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Common Mail Mishaps and How to Avoid Them

Just like roads, mail delivery can experience everything from a smooth ride to the finish line or a series of thumps. If you’re very unlucky, mail delivery can even experience potholes and roadblocks, literally and figuratively.

Sometimes, you’ll experience issues with mail delivery and theft, or even mailbox damage. Here’s how to deal with, and prevent, each issue.

Mishap #1: Delivery Never Arrives

No one wants to order a package for it to never arrive, and no one wants to miss an important notice or bill. While there are many factors that can affect how quickly a package reaches a destination, only some are under the control of the customer or the property manager.

Customs, weather-related issues, or USPS errors are generally out of the control of whoever is expecting a package. However, other issues can cause mis-delivery, and the good news is that they can be fixed.

For customers, making sure mail arrives properly can be as simple as fixing your address with companies you do business with. Odd typos in an address (such as slashes or other characters) can cause mail to get delivered to the wrong place, and in this case, relying on neighbors to bring your mail over will often reveal the problem.

If you’ve moved in the past year, you may not have updated your address with the postal service and forwarding can only happen for so long. Contact them to make sure they have the right address on file.

If that doesn’t work, ensure your mailbox is easy to see, reach, and meets USPS requirements. Curbside mailboxes must have address numbers at least one inch high that are on the front or the flag side of the mailbox. They also need to stand between 42 and 45 inches tall. Wall-mounted mailboxes must not be behind hazards such as aggressive dogs and be easy to find and reach.

Property managers must make sure that any centralized mailboxes follow USPS regulations for 4C mailboxes, too, or the post office may not deliver. Ensure all addresses are clear on each customer unit.

One issue that may cause mail delivered to the wrong address is the design of centralized mailboxes. Often, the USPS opens the entire unit at once to find identical compartments stacked on top of one another. While convenient for the deliverer, mistakes can happen, and mail can easily end up in the wrong compartment.

If tenants complain of missing mail, or find themselves with the wrong envelopes and packages, placing address numbers inside each mailbox compartment will help.

Mishap #2: Theft

Package theft is a problem that is difficult to track, and may be growing with the age of online shopping and delivery. Thankfully, there are things the customer or property manager can do to prevent or reduce the chance of package theft without resorting to methods such as glitter bombs or other traps.

Often, packages get delivered when no one is home, during business hours, regardless of the carrier. This is especially true with the USPS.

In these cases, it may be a good idea to have packages sent to the home of a trusted friend who will be home at the time, or to have someone watch out for your package. The peace of mind can be worth the minor inconvenience.

Another method of stopping theft can be to have the post office hold your mail, including packages, for up to thirty days. This approach will work well if you are traveling, have a busy schedule, or have no one available to receive your packages.

Mailboxes are the number one line of defense against mail theft. For single customers who rely on simple mail delivery, purchasing a new, locking mailbox may be key (pardon the pun) to preventing the theft of smaller packages.

Many curbside mailboxes come with locks, and larger models can hold higher volumes of mail as well. This is good for those who travel a lot and can only check their mail periodically.

Property managers have centralized, 4C mailboxes available to purchase, and these mailboxes always lock and have the added bonus of parcel lockers. Parcel lockers hold packages of most sizes safely until customers can retrieve them. Property managers can also cut down on theft by purchasing parcel lockers for private delivery, where an employee of the property can receive boxes from any carrier and deliver them to these lockers for safekeeping.

Mishap #3: Mailbox Damage

Mailboxes can get damaged, especially if they’re curbside or wall-mounted models. Centralized mailboxes used by property managers can also take damage, but these tend to be more durable than other types and are far less prone to it.

Curbside mailboxes take damage from vehicles easily because USPS-approved posts are designed to “break away” when struck, in order to avoid injury to drivers. While this may seem like a weakness and an inconvenience to the owner, it is required by the USPS and the Federal Highway Administration for mailboxes on highways.

If you want another mailbox design, be sure to check with your locality to see what is approved, and you’ll still need to adhere to USPS regulations. Some towns and counties may have their own regulations.

New mailbox posts can easily be purchased from National Mailboxes, as well as other parts and accessories that may take damage from collisions and other events, such as vandalism. Wall-mounted mailboxes are also available and can be replaced at a fairly low cost.

Property managers usually manage multiple mailboxes, and homeowner’s associations will often do the same, handling mail delivery for an entire community. To cut down on the chance for damage, such groups often invest in multi-unit curbside mailboxes, where one or two posts hold several mailboxes each. This reduces not just collisions, but maintenance.

Contact Us for Smooth Mail Delivery

If the simpler methods don’t work well in preventing mail mishaps, we’re here to help, especially if your outdated, unsecure mailbox may be causing the issues. We’re also here if you need replacement parts. Contact us today with your home, business, and community mailbox needs.