Worst Company In America Round One: UPS Vs. USPS

We hope these two parcel-punting pugilists know how to deliver the punches, because they both seem to have a problem delivering your packages.

Given the sheer volume that both of these companies deal with, even a very small percentage of errors adds up to an awful lot of ticked-off customers every day. But what really gets under the soft, supple skin of Consumerist readers is the way neither UPS nor USPS seems to care or accept blame for their own problems.

In just the last few months, there was the reader whose UPS driver would go straight to “final delivery attempt” notices on the first attempt, and who couldn’t get anyone at any level of the company to care; the UPS customer whose local driver first couldn’t get the apartment number right, and then delivered the package to someone else 11 miles away; and the small business whose damaged $5,000 package was caught in the blame game between UPS, the UPS Store and UPS’ insurance provider.

And then there’s the nearly insolvent U.S. Postal Service — which is not, contrary to a widely held belief, directly funded by taxpayers and hasn’t been for decades — a company that wouldn’t deliver to hundreds of people because their apartment building had a leaky pipedropped customers’ Christmas gifts into another dimension for more than a yearadded food items to a care package from mom… and got an upper body workout by tossing parcels over the fence… all while racking up billions of dollars in debt.

You now have a 2.5 day window to choose which of these companies is worse. Failure to do so means you will have to pick up your vote at your nearby vote depot. Be sure to bring your slip and proof of address.

(Voting for this poll will close at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, March 18)

This is a post in our Worst Company In America 2012 series. The companies competing for this honor were chosen by you, the readers. See the entire WCIA 2012 bracket and schedule of match-ups HERE.

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. madrigal says:

    USPS. When I changed my address for my move, they somehow messed up the apartment number. My confirmation with them had the correct number, but those yellow slips on my redirected mail kept having the incorrect one. It’s great when credit card offers go to your neighbor. Depending on who the mailman is, most of the time I will get my mail since my name is on my box.

  2. Bionic Data Drop says:

    This one is close, but I’ll have to go with UPS after the year they’ve had on consumerist.

  3. jeb says:

    Voting for UPS, because I think USPS is not one of the worst companies in America.

    Who else can fairly reliably get a letter across the country for 45 cents? Send a package across the country in two to three days for $5-$11 (using their flat rate packaging that they provide)?

    • Veeber says:

      Not only that they’ve got to deal with Congress for oversight. Try running a business with them in charge.

    • DrLumen says:

      Agreed. USPS is pretty good given the price. I don’t see UPS checking every work day to see if I have something going out.

      I find it unfortunate that the USPS didn’t innovate more when they had the chance. They could been the top dog of delivery if they could have had a bit more flexibility and foresight. Now they are fighting an uphill battle.

    • ILoveBacon says:

      I wouldn’t say they can “reliably” deliver a package. I’ve had quite a few problems with them in the past, not the least of which includes them taking 2 weeks to deliver a package that could have been driven over round trip in about 2 hours, or them sending my packages to places like Hawaii and Kansas, despite the fact that I live in California Of course I got no help from anyone on the internet, by phone, or in person, in getting the problem resolved other than waiting for them to figure it out on their own (on one of multiple occasions, after I got my package, the box was so smashed and torn, I was shocked that it still retained its contents). Every time I go to into the post office itself, I see one lonely worker helping a line that extends to the door and beyond. It’s really no surprise they’ve been going down in flames.

  4. consumed says:

    I can’t believe USPS is winning this one already.

    UPS is much worse… They always want to deliver packages when I’m not home and I have to drive all the way across town to their sort facility by the airport after-hours to pick up a package that might or not be back yet.

    • drofli says:

      Not here in NJ. UPS ground from PA, NY and NJ arrives next day. USPS often takes 2-3 days to deliver First Class mail from locations less than 60 miles away and sometimes it doesn’t arrive until 5-6pm at that. Even worse, companies that use Fedex + USPS take 2-3 days from West Coast and then can take another 3 days to travel the 50 miles from the USPS office they deliver to.

    • CTrees says:

      I have to deal with UPS, USPS, Fedex, DHL, Pilot Freight, etc. on a daily basis – I track quite a lot of incoming material as part of my job.

