Dear PoPville – Post Office issues in Adams Morgan/Columbia Heights

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“Dear PoPville,

I live in the Adams Morgan/Columbia Heights area and I have been experiencing issues with packages being delivered by the USPS. For the third time in the past 2 months, I have not received a package that they marked as delivered. I live in a small building with a secure door, so I know these packages are not being left on the street. I also only have this problem with the USPS and not Fedex or UPS. I know two other friends in the area that have had this exact same problem as well. I have contacted the USPS and the local office on 14th and T, but so far they have not been helpful at all. I have recently contacted the inspection services and they claim to be investigating, but I’m just wondering if any readers that live in the area have experienced a similar problem.”

44 Comment

  • I live in Columbia Heights at 14th and Newton. I haven’t received my Comcast bill in the mail in 3 mos. Called comcast and they said it’s not an issue on their end. Has to be USPS.

    • Ditto on the Comcast bill – finally just signed up for e-bills. I get all packages delivered to the office where I work. Realize this isn’t an option for everyone though…

      • sj, thanks a good idea or getting a P.O. Box at your local Post Office. Sometimes I get of tenants mail in my mailbox. I had been looking for my new Wells Fargo personal checks reordered in the mail. Thank goodness, they arrived on yesterday in my mailbox. I call Comcast once a month to know the balance of bill, before they send it. Other Comcast customers may want to do the same.

      • Correction:
        sj, that’s a good idea or getting a P.O. Box at your local Post Office. Sometimes I get other tenants mail in my mailbox. I had been looking for my new Wells Fargo personal checks, reordered in the mail. Thank goodness, they arrived yesterday in my mailbox. I call Comcast automative service once a month to know the balance of bill, before they send it. Other Comcast customers may want to do the same.

    • Ditto. Haven’t received RCN bills for three months. Called RCN and they say they weren’t returned so it must be the post office’s fault. I mean, if they’re going to steal all of our cable bills, at least pay them too!
      The 14th Street post office is known as “where mail goes to die.” I’ve received open and empty packages before and they’ve even “lost” packages that I was supposed to claim there. Finally, I received a slip for certified mail and said they’d redeliver. I went online and scheduled a redelivery. I went down there two weeks later to pick it up and complain and the woman said, “yeah, that’s unusual that it wasn’t redelivered!” yeah, right.
      So, the answer to your question is a resounding YES.

  • I lived in Adams Morgan about 5 years ago when my now husband and I were getting married. Someone stole a bunch of our wedding presents that were delivered by USPS and left by the mailboxes by the door. So annoying.

  • I hate to say it, but I do all I can not to have packages delivered by USPS. I’ve had them drop off the pink slip saying they attempted a delivery while I was home and ran out to the truck only to be told they didn’t actually have the package with them. What’s the point of dropping off the slips then making you waste hours at 14th and T to pick up your package?

  • Well, have you thought that someone who lives in the building might be stealing them?

    I lived in a condo building for a couple years and they had a huge problem of package theft by what turned out to be one resident. The packages get left on a table or something and someone who lives there just takes it.

    They finally bought a camera on the sly and caught the guy red handed. Miracuously the thefts stopped after that

  • Emmaleigh504

    I live in Adams Morgan and I’ve never had a problem with USPS package delivery. I guess I’m lucky.

    I think it helps that my building has someone to sign for packages who is super duper friendly.

  • I live at 14th and Chapin Streets and we have had all sorts of problems with packages being stolen up and down the street. We took the issue to the police and to the ANC and it turns out it was not just our building or our street. We think someone was following the FedEx guy and/or the USPS and watching when/where packages were being delivered. Then they would get into the building (one way or another) and go through the packages, leaving the unwanted contents in the basement trash can. We are still working on a resolution. Calling the police and telling all the residents about the problem has helped some, but it is definitely on-going.

  • USPS has an option called “Hold For Pick-up” where you can pick-up your packages up at the local Post Office. This is especially helpful if you are worried your packages could be getting stolen.

  • Funny that you mention the missing Comcast bills. Same here! I thought that I accidentally signed up for ebilling or something because I haven’t received one in months.

  • I live off 14th in Columbia Heights and have been having problems getting my mail delivered at all. Apparently there is not a permanent person assigned to my route, so there is no regularity– sometimes it doesn’t even make it in the mail box and is left unsorted for the building on the steps!

  • With all the missing Comcast bills perhaps it is Comcast (even if they deny it) forcing people to switch to online payment. Makes no sense that USPS would lose everyone’s cable bill and not other bills.

