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Why is USPS so Slow?

Does it feel like you’ve been waiting forever for an important parcel to arrive? 

The United States Postal Service delivers billions of pieces of mail every year. In most cases, they reach their destination quickly and without incident. However, there are certain times when they could be delayed or even fail to arrive altogether. This is sure to make you feel a little anxious, especially if you generally experience excellent service. 

So, let’s find out, ‘why is USPS so slow?’

The Causes Of Delayed Mail 

There are several reasons why your mail could be taking longer than usual to arrive. In most cases, your mail is in good hands, and you simply need to be patient. Here are some of the most common causes of delivery delays at USPS

The Causes Of Delayed Mail

1 Changed Delivery Timeframes

The main cause of delays for USPS mail has recently been confirmed. According to the U.S. Postmaster General, there are longer timeframes for the First-Class mail service at USPS. In the past, mail sent using this class took between one and three days. However, you can expect mail to take an additional two days from now on.

A ten-year plan has been launched that will gradually make the overall mail service slightly slower. This measure has been put in place to help the United States Postal Service recover losses. It was recently reported that the company has suffered more than $3 billion in losses due to several factors.

An extra day or two…

While all delivery services will be slightly slower, the majority of people in the United States will not notice a difference. In some cases, you may have to wait an extra day or two for your parcel to arrive. If you notice that the service is slightly slower, you can be sure that your parcel will be on its way. 

2 Your Location

Most people who live in major cities will be unaffected by the change in USPS delivery timeframes. However, customers who live in rural areas may not be as lucky. These tend to be more difficult and costly to provide with regular postal service. To manage costs more efficiently, services to remote areas are being reduced, and deliveries will now take longer. 

3 International Deliveries

If you live outside of the Continental U.S., your mail is likely to take longer to arrive. This includes Guam, Puerto Rico, Alaska, and Hawaii, and deliveries are likely to take a few days longer than average.  

As part of the new budget plan, air mail is being reduced, and there will be a bigger focus on truck transport. It naturally takes longer to make deliveries by land than by air. While you may have to wait a few days longer for your parcel from now on, it will still reach you eventually. 

4 The Selected Service

Different delivery dates are quoted for different types of mail services. The timeframe is reflected in the cost. Some senders choose to save money by selecting a slower delivery service. For example, while Parcel Select is the cheapest package shipping option, it is also the slowest. 

5 Limited Available Trucks

One of the moves to make the United States Postal Service more profitable is reducing the size of its fleet. Specifically, the company is cutting back on additional and late truck trips. This is helping to reduce costs considerably, especially when it comes to overtime pay. Of course, this means that mail takes a little longer to arrive

Limited Available Trucks

6 Poor Weather Conditions 

Extreme weather events like tornados and hurricanes can close major roads for a few days and make deliveries difficult. Treacherously icy roads and rockslides can also cause deliveries to be delayed. These events are fairly common, and there is not a lot that can be done to prevent them.

If deliveries are delayed by weather events, your delivery timeframe will be updated. You simply need to log into USPS Tracking on your phone and enter your tracking number. The cause of the delay will be indicated, and you will be able to see when your mail is due to arrive. 

7 Major Traffic Incidents

Serious traffic incidents like accidents can block major roads for several hours and cause delays. Like bad weather, traffic incidents are simply a side effect of modern life. If a traffic disturbance is reported in your area, you can expect deliveries to be delayed slightly. 

8 The Time of Year

These days, more and more people are shopping online, and there is a huge surge of deliveries before major holidays. If you are planning to send parcels to loved ones for special events, it is best to plan. Try to send your parcels a couple of weeks earlier than usual to make sure they arrive on time. 

9 The Day of the Week

The United States Postal Service does not offer a regular mail delivery service on Sundays. Even if the sender used Priority Express mail, they need to pay extra. The standard charge for this is $12.50. Unless the sender paid this extra fee, you will not receive your mail on a Sunday. 

