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

    For some reason USPS deemed my package I sent to my house in Charlotte N.C. as non-mail able. But I have not been forwarded a note, letter, or some form of professional courtesy to make me aware as to what has happened to my package. Where is it now? Greensboro? Mars....Is t there not a US postal policy to send me a notification of the whereabouts of my delivery.

    Jun 29, 2017
  • anon

    Received package today , 6/28/17- missing item from package. Key fob to a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Key fob was attached to a Dooney & Burke black Key ring and a square silver house key.

    Jun 28, 2017
  • anon

    My friend sent me something. In the mail on June 9 and I still haven't received anything and he's in Missouri and I'm in texas. It should have already came in the mail right

    Jun 27, 2017
  • anon

    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 on the USPS website.

    Jun 27, 2017
  • anon

    My package was out for shipping June 10 trAcking # 9505500015147161000040 they said it was scan but it only move 33mins away and no additional scan was made as they saying unable to locate tryed call Atlanta post off where it was ship from as well as my post office where it never reach and they said it may be in the mail recovery need to know if my package is still located there . It a red and black purse it was $50 insurance claim on my purse .

    Jun 26, 2017
  • anon

    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 on the USPS website.

    Jun 27, 2017
  • anon

    Aloha, I been sending money orders to the same address and it has been giving me problems ...they have not received the mail for 3 months now.. I check on one money order and it has not been cashed or sent to the company Lei

    Jun 26, 2017
  • anon

    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 on the USPS website.

    Jun 27, 2017
  • anon

    Aloha, I have lost a few mail going to the same address every month for the past few months .. I was wondering if I could fill out the Mail recovery center search request? Lei

    Jun 26, 2017
  • anon

    I mailed three bills at the USPS at 6193 Miami Gardens Drive, Miami Gardens, FL on Tuesday 6/20/2017 afternoon while driving my car, I put them in the 3rd mail box on the left in the drive through. As of now, late afternoon of 6/26/17 none of my bills have reached Pay Pal, Dade County Federal Credit Union VISA Dept., and Synchrony Financial. This has happened to me last month and I was charged late charges on my Miami Dade County Water bill that was never received after mailing the bill a week before it was due. I don't know what to do about this situation. It is costing me money and it is causing me extreme emotional stress. I also called the PO at 305 621-4721 several times today and I get no answer.

    Jun 26, 2017
  • anon

    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 on the USPS website.

    Jun 27, 2017
  • anon

    My tracking information, 9241993150873012272287, says my items (books), have been sent to the Mail Recovery Center. Have had no word on its process in over 2 weeks. Tracking tells be where it is and I have filled out the online form with tracking to recover it, but still no response.

    Jun 26, 2017
  • anon

    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 on the USPS website.

    Jun 27, 2017
  • anon

    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 on the USPS website.

    Jun 27, 2017
  • anon

    How do I know if a package sent to me has my correct address? RR403752504MT

    Jun 25, 2017
  • anon

    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 on the USPS website.

    Jun 26, 2017
  • anon

    I entered a tracking number, as a small package I mail was never received by the properly addressed recipient. Tracking #9405510899359274131717. A message appeared that my package was in the mail recovery center and considered "dead mail", and was not able to be forwarded to sender or person. I don't understand what is going on and why this has occurred. Could someone please help me get the package back. I've been on hold at the 800-275-8777 for over an hour. Please help. The value of the contents of this package was over $88.00, it was wallet that I sold via PoshMark web site. H E L P .

    Jun 24, 2017
  • anon

    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 on the USPS website.

    Jun 26, 2017
  • anon

    Uscis mailed my greencard to me on it was received by my post office in Newark NJ and it was scanned manually in but it was never scanned out of the post office and never delevierd to my adress the post office said that it is lost inside the facility. I am afraid that someone stole my greencard from inside the post office . If it does not appear I must do the process all over again and I can't afford it can you please help me what should I do . Thank you .

