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

    My package has been missing, from 4-2 2017.(9505 5143 8241 7088 0199 58). Can you please help me. All my personal info is lost!

    May 08, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Willie, 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

    May 09, 2017
  • anon

    someone claimed to have mailed to me two very expensive mobile devices and she claimed that since she lost her receipt that the post office would not help her can you help me expose this liar ? She is guilty of other fraud and she needs to be stopped she also claims to have mailed a snap benefits card that I never received. Please help

    May 06, 2017
  • anon

    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 on the USPS website.

    May 09, 2017
  • anon

    no one can tell me where this package is that tracking number is 927-489-9995 587-457-324 759-0292

    May 04, 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, (1 (800) 275-8777), or file an online complaint with Customer Service at the USPS Website.

    May 04, 2017
  • anon

    no one can tell me where this package is that tracking number is 927-489-9995 587-457-324 759-0292

    May 04, 2017
  • anon

    A letter was mailed before I was finished addressing it.No return address wrong Zipcode

    May 03, 2017
  • anon

    hi i was just very worry because i mail out two money order but they didn't reach my destination or the person who suppose to receive it didn't receive my money order so i want to know where do i go from here now i never have this problem before this is the first time that happen to me

    May 01, 2017
  • anon

    I sell online (EBay) and shipped 2 items via Parcel Select....one going to North Carolina and the other to California. The packages were never scanned in (postal worker remembers picking up@ my location). It has been over 2 weeks and these items have never been scanned in or show any tracking information (tried to track internally). I ship almost daily and this has never happened, but now the Post Office acts as if the items were never picked up and they never existed. I've had to refund money to buyers. I have filed missing mail report, but since it was never scanned there's no records. It almost seems as if someone noticed the boxes weren't scanned and just disappeared with them (not sure if this is possible) but they couldn't have both vanished without a trace. What else can be done to find these packages? I'm out of almost $400.

    Apr 28, 2017
  • anon

    This has been going on at our condo building since there has been a change in carriers and or different carriers. I revive utilities bills from other neighbors . These are important pieces of mail and the carrier needs to take care in making sure it is placed in the correct mail boxes. I have been having this issue for the past couple of months and it needs to stop !

    Apr 19, 2017
  • anon

    I had an item, a fender guitar neck that was opened or destroyed during shipping and was sent to the MRC, how can I get that item back or have it sent to the whom it was being sent too?

    Apr 19, 2017
  • anon

    la pine post office lost a key to my truck i would much like to not have to bill you for the cost of a new ignition

    Apr 18, 2017
  • anon

    I am trying to locate two Easter cards that never reached their destination (Scotland, UK). I did have my return address in the upper left corner of the envelopes. Where can I go from here?

    Apr 18, 2017
  • anon

    A flat rate priority signature confirmation was mailed from Billings MT and was last scanned at Des Moines IA on Friday, April 14, 2017 and no one seems to know what happened to it. Enclosed was personal information. Did everyone drop the ball since almost 4 days ago? Yes they did, it is in LA LA Land.

    Apr 17, 2017
  • anon

    Wonderful. So the Missing Mail Center, the only hope for those who have lost a package after paying (or a sender having paid) for USPS's service, is useless. Just fantastic. I cannot BELIEVE a government agency trusted with millions of people's correspondences can get away with this.

    Apr 16, 2017
  • anon

    I am still waiting for a letter that have yet to get to me from Minneapolis, Minnesota and I'm in Orlando Florida. It has now been 7 days.

    Apr 16, 2017
  • anon

    I mailed a letter to my daughter Jacquesha Bell in Milwaukee Wisconsin and she has not received it yet it 2weeks since April 3 2017

    Apr 13, 2017
  • anon

    I have a missing package via media mail. a visual scan was last done in Gerard Ohio 44420 sorting center. on March 6 2017. no more tracking information. tracking # 9449009699938242907759. The package contained 9 binders titled Success with House Plants I have called the postal services every week with no success. I hope this inquiry will be successful. thank you.

