Background

Post Office Box™ (PO Box) optional delivery service is available at over 31,000 postal facilities. The U.S. Postal Service has over 21 million PO Boxes and collected [redacted] in PO Box rent for fiscal year 2015.

Customers prepay to rent PO Boxes for 3, 6, or 12 months and can renew them beginning 30 days before the service period ends. Postal Service personnel manually block PO Box access on the first of the month for unpaid renewals. They close PO Boxes for non-payment after a 10-day grace period and return all mail to senders. In addition they reconcile PO Box rent receipts between financial and management systems, and complete PO Box annual audit reviews.

This audit was based on an allegation that a New Jersey Post Office had not collected PO Box rents since February 2013. Our objective was to assess the management of PO Box rent revenue.

What the OIG Found

The Postal Service could improve management of its PO Box revenue. At the sites we visited personnel did not always:

  • Perform daily PO Box rent receipt reconciliation between financial and management systems.
  • Perform manual procedures to prevent access to PO Boxes or timely stop delivery and return all mail to senders for customers who have not paid their PO Box rent.
  • Identify all discrepancies in the PO Box annual audit review report. In addition, they could not locate a copy of the latest annual audit report.

These issues occurred because controls did not exist to ensure performance of these manual procedures and to complete the PO Box annual audit review. We believe these issues extend to all facilities that rent PO Boxes and, thus, believe any corrective actions should be taken nationwide. Controls could improve operations and decrease the risk that PO Boxes remain open without payment.

We did not find sufficient evidence to support the allegation of uncollected PO Box rent.

What the OIG Recommended

We recommended management develop and implement controls to ensure personnel complete reconciliations between financial and management systems. We also recommended management establish controls to ensure personnel complete manual PO Box billing procedures and correctly complete the PO Box annual audit review. 

Read full report.

Comments (28)

  • anon

    I just closed my P.O Box when will it let others change their address.

    Feb 15, 2018
  • anon

    I am having a similar issue as Jeff Holoubek. January 2018 post office box renewal. My envelope showing my payment was received and opened was returned to me on 1/30/18 with my check still inside. Payment not due until 1/31/18. A note on the envelope said the rate was raised on 1/21/18. I will go back and pay the $8.00 difference. Since the first check was not accepted I hope they will take cash and the existing check.

    Jan 30, 2018
  • anon

    I have had a PO box at the Rancho Santa Margarita post Office (92688) for about 20 years. Today I had two PO box fee notices in my box. I had a notice dated 1/12/18 for $166 for 12 months and another dated 1/22/18 for $182. Both notices said the fee is due on 1/31/18. When I inquired with John (not to be confused with Juan) as to why I had two notices he said that the price went up and if I had paid the fee before 1/21/18 then I could have paid the lower amount. I said I was confused because the payment on the notice for $166 said the payment was due on 1/31/18. He very curtly said that the post office does not have to give any notice to me at all and that the price was now $182. Not only was John rude (as another postal customer standing in line pointed out to me, saying that she was very put off by the treatment and poor explanation that she witnessed) but I think it is unfair and poor business for the post office to give me a bill on 1/12/18 that is due on 1/31/18 for $166 and then, without any other notice simply put another bill in my box for $182 on 1/22/18 that is also due on 1/31/18 and tell me I know have to pay the higher price. This is a bad business practice! It makes me feel that the postal service can get away with something that another, non government, business would not be able to do. AND they can be as rude as they want while doing it. I am disgusted.

    Jan 24, 2018
  • anon

    The US po boxes online is full of crap ! They charge your card as auto debit then says the card does not work . I paid with a secondary card & the system said declined. I check my bank account , the amount is pending as an authorization by us po boxes online . That’s bull S . I paid with another card & received confirmation thereafter . The post office is just egregious with the despicable lack of customer service . It’s pathetic . Then you have to contact th by phone & ask for someone to notify the bank that the authorization needs to be cancelled & they deflect to the bank & vice versa . If the post office can’t process automated payments right , Don’t accept them at all !!!!!!!!!!!

    Jan 07, 2018
  • anon

    I am having the same issues.

    Jan 14, 2018
  • anon

    I'm trying to pay my PO box and the link is not letting me.plz help I'm out of state from my PO box location and only has access to the internet.

    Dec 31, 2017
  • anon

    Can the USPS LOCK the lobby to our P.O.boxes? I'm paying 112.00/yr.?!!!!

    Dec 24, 2017
  • anon

    URGENT !! I need to make a payment online and it doesn’t let me log in to my account.

