USPS OIG Report: Refunds and Voids – Bluebonnet Station, Austin, TX

Objective

The objective of this audit is to determine whether refunds and voids for spoiled/unused customer meter stamps were valid and properly supported at the Bluebonnet Station, Austin, TX.

The OIG’s data analytics identified that Bluebonnet Station had a 202 percent increase in dollars for stamp and meter revenue refunds from July 1 to December 31, 2017, compared to the same period in fiscal year 2016. Of the $36,000 in stamp and meter revenue refunds during the period, the unit recorded over $27,000 in refunds related to spoiled/unused customer meter strips. We reviewed 83 stamp and meter revenue refunds issued from July 1 to December 31, 2017.

What the OIG Found

Spoiled/unused meter stamp refunds issued from July 1 to December 31, 2017 at the Bluebonnet Station were not always valid or properly supported. Specifically, unit personnel:

  • Did not reconcile the daily close out report to the refund forms prior to closing the records in the system.
  • Did not properly process and maintain refund forms or supporting documentation for refunds totaling $27,110.

–For 58 refund forms totaling $10,463 in refunds, the manager and a witness did not certify that metered stamps were destroyed.

–For 30 days the Postal Service did not have required refund forms or money order receipts to support $16,647 in refunds processed.

The supervisor stated these errors occurred because she had other priorities and trusted that her sales and service associate (SSA) would not process a refund without a form. While the lead and back-up SSAs stated that they had on-the-job training, they did not remember the requirement to witness and certify the destruction of the refund forms. According to the lead SSA, documentation for refunds is filed at a separate location in the building and they were not informed of the proper procedures to submit the completed refund form to the closeout employee as supporting documentation for the daily financial report.

If Bluebonnet Station employees do not ensure that refunds are properly supported, the Postal Service risks issuing incorrect or unauthorized stamp and meter revenue refunds. From July 1 through December 31, 2017, the Bluebonnet Station issued $27,110 in questionable refunds because employees did not follow Postal Service policy.

What the OIG Recommended

We recommended management provide refresher training on the daily financial reporting process to all unit personnel.

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Source: USPS Office of Inspector General

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