The United States Postal Service has a long-standing reputation for being a safe, fast, and inexpensive service to send mail and packages to addresses across the United States (and around the world). But when you’re talking about an organization that handles more than 429 million pieces of mail and packages every single day, the odds are pretty good that something – somewhere – along the line is going to get “lost in the shuffle”.
And though the USPS does absolutely everything they can to avoid headache and hassle for their customers, problems are almost inevitable when you are looking at this volume of mail – a volume of mail that’s only getting larger and larger every year. People have their fair share of USPS complaints (and some of them are certainly valid), but putting this into perspective and realizing just how overloaded the organization is helps to sort of calm things down a little.
Below we run through some of the most common USPS complaints people may have about the Postal Service today, as well as things that the USPS is doing to help to sort of remedy those issues (at least as much as possible). We also run you through specific things you can do to get a hold of USPS customer support or file a claim, resolving any of the issues that you were struggling with just as quickly as possible. Let’s jump right in!
Highlighting Some of the Most Common USPS Complaints
Of all the different USPS complaints people file each year, none is more common than the complaint of slow mail delivery. The USPS has always had a bit of a reputation for taking things slower than other shipping companies, which is a big part of why FedEx was able to explode in popularity so much. A might not remember it now, but the original FedEx slogan (and selling point) was “when it absolutely, positively has to be delivered overnight”. People were choosing FedEx by droves when they needed to expedite something across town, across the state, or even clear across the country – and for good reason! At the time the USPS wasn’t able to handle expedited mail anywhere near as effectively as they are able to today.
And while USPS services have definitely improved by leaps and bounds when it comes to speed and reliability, there are still parts of the year (particularly around the holidays) where it feels like USPS services slow down to a trickle. Once again, remember that this organization is (on an average day) handling nearly 430 million pieces of mail in a 24 hour span of time. The holiday season can bump that number up significantly, sometimes pushing it too close to double that amount, and that is inevitably going to cause things to slow down at least a little bit.
Missed Delivery Windows
Missed delivery windows used to be a lot more common with the USPS than they are today, a problem that has (large part) been remedied by a significant overhaul of the USPS logistics and infrastructure tracking program. It used to be that the USPS would send you tracking information with an estimated delivery date that most people discarded out of hand. Those estimates often proved to be wildly inaccurate and more than a little bit optimistic, to the point where most people really didn’t pay that much attention at all.
Over the last 20 years, however, the USPS is significantly upgraded their logistics and their tracking capabilities. Today they are able to tell you pretty consistently exactly when your package is going to arrive, sometimes right down to the hour that it’s going to show up on your doorstep.
Still, sometimes things happen that cause delivery windows to get missed completely – or at least delayed a little bit. The USPS does everything they can to make these situations right, often going so far as fully refunding all postage (particularly of premium and expedited shipping services were paid for in advance).
While slow mail and missed delivery windows are headaches and hassles for sure, there’s nothing worse than a piece of mail simply going missing somewhere along the line. The USPS doesn’t lose a lot of mail, but when you’re talking about a delivery area that encompasses the entirety of the United States (and a lot of international destinations, too) – as well as 430 million pieces of mail going through the USPS system every day – the potential for something to go sideways, to get lost in the shuffle, and to simply go missing is definitely a bit on the higher side of things.
If you have been watching your tracking information and it appears that something has gone missing – there have been no updates in a couple of days and there’s no reason for the mail to be slowed down (your outside of the holiday season, for example) it’s time to contact the USPS.
Let them know that you were expecting a piece of mail or a package and then describe it in as much detail as you can. The USPS will then take over from there, backtracking the package or the envelope to its last known location and then initiating a sitewide, hands-on search. Actual USPS employees will stop what they’re doing and hunt for your mail or package. If they find it, it gets routed directly to you (usually via expedited delivery services at no extra charge). If they don’t, you can file a claim and get reimbursed for your trouble.
Damaged packages are another problem that no USPS customer wants to worry about, but it happens a lot more frequently than it obviously should. Unsurprisingly, some USPS postal employees are a lot more delicate and responsible with the packages and envelopes they are in charge of than others – and some are downright disrespectful, throwing packages and parcels all over the place regardless of whether or not they are clearly marked with “fragile” or “do not bend” instructions. Luckily, those bad eggs usually don’t last very long in the USPS until they are run right out of the system – almost always following USPS complaints that get their bad behavior exposed.
Sometimes, though, USPS packages are damaged during transit by accident and through absolutely no fault of anyone whatsoever. That’s not all that comforting when you pop open a box and find your possessions are destroyed, but there are recourse options available. You’ll want to contact USPS customer service ASAP, let them know that you received a package that was damaged in transit, and then provide photographic evidence as well as any other details you can to expedite the claims process. The USPS has a good reputation for handling these kinds of claims pretty quickly, getting you a full reimbursement for any of the postage that you paid but also offering a cash repayment for anything that they were responsible for breaking or damaging.
