WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - We've heard several complaints recently that the mail isn't getting delivered as quickly as people are used to. We found out the service standards changed a couple of months ago – and that could be to blame if you have experienced slower delivery.
In the last 10 years, the volume of single-piece First-Class mail has declined by more than 24 billion pieces. That's a drop of more than 50 percent, and primarily involves letters bearing postage stamps.
That drop forced the Postal Service to consolidate some of its processing facilities, and revise service standards for First-Class mail. The revised standards mean that mail that used to only take one day to process now takes two days, for example.
While the Fayetteville mail processing facility was not consolidated, the one in Kinston was. The Fayetteville station absorbed the mail that used to be sorted in Kinston. Mail for the Wilmington area is processed through the Fayetteville facility.
A spokeswoman for USPS in Fayetteville says they don't know of any specific problems which are further contributing to the mail delay, but that this is just the "new normal." Customers should no longer expect overnight delivery on local First-Class mail that used to be standard.
USPS is working with businesses, like Netflix and utility companies, that rely on the mail to do business. They hope to work around the new delays that might be detrimental to the businesses, and potentially cause mail volume to drop even further.
Earlier this month, Netflix updated their technology so they now know a customer is returning a DVD as soon as it arrives at the post office for processing. That way, Netflix can immediately send out the next DVD in the customer's queue, rather than waiting for the returned DVD to physically arrive before the next one is shipped.
The new, lengthier mail delivery times only impact First-Class mail delivery. The post office says shipping times for expedited shipping methods like Priority Mail are unchanged.
If you do experience a specific problem with your mail which is not explained by the new service standards, you are asked to contact the Wilmington Postmaster's office at (910) 313-3257 during regular business hours or call 1-800-ASK-USPS Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.