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Topic: APC question for the USPS employees here

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Subject: APC question for the USPS employees here
Date Posted: 7/3/2012 5:45 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,127
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Do you guys know anything about how the APC is serviced?  The one at my local post office has been either totally out of order, or else printing only partial postage stamps (big blank strip in the middle part of the stamp) for at least 3 months now.  When I ask the counter people if they know when it's going to be fixed, they always say something that implies that they know nothing about the APC and have no way of knowing when someone will come to fix it.  One time the counter person told me that they were told NOT to put an out of order sign on the machine when it malfunctioned, to just leave it alone!!

This makes me wonder if anyone even reports that it's out of order.  The computer brain seems to be pretty advanced so I was wondering if it somehow communicates problems itself if it's hooked up to a modem of some sort.  (The reason I say this is that one time I bought stamps and they seemed to jam in the machine on the way out.  I was standing there wondering how to clear up the fact that I had already given it my credit card number and the stamps were printed but not delivered, when a message flashed on the screen "okay, we're reversing your credit card charge" which seemed pretty clever since the problem didn't occur until the very end of the process.)

I was just wondering if maybe I should report problems myself somewhere.  Maybe the managers don't like the APC because it (theoretically) reduces the number of staff hours needed at the counter?  I can't understand why it would take 3 months to repair something.

Diane

 

Date Posted: 7/3/2012 9:35 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2006
Posts: 382
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 you should report yourself   to 1800 askusps

    you dont know if the counter person will really report

 they say they will but thigs come up they might forget

 

Date Posted: 7/3/2012 10:52 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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Do you guys know anything about how the APC is serviced?  The one at my local post office has been either totally out of order, or else printing only partial postage stamps (big blank strip in the middle part of the stamp) for at least 3 months now.  When I ask the counter people if they know when it's going to be fixed, they always say something that implies that they know nothing about the APC and have no way of knowing when someone will come to fix it.

 

Yep, If the station is busy enough to have an APC, It is busy enough that the window clerks are just window clerks, they have nothing to do with the APC.

 

 

  One time the counter person told me that they were told NOT to put an out of order sign on the machine when it malfunctioned, to just leave it alone!!

 

Yeah, I can see management telling them something like that

This makes me wonder if anyone even reports that it's out of order.  The computer brain seems to be pretty advanced so I was wondering if it somehow communicates problems itself if it's hooked up to a modem of some sort.  (The reason I say this is that one time I bought stamps and they seemed to jam in the machine on the way out.  I was standing there wondering how to clear up the fact that I had already given it my credit card number and the stamps were printed but not delivered, when a message flashed on the screen "okay, we're reversing your credit card charge" which seemed pretty clever since the problem didn't occur until the very end of the process.)

 

Yes, the APC itself reports when it needs serviced. a report is generated that the manager, supervisor or postmaster should check daily.

I was just wondering if maybe I should report problems myself somewhere.  Maybe the managers don't like the APC because it (theoretically) reduces the number of staff hours needed at the counter? 

Managers would LOVE to reduce staff hours.

I can't understand why it would take 3 months to repair something.

 

Maybe they are waiting on replacement parts. sometimes it takes a while to get one that actually works. it seems like when replacements parts are requested they send "refurbished" parts. The first 2-3 always seem to be just reboxed parts that someone else sent back because it was defective. So they usually have to go through a few repkacement parts before they get one that actually works.

 

 

 

The best way to complain is to use the website. It generates a "customer care case" that the office must respond to within 48 hours, or they get into trouble. 

 

 

 

Date Posted: 7/4/2012 12:05 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,127
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they say they will but thigs come up they might forget

Well, the window clerks at my post office don't say they'll report, which was what made me think that maybe no one is doing so!  I've been afraid to every try the 1-800 number, considering how long customer service phone calls usually take.

Thanks Brandy, I had no idea you could use the website for this purpose!  I'm planning a trip there in the next couple of days and if it's still out of order I'll try the website.

Yes, I thought it might self-report--but if it reports to someone at the facility rather than someone off-site, I can see that being part of the same problem.

The first 2-3 always seem to be just reboxed parts that someone else sent back because it was defective

That has to be frustrating!  I guess they don't put an "out of order" sign on the returned parts either.

Thanks so much for answering my questions.  I'll try the website unless it's miraculously fixed the next time I go!  smiley

Diane

 

 

Date Posted: 7/4/2012 12:50 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,171
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Maybe the part of the mechanical brain that reports malfunctions...is malfunctioning.  I agree, report it online.  If your local branch hasn't had any success getting the needed repairs, additional customer complaints/reports will only support their repair requests!

Date Posted: 7/8/2012 4:26 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 2,027
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Mine was awful for a long time. The screen would sit and sit. The postage didn't wan't to print. Recently they fixed it and now it is blazingly fast.
Date Posted: 7/14/2012 10:19 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,127
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I didn't get to return to the post office until Saturday, 7/7.  The APC had a sign on it that said the only thing it could do was dispense sheets of forever stamps.

I came home and sent a message through the USPS site.  On Monday 7/9 I received a response saying they were forwarding my question to "someone who could best respond to my issue" and that I should hear back within one business day.  I never heard anything after that, I just checked my spam folder to make sure I didn't miss anything.  I guess I'll be sending another message if I don't hear by Monday.

Diane

Date Posted: 7/16/2012 4:01 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,127
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I did receive a response today:

This is in response to you complaint. I would like to apologize for the delay in responding to you issue. Please note, the window has placed a notice on the machine to inform the customers that the Automated Postal Center (APC) is out of ink. An order to repair the machine has been submitted. We are sorry for the inconvenience. Please contact us at 773-508-5935 if we can be of further assistance.

Although I appreciate the fact that I received a response, the gist of my message was--should I be reporting when a machine is out of order?  Why was it malfunctioning in various ways for 3 months with no apparent action?  The response says An order to repair has been submitted--does that mean no one has ever asked for a repair before?  Wouldn't they have said "the machine has been repaired many times but keeps having problems" or something like that?

And, the sign saying it was out of ink was on the machine the week before my final visit.  At my final visit, that sign had been removed and a different sign saying "only dispenses forever stamps" was on it.

In the meantime, when I visited my sister in the suburbs I stopped at her post office and stocked up on some APC stamps--the one by her was working perfectly.

I'll be very interested to see if it's repaired now.  I guess, if it IS repaired, that answers my question about whether I should be the one reporting it--the answer is YES!

Diane

 

 

 

Date Posted: 7/16/2012 4:09 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,171
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Like you Diane, I'm a curious person too.  But USPS (or any business) is unlikely to share details of their internal functions with customers.  One of those 'need to know' things.