December 15, 2009

We Try Not to Do That


I had a package returned by the US Postal service marked "no such address." The recipient said there is such an address and he really does live there, but that the ZIP code he originally gave was off by a couple of digits (***73 instead of ***64) and that his mail lady told him they should have been able to deliver it despite the ZIP problem and to tell the sender to take it to a Post Office for redelivery.

I took it to my local PO, and the guy at the window seemed surprised that they didn't deliver it, since both ZIPs are in the same town. He wrote the new ZIP on the package and took it away for redelivery.

When the package came back again marked "no such address" I took it to the PO again (different branch.) This time the window person told me that the reason it was returned was not, despite what the rubber stamp said, because there is "no such address" -- in fact, she checked the address/ZIP and confirmed that it is correct -- but rather because I should have been charged again for the redelivery service. Now, she said, if I want them to deliver the package I'll have to pay twice more, once for the "service" of failing to deliver it the second time, and again for the service of (presumably) actually delivering it on the third try.

She said the USPS policy is that they are not obligated to deliver mail not addressed to the proper ZIP code, even if it's close. When I pointed out that I get mail with the wrong ZIP all the time, including mail with no ZIP code at all, she says that mail delivered in those circumstances is delivered in error: "we try not to do that," she said.

Could that possibly be the real USPS policy? Is it new? No wonder they're in trouble. Somehow I can't imagine having that conversation with UPS.

Posted by Dr. Frank at December 15, 2009 10:30 PM | TrackBack

Sounds like another song is in development! Worse Than Hitler!

Posted by: Hakker at December 15, 2009 10:58 PM

Our policy is that rules are rules, even if it's less convenient for you and creates more work for us.

Posted by: Nate Pensky at December 16, 2009 12:42 AM

The rule I always heard is "Wrong ZIP, long trip. No ZIP, slow trip."

Posted by: Bill at December 16, 2009 02:24 AM

This is why Erika, despite once writing a letter to the Contra Costa Times actually thanking the PO for all their fine service (prematurely), ended up in a love-hate-but-then-mostly-hate relationship with the PO.

Posted by: kim at December 16, 2009 02:56 AM

I've reached the point where whenever I find the little "we have your package" slip in my mailbox, I have to fight back a few tears.

Posted by: brady at December 16, 2009 02:54 PM