Consumer Alert: New USPS standards mean some of your mail will be delayed and cost more

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Are you expecting a delivery this weekend? You may have to keep waiting. New mail delivery standards went into effect Friday that will mean we’ll all have to wait longer for some of our mail. And that’s not all. Not only will your mail take longer, it’s going to cost more.

Starting Monday, Oct. 4 through the Dec. 26, the price we pay to mail a package is going up, just in time for Christmas.

Here’s how this affects all of us. If you’re sending a letter or package locally, that piece of first class mail should still take about two days. But if you’re sending a package cross country or other long distances, the post master general says it could take up to five days instead of two or three. USPS leaders say letters and lightweight mail shouldn’t be affected.

These changes follow painfully slow delivery times during the summer of 2020. You’ll remember News10NBC’s Jennifer Lewke’s investigations that exposed mail sitting for days in Rochester’s Distribution Center waiting for a truck to take it to our homes.

Now we’ll again be waiting for trucks. That’s because post office leaders say with these changes they’ll rely more on ground transportation instead of the more expensive air transport. Critics say there’s a problem with that. This new plan uses Surface Transfer Centers, STC’s. At those centers, your mail is sorted and loaded onto outgoing trucks. But according to postal union leaders who spoke to NBC News, there are not enough truck drivers.

So workers have to wait until the truck is loaded to the brim before the truck leaves the center. That means your mail may sit in that center for days before it hits the road again. And while your mail is in the STC, you can’t track it. I got a package Thursday that was sent by 2-day priority mail. It took seven days, and for three days, I had no idea where my package was and neither did the post office.

My package was mailed on Sept. 23 and left Franklin Park, Illinois on Sept. 24. On Sept. 25, 26, and 27 no one knew where my package was. Finally, on Sept. 28 my package was on a truck, and according to the tracking information it was in “transit to the next post office.”

On Sept. 29 it reached the Rochester Distribution Center and was delivered to me the next day. But for three days, my package sat in an STC waiting to be loaded on a truck.

When I got the package Thursday, the box was dented, dirty and five days late. Delays will be our new normal. So if you want your gifts to get to Grandma’s on time, this Christmas we cannot procrastinate.