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U.S. Mail Reliability?
Old 09-17-2018, 06:11 AM   #1
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U.S. Mail Reliability?

Just wondering if this is some local thing or if the rest of the country has the same problem with the US Mail.

We've grown to distrust the mail to the point that we request senders use UPS to mail important things to us.

Over the past 10 or 15 years delivery has become very erratic. At least once a week, we get mail at our house that should have gone to a neighbor; sometimes it should've gone to someone clear across town.

It's not like someone with the same name; it's just mail for someone who might live 2 miles away showing up in our mailbox. There's lots of mail we never get. People have complained to the local postmaster over the years but it continues.

As noted it's been going on for a while and seems to be a city/regional thing but I'm wondering if this is the case around the rest of the country.

Anyone else seeing this?
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Old 09-17-2018, 06:30 AM   #2
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What you describe is routine here too.

We have a very small condo development with a cluster box at the end of the street. We're all very used to getting each other's mail in our box, and we just walk over to their house and deliver it. We also get mail periodically for houses a mile or two away, and those we just put in the outgoing mail box.

Missing mail happens all the time; we're quite used to it. Calling the local post office does no good, and I've learned to call the postal inspectors when something important goes missing. That generally helps.
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Old 09-17-2018, 06:50 AM   #3
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I have a hobby business that is totally dependent on USPS (By choice-also use Fedex, but rarely). I ship about 1000 pieces each year-split about 50/50 priority mail and first class. I use tracking on all of it and advertise 2-3 delivery. Far, far less than 1% is ever a problem. I mean not even a package a month out of 80 shipped. Never had a screw-up with incoming mail, even with customer returns.

Last week had a package (shipped from Midwest to middle Texas). It left our regional PO and disappeared. I made a complaint with USPS after 5 days of no improvement. Two days later it was delivered. But again, extremely rare.

Perhaps it is a local problem. Remember the occasional stories of delivery people dumping mail? I am sure the customers on those routes KNEW there was a problem but could never prove it. Just a bad apple employee out of 10's of thousands.
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Old 09-17-2018, 06:51 AM   #4
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Unreliable to the point where I am always nervous about whether prompt delivery will be made or delivery made at all. I have paid for Priority Mail many a time only to have the package arrive later than expected. A couple of times it took weeks for a package to arrive at a destination a couple of states away. Tracking revealed that the package had travelled all around the country. For packages, we now use UPS.
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Old 09-17-2018, 06:54 AM   #5
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Yep. We’ve asked Amazon not to use USPS for our deliveries as they’ve been so unreliable. Amazon says the customer can’t specify the carrier. Oh well, at least they’re good about redelivering the stuff we never saw.
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Old 09-17-2018, 07:02 AM   #6
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My experience is identical to Bruce. My local pick-up/delivery and sorting hub are excellent. Having a small business dependent on it, I am always on SUPER friendly terms with my carriers, and I cannot remember the last time something was incorrect or missing.

Same with my outbound though. Maybe one a year I have to call and follow up? (all tracked packages). These problems sound local, like all post offices are not created equal for sure.

That means your postmaster sucks. Complain up the chain, a lot! Just calling the PO doesn't work, as the regional post master never knows without a formal case.
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Old 09-17-2018, 07:03 AM   #7
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Not sure about the rest of the country, but here in Florida, the USPS has contractors hired to deliver the mail. We have gone through a couple different contractors here after repeated complaints. The contractors are not federal employees, but low-wage hired help. Sometimes you "get what you pay for."
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Old 09-17-2018, 07:10 AM   #8
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Canada Post isn't much better, (if it's better at all, that is).
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Old 09-17-2018, 07:19 AM   #9
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We've had ultra-reliable USPS service for as long as I can remember. Vastly prefer it to UPS and FedEx, for (1) price, and (2) speed of delivery. Can't say if those others are any more or less reliable, since I try mightily to use the USPS whenever I can.

We occasionally get a piece of mail addressed to a neighbor. We just drop it in their box, or leave it in our mailbox so the carrier can correct the mistake the next day.

But for packages, I can't ever remember a problem. And we get a lot of packages. Even UPS and FedEx use the USPS to make the actual delivery in our area.

Plus, the USPS will deliver the package as soon as they receive it. They don't leave it in a warehouse somewhere for three days because the sender only paid for 5-day shipping.
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Old 09-17-2018, 07:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brucethebroker View Post
I have a hobby business that is totally dependent on USPS (By choice-also use Fedex, but rarely). I ship about 1000 pieces each year-split about 50/50 priority mail and first class. I use tracking on all of it and advertise 2-3 delivery. Far, far less than 1% is ever a problem. I mean not even a package a month out of 80 shipped. Never had a screw-up with incoming mail, even with customer returns.
Yes. Our outgoing seems to run ok; it's the incoming that doesn't work.

Years ago we went to the post office to ask about forwarding our mail to France. The guy looked as us and said: "You don't want to do that. We'll only screw it up. We can barely get it to your house down the street. You're better to just have someone pick it up for you at your house and FedEx it to you."
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Old 09-17-2018, 07:34 AM   #11
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I don't trust it at all anymore. Definitely had problems with wrong mail and missed deliveries. While I have almost all accounts on e-delivery, they still rely on USPS for important things!
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Old 09-17-2018, 07:36 AM   #12
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Our USPS service, both here in Vermont and in Sarasota, has been very reliable.
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Old 09-17-2018, 07:38 AM   #13
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It seems very specific to the area you’re in even down to the particular mail carrier you have. We have a neighborhood site and people have voiced the same concerns as the OP. However, here at my house, I see the same person pretty regularly (hope he doesn’t RE ) and have never had a problem. Yes, every now and then, we get a stray piece of mail, but I don’t know of anything that we were expecting that didn’t show up. If I was mailing something I cared about, I would pay for tracking.
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Old 09-17-2018, 07:40 AM   #14
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Occasionally (ie. once per quarter) might receive a neighbor's mailpiece in our box. I will just walk it down to their box.

