Background

We conducted this audit of late and extra trips at the Richmond Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) in Sandston, VA, to provide Postal Service management with timely information on operational risks.

On July 10, 2020, the postmaster general announced operational changes. Specifically, the Postal Service would eliminate unnecessary late and extra trips outside of regularly scheduled transportation service. This initiative would require mail to be transported on regular routes or held until the next regular route is available.

Late trips occur when various conditions cause a delay in the arrival or departure of transportation beyond the scheduled times. When mail processing operations do not process mail timely or mail volume is above normal or expected levels, managers may have to call extra trips to transport this mail. Late and extra trips to delivery units can cause disruptions and increase the number of carriers returning after 6 p.m. When carriers return after 6 p.m., customer service can suffer and mail collected by the carriers may be late to the P&DC. In addition, late returning carriers can cause increased overtime and penalty overtime costs.

The Richmond P&DC is in the Mid-Atlantic Division of the Logistics and Processing Operations Eastern Region and processes letters, flats, and parcels. From July 1 to September 30, 2020, it reported 7,391 late trips (fourth highest among P&DCs) and 756 extra trips (23rd highest among P&DCs) from the plant to delivery units. Our objective was to assess the causes of late and extra trips from the Richmond P&DC to delivery units.

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Comments (78)

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  • anon

    Simple flat arrive Sandston, VA 11 June 2021. No status update since and no delivery. Today is 19 June 2021

    Jun 19, 2021
  • anon

    I've lived in the Fredericksburg area for almost 5 years now and I've never had so many problems with getting my mail. It always gets to Richmond then is either really late or lost. I refuse to use the post office anymore when me and my friends and family ship things back and forth. It's really sad when I have to have my family use fed ex or ups to send my kids something as simple as birthday cards because I can't trust the post office to get it here in a timely manner or even at all.

    Jun 15, 2021
  • anon

    OK, so you are understaffed. Why NOT enlist the help of us citizens, whom I am sure would do YOUR job for free at this point? 1) Let's organize what you have in your possession by the 36 Richmond zip codes, NOT street addresses, just zip codes. Then by last name, i.e., 23223 zip code: Andrews, Baker, Carter, etc.... 2) Establish a strict 3-week rotation, two time periods a day, say 8-12 and 1-5, allow patrons who live in those zip codes to enter the facility and retrieve their own mail. **Day and time schedules MUST be held strict

    Jun 11, 2021
  • anon

    I have a package of returned items that has been sitting at the Sandston Distribution Center since May 20, 2021. As the package just sits, I am still required to pay for the items I am returning. Help!

    Jun 03, 2021
  • anon

    My package hit Richmond on May 17th, I stopped receiving updates on it on the 21st. I’m going to assume that it is sitting in that warehouse because no one can give me any information! I understand COVID had a huge impact on the country and I also understand that there would be delays, but 16 days sitting in a facility with zero information is ridiculous!!

    Jun 01, 2021
  • anon

    My priority mail has been sitting in Sandston from its arrival date of May 6th. Twenty days and counting. This was an important delivery. Twenty days and still in transit. TWENTY.

    May 26, 2021
  • anon

    My package has been there since April 9th!!! The most recent American Rescue Plan gave postal workers up to 15 WEEKS paid time off for COVID. Yes, 15 weeks. So we are paying for postal workers to sit at home and not distribute our mail. I am beyond disgusted. My stimulus check is in my package that is somewhere at Sandston. My family is struggling while the postal workers are getting their money!!!!

    May 26, 2021
  • anon

    I have 3 packages that magically stopped moving once they got to the Richmond Distribution Center, this always happens. I’ve already filed a search request, but that doesn’t seems to be working. My mail has been missing for over 1 month. One of my other lost packages arrived empty a few months ago. Somebody is stealing and not doing their job!

    May 25, 2021
  • anon

    I have a package with a tracking number that has been sitting in the Richmond VA hub for 17 days. just sitting there. I live less than 30 miles from this facility. Utter incompetence. Meanwhile Amazon Prime has delivered dozens of items overnight for no additional fee.

    May 20, 2021
  • anon

    As of today, a package I sent on May 14, priority Mail, is still on a truck at the distribution center. This according to the destination post office who is doing the research.

