Freehold Township resident Nicholas Romano doesn’t have much faith in the U.S. Postal Service these days.
First, a postal worker tossed a package to his front door two days before Christmas, a move caught by a video camera pointed in front of his home.
Then two months worth of mail, which was supposed to be held in at a nearby post office, disappeared.
“I am so angry,” Romano said. He has a simple question: “Where’s my mail?”
Press on Your Side asked the Postal Service to help Romano answer the question. But before we get to that, here’s what happened.
Mail put on hold
Romano has been helping his parents at their home in Wall so he decided to put his mail delivery on hold. The post office allows you to hold mail deliveries for 30 days at a time. Romano asked that his letters and packages be held at the post office until he could pick it up.
After the first hold, from March 8 to April 7, he went to the post office for his mail. “All of the mail was missing,” Romano said. He submitted a complaint and put in a second request, this time to hold his mail until May 8.
Romano was nervous about it. So, during the second hold, he checked his mailbox a few times to make sure there was no mail being delivered.
He even stopped by the post office on May 5, a few days before it expired, to pick up his mail. But there was no mail there or the day after, Romano said.
Romano said he talked to his mailman and supervisors at the post office but didn’t get any answers. He was asked if someone else had a key to his mailbox. The answer: no. (But Romano said why would it matter if the mail was supposed to be held at the post office?)
He missed some important mail, Romano said, including two checks, totaling about $200, bills and some legal papers he was expecting.
Caught on video
Adding to his anger is his complaint regarding the delivery of a package on Dec. 23, 2013. His video shows a delivery man, who in an effort to avoid a downpour, steps out of the delivery truck and tosses a small package to the door.
Romano was home at the time, but didn’t know the box, which luckily was well-packed, was outside in the rain. “It sat in the pouring rain for three or four hours,” he said.
Romano contacted the Asbury Park Press and Press on Your Side for help. “I am livid and want this exposed,” he wrote in an email.
Press on Your Side contacted U.S. Postal Service spokesman Raymond V. Daiutolo Sr. about the incident and sent him a link to the video. Romano said he tried to show postal officials the video in May, but they did not take the complaint.
“The video is disappointing and certainly doesn’t reflect the service our dedicated employees strive to provide our customers,” Daiutolo said. The incident is “from December 2013 and appropriate action has been taken with the employee,” he said in a statement.
A postal official in Freehold Township would contact Romano to address his concerns and “apologize for the poor delivery.”
Where did the lost mail go?
What about the lost mail? It’s not clear what happened. The post office believes some of his mail may have been delivered to his mailbox, located in a cluster outside his home, Daiutolo said.
Romano said no mail was delivered to the box.
“Reports of mail loss greatly concern us,” Daiutolo said. “We will review with the carrier the policies in place to properly manage hold mail.”
When mail is put on hold, the post office’s intent is to honor the request, suspend delivery during the period and give the customer the accumulated mail when it expires, he said.
“Since the customer believes he is missing mail, I have asked the consumer affairs team to follow up with the customer directly,” Daiutolo said. “They can help the customer regarding any potential issues with creditors or other financial correspondents when it is apparent that a missed or delayed payment is not the fault of the customer.”
Romano said he spoke to the postmaster in Freehold Township for about 45 minutes. He confirmed the details of his mail holds and showed a video of his mailbox that contained his second mail hold notice.
For now, Romano is having his mail forwarded to his parent’s house in Wall so he doesn’t have to worry about it. But he’s not happy that some of his mail is still unaccounted for.
When he starts to spend more time again at home in Freehold Township, he said he would like his mail delivered to a post office box. At the post office’s expense.