Background

The Mail Recovery Center (MRC) is the U.S. Postal Service’s official lost and found department. Processing centers and retail and delivery units nationwide send mail items with no valid addressee or sender information to the MRC. The MRC’s core mission is to search, recover, forward, or return undeliverable mail nationwide.

In fiscal year 2014, the MRC received 88 million items, processed 12 million for possible return to customers, and returned 2.5 million. All items not returned to customers were sold at auction, donated, or destroyed.

The objective of this audit was to assess the MRC’s effectiveness at handling customer inquiries and managing items it received.

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What the OIG Found

The MRC did not effectively handle customer inquiries or manage undeliverable items it received in certain circumstances. Specifically, the MRC did not:

¦ Track how many inquiries resulted in items returned to customers.

¦ Return, dispose of, or secure military items efficiently.

¦ Return wallets, purses, and the documents they contained to customers.

¦ Sufficiently oversee the contractor responsible for auctioning unclaimed items at the MRC.

In addition, Postal Service operations outside of the MRC’s control negatively impacted MRC efforts to return undeliverable items to customers. Specifically, sales and service associates did not provide customers with clear instructions for filing search inquiries and field offices incorrectly sent recyclable materials to the MRC.

These conditions occurred because the Postal Service either did not have adequate policies and procedures for these functions or did not follow them. As a result, there is an increased risk that customers may not have the opportunity to recover lost items.

What the OIG Recommended

We recommended the Postal Service enhance policies and procedures for handling lost and undeliverable mail at the MRC, review the contract for auctioning unclaimed items, instruct sales and service associates to provide customers with proper procedures for filing a search inquiry, and enforce existing policy for recyclable materials that should not be sent to the MRC.

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Comments (679)

  • anon

    me too...but they said let 4 day investigation...after that they don't do nothing but they said loss some where....if they did,should be questions the mail man who carry my packed from the post office out for delivery...but never done....so at the day12/21/2015 at 11:16 they should knew who take care it.....if can delivery so where he put the packed......this is a thieft....but why they don't do it...big question.....so why we came here to find some one at headquarter have a right can questions them to resolved at all postal service about too many problem to customer......so we came here need to help because they never help us....now you try send it back to them....so I have a questions : Some local post office can't help us so where and who we can forward to be help us to resolve problem...here my story: here my tracking 9505510858515348292377 I was send to Tennesse but they send to Ohio then out for delivery from 12/21/2015 but forever completed delivery.....they said 4 day investment ...after that they said may be loss...what they investment....nothing....that easy just find on that day 12/21/2015 at 11:16 the mail man who is carry my packed. out for delivery questionnaire him where is packed ...he should knew where is at....turn him to police he should let you know....it is a crime......because USPS system is mess they lazy take care there job because is goverment they don"t care....as you think like mail man they start jobs sign up all packed they cary out then respond for all item they delivery....if loss they got investment questionnaire where packed...and he must go to courts paid for his mistake or stolen it......I think the mail man stolen my packed. USPS so why they get down bussinness because they start don"t trust USPS any more....for now because a lot people don"t know yet untill they got loss like me to learned from here....after I get loss my packed so I try to call them but noway only auto message ....from usps Ohio....the phone busy all time or nobody pick up phone....frm now I wil Tell all my familly and my friends then there friends familly let don"t using USPS let they share a my lesson from to count on USPS.....IT'S A MESS BUSSINESS.thank you.

    Jan 06, 2016
  • anon

    I have also been waiting for mail to be forwarded for 6 weeks now. We moved at the end of November, I had the mail held from that time for two weeks. This is the procedure that was explained to me. i went to the post office after those two weeks to pick up my mail. Since then I have not received anything. I went back to my old post office after a week of not getting any mail and they told me that they had no mail for me and there is nothing anybody can do. Essentially, they were telling me that I am no longer in the United State Postal Service System. What an I do?

    Jan 04, 2016
  • anon

    Thank you for your message. Unfortunately, we are a federal law enforcement agency and this does not fall under our jurisdiction of fraud, theft, and misconduct. Please contact the Postal Service Consumer Affairs office (www.usps.com/help/welcome.htm or 1-800-222-1811) so they can look into the matter.

    Jan 06, 2016
  • anon

    Yes but it does fall under gross negligence and extreme incompetence.

