10 On Your Side helps business track down missing mail

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — 10 On Your Side got an email from a Chesapeake business that claims it hasn’t received mail or it’s mail delivery has been extremely delayed on multiple occasions, since 2013.

The business owner, Paul Drake, said he’s not sure if the problems stem from a personal vendetta against his business or if it’s just a post office facility that’s not keeping things on track. Either way, he said the post office on North Battlefield Boulevard hasn’t been much help.

“That little rain, hail, sleet or snow story, I guess that was the old post office,” Drake said. “Today’s post office is, ‘we’ll get there when we get there and you’ll just have to deal with it.’ It is the most frustrating thing is when you have a problem and there’s no ladder to climb, because everywhere you turn to they just don’t care.”

Drake has owned and run Technical Services Heating & Air Conditioning for 17 years. Most of those years, he said he’s received his mail, no problem. When his last postal carrier retired, that’s when Drake said things changed.

“We have several cases where, when we get our mail delivered to us, it’s not our mail, and we have other people around the neighborhood that bring us our mail,” Drake said.

And then there was the time it took the U.S. Postal Service five months to let the business know it’s outgoing mail wouldn’t be delivered.

“We sent out a mass mail, sent it out on October 7, 2013, and I got it back in our mail March 5, 2014, saying that it was not deliverable,” Office Manager April Pavlak said.

But that’s not as bad as the times their incoming mail hasn’t come at all.

“When I asked her about it, she said, ‘no, we delivered your mail.’ I said, ‘where did you deliver it to?’ I replayed that whole day in our surveillance video from the time I left ’til the end of the day, and never was she there.”

The business has sent letters and made calls to complain, but with no avail. 10 On Your Side asked around their neighborhood, and no one had the extent of problems Technical Services has had, but there were some common themes.

“It seems like it’s getting backed up, per say,” said Devon Pilkington, from nearby Priority Pest Services. “It might double up on one day. They don’t come one day or something.”

Drake thinks, because tensions have risen by his many complaints that his business has been red-flagged and his carrier is done being of service to them.

So, 10 On Your Side called the regional headquarters for the post office in Richmond. They contacted the senior manager of post office operations in northern Virginia, and he’s coming to Hampton Roads to talk with Drake on June 1.

“[10 On Your Side is] the only ones that ever get anything accomplished, and you did in one day,” Drake said. “You accomplished more in one day than I have in two and a half to three years.”

But the story doesn’t end there

Soon after 10 On Your Side’s on-air report about Drake, WAVY.com received several emails and calls from others in the 23320 area, who were having similar experiences.

“I always turn the TV on, watch the news and see what’s going on,” said James Thompson, owner of All The Rage in Chesapeake. “Here’s this story, and it sounds just like the same things we were experiencing. I thought, ‘I’m going to let them know this is happening to more than one person.'”

Brenda, who lives in the same 23320 zip code, said, “We just watched the news you did about the mail in Chesapeake. We have the same carrier as the company, and we are going through the same thing.”

Teresa wrote, “I have been experiencing problems for the past year in the 23320 zip code, as well, and have put in complaints at the post office and no help.”

10 On Your Side put in more calls and sent an email on Friday, to let the U.S. Postal Service know of the additional residents with chronic mail problems. None of our calls or emails have been returned, but that may be due to the holiday weekend.

You can count on 10 On Your Side to keep following up on this story on your behalf, and to keep you updated on any developments.