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

    I received a letter with copy of check that had gotten seperated from its envelope. It is my check but not sure how retrieve my check. Could you please let me know what to do It took me awhile to find this section so I hope to here from you to let me know my next step. Thank you so much for bringing to my attention Sharon D. Morrison

    Sep 19, 2017
  • anon

    I had a VA pension check sent to me here in Temple, TX but the VA had the wrong address. I went by said wrong address to check for mail but there is no such address. What likely happened to my letter?

    Sep 18, 2017
  • anon

    My mail never showed up and it's been 2 weeks since it's been sent out

    Sep 18, 2017
  • anon

    What do you do with 'dead mail'? We lost several books sent via media mail through USPS. Some people received empty envelopes, some never received a package. The books all went to people we know. Now someone is selling a used book with a damaged cover on Amazon. Do you sell books that are 'lost'?

    Sep 18, 2017
  • anon

    I have not received my mail' a big luggage. It is a 28'' 18'' 10'' (nearly) luggage with blackish dark-blue color, and nearly 55 lbs . Please help me to find it because I urgently need this staff... I have submitted the lost mail search request but they said that they were currently searching it, and then nobody has return me back.

    Sep 18, 2017
  • anon

    Im trying to find my mail..i forgot to put a stamp on it

    Sep 18, 2017
  • anon

    I mailed a letter Aug. 31 to Tampa Florida and they didn't get it.

    Sep 16, 2017
  • anon

    I go to Virginia Union University and I suppose to get a package my mom send me with boxed food in it but I didn't receive it yet. I was suppose to get it on Thursday and I never got it so my mom tracked the number and it said it was at the post office but I have not received it yet.

    Sep 16, 2017
  • anon

    My wallet and belt was being mailed to me and I haven't received them.

    Sep 14, 2017
  • anon

    I live in zip code 33437. I have not rec'd mail since 9/7/2017. I am concerned because my bills and magazines and important information should have been delivered.

    Sep 13, 2017
  • anon

    I received an empty envelope from my friend in prison. It was the beginning of August. It was a bracelet, that had sky blue beads and gold beads look kind of like Chinese beads. It had two crosses and between the crosses it had praying hands. If you find it please let me know would be appreciated. Thank you

    Sep 07, 2017
  • anon

    I live in the city of Atlanta, Ga. My zip code is 30318. For the past two days, I have not had any mail delivered to my house, and that goes the same for my neighbors. My entire neighborhood has not had any mail delivered to them either. We have phoned the 800 number but get no answer, the phone just ring, and rings, and that also goes for the local number. What shall we do to fix this problem?

    Sep 06, 2017
  • anon

    Was mailed tuesday morning from the post office beside sunny restaurant I handed it to the mail working my self .also had a returned address in it so it is no reason I have even got it back yet.

    Sep 06, 2017
  • anon

    The same thing happened to me last week. I dropped 2 packages off at the post office last week, one has been delivered, the other doesn't even show it got checked in. My customer is getting upset and I have no answers for them. Without the package showing it got checked in, there's no proof I even dropped it off at the post office.

    Sep 12, 2017
  • anon

    I mailed out about 60 reunion yearbooks and out of those about 10 were I think opened and then never closed back properly as I have been told with media mail it is sometimes opened to inspect that it is indeed media. Well I have 10 people who now do not have their books and because I got a special rate on printing them because of volume I can not replace these lost books for what they cost the first time. I got pieces of the torn envelopes and some form to fill out so I filled them out and sent them to the Atlanta Mail Recovery Center. I sent them pictures and gave complete description of the books but have not heard a word back yet. Is there a way to talk to someone there and see if they have been able to find my books? Thanks for your help. Julie Slobodnik

    Sep 06, 2017
  • anon

    I am aastha dahal a nepalese student studying in the USA.me and my husband had applied for canadian bisiyor visa and sent out our passports visa usps to VAC office in new york(290 Madison ave,ny,10017).they sent out our passport in a stamped usps envelope without tracking number on May 26th 2017 to 1820E Johnson Ave,apt 3,jonesboro,ar,72401.but we haven't reveived the mail till date.Since it has our passports in it it is vety important that we find it.PLEASE HELP.I HAVE ALREADY FILED 4CASES OF MISSING MAIL WITH USPS BUT GOT NO REPLY

    Sep 06, 2017
  • anon

    I recieved an empty envelope on Sept 5th 2017 from my son sent from State Prison in Tracy Ca the envelope was empty and on the outside of empty envelope in ink hand written it said no content. If you find a letter saying Hi Mom and he would have sighned love Jim or possibly Jimmy It would have been on small tablet size lined paper color of paper white. That would be letter written to me by my son. The handwritten no content has the numbers 7223 Thank you

    Sep 06, 2017
  • anon

    I have been missing a package for about 5 months and usps has not been doing a great job on helping to finding it! I need to be sure it's still out and not destroyed. Please contact me soon

    Sep 05, 2017
  • anon

    I mailed a payment at the post office with other bills. One particular payment did not reach its destination. This is the 2nd time this has happened when mailing from the post office rather than my resident box. This does need to be corrected as I am responsible for the stop payment fee through my bank due to this payment not being made. Please respond

    Sep 02, 2017
  • anon

    My sent me a letter from Indonesia and has the wrong numbers on the address. Is there a way I can get the letter?

    Sep 02, 2017
  • anon

    I had a letter send to me from Denver I'm in Kingman Arizona they sent it the 25th how do I track it and where is it at it's very very important

    Sep 02, 2017
  • anon

    I had an important document sent over to an older address I had, forgetting it was on my ID. I need that document. Is there any way I can recover that mail as I no longer live at the address that it was sent to.

