SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - A U.S. Postal Service employee in San Francisco and two in Salt Lake City say they are being pressured to falsify delivery notifications in order to maintain delivery rates this holiday season.
Early this month, an employee showed 2 Investigates photos of hundreds of undelivered packages from inside the postal distribution center on Townsend Street in San Francisco. The employee, who asked to remain anonymous citing job security, said during the holiday rush, up to 30 to 40 percent of the packages are falsely scanned as “delivered” even though the packages sit inside the distribution center for another two to three days.
The employee is speaking out because of frustrations over being asked to falsely scan packages as delivered and then having to deal with angry customers.
Garland Carter and Lingfeng Ou, who live in San Francisco and were contacted separately by 2 Investigates, are two of these customers.
Ou said that in the last three months, about 95 percent of her packages never even came to her home.
“I waited at home and no one knocked on the door between those times,” Ou said about one experience. She regularly ends up retrieving them by picking them up herself at the distribution center.
A similar situation occurred to Carter, prompting him to go to the distribution center himself and inquire about his lost package. When he got there, there were 15 others also demanding answers on their missing deliveries. And the answers he said he got were troubling.
“[The employee] said that they are scanning the packages and falsifying the delivery information just so they can meet their quotas and the managers can get their bonuses,” Carter said. “We were all just dumbfounded.”
Carter said he understands why the employee may have spoken out.
“Obviously [the employee] gets a lot of negativity all day long," he said. "There were about 15 of us there refusing to leave until we got our packages. We all wanted to speak to a manager, but the manager was refusing to come up front.”
He said that Amazon, which uses the postal service, told him that his package was on its way to being delivered, but the delivery employees could not access the entry way of the building. "I found that odd," he said, "because it’s a hotel and anybody can walk into the building.”
When he showed up at the distribution center, Carter said a frustrated USPS employee told him and the group of other customers about the alleged delivery debacle.
Other USPS employees are raising the same concerns, according to KTVU's sister station, Fox 13, in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Reporters there spoke to two USPS employees who said the pressure to fake delivery notifications comes from managers whose salaries directly correlate to delivery rates. Their identities were also kept anonymous to protect their jobs.
“In order for [the manager] to meet their numbers and be compensated for their salary, they have to meet certain delivery expectations,” the Salt Lake City USPS employee said. “And when they fail that, their compensation is taken away from them.”
The second employee from Salt Lake City said sometimes if the package isn’t scanned as “delivered,” employees will scan it as “not delivered” but make up a reason as to why.
“They’re being scanned as a, ‘business being closed’ if it’s a residence or a receptacle block, when the receptacle in fact wasn’t blocked, things of that nature,” she said.
2 Investigates reached out to USPS with these concerns. An official said the Postal Service is aware of the situation in Salt Lake City.
In San Francisco, postal spokesman Augustine Ruiz said the service "takes allegations such as these very seriously. The information available to us indicates there is no merit to the claims raised."
He added that USPS employees are trained to report issues up through their chain of command and can do so anonymously at any level in the management chain.
The corporate USPS office declined to answer 2 Investigates' questions about whether delivery quotas impact managers' bonuses.
Candice Nguyen is an investigative reporter with KTVU Fox 2. Send story and investigation tips to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.