      All of them have their problems, but USPS is the only one I actively try to avoid. In the past year, I haven’t had a SINGLE USPS delivery that hasn’t had some issue. This may be as “small” as their tracking number showing delivered a few days before it’s ACTUALLY delivered, but in many cases it’s much, much worse.

    • tbax929 says:

      I do a tremendous amount of online shopping, mostly with Amazon. I get packages almost daily via UPS without incident. The few times a package is sent via USPS it it always a hassle. I had some Christmas gifts that I ordered a month in advance. They were sent via USPS, which proceeeded to play a game of cat and mouse with me about getting one package delivered. It was absolutely ridiculous.

      If I don’t care when a package arrives, I’ll send it USPS. If I need it to actually arrive at a certain time, I use UPS and FedEx.

  5. PHRoG says:

    Voted for UPS as they’re holding “ground” packages to delay shipping transit times. Package took 3 days from Oregon to Texas via USPS. UPS ground back to me? Over a week! That’s ridiculous.

    Other than that, I have great service from both.

    • tinyninja says:

      No, you get what you pay for.

      You can pay more to get the package to you faster. You didn’t pay the extra money, so it’s going to take more time.

  6. chemmy says:

    This one is personal. My UPS guy at home is AWESOME. I order a ton online and he never gripes, no matter how heavy they are. He also grabbed my cat when he got out the door. However, my mail guy at home couldn’t care less. So many items I’ve received stuffed into the box or bent in half (when marked DO NOT BEND) or just tossed into my driveway if it doesn’t fit into the box. One time, the mailbox was stuffed so full that when I was trying to pull the mail out, it pulled the box off the post. I don’t even bother ordering international stuff anymore because instead of leaving the signature form in my mailbox, he marks it as refused – return to sender. And complaining to the postmaster has done nothing. Good stuff. BURN USPS.

  7. Blueskylaw says:

    United Package Smashers versus United States Package Smashers? Too tough to call.

    • TuxthePenguin says:

      Can we have a special situation where they join forces and both proceed? Like the Wonder Twins or something…

      • Blueskylaw says:

        “Can we have a special situation where they join forces and both proceed?”

        Only if we cross the streams.

        There’s something very important I forgot to tell you.
        Dr. Peter Venkman: What?
        Dr. Egon Spengler: Don’t cross the streams.
        Dr. Peter Venkman: Why?
        Dr. Egon Spengler: It would be bad.
        Dr. Peter Venkman: I’m fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean, “bad”?
        Dr. Egon Spengler: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.
        Dr Ray Stantz: Total protonic reversal.
        Dr. Peter Venkman: Right. That’s bad. Okay. All right. Important safety tip. Thanks, Egon.

  8. Scorpyn says:

    I voted for UPS since I’ve had a couple issues with them, but honestly neither of these deserve to be in the contest. Not by a long shot.

  9. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    Two Christmases ago there were so many people missing gift cards in my area that there were news stories telling people not to mail them or have them mailed. They finally busted a huge gift card theft ring operating at the regional USPS sorting center.

    Makes you wonder because there had to be many times employees were walking out to their cars with their arms full…but somehow no one noticed (yeah, right).

    In the town I used to live in, the mail was completely unreliable. Many times the entire street would be misdelivered, with everyone’s mail being in the next mailbox down or 2 mailboxes down, or even delivered to the next street over. There were so many problems that the city council and chamber of commerce set up meetings with the postmaster there and invited citizens for input. Businesses couldn’t conduct business by mail because it was so unreliable. The first 2 meetings were taken up with arguing about when the next meeting would be, and then the post office announced they would no longer attend any more meetings. Completely useless.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      We had a rural mail carrier in my neighborhood that infuriated everyone. He was such a jerk, like leaving diagrams in your mail box that showed exactly how far off the ground it had to be, the exact 45 degree angle, etc. BUT he wouldn’t leave the mail. Guess it was too much trouble for him from the window of his giant Suburban. Same deal if it snowed. The snowplow would pile up snow near the mailboxes during the day, it would freeze solid, and even though the paper girl in her little Subaru had no trouble putting the paper in the box next to the mailbox, he wouldn’t deliver the mail until you chisled the ice out of his way.

      He put mothballs in our mailboxes, with a note saying it repelled bees. I threw them out as they made the mail smell so badly I had to leave it outside. Once he shorted me on stamps, I left him a note asking for the missing stamps, so he pasted them to the far back of my mailbox.

