Amid widespread delays, Atlanta’s post office customers say trust eroding

Many metro Atlantans have been left frustrated and confused as the widespread mail delays continue. The problem has led to late mail, stalled packages and even late bill payments.

Credit: Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz /

Many metro Atlantans have been left frustrated and confused as the widespread mail delays continue. The problem has led to late mail, stalled packages and even late bill payments.

With her granddaughters’ birthdays approaching soon, Sally Mac wanted to send them special birthday cards.

So she mailed the cards in late February — and one of them still has not been delivered.

”I mailed another card to her sister the same day, and she did receive it,” Mac told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday during her visit to a Chamblee post office.

“So, that was my first clue that something was going on.”

It’s a story that is being repeated over and over in Georgia and across the country: mail not being delivered on time by the U.S. Postal Service.

Many metro Atlantans have been left frustrated and confused as the widespread delays continue. The problems have included late mail, stalled packages and even late bill payments. That has left customers and state leaders begging for solutions, and hoping that the problem will be solved soon.

Mac said she used a standard blue mailbox at a shopping center to mail the birthday cards to Watkinsville, but has since been visiting the post office in person.

“It’s an inconvenience,” she said. “I would prefer to just trust all the blue boxes.”

Mac is just one of several customers who shared their personal stories about the postal service’s woes. She’s also not the only one searching for answers.

On Tuesday, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy was grilled by U.S. senators during a Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing. Sen. Jon Ossoff of Georgia, one of the loudest voices, firmly addressed DeJoy, saying on-time mail delivery is grossly inadequate. He demanded the problems be fixed in weeks, not months.

“I have constituents with prescriptions that aren’t being delivered,” the Democratic senator said. “I’ve got constituents who can’t pay their rent and their mortgages. I’ve got businesses who aren’t able to ship products or receive supplies.”

The problems are primarily originating from the Atlanta Regional Processing and Distribution Center in Palmetto, where DeJoy says they are working to increase staffing. Service improvements should be seen in 60 days, he added.

The Postal Regulatory Commission’s chairman, Michael Kubayanda, also testified at the hearing, telling committee members that there were “alarming issues” found with the service’s performance, finances and efficiency. He said on-time delivery for first-class mail was being met only 36% of the time.

One Gwinnett County business owner knows that pain, almost losing thousands because of the delays.

Dana Gordon is a one-woman show, selling jewelry exclusively online. She said her income depends on the USPS running like a well-oiled machine.

But in March, the gears began to stick.

She shipped about 130 packages via USPS’ ground advantage plan that seemingly disappeared somewhere in the postal networks. She said it was the equivalent of $7,500 in merchandise — and no one could find it.

The items were eventually delivered about a month later, so she didn’t lose money as she managed to avoid any chargebacks to her business. But she lost some return customers after several packages were delivered too late for important dates, including a wedding.

”I would have lost a ton of money” had the orders not been delivered, she said. “To recover from that type of impact, it would have probably taken me several months.”

Holiday-themed jewelry for St. Patrick’s Day and Easter did not make it on time, so she’s left having to rebuild trust with her customers.

”People buy jewelry to match other things. They’ve got outfits, they’ve got holidays, they’ve got activities that they’re going to attend. They’re buying jewelry for those specific reasons,” she explained.

While she hasn’t experienced any setbacks since then, it’s always a concern every time its shipping day.

”I don’t have any trust in them,” she said. “I use them because that is the cheapest route to go, but I don’t have the trust.”

Tena Hargrove, another Gwinnett resident, visited a Norcross post office late Wednesday morning but said she doesn’t use USPS for anything important anymore. She learned her lesson in 2020, when she said her absentee ballot was not counted in that year’s election.

Hargrove said she and her family had recently moved from Dallas, Texas.

“I came up here and mailed them. I paid extra postage to mail them certified,” Hargrove said. “They never arrived.”

She said when she asked the post office what happened, the employee told her she shouldn’t have done that. “The guy told me that was the dumbest thing I could have done,” she said.

The problems are hitting folks outside the metro area, too. Craig Fowler and his wife Lisa will be celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary in May with a trip to Alaska, and they’ve been preparing for months. On their checklist was renewing their passports.

The couple started that process in February by express-mailing their physical passports, renewal forms and checks to the passport office. But days went by, and the tracking still showed the package sitting at the Cartersville post office.

”About three weeks went by, and I’m starting to panic at this point,” the Fannin County resident said.

They have a multiweek excursion planned, and they weren’t sure how much of it could be reimbursed or rescheduled. Their anniversary, of course, is a set date.

So they contacted both the post office and passport office and got the same advice: report their passports as lost, cancel the checks and apply for new passports. So that’s what they did, but it cost them about $500 instead of $360 to just renew.

”When we went through and had to do all that again, you know, I was thinking, ‘Is this going to be — we’re going to have the same problem? Is this letter going to get lost in the mail?’” Fowler said.

“There was a lot of anxiety even with the second round.”

That package arrived on time, and the couple got their shiny new passports last week, he said.

The original package was also finally delivered nearly a month later.

Many customers said the problems have made the postal service unreliable. They are hesitant to send important documents, worrying that they might get lost.

Hargrove said she would even pay extra these days to have other companies deliver her mail.

“I trust Amazon,” she said. “I grew up on a time where, the mail, you could trust. You could trust the post office.

“Today’s environment, they’re the last people I would trust.”