In April, I had an experience similar to the Wilkinsons'. On April 10, I mailed a box to my son in Tampa, Florida, from the post office in Amsterdam, New York. I paid $46.95 to send the 6 lb., 7 oz. package Express Mail; delivery was "guaranteed" by noon the next day, Saturday, and, if not then, then on Sunday, which was Easter Sunday. Since he'd been told to expect the package Saturday morning, my son was home all day, watching for the delivery. No mail carrier showed up until 3 p.m. -- the time of his normal mail delivery -- and then he found a notice dumped in the box, along with his other mail, claiming that delivery of the package had been "attempted" at 11:15 that morning. There was no delivery made Easter Sunday, either, as promised at the Amsterdam post office. Instead, my son had to go pick the package up at his local post office Monday, April 13.
I E-mailed a complaint to the U.S. Postal Service that same day and, after pointing out that nearly $47 was an awful lot to pay for such poor service, I requested a refund. The customer service representative who responded to my message instructed me to fill out Form 3533 and return it to my post office in Amsterdam, along with the copy of the label from the package. My daughter took the documentation to the post office last Saturday (May 9), and was told by a "supervisor" that the postmaster would have to determine whether or not a refund is due -- because the Tampa post office insists that delivery was "attempted" the morning of April 11. Never mind that the mailman would actually have had to go to the door and knock or ring the bell to get my son's signature on a delivery confirmation, which I had also requested (and which has never been returned to me). So the post office in Tampa is now claiming that the package was "delivered" April 13. Is that delivery -- and Express delivery, yet -- to have to go to the post office and pick up a package that was "guaranteed" for delivery by a specific time?
According to the "supervisor" my daughter spoke with last Saturday, the Amsterdam postmaster would call me the morning of Monday, May 11. No call came that day -- or the next. So I phoned Tuesday afternoon and was told I could speak to a "supervisor" -- because the postmaster wasn't in. I left a message, and there was no return call Tuesday or Wednesday. Thursday, May 14, I left another message for the postmaster, who was again "not in." When I received no return call, I decided to visit the post office this morning (May 15). I'd been assured that the postmaster would be in at 7 a.m.
My daughter and I went to see the postmaster at 9:30 this morning. Again, we saw only a "supervisor, " who informed us that he could not authorize a refund -- because the Tampa post office had claimed that delivery was "attempted" the morning of April 11. He added that we'd have to work through the Tampa post office -- which my son had tried to do. He told the clerk at the time he picked up the package April 13 about the poor "Express Mail" service we'd received -- and she shrugged her shoulders and walked away from him. When I pointed this out to the Amsterdam "supervisor, " he told me my son would have to talk with a "supervisor" at the Tampa post office.
A couple of questions:
Since when is "pickup" the same as "delivery"?
Why does the post office treat its customers as if they're lying when they give an honest and accurate accounting of what actually transpired when they paid for "Express Delivery" but got shoddy service instead?
And why do we need postmasters when they lock themselves behind closed doors at the post office and allow their "supervisor" underlings to handle complaints? The post office is losing customers every day to online bill-paying and E-mail, as well as to Federal Express and UPS. Why, then, do postal employees insult post office customers by insinuating that they're not telling the truth when they make complaints? I'm not in the post office every day requesting a refund. In fact. this is the first time I have EVER asked for a refund from the post office.
I know I'm not going to get anywhere with my complaint. The postmaster is clearly too busy to concern herself with my little problem, and my son's complaint to his local post office in Tampa won't be resolved, either. But I wanted to share this account as a cautionary tale to other post office customers who may think that, by sending parcels and letters by "Express Mail, " or requesting delivery confirmation, they're getting better service. They're not.
Use UPS or FedEx instead. And rather than send birthday and Christmas greetings, letters, and so on through the post office, use E-mail.
Amsterdam, NY 12010