The Reason Behind a False USPS Delivery Attempt Claim
Recently I had a few packages heading my way from Amazon, one of which was being delivered via USPS. I was not in a real rush for it. Amazon gave me an estimated delivery date of Sunday by 9:00 p.m. I thought that was a little odd but not entirely out of the realm of possibilities given that I have had packages delivered late on Sundays in the past. The Sunday evening the package was to be delivered, I was about to go to bed, around 10:00 p.m., and remembered the package that was to arrive. Not seeing it in the mailbox or on the front porch, I checked the tracking info.
According to Amazon, a delivery attempt was made at 10:41 p.m. which struck me as odd considering it was only 9:50 p.m. I thought it might have been a time zone issue, but all other communications from Amazon have been EST for me. Checking USPS shows that the item was taken to the local post office and it was available for pickup.
I was even more confused as this has never happened to me nor did I request the post office to hold anything for pickup. It wasn’t as if this package was critical, so when I noticed an option to request redelivery (Odd, since it was never attempted to begin with) I filled out the form to have it delivered the next day.
That should do the trick, right?
I had such little expectations that the package would actually show up the next day on the 18th. I figured that my package was in God’s hands and that nobody else would know where it was. Tracking anything would be a futile and pointless effort.
And on the 18th, there was no package.
I started to wonder about what customer service options would be available. After all, I paid for this item and was told it would be delivered on a specific date. Is it entirely unreasonable to expect that? Is it also unreasonable to expect some level of honest communication if there is a bump in the road? Personally, I don’t think so.
First, I thought I would try USPS. After all, Amazon seemed to have washed its hands of the order. Plus, I already know the great lengths that Amazon goes through to ensure customers are unable to contact them and receive support for anything.
I popped up the USPS tracking info and then searched for anything relating to customer service. I figured, since the package was at the local post office, I would just call them and see what was going on. Was the package with a carrier? Was it there? Do they even know it exists?
Sadly, I will never know because in the 3 or 4 times I tried to call the local post office, nobody ever answered the phone. I am not shocked. I imagine that they are short-staffed and overloaded, maybe with a single person left to field calls from angry customers all over the area. However, there is just something helpless about being told by Amazon to contact the local USPS, having tracking info that the package is at the local USPS, and not be able to reach anyone about it.
Maybe the 800 number will be different?
The 800 number basically shifts tracking concerns to a “visual call center” and has you minimize the call on your phone to open a link. Which is a fancy way of saying that they don’t have any information either and will open a case for you.
In the back of my mind, I knew that filling this form out meant that the package would miraculously appear the next day and all would be well with the world. Either that or I would have to wait 1-3 business days for any type of answer.
What about social media?
I do not like to hop on social media and blast a company unless I feel as if I cannot get help any other way. I have tried so many times in other situations to resolve issues via phone or email with no luck until I started to post on social media. Companies do not like to have anything negative about their business or service online and oftentimes work quicker to resolve issues shared on social platforms quicker than they would on the phone or via email. No, not all companies are like this. But many are.
I turned to Twitter to see if @USPSHelp would be able to provide me with any answers.
On the 19th, I came home to find a single package in my mailbox. One item of note was that there was nothing else in the box. Normally we get some type of newspaper-like advertisement.
Also, I think it is slick how the USPS wipes out any delivery issue in the tracking history. No mention of it being held. Just shows the item was rescheduled and then delivered. I sure hope that whatever Amazon pays for this shipping service is refunded since it did not meet the service requirements. I am thankful that someone at the local office reached out to me on the 20th, however, I am wondering why they would need to ask me if I got the package or not. Are they not the Post Office? Shouldn’t they know whether they delivered it or not? Just thinking out loud here.
What’s the real problem here?
I never check NextDoor for any helpful or useful information because that is not what you do on that platform. If I wanted to know what police activity was happening at a grocery store or to let everyone know that I thought I saw a coyote or fox, then I would use NextDoor. However, I got a notification in my inbox of someone having an issue with mail in the local area. Turns out, I was not the only person here in the area with similar issues. While I cannot verify the truth behind all of these claims, the fact that this many people here in the area had problems with their mail delivery tells me that something is going on.