    Jun 23, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Marisa, 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. If your issue has not yet been resolved by the USPS Office of Consumer Affairs, please file a complaint with our Hotline by clicking the red button at the top of this page, so we can look into this matter for you. Very Respectfully, the USPS Office of Inspector General.

    Jun 23, 2017
  • anon

    On June 6th A Priority Mail Package had an incorrect Postal Rate adjusted at a local Post Office. The clerk negligently covered both address and return address making the package undeliverable. On June 8th the delivery Carrier noted that the package was undeliverable as addressed. On that day thanks to the tracking number I was notified that their was a problem. I attempted communicating with PO office 30309 Unfortunately they never answered phones both the 8th and the 9th which would have solved the problem had I been able to speak with the carrier. On June 10 the Package was transferred to 30320 Destination Facility to be sorted prior to being sent on June 21 to the Mail Recovery Center 30378 at 11:08 am on June 22, 2017 in ATLANTA, GA. It was stated that forwarding instructions were absent or because the address or ZIP Code on the label was incorrect. The alert sent to my email that my package had been found did not solve my problem. Inexplicably after 2 weeks of filling out form after form relating the missing package TRACKING to my Return Address at 21045 as well as the person Addressed to in Atlanta at 30309 STILL my Package is Lost!!!! How Come??? Does the USPS have a relational DATA BASE that connects Tracking Number to INQUIRES about LOST MAIL? I was told workers at the MRC will connect Lost Packages with Inquires. WHY in the world in the 21st century is Tracking at the MRC not relating the scanned Tracking number with the information supplied to the USPS since I was first notified that my package was lost? If a relational Data Base would do that, Many Man Hours would be saved as well as Many pieces of mail saved from being lost and recovered to its destination. My number Tracking # 9505 13225357 157143 711

    Jun 22, 2017
  • anon

    They ordered a package from the monthly candy club and it's still not here I found a way to track it and it says that it was not the wrong address it was not the right address and that it's still here in Las Vegas at the ups and if they're going to be sending it back how do I find out where this is before they send it back why are they sending it back it's the right address I think I know my address nobody stop by no UPS truck stop by you said they couldn't verify it how I've been here waiting for it for days

    Jun 22, 2017
  • anon

    I mailed a package on June 20th at a drop box located at 727 S. 32nd St, Muskogee, OK. 74401. The description of the package is a blue and white plastic resealable bag from HSN shopping network. The item did not include a delivery or return address as I forgot to put a label on it. The item inside of the package is a pair of black Iman jeans, with a return receipt enclosed. You can contact me at the above email address. Thank you

    Jun 22, 2017
  • anon

    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 on the USPS website. del

    Jun 22, 2017
  • anon

    I mailed a Birthday card and Fathers Day card together with a little cash inside. The card has not made it to it's destination and it's been longer than usual. I am very frustrated that we are unable to depend on or trust governement employees with handling packages and letters that include money or gift cards when this is their ONLY role. Can someone please look into this matter. I am very disappointed with USPS.

    Jun 22, 2017
  • anon

    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 on the USPS website.

    Jun 22, 2017
  • anon

    I work for a mortgage company in Houston, TX and on 6/7 i mailed a cashiers check but fail to recall if return address was added. I dropped the regular mail to the USPS location at 1900 W. Gray to a final destination address that is incorrect. Today, 6/21, I have went to the end address to check to see if mail was delivered and the employee at this location mentioned they gave it to the postmaster the day before 6/20. I went to the W. Gray location as well and did not get much help. I also filled a lost mail request but was told at the 1900 W. Gray location that it does not pertain to dead mail. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

    Jun 21, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Jeffrey, and thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service which investigates and audits internal fraud, waste, and abuse; 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, (1 (800) 275-8777), or file an online complaint with Customer Service. Very Respectfully, United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General

    Jun 21, 2017
  • anon

    We sent a Father's Day card on Friday from Annville post office with a gift card from lowes. When he received the card with no gift card inside. The card was taped shit and gift card was missing. Could you please look into this matter Tank You Dale Sweigart

    Jun 21, 2017
  • anon

    I work for dept of human services in Illinois. We have clients that use our address due to being homeless but never come in to pick up their mail. We cannot find policy on what to so with it. Any idea on federal guidelines for something like this? Would we return it to the postal service? Return to sender? Please advise

    Jun 20, 2017
  • anon

    Thank you for your question. Please give the mail to your letter carrier to return to sender.