      We got rid of him when he was moved to another route. He should have been fired.

      So I vote for USPS.

      • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

        Sounds like he violated Federal law more than once. You should have contacted the USPS OIG Hotline: http://www.uspsoig.gov/hotline.htm

        • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

          Sorry, I didn’t mean for that to sound quite so…blame-y. I really just wanted everyone to know that there’s an independent inspector general that you can complain to if your local postmaster doesn’t fix the issue.

          • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

            That’s ok – we all contacted the Postmaster. What a joke that was. He did absolutely nothing. Like I said, our only relief was when he was moved to another route. I felt so sorry for the new customers. Our new mail carriers have been great! So, of course they’ll probably be fired or moved.

  10. InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

    UPS so very much deserves to win this round. I don’t have problems with the USPS, and I use them quite frequently (I’m sending things through the mail about three weekends out of four). But UPS? Well, they’ll accept addresses they can’t deliver to (i.e. PO Boxes), and then reroute packages without contacting the sender or receiver.
    Here’s a recent interaction I had with UPS: I ordered an item online and did not realize the sender would be using UPS as the shipping company. As such, I gave my PO Box as my mailing address. Well, the sender submitted this address to UPS and, rather than UPS say “Oh, we can’t deliver to this address” (which they can’t), they run it through their system and then go to public records to find my physical address. The one I’m not at during the time the UPS would be making deliveries. So, this means working from home to get a delivery rather than allowing me to provide a better mailing address. And the topper is that UPS will not ever notify a sender that they can’t actually deliver to PO Boxes. Nope. The onus for that is on the recipient.

    So, UPS for the win on this round.

  11. sufreak says:

    Personally, I’ve never had a problem with USPS. They’re slower, but more reliable. (personally speaking…)

    • dolemite says:

      I agree. UPS seems to change their shipping on the fly (I know we said Tuesday, but now it’s going to be Thursday!), and they are just as slow as USPS, while delivering busted up packages, but somehow demanding 2x the cost.

  12. Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

    I haven’t had any issues with either, so I won’t vote.

    I’ve actually had pretty good experiences with the local USPS here. My hold mail requests work, get things delivered when they should be, etc… My only issue with a shipping company has been Lasership from Amazon.

  13. Grogey says:

    Id say they all suck as I have no problems with UPS or USPS heck UPS have given better service then fedex.

  14. You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

    This is one I’m going to sit out. I have never had a problem with either of them.

  15. Pete the Geek says:

    I can’t vote on this one because I’ve always had decent service from both of these organizations. Now if FedEx was in the mix, it would be another story! My only gripe with UPS is that they claim they ship to remote communities in northern Canada, but what they really do is ship to a hub city and then turn the package over to the post office (Canada Post). As a result, the package takes about the same time to arrive as it would by mail, but for significantly higher cost.

  16. greatgoogly says:

    Unfortunately I’m going with USPS with this. UPS thus far has not lost anything. USPS has misdelivered packages and then lied to my face trying to cover it up.

  17. kenj0418 says:

    Voting for USPS. I can at choose to not use UPS, but there is apparently no way to stop the daily flow of tree-based spam that I get from USPS. (Yes, I know bulk subsidizes the first class mail – don’t care. I’d rather pay $2 to (very rarely) mail something and not have to deal with the ads.)

  18. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    my expectations are pretty low for USPS [as with many government organizations]
    but i voted for UPS this round because of the things UPS has done to other people and the way they keep leaving my neighbor’s packages in my carport
    and because when i go to pick up packages i have to sign for at my local post office it’s actually a pleasant experience with friendly people. my roommate insists on waiting in the car if she’s with me because she doesn’t believe a trip to the post office could be anything but a nightmare.

  19. dulcinea47 says:

    I’ve had YEARS of problems with USPS. Actually still have the problem of them smashing anything they can into my mailbox whether it actually fits or not. The postmaster told a friend of mine “I’m the postmaster, what are you going to do about it?”
    UPS isn’t perfect but I guess we have good delivery people around here.

  20. MichaelRyanSD says:

    My step dad is a driver for UPS and I had awesome health insurance till I was 26, so have to vote for USPS even though I’ve never had a problem with either.