    Sep 01, 2017
  • anon

    Need to find out if a letter I sent to Ontario Canada ended up there. Has not ben delivered to them or sent back to me. Would like to be able to talk with someone soon.

    Aug 30, 2017
  • anon

    I did a change of address for me and my fiancé a month ago and still have not yet received any piece of mail and when I went up there to the post office they told me that my mail was probably at my old address which someone lives there now or returned to sender and I have important things in the mail for my son and have no way of retrieving it so what do I do

    Aug 29, 2017
  • anon

    I've never received my mail from several different places such as work,DMV, my bank

    Aug 27, 2017
  • anon

    I ordered an item from an internet provider and they had failed to change our address and the item was delivered to our old address and the Apt. complex said no one ever turned in any mail sent to our old apt. address . We put in a change of address and it should have been redirected as a result of the change of address. The item missing is now and location is unknown

    Aug 27, 2017
  • anon

    Hello Sharon , 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.

    Aug 28, 2017
  • anon

    Missing package mailed from DC to Houston. USPS completely clueless and have no idea what happened.

    Aug 24, 2017
  • anon

    I am not able find my important document that has been mailed to me

    Aug 22, 2017
  • anon

    I'm just wondering if I can forward each piece of mail from a person that moved from Oregon to Idaho or do I have to Bunch them all in one package and pay for the postage?

    Aug 21, 2017
  • anon

    I recently moved and got a new address. Someone sent me an item, but they had the incorrect new address. What can I do to retrieve my item?

    Aug 19, 2017
  • anon

    I work for a bank a client came in to drop off some documents for a co-worker. And our branch manager took the documents and put them on the counter. And the post office person took the documents. I work in the mailroom for. The bank the post office person should of not taken the documents

    Aug 16, 2017
  • anon

    Ive been waiting almost a month on my check to be sent and i have yet recieve it

    Aug 15, 2017
  • anon

    Changed my address a while ago and I DON'T think that I am getting all my mail !! How can I find out ????

    Aug 15, 2017
  • anon

    Our mail is not being delivery according to standards

    Aug 15, 2017
  • anon

    I have a package that I dropped in the mail and there is no sign of it through the tracking number. I've been to the first sorting facility myself, and spoke with the supervisor. There is no sign of the package. What do I do? Thanks.

    Aug 14, 2017
  • anon

    I have an item I am supposed to be receiving but the zip code was wrong, everything else is right. I sent for a reship but it was the automated service, should I have used the wrong zip code to find my item? I put the tracking number and everything so I figured if I changed the address it'd be ok. Please get back to me

    Aug 12, 2017
  • anon

    I have an item I am supposed to be receiving but the zip code was wrong, everything else is right. I sent for a reship but it was the automated service, should I have used the wrong zip code to find my item? I put the tracking number and everything so I figured if I changed the address it'd be ok. Please get back to me

    Aug 12, 2017
  • anon

    Never. My package got stolen at the office and now i have to file a claim.

    Aug 12, 2017
  • anon

    Tracking nr. CN032662425ZA I want to resend this parcel to MS The original address the parcel must go is Tackett Fish Farms (Zane Fourie) 23939 County Road 523 Schlater, MS 38952 Thank you

    Aug 07, 2017
  • anon

    Constantly receive neighbors mail, only the good lord knows where our mail is going. Ugh!

    Aug 07, 2017
  • anon

    I mail my rent payment Friday I meant to mail it to 350 Simmons but put 650 instead what do I do

    Aug 07, 2017
  • anon

    The mail man came to drop of a letter that needed to be signed for but wasnt home then two days letter i went to oick it up and the supervisor told me sorry for the inconvenience but the guy who did the mail misplaced your letter he took my number and email and still no contact i also went again and nothing how do i file a complaint or go about this situation because it could of either been my letter from the nypd or fdny or another important document but they misplaced it at their local office.

    Aug 06, 2017
  • anon

    i mailed a letter out last Monday from cincinnati to chicago. why hasn't it arrived? it's going on two weeks

    Aug 05, 2017
  • anon

    My mother accidentally stacked a few checks with her mail and put them in the mailbox. Where would they go? And how do we go about getting them back?

    Aug 04, 2017
  • anon

    We moved recently but pur mail stopped coming to our old address. We had not filled out moving forms yet pur mailbox was still up but we went from receiving mail to no mail. Bills were being returned to sender without our knowledge or consent. Now I have no idea where any of pur mail is. Why would our post office decide to stop delivering our mail???????

    Aug 03, 2017
  • anon

    Soooooo am I ever gonna get my "dead mail"????? Pretty sad my money can be taken but my product disappears for no reason?? I would like my hat

    Aug 03, 2017
  • anon

    I sent this guy an item via usps, and he told me that he doesn't want them anymore. He also said that if you guys deliver them, he would keep them without paying me. I was wondering if you could send the item back to me so that he will not steal the item from me.

    Aug 02, 2017
  • anon

    Trying to get back a package that says it went to recovery center as dead mail.. It had a return address, so I don't quiet understand.

    Aug 02, 2017
  • anon

    I deposited 3, pieces of mail at the address 1113, highway 101 depoe bay Oregon, out going box July 10th. My family haven't recived they're birthday cards, I contacted the post office on depoe bay the post master told me that since I didn't have a tracking number he couldn't do anything about it, I put cash in those birthday cards. Please help me I can't believe your mail career stole my money. Your Maria Whitney

    Aug 01, 2017

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