    • I think the same thing. I wouldn’t put it past them to lie about something like that. They’re far from the most truthful at the best of times.

  • I live in Logan and my mail carrier stopped delivering my mail a few months ago. I put in several requests via phone and website to USPS, as well as stopped by a post office. USPS hasn’t updated their contanct numbers for where mail might be held (an operator and post officer worker both confirmed) so you can’t get a straight answer about where your mail will be. They will put requests as “investigating” for month.

    I finally solved the problem by putting a hand written note on my mailbox for my mail carrier. After that, my mail carrier started to delivery a portion of my mail.

  • I live in Columbia Heights over by Howard. I seem to only get mail once or twice a week and always in “bulk”. I guess daily mail delivery is gone and dead.

  • A couple times our mail carrier has left our gate unlocked after delivering mail. I caught her doing it once and she denied it. It was infuriating. I wish USPS made it easier to register complaints like this.

    • Unlocked, or just not shut?

      (Is it a locking gate? Does she have a key?)

      • Unlocked. They have access to a key which they are supposed to put back and lock up – twice they have left the gate unlocked and once the key was in the gate. It’s a two unit building and we each have front doors, but obviously security is compromised without the gate locked.

  • and they wonder why they are losing business and going bankrupt?

    • Oh please,

      If the USPS charged 50 bucks to overnight a 8oz envelope to Baltimore, they too could afford to send pleasant people to your door.

      Use them or don’t use them, but you get what you pay for.

  • OP, I feel your pain. My wife and I live in Adams Morgan and have had the exact same issue. The first time an attempted delivery slip left at the door, we signed it, left it out and then…no package. The 14th St office didn’t have it either, so I caught up with our (then) deliverer who was super helpful and tracked it down for us (sitting in the 14th St. office, no less). Second time, same thing (no package delivered, no package at the 14th St. office), but this time our deliverer couldn’t help us locate the missing pkg. 3 months later (yes, really, 3 full months), the package gets delivered with our mail. Round 3: by this point we had long since decided that it was better to simply go down to the 14th St. post office to pick up the pkg rather than signing the slip and leaving it. Of course, the post office didn’t have it, so they sent us back home to leave the signed slip for the mail carrier. As you might imagine, no pkg, ever. Instead, it eventually found its way back to the sender some two and a half months later…in China. Just as with the OP, we too have never had this issue with FedEx, UPS, or DHL.

    Obviously I can’t say that the OP isn’t having their packages stolen after they’ve been delivered, but there’s an equally, if not stronger, chance that the cause lies with the USPS – more specifically, the 14th St. USPS office. Right now I’d say we’ve gotten about 60% of the packages that were sent to us via USPS. I don’t care where you live, that’s an abysmal rate.

  • I went through hell with the 14th and T post office. Twice in one year I moved, each time filling out the proper form to forward mail. It took three months for mail to start getting forwarded each time, and that after countless calls to the post office, and one trip to the PO, in which I tried to resubmit the forwarding form, but the clerk refused it, saying, “Oh, I’ve heard it’s taking up to two months to process forwarding requests”. I ended contacting the new residents of my old homes and asking if they had my mail—they did, bags of it, and luckily they hadn’t thrown it out. I’ve seen some crappy post office settings and employees, but that place at 14th and T is full of smarmy, lazy, passive aggressive people who I hope get downsized. It’s been six years since these moves, and I’m a calm person, but this topic still gets my blood boiling.

  • Just an amusing, semi-relevant anecdote —

    When I was in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic, mail got lost ALL the time. There was a 50% chance (or less) that anything would ever reach you.

    My grandmother once sent me a package, and reused the box from a new blackberry phone. One would assume that box was plenty of motivation for someone with sticky fingers to hold onto it; to make the chances of delivery even slimmer, she used my email signature for the delivery address. As in,

    My Name
    Peace Corps Volunteer
    Dominican Republic

    NOT ONLY did the package make it to me, it was hand delivered by a postman who had driven about 30 minutes on a motorized scooter up a dirt road to get to my house. I could not stop laughing when I saw it.

  • My mail service has been good over the last 32 years at my current address. Sometimes I get other neighbors in my building mail or mail for people living in the same street or neighborhood streets. I tend to know the time of the month my bills come in the mail and I am on the lookout for them. I think the morale is down with many of the U.S. Postal employees and some of them are temp. workers. The other day, I seen a masculine woman dressed in men’s clothing. I had to look at her good because I noticed, she was the mail person delivering the mail for that day. Sometimes, we have 2 different mail carriers in a week. With the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s holidays coming, the mail deliveries will get worst.