    May 24, 2021
  • anon

    Mailed a medium Priority box from Warrenton VA to Ark(Gloucester) Va on 5 May, estimated delivery 8 May. The package arrived at the Richmond Distribution Center on 6 May. I opened a case 11-13 May (didn't note this date) and have been getting regular updates from the Warrenton post office. Apparently the container my package is in is delayed and all packages in this container have the same status. When I called the main USPS number today, 19 May, to escalate this or file a claim, I was informed by the automated system that my case was "resolved." I was called back by a very kind representative who re-opened my case and reference the Consumer Department of some sort. I tried to file case with the OIG about the known fraudulent business practice of this distribution center, and no dice there. I will most certainly avoid using USPS for any mail and shipping needs from here on out. I could have walked the package from Warrenton to Ark and back at this point.

    May 19, 2021
  • anon

    Magically after attempting to open a complaint with OIG and leaving a voicemail with the Merrifield Consumer office, my package was delivered 20 May. Keep complaining loudly. Apparently there is a staffing issue at this location, and nothing seems to be being done about it. (Read: 8 + months long issue)

    May 21, 2021
  • anon

    I used the Midlothian kiosk to mail to the State DMV using Priority Mail from Midlothian to Richmond on April 17. It still has not gotten there- today is May 19. To have the tracking number sent to me, I had requested the email receipt from the kiosk but never got it, although I have my card charged information via my bank. I have used the kiosk many times this way with no issues. I immediately tried to contact USPS to ask if the number could be recovered and was told likely not but to call a specific contact number. I did- twice over a few days, left a message, and never got a response. The third time I tried the number I got a completely different voicemail box. I have no sign that it ever got to my recipient at all, much less in 2-3 days that I paid extra for. Yesterday, I put in a 'lost mail' request and was told I would receive confirmation via email of my online submittal, which I didn't get. I have no way of even seeing the confirmation page anymore. I was called this morning by an agent but I didn't pick up in time, so I immediately tried to call back and was told by Verizon the number could not be reached. The agent left a message about leaving the case open for 2 days, and I'd love to talk to her about the situation, but I can't reach her, nor can I even give a case number--AGAIN. I tried calling the USPS customer service number, got the run around in the phone system and am now waiting for an agent to call me back- supposedly anytime in the next hour. How can this be resolved?

    May 19, 2021
  • anon

    I mailed a package from Amelia Virginia on April 23 with a delivery date of April 26. It is now May 18 and it still says late delivery. I have contacted 2 Congressman, 2 Senators and sent numerous inquiries and complaint to the postal service. I keep getting the same answers from the postal service. COVID. I get the same answers from the REPUBLICIANS. Democrats say it the ex-president. I don't care who is to blame, Just get the packages delivered. It is sitting in Richmond distribution center along with thousands of others so I am told by the delivery address post office. They also said they have no idea what is going on there. It only had 87 miles to go for delivery. This is ridiculous.

    May 18, 2021
  • anon

    My package has been sitting at the Richmond distribution center since May 7th. It is now May 17th. What is going on? My package is several days late now.

    May 17, 2021
  • anon

    I am currently waiting on two separate packages from Ohio that were delivered to the distribution center in Richmond,VA. The first one is more than 6 WEEKS LATE & the second has been sitting there for 3 days as of 4/15 21. How do these incompetent people keep their jobs?!! Only in the USA and only in the federal government! Furthermore,I am unable to reach a website or phone number to file a complaint! How convenient for them! WTF!

    May 15, 2021
  • anon

    What is the problem in Sandston? The wait times are longer and longer. 3 day delivery is a joke to this facility.

    May 13, 2021
  • anon

    This is ridiculous. I ordered some parts to complete a motorcycle build. My dad has been battling pancreatic cancer for over a year now and is finally in good enough health to take a ride. I can not complete my bike to do so with him because my parts have been sitting in this facility since April 28. They made it from MN to Virginia in a day and was in and out of Merrifield in 3 hours. Why are they here for two weeks and the only notification I have received is "In Transit, Arriving late". Please fix this problem

    May 11, 2021
  • anon

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

    May 13, 2021
  • anon

    There needs to be an investigation at the Sandston facility. My package showed it was in transit now its suddenly disappeared after almost a month. This is ridiculous! I even called the facility since I just want my package back and will dispute the charges.

