Background

The U.S. Postal Service offers Registered Mail for customers sending valuable or irreplaceable items through the mail. Registered Mail provides added protection for valuable and important customer and internal mail with evidence of mailing and delivery.

Tracking service begins from the time the sender presents the mail to the Postal Service to the point of delivery. An accountable individual must sign for the Registered Mail piece each time it changes hands and each intermediary office must prepare control logs. Registered Mail pieces also require specific packaging and sealing methods for security and protection. When not in transit, Registered Mail pieces must be stored in a locked safe, room, or cage separated from other mail.

During fiscal year 2016, the Postal Service processed [redacted] million pieces of Registered Mail and collected revenue of about [redacted] million.

We used geographical information system mapping, insurance claims, and Registered Mail volume to judgmentally select 15 post offices and two registry sections from four areas for review.

Our objectives were to review current operational controls over Registered Mail for effectiveness, follow-up on prior recommendations from a 2012 audit, and identify potential process improvements and efficiencies.

What the OIG Found

Postal Service operational controls over Registered Mail at 14 of 15 post offices visited were not always adequate, effective, or followed. Some of the post offices had multiple issues such as:

  • Six post offices had safes storing Registered Mail and other accountable items that were open and unattended during business hours.
  • Two doors to the registry room or cage were open and unlocked when not in use and the safe key was not secure at one of the post offices.
  • One post office’s Registered Mail for daily bank deposit was not secured routinely while awaiting dispatch and remittance.
  • Six post offices left Registered Mail pieces unattended in an open area.
  • Four post offices did not maintain logs recording personnel access to the registry room or cage.
  • Fourteen post offices had employees who did not complete required training courses for acceptance, transfer, and security of Registered Mail.

We also determined that the Postal Service did not complete corrective action on prior U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General report recommendations related to Registered Mail.

Specifically:

  • Two of three post offices in the Southern Area did not provide a step-by-step procedure toolkit to employees responsible for Registered Mail or complete the Registered Mail compliance checklist. Southern Area management agreed to provide a copy of the toolkit to employees in response to a prior audit recommendation.
  • Two of nine post offices in the Capital Metro and Western areas did not assess vulnerability and risk associated with facilities, including those related to Registered Mail. Area management agreed to complete the assessments in response to a prior audit recommendation.

As a result of the issues identified, the Postal Service is at an increased risk of delayed mail, theft, or loss which could also increase insurance claims and customer dissatisfaction with the Registered Mail service, potentially impacting its brand.

Further, opportunities exist for post offices and registry section offices to improve the Registered Mail process and efficiencies by implementing evolving technology. These improvements should strengthen information sharing, provide more efficient services, and minimize risks associated with unlocked cages, cabinets, or safes.

What the OIG Recommended

We recommended management verify that employees responsible for Registered Mail complete the required training; monitor Registered Mail operations to ensure employees comply with policies and procedures; update the manual portions of the process; and monitor technology to modernize the Registered Mail process.  

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Comments (5)

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  • anon

    I sent six registered return receipt requested (hard copy) forms PS3806 and PS3811 from the Hicksville Post Office NY. I did not get back two of the physical green cards form PS3811. Proper payment was made and appropriate indication of service requested on PS Form 3806. (registered Mail and return receipt hard copy) I looked up both mailings on the service and there was no tracking history unlike the other four. the display stated "Return Receipt Associated" I went down to the PO to speak to a supervisor to find out where the green cards are?He said "I don't know things happen." He printed out a image of a scanned signature associated with the documentation numbers on card and registered receipt, however there was no tracking history or date of delivery on his print out. The signature did not have a date hand signed for and one of them had a different delivery address shown on it. I did not write a different delivery address in "box D." Someone else put in a different address? I photocopied the green cards before I brought them into the post Office. He offered a refund however I did not accept the offer, I am unsatisfied the integrity of the physical green card and recording system was compromised as there is no hard copy proof of when the recipient signed for the mail. Further the mailings were initiated July 21, 2017 but shown being delivered 8/7/17 and 8/9/17 respectively. I think they both were rerouted by someone filing in box D to possibly delay delivery. So in absence of a green cards there is no physical proof to validate the recording of delivered time with a wet ink signature. Two of the four cards that were returned to me were flawed, One had the right side torn off so the complete barcode could not be read and had no PO District Date stamp. Another card was intact, but no stamped PO District date was placed on it. In summary the mailing process was compromised. Will someone in the Postal Service make an oath under penalty or perjury as a public officer as to the dates of delivery and who signed?

    Aug 16, 2017
  • anon

    I sent money "Certified" mail to a place in New York, I contacted them, got no response, I contacted USPS, got NO response, I have no clue who to contact next. Maybe "Dateline"???? So they can do a "Investigative follow-up"?? You took my money for the Certified letter, but there's NO PLACE to back it up at!

    Aug 14, 2017
  • anon

    Reading hundreds of online complaints about the Jamaica NY facility and lost/stolen packages there, it is obviously a hot spot for insider theft by those postal workers. My Reg Mail-Priority mail package has shown as at the Jamaica facility for 48 hours now. No one can give me an update. It has likely been pilfered, and it is Registered Mail (which is supposed to be the highest security USPS can offer). And No one answers the phone number for the Registered Mail office at the Jamaica Facility (718-553-7393). USPS simply is a broken entity. Use FEDEX or UPS for anything you value. Do not use USPS for anything you value.

    Aug 02, 2017
  • anon

    On the web site it keeps saying date of delivery will be a date last week. Cmon, I wouldn't call that keeping track of my letter

    Jul 27, 2017
  • anon

    How about documenting the training

    Jul 26, 2017