    Jun 21, 2017
  • anon

    I received my package and it was empty .

    Jun 20, 2017
  • anon

    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 on the USPS website.

    Jun 21, 2017
  • anon

    I sent my federal tax return via mail on April 15th. Just spent 20 mins on the phone with the IRS trying to figure out why I didn't get my return. Turns out they never got it! I sent my state one at the same time and got that with no problem. The envelope was never returned to me for any error either. I dropped off in the mailbox outside of my local post office. Any possibility it can be tracked down at that location to avoid my penalties?

    Jun 20, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Amber, and thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service which investigates and audits internal fraud, waste, and abuse; 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, (1 (800) 275-8777), or file an online complaint with Customer Service. Very Respectfully, United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General Team

    Jun 20, 2017
  • anon

    I already sent information, but forgot to add 9114901230801450323794. Thank you!

    Jun 19, 2017
  • anon

    I mailed a money order on June 5th to a business which should have arrived already. The business' physical address changed and they still havent received payment 10 days later. How can i recover or track money order?

    Jun 15, 2017
  • anon

    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 on the USPS website.

    Jun 16, 2017
  • anon

    I am very frustrated due to the fact that my envelope I sent June 1st did not arrive to its destination until June 15t. Not only did it take two weeks to be delivered but the envelope was ripped open and the contents inside were gone. I was wondering what my options were in retaining my belongings as they were very important.

    Jun 15, 2017
  • anon

    I'm in the same boat. college papers lost in limbo. Not scanned. Almost a month. Who can we get help from. Already contacted USPS in all forms. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

    Jun 22, 2017
  • anon

    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 on the USPS website.

    Jun 16, 2017
  • anon

    i went on vacation from 5-19-17 thru 6-10-17. I mailed form to put hold on mail during that time & I would pick it up on my return. Went to post office near me on 6-11-17 but they only had mail from that date. I waited for three days but still haven't received lost mail. I had to go to my bank to get copy of bank statement on account to balance. I am very concerned someone can get personal info. Please HELP!

    Jun 15, 2017
  • anon

    I am glad someone is doing something about this!! Think how much crap these employees go home with everyday!! No one claims in 30 days then free for the taking!! This unethical and being part of the government this office should be overseen by FBI or similar agencies! I have personally lost thousands of dollars in amplifier (car audio) that cost $1000-$1800 each and hard to find but yet only cover $100. I am going to take my information to my source and this scam will be revealed to a lot of news tv viewers!! Thank you OIG

    Jun 14, 2017
  • anon

    Hello, I am trying to recover dead mail. A certified check was forwarded to dead mail. The Certified Mail No. is 7015 1520 0001 7063 7485. I am having trouble filing to find this. It is important that we recover this for our company. I am hoping to find some answers to recover this promptly.

    Jun 13, 2017
  • anon

    Hello Daveline, 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.

    Jun 13, 2017
  • anon

    How can I track a piece of mail sent from post office in Gulfport Miss, to Greer, South Carolina? This #10 envelope with proper postage was mailed at the Gulfport post office on Monday, June 5, 2017, not received to date.

    Jun 12, 2017
  • anon

    Hello Nancy, 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.

    Jun 13, 2017
  • anon

    Hi ,I was supposed to receive an important package from California to Melbourne, Florida but I have not yet received it.It has been almost three weeks since then.I don't have a tracking no also.Please help me out.

    Jun 12, 2017
  • anon

    My pay check was mailed to wrong address. Zip code and street was correct but number was wrong I called the 800 number but no option exists for this and cannot speak to anyone. How do I resolve this as I need my pay

    Jun 12, 2017
  • anon

    My daughter sent a letter with a money order and my EBT card over a month ago. How can I find out what happened if it was picked up by the mailman

    Jun 11, 2017

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