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USPS responds after unprecedented holiday shipping delays

Price of stamps to drop at the post office
Posted at 6:33 PM, Dec 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-22 18:42:17-05

(WXYZ) — On Monday, the 7 Investigators showed you how thousands of packages were bottle-necked at the Allen Park USPS distribution center. Now we’re taking a closer look at the unprecedented holiday shipping delays at the post office and what you can do about that missing package.

RELATED: 'It has mail from wall to wall.' Packages stuck in transit at Allen Park facility

Tractor-trailers have been lined up around the street trying to deliver and pick-up packages at the U.S. Postal Service Detroit Network Distribution Center in Allen Park. The 7 Investigators counted at least 50 of those massive tractor-trailer trucks trying to get into the Allen Park plant on Monday.

Postal workers say inside there are wall-to-wall packages, and inside the Detroit Main Postal Office they say letters are stacked up wall-to-wall there as well.

“Almost nowhere to walk, nowhere to place this mail and get it transported in and out smoothly,” said Keith Combs, president of American Postal Workers Union Detroit Local 295.

USPS officials say a combination of workers in quarantine for COVID-19 and unprecedented holiday mail volumes have made it nearly impossible to deliver on time – not just in Michigan, but across the country.

“I think they shouldn’t be offering services that they can’t fulfill,” said Jason Plowman from Troy.

Plowman says he paid extra for guaranteed 1- to 3-day priority mail shipping to deliver time-sensitive court documents. Instead of three days as promised, he says the package was sent from Madison Heights, down to Allen Park, and two weeks later finally arrived at the court in Troy.

“I’m pacing the floors, worried at work – what am I going to do if it doesn’t get there in time? Do I have to re-do all this or make phone calls?" he said. "It’s just a big pain in the butt."

When he filed a complaint online, he had another surprise.

“You can’t get a refund with this type of service,” Plowman said.

In a written statement sent to the 7 Investigators by Elizabeth Najduch regarding refund options, it states that “Priority Mail Express is the only service backed by a postage guarantee if we fail to deliver or attempt delivery of the mailpiece as promised. Customers may apply for a refund at USPS.com. Please be sure to have the tracking number and mailing receipt available."

A recent report from the non-partisan USPS Office of Inspector General found that over the summer, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and top managers launched cost reduction strategies, but they did “no analysis of the service impacts…” before making those changes, causing problems across the U.S.

Those USPS changes kicked in around the time Patty Pietka was expecting her hearing aid supplies. They were shipped from Farmington Hills to Byron, Michigan on Aug. 4.

“So many people that depend on the postal service for their prescriptions, their hearing aid supplies, medical supplies,” Pietka said.

That package is still missing.

“This has never happened before! I could always rely on it,” Pietka said.

Here is what USPS officials say you can do if your package is missing or stuck in transit:

When mail service issues occur, we take steps to quickly resolve customer concerns. We gladly work to address any specific issue from the community when brought to our attention and we encourage customers to reach out to their local postal station. Customers can also go to our website usps.com and click on “Contact us” at the bottom of our homepage.

Every email will be carefully documented and appropriate action taken to strengthen service. In addition, the official Twitter account of the United States Postal Service, managed by the Social Media staff at USPS HQ, can provide help. For customer service, please tweet @USPSHelp. The Postal Service will diligently continue to investigate customer's concerns and correct deficiencies to improve service to our communities.

Meanwhile, Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) says she spoke to the Postmaster General last week about these delays and promises to follow up with him about the holiday delivery difficulties.