“I am getting 3 & 4 of those a day. I just delete them. I have ring so I know of anybody has been at my door.”
“They’re trying to tell you they did not have a driver that day. That’s why it was undeliverable.”
“I got the same exact message for a package the other day. Went to the post office and it wasn’t there. It showed up later that day at my house. It’s terrible.”
“I went to the post office and after looking for the tracking #, he said my package was being delivered . I came home and it was in the mailbox. What happened to it was undeliverable yesterday at my front door and instructions to come to the post office to get my mail? At least I finally got it!”
“I got one of those notifications when I was waiting on a delivery and thought exactly what you are thinking. I don’t believe a delivery attempt was ever made and I couldn’t go to the Post Office for a few days. They ended up delivering the next time they delivered my mail. I found out that some of the delivery services are using USPS for their final destination deliveries and this notice gets sent out when they drop it at USPS. Don’t know if this is fact but it seems this is what happened in several of my deliveries.”
“We’ve been told something certified was signed for and then found it in the mail box…no signature. Also, told numerous times “attempted delivery” when we were home and we have cameras…LIE.”
“I had a package scheduled for delivery this past Sunday. That evening I had the same message on the tracking info. I called the Taylorsville Post Office the next day and he was very helpful and explained it was probably due to lack of staff. They would deliver it later that day (Monday) and they did.”
“I went through the same thing this week. Stopped by Middletown post office a couple days ago, looking for a package. They have 40 routes and 10 carriers. Mail is very backlogged and not getting delivered on some days. That’s just a generic message they’re using. I picked up my package that day at the post office. I’m limiting my use of post office services as much as possible, but some of that is beyond my control of course.”
So maybe, just maybe, this isn’t a one-off incident.
Great. So how do you fix it?
Great question. I never liked complaints solely for the sake of complaining. If you are going to offer a critique, then at least offer something helpful that could be used to work toward some type of solution. But why even care about a package that wasn’t all that much of a priority to begin with? It wasn’t as if I was shipping an organ to a nearby hospital to save someone’s life. Why go through the process of posting all of these screenshots anyway?
This gets directly at a deeper problem: the lack of honest communication and systems built up to prohibit customers from achieving reasonable solutions in a timely manner.
There should be some mechanism in place to let customers know that an exception has occurred and what that exception is. Many years ago, I was involved with a company that had severe delivery and inventory issues. Handling upset customer emails is never anything someone wakes up in the morning excited to do. However, I found that just being blunt and honest disarmed so many irritable people. “Hey, you are right. We totally messed this up. Here is what is going on and here is how we can fix it.” Honest communications like that went very far with customers who were mad and 99% of them were satisfied with being told the truth. Most likely because it never happens. Companies and organizations are almost set up to bury and hide customer support and truthful communications behind layers and layers of web pages, online forms, and voice prompts. When was the last time you felt like you would be able to get ahold of someone in customer support and get an honest answer?
If I had a note in my mailbox stating that the USPS was experiencing extreme understaffing and that deliveries would be limted, I would have totally understood that. Right now, you cannot go anywhere without seeing a “help wanted” or “now hiring” sign out front. What if this form, similar to the one left when a delivery is actually missed, also had an option to go online, select a redelivery date, or even the option to come to pick it up? Instead, I got some cryptic message that the package was just waiting to be picked up. What happens to those who have medicine delivered and might not be all over the tracking info like I am? People are far more understanding when honest communication and additional options are presented.
On a side note
Shortly after this, I had submitted an online request to have my mail held as we would be out of town. I had asked that mail be held starting Thursday and then the following Monday, all held mail would be delivered. Getting back in town, I found that the mail had been delivered while we were gone. When I want mail delivered, the USPS holds them. When I want mail held, they deliver it.