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Topic: Problems with PO Box

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Subject: Problems with PO Box
Date Posted: 1/28/2011 6:06 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 600
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Not me but my sister... she recently moved, but kept the same PO Box that she's had for years. I am not sure if she updated her physical address with USPS, but it shouldn't affect her PO Box mail delivery either way.

Anyway, she went to the P.O. for the first time in two weeks, expecting a box stuffed full of mail. To her surprise, there was only one piece of mail. She asked at the counter and they checked in the back and didn't find any more mail...

But I had a book sent to her via PBS that got returned undeliverable. She didn't realize this, or she would have said something at the P.O.

I feel like I have read stories on here before about people's addresses getting screwed up in the USPS database... could something like that be happening to her? Help! :) 

Date Posted: 1/28/2011 6:08 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 600
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And she is positive that there has to be other mail missing, she's just not sure what since she's had some stuff sent to her new address and some stuff still at the PO. Fortunately she pays all of her bills online.

Date Posted: 1/28/2011 7:32 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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She should talk to the USPS staff at her PO box location.  If her mailing info is changed (for that location) it is flagged on the backside.  Last time I talked to anyone about this, employees would actually tape a note to the USPS/inside of the PO box when they are notified of mail forwarding, vacation holds, etc.  Without the official note, your sister should be receiving her mail as usual.



Last Edited on: 1/28/11 7:32 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/29/2011 11:20 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 600
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She did talk to the lady at her location. The lady just said, "well be glad you didn't have a mailbox full of bills!" 

I swear I read a story on here once about someone not getting their mail because of a glitch in the USPS computer system. 

It's not just that she got less mail than normal, we know that a book sent to her via PBS was returned to sender as undeliverable, and we verified that the address was correct. 

Date Posted: 1/29/2011 11:46 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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..."well be glad you didn't have a mailbox full of bills!"    That's a smart @ss non-answer.  Staff needs to take it seriously and investigate where her mail is going.



Last Edited on: 1/30/11 3:29 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/30/2011 9:16 AM ET
Member Since: 9/9/2009
Posts: 916
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If for any reason the local post office thought your sister moved and they assumed she wanted to and forgot to forward her PO box address they may have submitted a "moved left no address/box closed no forwarding" order which will return mail to sender.  Also if she hadn't gone to the PO Box in what had you said  2 weeks - if it was overflowing combined with any assumed moved they may have  "moved left no address/box closed no forwarding" .  There are so many days of a person not picking up their mail (mailbox at house or PO Box) after which it is assumed the person has moved.  Can't keep putting mail into a box that isn't being emptied indefinately thus a rule is in place that after a given amount of time the mail will be returned to sender.

Becca if you feel comfortable to PM me her name/ address I can look it up for you Monday in the database you ellude to - that way you all will know if something got put in or not and you can rule in or out what might be causing the problems.

Date Posted: 1/30/2011 10:42 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 700
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The Post Office shouldn't be making assumptions.  They should go by whatever forward order the customer submitted.  They shouldn't be returning mail to sender until the term the box was paid for runs out.  This is in the DMM.  The office shouldn't be making up their own rules.

Date Posted: 1/30/2011 3:58 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 600
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PM sent, thanks Melisa! What you said makes total sense. I haven't had a chance to ask her yet if she updated her physical address with the P.O. but I wouldn't be surprised if they got confused about it all and screwed it up. 

Unfortunately, my sister has since checked out the book I was sending her from the Library and read it. So if it gets returned again we're not even going to re-send, I'll just send an extra credit (I believe the sender has paid postage twice).

The one time I get a chance to help out someone else, it looks like I am ending up out 2 credits and no one receiving a book through no fault of ours or the book sender :( 

Date Posted: 1/30/2011 10:46 PM ET
Member Since: 9/9/2009
Posts: 916
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Yeah The PO shouldn't be making assumptions and should follow the DMM.  But I lived through Katrina - forwarding orders were not input or followed timely or accurately and we had to get legal involved.  USPS worked with various mailers to stop sending mail into the Katrina effected area's.  But all the mail did not stop flowing in.  There was no one in New Orleans and no open post offices to accept incoming mail.  We sorted the New Orleans mail that looked "live" for months in Houston and Beaumont and moved it over to Louisiana to be "picked up" if folks were still there.  Legal determined a time period  after which not being claimed could be returned based on the fact we knew the territory was vacated.  We transferred truckload after truckload after truckload of mail to Coppell, Dallas and Ft Worth after legel told us we had waited enough days of noone claiming and we had our software vendor write special codes to return it all to sender.  I had so many trailers of Katrina impacted mail up here in North Texas that it took us from time of impact to about December to get caught up with local forwarding.

And the forwarding orders and subsequent checks we tried to process from New Orleans  - help me.  The addressinfg format was a damn disaster (i.e Citizen Jones Azle TX - hello where do you deliver that?).

And if you've ever seen PARS software problems that just go awry you would understand.  The software is German based and some of the name matching conventions get really wierd (Lisbet = Elizabeth - probably not something we in the US typically use and this is a common German nickname then maybe they missed some of our common US nicknames - but we'll find them and add).  When I first started learning the whole Opticle Charicter Reader (OCR) software logic that USPS uses we were taught the various zede values, etc  (German) and such values to decode line finding and segmentation (combing) of address blocks.  Was a problem in those early days determining a 3 from an 8 sometimes.  But the technology has advanced and now even handwriting is more descernible.   

Date Posted: 1/31/2011 12:59 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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at a residence/business, if mail is not being picked up, that address goes on "security hold" and the resident has 10 days to pick up mail, otherwise it is considered Moved Left no Order. PO Boxes are different. The PO is to hold mail as long as the box is rented. but if the rent is overdue, the same 10 day rule applies.

Date Posted: 1/31/2011 8:09 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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I just thought of something...If your sister used to live at a residence without street delivery, she qualified for a free box. If she then moved to a residence with street delivery, she no longer qualified for the free box and it would have been closed after a short time ( I don't know the exact timeframe)

Date Posted: 1/31/2011 10:57 PM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2005
Posts: 447
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Also if somehow there's a change of address on file, the media mail would get returned (forwarding is not a service for MM) while first class would be forwarded, which I've seen take up to a couple of weeks.

 

 

Date Posted: 1/31/2011 11:58 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 700
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Media Mail, like other Package Services such as Parcel Post, can be forwarded, postage due.

From the Domestic Mail Manual(DMM):

2.2 Forwardable Mail

2.2.1 Classes

Forwarding is available for all classes of mail, subject to the corresponding conditions described in 1.0.



Last Edited on: 2/1/11 12:01 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/1/2011 12:03 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 600
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She's lived in a large city this whole time, so lack of street delivery was not an issue.

I talked to her today, she was unaware she needed to keep her physical address up to date with the PO. She's moved many times since opening the box and was unable to remember what physical address she would have used to open it. 

So... we'll see! It's possible that she really just didn't get that much mail and that the PBS sender got the address wrong, but he said it matched what was in the system and she says that is definitely the right address. I sent the sender another PM about it and haven't heard back, he should have gotten the book back again if he re-sent it when he said he was, and she should have received it by now if there wasn't a problem. It will be marked lost by the system this weekend, so we'll have to sort it all out somehow.