    Apr 13, 2017
  • anon

    I sent three books by media mail to my son altoghether in one USPS bubble envelope. One was a book on tape..".When breath becomes air" another was a paperback book "Healthy and Lean: The Science of Metabolism and the Psychology of Weight Management".. Only the book entitled "Left To Tell" reached him. The envelope was sealed and not damaged when I sent it and also sealed nicely and not damaged when he got it. Did someone steal the two new books or did the package open itself up? If you have a place to look for these items please let me know. Thank you Heidi Riveron

    Apr 12, 2017
  • anon

    I mailed a box, media mail approx 6 wks ago from stuart, fl to denver, colorado. It sat in jacksonville, origin facility for 1 month prior to being mailed to mail recovery center in denver..zip 80217. As of April 11, 2017, it has not been received by the addressee. I have filed weekly, a complaint and paperwork to locate and deliver this box of books/text books to my daughter who had recently moved to denver. The tracking number is 9549016313237059112166. . I was also given other numbers for this case.. CA132421294, search ID # 1687474, and 1832232.

    Apr 11, 2017
  • anon

    In all honesty, what is the purpose of this website? To let people vent? We want action, not a place to complain about our lost mail. Most of us have already complained enough to our local post offices & have been told to complete the mail search request form which typically leads nowhere fast. Rather than create a page where hundreds of people can complain, why not provide a way for us to contact the MRC directly since that's where our stuff is? How is my post office supposed to help me with a package that is collecting dust in a facility that is over a 1000 miles away? I submitted the mail search request for 2 weeks ago & haven't heard a peep besides that initial automated response. Meanwhile, the post office did have the nerve to send me a survey requesting my feedback. The fact that the MRC is run by an outside contractor sheds new light on the matter. No accountability. I see why the post office is losing money. If this continues, I may have to go with Fedex or UPS.

    Apr 10, 2017
  • anon

    Hello I'm Lucas Whalen and I've had a problem with my package. Here is my tracking number below. I've been so close to retrieving it! Please help. 9505513183067086071003

    Apr 10, 2017
  • anon

    I mailed 2 separate money orders to my sisters. One has received my envelope inside a USPS envelope stamped arrived without contents and damaged due to inclement weather. The $100 money order wrapped in a sale paper missing. Arrived in Grand Rapids MI that way. My other sister hasn't received her money order for $150. Both envelopes were mailed in USPS blue box in Springfield MI by the police station. Something is fishy about this.

    Apr 08, 2017
  • anon

    Hello, I'm very concern about the fact that I moved almost 2 months ago and have not reviewed any forwarded mail. I have called and went up the post office in Romulus where I used to the post office in canton mi. My old address was 16433 Eastwind St Romulus , Mi 48174 and my new address is 50131 Harding St. Canton, Mi 48188. I called customer service several times and they continue to tell me that the mail with the yell stickers will show up soon, but it hasn't and I'm waiting to receive importabt documents and mail. Please help me or direct me in what I should do next. Thank you.

    Apr 08, 2017
  • anon

    In December 2017 a friend mailed my a Christmas card and I never received it. Just this week (4/2017) a 17 pound box was never delivered to my address. I went to VAN NUYS USPS hub to Canoga Park HUB and was told it would be sent to SANTA CLARITA ? My zip is 91302 Where Do I go for lost mail?

    Apr 07, 2017
  • anon

    i mailed out a 2 letters on march 24th 2 money orders was inside for my car payment a total off 1.000$ and i dont have my reciept i mailed it in the mailbox out side of my post office i was wondering if you guys can track it

    Apr 05, 2017
  • anon

    I've been trying to locate my SSI check, it's been mailed out already. I checked with Social security office it's been mailed already. And I just left the post office as well, please assist me with my dilemma....

    Apr 04, 2017
  • anon

    I used the ground shipping to send items such as two pair of shoes, Jackets, Shirts which were brand new. The weigh of the package was over 8lb. Apparently it has been lost on its way to its destination. Well I understand that sometimes it happens and you don't really have any control over it. But, with USPS I saw a trend and occurrences of these type of activity which makes you think if this is an accident or there is actually someone/something that should be held accountable. I have lost my faith on the gifts I bought for my parents from my hard earned money but I learned my lesson hard way. DO NOT USE USPS from now on.