I have signed up for the USPS Informed Delivery service. Now I receive an email each morning with the mail that I am suppose to receive. If something is missing it usually shows up in a day or two. If not, at least I know if a delayed item is important or junk.

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Old 09-17-2018, 07:56 AM   #15
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I live in an apartment building and it's pretty common to see envelopes laying on the table next to the mailboxes because they were placed by the letter carrier into the wrong one. If I am on the way back to my apartment and one of those is on my floor, I'll take it with me and place it in front of the apartment door, as others have done with me over the years.

It is fairly common to see or get one for another building in our apartment complex, even though my street name is different from the other 3 buildings. Same for another building nearby on a different street. But the letter carriers had the right apartment number!

We often get our mail delivered as late as 6:30 PM, another frequent complaint.



Another strange thing was when the letter carrier closed the big swinging door they open when they place the incoming mail into all the residents' mailboxes. Once, when they closed it, it trapped one of my letters between the big door and shelf of my mailbox, forcing me to either tear the envelope to retrieve it (or most of it), or wait until the next day when hopefully it would become dislodged. I thought of leaving a note as a reminder. Luckily, I saw it was a piece of junk mail (first time I ever rooted for junk mail LOL!) so tearing it was no big deal. The next day, the remaining piece of the envelope and its contents were sitting in my mailbox, dislodged. A few days later, I mentioned it to the letter carrier whom I happened to see. I knew she wasn't my regular carrier (she delivers to my ladyfriend's place nearby) and hadn't delivered mail to my building a long time. She expressed surprise.

But the oddest thing happened a few months ago. We have a locked box for outgoing mail built into the wall next to our mailboxes. The letter carrier has a key. One day, I went to get my mail and saw the door open but the box's dead bolt in the locked position, so the door could not close. It was basically swinging open. I had a letter to mail, so I just left it in the box. (Before the PO installed it back in the 1990s, residents just left their outgoing mail on the table, nobody was going to steal it.) Still, it's a pretty stupid mistake for the letter carrier to make.

But imagine my surprise when, the next day, after expecting to see the box closed and locked, it was still open with the door's dead bolt locked, and with the outgoing mail still in it! And we had gotten that day's mail delivered, so the stupid letter carrier failed to even retrieve the few letters including mine now stacked inside this still-open box. I was on my way out this time, so I gathered up all the letters in there and deposited them into a mailbox along my walk to my nearby ladyfriend's place. (She has had her share of issues with the same PO.)

When I returned home the next morning, I saw one of my neighbors, who happens to be on the co-op board, at the mailbox area. He already called the local PO and I told him I had delivered the letters (one was his). He was grateful.

That night, when I went to get the mail again, the outgoing box was closed and locked, finally. So we were back to our usual wrongly delivered letters to neighbors and other nearby buildings.

None of my monthly bills I mail myself any more. The PO has lost my co-op maintenance check a few times before I switched to having my bank mail it out. The PO lost my car insurance check in 2016 but I realized it in time to get them the money (I brought a new one to my agent's office). I now pay them on line. I buy a book of stamps maybe once a year now. No wonder they are losing money.
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Old 09-17-2018, 08:02 AM   #16
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Must be location specific. USPS has been pretty reliable where we are other than getting the neighbors mail about once a week - easy enough to walk over. I’ve sent one or two USPS packages (eBay sales) that took forever to deliver, but they all made it eventually.

I’m more worried about packages left on our doorstep being stolen by a passerby, but it hasn’t happened to us yet and I understand why deliverers have to leave packages...
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Old 09-17-2018, 08:06 AM   #17
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USPS at our place has been fairly good, but we do see mistakes occasionally. But our mail is mostly junk so I don't worry too much about it.
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Old 09-17-2018, 08:07 AM   #18
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Very close to perfect here. No complaints that's for sure. Keep up the good work USPS in Cali!
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Old 09-17-2018, 08:10 AM   #19
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We get mail for the people with the same house number but the next street over (completely different street name) 3-5 pieces/yr. NBD. That's about it. No reason to expect human perfection. We just put it in the out-going mail collection box.

Funniest thing I had happen some 30 years ago was mailing to a person in Indiana which I abbreviated "IN" & the piece going to "TN" first even though I put zip on it. I still remember that (obviously) & on the rare occasion I mail to Indiana, I write the entire state name out.
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Old 09-17-2018, 08:13 AM   #20
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There was a time (maybe 10 years ago) I was amazed by the USPS. I can remember saying back then that none of my mail had ever been lost. (That I know of) However in the past 10 years mis-delivered mail has become a common occurrence and it is getting worse. It's rare now that I don't get mis-delivered mail in my PO Box at least once a month. I just drop it back in the outgoing mail. Sometimes I even get the same piece of mis-delivered mail a second time. I'm sure the same thing happens to some of mail and on a few occasions I have never received some expected mail.


I've also noticed that delivery times seem to be getting longer. I recently sent in a bill payment about 10 days before the due date. Later, the billing company sent me an email reminder that my bill was coming due in a few days. I checked on-line each day until the due date. On the last day I paid it on-line with a bank transfer. The original finally posted to my account the next day. Now I have an account credit. I guess that should teach me to just pay everything on-line.
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