    Jan 06, 2016
  • anon

    I mailed a package of needed items to my disabled and wheel chair bound veteran brother. After numerous attempts to track the item I finally spoke with the Supervisor at the Birmingham, Alabama Post Office who followed up and called me reporting that she spoke to the the Mail Carrier who had the package after it was put on the wrong truck. The carrier was to deliver the next day. Then weeks later it was being returned to sender via the Atlanta Center. More weeks later it is now showing the items were destroyed as the contents (sweater, jacket, depends, shirts, socks etc.) , were perishable. This is obviously wrong! Now I have a second package "out for delivery for days" with no tracking update. I am now convinced that this system is broken, corrupt or dishonest!!! I will never use it again to have my items stolen by government employees.

    Jan 04, 2016
  • anon

    I paid for 3 day priority mail shipping to ship a package to the Dept. of the Treasury in Parkersburg, WV. My package made it to Parkersburg, WV, but was then forwarded and for the next 4 days I had no idea where the package was forwarded to. By the 5 day of being forwarded, the package ended up in Merrifield, VA. A completely different state. Then it went back to Parkersburg, WV 2 days later. Instead of shipping my package back to me (assuming it was undeliverable) the posts office on January 2nd forwarded my package again! I have no idea where. The manager in my local post office promised to help on December 30th and I have not heard from him until I CALLED HIM this morning January 4th! He told me just because I used 3 day priority mail-that delivery is not guaranteed and I am not entitled to a refund. Meanwhile he could not explain why my package was not returned to me if it was unable to be delivered. These are extremely important and valuable documents that I shipped to the Dept of Treasury and I feel this matter is not being dealt with seriously and is being mishandled. thank you

    Jan 04, 2016
  • anon

    I have waited over 2 1/2 weeks for my mail to be delivered I submitted a change of address on dec 14th 2015 and have yet to receive my mail. I have bills in there as well as other important mail. I was told the problem was the Janesville wi post office not giving the carrier some sort of sticker to pull our mail from old address I have no access to the old address mail box. I am beyond mad at this point and would like to make a complaint about the Janesville post office.

    Dec 29, 2015
  • anon

    Thank you for your message. In order to follow up on your change-of-address request, please call USPS customer service at 1-800-275-8777.

    Jan 06, 2016
  • anon

    I have a box been missing from 11/ 7/2015 and I would like to no where it is I have been sending boxes over sease for 22yrs. And this never happens I want to no what going on.it going to An Army base.APO Box. Tracking# cx2020155121us.

    Dec 28, 2015
  • anon

    I have been receiving very poor service for the past 6 months. I have called to complain that my mail is being delivered incorrectly, right street number wrong street name which is 2 blocks away. I receive their mail they receive my mail does the post office have vision care insurance/coverage? Because I think someone needs glasses. I just looked at tracking on a package I was expecting and it was delivered (in/at mailbox) on the 16th it is now the 28th and nothing was delivered. I called and never received a call back. I have written now and will await to see if I hear anything back. over the last 6 to 12 months I have not been receiving my mail as expected. there have been numerous statements, checks, credit cards, and gift cards that have not been delivered that I know were mailed to me, as I called and confirmed. This has caused me thousands of dollars in late fees and missed income, which I am certain the post office will not reimburse me for. the tracking for the package that was "delivered on eh 16th is 9200192700470427232562 . Good luck finding the trash can my postal carrier threw it into so he could get home on time. Is there any legal ramifications I have access to for the loss of all the money they have caused me. is that theft or negligence? hmmmm, Maybe I need to contact my retained attorney to ask that question.

    Dec 28, 2015
  • anon

    Thank you for your message. Unfortunately, we are a federal law enforcement agency and this does not fall under our jurisdiction of fraud, theft, and misconduct. Please contact the Postal Service Consumer Affairs office (www.usps.com/help/welcome.htm or 1-800-222-1811) so they can look into the matter.

    Jan 06, 2016
  • anon

    It takes 45-60 minutes to get through to the only to listen to a rude, uncaring, unhelpful, and demeaning represent of USPS!! One time I called the representative gave me a phone number for the P.O., where it last was. Used automatic redial for 4 hours and got nothing but a "busy signal"! Tell me that is "customer service"!! I really don't expect a reply, since I haven't found a helpful nor caring person at USPS!!!!!!!