    May 10, 2021
  • anon

    In reading all of the complaints below, I find it incredible that the problems of late delivery of mail continues at this facility. Why does the USPS put up with this? I have a package that was "processed" through this facility on April 30. It is still in that facility, which is 10 days. My estimated date for delivery was supposed to be May 1. Today is May 10, and still no package. I have been to my Ashland, Va. post office once, have called the post office again, and they can't do anything for me until it arrives with them. I got the "covid delays" excuse, which is ridiculous. I am so frustrated, and don't know when (if ever) my package will arrive. If I could, I would drive over there for 20 minutes and pick the package up. I don't know if it is stolen, and whether to file a claim. I am going to contact my congressman.

    May 10, 2021
  • anon

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

    May 13, 2021
  • anon

    Inspector general your visit was not successful

    May 09, 2021
  • anon

    Missing mail

    May 08, 2021
  • anon

    The Sandston distribution center is a disgrace to the USPS. Packages are received there and sit for weeks. Our most recent package has been there since April 28 and is still there. EVERYTHING that passes through there for delivery to Hayes/Bena Virginia is late. One of our packages arrived in Sandston Feb 3, 2021 we did not receive it until Feb 25, 2021 We didn't receive our Christmas mail until late Jan, our Valentine's mail was received in March, now our Mother's Day gifts are still sitting there. The PONY EXPRESS was faster than this location.

    May 04, 2021
  • anon

    I had my mail forwarded to me from Texas on April 7th. Last update I got was on April 16 with the usual "in transit" reply which I found out from the local post office means it is still Richmond. I PAID for 2 day shipping. Are they going to refund me? Of course not. If my package ever arrives I have to have it forwarded to me in another state. I pray it doesn't go through the Richmond distribution center again and ends up in the land of the lost. I put in a complaint to Consumer Affairs and they haven't contacted me. Don't give me the Covid excuse, I travel all over and have NEVER had an issue until Samson in Richmond. I will exclusively us UPS from here on out. Someone from the Inspector Generals office needs to revisit the distribution center and clean up the mess.

    May 04, 2021
  • anon

    Today is May 26, 2021 and my package is STILL AT SANDSTON DISTRIBUTION CENTER. Last update was April 16th and the package was shipped April 7th. I have called, filled out forms, notified inspector General and every time they send the complaint to the post office where my package is to be delivered. THAT DOES NOTHING!!! The Norge post office can't even get in touch with the distribution center. This is the ultimate passing the buck game. My stimulus check is in this package and everyday without it puts stress on my family. Wish someone at the Sandston Distribution Center would reach out to me, better yet, GIVE ME MY PACKAGE!!!!!!!

    May 26, 2021
  • anon

    I have over $200 worth of work items that I needed in a hurry. I paid over $50 in priority shipping. That was April 19th. April 20th they arrived in Sandston. On the 23rd they finally changed and updated to “In transit, Arriving late” , the last time that updated was on April 25th, still saying the same thing- “In Transit, Arriving Late”. Its now May 3rd and it has to change. I filed a missing package complaint, a local post master called and told me the old “short staffed due to covid” complaint, said he’d send an email that the items were time sensitive and needed to be located. That was on April 28th. Still nothing has moved. Honestly I worry that I’m never going to see these 2 important, expensive, time sensitive packages. Why charge for priority if you can’t deliver the mail on time in the first place? I live an hour and a half from Richmond and would drive there right this minute if they’d actually give me my packages. The post master says they just have lots of trucks full of old mail- some a month or more past due- sitting in their lot not moving while they take in newer trucks and get that mail out. They cant even be bothered to process stuff in order of its arrival. Its a sloppy disappointing mess. If you did an audit, you may wanna do another one or you are just as complicit in this mess as the workers in Sandston are.

    May 03, 2021
  • anon

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

    May 04, 2021
  • anon

    OIG Moderator That is of no help. There is no assistance when calling 800-275-8777. I stopped forwarding my mail on March 1st. The local carriers have still been forwarding to the Richmond Distribution Center. I need my mail.

    Jun 04, 2021
  • anon

    The Sandston P&DC is going to be the death of me. My prescription meds originate in New Jersey, travel through Raleigh, and arrive in Sandston in 2 days, typically... then, they sit for weeks and sometimes over a month!!! This causes me great great trouble and expense getting emergency prescriptions. I will continue reporting this to our incompetent VA representatives until things get better.

    Apr 28, 2021
  • anon

    The problem persists and I have trouble believing COVID is the reason. I have 2 packages looping between Richmond and Sanston for a month and those are only current ones. Most arrive late. I have 2 more in transit and expect the same problem. There is nothing wrong with the address and a customer service inquiry results in a “canned” response and recommendation to file a claim. I cringe when i see a package is being sent via USPS.