    Apr 03, 2017
  • anon

    I had one go missing after it cleared customs my local post office told me someone probably stole it from one of their centers seems to be more dishonest usps employees than there are honest ones but the usps doesn't care they just give you a big FU. had the seller reserve package using dhl then will transfer to FedEx so I'll know for sure I'll get it this time

    Apr 04, 2017
  • anon

    I mailed confidential information via priority mail. It appears to have been lost by the Memphis post office, and no one will help me locate it!

    Mar 31, 2017
  • anon

    My situation is a little different. I ordered a prepaid debit card online to my address on March 7. I was given the banking information for the card when I ordered it and was told I would receive it in 5-7 days. I filled my return and was getting my refund deposited to the account on the 18th which I should have had the card by then. Well I didn't so I called them and they then said I would have it by the 23rd the latest. It's the 30th, still haven't received the card so I called them back again and I was told it was sent back to them. I certainly didn't send it back and I receive all my other mail to this address with no problem, it's where I live, it's the address in my license it makes no sense to me why the post office would send it back. I verified that they sent it to the right address and they did so I'm completely confused. I was afraid to have them send it back again to this address so I had them send it to my mother in laws house as I used to live there and still get mail there sometimes. I just have to hope this time they actually deliver it. I need this money and have been waiting almost a month now, and it will be over a month by the time I get it. Can you tell me why this happened???

    Mar 30, 2017
  • anon

    I would just like to know are there any other mailing services , because I put my mail directly in a blue collection box at 4:15, with the last collection time being 5:00pm on Kennedy boulevard in Jersey City , New Jersey and it never reached its destination. I lost the stub and was unable to track it or get my money back. Also someone sent mail directly to my house I have yet to receive it. I mean come on this service has been around long enough to get it right every time, but instead what do we get??? I filled out a claim form and no one has informed me of anything. Smh.

    Mar 30, 2017
  • anon

    Sent a package in a priority 2 day box with signature confirmation. It never made it out of my market area. It was supposed to be delivered 03/06/2017. It is now 03/29/2017 and there is no apologies from any of the USPS people about my package. I have been to the local Post office twice. I have filed to the lost recovery center and filed a lost parcel. It took 7 days just to get a response that was generic and indicates it's in transit. However that is the same information on your website tracking that I already had after 7 days. So you buy merchandise, you pay to ship it with signatures in priority mail, the USPS looses your stuff that you paid them to take care of and then they take all your merchandise that you worked to pay for and sell at auction for a profit. My stuff was double bubble wrapped and the box was clearly written on with a black marker. There is no excuses. All you get is the run around and a bunch of lies. Never using their service again to ship packages and will post on every website I come across about my experience and how the USPS sells the stuff when they loose it to make a profit. Ridiculous service.

    Mar 29, 2017
  • anon

    I have a fraud situation going on I forgot the name and the exact address I sent it too and I need the package sent beck to me please get back to me asap as it is to arrive at its destination tomorrow

    Mar 28, 2017
  • anon

    I mailed a completed application with a check for a CEU required to keep my license on Monday, March 13, 2017. I mailed it from Spring Texas to Recreation Activity Resources, P.O. Box 682664, Houston, Texas 77268, two cities which are only about 20 minutes apart. Now it is Thursday, March 23, 2017 (10 days later), and the Recreation Activity Resources Company has NOT received said envelope. This is very important. WHERE IS THE ENVELOPE I MAILED 10 DAYS AGO???????

    Mar 23, 2017
  • anon

    Looking for my package that was supposedly shipped on the 11th at the zip code 90009 postal distribution, never reached my post office.........I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT THE USPS LET ALL OF THESE PEOPLE LOSE THEIR PROPERTY AND DOES NOTHING ABOUT IT................

