By John Toole
---- — PELHAM — The U.S. Postal Service expects to raise some of its rates Jan. 27, including the cost of a first-class stamp. In advance of that, complaints are on the rise about local mail delivery.
Several complaints surfaced recently on the town’s electronic message board.
Lucy Wilkerson, a community volunteer for Scouting and school causes, was the first to publicly call attention to delivery issues.
She said her family had gone several days without mail, then found their box stuffed.
“Delivery isn’t happening regularly,” Wilkerson said yesterday. “Then the mailbox is so stuffed you have to really tug on it to get it out.”
She said she formally complained, using the USPS’s online system and was awaiting a response.
Two other residents complained on the message board about missing packages and receiving mail intended for other people.
Spokesman Tom Rizzo said the Postal Service strives to deliver every piece of mail accurately and on time.
“We advise customers who are experiencing mail delivery issues to report them by calling toll-free, 1-800-ASK-USPS with details of their case,” he said. “These issues are reported daily to the postmaster, who will respond to each customer within 24 hours to initiate resolution of the problem.”
Without specific addresses or pieces of mail in hand, it is difficult to analyze, he said, but there could be a number of explanations for the message board posts in Pelham.
Mail volume has declined dramatically over the past few years, so it’s not unusual for a customer to receive no mail for a day or more each week, he said.
“Typically, heavier mail volume on Mondays or days after a holiday may simply be more apparent in your mailbox after a day or two of having no mail,” Rizzo said.
He shot down the theory a move of Pelham mail carriers to Hudson is the potential source of the trouble.
“Pelham’s letter carriers have been based out of Hudson for 18 months or so,” Rizzo said. “They are the same carriers who delivered Pelham mail before the move, so that is a non-issue.”
“Two veteran carriers have retired and one transferred to another town,” he said, “and this may contribute to some isolated delivery issues with carriers hired since that time.”
A 911 address system for public safety was instituted in Pelham several years ago and some customers have resisted using their new addresses, Rizzo said. That can affect deliveries, he said.
Most parcel deliveries have tracking numbers and are scanned when first received at the post office and again if they brought back as undeliverable.
“There is no indication of problems in this area,” Rizzo said.