Whether you are using a virtual mailbox or a package forwarding service, there will often be one variable in the chain of delivery that neither you nor your service will have control of; that is USPS.
You could be a business expecting delivery to your mailbox service or an international shopper waiting to have a package forwarded, either way, USPS could well be the carrier used to get your mail item to your service of choice.
While USPS is generally reliable, it is here where problems can occur.
Today, we will look at what they are and what can be done about them.
Delays and Randomized USPS Delivery Days
A mailbox and package fowarding service can do little for you until your mail item arrives at their depot.
This is where USPS has a big influence on the chain of events that take your mail item from its origin to its final destination.
With constant changes in policy and shipment operations as well as the recent 10-year plan and of course the “Covid effect” and government budget cuts, USPS has been stretched in recent years.
This has led to more delays and issues with the service.
Mailbox and package fowarding providers have even stated that on some days there will experience no arrivals from USPS, only for the backlog to hit them the following day with double the amount of mail arriving.
This clearly has an impact on the speed you receive your mail items.
Further problems can occur state by state due to USPS policies. For example, USPS has an official policy in Portland that dictates no sort and delivery of packages to any package forwarding company on Tuesdays. Arbitrary and inconvenient in equal measures.
- Related Content: What Does “Arrival at Unit” Mean? (USPS Tracking Guide)
Misdelivery of Mail and Packages
Needless to say, on occasions where USPS misdeliver your mail item or package, you will run into problems.
Your service provider cannot do anything if the item doesn’t even arrive at their sorting depot.
This can happen at the sorting facilities of USPS where packages are sent to the wrong addresses or even to the locations of competing providers.
The process around this of the item going missing is for you to report a delay to your provider and have them contact USPS and other providers in the locality to see where your package might be. Pain for all involved.
Scanned as Delivered by USPS, but Yet to Arrive at the Service Provider
A problem can also occur because USPS marks a package forwarding company’s package as delivered once it has been sorted, (i.e put in the pile for delivery to the provider).
USPS made this policy decision due to the large volume of packages going to service providers. It became difficult for them to scan each item at the time of delivery.
The consequence of this is easy to understand. If you are tracking an item with USPS and it has been labeled as delivered, you will rightly expect it to be at the location of your provider.
As we can see, this will not always be the case. This leads to frustration and confusion.
In reality, when a package has been marked as delivered by USPS, it can take another day or more to reach the facility of your provider.
What can be done to mitigate these issues?
Service providers have a relationship with their local USPS offices which means when delays and problems occur, they can at least look into the situation to find a solution.
This is important in instances where deliveries have been delayed or ended up at the wrong location.
Furthermore, if you take into account that USPS delivery does not always mean the item will be at your provider, you can manage your expectations to the actual arrival time of your parcel.
Essentially, being aware that problems may occur in the early stages of the package delivery chain will help prepare your actions going forward.
I’m a 25 year veteran of USPS. I’m retired now, but as the editor of Mailbox Master, I can’t quite remove myself from the carrier industry just yet. 🙂