Where's my mail?
October 21, 2010 8:18 AM   Subscribe

I am missing four weeks of mail by virtue of the USPS screwing up. Help!

I filed for a change of address/mail forwarding for myself and my recently deceased mother. Mail did not come for a while; much longer than the standard waiting time between the effective date of the forwarding.

I called the 800 USPS number and was assigned a case number. A day or two later, someone from my old post office called me. Apparently they screwed up the forwarding date by several weeks; entirely their fault as he double-checked the date and realized there was a mistake. He stated the mail wasn't there and wasn't in the holding room they have. He informed me there's a place mail goes to for forwarding, but he had no information or any other way to help me. I called the new post office who told me that they could not help me either. They couldn't even tell me if there was any mail there for me as the only person who knows is the carrier, who wasn't there.

I called the 800 number back, at which point they told me that after being assigned a case number (which he couldn't find in the system) and receiving a call from a post office, my next step was to go to Consumer Affairs. Yes. They told me that the next step to take was to complain about them to a third party agency. I asked to speak to a supervisor at which point I was put on hold for ten minutes and then told none was available.

The next day I got a letter with the yellow forward sticker and also a letter with the old address, no forwarding sticker, and a handwritten "RETURN TO SENDER" on it. Now, the mail boxes in my building are only accessible by the keybearer, the postal worker and the super, which means, more likely than not, the postal worker put it in there.

I called the 800 number again, opened up a new case (not telling them I had an old case open) and was told I would be contacted by someone in 48 hours. I told them to not have the old post office contact me because they were useless the first time. It has been three days and no phone call. I have received a few more pieces of forwarded mail, but at least three to four weeks of mail are missing.

What the hell do I do? Where's my mail? There's really, really important stuff in there that could very easily lead to identity theft.
posted by griphus to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
Can someone go to your old place and check on it?

Presumably if it wasn't forwarded, the carrier from your old post office delivered it to the old address.....
posted by zizzle at 8:28 AM on October 21, 2010

Did you all own the old residence, rent it, or was it a condo? I'm wondering if the new tenants/owners/etc. got it and threw it all out. In apartment communities the problem is so prevalent that people just chuck it, not realizing it's a (rarely enforced) federal crime.
posted by jwells at 8:29 AM on October 21, 2010

Oh, my friend lives in my old place - it was an apartment in a three-apartment private house. He says there's a couple of pieces for me but definitely not four weeks worth. I doubt the landlady would have thrown it out but my name is no longer on the mailbox.
posted by griphus at 8:32 AM on October 21, 2010

I would try contacting the postmaster of both your former city and your new city. Every day. Be really freaking annoying. I had a similar incident when I moved from OH to PA, and four weeks of daily calls finally resulted in a bunch of mail being unearthed and sent to my house.

Also, I would do the following things to combat identity theft:
1) Call all the credit card companies, explain the situation, and have new cards issued.
2) Ditto for my debit card.
3) Subscribe to the credit reporting agencies for a year and keep checking my credit report obsessively to make sure people aren't opening new accounts or taking out loans in my name.
4) Maybe try filing a police report for mail theft? (Don't know if that's possible, but someone has done something criminal here, whether it was a USPS employee or someone in your old building. Someone has intercepted your mail and/or interfered with its delivery to you, and that's a federal crime.)
posted by kataclysm at 8:34 AM on October 21, 2010

In an apartment/condo situation, if your name wasn't on the box it's standard protocol to return to sender. I'd start calling the folks that mailed you and ask if they got it returned to them. They probably have the first ones by now. If you want to confirm it try to get in contact with the postal person on the route (via your friend, or the local station) and ask them. Sometimes the mail system is little too efficient...
posted by jwells at 8:45 AM on October 21, 2010

Just filed a complaint with the postmaster's assistant (I moved within the same city.) She sounded comfortingly concerned and took all my info, so here's hoping something comes out of that. Keep the tips coming, though!
posted by griphus at 9:05 AM on October 21, 2010

Yeah, I'd definately talk directly to the two post offices involved - not the central 800 number. Bonus points if you can find time/strength to go in person.
posted by cestmoi15 at 9:57 AM on October 21, 2010

For mail theft you'd file with the Postal Inspectors not the local police. I assume they might look around first before going to that step.
posted by oneear at 10:14 AM on October 21, 2010

I just got a call from my post office's manager. Apparently, by flipping addresses twice, I inadvertently initiated an infinite loop of forwarding. He will send me a form to fix this; he was going to personally come by but unfortunately I am at work.

Hooray! Thanks all!
posted by griphus at 6:39 AM on October 22, 2010

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