10 Election years

The United States Postal Service receives a much higher volume of mail in an election year. Priority is given to mail-in ballots and other types of political correspondence. This means that mail is often delayed slightly on the days and even weeks leading up to an election. 

When Mail Is Considered Late?

If your mail is taking longer than usual to arrive, you can reach out to the Customer Care Center team. Simply explain the issue in as much detail as possible, and a member of the team will look into it. However, it is best to wait the right amount of time before inquiring. So, let’s take a look at the delivery times for different types of mail and when you should inquire. 

When Mail Is Considered Late

1 Priority Mail Express

As the name suggests, this class of mail is given priority over other classes. It is guaranteed to arrive within two days of being sent. You should reach out to customer services after 18:00 on the guaranteed delivery date. 

2 Priority Mail

The delivery date for this type of mail is not guaranteed. Priority mail typically takes up to three business days to arrive. You should wait at least five days before contacting customer services. 

3 First-Class Mail

Although the time frame is not guaranteed, first-class mail usually takes between one and five business days to arrive. First-class mail is usually easy to trace and locate within the post office system. It is best to wait at least five days from the mailing date before inquiring.

4 First-Class Package Service

Tracking a parcel after it has been mailed is generally easy. It takes up to five business days for packages to arrive when sent using this class. You should wait at least five days from the mailing date before inquiring.

5 USPS Retail Ground

Mail sent using this class should usually arrive within two to five business days. You should wait at least five days from the mailing date before contacting the Customer Care Center team.

However, there are likely to be additional delays if your parcel contains hazardous materials or live animals. The parcel will need to be checked carefully and may need to pass through additional screening. You should wait at least two weeks before inquiring about these cases. 

USPS Retail Ground

6 Parcel Select Ground 

The predicted time frame for this class is the same as for USPS Retail Ground. Again, your parcel will take a few days longer to arrive if it contains hazardous materials or live animals. 

7 Parcel Select Lightweight

Parcels sent using this class take between two and eight days to arrive. Make sure at least two weeks have passed from the mailing date before contacting the Customer Care Center team. 

8 Package Services

This type of mail includes printed media, library mail, and bound printed material. It typically takes between two and eight business days for this class of mail to arrive. You should wait at least fourteen days from the mailing date before inquiring. 

9 Periodicals

Periodicals should arrive in three to nine business days. Wait at least two weeks from the mailing date before inquiring. 

10 USPS Marketing Mail

It can take up to ten business days for this type of mail to arrive. You should wait at least fourteen days from the date of mailing before inquiring. 

Having Trouble Tracking Your Parcel?

Sometimes there can be delays on the website, if so, find out Why Is USPS Tracking Not Updating, or perhaps Does USPS Have First Class Tracking, or what to do if I Lost My USPS Tracking Number, and Can You Track A USPS Package Without A Tracking Number, for the steps to take.

Are you sending off or receiving important documents? Then, you’ll want to know Where Can I Drop off USPS Packages, followed by Does USPS Notarize Documents, and Can I Use Poly Mailers For USPS, as well as Does USPS Forward IRS And Other Government Mail, and When Do USPS Trucks Go Out For Delivery?

There are a few terms you need to be familiar with when sending a parcel, these include What Does Insufficient AddressMean At USPS, and What Does Missent Mean USPS The Ultimate, what to do when USPS Out For Delivery Never Came, and finally, What Does Available For Pickup Mean USPS, in 2023?

Final Thoughts

The United States Postal Service was established in 1971, and the agency has earned an excellent reputation for reliability over the years. However, mail can take longer than usual to arrive on the days leading up to a major holiday.

Several other factors can cause USPS deliveries to take longer than usual. In most cases, you simply need to wait a day or two longer for your parcel to arrive. If you are concerned about your mail, you can send an email to the Customer Care Center team.

Hope your parcel arrives soon!

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About Calvin Miller

Calvin has over 20 years of experience in a leading employment agency in Tucson, Arizona, and is passionate about finding the perfect position for everyone who uses the company’s services.

He lives with his wife, Annette, and their two sons Jake and Joseph.

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