    Dec 16, 2017
  • anon

    I had a small PO Box in Herndon VA for over 30 years. The cost of that Box had worked its way up to $67 for 6 months, no small amount for that box. Then I was recently a few days late in renewing my 30 year old box and USPS was goin to charge me some exorbitant fee for being late, like $20 something. I presume this is all part of some revenue generating plan to boost the financially failing USPS. What you got in my case was I cancelled my PO Box I had held for 30 years. I went to a UPS Mailbox store and rented a box for $50. In the end you got NO money and now you have to forward my mail for 6 months. DUMB!

    Nov 06, 2017
  • anon

    Good for you! That is exactly right. The reason the Post Office is in such decline is their attitude as it pertains to customer service. Their quality of work sucks!! Customers have options. I have wanted to be loyal to the US Postal Service. However, gauging your customers with exorbitant late fees, suspending their online accounts so they can pay for their post office box or any associated fees days after the payment was due? Who does business this way? No one that wants to be successful. Gauging loyal customers to generate revenue will not save their business. If they don't value the revenue generated by their post office boxes or the people that pay for them....they need to lose that part of their business to those in the market that do. This aggressive behavior is over the top and should not be tolerated. Again, ding me a late fee, suspend my services...that is fair. Exorbitant late fees, locking the box, suspending a customer's online account after a few days!!! Only a quasi government business feels they can get away with this. Then look to the tax payer to bail them out after they run this business into the ground. The taxpayers are not going to be in support of a USPS bailout after you a have treated them so poorly.

    Dec 18, 2017
  • anon

    I paid in advance for my postal box up to Febrary. I am expecting some packages and it is closed for approximately 3 weeks. Puerto Rico Carolina Pueblo Station. My box is 8192. Tell me what should I do?

    Nov 01, 2017
  • anon

    Hello Ester, Thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service and day-to-day post office and PO Box 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 on the USPS website.

    Nov 02, 2017
  • anon

    I'm trying to pay my po box 95 Fairview tn 37062 and the link isn't letting me . Please help!!!

    Nov 01, 2017
  • anon

    I check my mail every two weeks. I forgot about renewal fee. I am currently past due 12 days. I am told that the late fee will be $22 more. I can see having a late fee. However, that is over 100% of the six months rent. That is not a late fee....that is an excessive fine. And they withhold your mail? I thought that was illegal.

    Oct 12, 2017
  • anon

    I just went in to pay my rent for my p.o. box. I tried to pay it Monday but they were closed and I forgot yesterday. I paid for 6 months and it was $18.00 and then I was charged a $22.00 late fee. How can that be more than my box. I am searching online and still have not found anything about a late fee.

    Oct 11, 2017
  • anon

    I Live In The Anza Borrego Springs Desert.... There Is NON USPS MAIL DELIVERIES To My Home Town ...We Are Literally Forced To Have A FREE P.O.BOX For Our SDG&E BILLS etc. NOW I HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT I MUST PAY A $40.00 RENTAL FEE FOR THE USE OF MY FREE P.O.BOX????????? WHY???? WHAT HAS CHANGED??? THERE IS STILL NO TRANSPORTATION SERVICE IN OUR COMMUNITY WHATSOEVER.... "NOR MAILBOX DELIVERIES TO OUR HOMES " ANYWHERES AROUND ME EITHER!!! SOMETHING IS FISHY???????? WHAT DO I DO???? THIS IS SO WRONG IN MANY LEVELS!!!! SHOULD I CALL MY LAWYER ABOUT THIS??? I WILL WAIT 10 BUSINESS DAYS FOR A RESPONSE THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE INSPECTOR GENERAL.. Thank You... Ms.ALLEN

    Oct 09, 2017
  • anon

    Our organization had the same PO Box for over 40 years in a small town (Gonzales, TX). Prior to annual payment due a check was sent to the local PO for renewal. Unaware that the rate had gone up from $48 to $52, a check was sent in along with renewal form. The check was returned, because it wasn't for the full amount, even though it was more that a 6-month rental. PO said the payment has to be for the exact amount. Due to vacations, I didn't respond within the 10 days after the first of the subsequent month. They closed this box and reissued to another party. This PO employees knows the individuals of the service organization and didn't even bother the contact any member of that organization. This is just not right, to lose a box an service organization has had for over 40 years.

    Jul 31, 2017
  • anon

    Everytime I check my postal box, there's always mails for other people besides mine. For a year now, a business has been using my box for and I'm getting annoyed by it at this time. I tried to call the business but they never pick up. I wanted to let them know that I've had the box for 35 years & they should correct their postal box. I'm also tired of getting in line just to return those lost mails to window. Is there a legal paper I can threaten them with? Thank you in advance.

