POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Mar 16, 2011
QUESTION: Is it legal to park in front of a mailbox?
ANSWER: There is no law that specifically prohibits parking in front of a mailbox, according to the U.S. Postal Service and the Honolulu Police Department.
Under the Postal Service's Postal Operations Manual, mail may not be delivered if delivery is impeded in any way, such as by a vehicle, trash or aggressive dog.
When we first asked about this problem several years ago, then-Honolulu Postmaster Frank Santos told us postal workers had been instructed to deliver mail even if a mailbox was blocked.
This time, we're told by postal official Lynne Moore that "as a rule of thumb, many carriers will either skip the box if they can't access it," or if they can access it, they will leave a form, PS 4056 — "Your Mailbox Needs Attention," to let the customer know about the problem.
"It is our mission to deliver the mail, and we will make every effort to do so," said Moore, manager of customer services for the Postal Service in Hawaii.
The problem is if there is continuing blockage.
"Of course, we would like to be able to work with the customer rather than curtail delivery services," Moore said. "That would be a last resort."
QUESTION: On Feb. 8 I mailed confidential tax information to my tax preparer in Aliso Viejo, Calif., from the Waialae-Kahala Post Office. I mailed it via Certified Mail so I could track the receipt of the envelope. The envelope never arrived. To make a long story short, I went to the post office and asked for help and basically was told to call the Aliso Viejo Post Office myself. I could not believe that the responsibility of finding my lost envelope reverted back to me, when it was the post office that lost it! Can you help?
ANSWER: We understand the Postal Service has contacted you, but your envelope still has not been located and you've been advised to contact the major credit reporting agencies to thwart any attempt at identity theft.
There seems to be some security in the Postal Service's statement that "with Certified Mail you can be sure your article arrived at its destination with access to online delivery information. ... As an additional security feature, the recipient's signature is obtained at the time of delivery and a record is maintained by the Post Office."
However, what might happen in transit is not covered. Certified Mail "is not trackable and it is only at the office of delivery at which we have any real hope of locating the article," said spokeswoman Lynne Moore.
See pe.usps.com/text/dmm100/intro.htm to find out what paying extra for services such as Certified Mail actually gives you.
QUESTION: Of late, I've had two instances where bill payments mailed from the Waialae-Kahala station did not arrive on the mainland for eight days or more. Is the Postal Service cutting back pickup times from six days a week to less at some stations?
ANSWER: The Postal Service is not cutting back the number of days that mail is collected, said spokeswoman Lynne Moore.
It also aims for First Class Mail sent out of state to be delivered in three to five days, depending on when it is mailed, she said.
If customers have questions about the Postal Service or a mail service problem, call the Honolulu Consumer Affairs Office, 8:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. weekdays, or call toll-free 800-275-8777 for general assistance. The Postal Service's website is www.usps.com.