Friday, September 23, 2016

Service Of Hold Mail In USPS

If you're going to be away from home for a while, the your local post office can hold your mail to avoid an overflowing mailbox. Fine.

In the old days (and you can still do this), you went to the office and filled out a form (PDF). Someone on the show who has done this said the Postal Service doesn't validate the identity of the person who requests mail to be held. It validates only the identity of the person who comes to pick up the mail.

Government techies copied this manual system to the Internet.

You can go to (or click on Hold Mail at the Postal Service home page, as shown below) and put a hold on mail delivery. Notice that I didn't say put a hold on your mail delivery. You can put a hold on mail delivered to anyone. This is true with the traditional system, too, but the Internet makes it worse, adding more anonymity and making the process easier. Too easy.

The agency site claims that it needs a name, address, and phone number to stop mail delivery. When tested, however, this turns out not to be the case. Requests with wrong names and wrong phone numbers were accepted, according to a listener who wrote in to the show. All you really need to know is an address.

And with the address, you can stop all mail delivery, not just mail to one person. Quoting from the Frequently Asked Questions: "All mail, regardless of name, will be held for the address entered. Submitting an online Hold Mail request once is all that is required to hold mail delivery for everyone at the address."

Don't have a computer? Simply call 800-ASK-USPS

Detail About Service Of Hold Mail In USPS:

U.S. Postal service officials said the policy had been in place for at least three years, but was not justified, and has since been eliminated.
But that didn’t happen until after Kirschbaum navigated a labyrinth of filing complaints, making phone calls, sending letters, researching policies, contacting politicians, and receiving circular responses from postal officials, without success.
“I thought jeepers, this is something that the people in Corona are being picked on because no other postal service in (the area) has the same policy,” he said.
Corona Postmaster Mark Levesque was not disciplined because the policy violated no regulations, a spokesman said.
Postal officials changed his policy after a reporter’s call triggered an investigation. They discovered Levesque was attempting to manage excessive mail holds filed by people whose homes were being foreclosed on in the city when the housing market collapse started several years earlier.
“He said that a lot of people were not in their homes and were just putting their mail on vacation hold for 30 days, and then another 30 days, and another 30 days,” U.S. Postal Service spokesman Richard Maher said Levesque told him. “We can’t hold mail if somebody’s not physically at that location. That’s what began this policy.”
Residents are supposed to provide the postal service a forwarding address within 10 days, if they leave the location, Maher said. But if they still live there, residents can have mail held for up to 30 days at a time for an unlimited number of times.
The solution Levesque created actually created another problem by penalizing Corona residents who were not abusing the hold-mail service, Kirschbaum said.
Everyone who requested more than two holds a year was being told they had to provide a reason to the postmaster, Maher said.
“That should have been dealt with on an individual basis where the abuse occurred, rather than initiating a policy where anyone had to explain the situation beyond two times a year,” Maher said.
But Kirschbaum said he couldn’t reach Levesque to explain his reason because clerks always said he was at lunch, could not be disturbed, or that appointments were not available because he arrived at work early and left early. Kirschbaum said he was told to get a relative or neighbor to hold his mail, rent a post office box or buy a mailbox that locks.

That’s when he started calling post offices in Riverside, Anaheim, Chino Hills and Santa Ana, and found no similar policy.

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