    Mar 02, 2017
  • anon

    My package tracking number el053789130us somehow disappeared after being handled at the Burien, WA 98168 distribution center none an tell me where it went! The package is valuable and very important I'm going to contact the authorities and someone will have to be held accountable for this misconduct and mail theft!

    Dec 24, 2015
  • anon

    At least you did get a live body, I waited for over 62 min. and nobody picked up the phone. The letter sent was for a 91 year old blind widow who cried all Christmas week thinking nobody cared. I too have left a comment and don't expect to hear back either. From now on I plan on using UPS and Fedex for any deliveries I really need to get to the destination.... Think you should do that too.

    Jan 11, 2018
  • anon

    Case HQ125924173 i have filed the claim its not done yet i e mailed to customer service few times do not get any response yet i have Tracking# 9405515901354728194156 never received my package yet very bad service

    Dec 23, 2015
  • anon

    I am well aware (mail was accepted after she questioned lack of info on add) of pkg in silver springs arrival 12/14/2015. Called the 1-800 number provided.. Person there told me I have the add number needed being 573, have your daughter (receiver) call here to have it REDELIVERED to her. I called her immediately, she called made arrangements to have it REDELIVERED, well it wasn't so she went TO p.o. To pick it up only to be told it was sent to Jacksonville, usps. Now the trouble starts, according to email I receive from tracking #9505 5139 5523 53452736 83 it sat in jack. From 12/15 to 12/20,,,, 12/20 in opa locka then on 12/20 back to Jacksonville. Where is my pkg. has gifts in it for a 7 yr old grandson. Port st. Lucie office visit was a joke. They handed me the tracking list with a sac astir it had an insufficient add... So I said I know all this he. Looked at me and said "next". Sarcastically ending it have a good day. He would not listen to me...saying I don't want to hear it. You had insufficient add. Where is my package. Once rejected in silver springs it should not take 7 days to be at my door. Where is my package. I am getting ignored, runaround.. No wonder your reviews are baddddddd. Next step for me is channel 12, they will get to the bottom of why it has not been returned to me

    Dec 23, 2015
  • anon

    I have been tracking a package I mailed to my daughter on November 18, 2015. My tracking # is 13151490000057512985. I sent the package from Virginia Beach Va. to Bartow Florida. The package arrived in Greensborough NC on November 20th. On today, December 22nd I received the box top with my name on it, none of the items I mailed. I went online to your site and read that USPS stated that I received the package back. I have talked to consumer affairs, mail recovery search. Back and forth to my local post office. I placed and itemized claim. USPS seemed to be making this already stressful process as complicated as possible. I truly believe someone working at USPS in Greensborough opened my package. USPS then sends me a piece of my box with my address on it apologizing then states I receive my package back. I am so frustrated with your system and the botch up way USPS has handled this. I need someone in your agency to step up with honesty help me find my package. Thank you

    Dec 22, 2015
  • anon

    Thank you for your message. Unfortunately, we are a federal law enforcement agency and this does not fall under our jurisdiction of fraud, theft, and misconduct. Please contact the Postal Service Consumer Affairs office (www.usps.com/help/welcome.htm or 1-800-222-1811) so they can look into the matter.

    Jan 06, 2016
  • anon

    This amazes me that you keep putting the same cut and paste message up in response to peoples complaints to what is suppose to be the united states postal service....WTH? I to have a package that I'm waiting on 9405503699300233061129, I have called the number that you give everyone to call ...ITS A DAM MACHINE! THAT KEEPS GIVING THE SAME LAME INFORMATION, IT SAYS THE LAST TIME MY PACKAGE WAS SCANNED WAS THE 6TH OF JAN 2016 AND ITS THE 8TH. I TO THINK THE POSTAL SERVICE IS GETTING WORSE AND WORSE AND WE SHOULD ALL GET TOGETHER AND GO TO ONE OF THE NEWS STATIONS AND HAVE AN INVESTIGATION DONE. WE HAVE HAD ALL KINDS OF STUFF MISSING THROUGH THE MAIL. MY MOM AND DAD EVEN HAD A TAX REFUND GO MISSING. even if I do get my package, I think we should all get together and get someone help us figure out where all you guys stuff went?