  21. Marlin says:

    Seeing that UPS delievered over $2000 of pipe covers to another house they get my vote.

    yes the address was correct on the box.

  22. Blitzgal says:

    “… all while racking up billions of dollars in debt.”

    Okay, Consumerist. At least be honest enough to explain where most of that debt is coming from. It’s called the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 and it’s requiring the USPS to prefund its employees healthcare benefits for the next 75 years — effectively paying the benefits for people who aren’t even born yet. This entails a $5.5 billion annual payout to the Treasury.

  23. Marlin says:

    Seeing that UPS delievered over $2000 of pipe covers to another house they get my vote.

    yes the address was correct on the box.

  24. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    I am sorry to see these two in the running. USPS is truly awesome for the speed they accurately handle billions of pieces of mail every day. UPS hasn’t really ever let me down. They’ve both had hiccups – but they generally work very, very well.

  25. Torchwood says:

    Too bad FedEx isn’t in the competition. I’m going to post the video to the “Golden Package” anyways… http://youtu.be/zyq06fuapD0

  26. Mark702 says:

    USPS operates by taking taxpayers money, and it’s crumbling as we speak, and will soon be financially insolvent. I think that makes it the worse of the two, because as a taxpayer, I cannot opt out of paying for the stupid USPS, or for foreign wars, the war on drugs, or any of the other colossal wastes of money that the Federal government forces upon us.

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      Wrongo. 99% of its funding is self-generated from postal products and services. The remaining 1% is government funded but only for free franking privileges (congress people, senators, etc.) and stuff like books for the blind.

  27. OutPastPluto says:

    I had a recent incident with the USPS. They just threw a package next to the mailbox during rainy weather. If not for a helpful neighbor, that package would have likely been ruined.

    Prior to that, I had an item shipped and held in limbo for awhile before being finally shipped to me.

    Then there is all the spam.

    The Postal Service needs to be de-privatized and stop giving preferential treatment to spammers and bulk mail outfits that only serve to transfer trees to landfills.

  28. Karney says:

    USPS has had a rough year. Pity voting for UPS.

  29. CubeRat says:

    I hate UPS; they seem completely unable to deliver packages.

    I try to avoid any online purchases that do not allow me to use USPS, but was forced recently to special order something that they company would only send by UPS ground. UPS (and FedEx) seem unable to call when they come, so this time I put a note outside that said: “UPS please call xxx for delivery” The driver wrote on the note “Sorry, no phone” AND PUT IT BACK ON THE ENTRY PHONE.

  30. JLyles says:

    These two are about the same. The package being thrown over the fence was amazing.

  31. Traveller says:

    The biggest problem with the USPS is that they are either incapable or unwilling to change. This is partly due to a number of heavy handed union deals that have been struck with the pressure of congress on the USPS to accept them.

    For years the USPS has been an unfunded federal jobs program. Sorry folks that work there, but the USPS needs to go on a diet and that means letting some people go.

  32. Chmee says:

    I have to go with UPS. Sure, USPS has it’s problems, but I’ve become a little POd that it now costs me more to ship UPS than USPS when just a few years a go it used to be the other way around.

    What makes me amused about that is that USPS one price Priority parcels are shipped by, wait for it, wait for it….

    UPS.

    Saw the UPS truck backing up at the post office next to me and I was absloutely in hysterics!

  33. natebum says:

    i votes – USPS I keep getting not only my own junk mail but also for ppl who lived in my house 10+ years ago, not to mention my neighbor’s mail once in while.

    UPS – i just wish they would ring the bell, n not have my package sit on the porch the whole day.

  34. Nighthawke says:

    USPS by far, they are closing a sorting center here in town and laying off 400odd. They claim to be transferring 25-30% of the workforce, but I want to see proof of that.

  35. tape says:

    UPS is on the ALEC Corporate Board of Directors. That’s enough for me.

    The USPS has its problems, but a lot of those problems have been caused, directly and indirectly, by improper Congressional management, and a lot of that Congressional mismanagement is the result of lobbying by the likes of UPS and other ALEC member corporations.

  36. s0s has a chewy nougat center says:

    USPS has much more reasonable prices and, in many cases, more reasonable shipping times. I could spend $10 to ship something with USPS and have it there in 2-3 days, or $30 to ship something with UPS and have it there in (maybe) a week.

