USPS Just Warned Customers About This Major Delay
The postal agency is struggling with mailing out millions of packages.
Whether you're getting delivery for dinner again or throwing down more money to get your latest online order to your door sooner, we don't like to wait for things in the age of instant gratification. But when it comes to timeliness, there are some factors that are out of our control. In Oct. 2021, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) announced that it was implementing new service standards for certain forms of mail, increasing the amount of time it takes to be delivered. Coupled with labor shortages and winter weather hazards, this has resulted in the agency receiving numerous complaints about mail delays already this year. Now, the USPS just released a new alert, warning about another delay that is likely to affect millions of customers. Read on to find out the latest from the Postal Service.
Some people who ordered free at-home COVID tests are experiencing a delivery delay.
President Joe Biden announced at the beginning of 2022 that his administration would buy one billion at-home COVID tests to distribute to people in the U.S. for free. The online sign-up portal for these tests went live on Jan. 18, allowing one person from each household to enter their mailing address in order to receive four free tests per residence. The portal was set up by the USPS, who was put in charge by the Biden administration to ship and deliver these at-home COVID tests.
According to the agency, the shipment of these tests was expected to occur within seven to 12 business days. If you ordered your set right away, you should have received your delivery by Feb. 4, CBS-affiliate WUSA 9 in Washington, D.C., reported. But many households still have not received their tests nearly a week later.
A spokesperson from the USPS told the news outlet that more than 60 million households have already requested tests, and the Postal Service has only been able to ship around 10 million so far. "This is huge demand and we're making incredible progress," a USPS spokesperson said in an email to WUSA 9.
The USPS says those who haven't ordered yet will have to wait for more available tests.
Some people might have put off ordering their at-home COVID tests, hoping that this would allow them to bypass the longer wait time for shipping and delivery. But if you fall into this group, you could actually experience an even greater delay. According to the USPS, newly requested tests won't be shipped until more are accessible.
"Due to high demand, we're fulfilling orders as tests come in: Place your order now and it will ship as soon as tests become available," the agency now states in a warning on the online sign-up portal. But the USPS declined to give any specific details as to when more tests will become available for shipment, WUSA 9 reported.
And even if you did order them already, your tests might still be waiting to be shipped.
If you provided an email address when signing up for your tests, the USPS says you will receive a confirmation email of your order and the order number, as well as delivery updates once the packages ships that will include a tracking number and an expected delivery date. But your order might not have been sent out yet.
If you requested tests but have not received a tracking number that means they have not shipped, a USPS spokesperson told WUSA 9. However, if you ordered your tests more than two weeks ago or if you've received an email with a tracking number and estimated delivery date and are still waiting, you should contact the Postal Service through an online email form.
You can't pay to get your tests expedited by the USPS.
If you were hoping to have the option to get your order shipped faster, you'll be disappointed. The USPS says that the free at-home COVID tests will only be shipped with First-Class Package Service if your address is in the contiguous U.S. or by Priority Mail if you live in Alaska, Hawaii, or a U.S. territory. "No other shipping options are available," the agency warns. So you can't pay for faster shipping.
If you have been asked to pay for your tests in any way, you could be dealing with a scam. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), no one will call, text, or email you from the federal government offering to "help" you order your free tests or get them delivered to you faster.
"The tests are completely free. There are no shipping costs, and you don't have to give a credit card or bank account number. You only need to give a name and address," the FTC said in a Jan. 20 announcement. "Once you place an order, you'll get an order confirmation number. If you give your email address, you'll also get an order confirmation email and delivery updates. Anyone who asks for more information than that is a scammer."