    Apr 25, 2021
  • anon

    Partisan Press, a non-profit literary publisher made a bulk mailing on Norfolk Virginia on 4-13-2021. Our USPS permit number is 89-PC. As of yet, none have been delivered in our area. Local delivery usually happens in 3 business days. I have no way of knowing if any are being processed or mailed. I know they are sent from Norfolk to the Richmond processing facility which has a less than admirable record of losing mail. I would very much appreciate any assistance in confirming that our mail is actually en rout and hasn't been mislaid or lost.

    Apr 20, 2021
  • anon

    I sent a priority package from New Kingstown, PA on March 22 to Williamsburg, VA. It has a wrong zip code on it. It has been looping in VA between the Richmond Distribution Center and local post offices there. I have called some of the local post offices trying to catch up to this package. You would think someone would look at the whole address after this long to see what might be wrong with the address. The Postmaster here has sent e-mails to try and correct this.

    Apr 16, 2021
  • anon

    I have had a package bounce between the Linden, New Jersey post office and y’all’s distribution center in Richmond like 5 different times idk why it’s keep going back in 4th but I need a customer service rep to give a call to discuss this issue

    Apr 15, 2021
  • anon

    Priority Mail packages that are very important to our business are repeatedly mishandled and misrouted at this Richmond location. Even this month's packaged, sent on 3/30/2021 from Afton VA (near Charlottesville) to Fredericksburg VA is already several days late. My colleague reports: The 2-day priority mail envelope I posted on 3/30 was redirected by the Richmond distribution center to Kansas City and then, as of yesterday, to Hyattsville. I am assuming from there it is on its way back to Richmond. No telling when you will get it. The Richmond facility seems to be totally dysfunctional and unfortunately all outgoing mail from my part of the state goes there first.

    Apr 05, 2021
  • anon

    My certified letter has been sitting in the Richmond , Ba distribution center for over 30 days

    Apr 01, 2021
  • anon

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

    May 04, 2021
  • anon

    I paid to have a package shipped from overseas to Richmond, Va on Jan 11, 2021 and it arrived to New Jersey on Jan 18, 2021. Then the package finally arrived to the USPS Sandston Distribution Center and now the package cannot be found. Since Jan 11th, I checked the tracking of this package daily but taking into consideration COVID impacts, holiday, etc, I remained patient. But it is now March 17 and I have filed a "Missing Package Search" & filed 2 Service Request to get the status of my package. Between my mom and I, we have been constantly trying to get answer from the Post Office, only to be given the run around or given information that we both could read from the tracking app. I asked to speak with a supervisor and rep never responded. She only insisted that I submit a "Search for Package" & "Submit Claim". But when I attempted to file a claim & get a refund back from the Clip N Ship label. It stated that I submitted the claim & refund 60 day after the mail date. But according to the Opening USPS page, its "Due to COVID impacts, the USPS has temporarily extended the claim submission from 60-90 days of the ship date. So I spent money to buy my family local goodies/gifts from overseas, paid for shipping label, trusted USPS to deliver the package with care, they can't find the package, and now I can't get a refund or submit a claim. This is totally unacceptable and there is a clear indication that coaching should be place ASAP on all level of the organization. From the reps on phone to the rep through email, their is no since of empathy at all, and it seems as though they are use to this type of mishap because there was not sense of resolutions for the customer, my concern did not raise a red flag, the issue was not escalated or looked into further. It was more so, just fill a claim, there is nothing that I could do for you. I am not even sure why the reps are even responding to inquires because they just state : according to the last scan in the tracking system had (which is the exact same info that I could read on the USPS Tracker. To this date, the Tracker note say "In Transit" but when the Post Master checked, I was told the package could not be located. So where is the package ? I can't get a resolutions, I can't get a refund, I can't get any helpful assistance, I can't get my package delivered. And USPS sent me a survey and asked if I felt Valued ? Hmm . This situation is unacceptable and I am not sure why this USPS Distribution center is still operating if they are repeatedly not getting the job done. There is more to this story but I tried to narrow it down because it is clear that I am not the only one dealing with this.

