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Wed July 22 2020 10:19:56

USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail

By: Ina Steiner

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The USPS acknowledged directives outlined in leaked USPS documents that we wrote about last week and were also picked up by the Washington Post. The documents described practices that would almost certainly result in mail delivery delays, drawing the ire of some lawmakers.

Government Executive dug into the story and reported yesterday that the some of the controversial directives are part of a pilot program the USPS is running to try to reduce costs. The pilot, Expedited to Street/Afternoon Sortation, will run for 30-60 days at nearly 200 sites around the country and, for now, affect only city carriers.

Other controversial policies were actually "existing plans that have been designed to provide prompt and reliable service within current service standards," a Postal Service spokesperson told Gov Exec magazine.

That's a reference to other recent memos that "instructed employees to leave for each phase of their deliveries according to a set schedule, meaning some mail will likely be delayed. The memos also announced that late trips and overtime would no longer be authorized. "

The article reported on lawmakers' concerns and published an excerpt of a letter some members of the House and Senate had written to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy asking for an explanation for the changes:

"While we share the goal of ensuring the Postal Service's solvency, the rhetoric used in the document compares the Postal Service to a private company concerned only with the bottom line, rather than the constitutionally mandated public service that it is," the letter stated.

For online sellers, any delay in mail delivery spells disaster thanks to impatient buyers quick to file Item Not Received claims, compounded by marketplaces that fuel buyers' unreasonable expectations and penalize sellers for delays outside their control. 

But one seller pointed out another problem that is just as serious: the impact of the directives on mail pickup.

A postal carrier warned one EcommerceBytes reader that the packages she picked up from his home would be delayed thanks to a new directive from the recently installed Postmaster General.

"You might wanna take your mail to the post office for now because it's probably not going to be sent out the day I pick it up," the carrier told the online seller. She said there was "a lot of shady shit" going on that carriers are not supposed to talk about.

The reader told us, "She confirmed the elimination of overtime, delay in mailing packages AND letter mail (she specifically mentioned unemployment checks). She confirmed that this was handed down by the new postmaster general. She even went as far to say as "they are trying to get rid of us."" 

It's unclear if the possible delays the carrier referred to come into play only after the mail has been picked up, or if the restrictions on overtime and other practices will also delay the mail pickups themselves.

The people most impacted by mail pickup delays are the smallest sellers who rely on USPS and may be unable to leave their homes and whose numbers during the pandemic have likely grown.

Sellers concerned about delivery delays can write to their elected officials and can report problems to the Postal Regulatory Commission.



Comments (39) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail   USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 22 12:32:24 2020

They could cut costs by only delivering my mail on Saturday. By doing so they will save 10 miles a week driving to my mail box. Live in the country. They could also save money by closing at least 9 of the 10 post offices within 10 miles of me. What a choice it is to go to the post office when you have 10 within 10 minutes. 5 of the 10 offices have been what they call modernized. ( stirilized is more like it.)

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by: purpleiris This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 22 21:29:33 2020

Once a week wouldn't work for many, especially considering all the junk mail they get. There's only so much room in those tiny little community boxes. LOL However, I do think mail delivery could be reduced to a certain days...like every other day.

Then again, you have the issue with people always ordering things they need at the last minute. That could potentially have a negative effect on eCommerce, domestically and globally.

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by: Disgusted This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 23 00:19:35 2020

I tracked a package. First class too 10 days from FL. to MI.  Once it got to MI, it went to a city for sorting 10 miles from me. Then they sent it 80 miles south to sort again, then back up north another 70 miles. Then they sent it to the original point 10 miles from me and they finally delivered the next day.  That is why the have lost money.  They don't have a clue what they are doing.
Mail my rent check to same city.  They have to send it 60 miles away then back up to deliver.?????  
They just create more work- for overtime or rate increase.  Whatever-poor management.

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by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Thu Jul 23 01:27:12 2020

Lately I haven't been getting Sunday packages for which I am happy about. Without fail every single item (all from Amazon) were not products that needed to be delivered on Sunday. I talked to one carrier who said she didn't mind getting the OT. Is Amazon paying for that OT? They should be. I get a lot of packages and I send out a lot, although this week has been very poor sales. I want my daily delivery, even M-F would be fine.

