GREENSBORO, N.C. — Where is my package? That's the question on the minds of many people as they eagerly await expected packages that are long overdue to arrive.
Complaints keep growing about packages sent through the U.S. Post Service not showing up on time.
Frustrated customers have told WFMY News 2 that they have tracked their packages to the USPS Greensboro facility where they are delayed for days. Some said they have also gotten various electronic messages that state the packages have been delivered whereas nothing has shown up at their doorstep or in their mailbox.
"It's been about 15 days and I keep getting the same messages," said Stacy Dean of Greensboro. Dean has been expecting a customized fragile item and after an extended delay, she feared the package could be lost.
"I'm worried that when I do finally get it, if it is not lost in transit, it is going to be broken into a million pieces and I don't know what they are going to do if that were to be the case," Dean said who is also waiting on two other packages.
"The packages are really seeming to just sit in a distribution center and I'm not receiving them," Anne-Marie Castillo told WFMY News 2 late last week.
"I am thinking it's about to get exponentially worse, a lot of gifts would probably be received after Christmas.
Both Dean and Castillo have said at this point they would consider using different mail service providers for shipments or go through Amazon. Such action which has been echoed by many would also mean a loss of much-needed dollars for the USPS.
A USPS spokesperson has said the Greensboro facility has faced challenges due to COVID-19.
In addition, a record number of absentee ballots mailed in for last month's election tested the postal service's system and operations.
In a statement sent to WFMY News 2 USPS said;
"The 640,000 employees of the U.S Postal Service across the nation are proud to provide an essential service to our customers during the pandemic and to meet unprecedented challenges of this extraordinary year.
The Greensboro Processing & Distribution Center (P&DC) has faced challenges recently due to COVID-19 at the same time mail volumes have dramatically increased. We have taken steps to address issues caused by the pandemic as we approach our busiest weeks, including hiring seasonal employees and allocating employees to facilities that need additional resources.
There has already been progress at the Greensboro P&DC and we are confident that our processing and delivery will return to normal levels quickly.
As we do each year, the Postal Service reminds customers to send mail and packages early to avoid glitches. For additional holiday information and resources, including mailing deadlines and packaging tips, check out the USPS holiday newsroom.
We thank our customers for their continued support, and we are committed to making sure gifts and cards are delivered on time to celebrate the holidays."
Another statement sent last week read;
"The Postal Service appreciates its customers and always strives to provide the best possible service to them. We are looking into the issues that you have brought to our attention and apologize to customers for the inconvenience. Customers are encouraged to contact a postal representative about mailing or shipping questions, including contacting a supervisor or manager at the local Post Office. Contact information for Post Office locations can be found by searching for quick tools at www.usps.com. Other options include calling Greensboro District Consumer Affairs at (336) 668-1375, calling 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777), contacting @USPSHelp on Twitter, or visiting our website at www.usps.com/help."
"I am sure with everything that's gone on in 2020 this isn't really the worst of situations but it's very irritating. Some people that are waiting on important things like medication aren't receiving their medication and it's just staying in limbo at the post office," Dean said.
To see exactly how long mail and packages are taking to arrive, we have decided to send Christmas packages of our own.
Masked up, WFMY News 2's Adaure Achumba stopped by the Goodwill Store on Market Street in Greensboro to pick up decorative Christmas items.
The items were sent via Priority Mail to addresses in Greensboro, Colfax NC, Decatur GA, and Houston TX. Christmas cards with regular postage stamps were also sent to the same addresses with notes to check in once received.
The packages were listed with a possible delivery date of December 12.
However, the postal staff in the standard transaction read-out acknowledged that the USPS was experiencing delivery delays and advised that due to the impact of the pandemic and volume of mail being processed for the holiday, that date isn't the guaranteed date for the package to arrive at the address.
As the packages are tracked and results anticipated, remember to plan early if you want your packages to arrive in time for Christmas.
Shipping agencies have also advised the same and have urged folks to shop early so your packages can get to you and also mail gifts out early too.
USPS, Fed Ex, and UPS all list Dec. 15 as one of the last days to mail packages so they are more likely to arrive by Christmas.
In addition, USPS recommends you send your packages by these dates to get them delivered in time for the Christmas Day tradition of opening presents:
Dec. 15 for retail ground service
Dec. 19 for priority mail
Dec. 23 for priority mail express service