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.

[Paragraph redacted]

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.

Read Full Report

Comments (679)

  • anon

    Hi Mary, 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 12, 2017
  • anon

    I know that I have not been receiving all my mail since March, I just started receiving bits and pieces of it. I had very important documents and financial info that I never received. I believe someone is forwarding my mail w/o my knowledge, what can I do?

    Jun 09, 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.

    Jun 09, 2017
  • anon

    I mistakingly mailed a small card size envelope to my mother with a little cash and a note to her. I realized I forgot to stamp it. I also neglected to put my return address on it. I know better than this. I was in a hurry and under stress. Long story short....is there anyway to recover this piece of mail if I provided you with the recipients information?

    Jun 07, 2017
  • anon

    Hello Rebecca, 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.

    Jun 07, 2017
  • anon

    My purse is in the mail drop shoot how can I get it back..nobody is answering their phones. Wow I just wanna know if ibcan het my stuff back

    Jun 05, 2017
  • anon

    My tracking # 9534611931027140044088 It was still on my package and scanned when it hit the facility my name and address is listed with the tracking number. I was wondering why you couldn't send me my package when the address is clearly with the tracking number. I am missing a red sweatshirt but stays " I promise honey this is my last horse" or somewhere on the lines of that. I got it for myself for a motherday gift. I never get myself anything. I guess thats what i get for thinking about myself.

    Jun 05, 2017
  • anon

    My tracking # 9534611931027140044088 It was still on my package and scanned when it hit the facility my name and address is listed with the tracking number. I was wondering why you couldn't send me my package when the address is clearly with the tracking number. I am missing a red sweatshirt but stays " I promise honey this is my last horse" or somewhere on the lines of that. I got it for myself for a motherday gift. I never get myself anything. I guess thats what i get for thinking about myself.

    Jun 05, 2017
  • anon

    My ole man sent me $280 through the mail about 4 days ago anf I still havnt got it . It does not have a tracking number . If y'all would please try and see if it might have got sent there for some reason . It's under the name Nichole Vasques

    Jun 02, 2017
  • anon

    Hello, I filed a missing mail recovery form, and the envelope in question had tracking on it, I received a letter, with no tracking number even typed out on it. Please get back to me as soon as possible with how I can file once online, I have screen shots on my phone providing where the envelope has been for, about 3 months id say now, thank you for your time.

    Jun 02, 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 02, 2017
  • anon

    I sent a package regular mail, no tracking,to my son . No value, strictly sentimental.he did not receive it. Is there any hope of finding this? In a bubble envelope and I gad a return address sticker but it may have come off. Thank you for your time Judie savage

    May 31, 2017
  • anon

    i had a package lost since 5/15/17 in el.centro cali. 92243 n this is the package track # eh930875563us. i have called the 1800 number n nothen has been done about it. i talk to the post office in chatt . n el.centro n nothen. i just want my mail plez help me find it .

    May 31, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Richard, 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. Very Respectfully, The USPS Office of Inspector General

    May 31, 2017
  • anon

    I sent a regular size birthday card envelope to New York from Los Angeles two weeks ago and they still have not received the card. Did r get lost in the mail? How can I retrieve my card because there was a gift inside!

    May 31, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Karlie, 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. Very Respectfully, The USPS Office of Inspector General

    May 31, 2017
  • anon

    This is the same answer to every question I've read. Do you really help anyone?

    Jun 08, 2017
  • anon

    I am trying to look for a package sent to MRC. Post office told me to go on line and fill out a form with my tracking number. I have been looking for 30 minutes to try to find a form. How do I fill a form to find my package at the MRC that it was sent to? Tracking says DEAD MAIL.Sent to Mail Recovery Center.

    May 29, 2017
  • anon

    HI Barbara, Thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service which investigates 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, 800- 275-8777, or file an online complaint with Customer Service.

    May 30, 2017
  • anon

    What happens if a package is never picked up from the post office, is it destroyed or resent?

