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Monday, December 19, 2011

A Rant - The U.S. Postal Service

Sorry, let me apologize in advance.  I'm slightly, well, not actually, I'm really ticked off at the "service" I've received from the U. S. Postal Service.  Actually, it is a total lack of service that I paid good money for, over and above my tax dollars.

A couple of weeks before we closed on the house, I got my mail forwarding service in South Dakota set up, got my address and my "Box" number.  Then I went to my local post office to get my change of address form sent in.

After standing in a crowded line handled by one and only one counter person, it was finally my turn.  The postal clerk barely spoke English.

"I need to submit a change of address form, please" I said.  The clerk didn't understand me.  I repeated myself a couple of times until she understood.  She handed me a printed card that said the office no longer accepted change of address requests, it had to be done on line at the listed Internet web address.

I went home, logged in and ended up paying $36 to a contracting company for the USPS to get my mail forwarded to our new address.  Where does paying money to a contractor to get your forwarding address taken care of make the USPS remain solvent?

Fast forward to Saturday, our first forwarding of our mail came from our SD mailing company to my son's house.  Opening the box, I found all the mail that was forwarded had a mistake in the address, the USPS contractor failed to put my box number on the forwarding labels.  Fortunately, the mailing company looked us up by name and hand wrote the box number on each of the several dozen pieces of mail.  Something I was glad to see, but felt bad that they had to do that extra step.

All the mail where I had sent in the new address myself (magazines, bank statements, credit card) were correct.  One interesting piece of mail was from the Postal Service itself.

I opened the USPS envelope and it was a notice concerning my forwarding address.  It listed my old address and my new address, but they didn't have the box number listed.  The notice also said if my forwarding address was incorrect to immediately call the 800 number they supplied.

I waited to Monday morning to call, knowing there would be no one there over the weekend.

Of course, my phone call would be answered by the next available customer service representative.  After almost 30 minutes of having that sentence imprinted forever in my brain by hearing it every 30 seconds, a real live person, masquerading as a customer service representative, answered.

I explained the notice I had received and I told her the forwarding address was incorrect.  The rep said the only way I could fix it was to go to my local post office and submit another forwarding address request.  I told her there was no way I could do that because: 1.) I was 3000 miles away from that post office and 2.) they did not accept forwarding address applications, they required it to be done on line.   I asked if she could make the correction as it said in the USPS notice.

She said no, she was not allowed to make address changes, and advised me that I should call my post office back in Virginia.  I said no thanks, and told her that she was absolutely no help whatsoever.  Some customer service.

So, lets see, the USPS no longer accepts change of address forms, you have to do it online and pay a contractor.  Then when they get the change of address information from the contractor, they pay someone to generate a letter, which must cost something telling you to check you new forwarding address and if it is incorrect to call a customer service 800 number, which must cost something to speak with a customer service rep to get the error corrected and said customer service rep is not allowed to make a correction.

Is it any wonder the Postal Service is losing money every year? They are paying people who can't help you, generating form letters costing money that are meaningless and contracting out services to companies as a cost saving measure who can't get things right and charge you for that service. 

Sort of makes you yearn for the good old days of the Pony Express.

I certainly will go out of my way in the future to not use them every chance I get.  I'll do more and more of my business on line.

Fortunately, the forwarded mail will become less and less as I make my new address known to the companies and people I need to continue to correspond with.  I feel bad that my South Dakota mailing company has to pick up the slack from the USPS, but they know what good customer service is.

Okay, rant over.  There were no four letter words used in the "resolution" of this problem. ;c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.


  1. Wow - what lunacy! I never knew you had to pay to get your mail forwarded. I'm just glad you got a good mail service, unlike me. Don't ever use America's Mailbox!!!!

  2. I have never been able to understand how it's good business sense to put someone who does not have a good grasp of the English language in the customer service department. I have to agree ... no wonder the post office is losing money.

  3. I don't believe there is a fix to this problem. Our mail forwarding order with usps also left off our box #. Our MF Service also looked us up. I think they are used to it. It appears the PO has a database of legal addresses. None of these addresses include the mail services box designations because they are only addresses the mail service made up for their convenience.
    I'd be curious if others had a different experience, but ours was the same as yours. We are also SD residents.

  4. PS-My guess is if there are any that work correctly, it would be Escapees in Livingston. They seem to have a relationship with the PO.

  5. i am disgusted by the fact that the post office has a limit of 30days for holding mail. it is ok this time, but our next trip may e five or six weeks! not sure what i will do then,.

  6. We use GoodSam out of Florida, when I first turned in the change of address the lady grabbed a pen and scratched out the PMB# (Personnel mail box)on the form. When I asked her why she did that she told me "because I don't know what it is".
    But they can't be losing money because they still manage to sponsor a couple of Olympic Teams

  7. Sigh..this too shall pass. One of the bumps in the road to full-timing..nothing ever goes smoothly!

  8. They must have just started the $36 charge to change an address because when I did it back in June, I did it for free through the USPS and it worked out perfectly. I guess this is how they are trying to solve their budget crunch, but poor service isn't going to help them.

  9. I feel your pain ... we moved just a few blocks away and it took several visits to the post office to get our forwarding to work right. We first did it online simply because we try to avoid going to the post office at all if we can ... no monies involved (maybe because it was a local forwarding change). A week later, the new owners of our old home called to say they were still getting our mail, so Mui went to the post office to resolve the issue. That worked ... for a while. All in all, I think he had to make three trips to the post office. No wonder the post office is losing money. With service like that, I have changed over to email where I can ... I'd love to send "real" Christmas cards, but I even stopped doing that when it took over a month for them to be received overseas last year (and this after mailing them a month in advance.

  10. Wow Paul that is really terrible service. More like postal no service. Wonder what snow birds will do now? We paid nothing just back in March with 6 months of forwarding renewable for another 6. But postal clerks who don't speak English- I'd have been asking to see the manager and sending this on to my congressman and senators. Give them something they can do without disagreeing.

  11. I hear ya! I have been using a PO Box for almost ten years. My mailbox at home I go to once every two weeks, grab all the junk mail out and throw it in the trash can. Even my PO Box gets very little mail since I have gone paperless on all my billing and do it on-line.
    And they wonder why people are using them less and less?
    On the plus side, the postal workers that are at my PO Box are very courteous, professional and knowledgeable.

  12. We lucked out. Catherine asked our postal carrier in St. Charles and she told us not to use the online service because they would charge us. We just filled out the paper card and handed it to her- no problem.

  13. Recently it took 36 days for my mail to arrive from my South Dakota mail service, but in 12 years of using their services, only once was my mail completely lost.

  14. After all that frustration that you have had to deal with, please don't go "postal"!

    Kevin and Ruth

  15. Okay, tell us how you really feel:) I think the post office is going to have to get a grip or become redundant.

  16. wow talk about bad customer service..the whole customer service industry has certainly gone by the wayside...hang in there maybe you can get it straightened out sooner better than later...have a very very Merry Christmas

  17. OMG! Have you checked to see if there's a black cloud following you? You're smart to get everything online and automatic. I don't even need mail anymore.

  18. $36??? And, what is a USPS contractor? I just changed my address online for $1 directly at the USPS website. Is this brand-new?