The objective of this audit is to determine whether voided Postage Validation Imprinter (PVI) label refunds and Customer Metered Mail Postage refunds were properly issued, supported, and processed at the Secaucus Main Office. The PVI is a printing device attached to a point-of-sale terminal that produces a postage label for payment of postage and fees.
The OIG Field Financial Risk Model identified Secaucus, NJ, Main Post Office Refund & Void dollars increased 822 percent from April 1 to September 30, 2017, compared to the same period in fiscal year (FY) 2016. Voided PVI label activity increased from $2,073 to $5,877, and refunds for customer metered mail postage increased from $749 to $26,121 for the same comparison period.
What the OIG Found
Refunds for voided PVI labels and customer metered postage were not always properly issued, supported, and processed at the Secaucus Main Post Office. Specifically, for 81 of 268 refund transactions for voided PVI labels reviewed, had no required witness certification or “no witness available” designation on documentation.
Of the 155 refunds for spoiled or unused customer metered mail postage reviewed, we found unit personnel:
- Did not maintain the refund form or the supporting documentation for two forms, totaling $1,937 in refunds.
- Did not have a witness signature confirming destruction for two refund forms, totaling $139 in refunds. An additional 13 refund forms were without a witness signature, confirming destruction and a witness signature confirming disbursement, totaling $531 in refunds.
- Did not complete the Disbursements for Refunds section for any of the153 refund forms reviewed.
- Did not timely process 136 of the153 refund forms reviewed. Specifically:
- 135 of 153 forms for meter stamp refunds valued up to $1,000 were processed between 4 and 171days late.
- One form for a meter stamp refund valued at $1,445 was 27days late.
- One form did not have a submission date to determine timeliness.
The sales and service associates stated that when a PVI label is not legible and in need of a witness signature, there was usually only one sales and service associate on the window and, therefore, no witness is available. This is allowable, but the absence of a witness is required to be noted on the support. In addition, delays in processing refunds for spoiled or unused customer metered mail postage occurred due to the volume of submissions received and other priorities. The disbursements section of the refund form was not completed because the attached money order receipt was considered sufficient by the sales and service associate processing the refund.
From April 1 through September 30, 2017, the Secaucus, NJ, Main Office issued $3,647 in questionable refunds because Postal Service policy was not followed.
What the OIG Recommended
We recommended management reiterate to all unit personnel the requirements for processing voided PVI labels and refund forms for metered postage refunds.