    May 25, 2017
  • anon

    I had a package sent to me and the label came off at my local post office in Kokomo Indiana. Someone attached it to another package and my original package got sent to the MRC, Even though I went to the Kokomo post office asking for someone to go in the back and look for it three different times. Then I was handed a MRC form that later I found out was never sent to the MRC. My company delivers tens of thousands pieces of mail into the USPS system every week. I would of expected a little bit more professional help from the Kokomo post office, I sent numerous emails to them and left a ton of messages for them to call me back, no one ever did. VERY disappointed with a crew of people whom I supply them work so they can feed their families.

    May 25, 2017
  • anon

    I mailed an first class package to my uncle and it says it's delivered but he had never get to see the item that i had send it to him. I even filled a claim biw they are saying there's nothing i can get in refund cuz of the policy. I don't even understand why they had update the status as delivered if the item was never delivered to him. And now they are just saying that they can't do anything about it. This is total ignorance and I can't trust usps for any future services.

    May 24, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Uma, 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

    May 25, 2017
  • anon

    How do I contact the mail recovery center?

    May 23, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Emmanuel, 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, 800-275-8777, or file an online complaint with Customer Service on the USPS website.

    May 24, 2017
  • anon

    I mailed a letter inside of a white postal envelope, signature required, to a Shell Knob Mo post office box, from Tulsa Ok on Thursday May 18, 2017. It's sitting in Springfield Mo, a no reason delay. I was assured 2 days, Saturday. What is the problem? I've had cards stolen, pkgs stolen.. It's getting ridiculous. Are Postal workers stealing? It's strange that's for sure. I would hope you have cameras. I asked a postal worker here when the card was stolen & she said, 'Yeah that happens..sorry.' That's just absurd. Someone needs to help ale initiative & make it harder to steal mail.

    May 21, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Joan, thanks for your message. The best way for us to handle this situation is for you to file a complaint with the OIG Hotline. You can do that by clicking on the red button at the top of the page that reads "report fraud, waste, and abuse." This will allow us to look into this issue further. Very Respectfully, The USPS Office of Inspector General

    May 22, 2017
  • anon

    I left two money orders in my landlords mailbox, not addressed but in an envelope without postage, apparently the mail man took it when he delivered mail and put it in outgoing mail. I called immediately and was told it would go to Atlanta, GA where it would be opened, at which point I felt better as my name, street address and zip code are on the actual money orders, it's been 14 days and nothing has come back to me. I'm panicked, I don't have the money to pay another rent, where are my money orders?

    May 20, 2017
  • anon

    i mailed an important envelope to my wedding venue about two weeks ago i live in yuba city ca and the venue is in placerville ca is there a way to find where it is or why it hasnt gotten to the venue yet?

    May 19, 2017
  • anon

    I mailed a letter to pay my bill, your automated machines destroyed my money order. Now your post office in Riverside Ca. Refuse to compensated me on the $15 Westwern Union charges for refunding the $125 I original sent. It's your machines, they destroyed the M.O. You should be liable

    May 18, 2017
  • anon

    I have a package that I sent to a friend but on tracking it says dead mail sending to recovery center. How can I get this back or even better why can't this be delivered to her or at least back to me?

    May 17, 2017
  • anon

    I mailed two birthday cards at the same time, for my twin grandsons, age 4, only one was recieved, it's been a week and a half, so my daughter is holding Jahn's until Matthew's comes in, mailed from Slidell la, to Jeffersonville indiana.

    May 17, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Dana, 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.

    May 18, 2017
  • anon

    To whom it may concern my name is Carol lahera I have a tracking number 940-011-0200 793 367 02779 9 and I have a case number CA 13256 631 this is a piece of mail that I sent out on April the 18th 2017 it made its destination from what I know and I guess it got returned back that was on April 26th 2017 on May 1st 2017 it was in Los Angeles with no more movement and this is where I got this case number because it's lost and for what I know it's in the mail Recovery Center Atlanta Georgia if that's right if someone can please email me back and let me know cuz I have very very important documents

    May 16, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Carol, 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, (1 (800) 275-8777), or file an online complaint with Customer Service.

