You've got mail: Neighborhood can't get packages for 2 years

Residents in a Katy-area neighborhood had problems with its cluster mailbox for two years.

"Frustrating!"

That's how a viewer describes her dealings with the United States Postal Service.

You see, Nancy McMillan's Katy-area neighborhood of Williamsburg Parish has a cluster mailbox instead of a traditional one at the end of each driveway.

One of the parcel lockers at the bottom of the cluster is missing a key and Nancy says it's been that way for two years.

"Please, can somebody come and unlock the parcel box and get me my package," Nancy says.

Nancy has a delivery notification proving that her package was delivered but she can't get it out.

"Now you understand why I contacted you, because I need some help,” Nancy says. "I've seen your stories and I've seen you get results."

So, KHOU 11 Investigates starts by emailing United States Postal Service.

Our email states the problem: The box is 2P and the mailman keeps putting packages in there and residents can't get them out. Can you help?

We think the problem is going to get fixed—fast. Within an hour, a postal worker is working on the box.  But the problem isn’t solved. He’s replacing the lock for Nancy's personal mailbox.

Now, we have to make a call to USPS to clear up the confusion. But, despite our call, the job is finished anyway and Nancy's confused husband gets a new set of keys.

Timelapse: Katy-area residents get new mailbox

About an hour later, we think there might be progress. We notice more activity at the mailbox as a large maintenance truck pulls up.

Instead of replacing the key, the USPS worker decides to install an entirely new cluster mailbox.

We watch as a postal worker unhinges the old unit and bring in a brand spanking new one.

When we ask why USPS provided such a large solution to a tiny problem, they sent a statement.

"The Postal Service replaced the entire NDCBU (Neighborhood Delivery Collection Box Unit) in an effort to maintain and ensure the security of all mail and parcels."

By the time we see Nancy again, she had her package and is thrilled with our results.

"You did in two days what has taken us two years to try to accomplish," she says.

We also asked USPS about the delay in fixing the original problem.

Their statement says:

"We apologize for any inconvenience customers may have experienced in this instance.  Whenever the Postal Service becomes aware of issues with an NDCBU, we take steps to correct them.  Our records, in this case, do not indicate that the Neighborhood Delivery Collection Box Unit was out of service. The local postmaster responded as soon as she became aware."

Nancy argues that she did bring this to their attention.

"I wouldn't have contacted you if I'd gotten somewhere with them," she says.

The good news is the problem has been fixed and this Katy-area neighborhood has a shiny new working mailbox.

If you have a problem with your mail service, USPS suggests going to speak to your postmaster. If that doesn't work, call the Customer Care Center at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777); or, submit a question or concern online at: USPS Customer Service.


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