Frustration continues for some Georgians experiencing mail service delays

Patrick Freeman, 65, mailed his child in Vancouver, Washington, their car title in March. Now, nearly 90 days later, the title still hasn't been delivered.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Patrick Freeman, 65, mailed his child in Vancouver, Washington, their car title in March. Now, nearly 90 days later, the title still hasn't been delivered.

DeKalb County resident Patrick Freeman mailed a car title to his child in Vancouver, Washington, on March 19.

It still hasn’t been delivered.

The car title was supposed to be delivered six days later. Instead it’s been passed from state to state, bouncing its way across the USA.

“I don’t doubt that it’s complicated,” Freeman said about the U.S. Postal Service. “It’s a huge entity, with a lot of complexity.”

Still, the experience has made him second-guess the Postal Service’s effectiveness.

“I don’t have the same confidence in them that I used to,” Freeman said.

Freeman is among the many Georgians who continue to endure delays in mail delivery service. State leaders, including congressmen and both of Georgia’s U.S. senators, have repeatedly questioned Postmaster General Louis DeJoy about why the problems persist.

DeJoy has blamed the delays on changes that were being made to improve mail processing facilities across the nation, but said during an April 16 congressional hearing that “we’ll get to where we need to be in about 60 days.” U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., wanted a progress report by Monday. DeJoy sent a letter to Ossoff on Monday that said the on-time delivery percentage of first-class mail to or from Georgia during the first week of June was more than twice as high as the mid-March low of about 36%.

Ossoff said in a statement Monday evening he will continue to monitor the situation.

“For months I have sustained relentless pressure on USPS management to fully resolve disastrous performance failures impacting my constituents in Georgia. I’m still hearing from Georgia families and businesses about the difficulty they continue to face sending and receiving their mail. I will not rest until my constituents are well and fully served by the U.S. Postal Service,” Ossoff said.

Postal Service officials have blamed much of the delays on staffing issues at the facility in Palmetto, which opened in February. DeJoy announced in May that he would pause the changes until 2025 in order to understand their full effect on service.

Postal Service officials said in a statement last week to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that mail reliability and delivery are improving.

Freeman, a 65-year-old retired commercial real estate executive, said he is not seeing improvements.

“My personal experience is that it hasn’t gotten better,” Freeman said.

Others continue to experience problems.

Sean Martin, who lives in the Lithonia area, said he has not received a shipment of motorcycle parts he ordered months ago, even though U.S. Postal Service tracking says it was delivered. He has filed a complaint and plans to appeal a denied claim.

”It has been almost two and a half months since those parts are we’re supposed to be delivered. I’ve already had to buy additional parts to get my motorcycle working again,” Martin said. “This shouldn’t have to be a fight that I have to fight. ... The onus should not be on me to fix a problem that I did not cause.”

After Freeman mailed the title from Tucker, it arrived in Atlanta 11 days later on March 30. On April 6, based on USPS tracking notifications, it made its way to Portland, Oregon, then to Vancouver, Washington, on April 8. The title, though, returned to Atlanta, and has now been sitting in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, since June 3, according to Freeman.

DeKalb County resident Patrick Freeman created a map detailing the different locations his mail has gone since he shipped it in mid-March.

Credit: Contributed

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Credit: Contributed

He wondered if he misaddressed the item, but he’s sure there was a pre-printed return address on the envelope.

Freeman said he reached out to the U.S. Postal Service, but received vague answers about the whereabouts of the item. Instead, they were mostly updates about the widespread delays and the changes taking place within the postal system. The last update he got was from a Postal Service representative in April saying since the item had not moved for over 15 days, he’d have to report it as missing.

He said he’s pretty sure he reported it as missing, but not totally sure since it was about two months ago.

Freeman said while the item is not extremely important, he thinks the whole experience is strange.

“It’s really weird that it’s in Pennsylvania, because that has nothing to do with the place from which it was sent or the place to which it was going,” he said.

He said that when he paid his mom’s taxes, he went through the process online instead.

“I didn’t trust that the post office, from Atlanta, could get stuff to either the state or federal tax locations in time,” Freeman said.

Postal Service problems

Here’s a timeline of some of the interaction among Georgia’s congressional delegation about the issues with the U.S. Postal Service:

Dec. 13, 2023 - More than a dozen Georgia members of Congress sign a letter to the U.S. postmaster general raising concerns with mail service.

Feb. 24 - The Atlanta Regional Processing and Distribution Center in Palmetto opens, but encounters staffing issues.

April 16 - Postal Service officials say during a congressional hearing that on-time delivery for first-class mail was being met only 36% of the time in the Atlanta area.

May 14 - U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has agreed to pause the changes being made at some post office facilities until 2025.

May 30 - U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff visits the Atlanta regional center in Palmetto and says he expects timely results to fix the ongoing mail delays.

June 10 - U.S. Rep. Mike Collins, R-Jackson, leads a group of Republican members of Congress to the Palmetto facility.

June 11 - Ossoff writes a letter to DeJoy asking for an update by June 17.

June 17 - DeJoy writes a two-page letter to Ossoff that says on-time delivery is much better than it was in mid-March.