    May 17, 2017
  • anon

    I sent two boxes from Estero Florida post office located on Three Oaks st. 33928 I sent them April 20th. The postmaster said it would take seven to ten days to get to my home address if 193 Flanders Road Stonington CT. 06378. I have medications in them and other items I am deeply concerned about. The tracking number has been misplaced. What avenues of recovery can be explored to help locate them. It has been almost a month. Your help would be greatly appreciated. Bonnie

    May 16, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Bonnie, 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, (1 (800) 275-8777), or file an online complaint with Customer Service.

    May 17, 2017
  • anon

    I need a form to fill out, to find all Maggie missing items that came from Germany, to be faxed to the Mail Recovery Center in Atlanta Georgia . I could not find the electronic form online . Can you help ?

    May 12, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Carl, 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. United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General Team

    May 12, 2017
  • anon

    My mother mailed a box from Vauxhall, NJ on 5/3/2017 with tracking # 9534615602367123071434 and was to be delivered by 5/9/17 but has not been received yet. Upon tracking it showed it was sent to Jersey City recovery station as dead mail. Please we need help retrieving the big post office brown box 20x14x10 inches. Thank you so much!

    May 12, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Dorcas, 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. United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General Team

    May 12, 2017
  • anon

    I moved from New York to Louisiana and shipped a box containing some of my most important items to my Louisiana destination. I have not received it. There is not only over $1,000 of items in the box but there is also paintings that mean the WORLD to me and are irreplaceable. I filled out a missing mail report with my local postmaster and still.. nothing! My heart is broken over this box. PLEASE HELP ME!

    May 11, 2017
  • anon

    Hello my situation is so similar to your. I mailed a huge box from nyc to texas because i was moving back and its still in transit for the past two months.....curious but was your situation ever resolved? I have so many important things and I went to missing mail and reported a handful of the items with photos to see if the recovery center can track anything down and nothing......please let me know if your situation was resolved it will give me some peace of mind.

    May 19, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Ridge, 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

    May 11, 2017
  • anon

    The Jacksonville Post office had my renewal passport information come open and the contents came out. I received back my passport application with my new passport photo. I received back my check for $110. I really appreciate that they returned that to me. However, I have not received my expiring passport. It has my name, Ken Noftz, on it but I don't think it has an address or phone number. Can you help me find this?

    May 09, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Ken, 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. United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General Team

    May 11, 2017
  • anon

    I CONTACTED EVANSTON USPS REGARDING A PAYMENT MADE FOR MY POST OFFICE BOX 5860 AND MY $30.00 MONEY ORDER WAS SENT TO YOUR FACILITY AND NO SUPERVISOR NOR POST OFFICE BOX EMPLOYEE HANDLER IS AVAILABLE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS AS TO THE STATUS OF MY POST OFFICE BOX AT THIS TIME. MRS. SUE, PART TIME EMPLOYEE, COULD NOT HELP ME. PLEASE CONTACT ME AT #708-253-2305 AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. MY ENTIRE MAILINGS HAVE BEEN LOST/RETURNED, ETC. PAYMENT NOT ACCEPTED BECAUSE IT IS $30.00 INSTEAD OF $27.00!!!

    May 09, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Maria. 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

    May 10, 2017
  • anon

    I mailed a box from Kenosha Wi on March 4.2017 for 29.79 tracking number 9534612672627063067842 and they gave me another Number CA132497715. I never received this Box. I received part of the box, the label of my address and my daughter address in which it was supposed to been sent. I did received a call on March 27,2017 . the man telling me, he had my box at the post office and it would arrive 2-8 business day. march 28-april 6. still not here. I don't understand WHY!!!! can you help me receiving my box? I have been told to call this number and that number. no one seem to have a good answer. again don't know why????? please send it to 1047 Montecito way Ramona Ca 92065 in care of my daughter Bethany Boruff.

    May 08, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Eve, 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

    May 09, 2017

Pages