    Added to that, it is much easier for me to get a missed delivery from USPS. Take the yellow card in to my local post office, currently accessible six days out of every week. Present card, get package, done in under half an hour. UPS, I have to reschedule for a time when I am invariably not available, OR drive to the “local” depot half an hour away, that is only open in the evenings on Monday and Tuesday. And, then you have to sit around and wait a long time while they wait for the trucks to get in and maybe give your package to you.

    USPS may win this round thanks to a nightmare of a year (that’s mostly not actually their fault), but UPS is the one that really deserves to. They are consistently bad, and borderline evil.

  37. NotEd says:

    My only problem with USPS is that they have bad hours when you need to pick up anything from my local post office.
    UPS, on the other hand, constantly puches holes in boxes we receive, aswell as leaving them out on our front stoop without covering the boxes when there is rain or snow. With a household Amazon habit that means quite a few close calls with soaked and/or damaged outer boxes. As long as the inner packaging survived that isn’t a complete disaster, but it does make for crappy looking Xmas or birthday gifts.

  38. jeffbone says:

    I’m still pissed at UPS for stealing 2MHz of the 220MHz amateur radio band 25 years ago, so they’ll always get a vote from me.

  39. Tank Fuzzbutt says:

    USPS
    I’m speaking about you Tustin California USPS employees.
    Every week I get mail addressed to the correct house number but for an entirely different street and resident name and I always end up missing mail addressed to me.
    I’ve already spoken to you people about it but nooooooo, It’s too difficult for the special ed civil servants to properly do their job.

    Sorry. I was ranting again.

  40. Professor59 says:

    UPS. When the post office screws up, it because of entrenched, tenured, union folk that can’t be fired or even disciplined without a court order.

    UPS can stop the shenanigans whenever it wants, but chooses not to.

  41. Dano says:

    USPS by a mile. Much like newspapers, they are a dying/dead idea. The only thing I get in the mail anymore is either junk, or flyers.

  42. Myotheralt says:

    USPS recently made HyVee sign a no competition agreement to provide customer service. HyVee (in Fairfield, IA) is not allowed to contract UPS or FedEx any more. (for customer shipping)

  43. Myotheralt says:

    USPS recently made HyVee sign a no competition agreement to provide customer service. HyVee (in Fairfield, IA) is not allowed to contract UPS or FedEx any more. (for customer shipping)

  44. suez says:

    This was a close one, but considering I pay a hell of a lot more for UPS to mistreat my packages, they get my vote.

  45. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    If I have customers who ask if they can mail us something, I always recommend doing it electronically because of so many lost in the mail complaints we receive every year. Granted, ~1000 out of the 300,000 pieces of mail isn’t a huge percentage, but it still sucks the big one.

  46. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I can’t stand UPS. I like FedEx. The mail–meh, it definitely needs an overhaul, but mostly it’s okay.

  47. psm321 says:

    UPS hands-down. USPS in general provides cheap, reliable service

  48. gman863 says:

    Printing postage at home (USPS.com): Three minutes

    Waiting in line at the local post office: About five minutes.

    Having to drive to UPS to pick up a signature required package: About the same as a trip to the DMV.

    ’nuff said.

  49. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    I don’t have any real problems with either – but give the edge to UPS – even when a signature is required they just dump, ring, and run.

  50. phaseunbalance says:

    UPS. For hiring highly-skilled workers, assigning them to Alaska, then laying them off in the middle of a recession. The next day, UPS increased its stock dividend. The savings from that layoff went down the toilet.

  51. caradrake says:

    I somehow missed this post yesterday. I’d have to say USPS. We’ve lived in this duplex for 6 months now, and I *still* get crud from the old tenant. Even if I cross out every bit of address except for the old tenant’s name, cross out the barcode, mark “return to sender, does not live at address” – I will *still* get that same piece of mail back in a week or so. Oftentimes I will re-receive it three or even four times before it disappears.

    The inside of our mailbox even has a label, from the USPS, that has our name on it.

    My postman/postwoman can not read.

    UPS, on the other hand – a couple of weeks ago, my husband ordered a 100# heavy bag from Amazon. UPS knocked on the door, had it on a dolly at the bottom of our steps. He asked if I would want him to put it into the garage rather than leaving it outside, and then maneuvered it near the heavy bag stand delivered the day before. KUDOS for the customer service there.