Stolen packages are becoming more and more of a problem every day, with packages being lifted right off of people’s front steps by folks that are described as “porch pirates” – people that go around looking for boxes and packages that have been left unattended that they can steal before the intended recipient brings them in. Proving that packages were stolen can be a bit of a headache in and of itself (though it’s easier today with home security systems as advanced and as inexpensive as they are right now), but you’ll want to file a claim either way.
Let the USPS know that someone stole a package that was marked as delivered and provide as much evidence as you can. These claims processes sometimes take a little bit longer (maybe 10 days or two weeks to finish out), but you’ll usually get compensation to cover the items that were stolen as well as any postage that was paid for.
Mail Isn’t Being Forwarded
One of the coolest features rolled out by the USPS a while ago was the mail forwarding service, allowing people to have their mail forwarded to a secondary address for a specified amount of time – guaranteeing that they got their daily mail delivery even though they weren’t technically at home. Even though this program has been around for quite a while now there are still some “bugs” in the system and some kinks to work out. Not every piece of mail gets forwarded, and even mail that does get forwarded sometimes takes a lot longer to arrive at its intended destination than expected. Some USPS complaints revolving around forwarded mail also involve mail not being forwarded during the right window of time, mail being forwarded long after the window of time has collapsed, and mail forwarding generally just not working at all.
These are all issues that will require you getting on the phone with USPS customer support as quickly as possible so that you can iron the issue out. It might even be something that you want to jump down to your local post office with, speaking to the people responsible for forwarding your mail to see if there’s something on their end they can do for you.
Getting Someone Else’s Mail
We’ve all received someone else’s mail at one time or another, and while most of us do absolutely everything we can to make sure that those pieces of mail get to the right address later down the line that isn’t always possible. If you are getting a lot of mail for the wrong individuals, though, you’ll want to jump on the phone and contact USPS customer support. You’ll want to let them know what’s going on, that there’s been a change of address for the people you are receiving mail for, and that you want to stop those deliveries as quickly as you can.
It’s not a bad idea to bundle up all of the mail that has accumulated at your home and bring it to the post office for forwarding on to the intended recipients whenever possible, either. Sure, that’s an extra step not everyone is willing to take – but it’ll make everyone’s life a little easier all the same!
No Mail Delivery on the Weekends
Everyone knows that the post office isn’t open on Sunday (and has very limited hours on Saturday), which can make things a little bit inconvenient when you are expecting packages to be delivered during the weekend. The USPS has in recent years expanded on their Saturday delivery window, however, and they’ve even started delivering Amazon packages on Sunday (though they still don’t deliver USPS mail on Sunday). There are no current plans in place to expand delivery even more than they are right now. It would take Congress providing a funding to the United States Postal Service for expanded weekend delivery services to get any better.
Post Office Hours Aren’t Friendly
Post office business hours aren’t that friendly to customers that work full-time jobs, either. Most post offices open up for the day after people have already left for work (with some not filling mail in PO boxes until 10 AM or later), and most post offices also close around 4:30 to 5 PM (local time) – right around when lots of folks are getting out of work. Combine that with limited weekend hours (Saturdays most post offices are only open for about four hours and close in the early afternoon, with no business on Sunday) and this is definitely one of the biggest USPS complaints for sure
How to Reach USPS Customer Service
If you have any USPS complaints you’d like to make, or any suggestions about how USPS could improve their services, it’s not hard to reach out to the Postal Service. General customer service needs can be taking care of by contacting 1-800-275-8777 or visiting your local post office to see if they can help you directly. Technical support issues can be cleared up by a call to 1-800-344-7779, and delivery tracking information or issues can be resolved by calling 1-800-222-1811. The USPS also offers full online customer service and support for any USPS complaints individuals would like to make. Use their online contact forms, live chat capabilities, and email support to make this process generally pretty simple and straightforward.
Avoid Major Headache and Hassle By Joining US Global Mail
At the end of the day, though, if you want to avoid any major headache and hassle caused by USPS issues that just don’t look like they’ll be resolved anytime soon it might be time to sign up for US Global Mail. This virtual mailbox service is one of the most trusted entities in the industry with more than 20+ years of providing PO Box alternatives to customers in the US and around the world.
Providing a permanent mailing address that can receive packages and mail even if you move 100 times, digital scanning and notifications about every piece of mail that hits your mailbox (real time), and the ability to forward your mail to any address on the planet at up to 80% off of traditional retail fees, it becomes a bit of a no-brainer to see why US Global Mail is so popular. To learn more about these virtual mailbox services and to find the right fit for your needs and budget, visit the US Global Mail website today.