The familiar blue and white logo of the United States Postal Service has brought a feeling of dread to some of the residents of a Jersey Shore town lately. For the past 4 months, neighbors along a mail route extending to the bay area in Margate City have experienced irregularities in their mail delivery service -- and it's affecting their lives.
“I would just like some consistent service, relatively on-time delivery, and mail delivered to the correct address…I don’t think that’s asking for a lot,” said Bruno Munizza, one of the residents affected by these mail errors.
The route, comprised of primarily full-time residents in a city that has a widely seasonal occupancy, was originally considered a traditional route, meaning that a single mail carrier serviced the region.
Four months ago, however, the route was changed to an auxiliary route, which means different mail carriers service the area each day. This constant change prevents a mail carrier from learning the addresses of their particular route, leading to simple mistakes in the delivery of the mail.
Since the change in the service, residents have reported not receiving mail for days at a time, mail being delivered in the middle of the night, missing checks and bills and untimely prescription deliveries.
Another resident, Sondra Altman, said her mail is consistently delivered to Winchester Avenue, but she lives on Winchester Road. When she and her husband both had medical testing done on the same day and were supposed to receive their results by mail. Her husband has already received his results she said, but Sondra’s are lost in the mail.
“I drew a map of where my house is located so the substitute letter carriers would know where to deliver my mail,” said Sondra. “I’m right down the street from the post office, the mailmen park in front of my house. Is it unreasonable to expect my mail to be delivered to my address?”
For Celeste Nicolo, her mail was delivered numerous times to an address on Frontenac Avenue instead of her Franklin Avenue home, which is also down the street from the Margate City Post Office. She claims she's gone two days without receiving any mail at all, causing her to pay her bills late.
“We [Nicolo and her neighbors] are running around delivering mail to each other’s houses,” Nicolo said. “I don’t think we should be doing the Post Office’s job.”
United States Postal Service Corporate Communications representative Ray Daiutolo said that the manager of the Margate Branch Post Office has promised to investigate.
"Our goal is to deliver the nation’s mail securely, accurately and efficiently every day," Daiutolo said. "The mishandling of any mail is certainly unintentional, and we work very hard to eliminate such mistakes when brought to our attention. We value our customer concerns and want to assure them we will explore their concerns. We will make extended efforts to improve upon our performance."
Daiutolo said that there is a record of customers having contacted the Postmaster in Atlantic City, who oversees the Margate City Branch. He also noted that Consumer Affairs for USPS is currently assisting one customer along the route.