USPS Slammed by Customers Over Service Suspension: "We're Being Bamboozled"
They postal agency is facing backlash over a post office closure.
Most of us rely heavily on our mail, making the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) a truly essential agency. But the USPS sometimes fails to adequately meet the needs of customers, including in a number of notable incidents over the past several years. From increasing reports of mail theft to delivery delays, the USPS has left a number of customers frustrated over missing mail. Now, the agency is facing new backlash after initiating a service suspension in one area. Read on to find out why customers claim they're being "bamboozled" by the Postal Service.
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The USPS recently suspended services in a Pennsylvania town.
Postal customers in Ono, Pennsylvania, received a letter last fall informing them that the USPS would be suspending all services at the their town's post office, LebTown reported. The facility's suspension—which started on Oct. 27—was necessary "due to lease termination by the landlord," Paige Zimmerman, manager of Post Office Operations, wrote in the notice.
Jocelyn Shay, the owner of the building where the Ono Post Office was located, told the news outlet that she decided it was time to end the five-year rental agreement with the Postal Service, once it expired on Oct. 31. Shay said the long-term business relationship with the USPS was her father's legacy, but she wanted to open a realty office at that location, which contributed to her decision to end the lease.
"My family had renovated that building and provided a post office to the town for over 40 years," she told LebTown. "We rented it to the Postal Service, through thick and thin, but there are a lot of federal regulations that go along with that. There were some other things that they weren't picking up on their end and it wasn't worth it to me anymore to continue the rental agreement."
The agency hasn't found another location for the facility.
In the Oct. 2022 notice, Zimmerman indicated that the USPS would consider finding an alternate location for the postal facility.
"I realize with change there is always concern," she wrote. "No final decision to permanently discontinue the Post Office has been made. A community meeting with be held later near the Ono Post Office to explain our plans and solicit your comments concerning possible alternate means of providing postal and other services."
Now, five months later, customers still don't have answers. Ono residents told LebTown that they have not been notified of a community meeting, nor have they received any communication from the Postal Service about an official decision concerning the future of their town's postal operations. Shay said she even attempted to work with the agency's real estate division to help them find a new location to no avail.
When Best Life reached out to the USPS for comment on the Ono Post Office situation, Mark Lawrence, strategic communications specialist for the agency's Atlantic Area, said that "all alternatives for a replacement facility are being evaluated." He added that "the official community contact process will begin within the next 30 days," but did not elaborate further.
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Customers claim they're being "bamboozled" by the Postal Service.
Ono residents seem to be at an impasse now. They are not offered delivery service from the USPS, despite the agency delivering mail to neighboring houses that have postal addresses for Annville and Jonestown.
"Ono is only 20 houses and mail trucks come to either side of town," Shay told LebTown. "For some reason, the U.S. Postal Service is not closing this gap, and I really don't know why. Annville or Jonestown could pick up this route, which makes the most sense to me."
Ed Anspach, who owns a car business in Ono, said mail delivery from Jonestown is about one-tenth of a mile away from his property line. "They are making mail deliveries to other people within a block of my location, but they haven't offered to deliver the mail," he said.
Instead, Anspach, Shay, and other Ono residents have to go to the Jonestown Post Office to get their mail—as noted in the Postal Service's original notice. "During the suspension, customers we be able to pick-up Post-Office Box Mail at the Jonestown Post Office, located 3.5 miles away," Zimmerman wrote.
But adding to their frustrations, Shay and Anspach told LebTown that they are being forced to pay for a P.O. Box at the Jonestown facility.
"We're being bamboozled for paying for our mail, paying to be inconvenienced," Shay said. "I thought it was a choice to get a postal box, but we were never given a choice."
Shay told LebTown that she had initially refused to pay for a P.O. Box renewal in February, but gave up when a lock was put on her box, preventing her from getting her mail.
The USPS has faced similar complaints in the past.
Some people pay for P.O. Boxes because they need something more than their home delivery. But customers who the Postal Service does not deliver to—like Shay and Anspach—are supposed to be eligible for this service at no additional cost. P.O. Boxes are offered "for no fee to customers who are not eligible for carrier delivery," the USPS states in its Domestic Mail Manual (DMM).
Lawrence told Best Life that the agency is "currently investigating the status of P.O. Boxes in Ono." But they are hardly the only ones facing this problem.
Residents of other Pennsylvania towns such as Brownstown, Adamstown, and Maytown have also recently claimed that they are being wrongfully charged for P.O. Boxes, local NBC-affiliate WGAL reported on March 1.
"We have to have the post office box. If I'm forced to have a box, we shouldn't have to pay for it because you're forced to have it," Adamstown resident Jeremy Motter told the news outlet, adding that he became more frustrated after receiving notice that the USPS was hiking prices for P.O. Boxes this year.
"I'm, like, well, hold on. This is ridiculous," Motter added. "I don't want to have to pay extra, especially when people get their mail delivered for free."
In a previous statement to Best Life, a USPS spokesperson said, "To customers whose physical addresses are not eligible for any form of USPS carrier delivery service, Group E PO Box service is provided for free. This service is consistent with the USPS responsibility to provide universal mail delivery. Customers who feel they may qualify for a free Group E PO Box should address their concerns to their local Postmaster for review. If discrepancies are discovered, we take all measures to resolve the error as soon as possible."