I seems though that whenever people start cost crunching they start with the most important things first that get the axe. Just like as a nurse that work at a rehab hospital where aides were very important to having enough people on hand to help folks relearn how to do things. So what did they do when they had to save money? Got rid of half the aides and then next they got rid of all but two and then one. Then they started cutting nursing staff. I read last year that under the newest owner of that hospital, two LPNs that had been there since they opened and were terrific nurses that I would want taking care of me were losing their jobs as they were no longer going to have LPNs on staff. So 30+ years of rehab nursing experience got kicked out the door. And so things keep going down the drain.

I hear that this new guy has never worked delivering the mail or anything like that so it is so easy to have no concept of all the little things that is expected of carriers. Such as them calling police for a wellness check when mail is piling up and no signs of life and no one answering the door. I love my mail carrier, but the last time I talked to her, she looked absolutely exhausted and I feel her pain. She is one that does what she is supposed to and for months there it was like Christmas only with no end date.

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by: purpleiris This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 23 01:41:36 2020

What about every other day delivery with the option of picking up packages already delivered to their zip code's PO for those times when you can't wait for delivery?

My line of thinking is not firing anyone, but using the existing staff to handle/sort the mail every other day. Then, on the other days, carriers can deliver packages.

Since they need people at the counters during business hours, I think it would help to give carriers more time to help handle sorting. If they did that, they could have a system for easily finding packages in the case someone wants theirs early. Plus, I think their daily routes are more taxing than delivery every other day would be.

Just thoughts I'm throwing out there... =)

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by: jimcooncat This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 23 07:07:32 2020

Wow, can't wait to vote by mail.

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by: cvsharkey This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 23 07:23:07 2020

The carriers in my town (14886) use their own vehicles and load their own boxes & mail. Some are using station wagons & must return to the station for another load, because of all of the boxes (Thank Amazon for this.) Some must make several trips back to refill their cars. And UPS SurePost deliveries start out with UPS, who then drops the packages off at the end-point post office for final delivery. I'm almost sure that city carriers, who must haul their own boxes, etc, must be experiencing this as well.

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by: billly This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 23 08:52:22 2020

@jimcooncat:  Ding ding ding. These new "directives" are coming from a political party that is petrified that the pandemic will force more (or most) of the American citizenry to vote by mail. Suppression always works in their favor.

Perminate Link for USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail   USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail

by: wrslss1222 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Jul 23 09:40:40 2020

The Post Office is antiquated.  With all the billions the Post Office has received from the Federal Government they should have used that money to create a system similar to Amazon's.  It's really pathetic that the Post Office gets money from the Federal Government, which is tax payer money, so the Post Office can turn around and give pathetic service while charging for it.  As an eBay store owner I am tired of giving buyers excuses for the Post Office and for filing tracers on packages.  And by the way, the Post Office does not always move mail they receive on the same day.  The Post Office should have a class action suit against it by online sellers.

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by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 23 12:12:03 2020

all my packages to Ca (i live in nv) are taking 10 to 15 days to deliver - only CA - so things must be really bad in california

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Jul 23 14:02:54 2020

Wasn't there an idea floating around a while back about Saturday delivery being eliminated? I'd be good with eliminating Saturday and Wednesday, and delivering mail just four days a week, but keeping the post offices open on those days for mailing. As for people waiting until the last minute to order, they'll have to get used to the new system and adapt.

 

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by: mydogti This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 23 14:13:06 2020

Charge for rural delivery.  Problem solved.  

DM and I'll let you know where to send the check for the consulting fee.

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by: mjr55 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 23 16:16:05 2020

@iheartjacksparrow

You are nuts. They will never do that because Amazon demands 7 days a week shipment from them. It seems the USPS stuff is starting to get political.....seriously f*ck all these people. Normal people have been sh*t on with all the political stuff with corona and now this.  

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by: purpleiris This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 23 16:46:02 2020

"With all the billions the Post Office has received from the Federal Government"

When did this happen? I've only heard about the opposite happening to pre-fund pensions a lifetime in advance of a person's need for it.

