‘It’s been a struggle’: Mail delays affecting local small businesses


CHESTERFIELD,Va. (WRIC) — Issues with mail delivery continue throughout the Commonwealth. Virginians have complained about significant delays or not receiving mail at all.

“Where’s my package?” is a question mounting as mailrooms across the nation and in Central Virginia deal with staffing shortages related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some customers are paying for priority mail, an estimated 1-3 day delivery, only to get their package a month later, which is creating setbacks for some small businesses.

Tucked away in Chesterfield is a diabetic supply company called Sugar Medical, which sells cases and accessories for those with diabetes. For the small business, it’s all about perfectly packaging their inventory and sending out hundreds of shipments.

Owner of Sugar Medical, Carolyn Yager, says her small business relies on the United States Postal Service to stay in business.

“We ship out about 100 packages a day,” said Yager.

Yager is a Type 1 diabetic and started Sugar Medical from the ground up in 2010.

“We’ve been noticing that the USPS is having a hard time keeping up,” Yager explained. “The last six weeks have been a big struggle. Our team here at the Midlothian location has been amazing, but they’re just understaffed.”

A problem plaguing mail rooms nationwide, not enough workers. Staffing shortages at USPS have been a growing challenge during the pandemic, as online spending increased. The effects of the staffing are trickling down to small businesses.

“With the delays, our customer service team has been fielding lots of phone calls and emails from customers who are very upset,” said Yager. “A lot of time people are paying for priority mail and we’re refunding the charges back to them.”

Losing money and sometimes inventory from reshipment, Yager says multiple shipments have taken one month to get to their final destination. She says on June 3rd, fifty-two packages were lost for a week after a distribution mix-up. Yager says she could service her business with UPS, but she says USPS is cheaper in cost and she wants to maintain the relationship.

“Seeing these longer delays makes customers very frustrated,” said Yager. “I think it ends up pushing more business to Amazon and we’re trying to keep these small businesses alive.”

Yager added the Midlothian location has been very hardworking and helpful during these stressful times.

The same mailing issues are being felt in Richmond. Patricia Simspon told 8News she hasn’t received any mail since May 25th.

“I have important mail that I’m not receiving,” Simpson explained. “It’s irritating and there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Simpson says she has downloaded the USPS app to track her mail and even visited her local post office, but was told there was no one she could speak with about the issue. Simpson says it doesn’t make any sense because her neighbors are getting mail, but not her.

Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine wrote a letter to the U.S. Postmaster General in February about the delivery delays and staffing issues affecting Virginia.

USPS sent a statement to 8News reading in part:

”This has been an extraordinary time of unprecedented challenges given the COVID-19 pandemic. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate customers’ patience and understanding and thank all our employees who continue to deliver for our customers during the pandemic.”

The statement goes on to say that the agency has authorized all overtime, expanded delivery hours, and is hiring as fast as possible. If you’re interested in working for USPS click here.

Customers can share general concerns, complaints or compliments by calling our toll-free number at 800-ASK-USPS (275-8777), online at www.usps.com, or through Twitter @USPSHelp.

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