    Jun 28, 2017
  • anon

    Your automatic systems needs an update i only wanted my po box for 3 month and wanted to renew the same box well the money is in my account and they still havent charged my card for the automatic payment so now my box is closed so ur forced to pay for 6 months why u make more by charging 26 bucks for 3 months n 45 for 6 months but i dont want my box for that long

    May 31, 2017
  • anon

    I would like to know why my P.O box rates went up and the hours to pick up my mail change from 7 in the morning till 6 at night I haven't been able to get there to pick up my mail for almost 5 days now the reason I got A PO box was because my hours are so odd and I can pick up my mail whenever I needed to now I can't. could you please help with this problem I pay a lot of money every year for a P.O box

    Apr 13, 2017
  • anon

    My post office box has been closed. I got a notice saying that my form of payment was not working so I provided another form of payment. Obviously, the payment was never debited and now my box is closed. I would like the same box reopened please. I have spent tons of money of business checks, cards and other collateral and I feel it was unfair due to the fact that I did give them another card to use via the website. ...Help!

    Apr 06, 2017
  • anon

    I would like some justification on why my yearly PO box fee went from $90 to $120. Fees have bee climbing over the past few years. I can understand that. A 30% increase in one year is robbery. Another 30% increase, rounded up and I'll be paying $160 in 2018. I am consuming my fuel and paying for wear and tear on my vehicle to pick up my mail. Here's the deal: The USPS needs to make their rate increases a more reasonable increment. otherwise, I will be closing my PO box and the USPS can consume their fuel and pay vehicle wear and tear, and you will deliver my mail to me at my rural mailbox at no cost to me. Robbing the consumer on PO box fees will just cost the USPS more money. Lost revenue because people will be closing their boxes. Increased mail delivery expenses due to larger routes and more stops in those routes, due to people receiving mail at their physical address VS the PO box that they closed. It makes me wonder why I'm paying for a PO box at all. I would appreciate a reply Thanks, Darryl

    Apr 03, 2017
  • anon

    Every since I got a P.O.BOX I'm not getting all my mail. Still having problems, clerk keep sending my mail back to sender, this is getting outrageous. I've even spoken to the clerks they keep telling me to use someone else address to receive my mail. W2s, renew tabs, jury duty, secretary of state I haven't received due to my P.O.BOX address.

    Mar 28, 2017
  • anon

    What a rip-off As stated above, your PO BOX is locked the FIRST DAY!!! After non payment Usually I get a renewal or bill about a month before expiration but I didn't- so now about 7 weeks past due, I finally get a phone call from the local post office saying I had a few HOURS to pay or permanently lose my PO BOX of 7 years and I usually go retrieve mail every week and no notice of renewal or lockdown of my box so I didn't notice. I was told by the lazy attitude worker who by the way get this - this post office closes for breaks and lunch - who was on a personal phone call for 20-30 minute about a personal financial matter about her Discovery credit card - that many other people didn't get their renewal notice either....hmmmmm. Every time I see this worker, she is POSTAL to everyone. Why the hell are you working there, do us all a favor and quit. I been putting up with her all these years. By the way it's 10605 zip code. So, I was charge a lock change fee $22 plus 2 new keys $6 on top of regular rental fees.

    Mar 24, 2017
  • anon

    I pay my po box for 6 months I went today to the post office and my box is lock

    Mar 11, 2017
  • anon

    I was forced to pay 6 months when I only needed it for at the most 3. I was angry. I asked about getting money back if I closed it early. Postal worker (without name badge) states" probably not." I said, "Well, lets find out." Then she said she wasnt about to look up the policy on that that the book was too thick. Creola AL

    Mar 02, 2017
  • anon

    I am having a problem with my subdivision mail box, it looks like someone stuck something in the lock and my ke would not work. I approached the mailman and explained the situation and was told to go to the post office to get it resolved and get the lock fixed. Went to the post office and was told by the office manager that the homeowners association was the responsible party for the mail boxes within the subdivision, went to the homeowners association and was told they had nothing to do with the post office mail boxes. My question is, in this situation, who is responsible for fixing the mailboxes? The post office, the homeowner association, or the person that gets their mail deliver to that box? Please let me know, because right now the only way I get my mail is by keeping an eye out for the mailman. Thank you.

    Mar 24, 2016
  • anon

    I have a question that I hope you can answer. I currently have a post office box. My concern is sometimes my mail received is not postmarked and just recently the mail piece was postmarked March 10, 2016 and I arrived to the post office on 03/11/2016 around 1530, the post office box was empty. When I returned on 03/14/2016 the mail piece was there but postmarked 03/10/2016. Please explain this.

    Mar 18, 2016