  • correction: worse

  • i live in adams morgan and work in capitol hill and mail delivery is terrible both places. i don’t blame the USPS on a whole though, because everywhere else i’ve lived, it’s been completely fine. i just think DC postal workers are terrible. but service in DC in general is terrible.

    • I recently moved to Bethesda from the 14th and T post office area. My mail service is exponentially worse. Lost mail and everything is delayed by several days. I hate to say it but I miss the DC USPS employees.

  • houseintherear

    Um why on earth is anyone still receiving paper bills?!

    I second the PO Box advice. It’s cheap and SO worth it.

    • i do. because i was had a credit card declined a few times by pepco, i became ineligible for their paperless billing.

    • Some of us have not yet switched over to paperless billing.

      I actually prefer paper billing; I just want the payment to be automatically debited/charged whenever possible so I don’t have to send something off and use a stamp.

  • Wasn’t this the post office that a few years ago got in trouble because someone was dumping mail in a dumpster out back instead of keeping or delivering it?

  • I heard that this branch is going to be closed down?

    I also have sporadic service; sometimes packages come right on time, sometimes it takes two weeks for something to get from Virgnia to my house. And there are days we get no mail at all. I agree with whoever else said they might not always be doing daily service, depending on who’s working – but other times i’ll get two postal workers come in one day, one with mail and another with a package. So odd.

  • Strange that so many of us don’t get our Comcast bills on a regular basis. Makes me think it’s a Comcast issue, not a USPS issue. Then again, I also don’t get my mortgage statement most months (paid automatically, though), and I also rarely get my New Yorker issues.

    The mail forwarding is even worse, though. I regularly get mail addressed to my ex of four years ago (someone whom has never lived at my current address). But even worse, I occasionally get mail addressed to my ex’s ex, whom I never lived with and who my ex broke up with nearly ten years ago. Makes me wonder where most of my own mail is going….

    • Same problem only with USPS in the 1800 block of Wyoming (ZIP 2000), but not with UPS or Fedex or DHL.
      When a package did not arrive, I called the shipper and was told it was sent via USPS and was “at the post office.” I got the tracking number and went to the USPS website and printed out the tracking slip. Went to the Temple Heights PO at Florida Ave and T and asked if they could look in their system to determine where the package was. The woman behind the counter told me she could not help me as they were only a receiving mail station and then wrote down three phone numbers for me to call. The first was always busy, the second got me a person who put me on hold for over 10 minutes and never returned to the line. I gave up on any help from the USPS and called the company which immediately agreed to re-ship via UPS. What a sorry lot the USPS has become.

  • We live in Columbia Heights and once asked our USPS carrier why we might not receiving all our mail and he actually said “I try to at least get close.”!

  • i live in adams morgan and have had two instances in the last two months where USPS has not delivered a package and leaving a pink slip when all of the other mail has been delivered. a pain in the ass to go to 14th & T in business hours, thats for sure..

  • I have had non-stop problems with our USPS service in CHeights/ 16th street Heights: to the point where I have all packages (except UPS/Fed Ex) delivered to in-laws in MD. We receive mail for about 8 people who don’t live at our house and are not the immediate previous owners. Our mail carrier usually ignores/won’t pick up mail we mark as RTS. Once, it was a box. Despite leaving a note and placing it where she was sure to see it, she repeatedly “hid” it in other spots on our porch, like under a planter or chair. Finally, she slashed the box open with a pen and left it on our door mat.
    Several important new-hire and insurance documents of mine were mis-delivered in March (according to the dated chicken-scratch all over the envelopes), which I finally received in August. The address on all of them was correct.
    Early one Saturday morning, I heard something hit my porch. When I opened the door, I had a USPS package on the porch, but the only person in sight was a man getting into a double-parked car in front of my house (read: not a postal carrier. Which could mean he got it in error and was being nice by delivering it to me?)
    I have had 2 packages “delivered” that required signature. When tracked, these items were shown as signed for. The first time, I called the post office and they told me A) I had signed for it and B) It must have been stolen off my porch. WHAT? In both cases, the packages were returned to the sender after over a month of “failed attempt to deliver” or “unable to forward”. When I talked to the post office about this, they told me my packages had to be sent back to the sender since I didn’t come retrieve them from the post office after 30 days. Which would have been fine by me, had I known they were there! There was never a slip or anything.
    Finally, the Saturday before last, there was a young teen-aged boy walking around the neighborhood with our mail carrier, helping her to deliver the mail. While odd, I really didn’t care. It was when I saw him driving the mail truck around the block that confused me. YES- I am reporting all of this.

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