 2 packages sent from London (same seller) that have fallen into the black hole that is Chicago ISC. The first package arrived there on April 30th. It's almost July.

    Jun 23, 2021
  • anon

    I would like to know whether the Chicago isc is before or after the customs operation.

    Jun 23, 2021
  • anon

    I ordered a parcel from a company in Indiana, and the usual flow of mail from there to Canada is through Chicago distribution center. There have been no scans to update the package whereabouts in the last 10 days. I phoned USPS and the agent indicated it's probably held up in Chicago based on her experience. This is not acceptable customer service at all. Something should be done about Chicago's extreme USPS dysfunction.

    Jun 23, 2021
  • anon

    I sent a parcel to US from Wales, Uk on June 3rd. It got to Chicago on June 5th and it’s been there ever since, it’s appalling- I paid for quick delivery too as the recipient is moving house this week, now I will probably have to refund them. I also had to refund another package last week, but that one didn’t have tracking. Now I’m thinking it’s probably just stuck here too!!

    Jun 23, 2021
  • anon

    May 22nd and no updates. From the UK and it’s for my wedding!!! Now what? A custom veil and it won’t get here?! USPS blames customs, when customs processed it already. Y’all I just want my package!!

    Jun 23, 2021
  • anon

    I am so sorry. I am in the same boat waiting for my wedding dress straps and am losing all hope I will get them in time.

    Jun 24, 2021
  • anon

    I have package that has been there since 06/02/2021 from china, and you can bot even speak to anyone, tried to lost claim but local post office says they can't do anything about it that i have to contact international services who wont even answer the phone. and now postal service wants rate increases.

    Jun 22, 2021
  • anon

    The report identifies problems in January 2021. A report is published in May 2021. One would think that the problems in ISC would have been solved or addressed by June 2021 but they have not. I still have shipments unprocessed there from April 2021 and recent shipments make it through in a Month so it is still not first in or first out. Where is the accountability? Where is the leadership? If the current leadership can’t solve the problems why haven’t they been replaced with someone more cabable? I don’t understand why a very critical report haven’t had any consequences in June.

    Jun 22, 2021
  • anon

    Don't worry. Whoever is in charge of the Chicago ISC will get a promotion to another facility. That should take care of the problem.

    Jun 26, 2021
  • anon

    same problem as everyone else, i sent two packages that arrived in Chicago on june 2nd, now it’s the 22nd, i’m so scared the people who i sent the packages to are going to think i scammed them i really hope things get moving soon!

    Jun 22, 2021
  • anon

    I'm also worried after finding this out. I sent a package overseas for grad school with priority mail at the end of may. An email for tracking the package stated it arrived at the Chicago center about 3 days later. Then I heard nothing for about 15 days when I got another email stating that the package had arrived... at the Chicago center. I haven't had any updates since then. Has anyone heard any news regarding actions taken to fix this issue?

    Jun 22, 2021
  • anon

    UPDATE: there is movement starting it seems I had several packages stuck there that arrived between 5/10-6/5. They all have started to move within the last week. Something is happening there finally. My longest package has been in transit for 68 days total and was at ISC Chicago from 5/10-6/20.

    Jun 22, 2021
  • anon

    Is this true?? Because if it is, I am hoping I get my package from the UK. It has been sitting in Chicago since June 7th.

    Jun 23, 2021
  • anon

    Good luck. May 22 here and nothing. June 7th is way too early for any movement

    Jun 25, 2021
  • anon

    Same Complaint. package of hat ribbons from England made it to Chicago in 3 days…..and there it sits. I called USPS and he said its not their fault but it is the fault of Customs. I called Customs and he said that they ARE NOT holding up delivery of packages. He said the USPS agent should not be telling people that it is a Customs problem unless Customs is detaining a package for legitimate reasons. He said the USPS is severely backlogged in Chicago for whatever their reason and not getting packages out. It appears the Chicago USPS workers have gone home for COVID and choosing not to work since they are likely being paid to stay home. I don’t really know who is telling the truth on the blame game-I’m just irritated that my package is been held up in Chicago along with others for a month and nobody really seems to be able to give me a valid reason.

    Jun 22, 2021
  • anon

    My package has not been at this facility terribly long yet but already I'm worried I'll never receive my stuff judging by all these comments. Everyone really needs to start reporting this establishment to the Better Business Bureau, I think that will pretty much be the only thing that gets results!

    Jun 22, 2021
  • anon

    I had a package from india depart june 5th. Still in ISC Chicago being processed. Today is June 22nd. I reeeeally need my mail! Normally comes in through New York customs hub and takes only a few days HURRY IT UP AND GET TO WORK CHICAGO HUB. People waiting on important mail!

    Jun 22, 2021
  • anon

    Hey, if you do finally get your package or see movement on your tracking, add a new comment or reply so maybe we can all get an idea of how long packages remain in ISC Chicago. Also, how can I AVOID my package going through Chicago the next time I order something international? Anyone know? I much prefer ISC NY or LA since the people their work and do their jobs so we get our mail!

    Jun 27, 2021
  • anon

    I have a package there from India as well that was shipped around the same time . I’ve been worried that they were holding my package but it seems like it’s everyone.

    Jun 22, 2021
  • anon

    Same exact experience! If it goes through New York I get it on time. I now have 3 packages dating back to February stuck in Chicago IL customs all from India! I’m so frustrated.

    Jun 22, 2021
  • anon

    I have been waiting on a package, that came from China. It appears that it's been at this facility since May 25, 2021. After reading many of the other complaints, it seems that I'm not alone. What are we to do. These package are important to us. Please tell us, what are we to do? If you don't mind, please give us some indication the our packages are on the way. Please advise..

    Jun 22, 2021
  • anon

    Six weeks and counting! Waiting for postal service to hand off my first-class package from Canada to customs. According to USPS Customer Service, the package is in a container with several others awaiting transfer to CBP. So much for "first-in, first-out prioritization." Perhaps the container is - as described in the IG's report - "boxed-in by containers with much more recent acceptance dates." Oh well, at least it is not lost... yet.

    Jun 22, 2021
  • anon

    I'm now among those who have a package in Chicago ISC limbo. Are the comments posted here of any use? Sounds like people should be writing their reps in Congress about this - it's a scandal.

    Jun 22, 2021
  • anon

    I’m waiting on a package that was sent from Indiana on August 30. It departed Indiana on that same day, but the tracking system doesn’t have it arriving in Chicago until June 2. On June 5th it says it was processed through the International Distribution Center, but there’s been no update since then. I usually receive packages to Southeast Asia in 2-4 weeks, this is by far the longest a package has ever taken to arrive and the longest delays between notifications of the package’s status that I’ve seen.

    Jun 21, 2021
  • anon

    I came on here to see if anyone else was having similar issues with their package getting 'processed through the facility' in ISC Chicago, IL... and it's safe to say that there is a lot of people with the same problem. I ordered a package from Hong Kong back in March and it was just delivered here to the US on June 4... it's been sitting in the 'facility' ever since. I really want to know what the delay is?... like legitimately, what's the hold-up? Not just for me, but for everyone else who's been waiting LONGER than me? :/

    Jun 21, 2021
  • anon

    If you have an international package that comes through Chicago you might as well forget it. A message in a bottle has a better chance of reaching you.

    Jun 21, 2021

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