Letters arrive late or they go astray, residents tell USPS
By Sandra Santana Mariaca
Customers of the Hunts Point and Longwood post office branches say poor customer service, wrong deliveries and inconsistent pricing are just some of the difficulties they face on a daily basis with their mail.
Some fed up customers complained to Bronx Postmaster Howard Sample and Postal Service spokeswoman Dianne Jones at Community Board 2 meeting in March.
Jesse Harris, 72, who lives in Longwood, complained clerks tried to coax him to spend more for postal services at the Southern Boulevard branch recently. Every year he sends friends and family a calendar, using media rate mail, but when it came time to mail his calendars this year, he was told his only choice was the more expensive first class mail. When he inquired about the change, the clerk and the manager could not explain why the price went up.
“They told me that my mail didn’t meet the criteria for media mail, that was why I had to mail through first class. The clerk gave me one rate, the manager gave another,” Harris said.
When Ms. Jones heard his story, she said there must have been a misunderstanding. But her answer didn’t convince Harris.
“They don’t know what they’re doing,” he said.
Besides the unsatisfactory experience at the post office, Harris also complained about incorrect mail deliveries in his neighborhood. The “mail man from hell”, as he referred to a former carrier, always delivered letters to the wrong addresses.
“There was once a delivery from West 156th Street, which is Manhattan,” Harris said.
Neighbors eventually signed a petition to have the errant letter carrier removed, but it took more than a year of frustration and mis-delivered mail.
“He got moved, not quickly,” Harris told the board.
However, he said service has improved since that carrier was transferred.
Olga Rosario, 75, who also lives in the 10459 zip code, has had her own problems with the local service. She said important mail like mortgage statements often go to the wrong address and some of the carriers are rude and dismissive when asked about such mistakes.
“One day I was calling the woman (mail carrier) and she wasn’t replying. Then I realized she was listening to music,” Rosario said.
She added that the carrier handle the mail carelessly.
“They throw the letters on the floor or leave them on front porches when it’s raining,” Rosario said.
Longwood resident Roland Lopez has been receiving mail destined for other addresses—and states—for years. He remembered a letter the carrier brought him recently, that was addressed to San Antonio, Texas.
“What kind of training do they give these people?” he said.
Connie Chicirello, a corporate communication spokesperson for the Postal Service, listed some of the actions the postal service is currently taking to improve the local post offices. The Hunts Point branch on Manida St., for instance, took advantage of the warmer weather in April to clean the outside of its building and address problems with trash that had attracted rats, she said. Residents have long griped about garbage piling up on the facility’s grounds.
When it comes to customer service, Chicerello said each instance is unique.
“As to specific customer service issues, we will continue to address each on a case-by-case basis.,” adding management companies and landlords are responsible for making sure mailboxes are secure from theft and damage.
She suggested disgruntled customers call the USPS at 1-800-275-8777 to register their complaints.
Customers of the Hunts Point facility received some good news in March when the USPS removed the facility at the corner of Manida St. and Lafayette Ave. from the chopping block, announcing the only post office that serves the 10474 zip code will remain open.