Troubleshooters: Mail mix ups in Brunswick County
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In tonight's Troubleshooters report, the story of a Brunswick County woman who's having problems getting her mail delivered. Judy Andricak says her mail carrier is getting her mail mixed up with her neighbors. Sometimes it gets returned to her, sometimes it doesn't, and not getting her mail on time is starting to affect Judy’s finances. "When you don't get the bills on time or when your car insurance gets canceled, because you don't get a bill on time, it causes issues,” Judy Andricak said. Judy Andricak has good reason to be frustrated. She's had late fees on her credit card bill, insurance cancellations, and hits to her credit score. Judy lives in a neighborhood in Ocean Isle Beach, and her mail often gets mixed up with the lady on the next street over, who has the same street number, or with a gentleman on another street who's street number is one digit off from hers. She's getting their mail, too. "I have received retirement checks for one person, I’ve received an insurance check for another person, and these were substantial amounts I opened them unknowingly because they were in my mailbox,” Judy said. This isn't a new problem. Judy says it's been going on for more than nine years, and the same carrier has been delivering her mail the whole time. She says she's driven to the post office about 30 to 40 times over the years to complain, but it's not working. "The Post Office says they'll warn her, they'll talk to her, but obviously something isn't happening because the same mistake occurs over and over and over again.” The postmaster said that he was aware that Ms. Andricak was having problems with her mail, but had no idea it had been going for this long. He says they've had about half a dozen postmasters over the last nine years, and with all the turnover, they may not have realized the magnitude of the problem. Enola Rice, a Post Office spokesperson, assured us that they have put some procedures in place to double check the carriers work, and will make sure this gets resolved one way or another. "That's our obligation to the customer, to make sure that her mail is delivered correctly, so we certainly apologize for the misdelivery that she is experiencing.” Since we got involved, the Post Office has offered Ms. Andricak a free PO Box and offered to write letters to her credit card companies and insurance providers explaining their role in her late payments. While credit card companies hear the "I didn't get my bill" excuse all the time, it's rare for the Post Office to issue a letter taking blame for the problem. The Post Office says a letter from them should carry some weight when it comes to getting a late fee waived. Post Office officials say if you're having a problem with mail delivery, the best way to get it resolved is by filing a complaint through 1-800-ask-usps. While you might think it would be more effective to complain in person, using the 1-800 number ensures there's a record of your complaint.

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This is not just a Brunswick County problem - our mail gets mixed up all the time, and we live off of Gordon Road in New Hanover County! I'm constantly getting mail meant for our neighbors, and my daughter has been waiting for an important letter for some time now, and I suspect it was delivered wrong and just thrown away, because we have not seen it. I think the Postal Services have a LOT of brass in constantly raising stamp costs, yet not even being able to read an address to ensure it gets to the right place. Once in a while would be understandable. This happens about twice a week (or more!) in our neighborhood. Why can't someone reel them in and straighten up their act? I don't mind paying for services I get - but I want to GET them.
I used the Postal Service website (www.usps.com) to enter in a vacation hold request (in order to get the Leland PO to hold our mail while we were on vacation). A few days later, I realized I entered the wrong week, so I cancelled my original request and entered the correct dates. Well, I didn't get my mail for a few days, so I suspected my original request (with the wrong dates) didn't actually get cancelled. So, I called the USPS 1-800# and filed a complaint. The next day, I get a nasty voice mail message from the Leland PO saying they didn't know "what my problem was". I called them back, and they finally had figured out the problem was THEIRS, not mine. When my mail was delivered later in the day, the mail delivery person put hold request forms in my box with a note "please use these to eliminate the middle man and confusion". Hello, I didn't realize using the automated form on the USPS website was a "middle man"? Until the USPS improves their customer service, they will continue to be a dying operation. I think we should privatize the national mail service.
This is pretty common. Everywhere I've ever lived, the postal carrier messes up the delivery. I have a PO Box and I get the mail that is addressed to the box next to mine. It is an irritation yes, but there is no way I would ever let it damage my credit like this. This lady is talking like her car insurance has lapsed due to this issue. I can name every monthly obligation that I have and about how much the payment is and the approximate due date. I'm not going to be paying late fees because my mail carrier put the bill in someone else's box, and I'm certainly not going to let my insurance lapse and pay the fine to get it reinstated and keep my plates. So, while I agree that she should complain and maybe she'll get a carrier who is not as bad as the one she has, when it comes down to it, as adults we are responsible for paying the bills on time whether we receive them on time or not.