  52. Serrinatta says:

    The UPS guy may have nearly run me over one day (on the sidewalk), but at work I have to deal with people calling and complaining about their delivery (which is done by USPS). When I finally wanted to get to the bottom of it, USPS gave me a form to track a customer’s delivery. After a week of tracking, it came back. I got USPS on the phone and stated that I got the tracking back and yes, the tracking showed inconsistency and large delays “What next?” I asked. “Oh, there’s nothing to do now. It just shows the workers we’re watching.”

  53. MonkeyMonk says:

    I vote for FedEx. Worst company ever.

  54. STrRedWolf says:

    I cannot signal out USPS for it’s financial woes, when most of them are not debts incurred by them but by the Treasury themselves in which the USPS is forced to pay back. If those debts are pulled out and slapped onto the Treasury where they belong, they will have the money to resume regular, proper service.

  55. idontknow82 says:

    I have never seen a box more beat to crap from any carrier except ups….What are they doing hitting it with a golf club or hockey stick and then sitting on it?

  56. edrebber says:

    Thick or Lumpy USPS Flat Rate Envelopes
    24-Jan-2011
    Flat Rate Priority Mail have been in use for a number of years. It has always been the rule that one might stuff these envelopes with any mailable content, regardless of thickness, or contour, or weight up to 70 pounds for domestic use and 4 pounds for international use.
    Since December, a number of postal stations have been improperly refusing to accept Flat Rate Envelope mailings when they are “too thick” or are “poofy” or “lumpy.”
    This article spells out what the official postal regulations are, and outlines procedures you may use to communicate with the Postal Service.
    As a companion, see these letter fragments to appeal refusals of FREs.
    What are the rules?
    The primary rules governing the mail are the Domestic Mail Manual and the International Mail Manual. The regulations within these documents are definitive, and they provide for nationwide consistency in the rules. These documents are available online (which is quite up to date), and are available in hard copy at some postal stations although these hard copy versions are updated less frequently.
    The DMM section 123.1.5 says:
    “Any amount of material (up to 70 pounds) may be mailed in a USPS-produced Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope or Flat Rate Box.”
    “When sealing a Flat Rate Envelope or Flat Rate Box, the container flaps must be able to close within the normal folds.”
    “Tape may be applied to the flaps and seams to reinforce the container, provided the design of the container is not enlarged by opening the sides and the container is not reconstructed in any way.”
    Notice that there is no specified restriction concerning thickness or for uniformity of surface contours. There are no restrictions about thickness or contour anywhere in the DMM.
    Also note that once the envelope is sealed by it’s own adhesive, you may then reinforce the seams and flap with tape. What you want to do is make it plain that the latitude afforded by the envelope’s own construction was not exceeded.
    Bogus objections
    Sometimes a postal clerk or official will object about a FRE for one of these reasons, all of which are misinterpretations of the DMM.
    Bogus objection 1: A thick FRE is forbidden because the flap is not folded sharply or folded exactly on the flap crease. That is an incorrect restriction. The regulation says “within,” not “on.” For example, the flap may be folded inside that crease, yielding a packet that’s shorter than the typical 9 inch height. This interpretation has been upheld in appeals.
    Bogus objection 2: A thick FRE is forbidden because the bulging envelope means that the envelope has been “enlarged.” This is an incorrect interpretation of the wording, the intent, and practical reality. The operative words are not “enlarged,” but “enlarged by opening the sides.” This clarification was added to the DMM because once upon a time some mailers were slitting FREs in half and taping the front and the back to large packages. And you may not do that.
    Bogus objection 3: A thick FRE is forbidden because it contains something other than documents. DMM 123.2.1 allows that “Priority Mail … may contain any mailable matter” and does not restrict FREs to “documents.”
    Bogus objection 4: A thick or lumpy FRE is forbidden because the container must be “flat.” Again, DMM 123.2.1 allows that “Priority Mail … may contain any mailable matter” and does not demand flatness.
    Bogus objection 5: A FRE thicker than 3/4″ is forbidden because a) it is an envelope, and b) the First Class Mail measuring doodad says that “Large Envelopes” must not be thicker than 3/4″. Oh brother, where to begin. First of all, that First Class Mail measurement doodad is intended only to determing if a mail piece qualifies for First Class Letter rate, First Class Large Envelope rate, or First Class Parcel rate. The doodad has nothing to do with Priority Mail. Again, DMM 123.1.5 does not restrict thickness in any way.