    Mar 23, 2017
  • anon

    I have a package need to go to the destination what is the problem

    Mar 22, 2017
  • anon

    On Dec.1st 2016,my lawyer sent copies of my original records to my address which I never received. I checked at the leading office,they don't have them either. They were never returned back to the lawyer's office. Those copies obtain personal info such ss#, driver license. Plus other info. What can I do to find out what happened with those documents

    Mar 21, 2017
  • anon

    I was told a card was sent to me and Mary in February 2017, and never received it, it is at the recovery center?

    Mar 21, 2017
  • anon

    I handed 2 letters to mail carrier on 3-3-17. One is missing. It has my car insurance payment and I'm about to lose my insurance because of this. What happened to this bill and money order??

    Mar 20, 2017
  • anon

    BILL PAYMENT for Peebles did not reach its destination in January of 2017. Mailed from Windsor,NC 27983 post office. I WAS CHARGED LATE FEES AND INTEREST DUE TO HILL NOT REACHING ITS DESTINATION.

    Mar 17, 2017
  • anon

    I sent a package to my son at ACL/Moody Theater, Austin, TX in Dec. It went to the W Hotel arriving on Dec. 23. Someone at that hotel sent the package back to my address rather than walk it over to the ACL next door. I sent it back by priority mail (it was media mail first time) and felt assured my son would get it since he is Director of Production at ACL. It never got there and tracking says the package mailed 1/17/17 is still in transition. I've e-mailed, called and no sign of the package. Someone from the Austin Post Office called me. He suggested I get in touch with Mail Recovery Center. It was addressed to ACL/Moody Theater, 311 W. 3rd, Austin, TX 78701. It was sent from 400 Agnes North, Springtown, TX 76082. It was a gift to my grandson. It was for Hanukkah and a symbol for that is on the back of the package. Please help me find this package.

    Mar 15, 2017
  • anon

    My order/package indicated it had been delivered by the USPS, but my apartment office did not receive. What happened to my package, and did someone sign for it?

    Mar 13, 2017
  • anon

    I sent a certified letter from NJ to NH on Feb 6th. As of today the letter still shows in transit to its destination. Was told to report it as missing mail and I would receive status updates. Reported on March 1st and still have not heard anything back from USPS. The letter was sent to a government agency so calling them to see if it was received is just as big a joke and the USPS's missing mail system which so far has done nothing.

    Mar 12, 2017
  • anon

    A letter with Tax information was sent to me from Gainsvlle Florida 32609 zip To Kalamzoo michigan P.O. Box 49003 zip code. The letter had empty contents the end was cut smoothly like with sizzors. showed the letter to the supervisor at the Kalamazoo Post Office she said to notify the mail recovery center online, there is not much they can do.

    Mar 12, 2017
  • anon

    I don't necessarily have an issue with the usps I just wanted to know if their was a way if you keep records of mail because I had someone from the MVA in Elkton call and say he was mailing a letter 2 weeks ago and it still isn't here( my parents say) I was in a car accident 4 years ago and its really important I need that letter so I can retake my test. I would think that mailing something from Elkton to Aberdeen shouldn't take this long. I apologize if it seems I'm being impatient

    Mar 08, 2017
  • anon

    This will be the second time the usps has delivered my son's rent check late. I mailed a check on the 28th of February and as of March the 8th it still hasn't arrived. Mind you the place I sent it to is only 1.5 hours away.

    Mar 08, 2017
  • anon

    I ordered a poster through the mail. It would be in a tube that would fit in most mailboxes. It was a picture of the moon and a yorkie with the caption I LOVE YOU TO THE MOON AND BACK. They tried twice to send this. All my orders were delivered just fine. i would think a small tube would stand out. thank you.

    Mar 07, 2017
  • anon

    On Feb. 25 a package (child DVD movie) was send from Niagara falls, NY to Rochester, NY from there it went to Florida and by the tracking # it was delivered to an individual in Miami, Florida on February 27th, how could that happened if we lived in the Bronx, NY. What we can do? My husband wants to make a report in our Post Office 10455, but the DVD never got close to us not even in GPO in Manhattan, NY.

    Mar 06, 2017

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