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by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 23 19:07:24 2020

I dont know. I closed down yesterday because of all of the problems I am having getting packages out. I live in New York City, and the sorting stations here are a BIG mess. For 3 weeks outgoing mail has slowed to a crawl. If I send out 40 packages in a day, about 25 go into circulation about a day late. Another 10 slowly trickle thru over the next 10 days, and ultimately about 5 are lost. Some days are better than others but this is a very approximate average. I have tried everything to try to figure out how to make it better to no avail. Nobody at USPS has any answers, or much to say at all. I went from buying postage online and dropping off with a scan sheet, to insisting that they scan all packages at drop off, to buying postage at the counter, to going to a different post office,  to buying all priority and the all priority is the only thing that works. But quite a few of my packages I would loose money on doing this. So I closed down last night, and the last of my packages I drove to New Jersey and dropped them at a post office over there. If that works I guess I will open back up ans do that for now, If it doesnt work I will stay closed for the time being.

I know they are busier than normal, but it does not beat out the holiday busy season. So there is something definitely going on here, and it has nothing to do with the virus or having a higher than average volume.


Besides all the mess with the late / lost packages I also have to deal with all the "wheres my stuff man" messages I have been getting. A total nightmare. I think as of right now I have about 52 packages that are in the ??? category.

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by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 23 19:19:48 2020

This new postmaster general is there to do 1 thing. Shake things up, make a mess, embarass the whole organization so that it could be privatized. There are lots of BIG money people out there that are drueling over this. If they didnt have to prefund the pension system so far in advance they would be making a profit.  Big money has been trying to have it privatized since 1969. The Koch brothers were really behind this.

If it was privatized, the first thing they would do is raise rates, try to eliminate as much of the benefits as possible, and most likely try to steal about half of the pension money.  

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by: mjr55 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 24 00:57:51 2020

@Geeter

We are having similar issues the last month or two....where packages are taking 1-2 days (and sometimes longer) to get to the distribution centers after being accepted. I do know people at our local distribution center and they said the volume the last couple months is actually the same as Xmas but without the extra space (USPS leases extra space during the holidays....and it takes so long that they start getting these extra warehouses ready months in advance of XMAS). Thus, since they don't have that extra space now....the mail sits....normally until later in the week when the mail volume is lower. Mondays and Tuesdays are always the worst.

The way USPS deals with late packages isn't the best, either. Seems like if they have to hold Monday's mail.....they may not scan it until Wednesday or Thursday all while Tuesday and Wednesday shipments get out even before Monday is scanned. I guess they see it as they would rather have one day of shipments be 4 days late than every day of the week be a day late.  

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by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 24 06:48:35 2020

@mjr55

   Thanks. Thats the first explanation that makes sense. Here in New York City we were the first and hardest hit by the virus. I have had absolutely no problems with anything being late up until the 3rd week in may. After that nothing makes sense. But now I guess I can understand.

 I would bet that USPS hires extra help around the holidays also that they do not have now.

   I guess I am just going to have to deal with it the best I can. The worst part is dealing with the angry customers. "Your shipment was received The acceptance of your package is pending" leads alot of them to think that I never mailed their package. My packages get their first scan at the sorting station until then thats what the tracking says. Asking them to individually scan the packages at the post office is like asking them to turn over the earth.

Lastly, I can understand that these are strange times. But when problems arise you figure out whats wrong and fix them. If it doesnt work the first time, second time you should have it worked out. You would think by now the USPS would have come up with a solution. But its been like this for months.

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by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 24 07:47:18 2020

And with this slow shipping debacle, I have sent out another package when the shipment tracking indicates that it is lost after several days of non activity and buyers complaining. And in a few cases 3 shipments.

Now on two of them ultimately they got both shipments eventually, and are now putting in a return for one looking to get their money back and keeping the other.
You cant make this stuff up.

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by: purpleiris This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 24 08:46:22 2020

I've been trying to think why others would have such problems when I also live in one of the larges cities in the States (Houston), yet, my packages have been getting to customers a day early every time. Of course, they account for an extra day or two, but it looks good when it gets to the customer not only fast, but a day earlier than projected.

The only difference I can think of is that I choose to deal with a post office in the next zip code that is super small. I don't think I've ever seen a smaller one. LOL You see the same faces all the time and they always scan your packages before removing them from the counter.

While their mail does travel to the PO in my zip code (a larger one with the worst ratings I've ever seen), it only passes from one truck to another. So, it's the reliable folks at the smaller PO that actually handle getting my mail to the distribution center.

Of course, in places like New York City where it's shoulder to shoulder people, practically, I doubt any size PO could handle that influx.

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