ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- The United States Postal Service has reported losing more than $86 billion since 2007. Complaints of slow service only escalated during the pandemic.
John Hoffmann of St. Louis County said most of his mail arrives on time with the exception of important tax documents he sent to his accountant in Washington, D.C.
“She mailed them to us on April the 2nd, first class mail. They arrived on April the 19th," said Hoffmann.
As the deadline for taxes was approaching, Hoffmann wanted to make sure his accountant received the forms quickly when he mailed them back.
“I go to the post office, I said, 'Can I send this overnight?' They said, 'Sure. $26.35.' Fine, I just want to make sure my accountant gets this," said Hoffmann. The letters did not arrive the next day as expected.
“I figured well I’m okay if she gets it Monday. Monday it didn’t arrive," said Hoffmann. It took nearly two more weeks before the documents arrived in D.C.
“If they just want to be honest and say we’re really having problems, we have no idea when it’s going to get there, you may want to you know use some other service but no, they said it’ll be there," said Hoffmann.
News 4 has been investigating problems with USPS for years. One of the most recent incidents involved hundreds of pieces of mail found in a Ferguson dumpster.
“I’d say anywhere from 800 to 1,000. It was a lot of mail," said Jonathan Tremaine Thomas, who found the mail.
News 4 wanted to run our own experiment. We mailed five envelopes to our sister stations across the country -- Portland, Atlanta, Phoenix, Hartford, and Las Vegas. We mailed another seven envelopes to a central location in St. Louis City from across the St. Louis metro.
The letter from St. Charles was the first mailed and first received, arriving in less than one day. The letter mailed from Florissant arrived the following day. Letters we sent from Tower Grove South, Affton, Arnold, and Columbia, Illinois arrived four days after mailing them. Chesterfield took the longest, arriving almost a week after mailing the letter.
Mail we sent across the country to our sister stations arrived four days later with one exception, Hartford, Connecticut took an extra two days to arrive.
News 4 contacted USPS asking for an interview with postmaster Russell Thouvenot wanting to discuss recent service issues. Our request was denied. A spokesperson responded in an email:
“At this time USPS corporate communications is not recommending local interviews to discuss service issues, USPS challenges, or the status of USPS in general.”
The national communication team has not replied to a News 4 request for comment in four weeks.
“The best thing to do is be up front about it, the longer you delay and not talk about it the worse it seems to the public," said Hoffmann.
Hoffmann is still hoping to get a refund on the money he spent overnighting the documents.
There are efforts on the federal level to bail out the post office. 20 senators on both sides of the aisle, recently introduced legislation to provide the USPS $46 billion in financial relief. The bill would require the postal service to create and online dashboard so customers can track its delivery metrics by zip code each week and maintain service six days a week.