Jan. 30, 2007 – The U.S. Postal Service is planning to hold "customer days" at post offices across the territory to hear customer complaints directly, Delegate Donna M. Christensen said in a news release issued Monday.
"I hope that our residents take advantage of this opportunity to make the post office aware of their experiences," she said.
She said that the specific dates of the customer days will be announced next week.
Residents have long complained about delays in receiving mail and other problems with the post office.
St. Croix resident Marti Gotts said she doesn't think the customer days will make one bit of difference. "After they leave, it will go back to the same old thing," she said.
Tom Lee, who owns the Canvas Factory on St. John, said he plans to let postal officials know about the problems he encounters at the St. John post office and with mail delivery when they visit St. John.
"I don't know where the mail gets hung up, but I haven't had a single priority mail or express mail get here according to the guidelines," Lee said.
He said he often goes a whole month without receiving one of his weekly New Yorker magazines.
And he said the wait times at the St. John post office counter are "extraordinary."
Gotts said a post office employee was so abusive, she finally gave up her mailbox and now gets her mail at her husband's office.
She said it takes a week for mail to get from one Christiansted address to another in the same town. And she said that letters properly addressed to her address somehow find their way to St. Kitts.
As for package delivery from off island, she said it was a crapshoot. Sometimes, packages arrive quickly and other times, they take a month.
Gotts said she that many companies won't mail packages to the Virgin Islands because they're pilfered in transit.
"I've had magazines read and taken out of their wrappers," she said.
Lee and Gotts both gave kudos to the people who deliver mail.
"The postal carriers are exceptional. They're lovely and always happy," Gotts said.
St. Thomas resident Billy Walker has no complaints. He said he gets his mail at Red Hook Mail Service because years ago mail disappeared from his box on the street.
He said his mail arrives quickly. However, he doesn't mail much locally, instead preferring to pay his V.I. Water and Power Authority and Innovative Telephone bills at the bank.
"I enjoy the trip," he said.
Christensen has tried numerous times tried to improve postal service and has in previous years held town meetings on the post office problems across the territory.
Christensen said she met Monday with Postal Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in San Juan to discuss the inefficiencies in the regular and priority mail services to and from the Virgin Islands.
"We discussed facilities and staffing issues and agreed that there was a need for better coordination between the Postal Service and Customs and Border Patrol with regard to processing our mail in a timely and efficient manner," Christensen said.
She said that postal officials agreed to conduct tests on how long it takes mail to get to and from the territory from various destinations.
Christensen vowed to follow up on all the post office issues until service improves.
While in Puerto Rico, she also met with Puerto Rico Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila to discuss issues that concern both territories. Christensen said they include status, lifting the cap on the amount of rum tax returned to the territories and the need for increased federal law enforcement in the islands.
"The meeting was fruitful and solidified our resolve to work together on issues of mutual concern," Christensen said.
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