Small business owners say when mail doesn’t get to them properly, it’s more than a nuisance: it can be costly.
The business owners in East Hartford said their complaints to the postal service have gone nowhere.
"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” the United States Postal Service creed says.
But, that didn't seem to be the case on a busy East Hartford mail route. When a frustrated business reached out to NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters, we turned to tech and set up a video doorbell to see for ourselves.
Marc Glass said after his mail carrier retired two years ago, his postal service became spotty. Glass and fellow business owners on his route, like Anthony Corona Jr., said for a while the mail service was almost non-existent.
“We weren't getting mail. I'd go for weeks without getting mail. Weeks? Weeks. I have to run out and pay the bills and I'm eating, absorbing the late fees on top of it," Corona said.
For a short time this spring, Glass said mail delivery improved with a new carrier, but when the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters tracked his service for 30 business days with a video doorbell when mail was supposed to be delivered, Glass didn't get mail seven of those days.
Mail did not come on Good Friday, which is not a federal holiday, and on five different Saturdays. On weekdays, the mail carrier walks in to each office, delivers the mail, and picks up items to be delivered, but on Saturdays, there's a box for mail to be dropped off.
Postal service spokeswoman Christine Dugas suggests the failure to deliver to Glass on Saturdays may have been a miscommunication.
“We were under the impression that none of the three businesses in that building wanted Saturday delivery. Based on the landlord saying to us not to deliver on Saturday that's common for businesses," Dugas said.
Dugas added that mail carrier said the boxes were not clearly marked. NBC Connecticut video clip from weeks earlier shows at least Glass' box was properly displayed. The postal service said Glass' situation is unusual, citing a Gallup survey indicating close to 97 percent of letters arrive on time.
A stone's throw away from Glass a business owner said he has no problems with the mail, but this shop owner is on a different route.
The postal service stresses customers should let them know if there's an issue and to start with the postmaster. If that doesn't work ask for the post office operations manager. If that fails there is a consumer advocate in Connecticut for the United States Postal Service. Corona and Glass said they did reach out.
USPS is on the case now, saying it’s at the highest level of management in the Hartford district. The USPS said if all else fails, call 1-(800)ASK-USPS.
There is hope for this mail route. Another new carrier introduced herself this week and the businesses here tell NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters their fingers are crossed.