    What caused this confusion within the Post Office.
    An article containing incorrect information was published in a late December 2010 issue of the Retail Digest, which is a newsletter type of publication distributed by USPS Marketing to all Postmasters. This article said that thick and lumpy Flat Rate envelopes were improper usage of the envelopes. The Retail Digest does not establish regulations or policy.
    A flyer, which was reportedly included as an attachment to this issue of the Retail Digest,bears a photo of a thin FRE annotated “YES!” and a lumpy FRE annotated “NO!”. The flyer does not state any regulation. The flyer is completely at odds with the regulations as specified in the DMM. Nevertheless, some post offices are posting this flyer in their lobby and using it to improperly instruct postal clerks.
    Some post offices immediately recognized this was inconsistent with the DMM, and ignored it. However, some branches accepted this as proper doctrine and began enforcing it as such.
    It’s reported that the post office rescended the message in the article in early January. For whatever reason, some post offices have not gotten the word.
    What should we expect?
    We should expect that the Postal Service will observe it’s own written rules uniformly across the nation. When a clerk or office does not follow the rules, we should expect that anyone may escalate the issue up the supervisory chain, to have the issue fairly heard, and if higher ups rule in favor of the customer, that the higher ups will reinstruct his or her subordinates.
    We should not tolerate the USPS acting arbitrarily, nor to ignore or sidestep reasonable complaints that actions are contrary to regulations.
    We expect the Post Office to accept FREs that contain lumpy things like tennis balls or thick things like 2 inch thick boxes, provided they are properly sealed, within weight limits, and contain mailable content.
    What can you do if your Post Office refuses these mailings?
    If your postal clerk rejects your mailing, here is how you can productively work the issue.
    You follow the chain of command upwards until you reach the someone who will rule in your favor. Then that person will communicate the correct directive goes back DOWN to your postmaster refusing to accept the FRE.
    At each step, State the issue. (Clerks refuse to accept my FRE because it’s too thick.’ That’s contrary to postal regulations, specifically the Domestic mail manual).
    Be polite, professional and to the point.
    The chain of command will lead to the Postmaster. If the postmaster doesn’t give a satisfactory answer, ask for the postmaster’s superior’s name and direct phone number, which may well be a District Office. Generally, the District Offices are more knowledgable about the rules than are the Postmaster. Follow that lead up the chain.
    If the direct chain of command stumps you, contact first the manager of your local Bulk Mail Entry unit, and, that failing, contact the Pricing and Classification Service Center (PCSC). Either your postmaster or the District Office fail can tell you who your nearby Bulk Mail Entry manager is.
    The PCSC can be useful in another way. When speaking with a postmaster or someone District Office, you can direct them to the PCSC, saying that they are conversant with this issue and can quickly guide the Postmaster.
    The Bulk Mail Entry manager will very often resolve the problem sensibly. These are professionals who know the rules, deal in greater volumes, and have better experience. You can expect that they are intimately conversant with the DMM and have access to it if you query fine points.
    However, if your BME manager disagrees with your interpretation of the rules, or is uncertain, the next step is to the PCSC. Taking this next step doesn’t mean you’re wrong – there are fine points. You may ask the BME manager to assist you in submitting a package to the PCSC for consideration. The BME managers are polite and are glad to help. I suspect that they view it to be in their interests to fascilitate the resolution of fine points. Professional managers view it that way.
    The PCSC is open from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern Time. Contact the PCSC as follows:
    Pricing and Classification Service Center
    United States Postal Service
    90 Church Street, Suite 3100
    New York, NY 10007-2951
    212-330-5300
    212-330-5320 (fax)

  57. RiverStyX says:

    UPS for so many reasons..Because I used to work for those jerk-offs and how they gave me some bottom-feeder job after using me up during the holiday season. I’m still on a no-rehire status with those sociopaths.

    And not too long ago, they kept reporting that they made delivery attempts but they never actually did. I had packages sent back because of their idiocy.