The objective of this audit is to determine whether Express Mail refunds were properly issued, supported, and processed at the Chicago, IL, Loop Station.
OIG data analytics determined the Chicago, IL, Loop Station had a 17 percent increase in dollars for refunds and voids from April 1 to September 30, 2017, compared to the same period in fiscal year 2016. Of the nearly $17,000 in refunds and voids, $3,066, or 18 percent, were recorded to Express Mail failures. Express Mail failures are determined based on the delivery commitment. Loop Station personnel made 138 refunds to customers due to Express Mail failures during this time period.
What the OIG Found
Express Mail failure refunds at the Loop Station were not always properly issued, supported, and processed. Of the 138 refunds reviewed, we found that unit personnel:
- Did not properly complete forms for 121 refunds, such as not completing the “Disbursements for Refunds” section.
- Issued 46 refunds that were not warranted.
- Did not properly maintain 26 refund request forms or supporting documentation for refunds.
- Did not record two Express Mail refund requests to the Express Mail refund account code.
The supervisor stated that these errors occurred because of competing priorities. She stated she was unaware that the “Disbursements for Refunds” section of the refund form needed to be completed and some documentation may have been misplaced by other personnel acting for her when she was out of the office. Further, she stated she only confirmed whether the refund was warranted if the mailpiece indicated it had been delivered, rather than reviewing for the first stop-the-clock scan prior to approving the refund.
If Loop Station management does not ensure that refunds are warranted and supported, the Postal Service risks issuing incorrect or unauthorized Express Mail refunds. The Loop Station issued $1,537 in questionable refunds because Postal Service policy was not followed.
What the OIG Recommended
We recommended management reiterate to unit personnel the policies for supporting, validating, processing, and recording Express Mail refunds.