    Mar 16, 2021
  • anon

    today is March 15th 2021 the last 3 weeks this distribution center has rerouted two of my packages at different times back out to random cities states. one package shipping from Georgia hit this facility and then was rerouted to Indianapolis. second package came from Schenectady New York hit this facility and then was rerouted to connecticut. right now I have a package that was scanned at this facility on March 7th I put in help find my mail request and was answered by an employee who did not identify themselves.. and said the managers says theyre working on it. they also conveniently marked the case resolved.. which it clearly is not the package has not moved for another 3 days. and now there's no way to put in a second request since they've marked it resolved. sat I went to my Branch Post office.. I was told by the clerk that there's nothing they can do.

    Mar 14, 2021
  • anon

    Hi, My package has been sitting in the Richmond distribution centre since February 10th, over a month ago, and I have waited the max 30 day processing period indicated by the centre and your service. I am concerned that the package has been stolen, and while I am filing a complaint and service request, I just want my package to move on. There is no number to call to look into the whereabouts of my package, so please help me locate it and send it on.

    Mar 13, 2021
  • anon

    I have had a package at the Sandston plant for a month. 2 Service Requests went unanswered. Mail Search resulted in an email that said my package is late. Not very helpful. Is anyone at USPS accountable?

    Mar 05, 2021
  • anon

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

    May 04, 2021
  • anon

    I mailed a package from Wilmington, NC to Richmond, VA on February 26th. I was assured the package would get there by the 3rd of March, but it hasn't moved or been scanned since the 28th. I opened a claim and haven't gotten a response other than the automated email. This is ridiculous. People shouldn't have to wait weeks for packages to leave one facility and run the risk of losing out on money among other things. I've decided after this if I have to send anything to VA I will pay a little extra and use FEDEX.

    Mar 05, 2021
  • anon

    I mailed a First Class Certified envelope from Suffolk VA on Feb. 19 2021 and it has not left the Richmond Distribution Center. Today is March 3. I filed a claim, was assigned a case number and for the standard electronically generated reply. And still have not been contacted by a person. Really?

    Mar 03, 2021
  • anon

    i purpously mailed my package in a priority box the last Monday in February. I was happy when I saw it said it had left the distribution center in Sandston and was in transit. Then 2 days later it said it was still in transit and would be arriving at it's destination (CA) late but was on it's way. I filed a complaint a couple days ago and today I received a call from the CA post office telling me my package was STILL IN SANDSTON!! what a crock. Someone needs to fire the Postmaster General he/she has made a mockery of the postal system. I'm hoping my aunt will get her package by next years birthday.

    Mar 03, 2021
  • anon

    Package shipped priority to Boulder, Colo. Received at Richmond sorting center 2/16. Tracking number shows it is still there 3/1. Very disappointed with service!

    Mar 01, 2021
  • anon

    I had a package sitting at this Sandston mail sorting facility for a couple of weeks in January. I kept getting a generated message when I tracked it that said" your package is at the Sandston Va facility but it will be delivered at some point". I reached out to Channel 6 Richmond news and they did a story about this. Yes I was on the evening news talking about the delay issues with this mail sorting facility. They never reached out to me after the interview but a lady that drops off there a couple of times of week reached out to me, spoke to a manager and got the package moving. This is unacceptable. I ordered some items from Bath & Body on 2/4/21 and I got a message stating that the package is at the Sandston Va mail sorting facility. When I actually spoke to the Sandston Va USPS they said a lot of employees are out with COVID 19. Who can we contact about this ?

    Feb 28, 2021
  • anon

    Every package of mine in transit gets to Richmond and sits still for 7-20 days. This has been the case for all of December, January and February. What gives? I opt for FedEx any chance I can because USPS is so unreliable, or rather they are reliably LATE. System obviously needs an overall. If it doesn’t travel through Richmond then USPS doesn’t disappoint but anything going there is significantly delayed over and over again.

    Feb 27, 2021
  • anon

    I mailed a large envelope certified, return receipt to Medicare Claims in Camden, SC on Mon, Feb15, 2021 from Midlothian, VA. It is still sitting in the Sandston, VA Distribution Center (30 miles away) today, Thurs, Feb 25, 2021. They cannot get a large envelope out of their door after 10 days to head to the next location. Most of the reviews are about packages just sitting at the Sandston, VA Distribution Center. They have got to be piling up. Whatever procedures that were implemented in Feb 2021 from the audit is not working. There are 3 days left in Feb. I think you need another audit to see why the packages are not getting out of this center.

    Feb 25, 2021

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