LANCASTER, Pa. — Jason Ness of Lancaster says he has had two issues with the postal service in the past month and he feels like there was nothing he could do about it.
FOX43 Finds Out what to do if your mail seems to be missing.
An empty mailbox has become somewhat normal for one Lancaster county family.
"She says she sent it out on December 8th and we still have not received it," said Jason Ness of Lancaster.
That 'it' is a birthday card.
Something Jason Ness' family thought was funny and decided to send around to different family members on their birthday.
His sister in law sent the card with a check to Ness's son, more than a month ago.
The card was coming from near Scranton.
Ness said, "You just trust the mail handlers to get it to point A to point B for you."
Since it was a letter with no tracking number, Ness had no idea where it ended up.
But, that wasn't all.
Missing cards and bills
He said, "We also had an issue with a bill for one of our car payments. it did not make it to the bank on time."
Ness says that payment was put in the mail on Thanksgiving weekend.
It was due about 10 days later and didn't make it on time.
"That just irritated me, just to say that was like a first missed payment in years," said Ness.
In order to get a $9 late fee waived, he had to print out a copy of the check he put in the mail.
"It's still scary that you can have a check just floating out there, somewhere, and not know what is going on with it and you may even get a charge from the bank just to cancel that check."
Ness says he had no idea how to track down both the card from his family - and the bill he put in the mail.
"There is no tracking number that they give you unless you want to pay for that certified mail or priority mail."
FOX43 Finds Out reached out to the USPS about this issue. Desai Abdul-Razzaaq, a spokesperson for USPS for Central PA said the COVID-19 pandemic and shipping records both contributed to the delays.
FOX43 was sent a statement that reads "The Postal Service delivered a record amount of packages this holiday season in the midst of the pandemic, which significantly impacted our workforce availability. Capacity challenges with airlifts and trucking for moving this historic volume of mail also led to temporary delays. These challenges were felt by shippers across the board. We are proud of the hard work and dedication of our employees and continue to work around the clock to deliver all packages and mail entered into our system, including returns. We regret all service problems experienced by our customers and thank them for their continued support and understanding. Currently, only the Lehigh Valley Plant is experiencing a mail volume backlog. We have hired additional drivers to move that mail volume and we are starting to see that mail dispatched for delivery."
Here's what to do if you want to get to the bottom of the missing mail:
1. For mail that has not been delivered by the expected delivery date. This applies to packages that are undelivered, lost, or late. If it has been lost, late or missing for 7 days or more, you can:
• Go to Find Missing Mail for additional information.
• Submit a Missing Mail search request at MissingMail.USPS.com.
• File a claim (for insured items meeting the appropriate timeframe).
• Visit your local Post Office™ location for assistance in filling out a Missing Mail request.
• Call 1-800-275-8777 (1-800-ASK-USPS) to ask for the phone number for your local Consumer Affairs office regarding a Missing Mail request.
2. Call 1-800-275-8777 (1-800-ASK-USPS) to ask for the phone number for your local Consumer Affairs office regarding a Missing Mail request. Recommend customers sign up for USPS Informed Delivery. Informed Delivery is a free and optional notification feature that gives residential consumers the ability to digitally preview their letter-sized mail and manage their packages scheduled to arrive soon.
Upon request, from either 1-800-ASK-USPS or by visiting your local Post Office, courtesy Delayed Mail (Creditor) letters are provided to customers to assist in explaining these unfortunate circumstances to their creditors with the hope that they will waive the late fee assessed to their account. We recommend that the customer work with their local Post Office when they are not receiving their mail timely. They can also sign up for Informed Delivery to see what is coming soon to their mailbox.
The Card Arrives
Later this week, Ness did get the card in the mail and the second card his sister-in-law sent too, both on the same day by the way.
He knew it was coming because he signed up for informed delivery with the postal service.