United States Government customer service: think twice


United States Postal Service: We CareUnited States Postal Service: We Care

For those who argue that we should turn over more activity — such as health care — to the federal government, take a close look at a government monopoly that’s been around for a long time.

The United States Postal Service has a monopoly on the delivery of first class mail. As an example of its level of service, consider my bank statement. When it hadn’t arrived by its usual time, I called the bank. The bank assured me it had been mailed.

Today the statement arrived in a plastic bag explaining that it had been damaged during processing. I can understand that happening once in a while. Machines are not perfect, and sometimes improving their reliability can be very expensive when compared to the benefit received.

So what was the delay caused by the malfunctioning machine? One day? Two or three days?

The piece was postmarked February 2. It arrived on February 22. The delay — realizing that mail delivery is not guaranteed — is around 18 days.

How does a piece of mail being damaged in a machine cause it to be delivered nearly three weeks late? And it’s not bulk or junk mail — my bank statement is first class mail.

It’s lack of competition. What motivation does the United States Postal Service have to do a better job?

Think about this as we consider moving activity from the private sector to government.

A related story from a friend of mine is Postal service?


4 responses to “United States Government customer service: think twice”

  1. Val from Valhalla

    We mailed a check to our mortgage company to pay off our mortgage using the U.S. Post Office and their Certified Mail with return receipt. We trusted them to actually really deliver it. When the return receipt didn’t arrive back to us in a number of days I began phoning the post office. My mistake. I mean in phoning them. They were no help at all. First it’s very difficult to get through to a human. And of course I couldn’t decide if I wanted to speak Spanish or English (just kidding; you get the drift).
    Anyway, when I finally did get a human (during the unposted business hours of course) I was informed that if I was dissatisfied with their service I could GO to the local post office with the receipt I had to prove I had paid for Certified Mail with return receipt and if I could show that I did not receive the return receipt back they would refund my $2. I said I needed proof of who took delivery of the letter, thus the need for the return receipt. The man told me it must’ve gotten lost, but they were only liable for refunding the money I paid for the return receipt.

    I finally realized that if I could get the mortgage company to acknowledge receiving our check at least the most important goal was met. They quickly looked it up & told me they had posted the payment & our mortgage was paid in full.

    I never have gotten the return receipt in the mail (it’s been at least 4 years), and of course I didn’t have time to go stand in line at the post office. Besides, who knows what would happen if I asked for a refund & couldn’t prove I didn’t receive it. Or what I might need to go through if I eventually receive the receipt and the post office wants me to pay to get it.
    (and btw, just for fun, I think I’ll write a few politician’s names here just to make them take time to come look at this page on the web: Jean Schodorf, Tim Owens, Chris Steineger, Laura Kelly, Kelly Kultala, Janis Lee, Oletha Faust-Goodeau, Marci Francisco, David Haley, Anthony Hensley, Tom Holland, Marti Crow, Jim Ward).

  2. Dismal Scientist

    Two weeks ago we received the photo from a Christmas card that a member of my wife’s family (who live in Wichita) sent us in December. Luckily a gift card or check was not enclosed. When are they going to let Fed Ex and UPS deliver 1st class mail? Yikes!

  3. Dismal Scientist

    I forgot to add that 1st class mail at one time in some cities was delivered by the private sector. Google Lysander Spooner and learn about his expericence!

  4. Anonymous

    how the banks can get

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