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U.S. Postal Service Mail Delays are Getting Out of Control

A mailbox open with mail inside123RF

What’s going on with mail delays these days? It used to take two to three days for a letter to be delivered. Those days seem to be over!

I’m getting fed up with mail delays that mean some letters are taking more than a week to reach their destination. They make me think the United States Postal Service has forgotten that last word in its name.

I live near two different post offices. The closer one is technically the office for my zip code. It’s the less reliable of the two. Letters sent from that office seem to take twice as long to get delivered. The one a couple of miles away is for one zip code over. But letters mailed from that location normally arrive within three days.

At least, that used to be true.

I mailed my dad’s Father’s Day card on June 9. That was the Sunday before Father’s Day. That gave the post office — the good one — six days to deliver the card. Judging by their track record, that should have been twice as long as they needed. But the card didn’t come in the typical three days. It didn’t come in six days. My dad didn’t receive his card on Father’s Day.

In fact, there was still no sign of it the following Monday or Tuesday. The card only just arrived on Friday. That was June 21: 11 days after I mailed it. The card had to travel only about 100 miles. The trip takes a little more than 90 minutes.

When the card arrived, there was no sign of damage to the envelop or any redirection labels. The postmark did indeed show June 10. (Since I mailed it on a Sunday night, it entered circulation in the mail the following Monday.) But it didn’t arrive until June 21.

I even put my parents’ nine-digit zip code. That is supposed to speed up the process, right?

I was actually on the phone with my mom the night I mailed the card so she knew when I took it to the post office. But the postmark on the envelope definitely corroborated my story.

There’s no excuse for mail delays like that.

But a similar delay affected my bank, too

I sent a check to pay off a credit card through my bank’s bill-pay system. I had the bank send the check on June 10. The bank estimated the credit card would receive the check on June 17.

But the credit card company didn’t acknowledge receiving the check until June 20, the day after Juneteenth and three days after the bank’s estimate. It didn’t show up on my statement until June 21. Another 11 days!

In that case, of course, I don’t know exactly how quickly my bank mailed the letter, though they claimed it would have gone out on June 10. I also don’t know how long the credit card company had the check before they got around to looking at it and posting it.

Yes, there was a holiday (Juneteenth) involved. But that holiday came well after the reasonable amount of time in which the check should have already arrived and been processed.

This payoff was an extra payment I made for that statement month. If I had relied on the bank’s bill payment system to deliver the check on a specific statement due date, I’d have probably faced a late fee. Late fees these days range from $29 to $39 on credit cards.

Another credit card factors in exaggerated mail delays when sending refunds

Recently, I told you about a department store credit card that erroneously sent a credit refund check to the wrong address. They initially dropped two digits off my home address, which caused the post office to return the check to them. As far as anyone can figure out, they went back into my credit history and found my parents’ address — where I hadn’t lived in 30 years— and sent it there.

By the time I received the check from my mom, the department store had already canceled that one and mailed another one. (I had told them three times not to do so since they were mailing me the check to the right address.)

But they told me on May 2 that I would receive the check by May 24. That, friends, is 22 days. Are they seeing mail delays that outrageous?!?

What are postal companies getting for their postage money?

In case you hadn’t heard, back in April, the U.S. Postal Service filed a notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission. That notice concerns prices changes that are set to take effect on July 14.

The new rates include another 5-cent increase for the price of a first-class mail stamp.

Starting on July 14, you’ll be paying 73¢ to mail a letter.

Nothing makes you feel older than looking at how much it costs to mail a letter today compared to when you were younger. The year I was born, it was just 6¢ to mail a letter. By the time I graduated from high school, it had risen to a quarter.

But back then, you could drop a letter in the slot at the post office and have a reasonable expectation that the recipient would receive that piece of mail in three days at the latest.

Now, they’re about to be charging almost three times that figure…and it’s taking more than 10 days in some cases without any valid explanation.

Maybe it’s time Congress steps in and overhauls the post office. The system we have now is clearly no longer working.

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.

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