Waldo residents fed up with mail service

Years of complaints taken to federal level
By Fran Gonzalez | Apr 04, 2018
Photo Illustration by Fran Gonzalez

Waldo — Frustrated residents in the town of Waldo have had enough of their letters, checks and medicines not arriving in their mailboxes as expected and are asking for help.

Tom Seymour is a freelance writer and naturalist who depends on checks arriving through the mail in a timely manner. He has spearheaded a campaign to put the Postal Service on notice and correct the ongoing problems with misdelivered and lost mail in his town.

"It's hard enough to get paid sometimes but when you have to go back, and ask to have another check cut because you haven't received the first one, it's no good," Seymour said. "For years, our rural delivery man has misdelivered mail, lost mail and in general, interrupted people's lives. No more. I won't stand for this any more."

Seymour said the problem has been going on for 10 to 12 years. He has spoken to various postmasters and said he was often given the response, "Our people don't make mistakes."

People in the town of Waldo have, for years, fought with the Post Office and even confronted the mail carrier, Seymour said. The mail carrier reportedly told resident David Small: "There's nothing you can do about it."

The fact that the mail carrier belongs to the National Rural Letter Carriers Association and also is a veteran seems to have helped secure his position, according to Seymour.

"The worst part about it is I've lost faith in the post office," Seymour said.

Allen Gallant lives on Route 137 in Kendall Corner and said mail loss and misdelivery "happens quite a bit."

He, as well, talked to the postmaster but he said, "It didn't seem to do any good. I'm still not getting my mail."

Gallant said he has nothing personal against the mail carrier.

"Put him on a job he can handle," he said. "He has a hard time doing this one."

Waldo Station Road resident Small said he has had "more trouble than you can imagine."

"We've had to resort to going paperless on everything possible," Small said. "Mail just ends up in someone else's mailbox. We gave up."

He added, "I was paying late fees for credit cards because checks never got there."

Small said he was forced to cancel newspaper and magazine subscriptions.

He recently signed up with Informed Delivery, a free service through the Post Office that shows mail that is supposed to arrive in his mailbox.

After noticing a letter from his health insurance provider scheduled to arrive did not make it to his mailbox, Small drove two hours to Portland to make sure he did not lose his coverage.

Seymour earlier this month enlisted the help of Sen. Susan Collins' office, which contacted the U.S. Postal Inspection Service branch to look into the matter.

Kathi C. Roy, a manager with the Consumer and Industry branch of the Postal Service, is currently investigating the situation.

"I have been in touch with the Belfast office and we will be putting processes in place so that you can expect successful mail delivery," she said.

According to USPS Communications Specialist Stephen Doherty, "Management at the district level has met with both the carrier and Belfast supervisor and put a system of additional daily checks in place to assure accurate delivery on this route going forward."

Customers who experience any type of delivery irregularity should contact the customer assistance department at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) or online through usps.com, Doherty said. Doing so assigns a case number to the complaint and elevates it through the proper management channels until a resolution is reached.

But Seymour said he is not prepared to stand down until the issues in Waldo are resolved.

"If, in the end, the post office does nothing to stop this misuse of tax dollars, I will contact statewide newspapers and perhaps even go on television," Seymour said.

Editor's note: Tom Seymour is a contributing columnist with The Republican Journal. This story has been corrected to reflect the name of the National Rural Letter Carriers Association.

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