Customers upset about Postal Service delays in Detroit Lakes
"People are patient and willing to deal with a staffing situation if told what is happening," said Nancy Cooper of rural Detroit Lakes. "Furthermore, there are those who receive time-sensitive mail. Now that we aren’t getting mail, we are not getting our newspapers either, since they are mailed. To not have service and to not have any communication isn’t acceptable.”
DETROIT LAKES — It’s a tough time for postal workers in Detroit Lakes, who have been working long hours even before the oncoming Christmas rush.
Complaints about spotty or inconsistent mail delivery have increased over the past several months, with some residents and businesses in the Detroit Lakes area saying they have gone three days or more without mail delivery.
“I don't think we even have a regular (rural) mail carrier anymore,” said Dean Martinson, who lives a few miles south of Detroit Lakes. “I’ve never seen it like this before, this is the worst — it’s getting very old.”
Martinson and other subscribers to the Detroit Lakes Tribune have also been receiving their newspapers at inconsistent times, or not at all.
“We live on Fox Lake, just outside of the Detroit Lakes city limits. For over two months now, our mail service has been sporadic,” Nancy Cooper said in a recent letter to the newspaper. “That means that we get mail delivery two or three times a week at best. This week, we have not received mail since Tuesday, and it is now Saturday.”
The Detroit Lakes postmaster said he is not allowed to talk to the media without permission from higher up the chain of command. According to an email from Desai Abdul-Razzaaq, with the U.S. Post Office Corporate Communications office in Minneapolis, the Post Office “respectfully declines your request for an interview.”
Abdul-Razzaaq added that “local management in Detroit Lakes are aware of delivery issues and taking steps to address the concerns. We appreciate the patience of our customers. We will continue flexing our available resources to match the workload and are proud of the efforts of postal employees as they define essential public service every day.”
He added that “the Detroit Lakes Post Office recently hired several new employees who are in the onboarding process to become letter carriers. Anyone interested in working with the Postal Service may find more information and begin the application process at Career opportunities - Careers - About.usps.com."
When mail service issues occur, he said, the post office “takes steps to quickly resolve customer concerns. We gladly work to address any specific issue from the community when brought to our attention and we encourage customers to reach out to their local postal station.”
If no satisfaction comes at the local level, he said that “customers can also go to our website usps.com and click on 'Contact us' at the bottom of our homepage, or utilize this direct web address: https://usps.force.com/emailus/s/ . Every email will be carefully documented and appropriate action taken to strengthen service. In addition, the official Twitter account of the United States Postal Service, managed by the Social Media staff at USPS HQ, can provide help. For customer service, please tweet @USPSHelp.”
Customers can also private-message concerns to the Post Office on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/USPS , he said.
Cooper said it’s been especially frustrating not to have any communication with the post office.
“We have received no notice that there is a delivery issue,” she said. “We went into the post office itself early last week to ask what was causing the delay in our mail. Two employees there stated that they didn’t know, that they didn’t even know where the postmaster was (they couldn’t find him) and so they just do their jobs ... Another gentleman who was locking the door for a lunch break, stated that there is an issue with staffing.”
Several people who live nearby, she added, “have also experienced delays with no communication from the post office … mail service is something that we pay for and, in this country the Universal Service Obligation states that mail delivery is six days a week. People are patient and willing to deal with a staffing situation if told what is happening. Furthermore, there are those who receive time-sensitive mail. Now that we aren’t getting mail, we are not getting our newspapers either, since they are mailed. To not have service and to not have any communication isn’t acceptable.”
“The Postal Service will diligently continue to investigate customer's concerns and correct deficiencies to improve service to our communities,” Abdul-Razzaaq said. “(We) are committed to providing the best possible service to our customers and we apologize for any inconvenience that may have been experienced.”