    Jan 08, 2016
  • anon

    They don't care....They're overpaid and totally incompetent. If you don't let them extort you for additional cost etc...etc..you'll never get a package delivered in a timely fashion that's if it even makes it destination. Use UPS or Fed Ex next time,they don't get paid much but at least your packages will get to there appointed destination.

    Apr 30, 2016
  • anon

    Your package Was sent on the 4th ... You received it on the 11th. That's just 7 business days. You did not pay for express (that is 2 day Guarentee) so I do not understand the complaint . You get what u pay for

    Feb 29, 2016
  • anon

    I mailed my package on the 16 the of Dec. 2016. I sent it Priority Mail, paid for Fragile Handling and insured it. My tracking # shows 1 scan at the post office where I mailed it. Still says its going to make destination on Dec. 19th. Are you saying I got what I paid for too? There needs to be serious investigations into the crookedness of the U.S. Postal Service. Mine never maid it to the first distribution office to have a second scan done. Explain that to me and be convincing!!!

    Jan 09, 2017
  • anon

    I have never been so disgusted or disappointed in the service I have been receiving from the usps . People delivering my mail must not know how to read as a lot of my mail goes to a house with the same house number different name different street. I get a money order every month my Oct. one is missing. This is the worst thing ever I just mailed a Christmas pkg. to my sister in Stuart Florida, they said it was delivered left near her mail box. Now I have no recourse I don't have receipts for handmade items. You can't put a price on these. I can't even file a claim without opening an account which it won't let me do first it takes my password then it won't. You can't get a person on the phone. 38 years ago I took that long 2 hour test for the post office and I passed but was never called Thank You very much I believe I was reversed discriminated against. Now I realize they want people who CANNOT read. in the mean time we are at the mercy of yet another dysfunctional government beaurocracy . Used to be of the people , by the people now it's Screw the people.

    Dec 22, 2015
  • anon

    My mom send a pakage express mail on Friday from puerto rico and my delivery was suppose tp be on saturday is now monday and my stuff is nowhere to be found this os the third time this happens is not fair no one does nothing i need my stuff it was paod for now iam stuck can someone helo woth this problem my tracking number is EK310237680US

    Dec 21, 2015
  • anon

    Tracking Number:9400109699939480405241 December 4, 2015 , 1:17 am Arrived at USPS Destination Facility ALLEN PARK, MI 48101. To Day is Dec.20 First-Class Package Service to 43558 has not Arrived 16 days later, 18 days from original shipping date of Dec.2. If lost I would like to know. I will have to reorder the part.

    Dec 20, 2015
  • anon

    I feel for you, i too am having a problem. On dec 7th i sent an envelop to GA priority mail and it hasn't arrived. its at a sorting center in jacksonville florida and it is a gift for my grandson for Christmas. I have sent packages in the past to GA and not a single one has ever arrived. the tracking number hasn't been updated since the 15th and for some reason it went to TN and never should have gotten there. I am so disgusted with the postal service anymore.

    Dec 23, 2015
  • anon

    By chance did your package go to North Metro? I to have sent. Letter it's at the North Metro hub no update on the tracking , I sent this on the 12th on the 15th N Metro received it says to be delivered on the 28th , here we sit on the1st 2016 , Happy F in New Year , thanks USPS , also your usps site sucks , not very user friendly .

    Jan 01, 2016
  • anon

    I shipped 2 pkgs from sacramento ca on 12/9/15. Destinations were on east coast a bout 10 miles apart. One arrived 12/15. The other has been sitting in Stockton CA since 12/10. I shipped from the 95829 office in Sacramento, CA. I called that office on 12/18 Friday at about 2pm. They were going to call Stockton and handle it. Never happened. I called again on Saturday at 11am. same person (walter). He said he'd call and call me back. Again, never happened. I stopped in there at 2:30pm that same day spoke with customer service. still nothing is happening when I look at tracking info online. This was mailed more than 2 weeks ahead of time and it's late only because of an error made at the office at 95829. This kind of thing happens there a lot. I want my package to arrive before christmas . tracking number is 9534 6000 1226 5343 0000 38. Please help me since the local office won't. Judith Burbeck

    Dec 20, 2015
  • anon

    I'm wondering why our carrier would deliver hey package that is insured with a hole in it and a slice like a knife right down the middle what is wrong with the Postal Service this is disgusting this is happening too often to my packages I will be going to the postal inspectors with this

    Dec 19, 2015

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